Why you should bring your lunch to work — even though you work in a kitchen

by Laura McWilliams, chefhealthcoach.com

Pack a lunch!

“Why would I need to pack a lunch?,” you might ask. This can be a confusing concept for those of us that work in kitchens. One of the benefits of working in a restaurant is that you get to eat, right? To choose the added expense of groceries when you have “free” food in front of you is a privilege, and one that not everyone has. For those of us who can afford it, however, bringing a lunch makes a huge nutritional difference. Those of us who eat at work everyday need to establish this habit as a first step toward better health.

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At work, we make food as art. Food is an expression of creativity, it is crafted to tell a story and create a feeling in someone. We make this art using the ingredients that are going to taste perfect, and techniques that will elevate the dish to the next level. People love the food that we create, we love the food that we create. People come to our place and eat one of these dishes for dinner and it is really special. They take pictures and tell all of their friends about the amazing meal that they just had.

We eat it non stop, all day, every day. One taste at a time, a plate when we can. We are constantly putting this art in our bodies. This is just not what it was meant for. Our bodies are not designed to run on this rich, salty, complicated food all of the time.

If you ever wonder why you feel run down, why you can’t sleep, why your joints hurt, why you keep gaining weight, why you can’t think clearly, why you keep getting sick, why your skin breaks out, why you are hungry all of the time, why you are never hungry… It’s the sugar and the fried food. It’s the bread and white flour. It’s the salt, the meat, the oils and fats. It’s the soda and energy drinks. It’s the all-day coffee. These foods are not providing your body with the nutrition that it needs to operate at its highest level. These foods are replacing nutritious staples in your diet and could be causing you to be in a constant state of malnutrition.

There is no way to stress enough the importance of having simple, unprocessed, un-restaurant-ized food as the majority of your diet. Our systems run best on simple, whole foods; fruits and vegetables, grains and meats, nuts, seeds and water. Cooking at home can give us the opportunity to create simple meals for ourselves, and simple can still be delicious! Cook and eat foods with minimal amounts of grease, salt, and sugar. You will start to feel better right away.

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It starts with packing your lunch. This small habit can change your life just like it changed mine. I started by bringing a simple sandwich, or a burrito, or leftover soup, or yogurt and granola, or a cliff bar and an apple. Whatever I had around. During my work day, I knew that I had this food to eat, and it kept me on track to not eat a bunch of junk. Not only did I start to feel better right away, but my energy levels improved, and I was less dehydrated. As time went on, I was able to plan for work lunches and meal prep in the time that I used to spend napping.

If a healthier, more energized life is one of your goals, you can start today by adding a nutritious lunch to your workday. Give it a week and see if you can feel the difference!

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