What you eat and when you eat has a big influence on your energy levels throughout the day. Morning is when it can either start with a bang or a thud, but it doesn’t just end there. The choices you make throughout the day can have a huge influence on your physical, emotional and mental wellness in life.
If you begin your day with a heavy meal, such as pancakes or even milk and cereal, you may find yourself wanting to go straight back to bed. The other side effect you might get is a mild depression, such as a feeling of doom or dread about your day. The reason this happens is that your body is working so hard to digest the food you just ate, that you have no energy left for normal functioning, and even your hormones get imbalanced by the sugar. And when it gets to be too much, your body just puts you to sleep so it can deal with the bombardment.
Another reason you may experience low energy after eating something is when our food choices create an insulin spike. When we eat foods such as white sugar, agave nectar, milk, white bread, pastries, or anything that creates an insulin overload for our pancreas (I had it happen from just eating cantaloupe recently), our hormones kick in to action to balance things in the body. Once your insulin level spikes too high from eating a sugary food, a roller coaster effect begins. As the body secretes hormones, our moods and energy levels move all over the place. This can also be the case if we go without food in the case of hypoglycemia, but usually that is still a case of imbalance. Isn’t food supposed to give us energy and help us function in life? The answer is Yes! We just need to make smart choices, cleanse our bodies of all the excess waste, and feed it the right food to help us stay feeling good.
Here is an example of some items you can exchange to make your energy soar instead of sink. Below are 2 lists. One is foods that make us sleepy, groggy or low energy, as well as moody and even depressed.The second is an alternative that will make you feel energized and good. Some people may at first experience withdrawal or even detox symptoms from some of your unhealthy habits being replaced, but very soon, maybe within a day, you will feel supercharged!
Instead of this:
1. Bananas, protein power and cow’s milk
2. Cereal and Milk
3. Toast with butter or jam
6. Ice Cream
1. Chia-Maca Shake
2. Unsweetened almond milk (home-made is better than boxed) with 1 TBS chia seeds soaked in ½ cup water topped with fresh berries
3. Almond bread with tomato slices, sprinkled with fresh chopped basil and a sprinkle of salt
4. Green juice made with cucumber, celery, kale, lemon and possibly fresh pressed apple for taste.
(I know this one is really far-fetched as usually, if you feel like pancakes, the last thing you are going to want is a green juice, but you will be surprised by how amazing you feel. Make your juice the night before, then drink it first thing in the morning. Then if you still want pancakes, go for it, but instead of high fructose corn syrup, which is usually what they put in those fake maple syrups, just top it with some fresh berries and honey.)
Also, fruit juice is not an option since it is loaded with insulin spiking “sugar”. The best choice by far is leafy green juices! The other thing you can do is to mix 1 TBS of green powder in water and drink it down first before eating anything else.
5. Romaine leaf instead of bread with whatever filling you choose. Keep in mind that it is usually the sugar in the bread that makes you low energy. My favorite filling in a Romaine leaf is some mustard, avocado slices and chopped tomatoes sprinkled with Himalayan salt and some sprouts.
6. Sweet Nothings fudgesicle (only 100 calories per bar) or a bowl of frozen raspberries or blueberries covered in almond milk and sweetened with stevia (it’s like a berry ice cream).
This will give you something to get started with, and as time goes on, keep trying new recipes that are organic and healthy. You never know how great you can feel until you start putting nutrients in and getting the toxins out.
Elaina Love is a plant-based chef, instructor, author and speaker.
Find out more about her recipes and classes at purejoyplanet.com.