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ksylvester

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ksylvester last won the day on April 22

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  1. The topic of nutrition, the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for growth, is a contentious one but the old mantra of 'you are what you eat' does still hold some wisdom. Our food nourishes our body and brain, so the quality and quantity of what we eat matters. Needless to say, everyone's diet has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with food shortages and delivery delays, an over-reliance on take-aways, and boredom eating habits setting in. What we eat directly affects the bacteria in our gut, and our gut relays signals to our brain. This directly affects our hormones, energy levels, sleep cycle, and mood. In short, a poor diet can leave you feeling sluggish, suffering disjointed sleep, and low in mood. Food gives us our energy, in the form of calories, but not all calories are created equal. The source of the calories you eat arguably matters more than the number of calories you eat. Both these plates would give you 200 calories, but fibre, minerals, and vitamins are typically more plentiful in natural, unprocessed foods like vegetables and fruits. It's also important to eat a balanced selection of foods so that you ingest all the vitamins and minerals necessary for healthy development. Figure 1: Doritos (41 grams) vs Apples (385 grams), source: What calories look like in different foods WWW.ZMESCIENCE.COM Food calories come in different shapes and sizes. Sleep is essential for restoring and repairing the brain (among other things!) and what we eat directly affects the quality and amount of sleep we get. We all know that drinking large amounts of caffeine keeps us up late, but what a lot of people don't appreciate is the negative impact this has on our hormones and sleep cycle. Chefs and shift workers are particularly vulnerable here because, caffeine drinks aside, they grow accustomed to being awake when others are asleep as a result of their working patterns. Studies show that night-workers do not sleep as deep, or as long, compared to their day-shift counterparts, and this can have a significant impact on health in the long term. Exposing yourself to natural light in the day helps restore your biological clock (and produce Vit D – essential for building healthy bones and muscles), as does shutting out as much light as possible at bedtime. Stay away from electrical devices, like your mobile phone, for at least half an hour before going to bed. This will encourage the production of the hormone which makes you feel like going to sleep. So in this never-ending cycle, our diet affects our energy levels, our energy levels affect our sleep, our sleep affects our mood and our mood affects our diet choices, and so the cycle continues. We need to pay attention to every part of this cycle in order to maintain good physical and mental health but diet is the best place to start. So let's all make a conscious effort to be mindful of what we eat; to look after our body and brain as best we can, throughout this challenging time.
  2. Emotional and physical wellbeing? What is it? Ok, so what is this golden question, that has so many answers? A quick search online will undoubtedly, give you many results, teetering on a million, but not all of those answers are easy to find, amongst the conflicting advice, there is a lack of compassion and everything can seem so sterile, impersonal, and redundant when it doesn't fit "YOU"! That's right, I said "YOU"! Everyone has their own issues, and for whatever reason, we don't always fit one particular mold, and for one, I think that's fantastic as it shows us that we are all individuals, and we all walk our own path, amongst the billions of others doing the same. It's in these small details, we can find ourselves and our own individuality, that makes us, for better or worse, who we are. In the same fashion, it should also alert us to the fact that there will be others feeling, the same way. So that "YOU", now becomes "US", we are all part of the same family, "WE", are not alone, and in knowing this small fact, silver linings can be found. I'll admit, sometimes it's not easy to find them, but they are there, and they can make all the difference in having a great day or a terrible one. The Oxford English definition of the word "Wellbeing is, The State of feeling healthy and happy. I believe this can be expanded upon to create three subheadings, that allow us to break the complexity of the word wellbeing down to more manageable sections. These are the following; Emotional Wellbeing Physical Wellbeing Financial Wellbeing They are without a doubt all linked, and if we are to feel the true meaning of the word, we will need to succeed in all three of these particular issues, however, it will not be a sprint, this a marathon and short term realistic goals, need to be set individually for long term gains. It doesn't matter how small a change you make, the most important notion is that you realise you need some change. Wellbeing is the experience of health, happiness, and prosperity. It includes having good mental health, high life satisfaction, a sense of meaning or belonging, and also the ability to manage our stress levels, something we all know about in kitchens. Most of the time the state of wellbeing is achieved through, thoughts, actions, and experiences, most of which we have full control over, remember this advert, Positive Mental Attitude. It sets an example of how mental positivity impresses on our daily lives. Although corny, the simplicity of the statement is profound, and the idea, beneficial. Emotional Wellbeing To develop emotional well-being, we need to build emotional such as positive thinking, emotion regulation, and mindfulness. Often, we need to build a variety of these skills to cope with the wide variety of situations we encounter in our lives. As chefs, this is nothing new, and something we are very good at. When we have built these emotional wellbeing skills, we can deal better with stress, handle our emotions in the face of challenges, and quickly recover from disappointments. As a result, we can enjoy our lives a little bit more and pursue our goals a bit more effectively. Physical Wellbeing To improve our physical wellbeing, we need to know what a healthy diet and exercise routine looks like. If you are like me, that ship sailed a long time ago, but recently, starting yoga has made a huge difference to me. When we improve our physical wellbeing, not only do we feel better, our newfound health can also help prevent many diseases, boost our emotional wellbeing, and limit the number of health challenges we have to deal with in our lives. My personal physical wellbeing was to blame for my spiral in Emotional wellbeing, they are all linked. Financial Wellbeing To improve financial wellbeing is tough, it often means more sacrifices than the others, however, it is about a sense of security and feeling as though you have enough money to meet your needs. It's about being in control of your day-to-day finances and having the financial freedom to make choices that allow you to enjoy life. You work exceedingly hard, so why shouldn't you reap the benefits? Changes in the industry will allow for better wages going forward, however, financial wellbeing is still on us, and how we look after our finances to sustain the life we want. The one aspect we must all remember is that everyone has their own share of problems, it doesn't matter which category you fall into, you may even fall into all three, what you need to take away from that, is that others are going through the same. "YOU" are not alone. Reach out from time to time, as the chef standing next to you, may just need an ear, and you never know when you might need theirs. Looking out for others is one of the first steps in looking out for yourself.
  3. This is absolutely brilliant. This allows us to get to the root of the issues and deal with why our industry is losing chefs by the bucket load. I have seen first hand what a kind, caring approach can do for young chefs who wish to join us in our industry. One of my own won the apprentice of the year award, after doing his modern day apprenticeship scheme with me, he was up against female engineers, architects the lot, and our trade came out on top. By giving them the tools, both physically and mentally, we are ensuring the very best for the future of our trade. Times have changed, our methods need to change too. By raising our standards, we raise the level that come into the trade, this can only have a beneficial knock on effect.
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