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A Nutritionists' Tips: Boost Your Energy Levels


A Nutritionists' Tips: Boost Your Energy Levels

by Elisabeth Carlsson

How many times did you press the snooze button this morning before you finally dragged yourself out of bed?   Once on the tube or train did you slowly start waking up, but was it still a struggle? Having arrived in the office, is coffee the only thing keeping you going during the morning until lunchtime?  Come mid-afternoon, do you feel like you are ready for bed again and you really can’t keep your eyes open? Leaving work, do you have a second wind, go out for a few drinks and then once home, feel exhausted but somehow can’t manage to get to bed before midnight when your mind is racing and you can’t switch-off? If this sounds like a day in your life read on for some simple tips about how to boost your energy.

Continued fatigue decreases the immune system, making us more susceptible to depression and illness.  Relying on caffeine and energy drinks makes us feel worse in the long-run by causing our system to crash.  Sluggishness can be caused by many things, but poor nutrition is one of the biggest culprits. Food is truly the body’s fuel, and what we choose to eat absolutely impacts the performance on our bodies.

Here are some simple tips about how to maintain steady energy throughout the day.

  1. Protein.  Not consuming enough protein during the day can be a primary reason for fatigue so add some to every meal. Because protein takes longer to breakdown in the body than carbohydrates, they provide a longer-lasting energy source.  We need protein for preserving lean muscle mass, repair and build tissues, maintain cells, transport vitamins and minerals and help with efficient liver detoxification. Examples of protein include fish, eggs, red meat, poultry and dairy.  Vegetarian proteins include beans, legumes, tofu and nuts.

  2. Don’t ditch breakfast and don’t start your day on just coffee. Skipping breakfast is going to set you off on an energy rollercoaster for the rest of the day and it can be a struggle to catch-up.  Choose healthier options such as porridge, fruit, eggs or a smoothie. Sugary options such as pastries or cereal lack fibre and protein and will keep you hungry and restless for the rest of the morning.

  3. Daily dose of exercise. This could mean going to the gym or just increasing your step count during the day.  It doesn’t mean spending hours on the treadmill as research show that you can get your work out done in only 13 minutes.  Research show that doing only 13 minutes of resistance training during an 8-week period, could increase both strength and endurance (1).

  4. Get some shut-eye.  Good night sleep is crucial for memory, learning and weight management. Research shows that partial sleep deprivation (as opposed to chronic sleep deprivation) leads to problems with attention, especially vigilance and that the ability to recover from sleep deprivation decreases the older we are. (2) The day after a poor night’s sleep, avoid the caffeine, stay hydrated and front load your day, i.e. make sure you get the important stuff done at the beginning of the day as your energy will wane quite quickly as the day go on.  

  5. Avoid alcohol.  Ditch the drink before bed as it can affect your sleep and your energy the next day.  If you are having alcoholic drinks, make sure you have water in between the drinks as alcohol makes you dehydrated which in turn can really lower your energy levels.  Sip on water throughout the day and add some slices of cucumber or lemon to keep it fresh.

If you are doing all of the above and you still feel tired during the day, it’s a good idea to go to the doctor to make sure there are no underlying issues that are affecting your energy levels. For example, they can check if you are low on iron, which is very common especially in women.

  1. Schoenfeld BJ (2019). Resistance Training Volume Enhances Muscle Hypertrophy but Not Strength in Trained Men Medicine and Science in Sport and Excercise. 51 (1), 94-103

  2. Paula Alhola & Päivi Polo-Kantola. (2007). Sleep deprivation: Impact on cognitive performance. Neuropsychiatr. Dis. Trial. 3 (5), 553+567


How does your body perceive the threat of low blood sugar?


How does your body perceive the threat of low blood sugar?

by Elisabeth Carlsson N.T Dip CNM, MBANT, RCNHC

Did you know that the body recognizes low blood sugar as a threat to its survival?

Have you ever experienced any of the following?

Irritability – where you want to shout very loudly at anyone who bumps into you on the tube or at your kids when they complain about homework.

