Pages Navigation Menu
Categories Navigation Menu

4 Smart Eating Strategies

“How dare do you suggest we eat cereal!” “Red meat?!, Are you serious?” “Milk?! You’ve got to be joking right?”

These were just a few of the colourful remarks I recently heard from nutritionists, GPs, cardiologists and many other scientists in the medical/nutrition/wellbeing field directed at the representative for Public Health England at a food conference hosted by the College of Medicine.

This lady, in her capacity as Nutrition Advice Leader, was proudly sharing the Eatwell Guide, a colourful pictogram which depicts the government’s recommendations on eating healthy in order to achieve a balanced diet. As she was going through the different foods and beverages recommended for daily intake, I turned around to get a glimpse of people’s reactions to the recommendations she was putting forward. Shock, dismay and utter disconcert filled the entire auditorium. My own reaction to the crowd’s response was: really?

This disagreement was made evident when the audience was asked to cast their votes of approval or disapproval by using a smart voting technology that was fitted on every seat. After a few moments of tension, the number was shown on the screen : 83% disapproval of the Food Standards Agency’s “Eatwell Guide”!

What should I eat, what should I refrain from eating?
What food can boost my health? What eating habits are detrimental to my wellbeing?

The field of nutrition is still young, unformed with extensive expert disagreement on a variety of topics, from the consumption of dairy products to whether or not we should eat animal protein. The level of contentiousness in this field has lead to nutrition experts belittling each other, discrediting each other’s research and sometimes even questioning each other’s qualifications.

In spite of all the controversy and disagreement, this should not preclude us from following certain “smart eating” guiding principles that can help us to make the most appropriate choices when it comes to nourishing our body-mind for health and wellbeing.

These are just a few “smart eating” principles that you can follow to help you make better choices and to increase your capacity to get the most nutrients from the food you take in.

1) Favour a plant-based diet. Some people equate “plant-based” to “rabbit food” which is certainly not the case. Actually, plant-based diets include fruits, vegetables, tubers (sweet potatoes, beets, etc.), whole grains (quinoa, barley rice, oats, etc.) and legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas).

2) Eat mindfully. – When you are paying full attention to what you are eating and how you are eating, you will maximise your body’s capacity to extract the maximum amount of nutrients from the food you are consuming. Just by looking at the food you are about to eat, your brain will send a signal to your digestive system to start producing the chemicals (enzymes) needed to properly digest that kind of food (even before you put it in your mouth)!

3) Think of the Short-Term Effect.– Before you eat or drink something, ask yourself the following question “If I have this now, how will I feel in the next few hours?” This powerful self reflection will increase the chances of you avoiding foods or beverages that will make you feel lethargic (e.g. desserts at 2pm), exacerbated (e.g. caffeine) or dull (e.g. alcohol).

4) Plan, plan, plan.– Write down what kind of energising and healthy food you are going to have for breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner the night before. Don’t put yourself in a position were you need to make a decision on the spot because this might lead to you getting food from the nearest fast-food place.

Read More

4 ways to get back to your natural rhythms

10 days before my birthday, on October 2nd 2017, I received a gift. A gift from an unlikely source that seemed to want to help me and many others in my profession convey with scientific rigor a fact of life: All aspects of your being (body, mind & emotions) are synchronised with the rhythms of nature. If you are out of tune, or out of sync with these rhythms, you will experience stress, strain, pain and discomfort.

I’ll tell you what that gift was in just a moment, but first let me give you a brief explanation of what these rhythms of the Earth are and how they influence our physiology and psychology.

Circadian Rhythm.- It is the 24-hour cycle in the physiological processes of all living beings. Our body-mind behaves in specific ways depending on the time of the day. For instance, at 6.45am we experience the highest rise in blood pressure to get us ready for activity, at 10am most of us experience heightened alertness, at 5pm our muscle strength increases and between 8 and 9pm we release melatonin to help us fall asleep. If you have ever experienced jet-lag, it is because you have disrupted your circadian rhythm by traveling to a different time zone.

