Optimize Performance With Nutrition
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Being an entrepreneur and running your own show is hard. Some days I want to rip my hair out because business is so full of ups and downs. You become responsible for your own success and that is a big burden to bare. I hate thinking that I could fail miserably after investing so much time and energy into making it happen.
I work from home and it’s too easy to grab whatever’s convenient in a pantry fully loaded with addictive junky snack foods. After years of binge eating shitty foods I’ve learned successful entrepreneurs do it differently. They eat what gets them results. Just like in business, you gotta do what gets you results. It’s the 80/20 rule applied to food and nutrition.
What’s going to give you more stable long-term energy, a Kit Kat or an apple? Intelligent business owners know that food matters and has a definite effect on a person’s ability to work efficiently and squeeze the most brainpower out in one sitting, over and over again.
Personally, I get a LOT more done if I make sure my lunch is loaded with protein and nourishing fats vs. high-carb nutritionally void take out that makes me want to mindlessly drown in an ocean of top 10 Youtube videos all afternoon.
But don’t listen to me, ask Tim Ferriss, Dave Asprey, John Mackey and countless others. If you want your startup to fly, do yourself a favor and follow these guidelines for better health and better results.
The Common Thread All Successful People Have
They use the KISS method: Keep It Simple, Stupid. Even people who’ve already made the big times try to simplify their life as much as possible.
If I feel like life’s getting too damn complicated, there’s too much going on and I’m rushing my food choices, I know it’s time to take a step back. Simplicity is key in a crazy busy world.
Steve Jobs would eat the same things for weeks straight. It’s been said that he once ate so many carrots he turned orange and his strict vegan diet left little room for unnecessary decisions. Of course, you know the ending of that story so eating carrots for weeks straight isn’t something I would recommend, but it’s interesting to note his minimalism nonetheless.
Because when you’re running a business you’re already faced with enough decisions throughout the day. Deciding what to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner when you have the foundational knowledge of what’s healthy and what’s not, becomes easy. You eliminate the choices that aren’t going to help you move forward.
Figuring out what works for you personally is essential. No two people are alike. Many entrepreneurs like John Mackey the co-CEO of Whole Foods, Brad Lande the Executive Director of Birchbox, Seibo Shen co-founder of VapeXhale opt for smoothies in the morning because they’re easy and nutrient dense.
Others like Tim Ferriss need a plate full of eggs, to get the day started. And then there are those entrepreneurs like myself who opt for not eating breakfast (besides coffee) to gain maximum brain power. It’s a personal choice, but once you hone in on what makes you feel good and what doesn’t, it’s a lot easier to simplify and get strategic about your food choices.
Like Bruce Lee says “Simplicity is the key to brilliance.”
Nutrition in a Hurry
There’s no greater currency than time. You won’t see a highly productive and successful CEO making hollandaise from scratch every morning. But you also won’t see them making it from a package and sacrificing quality in exchange for more time.
It’s all about finding the balance between quality and time. Powdered hollandaise is disgusting, after all.
A popular method myself and many generally busy people use to meet nutritional requirements and satisfy hunger is smoothies. Loaded up with all the good stuff, smoothies can be a really easy and healthy way to have a meal.
Things to include for a balanced meal in a cup include fruits, vegetables and greens, protein sources like grass-fed whey, almond butter, nuts and seeds, and a fat source like coconut oil or omega-3’s. After that you can add your favorite energy boosting superfoods. My favorites are bee pollen, Maca powder, cacao powder, and rhodiola.
Other timesavers include meal planning and meal prep. I talk in depth about ways to save time and eat healthy in this article here. Taking a few hours, one day a week to cook up some staple foods falls in line with the time saving idea of batching.
The final tip for saving time without sacrificing quality is to become incredibly successful and hire a personal chef (my personal when I get rich fantasy). Until then maximize your productivity in the kitchen in the same ways you do in the office.
✓ Which type of foods are the best
✓ A schedule that allows freedom
✓ Which snacks are packed with nutrition and power
You can download the list by clicking here
The Power of Protein
Eating protein rich foods ensures that you’ll have all the amino acids you need to keep your brain well-fueled. Protein releases slowly providing a stable energy source for hours after your grilled chicken lunch is finished. It helps keep blood sugar levels stable which keeps brain fog and the urge to grab a chocolate bar at bay.
My friend tells me about her vegan days before she started her business. She couldn’t focus, had no energy and could barely work a mindless job. Once she got off the vegan train and started eating pastured organic meats her whole perspective changed. Suddenly she had the energy to start her own business and make strides in the right direction. Because, protein.
Your brain cells can actually multiply by loading up on protein and healthy saturated fats. Protein rich meals promote healthy neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine that boost alertness. Those same neurotransmitters get used up when you’re under constant stress so replenishing them at every meal only makes sense.
When you’re eating out, skip the burgers and sandwiches and opt for a steak, fish, grilled chicken and veggies instead. For breakfast, adding a grass fed whey protein powder to your smoothies or switching from cereal to organic eggs is a better way to start the day off right.
Eating to Reduce Stress
Right alongside success and money is my favorite little friend named stress. It’s hard to avoid when the pressure is on. But with a nourishing diet you can become much more resilient to stress than your processed food mongering counterparts.
