Wellness Scout

Set Your Day up for Success; Not a Crash

During our flights returning from Thanksgiving Holiday, I learned why I focus so much on eating a nutrient dense breakfast. It's true. Breakfast sets your mood, mindset and physical capabilities for the rest of the day and it can also affect your cravings and nutritional needs for the day.

In-flight scenario:

My husband and I were upgraded to first class on the first of our morning flights, so we had expected breakfast. Our choices that morning were omelet or raisin bran. I found those to be an interesting juxtaposition of options that I would equate to a California Pinot Noir and box wine. Of course everyone before us chose the omelet and they ran out by the time they served us, so we were left with raisin bran. Since I’m pregnant, protein is even more of a concern, but it was especially important after eating only raisin bran for breakfast. Calorie wise, it was dense, but nutrient-wise, it was lacking since it was primarily simple carbs and sugars. As you can see in the picture below, we were also served yogurt that was fruit-filled and syrupy. In fact, the only thing served to us that morning that didn’t spike our sugar levels extraordinarily was the lactose free milk. After landing and during our layover, we went to have "lunch" of a split salad with some chicken However, since I overate bread, I wasn't that hungry so I didn’t eat much despite it being a source of protein. I just figured I’d eat later. We ended up at the Skyclub and the temptation to “snack” heightened.
 I munched on some hummus, veggies, crackers, some tasteless barley mix, but I continued to pick. We ended up not getting dinner thinking that we'll eat some KIND bars on the plane followed by something light at home. As a result, I was moody, indecisive, and couldn't focus on the work I had intended to during our three-hour layover. 

On our second flight that day, my husband was upgraded to first class and at that point, the sugar and simple carb spikes hit me. I actually got upset that he got to sit in first class because he would get a "meal" while I would have peanuts thrown at me. At that point, I knew we wouldn’t really eat at home. I was irrational and if I can recall in my sugar high, gluten high haze, at home I think I had some peanut butter as a form of protein on sprouted bread and a glass of milk and then I went to bed. I was exhausted because deficient in nutrients and quality food.malnourished.

Results of not setting yourself up for the day:
Irrational thinking.
Lack of energy.
Inability to focus.
Desire to munch on non-nutrient rich items to satisfy a craving you can't place.
Putting off a "real" meal because you don't let yourself get hungry

How to offset? 
Simple = EAT some form of a breakfast in the morning AND make sure that breakfast has a mixture of protein, carbs, and fat. Fat is especially important in protein sources that are not animal based (e.g. when eating yogurt, choose a plain variety with fat in it). Eggs are wonderful protein rich sources that are easy to make in the morning and good for those who want a lighter breakfast. They are versatile and typically inexpensive. Although I harp on quality, if in a pinch, eggs are the safer of the animal based proteins to eat.

So just as they used to say eat your "Wheaties"...I say eat your protein (e.g., beans, eggs, tofu, ...whatever gives you the energy)!



Wellness Scout

Set Your Day up for Success; Not a Crash

During our flights returning from Thanksgiving Holiday, I learned why I focus so much on eating a nutrient dense breakfast. It's true. Breakfast sets your mood, mindset and physical capabilities for the rest of the day and it can also affect your cravings and nutritional needs for the day.

In-flight scenario:

My husband and I were upgraded to first class on the first of our morning flights, so we had expected breakfast. Our choices that morning were omelet or raisin bran. I found those to be an interesting juxtaposition of options that I would equate to a California Pinot Noir and box wine. Of course everyone before us chose the omelet and they ran out by the time they served us, so we were left with raisin bran. Since I’m pregnant, protein is even more of a concern, but it was especially important after eating only raisin bran for breakfast. Calorie wise, it was dense, but nutrient-wise, it was lacking since it was primarily simple carbs and sugars. As you can see in the picture below, we were also served yogurt that was fruit-filled and syrupy. In fact, the only thing served to us that morning that didn’t spike our sugar levels extraordinarily was the lactose free milk. After landing and during our layover, we went to have "lunch" of a split salad with some chicken However, since I overate bread, I wasn't that hungry so I didn’t eat much despite it being a source of protein. I just figured I’d eat later. We ended up at the Skyclub and the temptation to “snack” heightened.
 I munched on some hummus, veggies, crackers, some tasteless barley mix, but I continued to pick. We ended up not getting dinner thinking that we'll eat some KIND bars on the plane followed by something light at home. As a result, I was moody, indecisive, and couldn't focus on the work I had intended to during our three-hour layover. 

