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Friday, August 22, 2008

Energizing A.M. Nutrition

Breakfast: How to Break the Fast

Most people start the day on an empty stomach and then quickly grab something (which usually contains caffeine, dairy, and/or sugar) to sustain energy and avoid a mid-morning slump.  This creates a roller coaster effect of high and low energy levels throughout the day.  Try these nutrition suggestions to establish & maintain a high level of energy from the a.m. to the p.m.!

1) LEMON WATER: drink a glass of warm water with the juice of 1/2 a lemon upon waking.  The properties in lemons help to...
  • alkalize the body, cleanse the skin, and soothe the digestive system
  • stimulate the liver & kidneys
  • provide calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin C
  • relieve asthma
*if lemons aren't appealing to you try the same thing with lime.  A different taste with the same benefits!

2) HEARTY BREAKFAST: plan a well-sized morning meal that includes a portion of carbohydrate and protein (wait 1/2 hour after drinking your lemon water to eat). 
  • eating healthy calories in the beginning of the day maximizes the amount of calories you burn throughout the day and reduces mid-meal cravings
  • eat foods in their purest form, the best health benefits come from foods that are the least processed 
  • try these breakfast suggestions and note how you feel a) immediately after eating, b) 2 hours after the meal, and c) how long it takes for you to actually feel hungry again...
-poached eggs & roasted potatoes
-cooked oats sprinkled with crushed almonds
-plain yogurt with fresh fruit
-whole grain toast with peanut butter & banana
-cooked quinoa with ground flax seed
*quinoa is a must-add to your diet: it is the only grain that is a complete protein (contains all 9 essential amino acids)!!!

3) YERBA MATE: A species of holly, this drink is traditionally prepared by steeping dried leaves in water, and sipped out of a gourd!  It does contain stimulants such as caffeine and xanthines, but also has healthy elements like potassium, magnesium, and manganese.  The flavor is similar to green tea and can be slightly bitter.  Mate's beneficial physiological side effects are similar to coffee & tea, with less severe negative side effects.  Yerba Mate is known to...

  • increase mental alertness & focus
  • have less jolt than coffee on the central nervous system
  • refrain from producing 'jitters' or heart palpitations
  • enhance energy without affecting ability to fall asleep
*you can purchase Yerba Mate in tea bags or loose leaves from your natural health food store.