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Eat Smarter

Eat Smarter Review & Encouragement

Eat Smarter Review & Encouragement

We’ve launched this eat smarter module with a brief look at the role of nutrition in our daily physical health. Why worry about what we eat? Because food is the most powerful drug we put in our bodies.

Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician and father of western medicine, said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” We generally don’t think of food as medicine, but we should. Everything we eat and drink enters into our bloodstream and affects our brain and body function. Every bite, every sip.

Food can help prevent and cure disease and it maintains our health. That is, when we develop good habits and make good choices. Food can also damage us, make us more susceptible to disease, and undermine our mental and physical health and wellbeing.

Remember that you control what you put in your body. There are lots of people around you who purchase or prepare your food, but you get to decide what you eat. Educate your the people around you, if needed. Ask for the foods that build health. Get creative and be assertive.

Our physiology is built based on natural principles that have evolved over millions of years. We are designed to change and grow, for better or worse, depending on what sort of stimulus we put on the body. The more the stimulus, the more effective the adaptation, as long as it is spread out over time. Short-term bursts of stimulus usually cause problems and make us injured or sick. Spread the same amount of signal over a long period of time, and the body will get stronger and healthier.

It’s kind of like watering a plant every day rather than flooding it out once or twice a month and then leaving it. You just won’t get healthy growth that way.

The same idea applies to the human body. So often I’ve been asked what you should eat the day of a race. And my answer always causes some raised eyebrows: “it doesn’t really matter - what matters is what you’ve been eating for the last six months.” I’ll take the athlete who eats well every day over the athlete with only a great race day plan. My friend Dr. John Berardi calls this the “myth of game day nutrition.”

The weekend food warrior – the once-a-week intake of quality, fresh foods – is not building daily or long-term health.

I’m guessing that there are times you may feel overwhelmed when you read these posts. I know from personal experience that the barrage of recipes, superfoods, spices, recommendations and advice about what to eat and when to eat it can be a lot to take in. So I thought today would be a good day to loop back to the habit-forming habits we talked about early in the program.

Habits form slowly through deliberate effort and 1% changes. No person can revolutionize their eating overnight. It’s all about starting somewhere and then building on that momentum. And once you are eating well, it’s easy to keep the habits going and include other interesting options.

And nobody needs perfection. One of the worst mindsets we can adopt while trying to build new habits is that we have to be perfect. Nonsense! Our goal is to make small, incremental changes so that we arrive at a place where a good majority of our food intake is high-quality.

Today's POWER-UP: Be Consistent

Build a great life one day at a time. Be consistent. Look for small improvements that you know you can do forever.

Hold Emerson’s famous words in mind: “Life is a journey, not a destination.”

It’s not that you have nowhere to go. You are headed toward your dream. It’s that you only get there by taking care of today. 

If you start small, you will eventually make big changes. Eating well happens one little meal at a time.

The Keys to Eating Smarter - #6: Eat Healthy Protein

The Keys to Eating Smarter - #6: Eat Healthy Protein

Key #6: Eat Healthy Protein

When I was younger, I worked with a group of negotiators preparing for a very difficult and possibly confrontational meeting. At the time, I was a pretty competitive guy, so I wanted my team to be totally prepared and perform brilliantly. And I wanted the other side to flop.

Here’s what I did.

I asked for the meeting to occur between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. because that’s the time of day when energy levels are the lowest. I then told my group to show up at noon for a lunch I would prepare for them.

I gave them water to make sure they were hydrated, green tea for a small dose of caffeine, chicken for protein and avocado salad for quality fats. We were building long-term energy.

The key to this lunch was that I made sure that they had mostly proteins, some fats, and a little carbohydrate. I wanted this combination because I knew that the amino acid tyrosine has been shown to help increase the levels of the “alertness” neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine. (Amino acids are the components that make up proteins).

Neurotransmitters are small bundles of protein that work in the brain to carry signals from one nerve to another. This creates thoughts, memories, and basically controls the way the brain is functioning. I wanted to increase the amount of the amino acid tyrosine in my team and keep the levels of that transmitter as high as I could during the important meeting.

