Director Mark shares his passion at the HBAA Mental Health Week Event

Director Mark shares his passion at the HBAA Mental Health Week Event

Mark might be a Director of a catering company, but he’s made no secret of the fact that health and well-being is his real passion. After acquiring his Sport and Exercise Science degree and Masters in research from the University of Essex, Mark took his passion for human performance into the real world of work almost 7 years ago, stepping into the family business. He quickly realised that the idea of ‘performance’ for 99.99% of human beings, looks very different to that of elite athletes. This inspired him to continue researching the human body in his own time, from the perspective of health and well-being. Refining his knowledge of how a health-conscious lifestyle can help us to show up feeling positive about our work, everyday.

This has influenced many of our menu choices as well as client pitches over the years and has also led to Mark being asked to speak at various industry events. Educating event professionals on how to take better care of themselves within the high pressure, demanding environments they often operate in.

Mark’s most recent appearance was at the HBAA Mental Health Week event at the Holiday Inn, Kensington. Here’s some of the key take home’s Mark shared on the day:


Your brain runs on sugar and it remembers where to find it

This is a challenge that’s all too familiar for event professionals, who often find themselves on-site at an event at 02:00 after an 18 hour day, craving crisps, Haribo and pastries. Well, there’s a valid reason for that. Your brain and nerve cells run on sugar, it’s the fuel source they need to create energy, more so than any other cells in the body. The brain is also super intelligent (believe it or not) and over the many year’s you’ve been alive, your brain has built up an understanding of the foods you eat, most importantly which ones provide it with the sugar it requires to produce energy. So when you are completely knackered and your brain needs energy to keep you going for the de-rig, it will tell you exactly what it wants, so it’s no coincidence you start craving sugary foods at those moments.  The important thing to remember is, when we reward our brain with those foods, we reinforce those cravings and make it more and more difficult to be disciplined in future situations. Look for compromises, nuts, fruit or even a bar with a higher fibre content compared to your average snickers, will help you manage your sugar intake and prevent blood sugar spikes. This is one of the most important things for us to manage, in order to stay healthy in the modern world.


A lack of sleep puts us in survival mode

When we are sleep deprived, a part of the brain known as the hypothalamus becomes way more involved in our decision making. Usually that responsibility lies with the prefrontal cortex, a far more logical and calculated part of the brain. The prefrontal cortex cares about other people’s feelings, it cares about the wants and needs or your client and it understands the consequences of poor decisions or bad reactions. The hypothalamus on the other hand is responsible for survival, it only cares about where the next meal is coming from, where we can find shelter, when we can get some sleep and ultimately avoiding danger. When we are well slept, the hypothalamus keeps itself to itself, but when we are deprived of sleep, it starts to make it’s presence felt. It doesn’t care that the AV supplier brought the wrong up lighters, or that your client wanted green flowers instead of red ones, it cares about your survival and while it’s managing the decisions you make, your responses will be far less considered, which in a client facing industry can be very damaging.


Anti-oxidants buffer stress,  fight cancer and give our vegetables colour

We’ve all been given this advice in the past “get more variety in your diet.” It couldn’t be more true and many of us still don’t prioritise it. Well, maybe that’s because we don’t understand why it’s so important. Antioxidants! Those amazing things that everyone talks about, which boost our immune system, fight cancer and ultimately buffer stress in the body. Antioxidants are up there with the most important things in our diet and there are many different types. Interestingly, antioxidants play an important role in determining the colour of the vegetables we eat, so the more colours we get in our diet, the more antioxidants we get in our diet. It’s one of the best pieces of advice ever given. Take it on board.


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Posted by Mark Maher

Mark Maher
I spent most of my youth hanging around the kitchen in our family restaurant ‘Boulevard.’ I was always intrigued by food and how it’s prepared to enhance different flavours and then presented immaculately. I feel privileged to be in the position to be able to work with my family everyday, planning, organising and delivering exceptional events with outstanding food.

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