By Kate Cook, author of Kate Cook’s Wellness Guide
Most businesses are eager to be at the cutting edge of the technology revolution and quite rightly – falling over themselves to be hyperconnected, ahead of the trends. There are downsides to the worldwide web but there are very positive up sides too. Most of the nutritional research papers I read to update my body of knowledge I obtain through web digging – something that would have been quite impossible a few years ago. It enables me to be very nimble in my uptake of the latest research, something that chancing on a book, or waiting for a published journal to appear on my desk made it impossible to do a few years back. I am also very grateful that we are able to connect with like-minded people across the globe, of course that has its downside too, but used in the right way we are able to build communities of people who can generously help each other.
But in relying on tech too much are we in danger of forgetting what it is to be human? We need to remember to solve business problems in a human way, not merely focus on box-ticking, or allow a computer to dominate our decision making. We are more and more often letting machines take over, and becoming distanced from what makes us human. One area where this really impacts our lives is in the world of food. Eating is one of the crucial things that makes us human and what we eat makes us either dynamic, engaged, happy, healthful humans or depressed, demotivated, sick humanoids. But we have become increasingly distanced from the real food that nurtures our bodies, favouring instead manufactured foods and convenience eating.
When we eat conveniently, we fuel our bodies with food-like imitations, where life, energy and essence have been replaced by synthetic sensations. These foods are designed to look, smell and taste appealing but are largely devoid of the energy and nutrition that come from eating food grown by the sun, full of the life-giving micronutrients that power our energy output. When we replace real food, of the sort our ancestors would recognise, with these chemical concoctions, we reduce our ability to function as human and lay ourselves open to the possibility of a whole host of minor, and not so minor, ailments; from tiredness to type 2 diabetes and beyond.
As employers we know how important it is to maintain our machinery, our hardware and software, but what about our human resources – how many of us are making sure our people have what they need to function optimally? For example, studies suggest that there is an association between obesity and lower productivity at work -and if that tide doesn’t turn then we may find that we are unable to find employees fit enough to work. One study estimated that lost productivity time (LPT) costs the US economy $42.29 billion annually. This was thought to be a conservative figure because studies which use BMI data rely on self-reported weight, which is often understated. The estimate also does not include the costs of recruiting and training new staff and the impact on co-workers’ productivity.1 A study of 15,000 people in the US and UK found that employees with poor nutritional balance reported 11% lower productivity than healthier colleagues.2 Surely it is time to pay attention this powerful connection. Though the focus on nutrition and its impact on the workplace has, to date, mostly been on the link between poor diet and chronic disease and obesity (the long term impact) it stands to reason that poor diet will also have a short term impact in terms of energy and productivity.
The health of our employees is key to our business success – yet a large proportion of our human resource is sick. How can we restore it back to full, engaged, dynamic power? Through the power of real food.
Kate Cook’s Wellness Guide is available free for Kindle for a limited time. Download the book here.
- Reilly, Sally, ‘Eating the Profits.’ Personnel Today, 4 July 2006: 26.
- ProQuest online article, 6 Aug. 2009.
If you were not inspired by our last blog when planning your Valentine weekend, how about doing something more fantastical, magical and indulgent? Over the next few days, a pop-up restaurant in London is hosting a Game of Thrones themed feast with opulent dishes inspired by the hit TV show.
Diners can eat like King Joffrey as they feast on giant platters of regal food and sip on goblets of the finest wine. Unfortunately for most of us, this is an exclusive event with the guests drawn out of a hat. One can only imagine how atmospheric it must be to find yourself transported to King’s Landing, your servants bringing plate after plate of delicious food, all while shouting ‘off with his head’ to your council.
However, if you are a massive fan of the show like we are at Infinite Ideas, why not plan your own Game of Thrones Valentine’s activities. With the fifth season only 59 days away, what could be better than a weekend spent watching your favourite episodes with your favourite person. Did you know that there is a food called a Crown Prince Squash? Well neither did we but it’s really like a green pumpkin. Why not try and get your hands on one and make a delicious, royal pie.
If you are thinking that you haven’t made any plans and things are getting a bit desperate, Infinite Ideas have come up with some tips on how NOT to spend Valentine’s day. No matter how much you love Game of Thrones, we strongly advise that you do not try the following at home (or anywhere else really):
- Practise incest: whether it be shagging your sibling like Cersei and Jaime Lannister or feeling-up your sister on horseback, this is possibly the number one no-no when it comes to romance.
