It is Nutrition and Hydration Week from 13th – 19th March this year and with this in mind I wanted to focus on diet. I believe you really are what you eat and that dietary and lifestyle choices effect how you both think and feel.
I’ve no doubt you have heard the phrase “hangry” flying about recently. The word describes the feeling of being irritable or angry because of hunger.
The thing about being hangry is that it isn’t simply a trendy word or fad it is rooted in a very real phenomenon. It’s one that most of us experience at some point or another in our lives and something that goes on in fast-paced offices a lot. It is in fact a lifestyle issue due to blood glucose levels falling.
So what does that mean? Well, we all get into bad habits, particularly when we’re stressed and that’s when we reach for the nearest bar of chocolate or biscuit, it’s lovely, sweet, comfort food, but the thing is it can make us feel worse! You might feel better initially, but it’s short lived. Within an hour you’ll be craving more sugar because your energy is now going through the floor! If anyone tries to tell you “sugar is sugar, it’s all the same thing” they are way behind the times. The reason your blood glucose levels are falling is due to eating too much sugar, carbs and processed foods.
And here’s the ‘killer’ – low blood sugar triggers the release of stress-related hormones such as cortisol. Cortisol is the fight, flight, freeze and appease hormone, it’s related to your ‘primitive’ brain which is what we all relied on thousands of years ago to escape wild tigers and man eating lions; but when you’re in fight or flight mode in the office, you don’t function creatively – you’re in survival mode and your brain effectively shuts down and since you’re not in a position to fight or flee, your only recourse is to express yourself through anger.
When you look at it this way being angry and hungry is a perfectly natural response to chemical reactions in your body. With this in mind the solution is simple – make sure you eat breakfast, lunch and supper so that your blood glucose levels remain constant and don’t drop. If you can have protein with every meal this will help as well. You can still have snacks but instead of biscuits or chocolate, think of having nuts and seeds. You can add a few raisins to add a bit of sweetness but not too many.
And now for some new scientific information from the world of neuroscience that I’ll be writing about in another blog, but which is very relevant to this new word we have now in the dictionary, ‘hangry’.
Every conversation you have produces a chemical reaction in your body – conversations can change your brain!
Let me ask you a question – how much tension is there in your office?
How well do people communicate with each other in the office?
What happens when you feel stressed from a difficult conversation or a challenging meeting? Most people hit the chocolate or biscuits and you’re now caught up in the cycle of cortisol I’ve just described and wanting more chocolate!
I work with businesses so they have great conversations, from the CEO and MD at the top, down to your receptionist and tea lady, to co create business from the top down and the bottom up. It doesn’t get much better than that!