I am laughing to myself while I think how to phrase this. What do you call someone who eats generally well, but wants to kick it up a notch? Am I on a health kick? I’m not sure (chuckling), but what I am sure of is I need full energy to keep up with my life right now and I wasn’t feeling it. I have been blaming my lack of sleep for months. Baby will be one year old next month and he still wakes up at least three times each night. So I haven’t had more than 3 hours straight sleep in about a year. Still, I’ve been here before (a few times) and felt clear headed, full of energy and joy. After a full week of feeling just about the opposite I knew it was time. I am also very blessed to have been reminded of this by a friend or two who has been there done that.
For those of you who have never struggled with food cravings skip to the good information and fantastic recipes below. For those of you who have struggled with cravings you might like to read here you are not alone. I didn’t even know I had a sugar/carbohydrate food addiction until I was an adult. Most people might just say they get cravings, but for me it wasn’t just a little something. It was a something that made me feel like I needed to have sugar or carbohydrate food that I didn’t need. That is an addiction. I am very sensitive to this type of behavior because I grew up in a family where nearly everyone was addicted to alchohol or drugs. Since I was very young I have purposed to not be controlled by any addiction. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized that food can be addictive. Especially the processed stuff we call food in every grocery store today. I also learned that the only way to fight my addiction was to not partake at all for long periods of time. That may sound easy, but it hasn’t always felt easy for me. It may sound too difficult, but it is much easier than you might think once you are not craving those type of foods.
Back to real time. Two weeks ago I went off sugar/processed foods. I am still enjoying healthy fresh fruit and frozen berries in my yogurt, oats and smoothies, but no more processed sugar. At least for awhile. I had two days of feeling aweful and then woke up day three full of energy and clear headed. I knew that it was right around the corner, but boy those two days were rough. I actually woke up at 5:30 am naturally just a few days ago. Normally I have to drag myself out of bed about one hour later. Eating low glycemic foods helps me sleep better when I do sleep. I am having a much easier time keeping up with my four little Brownies and baby Brownie, home schooling them, working at Brown Box and doing all the other life things that I enjoy and want to have energy for. I am so very thankful!
Are you looking to boost your energy? Here are some great tips that might help you no matter where you are at with your health and diet.
Often people don’t know exactly where to start in making healthier food choices. Here are some ideas:
1. Eat more plants to be sure you are getting the best nutrients for your body. Add dark leafy greens like kale or swiss chard to soups and stews.
2. Choose the majority of foods as whole, fresh, organic, local, seasonal and unprocessed and eliminate refined, processed foods with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners and hydrogenated fats. For example, choose an organic apple instead of apple juice.
3. Get your healthy fats from plant sources such as nuts and avocados. Minimize “extracted” oils and processed fats.
4. Select leaner meats and seafood, as well as lower fat dairy products. Build your menus around using smaller amounts of meat, and greater amounts of vegetables.
5. Choose nutrient-dense foods with a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants.
It’s important to eat 12-20 grams of protein at each meal, particularly breakfast. So, if you choose to eat more vegetables, be sure to check the amount of protein you are getting on a daily basis. A good website for vegetable recipes and information is http://www.pcrm.org/health/ Like everything else, a healthy diet needs to be customized to your own health needs and status, so consult a licensed health care practitioner to help you make individualized choices.
Instead of Eat
Wheat bread, rolls, buns Whole grain, spelt bread
Bagels Whole grain bagels
Enriched flour Whole wheat, spelt, or rye flour
Pastries and cakes Fruit squares sweetened with juice, 100% fruit leathers
Donuts and packaged cookies Whole grain cookies and muffins
Commercial breakfast cereals Steamed whole grains (rice, millet etc.)
