Activating Inner Energy

Some hours seem to drag on as time feels like it is standing still. Wooden toothpicks hold no power to the heavy eye lids sometimes. The good news is there are small steps you can take to renew that youthful energy.

The first thing to look at is the schedule of your eating and the quality of food being consumed. This means eating every few hours until your evening meal. When the morning alarm goes off instead of hitting snooze four times, and running out the door with bed head, enjoy a morning meal even if it is small. The brain has just gone 8-12 hrs without any fuel and it needs morning fuel from carbohydrates to charge and be ready to start your day.

Some quick ideas:
• Yoghurt with a half cup whole grain cereal and a half cup berries mixed in
• Smoothie with soy protein, 1 tbsp ground salba, half banana, 3 strawberries and soy milk blended together
• Whole grain bread smothered in natural nut butter with a banana rolled inside – almost like a healthy hot dog

An important point to keep in mind is not to eat high sugar items as a ‘quick solution' as it will only provide short energy which endures for maybe 30-60 minutes tops. This includes sugary cereal or cereal bars, pre-packaged oatmeal, latte's or juice. Instead, reach for the healthy raw fruit with fiber or a lower sugar yoghurt (as this one can be a hidden sugar) and/or a hot or cold whole grain cereal such as oat bran, oatmeal or old fashion bran flakes.

Secondly, do not short out on consuming healthy protein. This not only helps sustain blood sugar levels but slowly releases energy throughout the day. Nuts, seeds, soybeans (all unsalted), dairy and tofu can serve well into any meal or snack.

If you have already mastered these suggestions here are a few other side tips that go beyond nutrition basics:

• Chew gum – the aroma and flavour of peppermint or spearmint can boost alertness and circulation in your face
• Sip your coffee in half cup intervals as this has shown to sustain energy longer than 1 cup at one moment in time
• Go for crunch – foods like celery, carrots or crisp breads require so much facial activity you have no choice but to wake up
• Drink cold water – one early sign of dehydration is fatigue
• Get up and move – even a standing stretch of reaching to the sky pumps the blood to ‘ignored' chair sitting spots
• Sniff some rosemary – this Mediterranean herb has shown to increase brain circulation and has a reputation of improving memory

Whether you change specific foods you are eating or how you drink your coffee there are simple ways you can blossom with energy and no batteries are required.

Learn more about Karla Heintz: 

Karla Heintz, BSc Nutrition
Karla Heintz, BSc Nutrition, is a Calgary-based TV/Radio health and wellness personality, speaker, writer and consultant for athletes and families. She is the author of ‘Picky? Not Me, Mom! - A parents' guide on children's nutrition.

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