With my team primed for excellence, I welcomed the visiting group to our conference room where I had prepared a buffet of croissants, muffins, bagels, coffee, tea, and soft drinks. It was a smorgasbord of simple carbohydrates and caffeine. They were most appreciative and loaded up.

By eating foods that were very high in simple carbohydrates and very low in protein, I changed their brain chemistry right before the negotiations were to begin. The result was an increase in the amino acid tryptophan, which has been shown to increase the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps relax the brain. Great stuff if you want to take a nap. Not so much if you need to concentrate for three hours.

No surprise what happened. Jacked on sugar and caffeine, the other team started with a lot of energy and then hit a slump. They became irritable and distracted. By two hours in, they were really struggling. The last hour was a train wreck.

My team was calm but energized and consistent for the entire time. We rocked the negotiations.

You know the moral of this story: simple carbohydrates are low-quality foods that set you up for an energy plummet. Proteins, good fats and complex carbs maintain your focus and energy over long stretches, and you won’t crash as you slowly get hungry again.

High quality, nutrient-dense foods are the optimal fuel for our brains and bodies and help to deal with stress. In addition to eating healthy carbs and healthy fats, healthy proteins are critical because they have such a powerful influence on our brain neurotransmitters, which can help us concentrate, focus and problem solve.
 
It’s a great idea to eat protein at every meal. That low-nutrient, high-carb breakfast of toast and orange juice will lead to an energy crash. High protein foods can help you to maintain better attention, concentration and focus. Healthy proteins arrive in their most basic forms – not processed or battered. Some examples: eggs, fish, chicken, pork, quinoa, chickpeas.

Today's POWER-UP: Add healthy protein sources to your nutrition plan

HIGH PROTEIN FOODS CAN HELP YOU TO MAINTAIN BETTER ATTENTION, CONCENTRATION AND FOCUS. HEALTHY PROTEINS ARRIVE IN THEIR MOST BASIC FORMS – NOT PROCESSED OR BATTERED. HERE ARE SOME GREAT EXAMPLES OF HEALTHY-PROTEIN FOODS:

NUTS AND SEEDS: PUMPKIN SEEDS, SQUASH SEEDS, WALNUTS, ALMONDS, PINE NUTS, PISTACHIOS, SUNFLOWER SEEDS, CASHEWS, HEMP SEEDS, FLAX SEEDS.

VEGETABLES: CORN, TOMATOES, SOY BEANS, BLACKEYE PEAS, NAVY BEANS, GREEN PEAS, LIMA BEANS, BRUSSEL SPROUTS, SPINACH, BROCCOLI, POTATOES, ASPARAGUS, CHICK PEAS, TEMPEH AND TOFU, EDAMAME, LEAFY GREENS.

FRUITS: APRICOTS, PEACHES.

CEREALS AND GRAINS: OAT BRAN, OATS, EGG NOODLES, BUCKWHEAT, COUSCOUS, BULGUR, MILLET, LONG-GRAIN BROWN OR WILD RICE, QUINOA, SEITAN.

The Keys to Eating Smarter - #5: Eat Healthy Carbohydrates

The Keys to Eating Smarter - #5: Eat Healthy Carbohydrates

Key #5: Eat Healthy Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates (or “carbs”) have gotten a very bad rap lately. Let’s try to clear up the confusion. Just like fats, there are good and bad carbohydrates. In general, complex carbohydrates high in fibre can be quite healthful, while simple carbs can be problematic.

Healthy carbohydrates include quinoa, whole grains, vegetables (such as sweet potato), fruits (especially berries), beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Simple carbohydrates are often found in refined and processed foods like breakfast cereals, white bread, sugars and syrups.

The challenge is that sugars are addictive and involve the same dopamine receptors in the brain that cause us to experience pleasure. These are the same centres that are activated by cocaine, nicotine and alcohol! Think about that the next time you have a sugar craving!