Packaged pancake mix Whole grain waffles and pancakes
Commercial pancake syrup Maple syrup, fresh fruit and yogurt, fruit puree
Pasteurized milk Raw milk, goat milk, keifer, soy milk, nut milk, soy cheese, yogurt cheese, goat cheese, feta, mozarrella
Margarine 1 cup butter mixed with 1 cup olive oil
Milkshakes Smoothies made with nut/soy /rice milk
Commercial ice cream Homemade ice cream, fruit sorbets, frozen fruit juice, smoothies
Coffee Teas, herbal teas, postum, inka,
Soda pop, carbonated drinks
and/or alcohol Diluted fruit juice, spring water, mineral water
Cocoa Carob sweetened with honey
Sugar Molasses, maple syrup, honey, malt syrup, agave, rice syrup, stevia
Candy Whole fruit, unsulfured dried fruit, nuts, seeds
Jello and pudding Fruit and nut smoothies
Commercial popcorn, chips Air popped popcorn, shelled nuts and seeds
Instead of Eat
Salt Sea salt, kelp, brewer’s yeast, herbs, Liquid Aminos
White flour pasta Soy, corn, spelt, or whole grain macaroni, spinach, rice, quinoa, amaranth pastas
White flour tortillas Whole wheat tortillas, spelt or corn tortillas
White flour sauces Arrowroot, tapioca, or rice polishings to thicken
White rice Brown, basmati or texmati rice
Saltine or oyster crackers Whole grain, rice crackers or rice cakes
Lard, hydrogenated oils* Cold pressed, olive, sunflower, etc. vegetable oils
Fried foods Broil, poach, steam, stew or bake
Luncheon meats or canned meat Bean, hummus, and/or vegetable spread
Hamburgers Gardenburgers, Boca Burgers, etc.
Beef, pork, veal Lean fish, fowl, lamb, wild game
Ketchup Unprocessed tomato juice or sauce
Commercial soy sauce Tamari (naturally fermented soy sauce), Liquid Aminos
Commercial peanut butter Freshly ground peanut butter/almond butter and/or sesame butter (tahini)
*coconut oil is a healthier choice for a variety of reasons
Best foods to buy Organic: Meats, dairy, celery, peaches, strawberries, applies, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, kale, cherries, potatoes and imported grapes. (Source: Environmental Working Group)
1 package Italian Herb Spaghetti sauce mix
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 cup cooked Italian Sausage
4 oz. Ancient Harvest Quinoa pasta (instead of 1 oz, can use 2 oz. dry per person)
Follow preparation instructions on sausage package and add italian sausage. May garnish with parmesan cheese, if desired.
Nutritional analysis: per serving: 413 calories, 13 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 24 g cholesterol, 856 mg sodium, 63 g carbohydrates, 7 g fiber, 8 g sugar, 14 g protein.
Thai Noodle Salad
1 8-oz. package brown rice spaghetti ¼ cup peanut butter
3 cups shredded napa cabbage (or used regular) 2 tablespoons tahini
4 large carrots, shredded ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
1 small green pepper—chopped/diced ¼ cup sweet chili sauce
2 small sweet pepper (any color) —chopped/diced 5 T. Tamari soy sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. brown sugar 1 bunch fresh green onions, chopped
1 tsp. garlic powder
½ cup chopped peanuts 1 tsp. sea salt
2 T. toasted black (used regular)sesame seeds 1 tsp. ground black pepper
Optional: 8 oz. frozen cooked shrimp, thawed and drained
Break pasta into small pieces and cook in boiling water 8-10 minutes, aldente. Drain, and toss together with cabbage, carrots, peppers, ½ of the cilantro, ½ of the onions and (optional) shrimp. In a small bowl, stir together peanut butter, tahini, rice wine vinegar and sweet chili sauce. Season with soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Ten minutes before serving, toss the sauce with cabbage mixture until evenly coated. Garnish with remaining cilantro, green onions, peanuts and sesame seeds.
Nutritional analysis: (Makes approximately 14 servings, with shrimp) per serving: 141 calories, 5.7 g fat, 23 mg cholesterol, 473 mg sodium, 16.4 g carbohydrate, 2.6 g fiber, 7.6 g protein.
Originally Posted January 2011. Information provided by:
Dr. Karen Benton, Naturopathic Physician