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Dramatically energise your mind and body

Forget curling up on the sofa with chocolate, or getting through the colder mornings with lashings of coffee and treats. Eating better from today can help us fight off the autumn/winter slump, and a brand new book promises 150 ways to get us started. This week, in an exclusive extract, WM brings you 10 ways for meal and snack times to dramatically energise mind and body ...
1. Eat protein at every meal
Protein (and fat), says Jonny, the author of The 150 Most Effective Ways to Boost Your Energy, naturally activate the body’s innate satiety mechanisms. It’s a lot less likely you’ll overeat and so you’re a lot less likely to fall into that post-meal slump.
When your meal has a greater ratio of protein to carbohydrate, it stabilises blood sugar and reduces insulin response.
For high-energy snack food, think nuts, cheese, hard-boiled eggs or some leftover chicken, all extremely portable, negating the snack machine excuse. Add a piece of fruit or some veggie crudités, such as carrots, celery, broccoli, and cauliflower, not pretzels or a chocolate chip cookie.
Another energy snack is tuna. A tuna sandwich on whole-grain bread with a glass of organic milk will keep your energy tank full for hours.
2. Reboot your brain with breakfast
You can’t be energetic if your brain is starving, which is what happens when you skip breakfast.
Forget the bran muffin, a doughnut, or a bagel and chose a well-balanced meal with plenty of protein, some good fat, and maybe some high-fibre, slow-burning carbohydrates such as those found in oatmeal.
When you skip breakfast, among the many other negative things that happen, more insulin (the “hunger” hormone) will be released after the next meal than it would have if you’d had your oatmeal.
Blood sugar becomes destabilised and you’re more likely to experience cravings and next thing you know, you’re running on empty.
If you have no appetite in the morning, it’s probably because you’ve conditioned yourself to morning fasting rather than morning breakfast, so re-programme with protein shake.
Eventually, you should transition to a real-food breakfast and make sure it contains protein and some good fats.
3. Drink something green every day
Wheatgrass is loaded with chlorophyll, a natural blood purifier and detoxifier that can contribute to a feeling of well-being and energy. It’s bitter tasting and expensive, so try juices made from barley, wheatgrass, magma, or any combination of whole green foods, including spinach, broccoli, parsley, or the more designer noni juice. Jonny says “because they’re so low in sugar, they don’t give you the “spike and drop” in energy that commercial fruit juice would give you, so you get a nice sustained buzz. They also do a nice job of taking the edge off your appetite. A green drink together with a high-protein snack such as tuna will keep you going for hours.”
4. Add more fibre
Fibre was known in our grandparents’ day as being good for “keeping you regular,” and was probably not the sexiest part of the diet but it’s one of the most important.
It helps control blood sugar and when your blood sugar is out of control, so is your energy. Low-fibre foods, especially processed carbohydrates that also don’t contain much fat or protein, send your blood sugar rocketing, which, in short order, sets you up for a big fat crash in energy.
Eat some beans instead of a chocolate bar and your blood sugar will rise slowly.
Remember to drink plenty of water and add the extra fibre slowly as a big increase all at once can cause a lot of gas, and a big increase without enough water can cause constipation, neither of which are energy-friendly.
Add the fibre gradually by eating more nuts, seeds, grains (if you tolerate them), bran, vegetables, and fruits.
5. Don’t fear fat
Experienced marathon runners have trained their bodies to tap into their fat stores more effectively, because that source of fuel is virtually unlimited.
For optimal energy, you need to eat fat, but you also need to eat the right fat.
Fat helps make you feel satiated. Many fats, omega-3s from fish, for example, also have anti-inflammatory properties. Some saturated fats, such as those found in coconut oil, have antiviral properties.
When you remove fat from the diet, you generally replace it with something else, usually carbs, which sends many people on a roller coaster ride of mood swings, blood-sugar dips, insulin spikes, and increased fat storage.
Fat is the best source of sustained energy in the human body. But you want to make sure you’re eating the right kinds. The best advice: Get a good mixture in your diet of saturated fats (coconut oil, eggs), omega-3s (fish and flaxseed), and omega 9s (macadamia nut oil, extra-virgin olive oil), and some omega-6s (evening primrose oil, black currant oil.)

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