Anxiety – when your mind won’t stop racing and you keep on turning over the same conversation with your boss over and over again.

Insomnia – when you can’t go to sleep or you wake up at 3am with anxiety and just can’t go back to sleep.

Cravings: where you easily can eat two donuts, half a packet of biscuits and six sweets you just found at the back of your drawer. In only one minute.

Or you might have experienced brain fog, feeling jittery, problems with memory, bloating or poor concentration? Yep, I’ve been there. My earliest memory was that that badminton tournament in my teens, when I nearly fainted, my heart was racing, I was white as a sheet and shivering and I thought I had got some horrible disease. No, that was just a blood sugar crash. Or only last week when my kids wouldn’t get off their gaming devices and I went from calm to  blowing my top in less than 30 seconds.

I think we can all relate to these situations.  They are all symptoms of low blood sugar levels. Every cell in your body needs energy to function. The main source of energy might come as a surprise: It’s sugar, also known as glucose.

Hypoglycaemia is the medical condition of having an abnormally low blood sugar (glucose) and can be responsible for all the above but also triggering or exacerbating migraines and other headaches.  It’s usually a result of not eating enough of the right food throughout the day in order to keep your engine running and your blood sugar stabilized. If you have diabetes for example, a headache may be a sign that you need to boost your blood sugar levels.

In order to thrive in life and deal with the demands being placed on the body we must support the body’s physical, nutritional and emotional energy needs. Stress breaks the body down while nourishment to the body and soul restores us and keeps the body and mind well and thriving.

Your body is hard-wired to react to stress in ways meant to protect you against threats from predators, of course such threats are rare today, but it doesn’t mean your body is not experiencing stress. With busy life style, huge workload, taking care of your family we all have minor ‘hassles’ that are perceived by the body as stress.

Quoting James B. LaValle ‘controlling stress in your life as it happens is the most important measure of optimizing metabolic function’.(1)  Simply put, if you know you are going to have a stressful day or you are hitting the gym straight after a busy day at work, making sure that you are eating nourishing food to support yourself should be a priority as otherwise, you just won’t perform as well.

Humans are highly adaptable, meaning, just as we adapt into a state of chronic stress (when given the right environment), we can just as easily adapt out of stress (when given the right environment).

So how do you adapt out of stress? Through nourishing yourself in ways that works for you and your body and that suits your life style and the demands you have in our life.

What you can do right now? Swap your afternoon coffee for a cinnamon tea. It’s widely used in Chinese medicine and Ayurveda and studies show that cinnamon can help to control blood sugar. (2). Cinnamon is also naturally sweet so can help to stop those 4pm craving. Pukka does a nice tea or make your own, see below.
Eating healthy is no simple task these days and most are confused about what to eat which does not come as a surprise given the amount of conflicting information.

If you want to find out more how to balance your blood sugar with foods that works for your body and how to understand the ways that your body tries to communicate it’s needs, get in touch via the Honor Oak Wellness Rooms. I offer a free 15-minute chat before booking your appointment.

Cinnamon tea

1 cinnamon stick (Ceylon cinnamon)

250ml hot water

1 tea bag (regular, decaf or Rooibos)

Add the cinnamon stick and water to a mug and let steep for 10 minutes. Add the tea and steep for an additional two minutes. Remove the teabag and sweeten with honey. Instead of tea you could add some slices of fresh ginger for a spicy kick.

Appointments are available with Elisabeth by arrangement at the Honor Oak Wellness Rooms. Click here for more information:

  1. Cracking the Metabolic Code; 9 keys to optimal health: The Nine Keys to Peak Health and Longevity by James B. LaValle (2004)

  2. Cinnamon intake lowers fasting blood glucose: meta-analysis Davis PA, Yokoyama W, Journal of Medicinal Food (2011)


2017 Resolutions & Intents


2017 Resolutions & Intents

What does this year have in store? Most of us start the New Year setting new years resolutions and we reached out to find out what resolutions our team have set for themselves...