Tired of being tired? New book The All-Day Energy Diet: Double Your Energy in 7 Days is about turning your life around and learning how to live a life full of energy and vitality. Sound like a pipe dream? Author Yuri Elkaim shows you how
Elkaim knows what it’s like to battle with your health. He struggled with asthma and eczema and spent most of his late teens sleeping and feeling miserable, lethargic and miserable. After fulfilling his dream of being a professional soccer player he soon realised how much his health was affecting him. He’d end each soccer match puffing on his steroid inhaler and peeling his goalkeeper gloves off his sore hands covered in eczema.
Elkaim decided that something had to be done to make his life of sluggishness better. He wanted to feel awake and more importantly get vitality back into his life. So, once his professional soccer career had wound down, he studied holistic nutrition and discovered how diet was impacting his health issues. Within months of changing his diet his asthma and eczema disappeared and he was bursting with energy.
Here are Elkaim’s top tips for getting your energy back (and keeping it).
1. Resist the food coma – be mindful of how much food you actually need.
We all have times where we help ourselves to a second serving, then a third and then possibly a fourth. Then we moan about being too full, whilst holding our bloated stomach. Eating too much causes troubled digestion, Elkaim argues claiming our digestive system is our engine so by over-eating we’re preventing our engine from working.
Read more about the perfect portion size in Healthista’s EASIEST EVER guide to perfect portion sizes.
2. Stick to raw/lightly steamed vegetables
Elkaim believes that 75 per cent of your fruit and vegetable should be raw. The nutrient level in vegetables is significantly higher raw, compared to when they are cooked. Some vegetables need to be slightly cooked so they are easier to digest such as cauliflower, aubergine and broccoli but keep this to a minimum 2-minute steam. Raw foods contain a high amount of water and being hydrated maintains energy levels high and keeps headaches away.
3. Have a liquid meal once a day – the vegetable kind
An easy way of eating raw vegetables is by making smoothies and juices. These liquids are full of fibre that make it easier for your digestion system to absorb the nutrients from vegetables and this quick absorption gives you a release of energy. Stick to blending vegetables and a maximum of one or two fruits to avoid adding too much fructose (sugar).
Elkaim’s delicious smoothie recipe: Creamy, Zingy, Limy Smoothie.
You will need: 1 inch piece of ginger, 1 avocado peeled and diced, 1 apple cored and quartered, 250ml of coconut water or almond milk and a juice of 1 lime.
Healthista have chosen our 5 favourite juice bars in London.
4. Check yourself into sugar rehab, quick
Sugar sneaks in and steals your energy, despite the initial high. We have all experienced low sugar levels where we feel tired and spaced out, and the high sugar levels where we feel wired and hyper. Sugar affects adults in the same way it does children and this rollercoaster is a never ending circle; constantly going up and down. This is because sugar is quickly digested and creates spikes in our blood levels which steals the energy out of our body and leads us to crash later.
Changing your breakfast could put you on the right start for an energetic day. You may think you are having a healthy breakfast of cereal and a glass of orange juice, but in reality this could cause blood sugar swings and lead to feeling ravenous by mid-morning. Stay away from sugary cereals and fruit juice, swap it for a poached egg and a green tea or a handmade smoothie/juice (see below).
Watch our video about giving up sugar: How to give up sugar and lose weight
5. Replace your Starbucks with a mug of Barley Cup
Caffeine wakes us up and gives us a buzz, so you’d think that it’s giving us a burst of energy, right? Although caffeine gives us an instant high like sugar, we soon crash and need more. While cutting back on caffeine can lead to the mother of all headaches, within two weeks your natural energy return in a more sustained and stable way – without the highs and lows.
But in cutting back, if green tea doesn’t do it for you, we’ve found the perfect caffeine free alliterative to coffee; Barley Cup Original (Holland and Barrett, £3.49). This mug of milky goodness is a perfect alternative to your usual cup of coffee. The only ingredients are: roasted barley, rye and chicory and you make it like any instant coffee, just add water and your choice of milk.
6. Go gluten free – get your fibre from vegetables, fruit and nuts instead
It seems like a huge change cutting gluten out of our diets, what about all the lovely carbs we now can’t have? Elkaim argues that gluten kidnaps our energy as the human body has not evolved fully to digest gluten properly, therefore it eats away at our energy levels and weakens our immune system. Gluten provides us with fibre which is essential for high energy; but Elkaim argues we can get this fibre from other foods instead including fruit, vegetables and nuts. ‘I’ve never met a single person whose energy and health has not dramatically improved upon going wheat/gluten-free. You’ll feel 1,000 times better,’ Elkaim says.
To find out more on going gluten free look at Healthista’s 9 things you need to know before going gluten free and see our 5 favourite gluten free afternoon teas in London.
7. Beef up your plate with greens
Stock up on your greens and pile your plate with them. They are filling, give you the energy you need and are low in calories, so you can eat as much as you want without worrying about your waistline. The best green vegetables to increase your energy levels are: beet greens, spinach, kale and Swiss chard.
Find out more about the healthiest green vegetables: 10 vegetables that are outstandingly good for you.
8. Substitute your treats because you don’t want to give them up
Everybody wants to treat themselves, especially after a week without gluten, sugar and caffeine. Elkaim recommends alternatives to your usual naughty indulgences that are gluten free, caffeine free and sugar free. These truly are guilt-free and just as delicious.
- Instead of ice cream, indulge on coconut-milk ice cream.
- If you’re a cake lover make almond-flour cupcakes instead.
- You can still make warm, gooey chocolate brownies, just with a secret ingredient: courgette.
- You can still have a grilled burger, just have it in a gluten free bun.
- Treat yourself to a homemade pizza, just make it on a gluten free crust.
- Instead of regular pasta, go for rice pasta.
9. Stop calorie counting and start using your own eyes
Calorie counting does not add up the amount of energy you are eating, so stop counting. Instead take a look at your meal, does it look balanced? Have you got enough green vegetables, protein and fibre? Is it handmade? Start looking at your plate instead of wasting time adding up each individual calorie.
10. Try Blue-blocker glasses to improve your night’s sleep
Who said that wearing orange goggles in bed wasn’t a good look? You may feel silly, but glasses that block out blue light before you sleep could improve your night’s sleep drastically. Wear them up to an hour before you want to sleep, when you’re watching TV, or looking at any screens. Blue light is the same light as day light and it’s emitted from tablets, computer and television screens as well as fluorescent lighting. This tricks your body into thinking that it’s daytime and therefore discourages your body from sleeping. Wearing Blue-blocker glasses a couple of hours before bed stops you from seeing blue light which will prepare you for a better night’s sleep.
For more tips on a better nights sleep read Healthista’s 8 sleep myths making you tired.
11. Wait a few seconds before tucking in
Before you start eating your dinner sit and look at it for three seconds, take a deep breath and realise just how lucky you are to have a healthy dinner in front of you. By doing this you are detaching yourself from any other worries, this will stop you from comfort eating and stop you rushing. By eating slowly you are in full control of what your body is feeling, you can tell when you have eaten enough and when your body is satisfied. Chew your food thoroughly and eat slowly, this will help the process of digestion and will ensure that you have the release of energy you want.
Yuri Elkaim’s new book, The All-Day Energy Diet: Double Your Energy in 7 Days is published by Hay House on September 23rd, 2014
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