Finding Focus in Food

Morning fellow foodies,

Can you believe its the middle of March? I know everyone says this – but its true, how is it that time evaporates so quickly with the onset of Spring?! Now if only the weather would catch up! Its cold here in Vic (but the cherry blossoms are out).

I have been privileged with a few weeks away from the office, because schools are closed for Spring Break. As much as I love the freedom of working from a local cafe – this is both a blessing and a curse. I find myself digging deep for motivation to get things accomplished. Without diligent structure to the day it has become more challenging to work for a set amount of hours. As a result I have had some really long work days to make up for others that were cut short.

This is my second week at the home office and I have researched some nutrition related tools to help stay focused. These can also be used by students – as we all know how difficult it is to focus in the library with the ease of procrastination by your side. Cannot even guesstimate how hours I spent just staring at my computer on the third floor lib – or worse scanning through facebook to distract from the deadlines!

So there’s more to staying focused than just food – to start sleep is probably your most important asset. Not sure about you, but my productivity when tired is severely depleted.

On the food front – try the following:

  • cocoa – in small doses, the cocoa in 70%+ dark chocolate can enhance task oriented focus. Of course it is best to find sugar-free! Most of this research has been done in relation to treating symptoms of ADD and ADHD. Take a look at a related article here.
  • blueberries – not only a great antioxidant, these berries also contains flavonoids that open up blood vessels leading to increased flow of blood and oxygen to the brain, while simultaneously reducing blood pressure. More blood/oxygen to the brain means improved concentration! Check out article from The Telegraph here.
  • flax seeds – containing an abundance of Omega-3, this superfood helps improve brain functioning. This resource is being linked not only to increased concentration but also maintaining a good memory. More info here.
  • peppermint tea  – true mint is good for bringing calm to the body – and this allows for greater ease in completing whatever tasks are at hand. It is a great caffeine free alternative when you are looking for something to sip on while working away.

As you may have noticed, the mind/body connection is very intriguing to me – mostly because I spent years failing to connect nutrition with my mental or emotional state.  I think as a society we have spent a great deal of energy associating food/diet with our physical being, doing a disservice to our brains.  Whenever I feel the onset of anxiety, stress or emotional ups and downs – it is always helpful to reflect on the foods or beverages I am consuming and see if there is room for change. Like this morning when I had a cup of earl grey instead of peppermint – the caffeine had me wired for an hour, followed by some angst… the lesson is to take my own advice and avoid that one tomorrow!

Of course for all of the above to work well, a green diet is also necessary ~ frequent whole food snacks will give you the energy to carry the workload.

It is always rewarding to get things accomplished ~ because it bends your life in different ways making room for opportunity. I hope these superfoods can be of some use to you! I am thinking a smoothie to include blueberries/flax might help get me focused for another day at the desk. and of course I will keep a small bar of dark chocolate for emergencies.

Check out this trailer for another foodie movie! I just love these – such a documentary nerd. Excited for such films to positively influence our food choices. Free online premiere March 21st to 31st!

Enjoy!

~B

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