Sugar, refined carbs, gluten, these all create unnecessary stress that your body has to deal with. They cause spikes in dopamine and serotonin and become like a drug. You start to require more and more to get the same effect and before you know it there’s a bowl of candy on your desk that NEEDS a daily refill.
Stress takes a major toll on your body, it depletes your precious neurotransmitters and over time cortisol can even damage serotonin receptor sites. Add to that the effects of a poor diet and you don’t have a recipe for sustainability in your business, because your business needs you.
If you’ve never experienced burn out before, it fucking sucks. I’ve been there and the amount of time it takes to recuperate is not worth the delicious doughnuts and lack of exercise that got me there in the first place.
If you’re really struggling with stress try eating foods that are higher in tryptophan. Turkey, fish, eggs, cheese (if you tolerate dairy) are all good for up leveling your happy hormones. Nourishing fats, antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables and lots of high-quality protein is the way to go for preparing your body to cope better with stress.
Caffeine: The Staple Ingredient
Go to your local coffee shop and you’ll likely see a myriad of interesting people sitting on their laptops typing away frantically. There’s a reason for this, caffeine does good things to our brains. It’s energizing, stimulating and comforting all at the same time. Caffeine is a mood booster, memory enhancer and helps with problem solving. That explains why millions of people start their day at the cafe.
The drive that caffeine gives you is thanks to its ability to block adenosine, a hormone your body releases to induce sleep. Caffeine has effects on other hormones too. It temporarily increases adrenaline and norepinephrine which creates the optimal environment for focus and productivity.
There are different schools of thought as to whether coffee is healthy or not. I for one think it is (I love my double americanos), and there are plenty of studies to back that up
Adding Supplements to the Mix
It’s nearly impossible to get everything you need from food nowadays. A carrot is not what it used to be. That might sound weird, but let me explain. Thanks to modern agriculture our soils are becoming more and more deficient in an abundance of minerals. We don’t get nearly the same amount of nutrients from a conventionally grown carrots as we do one grown on an organic permaculture farm. The same goes for meat. A wild boar is going to be far more nutrient dense than one raised in an isolated lot and fed GMO grain it’s whole life.
That’s where supplements come in and with biohacking we go much further than mere vitamins. I’m talking science based ingredients that we KNOW make a difference in improving brain function, digestion, reducing inflammation, improving sleep, stimulating creativity and more.
Why settle for less? In an age of advanced technology, why shouldn’t we be able to hack our bodies? In fact, it’s more important than ever.
But I won’t get too ahead of myself. If you want to meet all of your body’s needs then treat it like you would your most prized employee. Give your body the nutrients it needs like fish oil, greens, antioxidants, and cognitive enhancers. Then think about giving it more than it “needs” like the nutraceuticals and nootropics we talk about here.
Fish oils especially made a huge difference for me, especially in improving my mood. I’m grumpy fart if I don’t take my oils for a few days.
Intermittent Fasting for Increased Productivity
Entrepreneurs that practice intermittent fasting include Cristi Vlad and Amanda Tress. I never eat breakfast and I’m not ashamed! Fasting is good for brain power because it activates the hunger hormone ghrelin which has been shown to enhance focus and memory retention.
This makes total sense when looked at from an ancestral perspective. When our ancestors were starving their ability to find food increased. This fueled evolution and continues to affect us to this day.
That’s why I try and do all my important work in the morning on an empty stomach. I find it works really well for me, and wrote about it in detail here. What’s good for the goose isn’t always good for the gander, so play around and see if this method works for you personally.
What Your Brain Wants
If your brain was an entity separate from yourself and it could tell you what it wanted, I don’t think it would say sugar and soybean oil. Your brain would ask for its very building blocks, fat baby, the right kinds.
Your brain is made of primarily saturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids. Feeding it the best fats only makes sense. That’s why so many entrepreneurs start the day with a high fat meal. Eating wild caught fish and supplementing with omega-3’s will ensure your brain gets those healthy fats. Pastured organic meats are a great source of protein, saturated fat and important amino acids.
Your brain craves amino acids like l-glutamine, acetyl l-carnitine and tryptophan, all of which you can get from the right foods.
Glutamine helps with memory, focus and concentration and is common in meat and eggs. L-carnitine is neuroprotective and helps enhance memory and mood and is also abundant in meat and seafood. Tryptophan, the precursor to serotonin is important for regulating mood and present in turkey and cheese. It’s difficult to get the same levels of these important amino acids from plant foods.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Whether you work from home or the office keep the junk out and keep plenty of health options on hand. If you’re pantry is stuffed with chips and candy it’ll be hard to resist digging in while you’re working. Like I said, that stuff is highly addictive. It’s like keeping heroine under the desk of an addict and telling them it’s there, but don’t touch it.
I used to munch on chips all day while I worked and I swapped them for raw nuts like almonds and cashews. You get the same crunch without the toxic inflammatory oils.
Follow these food success principles you’ll be on the right track to providing your body and brain with the necessary fuel for achieving your goals.
Want more tips for boosting your brainpower, hacking your nutrition and meeting your business goals?
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