Tuesday, 19 July 2011

French lessons on lunch

Apologies for yesterdays absence, I was feeling a bit under the weather so for once taking my own advice and taking it easy which meant no Blogging.

Just to round off my French theme from last week, Ms Haribo (always a source of useful articles) kindly sent me this article from the Independent on the difference between the French and English approaches to lunch. Worth a read for the historical context if you have five minutes, but as most of you are busy bees I'll summarize:

In essence the French treat lunchtime as a proper break, which is what it should be, and make sure they spend at least 60 minutes not working - this usually means a sit down lunch in a restaurant, not a sandwich inhaled at a desk whilst reading emails.

Whilst I'm sure we'd all love to take an hour for lunch or eat off the desk I know it's not practical, or sometimes acceptable, to do so - however if you're one of those people who's eaten their lunch within 15 minutes without taking a break from work than I urge you to reconsider.

Other than just not being a pleasurable experience, eating this way is bad for your health. Firstly if you are working you won't be physically relaxed and you're also likely to be hunched over your desk and not sat up straight - this means your digestion will be impaired which can lead to bloating, indigestion and incomplete digestion leading to food intolerances.

Secondly, being sat still all day makes you more likely to develop type II diabetes or insulin resistance so taking a walk after you've eaten is a good idea to help balance blood sugar and avoid the post-lunch slump and perhaps longer term health problems.

Finally, it's a total fallacy that you'll complete more work if you work through lunchtime - no one can maintain concentration and efficiency without a break - you should try to have a 5 minute break every hour and at least a half hour break from work at lunchtime. Try and eat away from your desk, either in a canteen or local eatery and if there really isn't anywhere else to eat then eat at your desk but lock your computer so you can't work whilst you eat and then go out for at least a 10 minute walk to get some fresh air. Without the afternoon slump you may even find you get more work done.


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