Eating for Energy
Let’s have some fun with food! What can we eat that is good for us, fun to eat and prepare, and gives us lots of energy and vitality?
According to Webster’s dictionary, one definition for energy is “the capacity for vigorous activity”. A definition for vitality is “exuberant physical or mental vigor”. Wow! Do you feel like this every day? Or even one day of the week? It is possible, and I believe our bodies were designed to function with vigorous activity and mental vigor.
We are constantly hearing about what we shouldn’t eat and how our diet is killing us. I agree, the Standard American Diet (SAD) is sadly lacking in healthy nutrients. We eat too much fast food, packaged foods, and barely know what fresh food is or how to prepare it for a tasty meal or snack.
Diseases of Affluence, a term coined by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, describes many of the diseases we face in America today. Examples include heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, auto-immune disorders, and brain diseases.
Let’s get back to “fun with food”, shall we?
Foods we eat can either increase our energy or decrease it. The main foods that decrease our energy are caffeine, coffee, sodas, alcohol, too much or too little meat, processed chemicalized foods, tobacco, milk, sugar & artificial sweeteners, and trans fats. Stimulants may seem to give an energy boost at first, but they actually deplete our bodies, drawing out minerals and nutrients. These substances are highly addictive.
Foods that increase our energy are alive and have a life force. Consider Popeye and his spinach. Have you eaten a big green salad loaded with nuts, fruits, and veggies? Don’t you feel more alert and energetic? Other foods that increase energy include whole foods such as grains and beans. These foods are loaded with fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
So, how do I propose you “have fun with food”? First, I recommend you pick one fruit and one new vegetable to eat this week. My favorite dark, leafy green is kale. I think of it as a superfood loaded with nutrients and fiber. You can prepare a tasty and satisfying salad in less time it takes to drive through for fast food and pick the “#1”.
Start with your fresh kale, add a handful of chopped sweet bell peppers, maybe some chopped onion, a handful of dried cranberries or raisins, sunflower seeds, top with mandarin oranges, deli turkey meat, shredded cheese, and sliced hardboiled egg. Drizzle your favorite oil dressing on top and “bon appetite”.
For those of you that prefer your veggies cooked, sauté your bell peppers and onion in a bit of olive or coconut oil, adding in the kale and sauté until the greens are wilted. Add dried cranberries and nuts/seeds to your liking. Season with a pinch of sea salt and cracked black pepper. I like to add a dash of nutmeg to dark greens for extra flavor.
Now that you have prepared your quick and easy meal that works well for lunch or dinner after a busy work day, let’s make it special. Turn on some music, light candles, dim the lights, use special dinnerware, and sit at the dining table. Add a glass of wine if you indulge and relax, eating slowly and enjoy the conversation with your family.
Your digestion will improve as well as the relationships with your loved ones.