You may remember that I was in a car accident about a month before giving birth. That’s left me with some residual back pain and orders not to exercise for a few weeks – which means that I’m relying solely on nutrition to help keep my energy levels up despite many feeding-filled, sleepless nights.
So guess who I’m turning to for help. My go-to nutritionists at Prescribe Nutrition, of course. They’ve got tons of useful stuff to share with us today that I hope will help you too!
Tired. Who’s tired? Oh right, everyone you talk to?
We engage in lots of conversations at Prescribe Nutrition. The topics span the gamut but one in particular strikes us like no other, and it’s the one that impacts virtually every aspect of our lives: work, relationships, attitude and mood, sleep, and at the core, the ability to be our best selves. That friends, is our energy.
We’ve surveyed the thousands of program participants at Prescribe Nutrition and it’s safe to say that 80% of everyone we talk to reports ‘more energy’ as something they’d desperately like back in their lives. So let’s talk about it AND how to get more energy in your life!
Why so low? Well there are a number of reasons why we feel depleted. Usually starting with one (or both) of these two:
- not taking in enough energy for what we are putting out
- taking in things that rob us of that coveted energy before we even have the chance to use it
Now there are a multitude of other potential factors at play – more physiological – but today we are talking things that are right there in front of you, most specifically, on your plate.
When we consume foods that are foreign to our bodies (think package, processed and preserved) we call on our bodies to work harder to figure out how to source those foods. Our bodies are like little factories. If something hits the conveyer belt that isn’t easy to digest or assimilate, additional help is needed.
Here’s an easy analogy – a typical healthy meal, let’s say grilled fish tacos, mango salsa and even a ‘lil bowl of strawberry pistachio ice cream, (recipe below!) takes about 4-6 hours to digest and as little as 12 hours to eliminate.
Now how about a fast food meal? Get ready because you’re not going to like this one… it can take up to 48 hours to eliminate. Whoa. Think that might rob you of some much needed energy? You’re on the right track.
So you know the processed, artificial and fake foods won’t serve you, but did you know that sometimes seemingly innocuous foods can cause issues with energy as well?
If you suffer from food sensitivities but don’t know it (more common than we’d like unfortunately), what will happen is your body will constantly be fighting a mini battle inside, and your energy will be what takes the biggest hit.
During Prescribe 20 we discuss the topic of uncovering what food works best for you and how foods directly affect our stress hormones, our everyday life and overall health.
What to do: Make friends with the food you put in your body. We say it all the time. The more alive your foods are, the more alive you’ll feel.
When you put good, whole, and fresh foods in – your body is capable of directly utilizing them as a source energy. Get to know your body better by giving it a break from some of the most common offenders (sugar is top of the list!) When you pull out the ‘clutter’ you can listen to makes your body operate it finest.
We know, bummer. They’re so handy and have become part of our every day but did you know that the very energy that is emitted from electronics create a tap on our body’s energy? Now we aren’t suggesting you go electronic free (gosh, what would we do) but to simply audit its need.
Not only are the electronic frequencies hormone disruptors, but the data that we ingest revs up our brain, prompting neurons to simulate. Any unnecessary stimulation takes energy. The energy you need and want to laugh, love up your family, be productive and all that fun stuff.
What to do: Just evaluate when and if. If you find yourself picking up the tablet or computer for no reason, put it back down. Grab a book, take a walk around the block, or call a friend. Do something that feeds you. Heck, whip up a great snack recipe for the week.
“Say it ain’t so. But it tastes so good and ‘helps’ me through the afternoon, along with it’s BFF coffee.” We know, we hear you. It’s tough to break up with sugar, it’s been there for us through the highs and lows. The problem is that it sugar is the #1 cause of peaks and valleys in our energy.
Sugar is the top inflammatory food and taps our immune system. Did you know that when you eat refined sugars your body’s immune system is tapped down for 3-6 hours? Sugar is false energy.
Eating sugar is like putting jet fuel in your car. It’s the wrong fuel source for the engine and burns too hot and too fast, simply frying us out. Plus, the highs and lows of sugar create the ‘need’ for more…more and more. It can be a very addictive cycle that our bodies have trouble breaking.
What to do: Make some great natural sugar friends. Have a date with dates. Get figgy with figs. Sweeten up with honey. All have a profoundly less impact on blood sugar than the processed stuff, but will satisfy those sweet cravings.
What’s more, they are ALL found in nature. Remember our motto: alive = alive. When sugar is calling your name resist the urge by turning to foods that actually feed you.
Ready for some yummy recipes to help? Here you go…
SESAME CHICKEN SALAD
- 5 cups mixed greens, romaine or your favorite green
- Sesame vinaigrette
- 2 mandarins/tangerines, peeled, in segments
- 1 large carrot, peeled and grated
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, diced
- ½ avocado, pitted and diced
- 1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
- 2 cups of shredded chicken (easy option – a rotisserie chicken shredded)
- 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
- Place greens in a large bowl; drizzle sesame vinaigrette over greens and mix until well dressed.
- Top the greens with rows of each topping: mandarins/tangerines, carrot, celery, avocado, eggs, green onion and chicken. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the top, and cover with a final drizzle of dressing. Serve and enjoy!
Yields ~ ½ cup
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 small shallot, peeled and minced
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
- 1 teaspoon tamari or coconut aminos
Whisk together rice wine vinegar, shallot, sesame oil, honey, ginger and tamari or coconut aminos in a small bowl. Done!
STRAWBERRY PISTACHIO ICE CREAM
- 3 frozen bananas
- 1 cup frozen strawberries
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup coconut cream*
- ½ cup pistachios (meat only), chopped
- *firm top portion from canned coconut milk, place in refrigerator 1 hour in advance
- Combine all ingredients, except pistachios, in a food processor or high speed blender and blend until well combined, about 1-2 minutes. Remove, add to medium bowl and stir in pistachios.
- Freeze for 20-30 minutes, then serve.
*Note that once it’s completely frozen you will have to let it thaw a bit before serving again.
SPICED SWEET POTATO TRUFFLES
Yields 12 truffles
- 1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, washed, dried and pierced with a fork (skin on)
- 1 cup raw walnuts
- 6 medjool dates, pitted
- ½ cup gluten free rolled oats
- 1 tablespoon organic coconut oil, melted
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa or raw cacao powder, + extra for garnish
- 1 tablespoons ground cinnamon, + extra for garnish
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350 F and bake sweet potatoes directly on rack of oven. Bake until very soft and they start to ooze a bit, about 30-40 minutes. Allow sweet potatoes to cool completely. You can do this a day in advance and store in the refrigerator!
- Cut the sweet potatoes into large pieces, we do not remove peel but if you prefer to do so! In a high speed blender or food processor, blend the sweet potatoes walnuts, dates, oats, coconut oil, cocoa powder, cinnamon, vanilla and sea salt until the mixture is combined and similar to a dough.
- Divide the mixture into 12 portions and roll each your hands packing to form a ball – this will not work unless the dough is completely cooled, you may want to refrigerate for 15 minutes. Chill in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes until cool. Garnish after they have cooled – we love a mixture of cinnamon and cocoa powder.