One of the big risks when you're working, writing and generally desking it all day is malnutrition. We often want to reach for something quick and easy when we're on a roll with our latest story or essay because interrupting the mind for too long will take an additional 20 minutes to get back into it.
But one of the most important things you can do as a writer is nourish your body properly and keep your brain topped up with the right vitamins and nutrients.
Tricks and Tips to Stay Healthy as a Writer
1. Take extra vitamin A and don't stress your eyes too much.
2. Move your body at least 45 minutes every day: walking, running, yoga, sports, whatever. Don't forget to work in some weight training at least 3-4 days/week. Carrying your laptop doesn't count as lifting weights.
3. Prep healthy foods one day a week. Cut up veggies and fruits and store in containers. Throw together a big salad for the week (leave out "watery" veggies like tomatoes and cucumbers to keep the salad greens crisp!), cube up cheese and crackers, make a pot of soup, store energy bars, brew tea or blend healthy juices in advance, and invest in a crockpot for "set it and forget it" dinners. One day of prep gives you six days of writing uninterrupted!
Here are some recipes to keep the creative juices flowing and the energy levels up.
My Go-To Herbal Tea For Brain Power
I love making a loose leaf tea blend from milky oat tops or oatstraw, nettles, hibiscus, and gingko biloba. You can find these ingredients at a health food or health grocery store, or order online from Mountain Rose Herbs. Blend the herbs together in equal parts in a bowl, place a heaping tablespoon in a tea bag or ball, place in your mug o' choice, pour over hot water and let steep for five minutes. Add some honey to taste because the gingko is a little bitter. The oatstraw is fantastic for B vitamins and calcium, nettles are a good source of iron, hibiscus gives you a Vitamin C boost and gingko provides energy. Think of it as Nature's 5-hour Energy drink.
Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Juices and Smoothies
It’s not just the latest fad. Juicing removes the insoluble fiber from the vegetables and fruits you push through the machine. While fiber is part of a healthy diet, by removing the insoluble fiber, we drink a condensed version of the fruits and vegetables, which in turn creates a powerful, gut cleansing, brain boost. Smoothies or blends offer a more palatable way to benefit from the fruits and vegetable you wouldn’t otherwise eat. Blending is also faster than juicing, produces less waste, and is more cost effective.
4 kale leaves
½ lime, peeled
½ cup (125 ml) chilled coconut water
Wash all produce well.
Add kale, apples, and lime through juicer. Enjoy.
2 kale leaves, washed
½ cup chilled coconut water
½ cup chilled water
juice of 1 lime
1 apple, washed, cored and quartered
½ avocado, peeled and pit removed
Place kale and waters into blender and blend until green juice consistency.
Stop the blender.
Add lime juice, apple (and avocado if using and ½ cup of water) and blend until smooth. Enjoy.
Go Raw with Maximilian Bircher-Benner
He was one of the world’s first nutritionists, and he invented muesli, the original overnight oatmeal, over 70 years ago. In his book, Food Science for All, Bircher-Benner advised his patients to eat “raw before cooked” if one was going to eat cooked at all. He was also the first person to point out that our big brains evolved during the billions of years when we were eating raw food.
Raw Cabbage, Carrot and Apple Salad
Simply shred ½ a red cabbage, 1 pound of carrots and 6 apples (cored but not peeled). Add the juice of 1 lemon, ¼ cup of olive oil and salt to taste. Separate into individual sized containers before storing in refrigerator for up to 5 days.
This salad can be eaten as is, added to broth, dry fried in a pan with soy sauce or sweetened with a tablespoon of maple syrup.
Most doctors agree that patients who eat lots of omega-3s maintain brain capacity, concentration, and alertness much better as they age. Get your omega-3 fatty acids from oily, cold-water fish, such as salmon, mackerel, or trout.
Scrub and thinly slice 3 medium red potatoes; peel and slice an onion, mince a garlic clove, wash and pat dry 4 skinless salmon filets
Melt some butter in a large fry pan with some olive oil; add potatoes, onion and garlic and cook, stirring until the potatoes are translucent (4-6 minutes)
Add 1/3 cup orange juice and 1/2 cup white wine to the pan; stir, cover then cook for 10 minutes.
Arrange salmon on top of potatoes; season with parsley, salt and pepper; reduce heat, cover and cook for 8-10 minutes.
Serve with bright green string beans on the side.
Let me know some of your favorite recipes to save time and boost brain power in the comments. Bon appetit!