When we get hungry or stressed, our bodies crave food that will provide us with the quickest supply of fuel: simple sugar and starches. It is no accident that we rarely hear people say they “could really go for a chicken breast right now.” It’s the starchy food (bagels, crackers, cookies, chocolate, muffins, etc.) that make us drool when hungry. Over-consumption of starches and simple sugars turn to fat in our bodies, in order to be used as fuel at a later date. Our bellies empty sooner with starchy food, letting the craving cycle perpetuate. Setting up our morning with starchy sweets leads to a cascade of bad behaviour for the rest of the day. Worse yet, these eating habits set the stage for exhaustion at the worst times. You may recall this point when trying to hide that yawn in your afternoon class.

There are 3 things that slow down the digestion of sugar: fat, fibre and protein. This means, if we want to have balanced blood sugar, we need to slow down our digestion by making sure each meal has all of these elements.

Today's POWER-UP: Add healthy carbohydrate sources to your nutrition plan

Choose oatmeal with almond butter rather than cereal for breakfast.

Choose plain full fat yogurt with berries instead of the sweetened low fat variety.

Choose spaghetti squash with tuna pesto sauce instead of white pasta with tomato sauce.

The Keys to Eating Smarter - #4: Eat Healthy Fats

The Keys to Eating Smarter - #4: Eat Healthy Fats

Key #4: Eat Healthy Fats

There is probably no other area that generates as much confusion about healthy eating than fats do. I’ll help you clear the misinformation and give you a solid science-based plan for how to add healthy fats to your diet and why.

Overall it is time to end the low-fat = healthy eating myth. That concept has not served us well. Food manufacturers simply removed fats and replaced them with sugars and refined grains and the negative impact on our health has been frightening. According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the percentage of fats in your diet, whether high or low, does not determine your risk of disease.

What matters is the type of fat that you have in your diet. I want you to increase the amount of healthy fats and decrease or even better eliminate unhealthy fats that you eat. Unhealthy fats include saturated animal fats and trans fats. These increase your risk of disease. Unhealthy saturated fats typically come from animal sources and include red meat (which you can eat on occasion for protein and iron – but make sure it’s grass-fed and organic), butter, cheese, ice cream. You can spot these because they are solid at room temperature. Simply, avoid saturated animal fats, trans-fats, hydrogenated vegetable oils and processed foods.

Having said that, there are healthy fats you can add to your nuts, seeds, avocados, and coconuts all contain fats with loads fats, such as commercially fried foods and commercial baked both for weight control and for your health. The takeaway here is not that you should be afraid of fats and of adding healthy fats to your diet but that you should avoid unhealthy fats that can damage your health and metabolism.

Today's POWER-UP: Here are great ways to improve the balance between healthy and unhealthy fats:

· Use extra-virgin olive, walnut, coconut, and sustainably sourced palm oil. And when you cook with oil, never heat it past the smoking point, as the beneficial properties of the oil are ruined.

· Have a handful of raw nuts and seeds every day – focus on almonds, pecans, walnuts, flax and chia.

· Eat small fatty fish (such as sardines and salmon) often and larger fish (such as tuna and swordfish) infrequently, as they contain higher levels of toxic heavy metals.

· Buy flax oil in dark bottles and keep it in the fridge (air, light and heat cause it to break down). Use it in salads or other cold dishes or add it to cooked foods. You could also buy ground flax and add it to shakes, cereal, cooked grains and stews.

· Eat grass-fed animals (grass is rich in Omega 3) rather than grain-fed animals.

· Use cheese as a spice not a food. A small amount of old, flavourful cheese can be a nice addition to a salad or stir fry. But cheese is not a healthy food so limit your intake or avoid it completely.

· Serve healthy fats at the table. Use olive oil as a drizzle instead of butter, or guacamole instead of sour cream.

