Every person I know has said to me at one time or another, ‘I wish I had more energy.’ It isn’t all that hard when you know what ‘energy’ means and where it comes from.
Energy comes from the conversion of food into fuel in your body. It is that simple. The more effectively you feed the fire, the more energy you will have. A slow, steady burning metabolism is achievable no matter what you are born with. Here are the foods to eat and the times to eat them to net you more energy than you’ve ever had.
1. Sleep well. Six to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. If you need a bedtime snack, make it a high magnesium one which will help your muscles relax. Try oatmeal with two teaspoons of almond butter stirred into it. Resist the urge for brown sugar topping or you will sleep with syrup in your veins that may mean you wake up with a wonky blood sugar level that can leave you groggy, slow and make you crave even more sugar!
2. Breakfast needs to contain protein and fibre to set your blood sugar, and therefore energy level, for the day. Skip this step and expect an energy zapping crash or two that will be hard to recover from. This Egg White Omelet takes mere seconds and won’t ever let you down.
3. A mid-morning snack that is low on the glycemic index but contains glucose to fuel your sluggish brain is crucial! Natural Delights Medjool Dates should always be in your car, desk or bag—they are power fuel that is great any time you feel yourself flagging. Here is a great recipe for Power Balls that combine just the right amount of good fat, protein, anti-oxidants and carbs to get you through the morning or as a pre-workout power boost.
4. For lunch, skip the carbs and go for protein and greens like a stir fry without the rice or a salad with fish or chicken. Add a few nuts and a drizzle of dressing for slow burning good fats. Carb heavy sandwiches or pastas will only drag you down by 3 pm.
5. For a pre-dinner snack, have a big glass of water and a handful of almonds. Chances are you haven’t been drinking enough and some brain brown-out can be blamed on dehydration. A few almonds will take the edge off so you don’t eat a box of crackers while you are making dinner.
6. For dinner, try to finish eating dinner at least two to three hours before bed so it doesn’t interfere with your sleep.
Keeping your energy level even means taking a step-by-step approach incorporating the finest fuel for your body and brain. It also means managing your caffeine intake and keeping it to three cups of coffee or tea, and ending by about 2 pm.
Try this for a week and then let us know how you did! Did your energy level improve?
No matter which ‘diet’ you choose, paleo, Mediterranean, South Beach or the good old government food guide, they all recommend judicious use of seeds and nuts. We aren’t talking about the handfuls of peanuts at the bar as a snack—that’s way too caloric. We are talking about incorporating the good fats and multiple minerals that these nuggets carry into every meal.
For instance, magnesium is a mineral that your body needs to regulate muscles, heart rate and help build bones (among a few hundred other processes). It is a crucial nutrient that often gets overlooked and you need 400 mg each day on average. It is found in oat bran, buckwheat and artichokes. (You eat loads of those foods, right?) Maybe this is why most North Amercians are found to be significantly magnesium deficient. Your best bet for boosting intake is to go to seeds. Sprinkling these high magnesium nuggets on every salad, pasta, stew or soup will get you much closer to your optimal intake. Shoot for two or three tablespoons per day.
Any one of these can be whizzed in a blender into a Nutella-like, but healthy, chocolate spread that contains protein, anti-oxidants and yum—with no added fats or processed sugars.
Super Seeds (approximate mg of magnesium per shot glass)
Sunflower seeds (91 mg)
Sesame Seeds (97 mg)
Pumpkin seeds (green) (150 mg)
Hemp Seeds (150 mg)
Kind of brings a whole new meaning to ‘seedy.’ Protecting each and every cell in your body is better served when you behave like a bird.