When I moved to Hong Kong over ten years ago, I worked in corporate banking. My days were long. The pressure was high. And every day, after lunch - without fail - I would sit at my desk, struggling to keep my neck upright and my eyes focused on the screens. Sometimes....(and I feel like I have to write this in really small font because it is so deeply embarrassing....)
sometimes...I would go to the toilet just so that I could shut my eyes for a few minutes and have some relief from that overwhelming fatigue that was "the post-lunch slump".
And to top it all off, I felt like lunch kicked off a surprise pregnancy. Suddenly, my waistline expanded and I couldn't fit comfortably into my clothes anymore. The bloating combined with the endless sitting made me fidgety and self-conscious.
I couldn't wait to get home and put on my "fat pants".
How do we stop the bloating and post-lunch slump?
There are a few components to this - and not all of them have to do with nutrition.
STRESS MANAGEMENT is key.
Our lizard brain does not distinguish between stressors. So whether we are running to get to that meeting on time, nervous about having a difficult conversation or managing personal anxiety -- our body reacts to all those stressors in the same way:
Our body puts itself in "fight or flight" mode. What this means is that our mind tells our gut to shut things down to prepare itself to deal with the stressor. Our digestive fire gets extinguished. And guess what? As we get older, our body produces less stomach acid anyway. So we have a double whammy to contend with!
WHAT CAN WE DO?
We can STOP multi-tasking while we eat and just take that time to...well...eat. And for a few tips on how to actually do this, please check out my interview with mindfulness expert Alexa Massingham, owner of Mind Body Matters.
We can break a sweat at least 4x a week.
ESTROGEN DOMINANCE -- which is extremely common in many of us ladies and brings us PMS symptoms like sore breasts -- is also responsible for bloating, water retention and weight gain. Exercising regularly helps our body clear the excess estrogen from our body and relieve these symptoms.
We can support our body's ability to cope with stress by nourishing our adrenal glands. And the first thing we should do here is TRADE THE COFFEE FOR A MACA.
Coffee is a diuretic which makes our body pee away all the water soluble nutrients, like Vitamin C, that our adrenal glands so desperately need to function properly.
Check out my favourite maca drink and try it today!
And for lunch, how about trying this recipe. It'll give the adrenals the nourishment they need AND it will keep you alert and productive right through the afternoon.
- 3/4 cup of raw sugar snap peas (take the ends off and de-string)
- 1 cup of grilled broccoli florets (I usually make too much grilled broccoli for dinner the night before and use them chilled for lunch the next day)
- a handful of chopped cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 of small avocado
- 1/2 a yellow capsicum, chopped
- 1/4 cup of cooked quinoa
- 1 grilled chicken thigh
- a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds
- salt, pepper, paprika
Wash all the veggies.
If you don't have broccoli leftovers, grill your portion in a toaster oven or steam them until you can put your fork through the trunk (about 3-5min).
Make the quinoa according to the instructions on the packet, which is usually 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of water or stock. I normally use stock and you can find my stock recipe here. Again - I normally make more than I need the night before to include with my dinner and use the leftovers the next day. For me 1/4 cup of quinoa is enough for the salad. Depending on how hungry you are, you might need more.
Season the chicken thigh with the salt, pepper, paprika & a bit of oil and grill on a cast iron grill until well done. Depending on how big it is, this might take up to 5 minutes on each side. Leave to cool slightly. Or you can substitute this with leftover roast chicken.
Combine all the ingredients and season with salt, pepper, 2 tbspn of olive oil & the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Sprinkle some pumpkin seeds on top for a bit of crunch and texture.
Why is this the Siesta-No-More Lunch?
- Capsicums, tomatoes, sugar snap peas and broccoli are the veggies with some of the highest Vitamin C count to make sure your adrenals are firing all cylinders;
- Avocado is rich in magnesium, the mineral that acts like a spark plug for your adrenals;
- Avocado, broccoli and olive oil are also rich in Vitamin E which protects our adrenals from free radical damage.
- Chicken is high in B vitamins, which also support the adrenal cascade. And when combined with VitC, VitE and magnesium - our body becomes a powerhouse for energy production, taking the pressure off our adrenals.
The energy from this salad recipe is practically dancing off the screen!
You are ready to thrive. No fat pants required.
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