It starts with a sleepless night driving software developers to finish a major update. Then, it’s an early meeting with a potential investor. The rest of the day is about reaching out to busy customers who aren’t yet familiar with your product and don’t have a lot of time to discuss it. After missing dinner, the evening is dedicated to producing creative social media to attract and excite new users.
As an entrepreneur, building a new company in any industry results in a busy and frenetic lifestyle. It may be hard to keep up. While many new ventures fizzle out because the founder and team don’t have the energy to push through the rough start-up phase, there’s a way to give yourself an advantage and get your fledgling business to grow. The secret is nutrition.
While some may discount the connection between eating well and entrepreneurial success, consider the following health factors that combined contribute to sustainable energy and overall wellbeing.
1) Manage stress by reducing/keeping blood pressure in check.
Lower blood pressure means less chance of hypertension and less stress. This is crucial when handling unexpected events, like product launch delays. You have a better chance of reducing frustration and anxiety if your heart rate is in it's optimal zone. Deep breathing helps with this. But in particular you'll have an easier time maintaining energy and focus if you regularly focus on reducing saturated fats, alcohol and salty, processed foods.
2) Reduce down days by promoting good gut health.
It may sound gross, but there is proven research that good gut bacteria supports optimal digestion which promotes improved brain function, weight maintenance or loss and better health. For entrepreneurs these are all key factors in staying on task when your day is at full tilt. Most important is getting a good sleep (even if it's just a few hours), reducing fatigue and maintaining energy and focus. A diet that regulates your internal system helps you stay on track and perhaps even get the edge on the competition.
3) Improve your mood with real food.
In line with good gut health, eating well leads to mental well-being, a more positive outlook and sharper focus. Consider that your mood influences everyone around you. Being in control of your emotional state allows you to think more clearly and inspire others to achieve their goals. The startup journey is contingent on your ability to motivate yourself and others and keep a steady head. Anything you can do to enhance your strengths will only help along the way.
4) Enhance endurance with foods rich in nutrients and minerals.
Increase your absorption of nutrients by eating more vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. High performance athletes who consume more plant-based foods report having better endurance, coordination and recovery time, which is crucial when you're balancing multiple projects, deadlines and pressures with limited resources. The goal is to keep driving forward at a steady pace with growth everyday. Maintaining that energy depends largely on what you eat. So eat smart.
5) Supplement your diet, or replace low nutrient / high sugar foods completely with plant-based options to achieve a mental balance, greater stamina and stronger health.
To receive these benefits and fuel your hustle, work towards a diet that includes some or all of the following:
- Dark leafy greens -- Kale, spinach, collards, chard and broccoli; legumes like lentils and garbanzo beans; roots and squashes like yams, acorn squash, carrots and potatoes.
- Fruits, nuts, and seeds - Avocados, berries, dates, pecans, almonds, chia seeds and sesame seeds in salads or mixed into other dishes.
- Fermented pro-biotic foods - Pickles, miso, sauerkraut and kimchee.
- Fresh spices - Garlic, ginger, cumin, ground black pepper, turmeric, cinnamon and occasional dried chili peppers.
- Green Tea - Matcha in particular is full of antioxidants, elevates your mood, helps you maintain a balanced energy as well as focus and eliminates the crash of coffee. My favorite blend is at MatchaBar NYC (also on Treatmo).
- Whole grains - Brown rice instead of white rice and quinoa pasta.
Whenever possible, keep processed foods to a minimum or eliminate them altogether and keep salt intake in check.
When you're on the go, a quick way to achieve a healthful diet is to know where the healthy spots to eat are nearby and make sure you get at least one dose of veggies. Get Treatmo to plan ahead and ensure you grab a cold-pressed juice of greens once a day or drink a matcha to keep yourself in the flow.
By Treatmo Cofounder and Resident Certified Plant-Based Nutritionist, Spiro Zefferys