Five Essential Tips to Keep the Food Coma Away

Don’t we all have the moment when after a great and sumptuous lunch break, drowsiness starts to sink in? The struggle to stay awake at the meeting scheduled at the untimely 2pm and before you know it, you are on your third cup of joe of the day. Food coma or postprandial somnolence is a real condition and it can happen to anyone of us. Generally, food coma occurs after you have a heavy meal that is high in calories follows by a sedentary lifestyle in the office.

Here are five essential tips to help curb that food coma, so you would not be nodding your head off the next meeting.

Taking smaller meals

Having a large meal packed with high fat and calories during your lunch break leaves you feeling like a slump and studies have shown that some food may cause further drowsiness much more than others. Dairy, oatmeal and your choice of tea are some of the culprits. Replacing them with a well-balanced diet such as grains, unsaturated fats and proteins are essential in your overall health as it helps you to preserve more energy throughout the day.

Drink a non-sweetened beverage after lunch

Ditch your cuppa of milo, 100% sugar bubble teas, and opt for water or tea at the pantry. While the sugar from the beverages will cause an initial surge to your glucose, the feeling of sluggishness will sure kick in after it wears off. Additionally, sugared beverages will lead to dehydration which causes fatigue.

Drinking plenty of fluids such as water throughout the day will fare much better for your system and your energy will not deplete as quickly.

Allowing sufficient rest the day before

Having sufficient rest is always vital for your health and despite your busy schedule, try to kick in 8-9 hours of sleep. Your food coma is also due to sleep debt and poor food choices such as having fast food regularly and meals with high unsaturated fat content. We usually set an alarm for work but another tip that you should adopt is to set an alarm for bedtime and switch your mobile device into silent/do not disturb mode to prevent interrupted sleep. With sufficient rest, you will feel more energised for work and it will boost your overall mood.

Engaging in light physical activity

No, you don’t have to sweat it out by joining a yoga class nor go for a run during your lunch break but a short 10 minutes stroll and stairs climbing will definitely help. Carrying out light stretches and short meditation can also be helpful as these activities keep you awake and enhance your muscular relaxation. Being mindful heightens your awareness and provides a better focus on your work.

Opt for complex carbohydrates 

Complex carbohydrates constitute of fibre and starch which takes a longer time to be digested hence making you feel fuller compared to your simple carbohydrates. Examples of complex carbohydrates are whole grains, oats, legumes, nuts, fruits and vegetables. Foods such as pasta, pizzas, packaged snacks and mainly white carbohydrates make up your simple carbohydrates and high intake of them will exacerbate sleepiness. Despite the popular diet trends such as ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting, carbohydrates should not be neglected and avoided completely. Carbohydrates, when broken down, give our body supplies of energy and the right carbohydrates aid in weight control and guard against chronic condition such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Fats Fact: Are All Dietary Fats Bad?

With Christmas and Lunar New year exiting less than 2 months ago, the subconsciousness of being more conscious of what we are eating slowly creeps in. “Do I look fat in this?” “Am I eating too many calories?” “Trans fats? Saturated Fats? – If it is fats, it must be bad.”

Well, fret not! You will be surprised to find out that not all fats are bad. And in fact, fats are essential to our diet.

What are fats?

Fats are a type of macronutrient whose main functions are to provide energy for our body and provide body insulation. They also play a crucial role in protecting our internal organs and maintaining hormonal balance. While all types of fats share the common feature of being the most energy-dense macronutrient (9 calories per gram), not all fats are made to be equal in quality. Fats come in different forms and each type of fat is processed differently by our body. Here are some brief insights into the different types of fats.

The Good fats: Unsaturated fats

There are two main types of unsaturated fats: – Polyunsaturated (Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats) and Monounsaturated fats. Foods such as walnuts, chia seeds and salmon are very rich in omega 3 fats while foods such as avocado, olive oil and almonds have high amounts of monounsaturated fats. Incorporating high unsaturated fat foods in your diet will definitely do wonders to your health. Not only does it promote brain health and cell growth but they also aid in lowering Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL aka the bad cholesterol) cholesterol levels, thereby reducing the risks of chronic diseases such as heart disease and stroke.

Healthy eating starts with a diet rich in whole foods, including sources of healthy fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, eggs, and olive oil. So the next time you reach out for those buttery biscuits, remind yourself that a handful of walnuts will do you and your heart a whole lot more good.

The Bad fats: Saturated fats and Trans fats

Chowing down a steak or tucking away that extra cookies can be self-gratifying or even rewarding after a long and stressful day at work but a high level of saturated fats in your diet has been proven to raise blood lipids which include LDL cholesterol levels and certain other heart disease risk factors, such as inflammation which is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic conditions.

Unlike unsaturated fats, Saturated fats and Trans fats do the exact opposite. The fats are not easily broken down and in the long run, build up in the body.

Eating Healthier

While diet fads are all the rage these days, it’s always good to read more about the health benefits. When making a choice, make sure to keep these tips in mind.

  1. Know your food labels. – Many popular processed snack foods are high in fat so be sure to check food labels for saturated and trans fats or to just simplify, snack on whole fruits and vegetables instead.
  2. Plant-based over Animal. – Just a move from animal-based fats such as butter to canola oil or olive oil will do your heart health a whole lot of good.
  3. Limit the fats intake. – Consume no more than 5 to 6% of your total daily calories, or no more than 11 to 13g of saturated fat if you follow a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet and avoid Trans fats.

All in all, moderation is always key when it comes to our fat intake. Practice healthy habits by reading food labels and control the necessary food portions to keep you satiated and healthy.

New Year, New Goals – Small Changes for 2020

As we are approaching the new year in less than 30 days, how many of us can proudly raise our hands on completing those 2019 goals? Don’t stop reading just because you are feeling guilty.

Most resolutions fail not because we want to but because priority and changes cut the queue. Research has shown that most people give up along the way because of unrealistic goals. With the coming year, let’s resolve to make lifestyle changes in our life that are easy to pursue. Here are some ideas.

Sleep More

In a survey done by YouGov, an alarming rate of 44 per cent of Singaporean adults get less than seven hours of sleep a night. While our new year resolution typically comprises of losing weight and eating healthy, the importance of sleep is often overlooked.

During sleep,  the body takes time to complete all of the phases needed for muscle repair, memory consolidation and release of hormones regulating growth and appetite. Other then crankiness, the lack of sleep will also deteriorate mental and physical health and in the long run – breaks the body down.

Mindful Eating

In the era of rush where we have to constantly remind ourselves to slow down(but fail). One good habit to practice will be Mindful Eating.

Mindful eating is an approach to food that focuses on individuals’ sensual awareness of the food and their experience of the food – eating and chewing thoroughly as you properly savour the flavour. While this act is likely to tick our patience or your companion’s off, mindful eating is a way of using meditation to help manage your emotions & cravings in relation to your eating habits. People who practice mindful eating has count weight loss and better mental health as one of the more significant changes in their life.

Take A Break

Work can get overwhelming sometimes, and remember, work is endless.

Taking a break is not shirking responsibility but to quicky recharge ourselves to that we can concentrate on our task. Taking a break does not entail to going on a long vacation but simple breaks during office hours can be helpful. Stretching, breathing exercises and going for 15mins power walk can be some ways to get you started.

Drink More Water

We may be sceptical when mom used to say “Drink more water” as a remedy for everything – turns out it may be pretty true. Experts have advised keeping a glass of water by your bed and aim to drink at least 200ml the morning you wake up.

After a night rest without replenishing any liquid, our bodies start to become dehydrated. Hydration is an important function – it lubricates our joints, increases awareness, elevates the mood, boosts cognition and delivers nutrients to the cell.

Breakfast – is It Really the Most Important Meal of the Day?

We have all heard the classic line – “Eat your breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day.” And we have never stopped to wonder if it really is.

This belief has persisted so long because the theory behind it sounds plausible – after our body uses up the energy stored to repair and grow through the night, breakfast is much needed to well, break the fast and replenish the energy, protein, and calcium used throughout the night.

But is breakfast really that important?

Recent studies have proven that the breakfast talk has long been overrated for its’ benefit and from the health aspects standpoint, breakfast is a meal like any other. Rather, experts have come forward to say that – it’s all about what you’re eating. “For some people, eating breakfast helps control cravings,” said Mark Faries, exercise physiologist and behavioural psychologist with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. “For example, if you skip breakfast, you may end up having a much larger lunch where you haven’t made as healthy of choices.” So for those who are having a poor appetite or simply the lack of them in the morning, it’s time to stop stuffing breakfast down your throat and have your meals at a comfortable pace.

For those busy bees that are having trouble balancing healthy eating and busy workload, here are some easy recipes for you to try:

Overnight Oats

Oats are easy to prepare and are known to be substantial energy source throughout the day. Additionally, oats are known to aid in weight loss, lower blood sugar levels, and reduce the risk of heart diseases. Although for some, the bland taste of oats can be an immediate turn-off, here are some variations to help spice things up a little:

Peanut Butter and Jam:

  • 1 tablespoon strawberry jam
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons peanuts, crushed

Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake

  • 2 tablespoons blueberry yogurt
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Pumpkin Pie

  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons pecans, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup

Bacon & Eggs in a Jar

Have your breakfast ready in a matter of minutes with the simple bacon and eggs recipe.

Instructions:

  1. Mix 2 Eggs, a dash of salt & pepper, some fresh spinach and shredded cheese together in a bowl
  2. Pour mixture into a mason jar
  3. Cook in the microwave oven between1:30-2:00 minutes (checking every 30 seconds interval)
  4. The egg mixture will puff up during cooking but deflate when out of the microwave, so don’t freak out if you see it rise higher than the jar (leave the microwave door open for a while to allow air to deflate the mixture)
  5. Top with some additional cheese & bacon crumbles

Chicken vegetable soup

Nothing shouts hearty louder than a bowl of warm goodness. Throw everything into a slow-cooker and wake up to the aroma of perfection.

