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Could Your Diet Be Affecting Your Work Performance?

Could Your Diet Be Affecting Your Work Performance?

We’ve all been there. We have a 4:00 meeting, and as soon as 3:30 rolls around, we hit our brain fog and energetic slump. Will anyone notice if you slide under your desk for a nap? Is an eighth cup of coffee really that bad? Alternatively, after your speedy lunch, you might be left with discomfort as you struggle to stay present at work the rest of the afternoon.

A lot of our difficulties with energy and comfort at work can be linked to our diet. A poor diet and toxic overload can lead to a number of unpleasant symptoms. They can cause changes in energy, mood swings, bloating, and brain fog. There’s plenty you can do to help alleviate these symptoms, but these are five steps I recommend before making any extreme changes.

The twelve-hour window.

Our bodies naturally remove toxins from our systems. However, we consume so many toxins through what we breathe, eat, and put on our skin that in this day and age, our livers and kidneys are suffering from toxic overload. Imagine a bathtub drain that gets clogged up after a weekend of five people sharing the same bathroom, and you have a pretty good idea of what’s happening to your elimination organs.

What’s something you can do right now to help your body get back into working order? Keep a twelve-hour window between dinner and breakfast the next day. It takes your body an average of eight hours to fully digest your food. Once digestion is done, it can get to the detoxing process that it already does naturally. Late-night snacks and early-morning breakfast can wreak havoc on your body, so give your digestive system a break. Take eight hours of digesting and a bonus of four hours purely devoted to detoxing your body, and your liver and kidney will thank you!

You can do one better by starting your day with a smoothie. If your first meal is as easy to digest as a nutrient-dense shake, then your body can digest it quickly and get back to cleaning. To help your metabolism, I would recommend eating earlier at night and having breakfast right when you wake up. However, just keeping a twelve-hour window regardless of your lifestyle, breakfast, or dinner preferences will be a huge help.

[Related: Five Tips for Building Mindful Eating Into Your Busy Day]

Drink a ton of water.

Specifically, drink half of your body weight in ounces of water. If you weigh 160 pounds, drink 80 ounces of water every day. It’s best to space it out throughout the day instead of chugging 40 ounces in the morning and at night.

Get a water bottle and make it a goal to fill it a certain number of times at work. The first few weeks, you’ll have to go to the bathroom more than normal. But once your body realizes this is the new you, it will start absorbing all that wonderful H20 and begin hydrating your organs. Added bonuses of properly hydrating your body are energy boosts, relief from headaches, and gorgeous skin!

Take a probiotic.

That kombucha and yogurt just isn’t cutting it. Certain things like alcohol and antibiotics can actually kill the good bacteria in your system. The health of your gut flora is in direct correlation with your mood.

Studies have shown that the bacteria in your gut actually affects your personality. Keeping a healthy gut with healthy bacteria is key to ending that work day with a smile. And the healthy bacteria found in fermented foods like kombucha and yogurt don’t have enough of the little guys to survive your stomach acid and get to the intestines, where they really need it.

Take a probiotic. There are a lot of great ones out there. For most probiotics, you'll want to look for at least 50 billion live cultures. I, of course, recommend my own brand, Arbonne’s Digestion Plus - not only is there a super hearty probiotic designed to reach all the way to your lower GI tract, but it also includes enzymes to help digest your food and aid any post-lunch discomfort.

[Related: Five Tips for Creating a Culture of Health in Your Workplace]

How are you getting your caffeine?

There are many health benefits to coffee. However, coffee is incredibly acidic in your body. An acidic environment creates inflammation in your system, and can lead to various health problems like joint pain and fatigue, with some studies even linking it to cancer.

Coffee isn’t the worst offender, but if you’re grabbing a highly-processed energy drink like Rock Star or Red Bull...please, stop. The sugar or sugar substitute is enough to really do damage to your health. Instead, look to green tea - a powerful anti-oxidant and a nice calm energy without the coffee crash. If you must have coffee, try to wean yourself from dairy and sugar, and stay hydrated with extra water for each cup you have.

Limit gluten and dairy.

Clean eating has a bad rap. I want everyone to enjoy and love food and have a healthy relationship with it. But it’s also my personal wish that everyone understand how their food is affecting them. If you experience discomfort after having an amazing cobb salad, it’s hard to know what caused the pain - the egg? The cheese? The croutons?

If you try an elimination diet, you can remove common allergens from your body and slowly reintroduce them. In doing so, you can see and understand what exactly dairy, gluten, or other problematic foods do to you. Thus, you can make a more informed decision about what you eat.

If you see that dairy causes you to break out, maybe you’ll sacrifice some cheese here and there for a clear complexion. If you know gluten gives you major brain fog, maybe you’ll save your bread for the weekend, when you don’t have a big meeting.

Knowledge is power. If you feel like you can’t do it alone, there are lots of programs and coaches out there to help you through. It might be time to really see what's affecting you and why.

If you drink more water, put down the Red Bull, and save your cheese for the weekends, can you really be the boss lady you know you’re capable of? I believe so! I’d love to hear your results. Good luck!

[Related: Is Your Kitchen Holding You Back?]


Katie Bland is the Area Manager of Arbonne International.

Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.