AD – This is a Paid Partnership with Love Fresh Cherries*. All views are my own.
When you work from your kitchen table, the temptation to dip into the biscuit tin, or the Nutella jar (yes, that is my guilty pleasure) is far too easy. We all know that eating processed, refined sugar is bad for us right?
But in our heads, it offers a quick fix. An immediate sugar high. It momentarily hits the spot. But then the slump comes. And to keep motivated and keep being productive, you end up eating more sugar to get over the first sugar induced slump.
It’s a vicious cycle.
As a Female Focused Psychotherapist, a mum of 4, and the CEO of the Award Winning Girl Tribe Gang – a collective for women who work for themselves, spinning a side hustle or aspiring to one day quit the 9-5 – I’ll admit that my own health and well being took a bit of a nosedive in 2018.
I recognise that I didn’t always fuel my body effectively to gain maximum productivity, and I didn’t get my heart pumping enough as I should. I’m on the go all the time, but that heart pumping sweaty mess didn’t feature much in 2018.
And it seems it’s not just me.
We conducted our own research last year to get a feel for what stress looks and feels like in women who work for themselves. Hundreds of our community responded and we were shocked by the findings.
From the women we surveyed, 6 out of 10 said they didn’t have time to eat a healthy balanced diet or exercise. Almost 90% of respondents said they felt exhausted, and just over half had problems falling or staying asleep.
Stress is very real, and it’s prevalent amongst women working for themselves.
So when Love Fresh Cherries* got in touch at the back end of 2018 asking if I fancied adding a daily portion of cherries into my diet in January to see whether or not they could help boost productivity and boost my mood, it seemed like a timely opportunity to make some small (but much needed) changes to my overall approach to my own health and well being in 2019.
I didn’t know this, but cherries help your brain produce the mood-enhancing hormone serotonin and are also a rich food source of the hormone melatonin which promotes healthy sleep patterns. So if you’re feeling stressed, cherries are a natural super food.
Those small changes included investing in a FitBit to monitor my daily activity (surprisingly I do most days walk more than 10,000 steps); joining Nuffield Health Gym and *trying my hardest* to commit to a minimum of 3 workouts a week; adding a portion of cherries to my diet every day; and introducing a high performance daily Journal, Zelo* into my life.
“Either the day runs you or you run the day”.
It wasn’t just me who was eating cherries every day in January. We invited members from Girl Tribe Gang to take part in our Cherry Tribe too, as part of our focus in January on Health and Well being.
Surprisingly, finding fresh cherries in the middle of winter wasn’t an issue.
Most supermarkets including Aldi, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencer stocked them. Luckily my clinic and our GTG HQ is located in the centre of Leeds, in Yorkshire, and it overlooks Leeds Kirkgate Market. Before this challenge it had never crossed my mind to head to the market, shop local and buy my fruit.
What a revelation.
For under £5 not only did I pick up lots of cherries, I got a whole bag full of fruit which the family were able to feast on.
Throughout January I snacked during the day on cherries (roughly 14 cherries equals 1 of your 5 a day). What I found was that they gave me a natural boost, without the slump, and they taste delicious. Did they aid my sleep? It’s hard to tell, because I never have any problems getting to sleep or staying asleep. I sleep like a baby (when the baby allows). I value my sleep over everything.
I discovered that cherries taste great in a breakfast smoothie (you absolutely MUST de-stone them first, which can be a bit messy, but it’s well worth it for the freshness you get).
And our Manchester Tribe member Gemma Wade, the Founder of You Say Tomato Cooking came up with an easy cherry cake recipe – you can read her blog on her ‘Very Cherry January’ here.
Our Leeds Tribe member Aimee Barrett, Founder of ‘The Mother Hut’ is genuinely grateful for having the opportunity to eat cherries every day in January too, she says it’s “helped get me on track, and has curbed my biscuit picking for something better for my gut”.
Life IS a bowl of cherries.
And thanks to our Cherry Tribe Challenge, they are now a staple part of my diet, and that can only be a good thing.
*Love Fresh Cherries are the cherry industry board in the UK, and is a year-round proactive PR and social media campaign that showcases the health benefits, versatility and all-round availability of cherries, helping to drive purchase. Their current winter campaign is centred all around how cherries can help boost your productivity and mood at work and help your everyday working lifestyle.
*The Zelo journal was sent to me as a gift. It was a crowd funder project which I supported in 2018.