- In this blog post, you will learn
- Exercise is the king, but nutrition is the queen
- What should you eat to boost your efficiency
- When to eat what, to boost your efficiency
- What do I eat?
- What about snacks?
- What I don’t eat?
- What about supplements?
- Diet alternatives
- The productivity diet
- Lessons learned
- Resources and tools mentioned in this post
- Let me know
In this blog post, you will learn
- Nutrition is queen of your efficiency
- Counting calories is BS
- Well balanced diet trumps everything
- ‘Bio hackers’ invented some powerful alternatives to conventional food
Exercise is the king, but nutrition is the queen
In my previous post about exercise, I mentioned that King may rule, but Queen pulls the strings 😉 In your efficiency formula, the exercise may be the king, but nutrition is definitely the queen. If you think about your efficiency, it is proven that 85% of results is what you eat and 15% is about exercise. This is true to any goal you want to achieve – get fit, lose weight, gain weight or become efficient. Eating is being and you need to practice good nutrition.
As mentioned in the previous post about Sleep, if you are a startup founder/entrepreneur you have to do a million things to keep your ‘baby’ running towards the success. There is not much time for anything else. You know that healthy nutrition is important, but you compromise it with something quick and readily available, which is usually junk food. You say you can eat healthy later after you are ‘done’. Then your eyes start closing and you fall asleep … from the sugar rush that 0.5l soda from Mc Donald’s gave you … so much for efficiently finishing up with most pressing tasks. What is more, your body is stressed by all the junk which affects it in long term. Don’t do it!
Think about it. You are building your business, working hard, pushing harder, trying to earn that cash. Well, nothing of that matters if you are not healthy enough to enjoy life, right?
I stopped counting calories
Yep, screw it. It’s just a number. I know that there are whole industries build on calories and you can’t escape them because they are on all food products you buy … or, are they? Do you see calories information on anything natural, like fruits and vegetables or anything that you directly buy from the farmer? And, there is the catch!
After reading a book called “The Calorie Myth“, I understood better what nutrition really makes our bodies to stay healthy, productive and efficient.
The book basically says that each one of us has a weight “middle-point” that belongs just to you. It is a weight level that your body naturally gravitates towards even if you have a high oscillation (too fat / too thin). This weight “middle-point’ depends on our genetics and it is very individual.
What the book recommends is to eat as many ‘unprocessed’ foods as possible to keep your hormonal system ‘unclogged’. They compare it to a water sink. If the water sink is free, then as much water comes in, that much water comes out. The same happens with food. As much food you eat, that much food you use. The catch is that it has to be food that supports your hormonal exchange and it doesn’t ‘clog’ your digestion. Otherwise, you get above your “middle-point” and your body, brain, and efficiency will suffer.
If you get this clear in your head, the nutrition becomes easier. You just need to know what makes your body work towards efficiency and what doesn’t. You don’t need to count calories intake and outtake. You should eat as much as you need and as often as you need. For the sake of efficient sleep, though, don’t eat heavy and anything with too many carbs in the evening.
What should you eat to boost your efficiency
Clean up your shelves …
To achieve a high level of efficiency it is the best time to get rid of all the junk food currently in your possession. Foods high in saturated and trans fats, sodium, and sugar should be the first things you throw out:
- processed meats
- potato chips
- high-sodium frozen foods
- canned soups, etc.
You think you like them. They’re the problem. Throw them away, and don’t let anyone give you more. Don’t be nice. Say, “Thanks, but I’m not eating that kind of stuff anymore.”
Very important is to realize that if your diet consisted of these foods until now, you can’t and won’t simply throw everything away. That would cause a ‘shock’ to your organism and would deplete the motivation. What you need to do is to be very rational about it and throw out the ‘worst’ foods, like e.g. chips, soda, candies and keep the ‘less bad’ ones to stack on.
The golden ratio is 90/10, so you will have to make hard choices, but only 90% of the time. After you get used to ‘good’ foods, you will naturally switch to 100/0 ratio
… and stock them up with these efficiency boosters
It is important to recognize what foods do good for your brain and what foods boost up your body and heart performance. You need all three to perform at the most efficient level. The rule of thumb is to create a diversified nutrition consisting of vegetables, fruits, animal products, drinks, oils and seeds/nuts that you like and feel good about. Each one of us is different and we all like a different type of foods.
