Issue 8 : Food for business
Your computer is the core of your office. You back it up. You keep it clean. You update the software. You safeguard it from viruses. You make sure nothing gets spilled on it. You pamper it. And sometimes, you pray in front of it.
When the computer stops: work stops, productivity stops, communication stops, everything stops. And, most likely, precious billable time gets lost in hours of tech support nightmares. You’ll sacrifice almost anything to keep your computer in good working order.
But, there’s an even more important tool in your creative office -- your health.
As a creative entrepreneur, you live a full life. You are busy all day: running the business, meeting with clients, presenting work, answering emails, managing staff. In the busy-ness of business, you’ll make time to back-up your computer, but not to take care of your body.
But, in truth, the way you do anything is the way you do everything. If you neglect your nutrition and self-care, you are probably also neglecting other parts of your business. Thinking that your physical health doesn’t matter leads to damaging decisions and dangerous consequences.
Poor food choices and a lack of mindfulness on how you care for yourself isn't sustainable. Eventually, your body will give out. You will have less energy. You will get sick. Like a neglected computer, your body will crash.
Instead of putting yourself last on the list of things to care for in your business, move yourself to the top of the list. A healthy body will create a healthy business. Imagine how sharp and focused and energized you will be with a body that is properly rested, powered, and loved.
When Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Empire, was asked: "What is the secret to your success and how do you stay so productive?" Branson replied, "I work out for one hour daily." How many overweight and unhealthy people do you see among the people who experience great success in doing work they truly enjoy?
Here are some of my personal self-care rules that have been a big part of my path to a business success:
1. Eat breakfast. Breakfast really is the most important meal of your day. Your first meal breaks the fast you experienced from not eating all night, so your body is especially sensitive to your first food choice. This meal is the initial boost of energy you’ll use to create momentum for the rest of the day. A balanced breakfast with a healthy dose of protein will serve you well.
2. Replace sodas or “energy” drinks with water. The amount of caffeine, sugar and other disease-causing chemicals in what we drink is out of control. The more often you drink these types of drinks, the more you will experience highs and lows in your energy level throughout the day and set yourself up for a restless night of sleep. These drinks will NEVER (ever) help you be more productive.
3. Eat fresh, not frozen. Frozen foods may seem convenient and healthy enough but they are loaded with salt and preservatives that you don't want in your system on a daily basis. The frozen pizza you are heating up was most likely prepared weeks prior in a mass corporate kitchen. Food communicates love when carefully, thoughtfully, and personally prepared. What message is that pizza communicating?
4. Take a one-hour lunch. Eating lunch at your desk while reading emails is not really giving your body and mind a break. Treat your lunch hour as a sacred space for yourself where you can slow down, rest, energize and reflect. I recommend a short walk, some fresh air and some quiet time. If you can fit in a 15 minute nap, you're golden.
5. Snack on veggies. Make it a rule: if Mother Nature didn't make it, don't eat it. Snacking on plant-based foods will give you a boost of energy and a clear mind. Instead of reaching for that bag of chips, pretzels or a factory-made protein bar, keep some broccoli, carrots or celery handy.
6. Eat in more often. Five years ago, I spent a year in culinary school. (I wasn’t making a career change, just checking off an item on my bucket list.) What I learned about restaurant cooking changed my eating habits forever. Restaurants look to maximize profits in their business (just as you do in yours), so they will shave costs in any way they can. This includes skimping on the quality of the ingredients that go into the foods you eat. Take your food into your own hands and be in control of what goes into your body. Do your own shopping and make your own meals… or hire someone to do it for you (this is a valid business expense!).
Caring for your physical health requires the same kind of investment of your time, money and energy as caring for your business health. And, it’s equally worth your while. If you want to shift your habits into healthy ones, it's up to you to create the time to do so.
One exercise I give my clients is to dedicate one hour every Sunday to plan their week and design their calendar. Part of that exercise can include choosing what you will eat that week.
Your business and your life are a reflection of the choices you make every day. Make better, healthier choices and you'll reap the benefits. Feed yourself well and you’ll feed your business, too.
Chrsitine Fisher of Blue Marble Creative asks : "Who picks up the check when having meals with clients and/or prospective clients?"
My rule of thumb is paying for client dining is a business and marketing expense. Especially if it is a client that you are courting.
Generally, I don't like to meet prospective clients for the first time over a meal. I prefer a meeting in a more professional setting that can follow up with a more casual meal.
To avoid confusion of who is paying, let the client know ahead of time that lunch is on you by (1) saying something like : "I'd love to treat you to lunch and get a chance to have a conversation about..." or "Let me take you to lunch and we can discuss ..." and (2) YOU pick the place so it's within your budget. Avoid any confusion ahead of time by having a clear agreement in place.
Sometimes a client or a prospect will insist on picking up the tab. That's a good sign. It shows that they are interested in you. If this does happen, insist on paying the bill next time. This way you are planting a seed that there is going to BE a next time!
"Thank you for the treat. We feel like we should be the ones picking up the tab but we are grateful and would love to do the same the next time we dine!"
Got a question you think other entrepreneurs can benefit from? Send it to email@example.com
Often times, the one thing that stands in our way from having a healthy breakfast is the time it takes to prepare it. Our mornings seem to slip through our fingers and sometimes four or five hours can pass by before you realize you are starving.
Here's a great solution I found to a quick and healthy breakfast — a green protein shake. I drink this shake every morning, same delicious recipe every day. You would think that after months of having the same thing for breakfast I would get bored but surprisingly (even to me!) I wake up craving this deliciousness.
My kitchen is always stocked with the all the ingredients. I drink this shake and it keeps me energized until lunchtime. Give it a seven day test and see how you feel!
Preparation time: 4 minutes
Clean up time: 2 minutes
Peleg Top's green morning smoothie
1 cup of coconut water
Half of an avocado (I keep a supply of them in my freezer)
8-10 raw almonds
Handful of Kale (also stocked in my freezer)
2-3 Medjool Dates
1 cup of frozen pineapple (or mango)
2 tablespoons of ground Flax Meal
Dash of Bee Pollen
1 teaspoon of Coconut Butter
1 serving of protein powder of your choice (make sure it's low on sugar)
Ice cubes to make it frothy
Mix all the ingredients in a blender until smooth and creamy (add a bit of water to thin out if needed), stick a straw in it and enjoy!