Written by Joanna McCracken
Our day-to-day routines can leave us emotionally, mentally, physically and chemically overstressed. Over time, unmanaged stress can fatigue our adrenal system and leave us feeling tired, drained and wishing for more energy. We all know that yoga and meditation are great ways to combat the side effects of stress; studies show these practices can lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety, and increase energy. However, there’s no amount of meditation or yoga that will remedy the chemical stress we put on our bodies when we eat poorly.
Let’s start with the main foods that decrease our energy: caffeine, soft drinks, alcohol, too much or too little meat, processed foods, milk, sugar, artificial sweeteners and trans fats. It’s important to pay attention to our intake of these types of foods, particularly stimulants because they seem to give us an energy boost, but cause an inevitable crash and deplete our bodies of valuable minerals and nutrients.
Equally important are the foods that increase our energy, such as:
• Clean foods: what’s meant by “clean” is essentially the quality of our food. We want plants that haven’t been sprayed with tons of herbicides, fungicides and pesticides, and animal products that haven’t been pumped full of antibiotics, hormones and other chemicals.
• Living foods: these foods have life force and are often raw. They’re packed with naturally occurring antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Raw foods in particular are extremely cleansing and detoxifying. Click here for raw food recipe ideas.
• Whole foods: in their unrefined state, most whole foods such as grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruit aren’t processed andthus have all of their original fiber, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. Most whole foods are digested slowly and won’t cause blood sugar levels to spike and then crash.
• Superfoods: these are the most nutrient dense foods possible. You often hear the term applied to foods such as dark leafy greens, berries, sea vegetables, cacao, bee pollen, raw honey, hemp and chia seeds. These foods, particularly in their raw state, will help increase your energy and vitality.
Here is a delicious recipe for a lemon, herb & cherry tomato quinoa salad.
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed