In our CEO wellness series, we ask executives about their daily habits to gain insight into the tactics they use to reduce stress and maintain their well-being.
Mark Brooks is the co-founder and co-CEO of Brainiac Foods, a company dedicated to supporting brain development, performance, and health for the entire family. A father of three, Brooks is passionate about the role of food and nutrition in enabling children to reach their full potential.
Coffee or tea? And what do you put in it?
I was born in England, now I like it here in the US, so it should be two. Morning coffee, double espresso, dash of steamed milk; English afternoon tea, a splash of whole milk in a big comforting mug.
What do you have for breakfast?
On weekends we get fresh eggs from my nine-year-old’s hen house (we caved during the pandemic), scramble them in a skillet with bits of smoked salmon, mini broccoli florets, avocado, onion, garlic, and sourdough toast. Very tasty and full of nutrients for the brain. To make sure the breakfast was balanced we followed with waffles and bourbon maple syrup!
Tell us about your workout routine.
We live at the foot of Mt. Tamalpais, on a crazy steep winding road. As a family, we walked back and forth every day during the pandemic. It’s not everyday anymore, but it’s still the best exercise—outside, intense, and only one way home!
How many hours do you sleep on an average night?
Knowing how important sleep is for our long-term health and brain health, I try to get 8 hours a night. It doesn’t happen often, but placing the phone across the room, out of reach, increases the chances.
How do you de-stress?
With three children ages 6, 9, and 11, creating balance and space is important. Working more from home there is less separation between the stress of the day and being fully present as Dad. Jumping straight into being creative works for me. Cooking for the family is a good diversion. Enjoying the taste, color, and texture brings me great joy when they love it—not so much when our six-year-old negotiates how many vegetables are needed to get dessert.
According to your phone, what was your daily average screen time from last week?
4 hours 10 minutes. I feel that our relationship is understated! While I know to take it down and be in the moment, we have to be fair-it’s a great way to stay connected with loved ones, talk casually with friends scattered around the world, to nurture the community without borders.
What app do you use the most?
It’s probably a close run between the Apple mail app and FaceTime. I’d like to say it’s my go-to app for listening to cool podcasts while tracking the fitness requirements of my HIIT workouts, but no, I love chatting.
When was the last time you went on vacation? What are you doing?
Is it important to take a morning? We went to my wife’s favorite birthday breakfast, no kids, sat outside with mimosas and coffee. It was great.
What is one thing your company does to prioritize employee health?
As a company focused on brain health and wellness, we know that sleep, exercise, and nutrition are critical factors in our brain’s development, performance, and long-term health. We understand the destructive nature of stress and the diminishing benefits of creating balance. We are committed to supporting flexible working arrangements, and hiring exceptional talent wherever they are. We empower individuals to manage their commitments their way, to truly focus on outcomes not inputs.
What is your favorite treat?
Lucky for me, we made a bunch of delicious snacks to spoil me for a living. My favorite food is ours Chocolate Almond Brain Butter. It’s super indulgent, but full of Omega-3, choline, and it’s made from almonds. It’s chocolatey goodness.
Do you have any intentions or goals for 2023?
I know that children are at a special age, happy with the world they know, this year we intend to create more opportunities to share in their discovery and raise their perspectives, explore the weekend on the coast, national parks that we have not yet visited, and at the same time sprint towards the opportunities and challenges that 2023 will undoubtedly offer.
What is your favorite health product?
One practice that seems out of my reach is meditation, specifically quieting the mind. I just tried it Muse’s brainwave sensing headband, and it works. They gamified meditation in a way that cut through the awkwardness and unlocked the benefits, and even made it a little competitive.
Show us a photo of your happy place.
Courtesy of Mark Brooks
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