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This is a guest post from Krizia from Eat Smart Age Smart, who is also a graduate of Blog Mastermind and Membership Site Mastermind (reopening soon!). Krizia’s expertise is food and health and she’s written some advice for us entrepreneurs. Enjoy this tasty article…
I still remember being quite surprised when I read Yaro’s August 8, 2008 post because it didn’t deal with business or the basics of blogging or even increasing traffic to your blog … it dealt with food and nutrition. At first, I thought it might have been an error but after reading Yaro’s post I realized that he is as careful as I am about what goes into his body.
Here’s the post in question if you missed it –
It’s true that I have an unfair advantage as a formal personal chef (nope, I didn’t train at a prestigious school, I’m a self-taught personal chef who happened to have helped many other people make better food choices with the recipes I’ve prepared for them) and I have an immense passion for good food (I’m always careful to choose foods that will benefit my body and I’ve read an insane number of books on nutrition and sports nutrition).
I still remember something Yaro said during the introduction of the sales video to launch his Membership Site Mastermind program. He said that people constantly tell him that he has this ability/gift to explain complicated things in a simple way. It might have taken me a long time in my life, but I think my gift is that I’m able to get people really excited about good food and I’m able to change people’s way of seeing healthy food options.
Now, I’m not saying that I don’t have my list of cheat foods (because I do), but as a rule of thumb I make sure that I always eat high quality foods and keep the cheat foods to about 10% of the foods I eat.
I’ve found that this discipline has served me well as an entrepreneur. You see I own a media company and I also blog daily for two sites (one on nutrition and one on beauty) and as you might know, when your run your own business there is no such thing as a 9-5 at the beginning and you often put in much longer hours than you would in the corporate world.
I learned very quickly that food is my fuel and it could help me be more or less productive … it was all up to the food choices I made.
Many entrepreneurs make some pretty damaging decisions when it comes to their diet and many don’t understand the implications of their actions, so I thought it might be good to highlight some of the biggest mistakes many entrepreneurs make when it comes to their diet. I’ll also show you how what you eat and how you eat can really affect your productivity.
7 eating habits that sabotage your productivity as an entrepreneur
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because when you break down the word, then you understand that you are “breaking” an eight hour “fast”. When you sleep, you don’t eat, and therefore if you skip breakfast and wait until you start feeling hunger pains in mid-morning you are depriving your body of the nutrients and energy to keep you going.
Let’s say you have dinner at 7 p.m. and go to bed at 11 p.m. and you wake up at 7 a.m., then you start your day as usual without eating and let’s say that around 9:30 am you start really feeling weak and decide to hunt down some food. That means that you’ve not refueled your body for 14 ½ hours! That also means that you are running on empty and there is no doubt that you are dragging yourself until you find something to eat. When your body is not properly fueled, your brain will not be able to work at maximum capacity and you may experience fatigue, dizziness and even aggressiveness (some people get quite irritated and have short fuses when they are hungry or when their blood sugar is low).
>>> Here’s another reason for you to eat breakfast: most people who skip breakfast and wait until they feel hunger pains will reach out for whatever is convenient rather than eating a more balanced breakfast. You need to have a breakfast that includes protein to help sustain your body and prevent you from loading up on bad carbs like bagels and doughnuts. New research from the Virginia Commonwealth University found that people who ate high-protein breakfasts were better able to maintain a healthier weight.
In terms of selecting good source of protein, remember that three eggs are not the only way of integrating protein in breakfast:
* Nuts: If you have an allergy, then you’ll want to skip this idea, but if you don’t explore the many nut varieties that are available including walnuts, almonds, cashews, Brazilian nuts, Macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecan. Peanuts are a great source of protein, but they are technically legumes and not nuts!
* Cereals that are high in protein: These types of cereals have become quite popular lately and you’ll find them at your local natural health food store or at the “health” section of your favorite grocery store. Cereals that are high in protein are a much better bet than those sugary cereals because you’ll feel fuller longer and you won’t be tempted to grab some empty calorie snack by mid-morning.
