Five Ways to Nourish Your Career, Your Life

In career, food, health, job, lifestyle, nutrition, wellness on January 23, 2012 at 12:41 am

I once knew a woman who would come back from her lunch break sleepy and cranky. She’d put her head down on her desk and then arise to shout and snap at co-workers, clients-and, eventually, her boss. She was fired shortly after that incident.

She’d always explain her behavior by saying “It’s the food!” She was actually on to something; food is powerful and can seriously affect your moods and energy levels. Food has the power to heal-or harm.

Whether you’re unemployed and job-hunting, or employed but want to move up the company ladder, you need to stand out from the competition like never before.

Emily Koltnow, president of the executive recruiting firm, Koltnow & Company, says: “All companies look for both professionalism and enthusiasm. If you’re not feeling your best, you won’t be as energetic. Being healthy is a critical component of the interviewing process.”

Another recruiter mentioned to me that, yes, skills on paper are important–but, also, at the end of the day, the prospective employer will look at the entire picture of you.  In other words, “At the end of the day, will that person make my job easier or more difficult?”

Here are five (5) easy, but highly effective, nutritional and lifestyle strategies for maintaining that competitive edge-and your moods.

1. Keep a Food Journal: Everything is food -and it can affect all areas of your day, energy levels, and even your mood. Knowledge is power. So write it down: How do you feel when you eat a certain food or consume a particular meal? Happy? Energetic? Sleepy? Irritable? Examine your results, detect patterns, and avoid problem or trigger foods.

2. Get enough sleep: Everyone should get at least 7.5 hours a night. There are several reasons why adequate sleep is important.

First, when we don’t get enough sleep, we often, naturally turn to comfort foods with high fat, high sugar, and high sodium contents. Those, in themselves, are energy zappers-not to mention the havoc they wreak on your diet.

Second, sleep has a direct effect on three hormones that regulate stress, energy balance and appetite. When you don’t get enough sleep, cortisol, the stress hormone, elevates glucose and appetite; it’s often blamed for thickening mid-sections. Lack of sleep also causes ghrelin, which increases appetite, to increase, and leptin, which suppresses appetite and moderates energy balance, to decrease.

Third, inadequate sleep affects immunity and moods. A few years ago the Archives of Internal Medicine explored the common cold.  Therefore, 153 people received, via nose drop, the rhino virus.  The rhino virus is the virus that gives us the common cold, said New York City Naturopathic Doctor, Peter Bongiorno, ND, LAc.  It was found that those studied, who got at least seven hours of sleep per night, were 300% less likely to catch a cold.  For more information on the study, click here.

Too stressed to sleep? Learn some relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation or yoga.

3. Eat Breakfast: Eating breakfast will keep your energy levels consistent throughout the morning, most likely leading to you making better choices at lunch. When you skip breakfast: you’ll be ravenous and fuzzy by mid-morning, which will probably lead to you reaching for a caffeinated drink or sugary snack to offset the slump. At lunch, you’ll probably be very hungry, and tired, and will binge on sugary foods, causing a mid-afternoon slump. I once worked with a woman who rummaged through the company kitchen by 4:00 PM to look for leftover birthday cake, pizza or other treats. Yet another made a regular run to Baskin-Robbins every afternoon around 3:00.

A good breakfast should include a little protein, whole grains, vegetables and/or fruit.

4. Stay Hydrated: Water transports nutrients and oxygen throughout the body, so drink up-or you’ll feel fatigued if you don’t drink enough. If you wait until you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. If you don’t drink enough, you can experience everything from muscle cramps to headaches, inability to pay attention, and dizziness.

Divide your weight in half-that’s the number of ounces you should drink per day-and substitute a glass of water every time you want to reach for caffeine or sugary drinks.

5. Fit Fare: Eat plenty of whole foods: grains, vegetables, fish and lean proteins. These foods are packed with vitamins, minerals, enzymes and fiber. Grains are a complex carbohydrate, absorbing into the bloodstream at a steady rate, providing long-lasting energy. They also increase serotonin, the substance that makes you feel less stressed. As for veggies, the more colorful the assortment, the better, because each color contains a different set of phytonutrients, thought to promote health. Don’t forget sea vegetables-kelp, dulce, seaweeds, hajiki and nori; they’re loaded with minerals (such as calcium) are an excellent source of Iodine, Vitamin K and B-vitamins. Nori makes a great substitute for bread when creating wraps.

Protein provides amino acids which are building blocks for many things in the body, including playing a role in alertness. It also helps build and maintain body cells and regulate body processes. Fish provides important omega 3’s which appear to have many health benefits for body and brain, including reducing risk for heart disease and improving mood.

Superfoods, called that because of their high nutrient content, include berries, citrus fruits, oats, pumpkin (100% pure-not the pie filling), walnuts, and yogurt. Greens–broccoli, spinach, kale, collards, bok choy–have been linked to everything from improved circulation to promoting healthy immune systems and lessening depression.


Irene Ross, CHHC, AADP ( is a certified nutrition and wellness coach.  She helps people instantly double their energy so they can avoid that mid-morning or afternoon slump, get more done in less time and balance their lives.  Irene writes a newsletter called “Power Wellness” (you can subscribe through her website) and is author of the forthcoming book, 25 Ways To Fire Up Your Day:  Increase Energy, Get More Done in Less Time, Balance Your Life and also writes a popular pet wellness blog:

Irene is also a health partner of The Loszach Group, an organization that assesses and analyzes a company’s needs to ensure the most effective wellness program.

Irene is offering a complimentary 30-minute “nutritional breakthrough” session, which can be done either via phone or in-person.  To schedule a session, please contact her through:

  1. Wow, Irene! I expected all this to be about job search tips or so, but this is an extraordinary way of thinking! Love it! I actually wrote about Optimizing Health, too:

    Also, I believe your followers will love this advice from a chiropractor:

    Look forward to your new posts! Thank you again.

  2. Always good advice and something to think about, Irene. Thank you.

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