Natural Balance Foods

Energy foods: Boost energy and lose body fat

Energy Foods

Be totally honest with yourself and be your own food, nutrition and lifestyle coach. How would you "coach" your best friend in your current situation. Then, do exactly THAT with yourself!

Eat more fibre-rich natural wholefoods - mainly vegetables, fresh whole fruits, and natural whole grains such as quinoa, wild rice, brown rice, ground flaxseed, seeds and a few nuts. We ideally need to aim for 30 grams of fibre a day (about 10g more than the recommended amount!). Fibre s-l-o-w-s stomach emptying and suppresses ghrelin, the “hunger hormone”. Eating more fibre means you’ll be less likely to crave starchy, sugary foods during the day, as well as helping you to feel satisfied for longer. Extra fibre also supports a healthy digestion, helps you detoxify heavy metals and other nasties found in our environment and some of the foods we eat.

Change the types AND quantities of starch you eat. Unless you do an hour or two of exercise a day, you don’t need alot of concentrated carbohydrate. Excess carbs that cannot be utilised by the body, will convert to fat - in all tissues, including organs such as the liver and pancreas. Try some of the following…

  • Eat fresh fruit with a sprinkling of oats and pomegranate seeds, instead of cereal or toast at breakfast.
  • Eat more raw veggies at lunch and dinner and less (or no) bread, potato, pasta and rice. Incidentally, the best starchy carb choices are quinoa, sweet potato, wild rice, buckwheat, oats, and wholegrain rice, consumed in small-moderate amounts - i.e. 1-2 spoons with main meals.

Add quality fats to your diet and lose the "bad" fats! As a nation we still believe that cutting the fat is the fastest way to lose weight. In some respects it is, but let's not forget that the body needs quality, healthy, “essential” fats to make, maintain and repair all the trillion of cells of the body. Cells “speak” to one another and the cell receptor sites that receive signals and messages all day long sit in the membranes of these cells. The cell membranes must be “fluid-like and flexible”, not rigid and hard, which means we need to feed them quality, healthy fats. Cells function very poorly on a diet high in processed saturated fats or refined “cooked” fats. Regards fat-burning, quality fats improve insulin sensitivity and allow the cell receptor sites to absorb more sugar into the cells to be burned as fuel. This improves overall energy and cellular metabolism. If you eat an unbalanced diet full of unbalanced fats (i.e. not enough omega-3 and too much saturated and omega-6), the cell lipid layers are made up of these unhealthy fats which leads to insulin resistance and allows less sugar into the cells. This puts a person at far higher risk of insulin-resistance, and diabetes.

Energy Foods Tip..

Firstly, reduce saturates, man-made fats in cookies, processed cereal bars, muffins, pastries, crisps, biscuits etc, as well as fat from vegetable oils. For ideal fat loss and good health, you want an optimum balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fats. Most of us get plenty of omega-6 fats because they are abundant in foods such as nuts, seeds, meats/poultry and vegetable oils (corn, sesame, safflower oil etc.). Omega-3 fatty acids are less abundant, but found in flaxseeds, hempseeds and chia seeds (often labelled as ALA). 

Try eating a more protein-based breakfast/first meal rather than a carb-based one. Avoid the mistake of eating a carb-rich or sugar-fuelled meal. That means most cereals are out, as well as toast and jam or honey! Cereal is not the best choice if you're looking to burn fat, and maintain steady energy levels. Eating a high-carb cereal along with a banana or worse, orange juice, results in the body getting a huge dose of glucose, which triggers a big insulin response, slows down fat loss and often leads to a slump or “foggy” brain soon afterwards. To counter feelings of fatigue/drop in energy an hour or so later, you'll probably want to grab a strong coffee or another sugary food!

Energy Foods Tip..

Aim for a breakfast or first meal of the day that includes a healthy source of protein...

  • Blend up some raw leafy greens, with apple, fresh lime and ginger root – a super-energising start to any day!

This meal provides a good amount of protein and “good” fats to start the body's engine and keep your metabolism going throughout the day. Plus, these low carb meals will moderate the insulin response and result in a constant blood sugar level, steady energy, as well as better fat burning capacity.

Avoid eating the bulk of your daily food intake/calories in the evening - I can't tell you how common this is, and almost always a factor in those who are overweight. Spread your TOTAL food intake more evenly throughout the day. If that is too difficult, “ditch the starch” in the evening, and simply eat some protein with vegetables or salad.

 

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