01 – SNACKING FOR REJUVENATION

This is a podcast recording as part of a five-part podcast series done in collaboration with Apex hotels and their WarmerWelcome campaign.

Welcome to the Rejuvenate, Focus and Relax podcast series by Apex Hotels. I’m Celynn Morin. I’m a registered dietician, professional speaker, author, and wellbeing consultant. Today we’re going to learn about how to manage our energy more effectively and we’re going to do that by looking at how to snack for stamina. So, what’s quite important is that I was French before I was a registered dietician, which means that I was brought up in the context of the way the French approach food. I have these memories of many hours spent at lunch tables, and long meals, and a joie de vivre around food and wine, but I also appreciate, as a working, traveling professional that I can’t drink as much wine and eat as much crème brulee as I’d like to and still manage my energy, and my wellbeing and resilience.

So, what do I do? Well, the awesome, what I call food guidelines that I put together in my second book, which I co authored with Joni Peddie, a behavioral strategist, and those are firstly not to undereat. I think a lot of us, when we’re traveling and on the go, it’s so easy to skip meals and then end up just feeling what I call hangry, which is a combination of hungry, and angry, and irritable, and then grabbing something on the run which inevitably is probably high in sugar, not that good for you. And then, to also not overeat because when we overeat, I think we all know that when you have a big lunch, you can feel like you want to have a long siesta, and you’re not that productive in the afternoon.

So, managing how much you eat also has a direct impact on your energy levels and then long-term if you’re constantly over eating, we know that that can drive weight gain and potentially not be good for your health. Then another food guideline that I recommend is to choose mostly real, unprocessed food. What that means is to eat like an artist as much as possible, and make your plate a canvas for color. When I say color, I don’t mean smarties or wine gums. If you think of nature and nature’s colorful foods, that would be fresh produce, so vegetables, salads, and fruit. A really well known doctor and nutritionist called Dr. Mike Polin summarizes how we should be approaching food and I totally agree with him 100%. What he says is in three lines. Eat real food, not too much, mostly plants. If you follow that guideline, you’ll likely really boost your energy levels no matter where you are, and then no matter where you are and what you’re doing is to always be balanced.

That ties in with my French heritage, is that we don’t need to be purist and get everything right all the time. In fact, the guideline that I recommend is the 80/20 principle, which is if 80% of the time you eat well, then 20% of the time when you don’t because you’re rushed, or stressed, or you’re out with friends, that’s okay. You’re still going to get great result. If you’re trying to do everything right 100% all the time, you end up setting yourself up for failure as opposed to setting yourself up for success. Then above all, because we eat for life, and life is a long journey, is making sure that you have fun, because eating right and being healthy should not be about deprivation. We’re talking about rejuvenation, and we’re talking about being able to focus and relax and have fun, so don’t feel guilty. Rather, approach food in a balanced way. I know that that certainly helps me to stay on track.

As somebody who travels a lot, I find that it’s not always easy to have structure and routine, so a principle that works well for me is to snack for stamina. That means to eat light, but eat often and make sure that I have the right kind of snacks close at hand, so that I can manage my energy levels. One of the most important questions that I always ask my clients, or my audiences when I work with them is this one, so I’m going to ask you. “Do you have a refueling strategy that helps to sustain your energy levels throughout the day?” Why is that important? Because I think most of us would like to have the same amount of energy at 7:00 PM as we do at 7:00 or 8:00 AM, but the reality is is that a lot of us, we get up early so we leave home in the dark, and we get back late so we get back home in the dark, and in between that is a sense of maybe mayhem and chaos.

So, how do we have a strategy that can help sustain our energy levels? Because, if you’re getting up early and maybe missing breakfast, maybe you’re doing a school run with kids, you’re rushing to the office, you then have back to back meetings. So inevitably, you’re probably having back to back cups of coffee. Maybe you’re skipping lunch in the afternoon. You’re looking for a snack and what’s around is maybe some crisps, or a chocolate or a handful, of biscuits. You end up getting home after a long commute and you’re so hungry that you end up having much more than what you need, and potentially then going to bed on a full stomach. That’s a strategy that’s going to result in your your blood glucose levels, which is your blood sugar, being quite erratic. If you’re wanting to manage your energy, and if you want to earn the title CEO, and for me that stands for Chief Energy Officer, and that’s really cool because if you can call yourself your own chief energy officer, that means that you’re able to mobilize energy on demand.

