Less Hustle, More Health: Tips for the Health-Conscious Entrepreneur Series (Part Two)
Guest blog post: Shannon L. Werner
Get REAL about food (and HOW you eat it). When you’re always on the go, it’s tempting to rely on health snacks, superfood smoothies, Uber Eats, or Whole Foods hot bar to power you through your day. While we are lucky to have a lot of options for healthy “fast” foods, it’s important that you do the detective work and read labels. Many “organic”, “superfood” products (especially bars, protein powders, and snack foods) are loaded with soy, emulsifiers, inflammatory vegetable oils, or other gut-irritating ingredients that could leave you feeling heavy, bloated, and sapped of energy. I like to say “if you can’t pronounce the ingredient, question if it should be in your body”. Your best option is always to consume foods in their whole, unprocessed form. If a fast bite is all you have time for, choose options that have the least amount of ingredients and said ingredients are actually food. My favorite “on the go” snack options are as follows: Apples or Veggie Sticks with Nuttzo 7-Seed and Nut Butter, Inka Plantain Chips with Hope Hummus, Mary’s Gone Crackers (Super Seed) w/ Avocado or Guacamole, or Epic Bars.
Just as important as what you are eating is how you are eating. Your body best digests food when you 1) are actually hungry (as your body is secreting stomach acid and enzymes to digest the food), 2) are calm, and 3) eat at least 3 hr before bed or a nap. We live in a culture where eating on the go or while working is the norm. This means you are likely stressed and/or eating mindlessly because you are focused on something other than food. When you are stressed, your body shuttles energy away from the digestive tract to deal with said stress, meaning you may end up feeling uncomfortable in the digestion department later. Rather than gulping down Pepto Bismol, try this:
Forget multi-tasking. You owe it to yourself to take a break throughout the day, and that break can be to enjoy nourishing yourself! Schedule your meal in your calendar, turn off your notifications, put the phone and computer down, and remember that all the work will be there after you enjoy a bite.
Take a breathing break. Before taking your first bite, signal to your body that it’s time to “rest and digest”: try 4-6 rounds of 4-7-8 Breathing (described above), or your favorite calming breath practice. As you eat, continue to breathe deeply so you can “Keep Calm and Digest On”.
Make eating a (sense)ational experience. I know this may sound cheesy (no pun intended), but take time to fully enjoy your eating experience. Use all 5 senses: get curious about the vibrant colors on your plate, the aroma of herbs and spices, the sound of biting into a crisp fruit or vegetable, the textures of foods on your palate, and the taste of multiple flavors melding together. Truly, eating can be a magical experience if you allow yourself to be present. This will also give you a welcome break from constant mind chatter about your business and to-do list.
About the Author:
Shannon L. Werner, Ph.D. is a Systems Biologist, Certified Transformational Nutrition Coach, Reiki Healer, and founder of Relevate, a San Diego-based Barre and Pilates studio. Shannon believes in food as medicine, that movement heals, and that we are all inherently worthy of living a powerful, on purpose life. Connect with Shannon on Instagram [@shannon.werner & @relevate.life], and at www.relevate.life.