Busy times for me at the moment! I'm working in an animation studio as a producer leading a team of 20 artists to complete two very complicated television commercials. We are working at least 12-hour days, six or seven days a week.
As usual, we are on tight deadlines and have the demanding expectations from clients and our own internal high standards that we set for ourselves. They are our professional foundation. Everyone who works in any capacity in the corporate or sales world will be familiar with this!!.
The health of my team is critical to the success of this project. They are, in truth, the most talented, professional and organized team I have ever worked with. Their technical knowledge and sense of humour make every day a joy. It's stressful, complicated and intense and the first thing to go out the window is what we eat.
They love the comfort of burgers, fries, coffee, soft drinks and take away food. We've had a couple of people go down with a virus and it affects the output of the entire team.
My head of production asked me how I am and if I needed a day off. I can honestly say that I feel amazing! I am having one day off a week and working about 10 hours every day. On my day off I catch up on my blog writing, cooking, cleaning, washing and catch up on a TV show or a movie.
Here are my tips - simply learned from listening to my body - to stay healthy, full of energy, calmness and clarity when you're super busy...
1. Cut down or eliminate carbohydrates - soft drinks, pasta, bread, potatoes
2. Cut down or eliminate alcohol
3. Cut down or eliminate coffee
4. Cut down or eliminate milk, cheese and yoghurt
5. Cut down or eliminate highly salted foods
Cutting down or eliminating sugar, carbs, coffee and alcohol will support the body to fully rest when you sleep. High carbs keep the body in a state of energetic motion and activity. This is not what you need when you only have short sleep opportunities! Also, the lactose in dairy products is very high in sugar and creates phlegm that will impede on our airways and breathing. This is one of the reasons why some are asthmatics are recommended not to drink milk.
6. Introduce seaweed/sea vegetables, oily fish and lots of green vegetables
7. Introduce soup for breakfast and/or dinner
Green vegetables and fish have huge amounts of protein, calcium and healthy oils that will give nutrient boosts. Soups don't send the body into over-exertion to digest and process.
8. Introduce nuts and seeds for snacking
9. Introduce apples as the key fruit option
10. Drink water with liquid chlorophyll during the day
11. Drink peppermint or Rooibos tea
12. Drink 100% coconut water (no sugar or flavouring!)
Keep hydrated! But only what you feel you need. Don't drink two litres a day because you read it somewhere - listen to your body! Be aware that sometimes we eat when we're not hungry, so have a cup of tea or a glass of water then feel if you need a snack or meal.
13. Drink water with cherry juice concentrate (hot or cold) before bedtime.
Cherry juice concentrate is well known to support sleep rhythms and support the body to deeply rest and restore. Great for the liver as well - awesome stuff!
14. Remember to take time away from your desk/computer/work environment for a half an hour during the day. Getting some fresh air and seeing there are other people in the world is the best thing to support us to remember we are not alone in the mayhem.
15. Plan your meals and cook whenever you can. I made the most nourishing soup this morning before work. It only took 20 minutes and I did it while I was eating breakfast. Now I have a big pot of soup that will keep be in tiptop shape!
16. Most of all don't eat if you're not hungry. We are conditioned to eat three meals a day, but when I'm busy, I find two meals are sufficient, especially if I get home late and I'm tired. Warm water with cherry concentrate is perfect, nourishing and gentle on my body.
17. A gentle breath meditation always helps me to re-connect and let go of the day.
Try this for super power - Sea Vegetable Soup
Soak one cup of dried sea vegetable in a large bowl covered in water. The sea vegetable will expand so make sure you have plenty of water!
In a large saucepan, gently sautee one leek and one brown onion in coconut oil.
Add a few bay leaves, ground black pepper and a splash of gluten free, low salt tamari (soy sauce).
Add the rehydrated sea vegetable, with the water. If you have some home made fish or chicken stock, add this instead of the sea vegetable water.
Simmer gently for 20 minutes - Simple, super tasty and kapow with nutrients!
I add pieces of salmon or cod after the heat has been switched off to just steam through, resting on top of the sea vegetable.
These tips really do make a huge difference to my ability to work and perform at high levels and maybe if you try, you would see the same results! The more I stick to this, the more I enjoy my amazing energy levels and health no matter how busy I am. Woo hoo!
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Karen Ansel, MS, RD, CDN, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and coauthor of <em>The Calendar Diet: A Month by Month Guide to Losing Weight While Living Your Life</em> "As for what I wouldn't eat: hot dogs, without a doubt. Even if they're nitrate-free, they're still made up of too many parts and pieces, which is just unnatural."
Elisa Zied, MS, RD, CDN, author of<em> Nutrition at Your Fingertips</em> and fellow Eat + Run blogger "I would not eat brains, frog legs or bugs. Otherwise, no foods are off limits, as I think all foods can fit into a healthful and balanced diet. And when I want something that I don't think of as healthy -- like a hot dog, pastrami, French fries, Doritos or a Hostess cupcake -- I have it, but keep the portion small."
Patricia Bannan, MS, RD, author of <em>Eat Right When Time is Tight</em> "<a href="http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2012/10/11/soda-calories-and-a-full-accounting">Sugary soda</a>. Not only does it taste overly-sweet, it's such a waste of calories. A 12-ounce can of soda has almost 40 grams of sugar, and research shows excess sugar can lead to excess pounds and a myriad of health issues. If you do love a soda, limit it to once or twice a month, and get used to other options like citrus-infused water or non-sugared iced tea."
Jackie Newgent, RD, culinary nutritionist and author of <em>1</em><em>,000 Low-Calorie Recipes</em> "I won't eat anything that's neon! Basically, if a food or beverage is a color that you can't find in nature -- like electric blue or glow-in-the-dark orange -- I won't go near it. It's one indicator of an artificial ingredient. I always keep it real."
Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, author of <em><a href="http://health.usnews.com/best-diet/flexitarian-diet">The Flexitarian Diet</a></em> "Spray butter, whipped topping and other similar 'diet foods.' My food philosophy is to eat real food with simple ingredient lists. I'd rather enjoy my food with smart amounts of real butter, oil, sea salt or whipped cream rather than artificial flavors and chemicals."
Bonnie Taub-Dix, MA, RD, CDN, author of <em>Read It Before You Eat It </em>and fellow Eat + Run blogger "I don't like to eat anything that looks like it did when it was alive! Whether it's a cornish hen or a whole fish, I'd rather not see my food in that 'whole' state. I was a strict vegetarian for years, not eating any meat, fish, or poultry, and although I slowly added some of those foods back into my diet, certain animal products are still tough for me to swallow."
Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, author of <em>S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches</em> "Diet soda. It doesn't offer any nutrients, and my rule of thumb is: If it's artificial, it's not going into my body. Also, some research has linked diet soda consumption to an increased risk of stroke, heart attack and depression. Plus, one analysis found that, on average, diet soda drinkers weigh more than regular soda drinkers."
Rachel Begun, MS, RD, spokesperson for The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics "I avoid all foods that contain hydrogenated oils. There is absolutely no need for them in our diet, and nowadays, it's easy to find foods that don't contain them."
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