- Avocados [salads, guacamole, spread]
Filled with monosaturated (=good) fats, avocados keep your blood sugar at bay and help with concentration and memory function. With their high protein content, they are good for building those muscles as well 😉
- Broccoli [side dish]
One of the most famous vegetables, broccoli is the memory and imagination booster. Don’t forget to eat it to be creative 😉
- Cauliflower [side dish, combined with eggs can be a main dish as well]
Cauliflower can provide you with good detox after being sick
- Dark Green, leafy vegetables – kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, swiss chard [salads]
Dark green, leafy vegetables will keep your brain sharp and your bones strong
- Brussel sprouts [side dish]
Brussel sprouts keep your immune system and eyes strong
- Yams [side dish]
Yams keep your immune system strong
- Tomatoes [salads]
Tomatoes help to keep your brain cells aging at bay and act as prevention against degenerative diseases.
- Carrots [snacking]
Raw carrots provide your brain with a steady blood sugar level for sustainable activity. Good for snacking.
- Beets [salads]
Beets have a really bad rep, but it’s not justified. They actually boost your performance and energy. Plus they have a great antioxidant and anti-inflammatory function
- Celery [snacking]
Celery is a great antioxidant and anti-inflammatory food. It’s a great snack in between foods
- Eggplant [side dish]
Eggplant keeps your brain sharp by enhancing communication between your brain cells. Good for concentration and thinking.
- Blueberries [breakfast, snacking]
Blueberries are sexy and they will make you sexy, protecting your body and brain against stress and degeneration.
- Raisins [snacking]
Raisins provide you with energy and keep your brain working in a top speed
- Apples [breakfast, snacking]
One apple a day keeps the doctor away!
- Oranges [breakfast, snacking]
Oranges are great source of vitamin C and energy for your brain and heart
- Grapefruit [breakfast]
Grapefruit or Pomelo are big on vitamin C and help you keep your cardiovascular system in order
- Bananas [breakfast, snacking]
The brain works best with about 25 grams of glucose circulating in the blood stream — about the amount found in a banana. If you work and think hard, have a banana. It will keep you focused longer.
- Pomegranate [breakfast]
Pomegranate is hard to eat, but once you get to it, it rewards you with a lot of vitamins and antioxidants. Helps your body, brain, and heart to stay young
- Bone Broth [part of the main dish]
Definitely not for vegetarians or vegans, bone broth is proven to help your body, brain, and heart inside out. Bone broth helps your immune system to stay in shape.
- Egg Yolks / Eggs [main dish, part of the main dish]
Eggs have a bad rep because of cholesterol. This is not true and Scientists have had contrary results recently. Eggs are good for your brain and with high protein content for your muscles as well. What is more, if you feel blue, have scrambled eggs … they deliver a ‘happy nudge’.
- Salmon [main dish, part of the main dish]
Salmon, full of omega-3 fatty acids helps keep your brain running smoothly and boosts your mood, focus, and efficiency
- Probiotic yogurt [breakfast, snacking]
Yogurts with probiotic bacteria help to keep your digestion in order.
- Lean meat – turkey, chicken [main dish, part of the main dish]
Lean, nonfatty meat from turkey or chicken is a good source of proteins and B-vitamins that keep you focused and your muscles energized.
- Dark Chocolate [desert]
The only ‘sweet’ on this list, dark chocolate (70% and higher) has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions and helps the flow of blood to your brain and heart to boost your performance and cognitive functions.
- Extra Virgine Olive Oil
Powerful antioxidant keeps your brain cells young and healthy.
- Avocado oil
All the benefits of avocado in the oil. Alternative to olive oil
- Coconut Oil
Coconut oil will help you with memory retention and kills bad bacteria in your gut
Rosemary is great for protecting your brain against stress and keeping your eyesight healthy
- Ginger root
Ginger is great for boosting your immune system and cognitive performance. However, it helps to produce dopamine, the reward hormone. It’s spicy … but goooooood 🙂
Turmeric, ancient root that gives us spice ‘curcumin’ is a strong antioxidant and improves your brain’s oxygen intake and thus increasing your concentration and information processing abilities
Garlic is a natural antibiotic and it lowers blood pressure. It protects your body during the time of stress. Everybody knows the smell so go easy on the others, though 🙂
- Walnuts [breakfast, snacking]
Walnuts are a great snack food. Vitamin E keeps your brain and skin young and healthy.
- Almonds [breakfast, snacking]
Almonds have similar benefits to Walnuts, though a better taste to some people. Make your pick.
- Chia seeds [breakfast]
Chia seeds, dubbed a ‘superfood’, are great for your digestion, heart and cognitive function. They provide energy booster and clean your guts.
- Oatmeal [breakfast]
Plain, unprocessed oatmeal has a great effect on your heart and brain, plus because it is rich in fiber, it fills you up very quickly so it’s a good alternative when you are on a budget.
- Pumpkin seeds [breakfast]
Rich in zinc and magnesium, they boost cognitive abilities and good mood.