On our second flight that day, my husband was upgraded to first class and at that point, the sugar and simple carb spikes hit me. I actually got upset that he got to sit in first class because he would get a "meal" while I would have peanuts thrown at me. At that point, I knew we wouldn’t really eat at home. I was irrational and if I can recall in my sugar high, gluten high haze, at home I think I had some peanut butter as a form of protein on sprouted bread and a glass of milk and then I went to bed. I was exhausted because deficient in nutrients and quality food.malnourished.

Results of not setting yourself up for the day:
Irrational thinking.
Lack of energy.
Inability to focus.
Desire to munch on non-nutrient rich items to satisfy a craving you can't place.
Putting off a "real" meal because you don't let yourself get hungry

How to offset? 
Simple = EAT some form of a breakfast in the morning AND make sure that breakfast has a mixture of protein, carbs, and fat. Fat is especially important in protein sources that are not animal based (e.g. when eating yogurt, choose a plain variety with fat in it). Eggs are wonderful protein rich sources that are easy to make in the morning and good for those who want a lighter breakfast. They are versatile and typically inexpensive. Although I harp on quality, if in a pinch, eggs are the safer of the animal based proteins to eat.

So just as they used to say eat your "Wheaties"...I say eat your protein (e.g., beans, eggs, tofu, ...whatever gives you the energy)!



Wellness Scout

Set Your Day up for Success; Not a Crash

During our flights returning from Thanksgiving Holiday, I learned why I focus so much on eating a nutrient dense breakfast. It's true. Breakfast sets your mood, mindset and physical capabilities for the rest of the day and it can also affect your cravings and nutritional needs for the day.

In-flight scenario:

My husband and I were upgraded to first class on the first of our morning flights, so we had expected breakfast. Our choices that morning were omelet or raisin bran. I found those to be an interesting juxtaposition of options that I would equate to a California Pinot Noir and box wine. Of course everyone before us chose the omelet and they ran out by the time they served us, so we were left with raisin bran. Since I’m pregnant, protein is even more of a concern, but it was especially important after eating only raisin bran for breakfast. Calorie wise, it was dense, but nutrient-wise, it was lacking since it was primarily simple carbs and sugars. As you can see in the picture below, we were also served yogurt that was fruit-filled and syrupy. In fact, the only thing served to us that morning that didn’t spike our sugar levels extraordinarily was the lactose free milk. After landing and during our layover, we went to have "lunch" of a split salad with some chicken However, since I overate bread, I wasn't that hungry so I didn’t eat much despite it being a source of protein. I just figured I’d eat later. We ended up at the Skyclub and the temptation to “snack” heightened.
 I munched on some hummus, veggies, crackers, some tasteless barley mix, but I continued to pick. We ended up not getting dinner thinking that we'll eat some KIND bars on the plane followed by something light at home. As a result, I was moody, indecisive, and couldn't focus on the work I had intended to during our three-hour layover. 

On our second flight that day, my husband was upgraded to first class and at that point, the sugar and simple carb spikes hit me. I actually got upset that he got to sit in first class because he would get a "meal" while I would have peanuts thrown at me. At that point, I knew we wouldn’t really eat at home. I was irrational and if I can recall in my sugar high, gluten high haze, at home I think I had some peanut butter as a form of protein on sprouted bread and a glass of milk and then I went to bed. I was exhausted because deficient in nutrients and quality food.malnourished.

Results of not setting yourself up for the day:
Irrational thinking.
Lack of energy.
Inability to focus.
Desire to munch on non-nutrient rich items to satisfy a craving you can't place.
Putting off a "real" meal because you don't let yourself get hungry

How to offset? 
Simple = EAT some form of a breakfast in the morning AND make sure that breakfast has a mixture of protein, carbs, and fat. Fat is especially important in protein sources that are not animal based (e.g. when eating yogurt, choose a plain variety with fat in it). Eggs are wonderful protein rich sources that are easy to make in the morning and good for those who want a lighter breakfast. They are versatile and typically inexpensive. Although I harp on quality, if in a pinch, eggs are the safer of the animal based proteins to eat.