- Get engaged to a psychopath: poor Sansa really didn’t have a choice when she became betrothed to King Joffrey but ‘when you bleed I will put a son in you’ is hardly the stuff of true love. Before you fall victim to Sansa’s fate, do a background check on anyone who seems a bit dodgy.
- Break your vow of chastity for a woman with a dodgy northern accent: Jon Snow thought he was doing really well as aspiring leader of the Night’s Watch. That was, until he was seduced by (clearly not) northern Ygritte. She’s not worth it*, Jon, but at least she isn’t your sister!
- Fall in love with your employer: since the very first time they met, Daenerys has put Jorah in the friend-zone with no way out. Poor man must bear the burden of his unrequited love. But as he learnt, falling in love with your boss is never a good idea.
- Share your beau with a family member: Much like practising incest, we do not advise you to take inspiration from Renly and sleep with your wife’s brother. No judgement but perhaps you should seek enjoyment elsewhere.
If you enjoyed Infinite Ideas’ infinite wisdom, our book, Game of Thrones on Business by Tim Phillips and Rebecca Clare will also be released in 59 days’ time.
*Actually, we grew to love Ygritte despite her strange vowels. Perhaps she was worth it after all.
There are only two days to go until the most anticipated film of the year is released in the cinemas. While many people have been protesting the release of 50 Shades of Grey, claiming it promotes domestic violence, others have booked up their tickets months in advance (that’s delayed gratification for you!)
One can’t help but notice the rather obvious connection between the film and its release date. Valentine’s Day is on Saturday; no doubt the production companies are hoping for a surge in ticket sales as husbands begrudgingly take their wives to the local Odeon for their annual night out together. We can’t think of anything worse than being taken on a date to a packed cinema where we watch two hours of BDSM with other couples, awkwardly checking our phones when the sex scenes begin and desperately hoping to have a normal conversation at the pub afterwards.
However, for those of you who enjoy that sort of thing, and those who prefer a more, ahem, private Valentine’s Day, Infinite Ideas have a helpful selection of books to get you in the mood to spice up your weekend. If early reviews of the film are anything to go by you’ll find far more to titillate you here than in Sam Taylor-Johnson’s film.
Whether you’re looking for love or wanting to spice up things in the bedroom, we have something for all tastes: from Master dating to Erotic fantasies (the stacks in the library will never be the same again) or perhaps you’d like a night to yourself …
If watching 50 Shades … has inspired you to commit your activities to film, then we have the book just for you: Secrets of porn star sex. This book could help you try something completely new on Valentine’s day, or, while it’s not intended as a career guide, it could help you get your dream job if you’re that way inclined. Its been tried and tested on many couples and has proven to be a real relationship booster as well as having launched the careers of three notable porn stars.*
Rather than churning out the same old kitsch-y bears with hearts rubbish (again, not our cup of tea) perhaps you can make this year’s Valentine’s Day one to remember (or forget, depending on the results of your experiment). Though we at Infinite Ideas want you to enjoy our ideas for great sex, please follow our advice with caution, be safe, and make sure you don’t lose the keys to those handcuffs.
*OK, this is what we hope the book will achieve.
As if Monday isn’t bad enough, today is Blue Monday; supposedly the worst day of the year. Christmas seems like forever ago, you’ve already broken your resolution not to drink and temperatures in the UK have dipped below zero. What could be worse? Well actually, there are lots of things that are worse, like losing your luggage at the airport (bad luck to anyone who experiences this today) or stepping in something wet when you’ve just put on a clean pair of socks.
Infinite Ideas are no strangers to helping people out of a bad spot with our books, Defeat depression and Beating the blues. We have come up with several strategies in the office to give you some helpful tips to make this feel like any other Monday (except better because most people do not like Mondays).
- Perhaps the obvious solution to beating Blue Monday is to paint the town red. Don’t do what the media is telling you to and go crazy after work. Infinite Ideas will not take any responsibility for the hangovers or bad decisions that may ensue. Our advice should be taken at your own risk.