- Green tea
Green tea, an alternative to coffee provides you with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory functions. It wakes you up, keeps you calm and focused longer than coffee.
Despite being addictive, coffee increases brain activity and releases neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. This means coffee actually makes you super focused and smart.
- Red wine
Red wine, the official drink of Romans. Good for heart and good mood. People in regions with wine production tend to live longer. 1 glass of quality red wine per day … cheers!
- Soy milk
An alternative to animal milk, soy milk has all the benefits of soy. Provides your body with proteins and vitamins, decreases your cholesterol level and boost circulation, thus concentration.
When to eat what, to boost your efficiency
When it comes to taking care of your body and brain for optimal efficiency, it turns out that good nutrition involves not only what we eat, but when we eat it. Imagine you had a good steak for breakfast. Do you think you will be able to jump into your day with the energy you need to perform all the tasks your business needs you to do? I don’t think so.
Start your day right, eat often small quantities to never be hungry and end your day with nutritious, yet light dinner to sleep well
In regards to what to eat when most sources mention breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day. Your body needs to replenish energy lost during the sleep and stock up for the full day of great work you going to do on your business.
Breakfast is the best time to eat fruits.
The best time to eat fruits is either first thing in the morning on an empty stomach or as a mid-morning snack in between breakfast and lunch. This will ensure that your body digests the fruit sugar evenly and provides you with energy to conquer your mornings. If you don’t like eating fruits alone, try fruit smoothies with coconut, soy or almond milk.
What do I eat?
I am not absolutely orthodox about the diet, except for the breakfast. What you will see below proved to work the best for me and I have no reason to change it. Lunch and dinners are different though and influenced also by different activities. When we travel, we tend to eat in restaurants. When we are at home, we stay in and do something quickly or cook for a longer time.
- 0.5l orange juice mixed with water
- 1/2 a bowl of nuts with soy or probiotic yogurt and depending on season either fresh or defrost – blueberries and forest fruits
- a plate of fruits, depending on the season – apple, pear, pineapple, orange, plum, grapefruit, pomelo, leetchi, and other
- 0.5l green tea with or without honey
- Main meal with a salad – I am trying to keep my budget tight so I usually look for canteens with wide selection of food so I can choose the healthiest option
- Desert – dried fruits without additional sugar
- Bowl of salad – green leafy type, arugula, tomato, carrots, cucumber, radish, avocado, champignons
- One of these and whatever imagination and the fridge bring together 🙂
- Salmon with spinach
- Hummus with carrots
- Guacamole with turkey meat
- Leek with eggs and champignons
- Scrambled eggs with turkey ham
- Cauliflower ‘pizza’ with ham, cheese, and champignons
What about snacks?
Snacks are good in between main meals when you just need something quickly to replenish lost glucose.
For example, the brain needs 25 grams of glucose to function on an optimal level and you can get that amount from a single banana. Baaam, there is your snack, forget those sugary treats that create glucose spike and later even bigger crash. Turn to bananas, grapes, walnuts, almonds, cashew, dried fruits (w/o additional sugar). Your body will work like “clockwork” and you will finish up all the tasks like a breeze.
What I don’t eat?
I won’t touch these. Sorry, but these foods are crap. Processed, chemically treated, feed them to Terminator, but not the humans.
- White bread
- Processed meat
- Soda – Coca Cola, Pepsi and similar
- non-100% juice
- Fatty meat
- Powder/Crystal sugar
Let me know what foods don’t you eat in the comments below. Thanks!
What about supplements?
There are two views on the topic of supplements. Obviously, yes and no. I will not advise you on what you should do. You can talk to your doctor about it.
The rule of thumb is, if your diet is unbalanced for whatever reason, you may want to consider a multivitamin and mineral complex and an omega-3 fatty acid supplement to help make up a few of the essentials.
If you are on the budget, this is expensive, however, less expensive than later, when you become sick. Make the right choices and educate yourself about pros and cons.
The latest trend in an efficient diet that should help startup founders/entrepreneurs to cope properly with all the growing demands of their businesses, is the supplement type of food. It’s kind of like a mix of everything that I mentioned before but delivered as a powder or a bar. It’s part of a ‘Body-hacking’ movement.
The first time I heard about it, I immediately remembered the scene from the movie “5th element’ with Bruce Willis and Mila Jojovich. Lulu (MJ’s character) puts a pill into a microwave and in few seconds there is a chicken ready 🙂 The food from the future!
I had a look at them and here is my opinion. I may try Joylent and Organifi at least once, but I am not really convinced about Huel and Soylent. We are humans, not machines. Yes, we have to eat healthy and nutritionally balanced food, but it doesn’t mean we turn to some powdered mixes that look like food for Aliens. Let me know what you think in the comments. Thanks!