Seasonal Rhythms.- How seasonal changes (the transition from summer to autumn and so on) impact our bodies, our minds and our emotions. For instance, there is a mood disorder known as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), which can trigger mild to strong depression-like symptoms at the end of autumn and throughout winter.

Tidal Rhythms.- The regular ebb and flow of oceans and very large inland bodies of water, typically two high and two low tides occur each day (about 24.8 hours), influence our physiological and psychological rhythms.

Lunar Rhythms.- The correlation of some of our physiological and psychological processes with the lunar cycle which is 29.5 days. Studies have shown that if a woman’s menstrual cycle is aligned with the lunar cycle, then her fertility level will be higher.

Now to the gift : On October 2nd, 2017 three American geneticists and chronobiologists (field of biology that examines cyclic phenomena in living organisms) Dr. Rosbash, Dr. Young and Dr. Hall were awarded the prestigious Nobel prize for elucidating the inner workings of how plants, animals and humans adapt their biological rhythm so that it is synchronised with the Earth’s revolutions. Finally, science provided me with the evidence that I needed to finally convince people to pay attention to this symbiotic relationship between our body-mind and nature.

The “we are connected with nature” statement that wisdom traditions have been proclaiming is becoming less of a mystical idea and more of a scientific conversation around how we can realign our being to the rhythms of nature to enhance our performance, health and overall quality of life.

These are the 4 things you can do right now to realign with nature:

Get Restful Sleep.- Our circadian body clock is programmed to get you in bed during a specific time window, so make a commitment to yourself to be in bed by 10pm. Our social life can get in the way of this, so try to minimise late outings as much as possible.

Meditate Every Day.- Practice at least 10 minutes of mediation every day (with the technique of your preference) as soon as you wake up and when the sun sets. This practice is the mother of all practices when it comes to brining balance and alignment to our physiology and psychology.

Spend Time in Nature.- Our bodily rhythms are strongly modulated by our environment (that is why we eventually recover from jet-lag). Spending time in parks, fields or anywhere out in the open that will put you in direct contact with nature, has a calming and soothing effect and will help with aligning our rhythms to those of nature.

Stay Away from FLUNC foods.- Frozen, Leftover, Unnatural (refined or processed), Nuked (microwaved) and Canned foods will bring your internal rhythms into disarray. Opt of for fresh, natural and whole-foods.

Clarity, energy, creativity, joy, health… these are just a few of the benefits that you should expect from heeding this advice to bring you back in alignment with the rhythms of nature.

Read More

Don’t sit on it for too long

If your work requires for you to spend a considerable amount of time sitting down, I hope you invest the next three minutes reading this post – it can literally add years and quality to your life.

The statistics that are being published about the perils of sitting for too long are frankly quite scary. You may want to stand up for this…:

– Sitting 6+ hours per day makes you up to 40% likelier to die within 15 years than someone who sits less than 3. Even if you exercise.

– Sitting makes you gain weight. As soon as you sit down, your calorie burning drops to 1 per minute and the enzymes that help break down fat drop by 90%

– The World Health Organisation has identified physical inactivity as the fourth biggest killer on the planet, ahead of obesity.

The human body simply isn’t built to sit for long periods of time. Ever since we evolved from archaic homo sapiens to anatomically evolved modern humans more than 150,000 years ago, we were meant to be active, to spend time outdoors walking and running. Sitting for extended periods of time whether at work and/or during our commute is something mother nature hasn’t prepared us for.

When you remain inactive (or sitting down) for long periods of time, the muscles in your back are affected, particularly the erector spinae muscles which run parallel to your spine. Not maintaining proper posture whilst sitting can seriously damage your spine structure and even cause permanent problems such as back pain.

Evidence of the health benefits of standing up compared to sitting down goes back to the 1950’s when a study by one of the world’s oldest and best known peer-reviewed British general medical journal “The Lancet” compared bus conductors (who stand) with bus drivers (who don’t). The study revealed that bus conductors had around half the risk of developing heart disease of the bus drivers.

