5 Mindful and Healthy Eating Strategies for The Working Professional
Balancing a healthy and mindful lifestyle with a professional career is no joke. From the early morning runs to running the conference room - being healthy and mindful is a beautiful balancing act - but not at all impossible! Having walked the path of corporate queen and passionate yogi for nearly a decade, you could say I’ve become quite the expert in being a healthy and mindful professional gal. It is an art form in and of itself, but not nearly as impossible as you might think.
The key to achieving this balance is to go step-by-step. And as always, to have compassion and patience with yourself. After all, practicing mindfulness is being conscious of where you are in your health journey.
1. Daily Morning Ritual
We as humans are genuine creatures of comfort and habit. Whether we realize it or not, we are naturally inclined to build routines, paths, or habits that we follow almost daily.
Creating a daily morning ritual helps you to open the day with the mark of an event. It could be something as simple as opening all the blinds and windows in your home, or making your bed every morning - to signify the start of a new day.
In the kitchen, my favorite daily morning ritual is to kickstart my day with a warm lemon water. Lemon water is an amazing source of of vitamin C, as “lemons are high in vitamin C, a primary antioxidant that helps protect cells from damaging free radicals”. In other words, it’s an amazing morning kickstarter that may also “reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, and lower blood pressure”. And who doesn’t want that?! Adding lemon into water can also “[promote] hydration” by “enhancing water’s flavor,” thus “[helping] you [to] drink more”. This is especially useful for those of us who may struggle to drink the recommended “91 ounces [of liquid] per day” for women and “125 ounces” for men — lemon acts as adding a flavourful and healthy punch to our daily liquid intake (1).
2. Eat big and bountiful early on
Whether you are a big breakfast or big lunch eater all depends on you and your style. Some people like to wake up a touch earlier to have more time in the morning to slow down and enjoy the first meal of the day. While others may prefer having the energetic boost of nutrients later on in the cusp of morning and afternoon.
A study published in December 2013 (2), has shown that those “who ate a large breakfast containing fat and protein were able to control their blood sugar levels than those who ate just a small breakfast” (3). While not all of us enjoy having a big meal early on in the day, “some research shows that waiting until lunch to eat your largest meal may still be beneficial” (3). So, if you implement Intermittent Fasting in the morning, you could still benefit from this. For those that eat earlier in the day, they “tend to eat less throughout the course of the day,” saying bye-bye to those afternoon cravings and energy slumps (3).
Ultimately, we want to be more mindful of our meals - especially your first meal of the day. Try to avoid the busy professional habit of grabbing and eating a half sandwich at your monitor. Take the time to make your breakfast or enjoy your lunch with loved ones, friends, and of course, gratitude.
3. Replace your coffee with mushrooms
We all know that too much caffeine to just survive the board room and conference calls can negatively affect our nervous systems.
Rather than continue to curse myself for never being able to completely come off coffee, I’ve instead found a new companion to help me crowd out the caffeine — mushrooms!
No, not the magical kind - although these mushrooms are magical, indeed.
Certain mushrooms have a wide array of health and medicinal benefits for “your energy, brain, hormones, and immune system” (4). Studies have shown that a mushroom like Lions Mane “is effective in improving mild cognitive impairment” and “significantly [increase] scores on the cognitive function scale” (5). So, rather than reaching for your third cup of coffee for the day, why not try a mushroom elixir with Lions Mane to naturally help you focus and get you through the day.
4. Being mindful in the evening
One thing I’ve found that many busy professionals have trouble with is leaving work at work. In our super-charged, super-connected digital world, we have work emails, messages from colleagues and reminders of Tomorrow’s meetings all cropping up in the palm of our hand.
We can be more mindful when we reach our home in the evening by setting your phone on silent mode, turning off notifications and/or sounds, or even putting your phone in a separate room — even if just for an hour!
The best way to unwind from a busy day is to reconnect with the mind-body connection through simple yoga asanas (“poses” in Sanskrit). According to a study done by Harvard, yoga can encourage you to “relieve tension and stress at the end of the day” and help “to get a good night’s rest” (6).
My absolute favourite and most accessible pose of all is Viparita Karani, or Legs Up the Wall Pose - a “restorative, gentle inversion,” that “can be helpful on its own to relax the body” (7). When you relax the mind, you relax the body, in turn “setting the stage for more restful sleep” (7).
Find an empty space on your wall
Place your bum as close to the wall as possible.
Lie on your back and gently please your legs against the wall.
Relax your arms wide or by your side - your choice.
Optional: Add a rolled up mat or cushion beneath your tailbone to give it additional support.
5. Patience is key
In the end, being mindful is a lifelong journey that you can only begin when you take the first step. When you build and create mindful habits throughout the day, you’ll look back one day and appreciate the mindful journey that you have always been on. All it takes is one conscious step after another.
1. McDermott, A. 7 Ways Your Body Benefits from Lemon Water, 2018.
2. The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture Food and Environment Institute of Biochemistry and Food Science, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot, Israel. Big breakfast rich in protein and fat improves glycemic control in type 2 diabetics, 2013.
3. Corleone, J. What should be your biggest meal? 2019.
4. Cole, W, D.C., IFMCP. 7 Adaptogenic Mushrooms + Their Benefits, Explained By A Functional Medicine Doctor.
5. K, Mori. Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial, 2009.
6. Wei, M, MD, JD. Yoga for better sleep, 2015.
7. K, Hope. The Only Yoga Post You Need for Great Sleep.
About the author Josie Ng
Josie Ng is a certified yoga teacher, Reiki practitioner and holistic health coach in training. She helps the modern day human to become the best version of themselves — by bringing the Mind, Body, and Spirit, into happy harmony. Currently residing on the beautiful island of Hong Kong, you will often find her making friends with every stray kitty on the street, stretching at the local yoga studio, or eating her way throughout whichever country she finds herself in.
Josie writes on different health-related topics, always from the heart, with the aim to make your health journey more fun, mindful, ánd simple.