Perfecting the basics to improve your performance is a key part of living the #StayFrosty lifestyle. Food and water are as basic and foundational as it gets and we cover water quite thoroughly here at Qore Performance. To balance this out, we brought in Qore Performance Alumni and culinary maestro Scott Stern to drop some knowledge on easy ways to perfect the basics of food that will help you improve performance on the job, on duty and at home. Scott, take it away!
Most of you don't know me personally, so let me fill you in on my life for the last 18 months: I joined Qore Performance, got engaged, and had shoulder surgery. The confluence of these events meant that I was busier than ever, working at a startup and planning a wedding, while simultaneously being unable to be physically active. Staying at the top of your game means taking good care of yourself, and it would have been easy to let that aspect of my life languish under the weight of my responsibilities.
Instead, I focused my love and passion for cooking, into a love and passion for healthy cooking. If you can't be physically active, then the easiest way to stay in shape is to cut back on the food intake, and I was determined to do so without sacrificing flavor.
Breakfast and dinner seemed easier to eat both healthily and cheaply. Eggs, yogurt, and oatmeal are all delicious, nutritious, and budget friendly breakfasts. For dinner you can simply cooking up some protein and multiple vegetables and have a great dinner.
But for lunch, when you are at the office (especially one that lacked a microwave for some time), your options are limited. Eating out can be expensive ($12 for a Sweetgreen salad?) or simply awful for you (don't look up how many calories are in your favorite Chipotle burrito). Making food at home is great, but I found a number of problems with a few of the typical approaches. Sandwiches can be surprisingly unhealthy and can get quite soggy. Leftovers are good sometimes, but I am a big fan of variety, and I don't want to eat what I just ate the night before.
Enter, the salad. It's healthy, filling, and there is endless variety. On top of that, specially designed tupperware allows you to keep your dressing away from the salad, meaning that it will be as fresh the next day as when you just compiled it. Using my penchant for internet research, I set to work gathering every salad recipe I could find, and compiled them into a huge spreadsheet you can actually find here. With over 90 salads from all over the world, it's impossible to get bored. I pick two per week, making one on MWF, and the other on TTh. I get to eat healthily every day, without needing to eat exactly what I ate the day before. And most salads cost me only around $4 each.
Doug and Justin got so jealous, they started paying me to make them salads everyday. Justin actually documented many of them, which you can see in the gallery above.
As my shoulder started to heal, I found my spare time getting more and more compressed. Between physical therapy and more and more work for the wedding, I still found it difficult to get to the gym. Fortunately, as a company with a passion for athletic activity, we instituted perhaps my favorite Qore Performance office rule: Activity Friday.
So far we have done weight and track workouts, played basketball, golf, frisbee, and even gone shooting. Numerous studies have shown the benefits that physical activity can have on mental health. This means that besides taking time out of work for something like Activity Friday can actually have a net positive benefit for the company – even though it means time away from the office.
Busy or not, at a startup or not, there is always time to take good care of yourself. It's something everyone should prioritize, both from a personal and even a professional perspective. Cooking right and taking just a few hours out of your week for physical exercises are two straightforward ways to walk down that path.
Scott Stern received his MBA at the University of Chicago and is now a Senior Associate at Origin Ventures.