Life Practice Nutrition

Welcome to Good Mood & Food


November 2015

Is lunch for wimps?

These days, many employees do not take a lunch break. This may be for several reasons: perhaps they feel the culture within their organisation frowns upon it; perhaps they do not regard re-fuelling for lunch an important factor in their productivity or perhaps they are so busy that they do not notice lunchtime come and go. Whatever the reason, by not taking a break at lunch and refuelling they are in fact limiting their productivity, creativity, energy levels and concentration.

As a Nutritional Therapist, I am regularly faced with clients in my clinic with digestive disorders, namely Irritable bowel syndrome. During our consultation I find that they do not eat lunch due to work pressure or if they do, they are rushing their meal at lunchtime or eating it in front of the computer whilst still working.  One of the prescriptive actions when writing out my client’s Action Plan is: Eat regularly and Mindfully.

By taking time out away from your desk you are giving yourself, your mind, your body a change of environment which helps it to switch off and relax for a short period.

By eating lunch in a relaxed way and mindfully, you are able to use your senses of smell, sight, touch, taste and even hearing mindfully. I suggest to my clients to notice their senses when preparing their food and looking at what they are about to eat.

The body is made up of many systems: Cardiovascular, circulatory, digestive, endocrine, immune, lympathic, respiratory, excretory, urinary, muscular, skeletal, nervous, reproductive and integumentary. These systems all rely on food to function at an optimum level.

The digestive process is a chain reaction of signals and messages that trigger the body to absorb the nutrients within the food. When a body digests food properly, the food is broken down into small enough molecules so that the nutrients are correctly released and absorbed by the small intestine and delivered to the body.

So by taking time out and noticing your senses the start the cascade by triggering your brain to release messages to your salivary glands in your mouth to release enzymes (salivary amylase) which starts the break down of food.  There are further enzymes in the form of gastric juices in the stomach which are also released for digestion and these too are effected if they do not receive the message from the brain.


Businesswoman Sleeps In Office

If you are sat in front of a laptop or television and distracted your brain misses the signals and does not effectively send the messages to release enough enzymes and therefore food is not broken down to small enough molecules.

When these messages and signals are not activated our food is not broken down effectively and ends up laying in the intestine to ferment and create gas and can lead to bloating and discomfort.  Furthermore, fatigue and tiredness would set in during the afternoon and concentration levels would become affected.

Taking yourself away from your desk at lunchtime and mid morning and mid afternoon for a refreshment, snack or lunch provides you with time out to re-focus, renew and re-energise.

Physical activity is important, particularly if you have a sedentary job at a desk most of the day. By taking a walk during your lunch break this gives you time to breath some fresh air and re-boot.

Finally, relationships at work are also important. By establishing healthy connections and being pro-social with your office colleagues this can enhance your overall job satisfaction.

So, is lunch for wimps? I think not.

My next blog will be discussing the types of food to eat in order to maintain your energy levels throughout the day.



Healthy eating at Christmas needn’t be a chore

father xmas health.jpgIt is definitely starting to feel like we are entering into the “crazy” Christmas lead up. Last week we saw the barrage of Christmas adverts released by the various supermarkets. Plus, when trying to arrange a get together with friends in the coming weeks it was almost impossible due to the number of Christmas work do’s they had booked in already.

This brings me to one friend who every year has not “one” but “several” Christmas work events to attend and by the time Christmas Eve is on her she is on the floor reeling from the digestive abuse she has inflicted upon herself.

I know this time of the year seems like an uphill battle to a healthy diet when there is so much temptation around. Christmas is a time of pure self-indulgence and most of us justify our actions by celebrating it to the max. After all Christmas comes but once a year, however, healthy eating should not, it should be a lifestyle change with occasional treats along the way when a special occasion arises.

Many women around the UK put in an extra effort to watch what they eat leading up to Christmas to get into that little black party dress so it seems a great shame to let it all go after the event. Thank goodness for new year’s resolutions to get us back on the road to health again.

During the festive season there will be many occasions from family gatherings to office parties which will divert your attention from “being good” to enjoying yourself. Eating out usually means that we have little control over how the food is prepared or how large the portion is. Also, foods eaten out tend to be higher in fat and research has shown that those who eat out regularly generally have higher intakes of fat, salt and calories. Not to mention the over indulgence of alcoholic beverages!

Unfortunately, eating with friends can tempt us to overeat and drink. Meals with multiple courses consumed over longer periods and with alcohol are all associated with overindulgence. Endless canapé trays at the office party are also laden with foods containing high saturated fat.

When eating out unless a restaurant has listed nutritional values on their menu, there is no way of knowing exactly what is contained in that food and opting for the healthiest option might not always be obvious, or easy. However, with some knowledge and thought, eating out can be enjoyable and healthy!

So here are Eight Steps to celebrating the Christmas lead up healthily

  1. If you are going out to a drinks or cocktail party, eat something substantial and healthy before you go, this will reduce the chance of gorging on canapés or finger food at the party.
  2. Always ask the waitress if you do not know what is in the food being served. If they don’t know the chef certainly will.
  3. Don’t be polite when it comes to pudding. Opt for a hot mint tea to be sociable but not calorific. Or if on the menu a small fruit sorbet or fruit dish. Avoid dairy based desserts that contain fat.
  4. Think about sharing a course with a companion if the portions look large.
  5. Don’t be afraid to be high maintenance. Losing weight is high maintenance and by asking your waitress to hold the mayonnaise or put the dressing on the side is perfectly acceptable and an easy way to remove these fat laden additions from your healthy salad.
  6. Opt for dishes which are grilled, baked, steamed, poached or cooked in own juice rather than fried.
  7. Order sides of vegetables or green salad to fill up on rather than chips.
  8. If you are drinking alcohol, try opting for spritzers instead or alternating between sparkling water and wine. It will reduce your calorie intake, as let’s face it alcohol is “liquid sugar”. It will also reduce the effects of the hangover the next morning.

So there you have it, a quick eight step guide to surviving a healthy social season. In the meantime, have a wonderful festive season from all of us at the Life Practice andLife Practice Nutrition

If you think you would like a Health MOT we offer a FREE 20 minute telephone consultation contact us on 01462 431112

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