Standing is like walking: It increases energy, burns extra calories, tones muscles, ramps up your metabolism, increases blood flow and improves your posture along the way.


1.- Sit smarter. When sitting on a chair, make sure you sit back and move your chair close to the desk to maintain proper contact between your back and the seat back to help support and maintain the natural inward curve of your lumbar spine. So remember to always sit up straight without hunching over and use ergonomic chairs or furniture when possible.

2.- Try sitting on a stability ball. Also known as Pilates balls, the use of a stability ball (a big, round piece of exercise equipment used for strength training) to replace regular chairs is becoming increasingly popular. The key here is to alternate between the ball and an ergonomically designed chair since you need every so often to reduce disc pressure in your back.

3.- Get a sit-stand desktop. There are now plenty of products in the market which allow you to easily convert a tabletop into a height-adjustable standing desk. This option allows you to sit or stand to work at anytime.

4.-Don’t eat at your desk.– Having lunch at your desk will unnecessarily prolong the time you remain sitting down. Your brain needs this time of the day to physically recharge anyway and eating at your desk means this much needed rest will not happen given that your mind will most likely be actively engaged doing work, reading the news, etc. Your performance, memory, concentration and most of your brain’s executive functions will be affected if you don’t disconnect from work for a little while, so do your lower back and brain a favour and have a mindful lunch somewhere else.

5.- Give walking or standing meetings a try. Since alternating between sitting, standing and walking is the best you can do for your body-mind, then use meetings as an opportunity to get up to either stand or walk. The benefits of walking meetings are numerous : Your attention span will expand, your energy levels will go up, your creative juices will flow freely and you’ll even get the extra benefit of burning more calories. I take most of my calls standing up and my conversations benefit from this without a shadow of a doubt.

And perhaps the most compelling argument of this post to get you to stand more: Data published by BuzzFeed showed that selfies taken while standing get more “Likes” than those taken while sitting!

Read More

What you need to know about Coffee

If you drink coffee and are wondering whether it’s good for you or not, science has an answer for you.

It depends…

Your psychophysiological profile is unique. How your body and your mind will respond to stimuli whether in the form of a beverage (like coffee) or an experience (like a rollercoaster ride) depends on the uniqueness of your psychology and biology in combination.

I am not a coffee drinker, but many years ago, my boss used to start our morning meetings with a trip to the cafeteria to get a cup of coffee. After many weeks of declining her offer to buy me a cup, there was this one instance in which, to avoid the awkwardness, I accepted a cup of decaffeinated coffee (which still contains caffeine by the way).

I remember becoming so wired that for a few hours, I kept involuntarily tapping my desk with my fingers as if I was sending a message in morse code. I found that reaction so foreign to me.

During that episode, my Cuban friends in Miami came to mind. Some of them are able to drink later in the evening a Café Cubano or Cafecito, a small but potent dose of Cuban coffee served in a thimble-sized cup which you down like a shot. After drinking this Cafecito, which in terms of caffeine content it makes a double espresso look like Evian water, they sleep like logs. How is that even possible?!

It all comes down to how your unique genetic configuration metabolises caffeine. So this is what you need to know about coffee:

The positives of drinking coffee

There are now plenty of studies that show how coffee can boost metabolism, improve memory and mood, decrease our chances of type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer and can also improve our sports performance.

Some people even use it for weight loss or to treat asthma, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and low blood pressure.

The negatives of drinking coffee

On the other hand, caffeine has been known to exacerbate anxiety disorders, heart conditions, high blood pressure, insomnia, stress, irritable bowel syndrome and weak bones (caffeine can increase the amount of calcium that is flushed out in the urine).

If you are suffering from adrenal fatigue, a condition common in people who are under mental, emotional, or physical stress, coffee is definitely not advised as it will accentuate the symptoms which include trouble getting out of bed, chronic tiredness and trouble thinking clearly or finishing tasks.