Ingredients:

  • A large boneless skinless chicken meat
  • corn – cut into portion of 3
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
  • 1/2 cup sliced celery 2 stalks
  • 1/3 cup diced yellow onion
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup orange juice or extra broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 5 cups chicken broth or stock
  • Seasoned salt and pepper

Seasonings

  • 1-2 leaves bay
  • 1 teaspoon chicken seasoning blend or 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • Toppings: low-fat sour cream, fresh cilantro, fresh lime wedges or lime juice
  1. Trim the fat off the chicken breasts or thighs. If using breasts, cut each breast into 3 large even pieces.
  2. Place the chicken breasts or thighs in the bottom of a large slow cooker.
  3. Add in the rinsed corn, thinly sliced carrots, sliced celery, diced onion, quinoa (rinse if not pre-rinsed to remove the bitter saponin coating), orange juice (or extra broth), an undrained can of diced tomatoes, tomato paste, minced garlic, and chicken broth or stock.
  4. Add about 1 teaspoon seasoned salt (or to taste) and 1 teaspoon pepper (or to taste), bay leaves, chicken seasoning blend, cajun seasoning, oregano, ground cumin, and paprika.
  5. Stir and then cover and cook on high for 3-5 hours or until the chicken easily shreds and the quinoa has “popped.” The longer it cooks, the more liquid the quinoa absorbs which is why I don’t recommend cooking on low unless you are fine with a stew. Alternatively, you can add the quinoa in later.
  6. Remove the chicken, shred and return it back into the soup.
  7. Remove the bay leaves and then enjoy the soup topped with optional toppings such as fresh cilantro, fresh lime, sour cream (we use low fat), and additional cajun seasoning, salt, pepper.

If you have tried any of the recommended recipes, please share it with us on Instagram!

Change The Way You Sleep With 5 Easy Sleep Tips

It might seem obvious to most, but unfortunately, the importance of sleep is often overlooked. While many of us are guilty of crossing the seemingly harmless stipulated sleep time by “just another 5 minutes” that eventually turn into 30 minutes. Studies have shown that many of us adult gets less than 7 hours of sleep a night with the majority clocking in between 5 to 6 hours.

While it may seem that devoting time to sleep may come as a luxury to many, sleep is actually essential for muscle repair, memory consolidation and release of hormones that regulate growth and appetite. Lack of sleep is detrimental to the health – inadequate sleep leads to diminished alertness, concentration and psychomotor function. Additionally, there is evidence of immune system impairment leading to increased susceptibility to infection.

If you are ready to make some changes to the way you sleep, below are 5 sleep trends to ensure that you are getting the sleep you need.

1. Weighted Blanket

With health articles raving about the benefits of weighted blankets, these heavyweights are flying off the shelves. If you have been under a cave (or your lightweight blanket) and have not heard, weighted blankets are heavier blankets designed to provide a warm, gentle pressure on the user to mimic the feeling of being hugged. This type of pressure gives the user a calming effect and has been known to curb anxiety and improve sleep.

2. Sleep Tracking APP

Meditation apps are reeling in the money with many pay-to-use features such as tailored music or audio-devices to soothe the user into sleep. But how much do we know about our quality of sleep? If the home sleep test is too pricey for you, how about trying the Sleep Score App by Resmed?

As featured in Washington Post, The New York Times, Wirecutter, Forbes, CNN, Men’s Health, Dr. Oz Show, Huffington Post, USA Today, Business Insider, Digital Trends, etc, The SleepScore App uses sonar technology to record and measure sleep wellness. Through the app, users are able to track, discover and improve on their sleep quality.

3. Turn off the screen

Not using the phone before you sleep is a common knowledge that most of us overlook for the sake of entertainment. According to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the blue light emitted from electronic devices negatively affects sleep, circadian timing, and next-morning alertness. The damage of blue lights to our body although gradual – is not invisible.

4. Exercise, exercise and exercise

Exercise does magic for the body and mind. According to the National Sleep Foundation, those who are physically active report getting better sleep. Just like how muscles repair and recover when you are asleep, exercise helps to increase the amount of time you are in deep sleep But if exercise is not something you are accustomed to, slowly corporate exercises such as stretching and brisk walking into your routine and you will soon find yourself stepping up to more vigorous exercise.

5. Adjust the dinner menu

Other than the usual caffeine to skip, food that sabotages sleep, for example, are the innocent-looking cucumber or celery. Because of the high water content, cucumber, celery, and even watermelon are natural diuretics that may cause you to wake in the middle of the night with a full bladder. On the opposite spectrum, foods that contain the amino acid tryptophan — found in turkey, eggs, chicken, fish, and nuts — have long been known to make you feel drowsy, according to a study published in theJournal of Psychiatric Research.

While many of these tips may seem easy, to be able to take a baby step will be a great move forward, or a great snooze into lalaland.