5 Food Habits to Get You Energized this Spring!

 

5 Food Habits to Boost Your Energy this Spring, including green smoothies!

Green smoothie to-go!

When spring time comes around, many of us get the mental and emotional awakening –  we feel happier, more positive, ready to get outdoors, explore, try new things and new foods! This explosion of energy and excitement also often comes in a physical sense, and we wake up feeling fresher, energized and ready to take on another beautiful day.

If you’re NOT feeling that way this spring, it may be due to your diet. If you wake up feeling sluggish, perhaps with a headache and would prefer to go back to sleep, you may need to revamp your food habits. And this can be easier than you may think!

Below are five fabulous food habits to add to your life. Try one or try them all, but you will undoubtedly be feeling far more energized, fresh, healthy and ready to jump into another spring day!

  1. Get Your Green Juice On. By juicing on a regular basis (especially green juices and mostly veggies!), you add in some alkalizing foods that will help to balance your body’s natural pH level (which should be a little alkaline) and give you a burst of nutrients that might be difficult to eat in their whole food form all at once. By juicing, you’re getting this super-dose of vitamins and minerals and helping to flush out toxins that may be contributing to your low energy. New to juicing? Check out our 7 Tips for Getting Started or take on our 7 Day Juicing Jumpstart Challenge!
  2. Eat Green Veggies Daily. Kale, spinach, collards, bok choy, dandelion greens, watercress, dark lettuces – these superfood veggies will boost your energy and moods, helping you feel happy, light and vibrant. Try using these veggies in salads, smoothies, give them a quick water sauté with some garlic and a pinch of sea salt, or try out Cashew Kale recipe.
  3. Get Smart with Smoothies. If you need an easy and quick breakfast in the morning, please don’t grab that bagel with cream cheese. That just won’t sustain you or give you the vibrant springtime energy we know you’d love to have! Instead, blend yourself a power-packed smoothie with some almond milk or water, almonds, avocado, banana, kale or spinach, berries and coconut. Or experiment with your own ingredients – just stick with whole foods, good sources of protein (like nuts/seeds), healthy fats (avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut), and some green veggies. For more tips on how to create the perfect smoothie to kick-start your day, try our Smoothie Tips for the Newbie here.
  4. Drink water. A general rule of thumb is to drink about half of your body weight in ounces. If you weigh 150 pounds, drink about 75 ounces daily – more if you’re pretty active. Dehydration can bring us down (our energy and moods) fairly quickly. Plus, if you’re drinking more water, it should help you to drink less soda and other sugary drinks that will only compromise your immune system, blood sugar balance and energy. Squeeze in some fresh lemon juice to bring some alkalizing power to your body (remember tip #1 about keeping your body’s pH on the alkaline side?).
  5. Eat More Plant-based Protein. While eating some quality meat or animal protein can be beneficial for many of us, overdoing it can often lead to low energy and feeling sluggish. Our bodies work hard to digest meat, which means less energy is available for the rest of the body. Try swapping your steak for black beans or tempeh (or another plant-based protein source). Need some ideas for plant-based protein recipes? We have a whole bunch in our book: Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen and some on our Recipe page. You can also check out Forks Over Knives for yummy recipes.

7 Steps to Finding Your Food Groove

Making the decision to begin changing your diet can feel overwhelming and confusing – possibly so much so that you end up making no changes at all! And that’s not what we want to see happen. Once you’ve decided you’re ready to begin eating better (which is really the first step!), then take on the rest in baby steps. Go one day at a time and one goal at a time.

Perhaps you decide to begin eating a leafy green vegetable every day or 4 days of the week. Maybe you want to try drinking more water or eating more whole grains (like brown rice) instead of processed grains (breads, pastas – especially the white flour ones!). Start small and add on as you go.

Here are 7 general steps to finding your groove with food. These are great areas to start with, and you may want to break down your steps and goals even more. Remember to be realistic, but also push yourself to see just what you can do! You’d be surprised!

1.) Drink more water: There is no right amount of water to drink, but generally the bigger and more active you are, the more you should drink. A good rule of thumb is a 1/2 ounce of water per pound of weight. So a 160 pound person might start with 80 ounces of water (or 10 eight-ounce cups). Staying hydrated is imperative during cancer treatment! This will help to increase your energy, support your immune system, reduce nausea and other treatment and cancer side effects.

2.) Practice cooking: Cooking is a fundamental step to healthier living. By making your own meals you know what’s going into them. Meals don’t need to take hours to prepare and involve multiple ingredients. Pick a healthy recipe or two a week to add in to your routine. 

3.) Increase leafy green vegetables: These are seriously lacking in the American diet and they are most essential for creating long-lasting health. More specifically they help eliminate depression, improve liver, gallbladder and kidney function, increase energy and boost your blood. Try kale, collards, mustard greens, dandelion greens, spinach, and chard.

4.) Increase whole grains: It’s not these types of carbohydrates that have led to the obesity epidemic, but rather the processed goods like doughnuts. Whole grains are some of the best sources of nutritional support and provide long-lasting energy. Try brown rice, quinoa, oats, and millet. 

5.) Increase sweet vegetables: People forget that these exist and they are the perfect medicine for the sweet tooth. Instead of depending on processed sugar, you can add more naturally sweet flavors to your diet and dramatically reduce sweet cravings and better support your body. Try sweet potatoes, beets, carrots and squash.

6.) Experiment with protein: The majority of Americans eat way too much protein and mostly in the form of animal meat. Pay attention to how different types of protein make you feel. Try other forms like beans, lentils, nuts or fermented soy (tempeh, miso).

7.) Eat less meat, dairy, sugar and processed foods; consume less coffee, alcohol and tobacco: Did you notice we said eat less instead of don’t eat? If we told you not to drink coffee or eat sweets you would want them even more. By increasing your whole grains, vegetables and water you will naturally crowd out the more processed items, so this step often comes naturally (and it’s much easier to add in good food than try to restrict yourself from the not-so-good foods).

 

Adapted from 10 Steps to Boost Your Health for Life, Joshua Rosenthal, IntegrativeNutrition.com