The Keys to Eating Smarter - #3 More Nutrients Fewer Calories

The Keys to Eating Smarter - #3 More Nutrients Fewer Calories

KEY #3: MORE NUTRIENTS FEWER CALORIES

I want to give you an easy-to-follow criteria for choosing foods that will give you the most health and performance benefit while helping you avoid the various preservatives, pesticides, genetically-modified ingredients and nutrient-poor crops out there. To get the biggest bang for your calorie buck, you need to optimize your nutrient-to-calorie ratio.

Consider this formula: H=N/C, which means that health = nutrients per calorie consumed.Dr. Joel Fuhrman offers this wisdom in his book Eat to Live. Your goal is to eat nutrient-dense foods while avoiding calorie-dense foods. It’s basically that simple. For example, skip the muffins and bagels and choose protein and vegetables. An apple has about 90 calories and loads of great nutrients while a blueberry muffin has 350+ calories and few nutrients. Water and herbal teas have zero calories and promote health while sugar-laden sodas are loaded with calories and have no nutrients.

To speed you on your way to eating more in line with the H=N/C principle I want you to add Superfoods to your diet wherever possible. Superfoods are a special class of food that offers only the very best nutrient density. I define Superfoods as foods with very high vitamin, mineral, nutrient and anti-oxidant levels that are also low in calories (think vegetables) or if not low in calories then powerfully health enhancing (such as fruit, nuts, avocado, and coconut). We should all include these in our daily routine. 

The challenge is to recognize this pattern and to remember that our health depends on eating nutrient-dense foods, not energy-dense foods.

Today's POWER-UP: Here are some nutrient-dense Superfoods for you to consider:

· LEAFY GREENS – SWISS CHARD, KALE, MUSTARD/COLLARD GREENS, SPINACH, DANDELION, SEAWEED… THESE HAVE BY FAR THE HIGHEST ANTIOXIDANT DENSITY PER CALORIE. GREENS ARE ALSO PACKED WITH MINERALS LIKE CALCIUM, IODINE AND IRON, WHICH ARE GREAT FOR BONE STRENGTH, THYROID HEALTH AND ENERGY.

· SMALL FATTY FISH – SARDINES, PERCH, TILAPIA, SALMON, HERRING, ANCHOVIES… THE OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS IN FISH HELP WITH CIRCULATION, CONCENTRATION AND PAIN RELIEF. FISH IS ALSO A GREAT SOURCE OF PROTEIN AND CALCIUM. TO AVOID HEAVY METALS, AVOID LARGE FISH LIKE TUNA, SWORDFISH AND SHARK.

· LEGUMES – LENTILS, CHICKPEAS, BLACK/KIDNEY/NAVY/CANNELLINI BEANS… LEGUMES ARE THE LEAST EXPENSIVE PROTEIN SOURCE AND ARE PACKED WITH FIBRE AND B VITAMINS.

· BERRIES – BLUEBERRIES, BLACKBERRIES, CRANBERRIES, STRAWBERRIES, CHERRIES, GOJI/ACAI BERRIES… DON’T LET THEIR SWEETNESS FOOL YOU – BERRIES ARE A SUPERFOOD FULL OF TISSUE-HEALING ANTIOXIDANTS AND FIBRE.

· ROOT VEGETABLES – GINGER, TURMERIC, GARLIC, ONIONS, SWEET POTATOES, RADISHES, BEETS…. THESE ARE DISEASE-FIGHTING, ENERGY-BOOSTING, PAIN-RELIEVING MIRACLE FOODS! BESIDES MAKING OUR MEALS BURST WITH FLAVOUR, THEY PROVIDE US WITH AN EXCELLENT NUTRITION BOOST.

· SPROUTS: WHETHER TALKING ABOUT LENTIL, CLOVER OR ALFALFA SPROUTS, EATING THE PLANT AT THIS EARLY STAGE OF LIFE IS A NUTRITIONAL BONUS. SPROUTS HAVE MORE ENZYMES, VITAMINS, MINERALS AND AMINO ACIDS THAN ALMOST ANY OTHER FOOD ON EARTH! THE FACT THAT THEY ARE ALSO CHEAP, HAVE VERY LITTLE CALORIES AND ARE EASY TO INCORPORATE INTO MEALS MAKES THEM SUPER!