* Nut butters: Once again, if you have allergies … skip this all together. There are many different types of nut butters like peanut butter, almond butter and cashew butter. Make sure you read the label and opt for nut butters that only contain the nut itself and no added sugar, salt or hydrogenated fats. You’ll find many big brands launching new 100% roasted peanut butters that contain only one ingredient!
* A good quality protein supplement: If you are vegetarian, this works well for you. I’m not a vegetarian myself, but I like preparing my smoothies with protein supplement products instead of adding a handful of grounded nuts or a tablespoon of peanut butter. You’ll even find protein supplement products created for vegans.
* Eggs: Eggs are still a great choices, but the three-egg omelette is overkill. You should opt for either a two-egg omelette or even a hardboiled egg.
* Brown rice: Before you think I’ve lost my marbles, I have to say that since switching to preparing rice pudding with brown rice instead of white rice … there is no going back. Now a morning rice pudding is quite different from a dessert, because I don’t add eggs or heavy creams in my recipe. I simply cook my rice in water and add raw organic sugar. Once it’s cooked, I’ll put a spoonful in a bowl and will top it off with maple syrup, milk or rice milk, nuts and dried fruits!
WebMD came out with a startling statistic: Americans bought 10 BILLION cases of soft drink sodas in 2008!!! It would be much easier to call a spade a spade because if you’re drinking a lot of soft drinks, then you are consuming an insane amount of sugar.
The sad thing with the North American diet (and this includes a lot of Canadians) is that sugar is hidden in so many foods most people don’t even realize they are eating it. You’ll find uselessly added sugar in chips, peanut butter, orange juice, most other fruit juices, mustard, relish, pasta sauces, most BBQ sauces and the list goes on. I had a friend who consumed ¼ cup of ketchup each day because she couldn’t bring herself to eating vegetables or eggs without blanketing them with ketchup (the second ingredient in ketchup is sugar and some brands add corn syrup). I was horrified when I found that out. She decided to cut back on her ketchup consumption and just that decision helped her shed 10 lbs.
A lot of entrepreneurs will rely on coffee with sugar, all of those energy drinks to help boost their energy throughout the day and drinking a lot of sugary soft drinks. Don’t get me started on those expensive sugary coffees that should really be called “desserts” and the number of times I see people drinking sports drinks (which are full of sugar) when they are sitting at a desk working makes me want to scream.
As an entrepreneur, you want to watch your sugar intake because you want to avoid the peaks and valleys that come with consuming a lot of sugar and you also want to watch the empty calories you consume. Sugar will NEVER (EVER) help you be more productive. You may get a temporary jolt, but the only thing you are really getting is extra calories that will translate into fat.
If you work from your home-office and aren’t adept at cooking, you might think that your only alternative is to eat frozen foods. Alas, frozen foods are quite expensive and they are loaded with ingredients you don’t want to consume on a daily basis. I’m not saying that a frozen dinner here or there will kill you, but eating them for lunch and dinner every single day is truly sabotaging your productivity and your health. If cooking is not your thing try to opt for these healthier choices:
* Sandwiches: Be creative here and add some of your favorite ingredients in your sandwich. You don’t need to know how to cook to make a sandwich.
* Wraps: Just like a sandwich, a wrap is the extension of your creativity and require no cooking time!
* A protein smoothie: You’re better off pulling out your blender and preparing a smoothie that contains protein and fruits instead of putting a frozen dinner in the microwave.
* Roast chicken: You don’t have to even pull out a roasting pan because most grocery stores sell roasted chicken and you can use the chicken in so many ways. A roast chicken is ideal for sandwiches, with pasta, with rice, with potatoes or with vegetables. Once you have it cut up in your fridge, you can easily pull it out.
* Tuna: You don’t want to eat canned tuna daily because there are concerns about mercury-overload if you do, but eating tuna a few times a month is not a problem. Tuna is very versatile because you can use it for sandwiches, pasta, rice or I like to add them to tomato sauce and served it inside a puff pastry. If you are going to eat tuna, I’d recommend that you stay away from the ones that are conserved in oil and would opt for those that come in water. You can save up to a whopping 150 calories just by making that switch!
