What does litter have to do with nutrition?

It’s a question that I have struggled to answer – not least because today is my 100th litter pick this year – whoop whoop!

I have struggled to answer these question around the link between nutrition and litter simply because I don’t want to sound like the kind of person who tells you off for eating a bar of chocolate. The kind of nutritionist that makes you feel bad for you brown bubbly caffeinated soft drink habit. The kind of dictator that expects you to do what I say, when I say it, without question.

But, I’m starting to feel like I’m failing you if I don’t at least highlight the link a little.

So, if you can read this and assume that I’m not trying to be THAT person, then I’ll go for it.

I’ll try to explain why, somehow, it feels like I need to be able to get this out there because it could make a difference.

As a nutritionist, one of my main areas of focus when I work with clients one-on-one AND when I do talks and workshops, is blood sugar. As a nation, generally, our blood sugar isn’t good. Our blood sugar is what gives us energy and focus.

And we need balanced blood sugar for our ability to keep our brains and bodies fuelled all day long without having to rely on sugar or caffeine or other stimulants to wake us up, get us going and keep us capable all day long.

I talk about this a lot, because it is, in my opinion, one of the things that we’ve gotten totally and utterly wrong: wrong in our schools, in our homes, in our work and in sport. Every where you look and every where you go, people are desperately relying on quick fixes to give them a boost of energy, rather than developing their own balanced way of keeping going all day long. Being addicted to coffee isn’t just acceptable; it’s cool. People happily declare themselves unable to function without a hit of coffee in the morning. Cereals are even being given name which highlight their addictive nature. And energy drinks are no longer needed to give people an energy boost: they are becoming the only that many people can actually get to work or school in the morning. It’s insane.

And the sad part, aside from the fact that people no longer have access to their own energy, is the simple fact that almost every single ‘energy boosting’ snack, meal or drink inevitably involves plastic packaging which can’t be recycled and either ends up in landfill, or out in the wild world.

So what can you do if you realise that maybe your life might be better if you weren’t relying on caffeine, sugar or cigarettes to help you survive the day?

Well, there are lots of tips that I could share, but it doesn’t make sense to share all of them with you here because you’ll either:

a. Ignore them because you can’t do all of them, and so it’s easier not to start.

b. Try the ones which seem doable to you, but which might not be the ones that will work best for you.

c. Judge each tip and assume that they are all a bit mad.

So, instead, I’m going to share my one single top tip which will, if you try it, make the biggest difference to how much energy you have access to all day long, and which might, just might, help you rely a little bit less on drinks and foods which come wrapped in the kind of packaging which will take longer to breakdown than you have left on this planet.

And that tip is this very simple one:

When you wake up in the morning, drink a glass of water.

Just a glass of water before you do, or eat or drink, anything else. Before you have a shower. Before breakfast. Even before you have a cuppa. You might find it useful to take a glass of water to bed at night, so it’s there waiting for you first thing in the morning.

And that’s it.

The answer to your blood sugar, energy issues, and the world’s plastic problem isn’t as complicated as you might think. We often assume that we feel tired because we haven’t had enough caffeine. We assume that the reason we can’t focus is because we haven’t had a cuppa. We assume that our energy dip is due to not having enough chocolate biscuits. Whereas all those things are related to our blood sugar being out of whack, and us being a bit dehydrated when we wake up. It’s a vicious circle which starts when we wake up and don’t realise that we are thirsty, rather than needing caffeine.

And I reckon, in my slightly-grumpy yet ever optimistic nutritionist-litter-picker style, that getting everyone to drink a glass of water in the morning is probably the single biggest thing I can do (aside from the actual trash that I pick up every day) to help make this world a better place for all of us.

What do you reckon? Is it worth a try? Am I being just a bit overly optimistic by thinking that this one tip about litter might make a difference? I’d love to know if you try it and discover that it does reduce your reliance on sugar and caffeine to give you energy.

Finally: if you want to know just what else I’ve learned during these first 100 days of litter picking (known to my good self as #365daysoflitter) check out this post I wrote with thismug.life hat on!

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