Pack a lunch.

I am going to start this month of energy boosting posts with my hardest sell. It’s pack a lunch.

Pack a lunch? Why? It was a hard one for me, as well. 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 I didn’t always have. One that not everyone has. But those of us who can swing it, it makes a difference. It’s worth the time. Hear me out.

We industry folks are known for taking things too far. People enjoy having a drink to celebrate. Industry folks take that to the highest degree- all the drinking, all of the time. People go to work and earn a paycheck. Industry folks like to work all of the time. We work and work and work.We love our work and want to do more and more. We go home and keep working. We socialize with work folks and talk about work.

It’s no surprise that food is the same way. 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.

I am going to voice an unpopular opinion here and say that is just not what it was meant for. Our bodies are not designed to run on this 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 looks like crap, why you are hungry all of the time, why you are never hungry.

It’s the sugar.

It’s the fried food.

It’s the bread and white flour.

It’s the salt.

It’s the meat.

It’s the oils and fats.

It’s the soda and energy drinks.

It’s the all day coffee.

Have you ever noticed how sometimes you can drink beer or straight whiskey all night and feel ok the next day but if you have one fancy mixologist cocktail and you feel like death?

Things all mixed together have a different effect on our systems. There is no way to stress enough the importance of having simple, unprocessed, un restaurantized foods in your diet. Resist the urge to complicate things when you are cooking at home, except for special occasions. Cook and eat foods with minimal amounts of fat and salt and sugar. You will start to feel better right away.

Oh, and pack a lunch. This small habit changed my life. I started 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 crap. Having home food is the most nourishing thing that you can do for your body at work. Give it a week and see what a difference it makes in your energy levels.

Laura Mcwilliams