When the sunshine comes out, we often feel a natural boost in energy – but how can you sustain this all year round, sunand what if your energy levels still aren’t great?

Natural rhythms
Firstly, it’s important to accept that our energy levels have natural rhythms. So just as we feel more tired at night, our energy is naturally a little lower at certain times of the month and year. If we allow ourselves to rest more at those times, then we’ll be less depleted in general and be able to make use of higher energy levels at other times.

Eating to boost energy
In terms of food, we are often taught that we need high levels of carbohydrates – starchy foods and sugars – for more energy, especially for sporty people. In fact we can make energy from most types of food, and countless high performance athletes have now proven that a high protein and vegetable diet can be just as effective if not more so. In fact, a great deal of research and evidence points to the following:

1) Protein at breakfast, and then perhaps little and often through the day, can help to keep blood sugar levels stable, therefore preventing energy rushes and dips.

2) The vast wealth of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and other nutrients in vegetables and fruits are just as crucial to energy production  and overall vitality than the calories in food.

So below are a couple of really great breakfast recipes to give you the very best start to the day, and a superfood smoothie recipe to give you an occasional extra kick when you need one.

Eat mindfully for deeper benefits
It’s also worth pointing out that:

1. To get more energy from foods, you need to be digesting and absorbing your food properly. A good start for this is to eat in a relaxed environment, chew your food really well and really savour each mouthful – the tastes, textures, aroma and even the thought of what you’re eating sends advance messages to your digestive tract so it can prepare the correct enzymes, pH and other conditions necessary for that particular meal or snack.

2. If you have been stressed or nutritionally depleted over a long time, then you may well need to focus on specialised hormonal support, starting with the adrenals (they release your fight or flight hormones, and also your anti-inflammatory hormones), and perhaps moving up to thyroid support after that. Eating mindfully is a wonderful way to start the process of calming your adrenals.

Come to Italy!
To find out more and work more deeply on these levels, come to Italy! We’ll be there July 7th-12th running the Bloom Cookery & Nutrition Course on a stunning nature reserve near Rome. With limited places, now is the time to book – contact Kirsten on 07968 137246 or info@connectwithnutrition.co.uk.

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Kirsten‘s avocado smoothie:
We have this most mornings for breakfast in the summer, and it’s delicious, filling and packed full of energy-boosting nutrients.
½ avocado
1 glass of home made or good quality almond or coconut milk (I like Rude Health, which is now widely available – or make your own by blending soaked almonds with water and straining)
1tsp Kean’s Supreme Greens
1tsp lecithin granules/powder
1tbsp pea protein powder or organic grass-fed whey protein powder

Blend and serve. You could also try adding mint, basil, lemon zest plus a little raw honey, cinnamon and nutmeg, or carob powder with a little raw honey.

Santi eggs
Named after the wonderful man who hosted and cooked for us on our last Italy retreat, and served this up most mornings with a jug of green juice!

Gently fry spinach/kale/chard/watercress, fennel/celery/onions, courgettes etc. – whatever you have to hand – in a little coconut oil with turmeric, black pepper, nutmeg and garlic, then season with tamari (wheat-free soya sauce); break a couple of eggs on top and allow to cook (or gently stir in till cooked).
hayley 2-1Hayley‘s Orange & Goji Berry Superfood Smoothie
Not one for everyday but this smoothie sure does give a boost and is perfect for when we feel the immune system needs support. It gives an instant lift, we have literally been known to run around the kitchen table for a while after drinking this!
Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice – blood oranges work great! – approx 3 per person
Fresh Lemon Juice – 1 per person
Ginger – roughly chopped – approx 1 inch piece per person
1 carrot – roughly chopped
1 beetroot – roughly chopped
1 small hand soaked goji berries, rinsed
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 pinch black pepper
1 small pinch cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon camu camu powder
1 tablespoon bee pollen
1 tablespoon hemp or extra virgin olive oil
pinch of sea or mineral salt
Spring water to dilute

Add all to a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust to taste if necessary. You want a good tang from the citrus and kick from the spices!