Charles Benayon

Founder & CEO of Aspiria


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You Are What You Eat

aspiria healthy eatingFor many of us, we associate eating with weight and body image, but supplying our body with the right types of food is so much more than that! Eating a balanced diet, full of the necessary vitamins and nutrients that your body needs, will help prevent disease, stay energized, and improve your mood.

Unfortunately, a majority of the population is not fueling their bodies with the right foods, instead opting for unhealthy, (albeit tasty or satisfying) substitutes. And like the old saying goes, you are what you eat! What does this mean exactly? Your body, (mood included) is a direct reflection of what you’re putting into it.

This week, I would like to focus on what simple things you can change about your diet to improve your body, mind and spirit.

What to eliminate:

  • Foods high in fat
    Fatty foods are detrimental to your weight, and to your overall health. High-fat diets increase risk for heart disease and stroke, as the saturated and trans fats act as roadblocks in your arteries. Cutting out fatty foods can lead to more productivity and energy.
  • Sugar
    The more sugar you eat, the more you want! The addictive ingredient has been associated with obesity, diabetes, heart disease and mood. High-sugar foods are basically empty calories, providing your body with little to no benefits.

What to increase:

  • Water
    Hydrating your body is one of the most important tasks of the day. Dehydration leads to fatigue, loss of focus, dry skin, and so much more.
  • Whole Foods
    Shift your focus from processed foods (containing ingredients that you do not recognize) to whole foods, like natural protein, fruits and vegetables, and complex carbohydrates. These foods contain more nutrients such as thiamin (B1), which has been associated with control of mood, and folate and zinc (supplements of these nutrients have been shown to improve the mood of people with depression in a small number of studies).

If you can work towards these goals, your body will thank you! Remember, while I brought up the saying “you are what you eat”, keep in mind that “everything in moderation” is applicable as well. Understand the signs your body is giving you and adjust your diet accordingly. You may be already aware of what you need to change about your diet in order to feel better and healthy. But sometimes, we all need a gentle reminder!

Have you seen improvements in your productivity and mood by making changes in your diet? Share your experiences in the comments.

Happy eating!

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Not All Midday Slumps Have to Lead to Chocolate

huge_36_181001-300x200We’ve all done it, and depending on when you read my blog, you might have already hit that time of the day, affectionately called the midday slump. You know that time of the day when we open our drawers looking for a chocolate snack, or that second large coffee, or visit the lunchroom seeking cookies to re-energize us for the balance of the day.

The problem is that instead of perking you up, these snacks often leave you feeling sluggish and unfocused. The exact opposite of what we had hoped!

In fact, a recent study from the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) and the Center for Health Research shows that workers who ate healthy meals and exercised on a regular basis had better job performance and lower absenteeism. Their research further cites that employees who eat healthy all day long were 25% more likely to have higher job performance, while those who eat five or more servings of fruit and vegetables at least 4 times a week were 20% more likely to be more productive.

Great research, but how does this impact our midday slump? If we invest a little time and energy into making changes to eat healthier at work, it will reap rewards of improved concentration and productivity.

Here are a few tips on how to help make healthier food choices at work:

  • Step away: Make an effort to step away from your desk for a few minutes a couple of times a day. It’s easy to get caught up in a task and eat at your desk, but productivity may suffer later in the day.
  • Don’t eat your lunch at your desk: Take a few minutes to decompress and refocus, enjoy your lunch, think about the fact that you are eating, and then our body is able to give us that cue of satiety. Doing this will help us maintain and achieve a healthier weight.
  • Lunches out with co-workers: Take a few minutes before you go to research the menu online and come up with a game plan of what to eat. Many menus now indicate calories or healthy choice options.
  • Drink plenty of water: One way to perk up mid-afternoon is to stay hydrated, but reach for water. A can of regular pop has the equivalent of 10 cubes of sugar.
  • Smoothies: They can be a great energy booster, but make your own with plain yogurt and frozen berries, because some purchased smoothies are equal to the same amount of sugar as 20 chocolate cream-filled cookies!

What do you do to eat healthy at work? Does your employer provide health management programs that included nutrition? If so, do you use this service? I look forward to hearing your feedback.