Coffee can also become highly addictive and, for most people, it serves as a substance to suppress appetite or as an “energy” source to either feel motivated or even function.

Should I drink coffee or not?

If you drink coffee in moderate amounts (one or two cups a day) for the simple pleasure of it and don’t use coffee as a stimulant to get you going, most studies agree that there are no major health risks.

If you have been dependent on coffee to fuel your day for years, rest assured that you can enjoy even greater levels of energy without caffeine. You will have access to cleaner and more powerful energy sources once you drop the caffeine addiction, a topic which I will cover in a future post.


Don’t use a coffee as an energy source. Be completely frank and honest with yourself. Are you drinking coffee to enjoy the unique aroma of those Peruvian dark beans or just to get you through your next meeting?

Limit your consumption to 1 or 2 cups a day. Most studies show that having 4 cups of coffee a day is not considered hazardous to your health, but in my experience, people that drink more than 2 cups a day fall in the category of “drinking coffee for fuel”.

Believe that there is “energy” at the end of the tunnel. Some people that rely on caffeine for energy have the irrational belief that they if they bring their caffeine intake to a halt, they will not have enough energy to cope with the day. On the contrary, the clean and natural energy that you will derive from healthier sources (wholefoods and natural beverages) and exercise, will take your energy levels far beyond what caffeine can do for you and without any side effects or unpleasant symptoms to bear .

Don’t quit caffeine overnight. If you make the wise choice of eliminating caffeine once and for all, don’t go cold turkey. Switch from multiple cups to just one cup and then eventually switch to herbal teas. I will write another post on how to quite coffee in the healthiest way possible shortly 🙂

Read More

Be careful who you sleep with

Let’s be frank : I have done it, you have done it, and most likely, a lot of people that you know still do it. Sleeping with our electronic devices is perhaps one of the most underrated health risks in modern times.

In 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that electromagnetic fields produced by mobile phones are classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as possibly carcinogenic to humans. Children are the most vulnerable given that their scalps and skulls are thinner than adults’, and are therefore more vulnerable to radiation. When I shared these findings with my teenage son, he was shocked and immediately embraced the recommendations you will find at the end of this post.

Just the potential health risks should be enough of a deterrent to keep our devices out of our bedroom, but there are other compelling reasons why we should be motivated to keep our bedroom electronics-free.

The temptation to play games, scan our inbox, chat with friends and read the news are just a few of the many activities that we can engage in if we invite our electronics to our bedroom in the evening. More often that not, giving in to these temptations will delay our bedtime which will surely shorten the duration of our sleep, leading us to suffer the characteristic symptoms of sleep deprivation: erratic decision making, low energy levels, mercurial emotional state, memory lapses, generalised feeling of stress, etc.

If you are in a relationship, spending time with your electronics in the bedroom will compromise the mindful and nurturing time you could devote to your partner. The quality of our close relationships plays a big part in our emotional, mental and physical state, so neglecting our personal interactions with loved ones for the sake of screen time will undoubtedly have an unwanted effected. Any relationship expert will tell you the poor communication and lack of intimacy are key contributors to the downfall of most relationships.

Well, enough with the somber news. Let’s move on to the simple tips that will improve your relationships, keep you healthy and set you up for a great day at work.


Don’t use your mobile device as an alarm clock. If you really need an alarm clock to wake up, get a dedicated alarm clock that uses a warm & gentle light and natural sound effects to get you up in the morning. Please, stay away from those incessant beeping devices that wake you up in a state of alarm and stress.

Impose a devices curfew and stick to it. First and foremost, have an open conversation with members of your household about the physical, mental and emotional perils of using electronic devices in the bedroom and then agree on a time when curfew will be observed. The imposing comes after the consensual agreement. As you know, dictatorships in civilised societies are short-lived.