Heul is from the United Kingdom. Here is what the founders have to say: “Huel is a nutritionally complete powdered food that contains all the proteins, carbs, and fats you need, plus at least 100% of the European Union’s “Daily Recommended Amounts” of all 26 essential vitamins and minerals. So you know you won’t be deficient in any essential nutrients.”
By the first look, it looks like food for astronauts. Very clean, industrial design, powders, bit of bars and focus on accessories like bottles and shakers. If not astronauts, then bodybuilders or high-performing athletes for sure.
It’s all natural, but it surely doesn’t look like. Huel contains a blend of Oats, Pea Protein, Flaxseed, Brown Rice Protein, MCTs from Coconut, Sunflower Lecithin, a bespoke Vitamin and Mineral Blend, Vanilla Flavour and a Sweetener. The only chemical part I see are the added Vitamins & Minerals, which doesn’t have to be necessarily bad.
Their unique selling proposition is that they save time and money. OK … they calculate the price per calories, 1.33 GBP per 500 calories. If you read the beginning of this post, you already know what opinion I have about calories. Their focus on the calories and overall branding of the website makes me think they position themselves for sporty people.
Make your own opinion here: http://www.efficientdailyhabits.com/huel
Joylent is from the Netherlands. Here is what they have to say: “Here at Joylent, we create food from the future. All of our products contain all nutrients a human body needs while saving money, effort, time and space. Basically, Joylent’s all about less hassle and more fun! We all like to have a little fun, right? Let’s be honest, eating can be a social thing. Sometimes it can be great to have a long dinner with friends and family. However, most meals are not. They’re a time-consuming hassle. This is where Joylent comes in. Joylent is the most healthy, efficient, tasty and complete way to fuel yourself whenever a meal is getting in the way of life. With less than €2,- a meal it’s also a hell of a lot cheaper than normal food.”
Wow, what a ‘human’ introduction. It makes me want to try it for sure. They realize that humans are social beings and food with friends and family is important. However, they want to help us with all the other meals, like lunch or dinner when you need to work and don’t have time to cook or don’t want to spend tons of money on restaurants or takeaways. 2 EUR per meal is a great price. Where do they take orders again?
Make your own opinion here: http://www.efficientdailyhabits.com/joylent
Soylent is what started all the fuss around ‘Food 2.0’. Developed in 2013 by a software engineer in the US, it became a big hit in the entrepreneurial community.
Soylent is from Los Angeles, CA. Here is what they have to say: “Soylent™ is a pioneer in food technology, producing convenient, complete foods designed to provide maximum nutrition with minimal effort. CEO/Founder Rob Rhinehart and team developed Soylent after recognizing the need to expand access to quality nutrition by improving the food system through innovation. Soylent’s products are produced with affordability and efficiency in mind to create food focused on our health and environment.”
Sounds really techy. The website, similar to Huel, is very clean, but combining techy images with a few colors and branding around emotional images of people being happy while consuming Soylent. No talk about saving money or time, apparently this is a product focused on the community around ‘Bio-hacking’.
Make your own opinion here: http://www.efficientdailyhabits.com/soylent
You can buy the Soylent drinks here: http://www.efficientdailyhabits.com/buysoylent
Organifi takes a bit different approach because they focus on the ‘superfoods juice’. This means they focus on being healthy, instead of a food replacement.
They are from Florida and here is what they have to say: “Now you can get your healthy superfoods in one drink … with no shopping, no blending, no juicing, no clean up!. In just 30 seconds a day, you can supercharge your life, restore glowing good health and feel decades younger.” Yep, total focus on your health, which is a good thing. You will become a super human!
Make your own opinion here: http://www.efficientdailyhabits.com/aboutorganifi
You can buy the Organifi drinks here: http://www.efficientdailyhabits.com/organify
The productivity diet
If you are lazy to read what I wrote, then our friends at Hubspot put together this great infographic about what to eat and when in order to boost your productivity. Have fun!
- You eat healthy food, therefore you are efficient!
- If you eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds you are good
- If your diet is not balanced for whatever reason you should check out the dietary supplements, like vitamins and minerals
- Bio-hacking is providing us with some powerful food alternatives
Resources and tools mentioned in this post
- Book – Jonathan Bailor – The Calorie Myth
- Food alternatives
Let me know
Hey, all. Hope you found interesting points in this article that you can apply and eat foods boosting your efficiency. Can you please let me know and share what worked for you in comments below? I am always on a lookout for foods that boost my efficiently even more so any feedback is welcome.