· CHIA SEEDS: YES, THESE SEEDS ARE THE VERY SAME AS THE ONES WE USED TO SPREAD ON POTTERY AND WATCH GROW AS KIDS. A NUTRITIONAL ANALYSIS WAS DONE ON THESE TINY SEEDS AND IT TURNS OUT THEY ARE THE HIGHEST PLANT SOURCE OF OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS IN EXISTENCE WHICH MAKES THEM EXCELLENT FOR BRAIN AND HEART HEALTH.

· SPIRULINA: THIS NUTRITIONAL POWERHOUSE IS CONSIDERED PART OF THE ALGAE FAMILY. IT IS PACKED WITH MINERALS, INCLUDING ONE OF THE ONLY SOURCES OF THYROID BOOSTER, IODINE. 60% OF THIS GREEN POWDER IS PROTEIN BY WEIGHT (CONTAINING EVERY SINGLE ESSENTIAL AMINO ACID THAT HUMANS NEED). SPIRULINA ALSO CONTAINS FOUR TIMES AS MUCH VITAMIN B12 AS LIVER. ADD THIS TO YOUR DIET ASAP! WE USE SPIRULINA IN OUR MORNING SMOOTHIES.

· POMEGRANATE SEEDS: NEVER BEFORE HAVE WE SEEN A FRUIT THAT HAS AS MUCH CARDIO-PROTECTIVE BENEFIT AS POMEGRANATE. RESEARCH HAS FOUND THAT IT CAN LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE AND REDUCE INFLAMMATION IN OUR BLOOD VESSELS, ACTUALLY REDUCING THE RISK OF HEART ATTACK AND STROKE.

· TURMERIC: THIS MILD TASTING ORANGE SPICE IS OFTEN PART OF INDIAN CURRIES, BUT IT CAN BE ADDED TO NEARLY EVERY MEAL SUBTLY. THE BENEFITS OF THE ACTIVE INGREDIENT, CURCUMIN, SEEM ENDLESS. CURCUMIN ACTUALLY SLOWS DOWN AGE-RELATED COGNITIVE DECLINE AND PREVENTS ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE. IT ACTS AS A POTENT PAIN RELIEVER, SOOTHES REFLUX DISEASE AND STOPS CLOT FORMATION IN OUR BLOOD VESSELS. THIS IS CERTAINLY A SUPER SPICE!

REMEMBER IT’S ALL ABOUT EATING AS HEALTHY AS YOU CAN. JUST USE COMMON SENSE AND DON’T WORRY ABOUT BEING EXACT.

The Keys to Eating Smarter - #2: Eat Mostly Plants

The Keys to Eating Smarter - #2: Eat Mostly Plants

Key #2: Eat Mostly Plants

Dr. Frank Hu’s team at the Harvard School of Public Health published a research paper that caught my attention. Dr. Hu combined hundreds of individual studies (creating a “meta” study) to determine if there is a relationship between the amount of fruits and vegetables that someone eats and how they die. His analysis tracked more than 833,000 people.

He found that for each serving of fruits and vegetables you eat, your risk of dying from a chronic disease decreased. Interestingly, after five servings of fruits and vegetables, the risk did not decrease any more. So if you get five servings every day, you’re good to go!

The primary benefit of eating a diet based mostly on plants is to increase the amount of vitamins, minerals and nutrients in your diet. These have anti-oxidant properties that help to keep you healthy. Excessive oxidation of molecules in the body can affect their structure and function. Think of this like when metal is exposed to oxygen in the air it can rust. You see this quickly if you’ve cut open an apple and left it exposed to air and seen the pulp turn brown. The scientific term for this process is oxidative stress. Anti-oxidants slow and minimize this process in our bodies.

One of the best best-known anti-oxidants is Vitamin C, but other vitamins such as the vitamin E family act as anti-oxidants. Foods that are high in vitamin C include bell peppers, guava fruit, leafy green vegetables, kiwi fruit, broccoli, berries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, peas, and papayas. Foods high in vitamin E include tofu, spinach, nuts, seeds, avocado, shellfish, cold-water fish, plant oils (like olive oil), broccoli, and squash and pumpkin.

