I bet that more than once, you’ve wished you had more energy: going about your day-to-day life feeling like a drone without being able to get anything done. Somehow, what you have in your head (if anything at all, thanks to the lack of energy) just doesn’t seem to materialize. Even interesting things become boring somehow, all due to your low energy levels. Does it always have to be this way? Are we destined to be thrown into these energetic dry spells without warning? I say no, and you have the power to do something about it yourself.
If you’ve experienced this lethargy, you’re most likely suffering from low energy because you are riding the blood sugar roller coaster: when your blood sugar rises too quickly, your body produces a lot of insulin to cope with the sudden rise. Your body will then store the sugar, which means it is out of reach (at least temporarily), so now you suddenly have low blood sugar instead and feel the need to stock up on more, and the roller coaster is accelerating. This is known as sugar craving.
What you want to do is make sure that you have even levels of blood sugar throughout the day—that way your body can use the blood sugar most efficiently and your system can control everything more smoothly. With a few changes in your diet, you can introduce food that help with controlling the blood sugar levels to give you an energy boost overall.
Every now and then, we hear the talk of a new “superfood”—usually some new berry that no-one has ever heard of, or an exotic fruit you know you will pay way too much for. Usually the hype dies out after a short period of time and is replaced by something new. Although I am not very keen on the term “superfood,” some things almost warrant that label. The funny thing is that there are some ingredients that have been in most homes for a very long time that fall into that category.
A word of caution though: after reading this don’t go overboard with massive dietary changes. Everything in moderation is the ticket, and it’s best to consider how you can (if you can, considering allergies and so on) add a little of this to your diet and reap the benefits without doing big lifestyle changes.
So here is what I’d like you to consider:
Cinnamon not only tastes excellent, it also has an effect on your blood sugar level. When the food you eat contains cinnamon, your blood sugar level rises slower than without it. You still have to make sure not to eat too much sugar, but cinnamon can be your friend in keeping your blood sugar in check.
My favorite use of cinnamon is on my cottage cheese at breakfast; cinnamon on oatmeal is another great example. In addition, I’d like you to consider trying cinnamon in your dinner recipes—it’s really great with chicken and chili powder.
Nuts in general are underrated in my opinion, but it often seems that people either eat way too much of them (and often salted) or not all. If you’re allergic to nuts, it’s totally understandable that you’ll avoid them, of course. Almonds are especially interesting as they are easy to find without added flavor or salt, and they contain healthy levels of good monounsaturated fatty acids and high levels of vitamin E. Vitamin E can be tricky to get through a normal diet, so almonds are a very sensible choice here. At the same time, the fatty acids will help prevent sugar from raising your blood sugar levels too quickly, which is another tasty way of getting off the blood sugar roller coaster.
I usually eat almonds for breakfast, and there they provide my healthy fatty acid intake. Normally I eat 3-6 almonds, so we’re not talking about handful after handful. Being a nut lover, I really have to be careful not to overdo it. Try chopped nuts in a side salad, or mix them in with your favorite fruit or oatmeal.
I bet you didn’t see that one coming! Cauliflower is a great substitute if you are looking to reduce your consumption of rice, pasta, or potatoes: you can eat it fresh, steamed, boiled, or as a nice mashed potato substitute when blended with a good vegetable stock. Eating cauliflower will allow you to feel full and satisfied with very few calories, and it will provide you with plenty of fiber: a winning combination.
Cauliflower is my number-one lunch and dinner potato substitute, though the key to making it interesting is to use spices sensibly—It doesn’t have to taste as dull as most people think it does.
What I propose in this post may take a little bit of time to produce noticeable results in how you feel, but give it time: this is about simple changes that can have a big impact on your health in the long run. If you’re looking for faster results, you can try some of the great hacks found here. All in all, these three changes are not what you would find on the cover of a magazine, but in my opinion, they are far better: they’re easily implemented, with no magic involved.
So, what do you think? I would love to hear from you.
Featured photo credit: yoga woman on green park via Shutterstock
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