Friday, January 25, 2013

Take a Lunch Break for Goodness Sake!

Recent changes at my workplace have lead to a pretty significant change in my daily workflow. Some days are very busy and include one or more trips, by car, to another campus. Change has always been hard for me, and so this has been a bit of a bumpy transition. The most difficult part for me though is that these trips back and forth have affected my precious daily lunch break.

Here is my trusty lunch bag.
Try using real silverware, it's extra nice and fancy.
We live in a culture where business is often thought to be equal to "effectiveness" and maybe even (dare I say) value and worth! Tim Kreider wrote a great Opinion Piece about this in the NY Times last year. I find this to be true in my community and it really shows up at lunchtime. I will often notice my coworkers skip lunch, or I will see them in the cafeteria grabbing a small cup of soup or a granola bar as they scurry to the next thing. This does NOT work for me. My lunches are usually my largest meal. They are usually hot and hearty, often leftovers from dinner I prepped earlier in the week. I try to spend at least 20 minutes chewing and swallowing my food during my lunch meal (and I will get into the importance of chewing more in another post).

So, I will be working with my employer and coworkers to make sure we can all have an opportunity to take a lunch break, sitting in one place, at a consistent time each day, with real food.

Here are the reasons I need to eat lunch:

1. There is a long way to go 'till dinner. Generally Americans eat their largest meal in the evening. Not long before going to bed. I usually need to get a lot accomplished between noon and 7pm. Half my workday, errands, maybe some exercise. And I need fuel for these jobs.

2. Ayurvedic traditions recommend eating three full meals per day to maintain our body's expected cycles of blood sugar boosts and depletion, just in time for the next meal. A skipped or late lunch can be confusing to our bodies and make them go into energy saving (read: fat storing) mode. 

3. I get cranky! Just like a child, because lets face it, I'm just a big version of my child self, my mood is less stable when I have not had a good nutritious lunch full of whole foods. 

4. I need a break. I notice that I am much less effective on the days I go straight through without a "brain break." Sometimes I put on a little Pandora, write a personal email, talk to a coworker about something other than work, or call my mom. Then I can feel refreshed and ready to jump back in to serving the patients and clients I love so well. 

How often do you take a lunch break? What do you eat? Does your lunch break 'feed' you?

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