When you head into the dining hall or your kitchen at home, keep your eyes open for bright colours. Grab an apple at lunch, a handful of carrots for snacks, and eat your veggies at dinner.

Today's POWER-UP: Learn some great vegetarian meals

INTERESTED IN EATING MORE PLANT-BASED MEALS? CHECK OUT RICH ROLL’S COOKBOOK THE PLANT POWERED WAY FOR SOME TERRIFIC RECIPES. HTTPS://WWW.RICHROLL.COM/THE-PLANTPOWER-WAY/

ANOTHER GO-TO COOKBOOK IN OUR FAMILY IS OH SHE GLOWS BY ANGELA LINDON. HTTP://OHSHEGLOWS.COM/THE-BOOK/

The Keys to Eating Smarter - #1: Hydrate

The Keys to Eating Smarter - #1: Hydrate

Eating smarter can help you in all aspects of your life. The solution lies in each of us building a lifestyle that helps us to be healthy, happy and to be our best. Here's the first key to eating smarter.

eat smarter 5.jpeg

Key #1: Hydrate

Quick! What’s the most important thing for health? Breathing? Yes, stop breathing and you’ll die in a few minutes. How about the second most important thing for staying alive? Water.

Stop drinking for a few days and you stop living. Did you hear the remarkable story of the Bangladeshi woman who survived 17 days in the wreckage of a collapsed garment building? She managed that near impossible feat because she had found some bottled water.

There is not a single cell in your body that does not rely on water. Water helps transport the carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that your cells need to make energy. Think of your veins and arteries as your city’s roads and highways. These roads are used to bring goods into the city but also to transport unwanted materials out. If this transportation is slowed, the result is a city that is starving for goods and overflowing with garbage.

Your body’s water molecules are the trucks on the roadways, transporting the nutrients your cells need to make energy. Water makes up 80% of your blood’s volume, so dehydration really messes with the delivery of all the nutrients your body needs.

Sixty percent of your body weight is water, but incredibly water makes up almost 90% of your brain. With a fluid loss of only 2%, concentration and thinking will become impaired. This 2% loss is incredibly common during a typical day at school.

Drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water each day (75oz or 2.3 L for a 150lb person). Increase your intake with stress (like exam time), extreme temperatures (hot summers and cold winters) and exercise (go team!).

Make drinking water part of your 24-hour athlete routine. Take a water bottle to every class and fill it up a few times every day. Stay hydrated to excel in daily life and move toward your dream.

Today's POWER-UP: Get Hydrated!

So make drinking water part of your daily routine.

Get a water bottle and keep it with you and fill it up a few times every day. Water is just as important at work as it is in the gym!

Stay hydrated, stay healthy and Be Better! 

Eat Smarter to Learn Better

Eat Smarter to Learn Better

Last year, I presented at a high school about how to apply the skills and techniques of Olympians to get better marks. After the talk, a student asked me what he could do to ace his SAT exam. It was still a couple of months away, so he had time to do some things that would help – starting with food. Here is what I suggested:

The first thing that we did was to start eating healthy carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Your brain needs slow digesting complex carbohydrates to provide a steady source of glucose, which is the fuel your brain uses for thinking, solving problems, being creative and instilling memories. You need high quality fats because fats are used to build the structures in your nerves like cell membranes and the myelin sheath that protects the nerve and speeds communication between neurons. Healthy fats can be found in cold-water fish (organic / wild, not farmed salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel and trout), flaxseed, walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, olive oil, avocado, and coconut. Proteins provide amino acids that are the precursors for the chemicals called neurotransmitters that are used at the synapses between neurons to communicate between nerve cells.

Eating breakfast has been consistently shown to improve academic performance, so I also made sure that he was eating a great breakfast every morning (protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates).

