Healthy Eating On The Go

In the daily effort to find a work-life balance, decisions that are health conscious can often take a back seat. Work commitments and family obligations often fill up the entire day, leaving little room for directing energy back into the body to maintain vitality and overall wellness, and it is not uncommon for a self-motivated individual to forget to eat during an intensely busy day. Busy days are standard for Sangita Patel, in her roles as TV Host, Spokesperson, and mom of two. Although she is always on the go, this hasn’t stopped her from making her diet an essential part of each day. Throughout her full day, she intentionally makes choices that are health optimizing. Keeping her schedule and healthy daily checklist on track, Patel has a running start in keeping her body on track as well.

DRINKING MORE WATER

Patel starts her day with a warm mug of water with fresh ginger and lemon to help naturally boost her energy. Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory that provides improved digestion, circulation, and supports a high-stress lifestyle. Lemon aids the body in daily detoxification and enhances the immune system.

Drinking this elixir begins her daily intention to hydrate properly, “I started drinking more water about three years ago, two liters each day, and it changed my life,” explains Patel. She fills up a two-liter bottle of water and finishes it by the end of the day. After a short time of drinking this amount of water, she noticed changes in the moisture of her skin, as well as helping to clear blemishes and other imperfections. It also gave her a boost of energy. Studies show that dehydration can have a noticeable effect if you lose even as little as 2% of your body’s water content. Maintaining proper hydration helps to maximize focus, memory, and a positive mood.

TUNING INTO HER GUT

In 2016 after a trip to Africa, Patel learned that she had contracted a bacteria that triggered Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). “I came back, and my stomach couldn’t handle any foods,” describes Patel. Since then, she has been on a journey to eliminate foods that trigger this digestive inflammation, and increase healing ingredients to help reduce pain and discomfort. She takes a probiotic daily to increase healthy bacteria along with L-glutamine to repair the gut lining. I suggested that Patel remove cow’s dairy, wheat, and any artificial sweeteners as these are hard to digest ingredients that can often be inflammatory culprits for those with IBS. I also suggested meditation as another primary gut-health focus, as managing stress is an incredibly important issue when maintaining a healthy body and mind. Our brain and gut are in constant communication back and forth, like an information superhighway. When stress levels are high, the gut receives messages of stress as well. An inflamed gut can increase anxiety and mood changes. The challenging part is that IBS can cause additional stress due to the discomfort of eating certain foods. By managing stress levels with daily meditation and mindfulness, this can positively impact the gut. Research conducted by the American College of Gastroenterology on the impact of meditation on Irritable Bowel Syndrome showed that when women with severe IBS symptoms practiced mindful meditation regularly for two months, their digestive symptoms significantly subsided.

COUNTING MACROS

Patel tracks the amount of protein, carbs, and fats that work for her energy output. “Macros is a way of life rather than a diet. You have a knowledge of food, an awareness of it. I think counting macros is a great way to enjoy life, enjoying food, and understanding food,” say Patel. She starts the day with bone broth after her morning workout, which provides her with 19 grams of protein. Research illustrates that beginning the day with high protein foods helps decrease activity in the reward centers of the brain, which means fewer cravings for pizza, cookies, and cake. However, that’s not to say she doesn’t indulge. Patel follows the 80/20 rule, where she reaches for quality proteins, fiber-rich carbohydrates, and some healthy fats 80 percent of the time to keep her energized and feeling good. As a self-proclaimed foodie, she won’t pass up a piece of chocolate cake when the temptation arises the remaining 20 percent of the time, as that enjoyment contributes to her feelings of wellbeing. Patel does a lot of traveling with work and attends many functions where she isn’t sure what she’ll eat, but having a knowledge of what works for her body allows her to stay in control of her own health.

On days where she has an event, I suggested that she consume a smoothie before the event so that she’s half full. Drinking this allows for some food enjoyment while keeping on track with options that are best suited for her body. The smoothie contains plant-based, easy to digest fermented protein, a large handful of organic baby spinach to provide fiber and antioxidants, cashews for some healthy fat, and golden berries for their B complex vitamins to maximize the body’s fat-burning abilities.

NOURISHING CONNECTIONS

Although Patel has a demanding schedule, she makes it a priority to maintain a connection with those who are important to her. She sees celebrating life and accomplishments with family, friends, and colleagues as deeply nourishing and vital to her overall health. “I am genuinely excited when I get to support the people around me. My mom used to say if you make someone else happy, you’ll be happy,” she reminisces. Research has shown that enriched social connections not only contribute to better mental health but physical health as well. Individuals with stronger social relationships have a 50% increased likelihood of living longer.

Living a life of intentional wellness requires one to create healthy habits that are realistic and sustainable. When you fill-up your body with the right ingredients, a full work and personal schedule are much easier to manage. With the proper fuel, mindful moments, and caring connections each day leads to more joy and fulfillment.