Today, with the reality of as being time poor, stress rich, we really need to be able to get so much done in less time, and so managing energy physically, mentally, and emotionally and feeling rejuvenated at any time in the day is a real asset to have when you’re going about your work. So, how do you do that? Well, the only way to manage your energy is to manage your source of energy, which is your blood glucose, or your blood sugar levels. The way to do that effectively … well, if I share the way that I do it, the strategy that I use 80% of the time, because remember we don’t want to strive for perfection. The strategy that I use most of the time is to snack for stamina. I make sure that in my environment I have snacks that are going to help support and sustain my blood glucose. What does that look like?

It’s not a handful of M&M’s or perhaps a packet of crisps every two hours. It would ideally be something that provides a bit of protein and a bit of fiber. If you haven’t done Nutrition 101, what that means is if you think of fiber, hopefully you’re thinking of foods that are not processed. That would be things like fruits, fresh fruits, or dried fruits. Of course, it would also include vegetables, and what works on the run are maybe what we call crudites. Things like cherry tomatoes, baby snap peas, baby corn, baby carrots, and then combine that fiber with some protein, or a healthy plant fat. That would be something like nuts, seeds, nut butters, cheese, avocado, cold meats, fish.

So, two practical examples that I use a lot. In fact, that I used this morning, I had some dried fruit with a handful of almonds. I had three or four dates on the run with a handful of almonds. Another example could be maybe a high fiber cracker, or some fruit with avocado or cheese. If you want to make sure that your snacks are smart, helps to look at the acronym SMART. So, S-M-A-R-T. S would be strategic. That means that you’ve got to have the snacks around when you need them, a bit like a strategy. You’ve got to know what you’re doing and put in some planning. That means that you’ve got to shop, drop and stop. So, shop for the snacks online, maybe once a month, or shop and put them in your environment.

Then, remember to stop, to actually have them, especially in the late afternoon. That tends to be a time when we don’t snack and then we have a long time between maybe eating something at midday, and getting home, and then end up overeating. And, if we have wine before we we eat, then we tend to really then eat a lot. Then make sure the S is for strategic. The M is for measurable and mindful. Whenever you eat is to try and be mindful about it. If we’re not mindful when we eat it, it’s so easy to overeat and to have what I call snack amnesia. We’re answering email. We’re taking a call. We may be running, or we’re sitting on a train grabbing a snack, and we actually don’t register that we eat, so then we end up eating more.

The A is for assorted. Always think of a variety. Don’t stick to the same fruits or the same types of nuts. Try and include a lot of variety. The R in SMART is for real food, so rather think real fresh raw foods rather than pre-packaged. If you’re reading a label, labels are a great place to learn a lot about food. Aways check out the list of ingredients. If there are more than three or four ingredients, then that food item is probably quite processed. It’s a good idea to also try and look out for sugar when you’re trying to make healthier choices, and avoid products that have too much sugar.

And then, the T is to make sure that your snacks are timed. Think about when you’re having them. I choose to snack every two or three hours. I mentioned earlier that having a snack in the late afternoon is a good way to help you not get home feeling so famished that you end up overeating at the wrong time of the day. I hope that these tips in this podcast can help you to make better choices around how you manage your energy levels by using snacks that can help you stay energized.

If you enjoyed this content, and if you found it useful, please rate and review the podcast. Tell us how we’re doing, and feel free to share this with friends that are also on the run, and with colleagues and family. I would love to hear from you, so if you have any questions you can find me on Twitter using @Celynn. That’s spelled C-E-L-Y double N, or you can find me on Instagram under @resilientenergy. Then, of course, you can get more information about these podcasts from Apex Hotels. In the next episode we’ll be taking a look at how you can use motion and movement to change your emotion, so please join us there.

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