We are all busy. All the time. Busy has become a badge of honour in this day and age. Is this a good thing? Is this destructive long-term? These are questions better answered in another post. But the fact remains that most of us have a lot on our plates. This is just a reality of the world that we live in. We want (demand) the most from our lives, and why not? We work hard and play hard. This is especially true of those working in high stress and high performance careers—such as our front-line nurses, paramedics, firefighters and police officers. Throw in shift work and life gets even more complicated!
In order to keep up with our busy lives it is important to take good care of ourselves. And to me, that means starting with the foundation of good health—food. Good nutrition is essential for a multitude of reasons:
- We need a strong base from which to start
Feeling well and balanced serves to provide us with the energy and motivation to get things done. Starting that 3 foot long to-do list can be daunting at the best of times but when you are exhausted, suffering from a headache, constantly running to the bathroom, or dealing with other ailments, it can be that much more difficult. Feeling physically good on a day-to-day basis is important and the right food can help us to achieve this.
- We need high quality fuel to keep us going
Running to hockey practice, piano lessons, or dance class after an 8+ hour work day is tough (so I have heard). Ensuring that we have nutrient dense food at the ready means that we can provide our bodies with what they need to run optimally. The right combination of macro-nutrients (carbohydrates, fat, and protein) is necessary to provide fuel to our bodies’ energy systems. I guarantee that a drive through junk food snack will not provide you with the same positive outcome as homemade power balls.
- Disease prevention
Living a full life should not come at the expense of our health. Stress is an often unavoidable part of a busy and full life. And as we know, stress is an etiological factor in the development of many (most I would argue) diseases. But here is the good news! We can help to mitigate the effects of a high-stress lifestyle and career through nutrition! Providing our bodies with macro and micro-nutrients best suited to our biochemical individuality serves to support our bodies’ natural systems. Our bodies’ are constantly trying to move towards homeostasis (balance) so if we provide the right tools through our food choices, we can help our bodies’ to do their own thing and keep us healthy.
Good nutrition provides us with a strong foundation. From there we can take on all of the challenges that life presents us with and build the lives that we want and deserve. Of course good sleep, exercise, and strong relationships are also key to our overall well-being but a focus on nutrition is an important part of maintaining health.