Find a place outside your bedroom to put away your electronic devices. Select an official designated area in your home where all members of the household will place their devices in sleep mode or simply turned off. A designated charging station could do the trick. The adults in the house should be setting an example by always following this rule – no double standards please!

Keep a book by your bedside. Since the moment I started using this strategy, it had an immediate effect. After I put my kids to bed, most of the time I’m looking forward to reading the next section of the book currently on my nightstand. Unless of course my wife has other ideas – literature can always wait!

So please, choose wisely who you sleep with…

Read More

Skipping breakfast – Is it actually worth it?

Some of us wake up, look at the clock and realise that although it would be nice to sit down to have a healthy, mindful breakfast, the morning rush simply doesn’t allow it. A cup of coffee, a piece of bland, dry toast and out the door. Others simply pick up something on the way to work or skip breakfast altogether. Is breakfast such an important meal after all? Can’t we make up for skipping breakfast during our other meals?

The answer I’m afraid is not that straightforward. Are you skipping breakfast because you haven’t got the time, because you are simply not hungry or because you want to lose weight? Let’s take a look at what the latest research has revealed in connection to what has been labelled in the past as “the most important meal of the day”.

For growing children, there is no doubt breakfast is an essential meal. For adults, the jury is still out.

Having a healthy breakfast has a number of health benefits. According to the Mayo Clinic, those who regularly eat a healthy and mindful breakfast enjoy brain-boosting powers, enhanced immune system, heart health, improved skin, stabilised energy levels, reduced risk of eating disorders, weight control, and longevity.

In the case of short-term fasting, some researchers suggest that fasting diets that involve taking no food between dinner and lunch the next day brings benefits to the digestive system (allowing time to flush away unwanted toxins), potentially help with weight loss and cholesterol levels. Not all researchers, however, are convinced that short-term fasting benefits outweigh its risks across the board.

Skipping breakfast has been consistently associated with triggering increased hyperglycaemia (an excess of sugar in the bloodstream). Other research shows that if you experience stress when fasting (given the fact that fasting is a potentially stressful state for the body) prolonging the fast by not eating when you wake up, amplifies the stress and may lead to heart disease and other serious health conditions typically associated to stress.

Given that there are positive and negative implications to skipping breakfast, my suggestion to you is to always pay attention to how you feel both in the short-term and the long-term whenever you are making adjustments to your eating habits or strategies. Also, have the following recommendations in mind:


1.-Listen to your body’s hunger cues. Bring awareness to your eating decision-making process. On a scale of 1-10 (with 1 being famished and 10 being completely sated), for optimal mind-body performance, it’s probably wise to eat when your appetite reaches 2 or 3 and stop eating when you get to 7. This rule applies not only to breakfast, but to all meals in general.

2.-Keep it light. If you do decide to have breakfast and want to avoid energy drops in the morning, make a conscientious effort to limit your intake of sugar, fat and excess calories. A veggie or fruit juice/smoothie, oatmeal (porridge), dairy, wholewheat toast, nuts and eggs are options you could consider if you want to feel naturally alert and sharp.

3.-Keep it conscious. If you do decide to skip breakfast once in a while to test the potential benefits of short-period fasting, be aware of how you feel throughout the day. If you feel like ransacking a vending machine mid-morning to satisfy your hunger, you can kiss your productive day and weight management objectives goodbye.

4.- Don’t fool yourself. If you are skipping breakfast simply because you haven’t got the time (even though you are hungry), then the stress factor will kick-in, leading you to perhaps become exasperating and marring your decision making abilities due to your discomfort and irritable state of mind.

5.-Ask for supervision. If you want to take this fasting business seriously and for prolonged periods of time, make sure you consult with expert nutritionists and medical doctors before you embark on these experiments.

Read More
 César Gamio - Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist -
 César Gamio - Executive Life Coach - EMCC-EIA -
 César Gamio - Chopra Center Certified Instructor -
César Gamio - Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist - César Gamio - Executive Life Coach - EMCC-EIA -
César Gamio - Chopra Center Certified Instructor -