Picture an ordinary day at work. People arrive in the office, attend the daily morning meetings, follow the same old routine. After an hour, some of them begin to zombify and their creativity and motivation drop dramatically. They’re quiet in the meetings, thinking only of lunchtime. To keep going, they buy chocolate bars, eat cookies, and sip energy drinks. They don’t realise they’re just making it worse.
We’ve all seen the mid-morning zombies. Maybe some days, you’re one yourself.
Sensible eating and all kinds of diets, as well as regular exercise and living a generally healthy lifestyle, have become a fashionable trend recently. However, not everyone has the opportunity or the will to become a gym slave. Most of the people who start eating healthier and working out quickly lose motivation and go back to the starting point, sometimes even carrying a few kilos more. This is because the change was too sudden and radical in comparison to their standard way of living and maybe the motivation wasn’t really there to begin with.
Unfortunately, these days many people forget that the greatest advantage of a healthy diet and training regimen is their physical and mental well-being, and not just being attractive to the other sex or showing off on social media.
IT work often involves a lot of stress, haste, and irregular working hours. You’re not always able to have a proper meal, or you eat in a hurry, and usually it’s takeaway food which is not exactly good for you.
If you want to make a lasting change to your lifestyle, don’t turn everything upside down. Start by introducing simple changes step by step – this way you don’t risk health problems and the yo-yo effect.
A healthy start to the day
The first change that I’d suggest refers to breakfast. Your grandma was right when she told you it’s the most important meal of the day. Don’t omit it. And don’t limit it to a cup of coffee and a cigarette.
An unhealthy breakfast – or even worse, no breakfast at all – has a negative impact on the rest of your day and on your mood too.
Cortisol, i.e. the stress hormone, is at its highest level in the morning. If it continues during the day, harmful results can follow, including:
high blood sugar levels and low insulin sensitivity, which may result in weight increase
weakened immunity to diseases and infections
sleepiness and irritability
Having woken up with a high level of cortisol (as we all do) the wrong breakfast (highly processed foods, too many simple sugars, etc.) will keep you in this state, which also adversely affects your insulin level.
A mistake many people make is to eat a lot of carbohydrates in the morning. The result is a quick lift to your blood sugar level (which makes you feel better, temporarily) followed by a rapid fall, which makes you hungry and tired again (remember the zombies!). This happens because the carbohydrates and sugars have been transformed into glucose (a sugar) and transported to the circulatory system. To manage the appropriate level of sugar in the blood, the pancreas quickly produces insulin. The insulin causes the blood sugar level to drop (often to below what it was before you ate all those carbs!) making you feel fatigued and drowsy. The answer may be as simple as eating a better breakfast.
Fat-and-protein breakfasts, as the name suggests, contain mostly fat and protein foods with a minimum of carbohydrates. This type of breakfast is perfect for people with insulin resistance or diabetes, as well as people who are constantly overtired, with low energy levels in the morning.
If you’d like to improve your physical and mental state and feel the energy throughout the morning, these are the products that should become part of your breakfast:
bacon, chorizo, or other good-quality sausages
avocado, coconut (flakes or chips)
oils high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, e.g. linseed, rye nuts and seeds
cheese (although dairy products should be taken in moderation)
This is what the breakfast in tech industry should look like.
Remember that it’s good to change the ingredients from time to time so that the breakfast doesn’t become a boring daily routine.
Here you can find my two favorite recipes for a perfect fat-and-protein breakfast:
Recipe 1 – Chorizo Omelette
3 whole eggs
hard cheese, e.g. cheddar
a little milk
salt, pepper, herbs
Cut the chorizo into cubes and fry it lightly in a hot pan. Dice the bell pepper and add it to the pan. Break the eggs into a bowl. Add the milk, salt, and pepper to the eggs and mix well. Pour it all into the pan, add the grated cheese, and cook on a low heat. You can also add fresh herbs, such as basil or coriander.
Recipe 2 – Bacon Toasts
chilli, pepper, salt
Toast four slices of bread, peel the avocado and mash it (you can sprinkle it with lime juice if you’re feeling adventurous), spread it on the toasts, fry the eggs and bacon. Place a slice of bacon and an egg on the toast, season to taste, and make a sandwich.
Since we usually have a second breakfast at work, it’s okay if that one contains more carbohydrates, such as oat flakes, cereal, sandwiches, or fruit.
Finally, if you’re serious about making some dietary changes, make sure that before beginning you do all the necessary tests (OGTT, hormone levels, such as cortisol & testosterone, TSH, CBC, etc.) or consult a good dietician, who should interview you and analyze the test results, ensuring you don’t start the wrong diet for you (for example, people with liver diseases should not follow the ketogenic diet).
Healthy breakfast and healthy lifestyle
At XSolve, thanks to a contract with a private medical insurance company Medicover, our employees have the opportunity to take those tests and receive specialist advice. Everybody is different and it’s only sensible to check that a particular diet won’t be harmful to you in some way.
Health is a long-term investment and it’s worth taking care of it. You don’t want to regret your daily habits in twenty years’ time. Remember, sometimes one simple change can alter your life completely. Imagine if that change was simply a change of breakfast…?
If you have any questions about breakfast in the IT world, feel free to write to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org