About two weeks ago I attended the Powwownow Productivity event for bloggers, all focused on helping us be our most productive both at work and with our blogs. The evening featured a talk from top nutritionist Alice Mackintosh, who gave us her top tips on maintaining productivity and focus from the inside out. I thought I’d share those tips with you, and give you my own take on them, so here goes!
Your blood sugar needs to stay as balanced as possible
This involves eating three meals a day, with regular snacks in between (as if I needed telling!) and keeping a high protein content in your diet as opposed to just shovelling down carbs. Some nutritionist approved snacks included:
- Apple and peanut butter
- Greek yoghurt with seeds
- Boiled eggs (such as the ones you can now get in Pret)
The main takeaway- have some fat or protein with your carbs!
Sugar intake should be monitored
Natural sugar is, obviously, far preferable to artificial kinds; but even so, you need to be careful about fruits with a high sugar content (such as melon and mango) which cause a spike in blood sugar and a subsequent low. Berries and nut butters are a good snack, as is greek yoghurt with some seeds.
Hydration is key
We all know hydration is super important, but often it’s hard to remember to drink water! Alice reminded us that teas and hot drinks also count, but to avoid sugary sodas and artificially sweetened drinks, which can change the chemical processes in the brain.
Eat key foods, packed with nutrients to help you stay alert
Alice’s 6 top foods were:
- Walnuts – packed with Omega 3, Protein, Magnesium and B6
- Salmon – a source of omega 3 fatty acids, protein and astaxanthan which supports memory
- Pecans – contain choline and synthesize acetylcholine for concentration
- Eggs – a great source of slow-release energy, they also contain Vitamins B, D, and healthy fats
- Dark red/purple berries – boost circulation in the brain and improve memory
Alice advised one to two cups of coffee per day- anything above that should be decaf or a caffeine alternative such as tea. We were all sent away with a sample of Equi Fundamental, an all-natural, caffeine supplement designed to help maintain focus and energy, that Alice co-formulated. Thoughts on that to come later!
What did I make of all this?
To be completely honest I found the whole evening highly informative- especially Alice’s talk. Most of these tips are pieces of advice I’m aware of, but often forget to actually put into practice. For instance I know breakfast is important, but I often let it get to midday before remembering to eat. And I know I drink too much coffee, but the temptation is often too great!
The coffee part was the biggest wake up for me. Coffee is king, coffee is bae, coffee can do no wrong. Except we all know that it can. Chatting with Alice afterwards, she asked how many cups i drank a day, and I was too embarrassed to answer. So there’s that.
What changes am I making?
I’m not a fan of making huge, sweeping changes to my diet or lifestyle, but Alice’s talk emphasised just the opposite- small, incremental changes that could add up to something powerful. So the small changes I’ve been making since the event:
- Switching the majority of my cups of coffee to decaf
- Drinking more herbal teas (Pukka is my favourite brand)
- Eating more protein and fat in my snacks (apple and peanut butter, or cottage cheese and seeds, for instance)
- Making sure to hydrate
- Eating breakfast within 2 hours of waking.
All in all, the event was really fun, informative and helpful. I’ve made a few small changes to my diet since then, and I’ve been noticing the difference- no huge spikes in blood sugar caused by chomping on rice cakes or fruit; and no caffeine jitters!
So tell me, how do you stay productive during the day?
Lots of love,