So just as they used to say eat your "Wheaties"...I say eat your protein (e.g., beans, eggs, tofu, ...whatever gives you the energy)!



Wellness Scout

Conquer the Holiday Work Party, Snacks & Lunches

I recently asked a group of girlfriends what their biggest holiday stressor was. Other than the usual weight gain and rush, several said feeling guilty that they couldn't get it all done weighed most heavily on their minds. From eating properly, to gift giving, to decorating and even family time, why do we feel this need to overachieve during the holidays?

How can we regain the control we feel we have lost over the holiday parties and break room snack deluge? I secretly do love the fact that the holiday season brings more occasions to indulge in, but I always regret it later. How do I avoid all the break-room goodies from leftover lunches, to cookie swaps and extra gift basket packages? How can I overcome the battle of will power?  

Is this your typical work day during the holidays?

You wake up groggy from the impromptu happy hour in which you consumed 3 glasses of wine and too much chocolate peppermint bark to then inhale some hummus and crackers for dinner once you got home because it was too late to “cook”. You drink 2 cups of coffee and eat fruit for breakfast since you want to eat “light” to save room for the upcoming holiday party in the afternoon. You end up around 11:00am especially since you only had fruit (sugar) for breakfast. To stave off the crash, head to the break room to see if there are some leftover goodies. To your delight, there are some shortbread cookies (a gift from a vendor) strategically placed by the coffee dispenser. You nibble. Then you say to yourself “that was it, I won’t do that again”. You return to work and decide to eat a lighter lunch since the office holiday party is at 3pm. Since you didn’t pack a lunch, you have to buy this “lighter” meal and you make three more passes by the break room even though you usually don't visit it that much. At 2:00, you drink one more cup of coffee to curb the blood sugar drop and to get through the final hour of work before the party. You show up at the holiday party hungrier than expected and eat more than your of share of cheese, nuts, crackers, bacon wrapped shrimp, meatballs, tea sandwiches and pretty much anything that passes , all the while consuming a couple of glasses of wine...cause "It’s the Holidays!!". 

Why did this happen? Here are several reasons why and ways to counteract, thus conquering the work holiday party, lunch and break-room deluge. 
  • Not prepared - have healthy food alternatives available so when your blood sugar drops, you don't succumb to the dessert. Pack high fiber fruit (apples & pears), protein based, low sugar bars such as Kind, Mojo or other nut based bars. Nuts are always a great desk staple. Rice cakes or baby carrots if the urge for a sweet, with peanut butter or hummus.
  • Tired and cravings - Sleep is essential. See the recent article on how lack of sleep leads to the inability to feel full and thus causes weight gain. Sleep helps you stay focused and even want to be healthy.
  • Choice - Choose when and where you want to indulge. Choose between the break room snack and the cookie at lunch. Choose to have that one cup of coffee in the morning and an herbal tea in the afternoon. Relying on your ability to stay true to your choices will increase your confidence in yourself.
  • Lack of holiday red and green- my mom always said, "If nothing else eat your salad.” Regardless of how you eat the rest of the day, make sure you eat that green, rainbow salad. Green salads are filled with vitamins and nutrients and they will satiate cravings more than you realize.
  • Deciding – Keep the 5 D’s in mind for giving into those cravings: distract, delay, distance, determine and decide. 
  • Hunger - Don't save all of your caloric consumption for that one-time event since you will likely indulge more than you normally would. Denying your body the calories earlier in the day only to offset in the evening may not be such a “strategic” move after all.  It could lead to even more calories consumed-- ones that are emptier with high sugar, deficient nutrients, refined carbs, and high fructose corn syrup. 
  • Water - drink A LOT. More than you realize. Water satiates, staves off hunger and replenishes the body.... You need it. Don't deny your body water.
  • Lack of natural energy vs. caffeinated energy. Caffeine increases the ups and downs of your mood and energy. These spikes tire your hormones and make you feel tired! Try decreasing the reliance on caffeine since those crashes often lead to sugar cravings.
Conquering work holiday parties lies in understanding why we are making the choices we are and trying to satisfy ourselves in other ways. Take the time to look deeper into your indulgences and see if they aren’t food motivated. Do they stem from a deficiency in other areas (i.e., career, emotional contentment, love and even boredom)?
More on that later...it’s time to enjoy the holidays!