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Martina Catwright Speaker

Interview with Martina Cartwright

In this interview with A-Speakers, Martina Cartwright answers questions about health and nutrition as well as her popular keynotes. Read on below.

How do you make nutritional science understandable for everyone?

First, I make an effort to understand and address nutrition topics that are of interest to the audience and/or consumers.  The science of nutrition encompasses biochemistry, physiology and biology, which are all rather complex.  My approach is to start with the basics, about what matters to the audience and then go from there when explaining the science. Next, I think it is important to share the “why” behind the answers and explanations I provide.  For example, if someone wants to know about a particular diet, I give the pros and cons and the scientific logic behind why that diet might or might not work.  The key making nutritional science understandable is to know the background of the audience and their specific interests and to discuss concepts in practical terms with examples.  I tailor all of my presentations to the specific audience.


Why is it important that we all know about nutrition?

Nutrition is part of our lives 24/7.  Everyday we eat, digest and metabolize food that nourishes our bodies and minds.  What we eat can have an impact on our moods, physical health, and mental well-being. As our bodies age and grow, our nutritional needs change too. Stressful jobs, pregnancy, age and disease all have an impact on what and how we eat.  There is an abundance of nutrition information but some of this information isn’t accurate or appropriate for everyone.  My goal is to educate people about the best nutritional science has to offer for their particular life stage, whether they are a middle aged person trying to lose weight or an active 20-something training for a marathon. The most challenging aspect of nutrition is that there is a different study announced almost daily.  I strive to discuss the individual studies in the context of the body of overall evidence.  The best example of late is the recent study on fish oil and prostate cancer risk.


What are some of your best tips for busy professionals to stay fit and healthy?

The biggest challenges for busy professionals are to eat regular, healthful meals most of the time, to find time for exercise and to control stress.

  •  The best tips:  Eat small, frequent meals and pack healthy snacks. Low blood sugar ignites the stress response and creates mental fog, so small meals throughout the day control blood sugar fluctuations and keep the brain alert
  • Pick foods that you enjoy, not necessarily diet foods. Rice cakes aren’t for everyone. Take convenient, healthful snacks to avoid going to the vending machine.  Cheese sticks, nuts, yogurt, whole grain crackers and protein bars are some suggestions.
  • Eat a high protein snack when you need to focus. Cheese, dairy, meat and nuts are good sources of protein that help the brain produce chemicals involved with focusing and alertness.
  • Walk frequently.  We are often confined to a meeting room, cubicle or airplane seat for hours.  Make an effort to walk, take the stairs at the office or use your lunch time stroll around the corporate office.  If you have a long airport layover, take a walk with your bag. Doing so is equivalent to “light work” and you will burn calories toting your suitcase.
  • Control portion sizes and select healthier options.  This is tough when you travel so make an effort to select half portions or smaller sizes. Choose foods that are baked, broiled or steamed rather than fried or covered in high fat condiments like mayo.
  • Limit alcohol and high-calorie beverages.  Some coffee drinks have over 500 calories per serving, so try to user lower-fat milk and less sugar.
  • Limit but don’t eliminate certain foods.  Deprivation can lead to cravings.  Limit portion sizes or choose lower calorie options of your favorite foods.
  • Manage stress.  Stress impacts hunger, appetite, and weight gain.  Stress management is very individualized.  Exercise, meditation, music, yoga, walking, or taking a few minutes away from work and electronic devises can re-boot your mood.
  • Strive to healthfully most of the time.  Trying to eat perfectly healthy foods all the time is a recipe for failure.  Be mindful of what you eat and make small changes to curb less healthful eating.


How could event organizers take health and nutrition into account when organizing events?

Many corporate events and meetings are “food oriented.” For example, some team building activities involve large dinners after 8 PM or happy hours with lots of alcohol.  Also, meetings tend to be packed with…endless meetings, with very little free time for people to exercise or catch up on personal demands.  The most successful corporate meetings are those that are organized and offer the following:

  • Small, frequent healthful meals throughout the day: fruits, veggies, whole grains, protein-rich foods (cheese, yogurt and lactose-free options like nuts, seeds, legumes and meat) and small portions of sweets
  • Team building activities that do not involve large, late in the day meals
  • “Me” time for participants to catch up on personal demands and/or exercise time
  • “Active” breaks during the meetings in which 10 min is given every 2 hours to get up and walk around..it is important that the meeting organizer encourage an “active” culture, otherwise, people will sit and work during “activity” breaks.
  • These components encourage stress management, renewed mental focus and quell distractions like hunger and boredom.


What impact can poor nutrition have on performance? 

Poor nutrition can cause mental fog, inattention, irritability, and physical weakness.  Carbohydrates, protein and fat work in concert to harmonize brain chemicals that stabilize mood.  For example, too little carbohydrate causes irritability whereas too much triggers a “crash.”  The best meals have complex carbohydrates, protein and a little fat.  Small frequent meals that are portion-controlled stabilize mood and provide enough nutrients to heal and repair.  Studies show that people who skip meals, especially breakfast, are less productive at work.  Similarly, people who work without activity breaks are less likely to focus on tasks that require attention to details. Productivity, performance and collaboration thrive in environments where activity and healthful eating are encouraged.


Learn more about Martina Cartwright here!

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