Susan Arthur, NC
Have you found yourself struggling to get through the day? Are you falling into bed only to lay awake? Do you want to get more out of your diet but aren’t sure how? Even a good diet may not be providing you with all you need to sustain your energy levels. Stress, worry, insomnia, aging, allergies and the environment are just some of the ways that our nutrients are depleted each and every day.
Proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and phyto-nutrients are essential for all our bodily functions. Taking supplements can help but nothing takes the place of food for rejuvenating, repairing and invigorating our body, mind and spirit.
When working with clients, I suggest a gradually incorporation of these items. Take on one per week or even per month. Small changes truly do go a long way to improving your health.
Get familiar with your local health food store. We often perceive that “health” foods are expensive. Most of the items I have suggested can either be purchased in small quantities or purchased in bulk to save money and to reduce trips to the store. Check out the bulk bins for seeds, protein powder, seaweed, seeds and herbs.
Tips for less time in the kitchen:
• Schedule food prep times once or twice a week.
• Prepare salad greens, raw, roasted or steamed vegetables ahead to add to meals throughout the week.
• Make a few smoothies in advance, store in the refrigerator or make a lot and store in freezer.
• Food prep with a friend or family members. This shares the load and makes it more fun.
• Put seeds, nutritional yeast and green powder in jars in the front of the fridge to remind you to USE them.
• Buy herbs in small quantities from the herb or health food store to ensure that your herbs are fresh. I cleaned out all my old herb jars to store my fresh, dried herbs.
Most importantly, make small, gradual changes give yourself time to get used to these new foods and to strategize for incorporating them into your life. The more you use them, the better you will feel, the better you feel the more energy you will have to use them!
The minerals found in vegetables are essential for keeping pH levels balanced in the body. pH can be compromised by stress, excess acid forming foods and weak digestion. Having just 8 ounces of broth per day can help alkalize the body which protects bones, organs and arteries. Broths can be made with bones and vegetables or just vegetables alone. Drink as a hot or cold beverage, use as the liquid to cook grains or as a base for soups and stews. Drinking mineral broth with meals really helps to maintain a healthy pH and protects against the damage done due to acidity from the diet, stress, aging, illness and the environment. (Bauman, 2012, pg 33)
These jewels are sources of complete proteins(11grams per 2 TBS), high in minerals, fiber and omega 3 fatty acids. Tasty and easy to sprinkle on your favorite dishes or add to smoothies. Purchase at the health food store in the refrigerator section. Store in the fridge.
You have heard of spirulina, you may have even tried it (yuk – right?). There are some powder blends that actually taste okay. Notice I didn’t say good! However, this is an amazingly healthful booster food. Low calorie and high in proteins, minerals, especially trace minerals, something most of us are deficient in. Add some green powder to your protein smoothie, put some in yogurt or kifir, add to your mineral broth, cut an apple or other juicy fruit and shake in a baggy of powder to coat. Start with just a teaspoon to get accustomed to the taste and cleansing power. This is also wonderfully alkalizing. Start with a teaspoon gradually increase to 1 tablespoon per day. Some brands I like are: Barlean’s Greens, Pro Greens, Miracle Greens, Perfect Food, Life Force Greener Grasses.
Healthy Starchy Carbs
Is there such a thing? We have been brain washed lately that carbs are bad, but there are some starchy carbohydrates that are good sources of energy, nutrients and fiber. It is all about the type of starch and fiber in the carbohydrate…Sweet potatoes, yams, apples, bananas, beets, rutabagas, turnips, carrots and parsnips. It is helpful to consume these with a healthy protein or fat to help stabilize blood sugar. I suggest 1 – 3 servings per day. Organic or spray free are best for these foods. These can be found seasonally at Farmer’s markets at reasonable prices.
Whey or hemp protein powders can provide an excellent nutrient boost. A smoothie with 1 to 2 scoops of powder with almond, hemp or rice milk and frozen fruit can be a delicious, high protein meal. Some brands I recommend to my clients: Whey: Source Naturals, Nature’s Path, Jarrow, Bio Chem. Go to the health food store, you are more likely to find a high quality product. (note: Trader Joes has a pretty good product called”Whey To Go”). Hemp powders (also found at health food stores) Living Harvest and Nutiva are my favorites.
Seeds, seeds, seeds
Speaking of seeds… think about it, seeds are the beginning of life. All seeds have all the nutrients to begin and sustain life. Raw seeds are packed with life sustaining nutrients.
Sunflower seeds are highest in protein, sesame seeds are high in magnesium, pumpkin seeds high in selenium. All seeds are good sources of protein, minerals, B vitamins and antioxidants especially vitamin E. Soaking seeds helps the minerals to be more absorbable. Unless seeds are still in their shells, keep them in the refrigerator to avoid the oils in them from going rancid. Seeds can be dried or lightly toasted right before use. Spouting seeds is easy and boosts the nutrition ten-fold. http://sproutpeople.org/sprouts/nutrition.html
Blue and Purple Foods
Flavanoids are phytonutrients that are powerful protectors against cancer, heart disease, radiation of all kinds, damage to every cell and blood vessel in our body. They also support energy, immunity and natural detoxification. Berries are a rich source of flavanoids, red onions, purple potato and egg plan skins, red and purple grapes (high in resveratol). Include 1 cup per day for best protection. www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=119
Bee Pollen or Royal Jelly
Bee foods are super nutritious. These products are found at the health food store in the refrigerator. High in stress reducing and blood sugar balancing B vitamins and minerals. This is another complete protein food that is easy to absorb. Add a teaspoon of bee pollen to your smoothie (bee pollen has also been shown to help with environmental allergies). For a boost in energy, add a teaspoon to a tablespoon of royal jelly to some hot water as a tasty tea. Great for energy slumps in the afternoon. This is the food that sustains the queen (she is a busy bee) and is actually contains a full complement of nutrients. (Murray 2003, p
Inflammation can be a painful, energy sapping and aging condition. There are some culinary herbs along with some herbal supplemental blends that help to suppress inflammation and promote healing. Herbs that are easy to add to your meals that are flavorful include:
• Turmeric, cayenne, garlic, ginger, and or curry. These herbs are also considered to be “thermogenic” which help with weight loss and energy production.
• Some foods and herbs contain “proteolitic” enzymes that reduce inflammation. Bromelain (pineapple), papian (papaya), capsaicin (cayenne), curcumin (turmeric), zingiber (ginger). These blends are a good alternative to aspirin and other anti-inflammatory that can cause serious digestive issues.
Supplemental brands of these herbs include: Zyflamend, Wobenzyme and Vitalzyme. These supplements have been shown to be safe, but if you have concerns please check with you doctor. http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=21671
Bauman, E. (2012). Foundations of Nutrition. Penngrove, CA: Bauman College
Bauman, E. (2103) Therapeutic Nutrition. Penngrove, CA: Bauman College
Murray, Michael M.D. (2005). The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York, NY: Atria Books
Mateljan, George. (2007). The Worlds Healthiest Foods. Seattle Washington: George Mateljan Foundation
La Puma, John, MD. (2008). Chef MD’s Big Book of Culinary Medicine. New York, NY: Crown Publishing
Susan Arthur, N.C.