Saturday, August 29, 2009

Energy Tips

I just read an article by Dr. Andrew Weil which lists a few ideas for picking up your energy.
Most of us could use an energy boost from time to time! I have been known to pop a dose of D-Ribose to boost my energy... It works wonders and tastes like sugar, yet it contains no sugar...interesting. I recently read that D-Ribose could be used as a sweetner. D-Ribose to sweeten my tea, hmm?

Dr. Weil's list contains information on D-Ribose and a few other

herbs/supplements you might try.

Here It Is:

  1. Magnesium and calcium. Oral magnesium supplementation has been shown to help reduce symptoms of fatigue, especially for those with low magnesium levels. I have tried this one and can attest to it's value. Take equal parts magnesium to calcium. Your body will thank you. It loves to have it's mineral requirements met.
  2. Coenzyme Q10. This vital nutrient is involved in cellular energy production throughout the body.
  3. Cordyceps. A traditional Chinese medicinal fungus that may help fight fatigue and boost energy levels. It is used as an energizing tonic and to help increase aerobic capacity and endurance.
  4. D-Ribose. A five-carbon sugar used in the generation of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), it helps maintain energy production in cells and can be especially beneficial for those with chronic fatigue. Love this one, great pre or post workout!..make sure to take in the AM to be sure you don't have trouble falling asleep. I buy mine from Jarrow. I find it online cheaper. Try for great prices on supplements.
  5. Ginseng (American or Asian). Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) and American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) are used for stimulant and adaptogenic (stress-protective) properties, respectively.
  6. Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus). A woody shrub from northeastern Asia with properties similar to those of ginseng, it has a long history of use to maximize athletic performance. Studies show that eleuthero can help enhance mental activity as well.
  7. Arctic root (Rhodiola rosea). An adaptogenic herb that helps prevent fatigue, stress and the damaging effects of oxygen deprivation.
  8. Vitamin B complex. B-vitamins act as cofactors in many metabolic reactions and assist in themetabolism of carbohydrates into energy. It is a good idea to take a B Complex daily regardless of your energy reserve. B Complex will help your body cope with the everyday stressors that can create energy drag. They call B vitamins the anti stress nutrient for a reason! They directly impact your nervous system. Bring on the B's!

  • photo credit: Morgan Webb

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Breakfast is one of the most important meals of our day.

Eating breakfast helps set the stage for our metabolism and our blood sugar levels for the day.
Without it, our metabolism wanes and our blood sugar levels drop, leaving us feeling far less than optimal... not to mention cranky. Some form of breakfast is better than nothing....and that morning cup of coffee only exacerbates the blood sugar roller coaster your body is on from not eating. Caffeine has a direct impact on blood sugar as it spikes insulin levels and sets your blood sugar into imbalance. Not that you have to stop drinking that delicious cup of Joe.... however, adding a bit of breakfast that includes protein will help your body take that roller coaster ride a bit more smoothly.

I found this adjustment to breakfast years ago when I discovered that I had hypoglycemia. Turns out my favorite strong Italian roast coffee and luscious sugar laden muffin or Scone were not the best options for my body...oh and pancakes?..forget it. Once I started incorporating a breakfast with some form of protein (and quite honestly fewer cups of coffee) energy levels rose dramatically and I lost my morning anxiety or irritation. Thank God for Breakfast!

Since changing my eating habits I have come up with a few simple breakfast ideas that work well when I am in a a hurry in the morning.

Try these when you are running out the door:

  • Fruit Smoothie Toss in your favorite fruit. I love to add Raspberries or Strawberries! You can easily buy frozen fruit so it is readily available for you. Add a large scoop of protein powder. Whey, Soy (non-isolated), and Hemp are great options. Look for the protein powder to contain at least 12 grams of protein and NO sugar. You may have to search but you will find a zero sugar protein powder. It is well worth it. You will already be getting enough natural sugar from the fruit. ** To add an additional kick of nutrients include: a tablespoon of ground flax seeds and a handful of RAW almonds, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds. These will incorporate a dose of healthy fats into your drink which will help you keep you full and provide your body with the benefits of those OMEGA 3's.

  • EGGS! You can hard boil a few eggs on a Sunday and they will be ready to grab on your way out the door the rest of the week. They are packed with protein!

  • Whole Grain Toast with Nut butter. Toasting a piece or two of bread is pretty quick and I gurantee that extra minute to add some nut butter will not slow you down. This option will give you a balanced option of protein to Carbs. It is not as satisfying on it's own....Combine it with a smoothie and you are set. Without the smoothie, it will keep you going until you reach for that mid-morning snack of possibly yogurt and nuts.

