Transforming Your Body’s Energy System & Improve Your Productivity
Working in the creative and digital media sectors can be all hours, take all our energy and be all consuming! Editors will spend days and nights glued to their computers, artists will lock themselves away in the studio for weeks to complete a piece, and community arts practitioners will work tirelessly to plan and execute immersive explorative workshops for the community.
When we’re networking with other creatives, like we were earlier this week at our joint event with Panda Arts, ‘Arts for Social Change’, we often come across the same complaint; that we’re working so damn hard and are concerned about what it’s doing to our health.
Since we’ve been incubating Earth Clinic, a holistic practice offering mind, body and spirit therapies, we’ve become more synchronised with a more holistic way of thinking about health. Nutrition is the foundation of our health – what we put in our body directly affects what we get out of our body. So if we want to avoid burnout, and have the energy to do all the htings we want and need to, then good nutrition is the key. (Starting next week, Earth Clinic is offering 25% OFF to their subscribers – SIGN UP to their emails here.)
The key is understanding how to balance your blood sugar levels and the role stress plays. If we can take control of these two things – we’ll be well on our way to transforming our body’s energy system.
When we eat a common ‘Western’ diet, heavy in carbohydrates than any other food group, then we are opening ourselves up to high levels of glucose, or sugar in our blood stream. That’s because when we eat carbs, our body breaks them down into sugars which gets absorbed into our blood via our gut.
Insulin- a hormone created in our pancreas- is released and ‘accesses’ the sugar so the body can use it for energy. When we are eating lots of carbs we require lots of insulin. But after this energy is used, insulin levels drop very low and leave you feeling weak, shaky, tired, forgetful, anxious and irritable and that’s when we reach for a quick fix.
The more our body relies on insulin to give us this quick burst of energy, the less effective insulin becomes until eventually it doesn’t ‘access’ the fuel very well, leaving us feeling even more tired.
On top of that, if we eat too much carbs and don’t do enough exercise – that leftover fuel is converted and stored as fat!
When we are stressed, our body releases another hormone- cortisol that releases stores of fat to be broken down into glucose to be used as fuel. This is because our body thinks that we will need this extra energy to deal with whatever is stressing us out.
When the stress passes cortisol can remain high as the body thinks it needs refuelling so it increases our appetite making us eat more. That’s why many of us eat when we feel stressed!
So what can we do? Well, it’s simple really. Switch to a different fuel. Increase the amount of protein and healthy fats. It just takes will power, time and preparation.
Protein and healthy fats (monounstaturated, polyunstarated and some saturated fats)– these are slow releasing, slow burning energy that sustains us over long periods of time. Our energy levels don’t yo-yo up and down, they stay more stable and keep us going throughout the day, especially when eaten in ample amounts at every meal.
And actually, we can teach our body to adapt to burning fat efficiently rather than carbs so we can access it quickly and so we feel just as full after protein and fat rich meals.
Protein is needed:
- to build and repair cells.
- to make enzymes which lead to important chemical reactions in the body like digestion.
- to create hormones which help regulate our metabolism and send important messages to parts of our body.
- to create other body chemicals that power the body and modulate important processes.
- as building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.
Foods high in protein: fish (salmon, tuna, talapia, anchovies, octopus), turkey, chicken, eggs, cottage cheese, beans (especially Navy), lentils, nuts, nut butters and oils, tofu, pulses, quinoa, edamame and green peas
Fats are important for emotional and mental health, with low levels in the diet being associated with anxiety, depression, dry skin, poor body temperature regulation, mental fatigue, loss of menstrual cycle, hyperactivity and schizophrenia. Fats are also needed for the functioning of the brain
Foods high in healthy fats: Ghee, full fat, organic, grass fed dairy products (unless you are intolerant and about 50% of us are!), coconut oil, milk, flesh & butter, avocados and oils, olives and oils, nuts, nut butters and oils, walnuts and oils, Sunflower, sesame, pumpkin seeds & oils, Flaxseed & oils, Oily fish – salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines and fish oils.
Increasing antioxidants and B vitamins in your diet help to counter the negative effects of ‘free radicals’ and modulate metabolism, therefore improving mood and mental capacity, respectively. This will help your body to function optimally meaning you really can achieve all those things you want to.
Starting next week, Earth Clinic is offering 25% OFF to their subscribers – SIGN UP to their emails here. Visit www.yourearthclinic.com to find out more about their Nutrition services & how Earth Clinic can support your health and wellbeing. Contact Natasha at Earth Clinic on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0161 877 3124.