- Play your favourite song. We’ve all got a song that makes us get up and dance; throw our arms in the air like we just don’t care. Blast it out in the office and start a happiness rave
- Go swimming. Immerse yourself in a pool of relaxation and pretend you are in the Mediterranean Sea.
- Take a long lunch. OK so you may have to make up for this later today but give yourself a break today. Take some time for yourself and chill out before returning to the office.
- Think about this evening. What will you do with your free time? Perhaps you could go home and curl up with that book you swore you’d read this year. Or cook for your friends/housemates/significant other; there’s nothing better than coming in from the cold to a hearty meal on the table.
- Think about summer. Just like Olaf in Frozen, think about what you’ll do in the summer. It might feel like forever away but the daffodils are beginning to bud. Before you know it you’ll be dusting off your summer wardrobe.
- Do something spontaneous. This could be simply buying a chocolate bar or it could be booking that trip to Morocco that you’ve always wanted to take. Regardless, it’ll put a spring in your step.
- Call someone that means lots to you. For many of this, it’s our mum, but it could be a friend or extended relative. You can bet that they’re not expecting it and it will give them as well as you a lift.
- Print off a picture of happiness. Of course, happiness is subjective so find something that makes you smile. This may be a picture of a tropical destination or it could be Ryan Gosling. See, we’ve done the hard work for you!
- Look at the picture of a really happy baby elephant. This is bound to improve your day. If it doesn’t then we cannot help you.
Many people this time of the year are choosing to observe ‘dry January’ in a bid to detox their bodies from all the Christmas overindulgence.
We’re almost half way through the month now and many of you may be rethinking a whole 31 days without alcohol. Rather than going cold turkey and risk crying in the wine aisle at the supermarket, why not adjust your goal to something more reasonable such as only drinking at weekends. We’re also approaching that dreaded of all days, ‘blue Monday’ where the entire human race seems to question its own existence and wonders whether it isn’t better to just admit defeat and look for the answer at the bottom of a large bottle of Jack Daniels and the wrappers of the now not-so-amazing Cadbury’s creme eggs.
Perhaps, rather than drowning your sorrows in whisky, you could take this month of reflection to learn more about the spirits that you regularly consume during happy hour. Mark Ridgwell’s Spirits distilled is an excellent book filled with everything you need to know about spirits. Each chapter begins with a brief history of the drink and provides ample opportunity for you to bone-up on your knowledge and impress your colleagues at after work drinks. Perhaps this is the month to drink the bar dry or to enjoy a dry gin and tonic. Be creative and impress your friends by coming across as a cognac connoisseur, a whisky wizard or a gin genius. Ridgwell’s book is interspersed with quizzes so that you can test your knowledge on what you’ve read and prove that you really do know your stuff.
All the best for the upcoming Monday, we really do hope that you make it to work on Tuesday. Our sound advice would be to get back off the wagon slowly, tonight, treat yourself to a scotch (or American) on the rocks, then perhaps that bottle of JD will go down smoother than expected!
We’re all very excited to tell you that Sherry, sixth edition by Julian Jeffs, is now available and you can buy it for yourself, to learn more about the fantastic drink, or you can buy it for that special someone who likes nothing better than having a tipple or two before bedtime.
More often than not, sherry is synonymous with your grandmother’s slippers, Christmas trifle and Countdown in the afternoon. But there has been a turn in the tide and what used to be a very old-fashioned drink is now becoming rather trendy among the young drinkers, even described by The Telegraph as ‘hip’.
One reason for this surge in popularity could be the rise in tapas restaurants and bars in Britain. What could be a better accompaniment for a Spanish meal than a Spanish drink?
And advantage of the rise in this trend is that not everyone has bought into it yet. For example, if you want a good quality Sauvingnon Blanc, you could be paying through the nose for it. However, an excellent sherry (as recommended by the experts) can be found in supermarkets for less than £15.
Of course, sherry is unlikely to replace the traditional bottle of red on the table at your dinner party, but how about surprising your guests with a glass of sherry before the meal. It would make a great talking point and introduce others to the great drink.
Vintage is becoming very cool. The recession made upcycling and vintage shopping very popular as well as practical. While we’re not advising drinking the bottle of sherry that has been open in the back of your cupboard since the beginning of the 1990s, perhaps now is the time to take a leaf out of grandma’s book. But perhaps donate her slippers to Oxfam!