We also made sure that he got some polyphenols into his system every day, as they seem to improve memory, learning and cognition. Polyphenols are found in berries, kiwis, cherries, plums, black grapes, yellow onions, kale, coffee, and green and black tea. Foods high in polyphenols are also often high in vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals are also key as they are used in the many intracellular processes that enable the nerves to function and they my even prolong the survival of individual nerve fibers!

I advised him to drink water all day. A high-functioning and energy-efficient brain needs lots of water. A study looked at the amount of brain activation required to complete tasks when hydrated vs. dehydrated and found that when dehydrated, subjects exerted a higher level of neuronal activity in order to achieve the same performance level.

I also asked him to avoid saturated fats and sugars. These poor nutrients reduce the ability of neurons to grow and make new connections, which is exactly what needs to happen for learning.

Today's POWER-UP: Nutrition Habits for SuperLearning

For optimal brain function, learning and memory you should do the following:

1. Eat breakfast. Ideally this should contain healthy fats, lean protein and healthy complex carbohydrates.

2. Have coffee or tea before learning or major mental tasks. Be careful not to have caffeine for about 6 hours before you plan on falling asleep.

3. Eat foods high in polyphenols. I suggest some berries (or other source you like) mid-morning and mid-afternoon.

4. Drink water throughout the day.

5. Avoid sugars, refined carbohydrates, processed foods and saturated fats.

Dive Deeper: The Exam Day Nutrition and Activation Plan

Wake up 6:30

Shower - hot water really hot!

Bring all your stuff downstairs

Breakfast

Recommend eggs (3-4) Avocado, some veggies, whole grain toast with coconut oil.

Water and green tea

7:45 drive to test for 8:15 arrival

Go for a hard 5-10 min walk

Drink some coffee or tea at 8:25. Cold if needed.

Go inside at 8:30.

Relax and chill

Bring nuts with you. Eat 1 big handful at 8:50

Sip water all morning.

Kick some ass.

Eat Smarter to Think Clearly

Eat Smarter to Think Clearly

Food has a tremendous impact on your brain and how it functions. The individual cells in your brain are called neurons and we have about 80-100 billion of them. Each neuron has about 2000 connections with other neurons, which creates trillions of links (called synapses) between brain cells. These connections are what enables us to think, learn, create, solve problems and build memories. When the neurons of a particular part of the brain are activated, a given synapse can fire up to 200 times per second! That’s a whole lot of energy getting consumed.

With all that activity, quality food is critical to achieve optimal brain function. To perform at your absolute best mentally – and to be uber healthy so that you can go after your passion and purpose – you need to eat as well as you can.

  • You need slow-digesting complex carbohydrates to provide a steady source of glucose, which is the fuel your brain uses for thinking, solving problems, being creative and instilling memories.
  • You need high-quality fats, because fats are used to build the structures in your nerves like cell membranes and the myelin sheath that protects the nerve and speeds communication between neurons.
  • You need healthy proteins to provide the amino acids that are the precursors for the neurotransmitters used to communicate between nerve cells.
  • You need vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables for the intracellular processes that enable the nerves to function and even prolong the survival of individual nerve fibres.

Guess what you should be eating to fuel your thinking, creativity, problem solving and memory? That’s right – whole, fresh, unprocessed foods. Cold-water fatty wild fish. Fruits and veggies. Raw nuts and seeds. Olive oil. Coffee, green tea and black tea are all good options.

So keep thinking about what you’re eating and making good choices at school and at home. After all, school is all about building a better brain. You want to do well on assignments, remember what you studied last month, and deepen your knowledge every day. Use food as brain fuel.

