When we’re exhausted, lacking focus or just plain bored at work, many of us will try and give ourselves a little pick me up, or comfort, in the form of a piece of chocolate or a slice of toast. Little do many of us know that it’s precisely these sort of food choices which are most often the cause of our tiredness or ennui.
Just think about it. How often do you yourself or co-workers suffer that post-lunch-slump? That moment where you could very happily just rest your forehead on your keyboard and sleep until it’s time to go home. The culprit of this is not, contrary to what you might tell yourself, simply due to the body diverting energy to use for digestion. The culprit is that sandwich or wrap, fizzy drink or sugary dessert you consumed during your lunch break.
The truth is, most of us suffer from chronic blood sugar dysregulation. We hop on the ride as soon as we wake up, with our pre breakfast coffee. The ascent begins. A sugary bowl of granola or a bagel help us on our way. Up and up. We feel energised and buzzing for the day as we leave for work. We reach the peak halfway through our morning catchup. And then comes the first drop. Quite out of nowhere, we feel like our brains have been replaced with cotton wool and our eyelids have small anvils attached to them. That sparkling cocktail of bright ideas and witty remarks has been replaced by a warm, thick sludge of brain fog and groans. Our brains cue that it’s time for a mid morning coffee and sugary cereal bar to see us through till lunch. We stabilise and begin to climb again. Maybe we even cushion the next free fall with a well timed meal of refined carbohydrates and (if we’re really pushing the boat out) some artificial sweeteners in the form of a diet drink. This insulin-spiking blend sends us crashing from our peak at breakneck speed, setting us up for a minimally productive afternoon.
Not only does this wild pendulum swing of blood sugar levels wreak havoc on our overall health – our blood sugar regulation directly correlates with weight management and inflammation levels – but also on a business’s potential to fire on all cylinders consistently. The plain and simple truth is that no matter how brilliant a business’s product or service is, no matter how great its branding is or how many first class degrees there are in the office, if the bodies of the employees are not functioning optimally, neither will their minds and neither will the business as a whole.
If you’re inspired to try to bring your blood sugar into balance for a productive work day, try these simple steps:
Don’t drink coffee before you eat breakfast
Eat a breakfast with some fat, protein and quality carbohydrates like eggs, salmon and avocado with paleo or very seedy whole grain bread and full fat butter. Alternatively, try unsweetened porridge with a chopped banana, berries and some nut butter.
Stay well hydrated throughout the day with water and herbal teas
Avoid white flour bread/wraps, pasta and sugary snacks or drinks
Choose a lunch with a whole grain, some protein and lots of fresh veg
The withdrawal from sugar can be tough, but like anything, it’s worth pushing through to see the amazing benefits such as real energy, clarity and focus.
Maintaining stable blood sugar through well timed, whole food based meals and snacks is one of the cornerstones of a Well & Truly workshop. I’m a trained health foods chef so I work to tailor the most delicious, energy and brain fuelling menus for our client workshops. Think fluffy frittatas loaded with veg, or cinnamon chia pudding with berries, coconut yoghurt and toasted seed mix for breakfast, build your own buddha bowls with a to-die-for tahini dressing for lunch and cacao, nut butter shakes sweetened with dates for a well deserved afternoon snack. Totally satisfying, at zero cost to your inspiration.