  • Yogurt. This is a great way to get some protein and healthy Acidophilus into your body. Be sure to pick up plain yogurt as it contains the least amount of sugar. The 0% to lowfat versions of plain greek style yogurt are amazing! You can add some fresh fruit and nuts on top to get additional antioxidants and healthy fats. If you are picking up a yogurt parfait from a cafe or coffee shop you may want to remove the granola. Most of the time the Granola is loaded with unhealthy fat and sugar. So, if you have to grab one of these pre-made parfaits in a hurry?.....simply eat around the granola.

  • JUST PLAIN Protein powder. This is something I do when I truly have zero time to stop and eat breakfast, or a snack. It is not appetizing but my body loves the effect. I just add a scoop of protein to a small glass of water and down it. This gets my blood sugar in check until I can eat a balanced snack or meal that actually tastes fantastic! It works wonders! This one is not about taste, it is about balancing my body.

Try some of these tips and come up with some of your own.
Post your ideas here!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Know Where Your Food Comes From....

I just saw a movie that has inspired me to spread the word on the necessity of understanding the evolution of our food supplies. The movie is Food Inc. It will give you a snapshot of where your food is coming from and how it is produced. Not to mention the inside scoop on how few food companies dominate the food markets.

I read a quote in Variety referencing this movie that I think personifies the film....
"Does for the supermarket what 'Jaws' did for the beach." -John Anderson

Once you see the film you will understand this quote and you will walk away with a thirst for additional
knowledge and a desire to find ways to make a difference. At the very least everyone will start reading food labels more often and continue making smarter food choices. I personally will avoid all pork products from a particular company which will remain nameless on this blog.

You can to go the to the films website to find additional information and movie locations.

I hope you get as much out of it as I did.

The Beauty of Omega 3's and Omega 6

By now we have all heard about the value of adding Omega 3's into our diet. They are power horses at bringing down inflammation in the body which, without reduction, may ultimately lead to various illnesses. They have also been found to keep your brain sharp and ease mild depression. Not to mention the added benefit of giving you glowing skin! I love that benefit!

The most common source comes from fish. A few which are loaded with Omega 3's are :

  • Salmon (my Favorite choice)
  • Black Cod
  • Sardines
  • Anchovies

You can also find them in vegetarian sources like:

  • Flax Seeds
choose whole seeds and grind one tablespoon daily in a coffee grinder. Simply add this to a cup of water or your favorite smoothie to get your daily dose.

  • Walnuts

It is important to maintain a proportion of 2 to 1 of Omega 3's to Omega 6. Unfortunately our diet contains too many forms of Omega 6 so we need to compensate by adding additional Omega 3's to maintain the balance. A disproportionate level of Omega 6 in our body causes an increase in inflammation, a decrease in insulin sensitivity, and raises the risk of heart attack. All of which we want to avoid and prevent with our diet.

Here are a few ways to maintain that perfect 2 to 1 proportion of Omega 3's and 6:

  • Replace processed vegetables oils with extra virgin olive. Just toss a green salad with a wedge of lemon/ or balsamic vinegar and olive oil! Easy and fantastic!

  • Choose Grass Fed meat over grain fed meats. Grain Fed meat is shown to have high levels of omega 6, as opposed to grass fed meat which seam to contain omega 3's

Include these Omega 3 rich foods into your diet to bring a healthy balance to your body.
You can also take a supplement of Omega 3's. I do this daily in the morning and night to be sure I am getting an adequate supply. If you pick up a supplement be sure that it is free of mercury. If the bottle does not say molecularly distilled or free from probably contains mercury. Trader Joe's cells a fantastic Omega 3 oil which has been molecularly distilled...try it!

Include these Omega 3 rich foods into your diet to bring a healthy balance to your body.

Embrace those Omega 3's!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Nut Butter

In the morning I often grab a piece of whole grain toast loaded with a nut butter to get a dose of protein and healthy fats in the morning. Raw almond butter or walnut butter are often my nut butters of choice. However, a few of my friends prefer peanut butter and I just can't convince them to try another nut butter.

So, I decided to do some research and find the most healthful peanut butter choice out there...

I found that Whole Food Market sells a private label brand called 365. You can pick up a jar of 365 brand creamy or chunky peanut butter, which contains no added sugar or salt!! Amazing!

I bought a jar for myself and am now rotating it with my almond butter. It is fantastic!

Pick up a jar today and reminisce the childhood days of PB and J's!
It will bring a smile to your soul.