Today's POWER-UP: The Brain Power Smoothie

ONE WAY TO PACK BETTER BRAIN FOODS INTO YOUR DAY IS THROUGH A MORNING BREAKFAST SMOOTHIE. HERE IS AN EXAMPLE OF ONE THAT IS BRILLIANT FOR YOUR BRAIN:

ONE BANANA

2 HANDFULS OF SPINACH OR KALE

1 TABLESPOON OF GROUND FLAX SEED

½ AVOCADO

1 TEASPOON GRATED GINGER

ABOUT ½ TEASPOON OF TURMERIC ROOT

ABOUT ¾ CUP OF ALMOND MILK (A LITTLE MORE OR LESS DEPENDING ON YOUR PREFERRED THICKNESS)

ADD A SCOOP OF YOUR DESIRED PROTEIN POWDER. LIVING FUEL AND VEGA MAKE GREAT PLANT BASED PROTEINS.

ADD ALL INGREDIENTS TO A BLENDER AND BLEND ON HIGH FOR 60 SECONDS.

Welcome to Eat Smarter!

Welcome to Eat Smarter!

“The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.” – Thomas Edison

When I do presentations on nutrition, I've discovered something very interesting. When I start talking about nutrition and health people politely listen. I can tell that they were not super interested and that there's a lot of the “I’ve heard this so many times before” attitude going around the room. So at another talk I changed things up. I talked about how nutrition can help you to perform better. The talk was at a school so I made reference to foods that can help you do better on exams. Suddenly everyone was taking notes and asking questions. I tried it again at a business where I was talking about how to eat to concentrate better in the afternoon. Once again people paid attention and emailed me asking for my nutrition protocols. The best part about this whole discovery was that I was talking about the same foods that I had previously discussed in the healthy eating talk. Focusing on performance made all the difference.

The message is that we have to link eating smarter to what we care about. So what do you care about most? What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning and take on the world? Then eat smarter to help you do that better. Food helps us perform better at sports, academics, business, drama and music. Eating smarter is how we can experience exponential growth in our lives.

Eating healthy, great tasting food is possible - even necessary – and doing so will dramatically improve your life and the lives of those around you. Let’s set the stage for making that happen for you and for the rest of the world.

Today's POWER-UP: What Food Guide Should You Follow?

OUR FOOD GUIDES THAT ARE ISSUED BY THE GOVERNMENTS ARE OUTDATED AND THEY ARE INFLUENCED BY THE FOOD INDUSTRY TO SUCH AN EXTENT THAT THE RECOMMENDATIONS DO NOT ENHANCE YOUR HEALTH, ALTHOUGH THEY DO KEEP PEOPLE EMPLOYED. WE KNOW THAT DAIRY IS NOT ALWAYS HEALTHY FOR HUMANS YET IT FORMS A MAJOR PART OF THE FOOD GUIDE. WE KNOW THAT ADDED SIMPLE SUGARS ARE ADDICTIVE AND CAN INCREASE YOUR RISK OF CANCER YET THEY REMAIN A KEY PART OF THE NUTRITION GUIDELINES WE ARE TOLD TO FOLLOW.

A MORE SPECIFIC EXAMPLE OF THE PROBLEMS IS THAT THE FOOD GUIDES PUT ALL PROTEIN SOURCES TOGETHER AS EQUALLY HEALTHFUL SOURCES. RED MEAT, POULTRY AND BEANS ARE ALL CONSIDERED THE SAME WHEN IT COMES TO SOURCES OF PROTEIN DESPITE PROCESSED MEAT CONSUMPTION BEING ASSOCIATED WITH INCREASED RISK OF CANCER AND BEANS HAVING BEEN SHOWN TO IMPROVE HEALTH, BODY COMPOSITION AND RESISTANCE TO DISEASE.

THE FIRST STEP TO GETTING HEALTHY AND PERFORMING AT YOUR BEST IS TO GO BEYOND THE CANADA FOOD GUIDE AND THE USDA MYPYRAMID AND BUILD A NUTRITION PLAN THAT ENHANCES YOUR HEALTH USING THE KEYS THAT I'LL BE SHOWING YOU IN THE UPCOMING POSTS. IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A FOOD GUIDE THAT IS ACTUALLY BASED ON RESEARCH CHECK OUT THE HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL’S HEALTHY EATING PLATE, OR EVEN BETTER BRAZIL’S HEALTHY EATING RECOMMENDATIONS.