Though spring might mean the start of the warmer months (and the festive season right round the corner…), sometimes our bodies don’t experience this shift, and instead of feeling more fresh and invigorated, we remain in “hibernation” mode, carrying some extra kilos and feeling sluggish. What’s needed is a clean sweep for renewed energy. Here’s what to eat and drink…
Water – drink, drink, drink. It’s common knowledge that it’s one of the most detoxifying and cleansing fluids. Try to drink about six to eight glasses a day. Other good cleansing liquids include teas such as peppermint, liquorice root, dandelion, chamomile, rooibos, green and oolong. Warm water with lemon is also detoxing.
The F Word
Eating food rich in dietary fibre will help cleanse your system. According to Patrick Holford in The Optimum Nutrition Bible, fruit and vegetable fibre assist in slowing down the absorption of sugar in the blood, helping to maintain good energy levels, while cereal fibre prevents constipation and digestive disorders. The following foods are good sources – raw fruit and vegetables, dried fruit, wholegrains, lentils, beans, oats and brown rice.
To keep energy levels and metabolism up, eat little and often (about every three hours) and choose slow-release carbohydrates to sustain energy levels throughout the day. In You Are What You Eat, Dr Gillian McKeith writes that her top energy foods include sprouts (for their high concentration of antioxidants plus trace minerals, protein, enzymes and fibre), grains (for a steady flow of energy and a good source of B vitamins), oats (these are full of energy nutrients and keep blood sugar levels on an even keel), parsley (for high levels of vitamin B12), seaweed (for minerals and B vitamins), green vegetables (for B vitamins and energy nutrients), flax seeds (for omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids), sunflower seeds (for magnesium, iron, copper, protein, vitamin B, essential fatty acids and zinc), mung beans (for sustained energy) and sweet potatoes and squashes (for energy minerals and vitamin C). Remember that some foods are energy thieves – sugar, salt, caffeine, alcohol, fried food and highly processed food.
Green Means Go
If you can handle their taste and sometimes off-putting colour, try one of Gillian’s “green superfoods” which, she insists, are great for cleansing the liver, bowels and cells. These are wild blue-green algae, spirulina, chlorella, wheatgrass and barley grass.
The Best Energy- Boosting snacks
To ease your hunger between meals, try snacks that are also good for an energy kickstart: fresh bananas, oranges and apples; yoghurt, baby carrots, peppers, sugar snap peas, baby corn, cucumbers or tomatoes with a cottage cheese or hummus dip; a handful of almonds, pecans, walnuts or seeds; a slice of rye bread with peanut butter, tuna, lean turkey or chicken, and a cup or two of low-fat or air-popped popcorn.
- 1 celery, topped and tailed
- 2 apples
- 1 carrot
- 20ml fresh flat-leaf parsley
- juice of ½ lemon
- 30ml walnuts, finely chopped, to serve
- 20ml flax seed, to serve
Juice together the celery, apples, carrot, parsley and lemon juice.
Pour into glasses and sprinkle with the walnuts and flax seed. Refrigerate until needed.
Serve slightly chilled.