When I lived in the US, I wasn’t eating well. My diet was the cheapest nachos, pizza and pasta we could afford.
After a few months, I was feeling ill. As weak as I remember.
Started to wonder why… and the reason became clear. I was eating trash.
I radically changed my diet. But I didn’t see a real change until I moved back to Europe. Just the quality of the products made a difference. In Europe, there are a lot of nice regulations around food.
I recently started seeing food as a means to an end, and not an end itself. Food as a means to be healthy, productive, and happy.
Food can trigger things in our brains. Some nutrients help the brain make serotonin, regulate bacteria in our gut, ease mood changes…
Diet can help you reduce stress, increase focus, increase energy… It’s a tool you can use to achieve different goals.
In my case, I want food that keeps stress levels down and keeps me energized and focused.
Of course I also want to enjoy good meals. But I clearly separate nutrition from joy. If I want to have an amazing burrito or a Chinese hot pot, why not? But now I consider that joy, not nutrition.
Since I do this, I have gradually learnt to like what’s good for my body. Years ago, I loved sweet, unhealthy stuff. Today, it doesn’t even taste good to me. Taste isn’t fixed, but educated over time.
Foods that cannot do harm: Egg yolks, raw nuts, berries, avocados, salmon/tuna, tofu, seafood, spinach, lettuce, Greek yogurt, quinoa, Brussels sprouts, broccoli…
Yoga is amazing. Starting the day with it makes you feel conscious and energized.
You can also find an sport you like. I love basketball, but I don’t have time to practice it every day.
Yet you can exercise every day with minimal time. My daily workout is around half an hour. I do it at home, so there is no commute needed. The only need is a yoga mat and some good music. You can also buy weights if you wanna build muscle. They are not that expensive.
I have found some practical things that work for me in a daily basis:
- Start the day with yoga: Waking up is way easier if you start exercising with slow but firm movements. That’s what yoga is all about. You stretch you whole body, making it ready to start another day
- Drink water when you wake up: During sleep, the body dehydrates. Imagine spending an entire day without drinking water. That’s what happens to our bodies every night. We need to refill
- Eat a generous and filling breakfast: Not only we don’t drink during sleep, we also don’t eat. And the energy from the previous day’s dinner won’t last forever. Start the day with a great breakfast. Avoid sweet stuff, it doesn’t do any good to the body. It will just give you a quick energy spike that will quickly fade away
- Stop unhealthy snacks: Replace them with nuts. They are way healthier
- Spend time chewing: Read why
- Don’t eat until you are full: That will direct all your body’s energy towards digesting, and make you sleepy
- Have dinner early: It will help you sleep better, specially if you have slow digestion (like me)
That’s it! If you have any other suggestions or personal tips, please comment!
I am not an exercise or nutrition expert by any means, but this has worked for me so far.
You can find more posts about personal productivity in my series about it.