Does your energy ebb and flow through out the day? Maybe some days you feel great! Enough energy to get everything done you need to during the day and evening. But some days are a struggle. Sometimes we just can't wake up or we have a 3:00 PM slump. Maybe you are even falling asleep when you sit down to watch TV at 8:00 PM. Too exhausted to even watch a movie.
Keeping our energy levels consistent and lasting the entire day is not just about when we eat. What we eat influences our energy levels as well. Energy in our body is made from our mitochondria. The mitochondria is in every cell in our body. It has to be fed well in order to make energy that is accessible to us the entire day. While the mitochondria needs more than good food to eat, it also needs movement, stress-management and clean drinks, I'm only going to focus on food.
Eating foods for energy does not have to be boring. It does not have to be restrictive. I believe we must not label food good or bad. We must not think "I can't eat that". Instead, we need to embrace what we want to eat to feel more energetic. Once you are educated and informed about how to eat for energy, you can start making choices. When we are learning how to feed ourselves, we are simply inheriting what our families have done from generation to generation. When we start learning how food can impact how we feel, we can start making different choices about what we want to eat.
This doesn't mean that you aren't going to decide to eat something that will deplete your energy. Life happens! You'll be at a party or a business event or unable to pre-plan meals, so your choices will be limited to what is available. That is OK! You simply can choose to eat differently when you can get back to your normal routine. Actually, after you have chosen to eat a certain way for a period of time, you'll notice how different you feel when you can't eat that way. It's a pretty powerful experience. You'll start to appreciate how good your energy levels are when you choose to eat for energy.
Foods that promote energy in the body are:
Blueberries, lemons, limes
Spinach, kale, collard greens
Swiss Chard, arugula, broccoli
Mushrooms: Cordyceps, Reishi, Chaga
How do foods produce energy? From their energy cultivating nutrients. Specific nutrients needed for energy are: B-12, Folic Acid, Vitamin E, Magnesium, Amino Acids and Essential Fatty Acids. Leafy green vegetables like kale are high in Folic Acid, Magnesium and Vitamin E. Blueberries contain Omega-3's and Amino Acids. Mushrooms have multiple energy producing nutrients such as B-12, Amino Acids and Essential Fatty Acids. (Source: World's Healthiest Foods)
One important decision you have to make is to eat organic. Most people don't think about eating organic because they believe it is so expensive. This is just not true anymore! There are times when organic produce and fruits are priced lower than conventionally grown food at the grocery store. It is like anything, know your prices. Organic foods help you avoid chemicals and pesticides. When you eat chemicals and pesticides, it interrupts our bodies ability to produce energy. They actually promote fatigue in the body! You'll be amazed how quickly when you switch to organic food how much more energy you will have. I know 100% organic may not always be possible. I strive to have every meal at least 80% organic.
Now that you know a little bit about what foods to eat for energy, let's get to the recipes! This is the fun part!
I eat an avocado once a week. There are so many great recipes you can make beyond avocado toast and guacamole. Some of the recipes below even use some other energy promoting ingredients, such as kale and blueberries. Once you start eating avocados regularly, you'll never want to stop!
Avocado Tomatillo Breakfast Tacos by Love and Lemons
Avocado Chicken Salad with Kale by Cooking Light
Quick and Easy Avocado Pasta by Inspired Taste
Healthy Tuna Stuffed Avocado by The Stay at Home Chef
Blueberry Avocado Smoothie by Well Plated
Arugula is one of my favorite greens. I throw it in everything! Most people think of only making salads with it. But it wilts so easily that you can throw it in scrambled eggs, a vegetable stir-fry or in a casserole.
Arugula Pesto by The Kitchen Girl
Lemon Pasta with arugula by Proud Italian Cook
Fennel Leek Arugula Risotto by Cannelle Vanille
Shrimp Bean and Corn Salad over Arugula by Yummy Mummy Kitchen
Orecchiette with Cherry Tomatoes and Arugula by Smitten Kitchen
This is where you can have dessert or something sweet in the morning or afternoon and still get the energy promoting benefits of blueberries. Blueberries can be eaten year-round given their prevalence in the freezer section of any grocery store. In fact, I prefer to have frozen blueberries always in the house because then I can eat them whenever I want.
Fresh Blueberry Crisp by Taste and Tell Blog
Blueberry Pie Bars by Averie Cooks
Blueberry Lemon Bread with Lemon Glaze by Live Well Bake Often
Blueberry Breakfast Cake by Amanda's Cookin
Blueberry Smoothie by Dinner at the Zoo
I hope this post inspires you to eat more foods that promote energy in the body. If you try any of the recipes above, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram as @heather_lee_donahue and use the #heathershealthhabits hashtag. I love seeing your takes on the recipes I share!
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