But with a little preparation and a few simple changes you can protect yourself from toxins and keep your waistline intact. Here are six ways to upgrade your health at the office:
The Healthy Lunch
For quick and delicious salads, the essential ingredient is a good dressing. Whisk up Natasha’s ‘Roast Tomato Orange Balsamic Dressing’ the night before for great on-the-go nutrition. Tahini is packed with protein and calcium and has a versatile flavour that goes well with many dishes. Why not triple the ingredients and keep a jar on your desk to house over three consecutive lunches? That’s a health hat-trick.
Run out of dressing, and running out the door? Grab that bottle of olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Keep these on your desk to enhance the flavour and flavonoid content of your next store-bought salad. Ready made salad dressings are notoriously high in sugar and are often made with sunflower rather than heart-healthy olive oil.
Final tips? Make soup in bulk quantities and freeze individual portions; buy pre-cooked quinoa to save time and roast extra vegetables at dinner to fill out your lunch the next day.
Pack it in Glass or Stainless Steel
Plastic packaging leaches endocrine-disrupting chemicals, like Bisphenol A [BPA], into your food. More than 130 studies have found evidence of BPA’s detrimental effect on human health, linking it to – among other things – breast, prostate and brain cancer. The answer? Use stainless steel or glass packaging. A 2010 US study found that switching to fresh organics and using glass and steel for storage reduced BPA levels in urine by 60% in three days. We like this three-in-one Bento Box from Ecolunchboxes.com.
Beat Sugar Cravings
You have a deadline looming, an inbox filled with red flags and you won’t be home till late – you’re stressed, and starving. The answer? Coconut Oil. Have it on your desk and take a tablespoon-full when those sugar cravings hit. The naturally sweet flavour and medium-chain fatty acids will keep you full and brain firing in spite of the overwhelm. You can also keep a bag of almonds on your desk for a stress-lowering dose of magnesium and good fats.
Drink Purified Water
Pesticides, heavy metals, hormones and drugs all make it into our water system; leaving your glass of tap looking not so wholesome. So what can you do? Bring a stainless steel bottle to work (we like Klean Kanteen) and fill it with filtered water. Keep a Brita filter on your desk and then go the extra mile by adding activated charcoal. Charcoal has been used for its purifying properties for centuries. Thanks to its negative ionic charge, activated charcoal binds to toxins and escorts them from the body. It also helps mineralize and alkalize the water.
Keep Indoor Plants
You might think you’re sealing yourself off from the pollution outside, but indoor air contains more than 900 chemicals, particles and biological materials which are potentially hazardous to our health. So where do these chemicals come from? ‘Formaldehydes are in cheap furniture like pressed woods, there are several very toxic chemicals in carpets and there are volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in paints,’ says Frank D. Wiewel, founder of the grassroots organisation People Against Cancer. One way to purify the air is to buy some plants. According to NASA scientists, one peace lily can remove pollutants like formaldehyde from the air around it.
Protect yourself from Radiation
We now check our mobiles every six and a half minutes, according to a global study commissioned by Nokia, and it’s one of the many ways in which we increase our dose of dirty electricity. Wireless devices, cordless phones and computers all emit rays, referred to as electromagnetic radiation. These invisible rays disrupt cell communication and can wreak havoc on our health. What can you do? Go Green. Invest in a Green 8 EMF Radiation Shield for your desk and consume copious amounts of green tea. The antioxidant EGCG in green tea reduces free radical damage to the liver from mobile phone radiation according to a 2010 Turkish study. You can keep the Matcha powder on your desk to make an almond milk Matcha latte.
Laura Bond is a journalist and qualified health coach and this month’s guest editor of Honestly Healthy.