Life-Work Balance – Ep. 3: You should eat better
Nutrition is critical for well-being, and diet is a huge problem in today’s society. It is proven that obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and autoimmune diseases (all on the rise) are linked to a poor diet (in addition to other lifestyle choices such as excessive alcohol consumption, insufficient physical activity, and tobacco use). However, even when people know about the negative effects on their health, they often settle for processed or junk food because they’re delicious, cheap, easily available, and they provide a faster option to fit in their busy schedules.
I am a huge advocate of whole, nutrient-rich foods. I avoid processed and refined foods. You might think this is a diet but it’s more like a lifestyle. You don’t eat in this way for one month and then go back to your old regimen; this is something you stick with forever (or as long as you want to be healthy, feel better, and stay more productive). The food we eat is information for our body, it’s the energy we need to function optimally. Food is even able to regulate gene expression, so why shouldn’t we pay more attention to what we eat?
I don’t believe in diets because they only give temporary relief. Some of them cannot be followed for more than a few weeks because they rule out entire food groups and lack certain nutrients that our bodies need. Also, what might work for someone might not work for you. You always have to find a good balance when it comes to the best food for your body.
Believe it or not, healthy eating is pretty simple, and it can be easier than following a restrictive diet. There are just a few rules: buy products that are coming from Mother Nature, not from a factory, as much as possible. Stay away from foods with pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, artificial ingredients, or genetically modified, and avoid all refined and processed foods that raise your blood sugar, trigger inflammation in your body (and in your brain).
Some basic tips that will allow you to make better food choices:
Always read the ingredient labels
If you can’t stay away from packaged foods, make sure they have ingredients that you can read / pronounce. I’m sure that, once you start reading those labels, you will realize how many additives, preservatives, maybe colorants, and chemicals are packed in those food portions, and hopefully you will not buy them!
Cook at home
Who said that cooking requires long hours? This is a big misconception of our modern times. Yes, you can prepare a very elaborate meal, but most healthy recipes require less than an hour, sometimes 15-20 minutes are all it takes for a delicious lunch or dinner.
If you’re clueless about healthy recipes, let me know and I will add you to my RECIPES Trello board. It is a collection of favorite recipes divided by category (breakfast, snacks, soups, salads, entree, desserts, etc.) that will give you a lot of ideas!
Every night, get in the habit of preparing for the next day: Prep your breakfast, pack lunch (and dinner, if necessary) for yourself and your family. That way, you will not be tempted to buy convenience food on the run because you’re in a hurry during the day, or on the way home in the evening after long work hours. As an alternative, you can dedicate one day of the week to prep everything (on Sundays, for instance), and you can freeze the food portions for the entire family to be used throughout the week.
It sounds like a big sacrifice to do at the beginning, but once you see the benefits and the results within your body and mind where you are healthier and more productive I’m sure you will want to keep going.
Next week I’ll go into more details about the best foods to eat and other information to improve your lifestyle.
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As a Holistic Precision Life Coach and creator of the Life-Work Balance System, I empower ambitious professionals and high achievers like you to optimize themselves and unlock their full potential, fostering enhanced well-being and productivity in their lives and careers. I combine innovative methodologies (epigenetics, neuroscience, chronobiology, and positive psychology) to facilitate profound lifestyle transformations.