* Pasta: You don’t need to be Jamie Oliver (famous British chef) to prepare pasta. You really only need to know how to boil! Once you have your boiled pasta, you can add so many different ingredients to it or you can create a nice pasta salad. There is some cooking involved, but nothing too complicated.
* Eggs: You’ll either have to boil them or cook them in a pan, but eggs require little culinary know how and they are a great source of protein.
I know a cartoonist/illustrator who worked from his home office who went out each day at lunch and each evening at dinner time to buy food. Every single time I saw him on the bus, he’d be carrying a bag from a fast food restaurant in the neighborhood.
Not knowing (or liking) how to cook is no excuse for relying on junk foods and fast foods. There are many prepared options that are quite healthy and that don’t involve food that is deep fried and drowning in sugary gravy. It might be an easy fix if you are a busy entrepreneur to grab a quick takeaway meal from a fast food joint, but think of the long term effects on your body. I think that as entrepreneurs, we have to start thinking of our bodies as the engine of an insanely expensive European car and start thinking of the “quality” of fuel we but inside that engine. Would you put cheap quality gas in your Aston Martin? I wouldn’t and I wouldn’t put poor quality foods in my body!
Being a multi-tasker comes with being an entrepreneur. It’s been reported that most of us entrepreneurs suffer from some form of mild ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder Syndrome) and that’s why most of us jump from one activity to another or work on many projects at the same time.
Very few entrepreneurs are happy sitting down doing the same old job day-in and day-out. This might be a great quality to have when running a business, but it has to stop when it’s time for your eating habits. Entrepreneurs who eat while working at their desk or drive while eating a sandwich or are running about town with a hot dog in their hands are missing the boat. Eating on the run causes so much havoc to your digestive system and because you aren’t being mindful while you eat, it’s so much easier for you to overeat when you are eating on the run. It makes so much sense to sit down even for 15 minutes to eat your meal and it won’t add all that much pressure on your day. It you make sitting down to eat a priority, you’ll find the time to do it every day.
I’m guilty as sin when it comes to forgetting to eat. Sometimes I’m so focused on a project that I keep saying to myself “I’ll eat in 15 minutes”. That usually turns into an hour or two later and by then my stomach is growling and I feel very weak. It would have been so much better for my brain and my body to stop and eat when I started feeling hungry, but as an entrepreneur, I’m trying to cram as much as I can into my day. I’ve actually solved this problem by scheduling my meals into my outlook and I no longer forget to eat.
If you only have to travel from your bedroom to your fridge to your desk, you’re not dispensing all that much energy. When you work from your home office, you have the luxury of being really close to the kitchen. This is a good thing because you are able to save a bundle on buying food at restaurants and other eateries, but it also means that you potentially have access to a lot more food than you’d eat if you were working away from your home.
Since it’s easy to get into the habit of eating at your desk while you work, overeating becomes a real concern for many entrepreneurs who work from their home office. You’ll want to avoid eating at your desk and you’ll want to make sure that you eat sitting at your dinner table. When it comes to portion size, remember that you’re not as active as someone who has to travel, so you’ll want to watch your portions closely.
Since you have the luxury of being so close to your fridge, you’ll want to make better food choices and avoid empty calories as much as you can. Finally, I think that any entrepreneur who works from home should make working out mandatory. It’s not only imperative for your health and keeping your weight in check but taking 60 to 90 minutes per day for a fitness activity you love doing will get your mind off of work and when you get back to your desk, you’ll be that much more productive!
If you’re in a food rut or if you’ve not been making the best food choices, you might want to download my free book: 21 Easy Tips to Making Smarter Food Choices.
In fact, I’m offering Yaro’s readers three of my books. Just head to this page Get Smart about Food and sign up to receive a few books that will help get you back on track to Eating Smart!
You can read my daily banter on Eat Smart Age Smart, or you can follow me on Twitter!