Month: February 2014

Energy through Food

OR How I Learned to Start Hydrating and Love Water

by Erin

(Note: I started working on this post and found it was getting very long. To avoid reading fatigue, this will come to you in two posts. First, my personal results. Second, a little research behind the strategies. Stay tuned.)

So, I have been working on my five “get energized” strategies for less than a week and I have already felt a HUGE difference. I’m still tired; my eyes usually have that fuzzy, heavy feeling behind them. That probably won’t go away entirely until these work projects are done…but, my body! My body feels better. Less heavy. And you know that feeling when your brain just kind of buzzes and you know you should be concentrating and doing work, but you just. Can’t? That’s gone, too. Here are some other observations:

Strategy: Eat protein and/or whole grains within thirty minutes of wake up

For me, it wasn’t so much changing the types of food I eat for breakfast, or adding breakfast to my routine. I was in pretty good shape there. My biggest problem was not delaying breakfast, which is easy to do with two young kids around. Before, I would nibble here and there as I fed the both kids and got Big Guy ready for preschool. I probably wouldn’t get a full breakfast in until about three hours after wake-up and well after some energy stores had been used.

I have found that I still don’t quite eat a meal within that thirty minute time frame, but definitely within the first hour. I can’t say that I notice much physical difference with this change, but my mood is better. Some protein + whole grain examples: a hard boiled egg on a whole wheat English muffin and cream cheese, sprouted wheat toast and sunflower seed butter, oatmeal with peanut butter and bananas.

Strategy: Fill up my water bottle and drink it throughout the day

My relationship with water before was casual. A little here, a little there. I didn’t really pay attention to intake. But, oh, the magic of water. This is what I attribute most of my good feelings to. General wisdom says to drink about eight cups a day. Nursing moms should drink about thirteen. While I am not checking off each and every cup I consume, I am pretty sure I am getting close to thirteen by consciously drinking water at breakfast and dinner, finishing my water bottle, and having my daily tea. While I have made a few other changes to my routine these past few days, I am pretty sure hydration is the reason I feel light and focused. An added benefit is that those circles under my eyes seem diminished and I know it’s not due to extra sleep. There is one downside, though:

Capture

Courtesy of xkcd.com

Strategy: Take my multivitamins at lunch instead of breakfast

I am probably taking vitamins (multi, fish oil, and turmeric) more regularly now, but I can’t say I notice any difference with this one.

Strategy: Make an effort to have a protein + fiber snack during that afternoon drag from about 2-4 p.m.

I think I pretty much did this before, but now I am making an effort to focus on the type of food. Some easy choices are apple/banana + peanut butter, yogurt + granola, or a fruit + nut trail mix. While I don’t think this was much of a change for me, I can say that I am pretty sure I am in a better mood near the dinner hour if I have had a snack. I don’t know if it really boosts my energy… I still prefer to take a 20 minute nap in the afternoon.

Strategy: Drink a glass of milk before bed

The theory behind this one is to give your body a little nourishment before the night time fast, which should improve your sleep. Unfortunately, I think I lose the benefit by working late on the computer and sometimes waking up to feed the babe. Still, it’s a good habit to form. Hopefully I can reap the rewards in the near future.

Do you have any success with any of these? What other ways do you use food to increase energy?

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February: Elimination Diet

February’s Resolution has me treating myself to an elimination diet during the entire month.  An elimination diet is one in which common allergy-triggering foods are eliminated from the diet for a set period of time – in my case, a month – and then slowly added back into the diet, one at a time, to monitor any reactions or symptoms that might follow the reintroduction.  Exciting stuff, yeah?  So, the good thing is that most of the foods that are common allergy triggers are things I already don’t eat much of or at all.  The less good thing is that I am really going to miss honey, dairy, and nightshades, and I am going to have to be vigilant in preparing my food ahead of time so that I always have something within arm’s reach available should hunger strike or should my schedule get hectic.  (Which, of course, it will.)

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These are the foods I’ll be eliminating this month:

Sugars – all except for fruit

Alcohol

Coffee/caffeine

Dairy

Grains

Legumes

Nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant)

Potatoes (white)

Garlic/onions

Soy

So, what will I be eating?  Well, I’ll be eating fruits, vegetables, nuts (except peanuts), most natural fats, eggs and meat.  Plenty of things I love on that list.  I will, of course, need to stick with my organization momentum from January to research some good recipes, and to make them in advance, so I can have meals and snacks at hand during the busier bits of the month.

Aside from wanting to be as healthy as I can be, this diet is an opportunity for me to learn more about my body and how different foods and ways of eating affect my body physically, mentally and emotionally.  My friend, Katy, even turned me on to an app that is helping me track how I’m affected by my lifestyle choices.  It’s called mySymtpoms food and symptom tracker.  I’m still acclimating myself to using it, but so far, I’m really happy with it.

This resolution is also going to be a wonderful experiment in will power.  Will power has never been my forte.  In fact, when it comes to food, at least, I’m a bit of a hedonist.  I can talk myself into justifying eating something better than any spin doctor in Washington, DC can talk the public into forgiving a crooked politician’s transgressions.  It’s time for that kind of nonsense to stop.  You hear that little devil on my shoulder?  You’re going down, mister!

I digress …

So, I’m doing this!  I invite you to join me if you feel the desire to do so.  If not, I ask you to send your support from wherever you are to help bolster my resolve, especially during those low moments when all I want is a pint of ice cream and a glass of bourbon.  Have you ever done an elimination diet?  What were your experiences? Leave a comment … inquiring minds want to know.

Happy February, dearies!

xoxo,

Melanie