Wellness Works #1

I decided to kick off what I am affectionately calling the Wellness Works Series in honor of my new branding and direction. (You noticed, right?)

For the next several weeks, we’ll dive in to easy, healthy food stuffs; easy, effective ways to get up off your ass; and easy, simple strategies to calm the eff down.

I’ll show you that wellness doesn’t have to be work. And how you can make wellness work for you. Whether you’re a badass boss doing your own thing or you’re entrenched in the office, you can totally do this.

Without further ado, I present to you the Wellness Works Series.

Hand check: Who’s guilty of skipping breakfast?

Mom was right. Breakfast is kind of a big deal.

You might have heard that skipping breakfast could make you gobble down more goodies throughout the day, especially less-than-healthy fare, which could set you up for some weight gain.

That's because, when you skip out on that morning meal, you’re telling your body, “Sorry, bro, there just isn’t enough food.” So it goes in to conservation mode. It’s not going to burn off any calories so that it can keep on keeping you alive, whether you like it or not.

You’ve probably experienced what happens when you “accidentally” skip breakfast.

You’re hangry, you’re tired, and you can’t seem to step away from the sugar-coated pastries in the breakroom. You’re “resting your eyes” at your desk, and you keep on hitting up that vending machine.

Eating breakfast helps you make better choices.

But did you know that eating breakfast might actually help you be less stressed out? And you know you totally need that when your boss is breathing down your neck.

When you’re sleeping, you probably aren’t eating (unless you’re a sleep eater…that’s totally a thing, right?). But your body still needs fuel. It can’t rely on carbs and glucose (i.e., sugar) like usual, so it releases cortisol, aka the big bad stress hormone. This tells the body it better start breaking down some muscle and fat if it wants to survive.

Your cortisol levels are pretty high in the early morning. And you know the best way to reduce those?

Eat something.

If you don’t, your body will continue to release cortisol, and you’ll feel all stressed out all day.

Okay, if that weren’t enough to convince you of the brilliance of breakfast, how about this: You’ll be more focused if you chow down.

Makes sense, right? If you’re hungry, you’ll be distracted. Especially if your stomach starts growling really loud, and you’re doing everything you can think of to disguise it. I mean, who hasn’t had a growler so loud they thought the entire office could hear it?

Breakfast helps get your energy levels up and balances that bastard blood sugar, so you’ll be able to concentrate a bit better. That is, if you find your work remotely interesting…

So let’s agree that you need to break up with your no-breakfast habit.

If you’re shooting daggers at me right now, too bad. First of all, they aren’t reaching me through the interwebs. And did you really think I would encourage you to instill a new healthy habit without giving you some go-bys?

For shame.

I’ll admit I’m not big on cooking a big ol’ meal first thing in the morning. On rare occasions (i.e., holidays), I’ll whip up something special when I’m trying to start a new household tradition. Like French toast casserole on Christmas.

Which, by the way, would totally work here, because you make it once and munch on it throughout the week.

If you’re not overly thrilled with meal prep, get over it. Honestly, this is the biggest thing that’s going to help you be the boss of your diet. Would you rather spend a couple hours in the kitchen to feel good or a couple hours in the afternoon fending off sleepiness, headaches, and crankiness?

Thought so.

Here are three simple breakfast options to get your day off on the right foot.

Overnight Oats

Seriously, what could be simpler than mixing up a bunch of stuff in a Mason jar, stashing it in the fridge, and grabbing it the next morning?

Top with some fruit, and you’re good to go.

I like to make a few at a time so they’re ready when I’m hungry…so, always.

Smoothie

This should come as no surprise. Smoothies are my go-to for breakfast, lunch, and sometimes even dinner when Timothy and I aren’t on the same page. (What? You haven't named your tummy?) What’s easier than tossing some fixings in the blender and giving it a whirl?

Let’s imagine you’re the prepping type. All you have to do is plop all the solid ingredients (so your fruits, veggies, seeds, protein powders, nut butters, etc.) into your Mason jars and stash them in the freezer. 

The night before you want to enjoy a smoothie for brekkie, move it over to the fridge. The next morning, all you have to do is drop it (the ingredients, not the Mason jar, unless you’re destructive like that) in the blender, along with your liquid of choice, and blitz to your heart’s content. 

Or…I’ll just make my smoothie the night before when I’m cooking dinner since I’m already in the kitchen. If you’re storing it in an airtight container, your smoothie will be just fine.

My boyfriend has let smoothies sit for two or three days and not keeled over. Some of the nutrients might be MIA, but he hasn’t died yet so you’ll be okay, too.

Homemade Granola Bars/Muffins and Fruit

For a good grab-and-go option, how about some homemade granola bars or muffins and a piece of fruit? Again, you’ve got to invest a little bit of effort up front. But then you’ve got meals for days. Like all week. 

Imagine how much time you’ll save by whipping up a batch of chocolate chip banana muffins in about an hour and just grabbing one on your way out the door.

I don't know about you, but that sounds totally worth it to make my mornings a little less hectic.

What to Avoid

I know you know this, but it doesn’t hurt to hear it one more time.

Step away from those syrupy waffles and breakfast cereals. Say no to donuts and anything from a fast food restaurant.

And, by all means, steer clear of that pastry tray they so graciously ordered for your morning meeting.

Pssst. Slap your email in that box down there, and you’ll get my two favorite smoothie recipes, plus tips on building a healthy breakfast.