Every single mum I talk with says she is tired.
More often mums say they are exhausted, shattered and surviving on coffee just to get through the day. Now I don’t have a grudge against coffee. I love my little cup in the morning with a dash of almond milk. BUT it doesn’t make good fuel and mums who are shattered will be far better off using energy foods as a pick-me-up.
Now before you panic and tell me you really can’t be eating any more food for energy, I want to touch on weight loss. Most of the tired mums I talk with are also really struggling with their weight, and they believe the best way to lose it is to cut down on calories.
“I just need to eat less”
I hear mums say.
No! Please don’t eat less. We need our food. Food is our fuel!
If you are breastfeeding your baby, keeping a baby alive outside of the womb actually takes far more energy that it does when they are inside the womb. And even if you have stopped (or never did) breastfeed you still need your strength and energy to get through the sleepless nights and the pressures of being a mum.
When our bodies are so depleted we cannot lose weight in a healthy way. We must shift the focus to supporting our energy levels with good, healthy, energy boosting foods and then, when we feel revived, we can focus on healthy and sustainable weight loss.
Given that food is our fuel here are my top 5 energy boosting foods.
Top 5 energy foods to give you a boost
Energy Food 1: Bananas
These are like the fast food of the fruit bowl. They come pre-wrapped, ready to grab at any time and they supply energy in two different ways to your body. They have quick-release glucose – fab as a speedy pick-me-up and slow-release fructose. Bananas are best eaten ripe, yellow with a few brown spot, when they are 90% natural slow-release sugars. They are natural antacids (so great if you are experiencing some heartburn in pregnancy) and rich in potassium. They make a yummy base to almost any smoothie, can be added to porridge or blended and frozen as an ice-cream alternative. Yum!
Energy Food 2: Nettles
I recommend nettle tea to all of the new mums I work with. Nettles are high in iron which makes them a great blood builder, this is really important during pregnancy and after birth. It also contains lots of vitamin C which helps your body absorb the iron. So many mums suffer with iron deficiency so incorporating nettles into your diet is a must.
Energy Food 3: Asparagus
This tasty veggie supports you by removing toxins from the body that could be sapping your energy. Asparagus is rich in detoxifying aspartic acid (especially white asparagus), which helps neutralise excess ammonia in the body. Ammonia is normally converted to urea by the liver and excreted via our urine. If the liver isn’t functioning optimally this can be impaired and ammonia can build up. Excess ammonia will make you feel very drained and too much can become toxic to the brain. This is one of the reasons I recommend everyone support their natural detoxification pathways at least 4 times per year with a gentle cleanse (like The Happy Mummy Cleanse).
It’s also good to know that asparagus is really high in B vitamins and folate. All pregnant mums are advised to supplement with folic acid but folate is the natural version of this nutrient and is the best form of it to consume.
Energy Food 4: Beetroot
Another amazing cleansing food. This root vegetable provides lots of support to your liver, it’s phytochemical stimulate the production of a detoxifying antioxidant called glutathione. Beetroot is also fantastic for your energy levels because it’s high iron and antioxidant levels feed the blood and improves the blood’s oxygen uptake. I love freshly juiced beetroot (it’s surprisingly sweet) and it’s fab for roasting and serving with other root veggies too.
Energy Food 5: Maple Syrup
Oh yes! I love this stuff. It tastes delicious and it’s hard to believe anything this sweet can be good for you. But it is!! Maple syrup is high in manganese which is needed for cellular energy production, the synthesis of fatty acids and sex hormones in both men and women (so supports balanced hormones too!) It is also high in zinc which helps metabolism and protein synthesis. When you are buying maple syrup be sure to check the labels carefully. Maple flavoured syrup is something entirely different, it is likely to be cheap corn syrup and will not have any of the health benefits! Try to chose 100% organic maple syrup. Also keep an eye out for maple sugar – this is produced by reducing the syrup, it is twice as sweet and retains most of the healthy minerals.
Food isn’t the enemy when it comes to being slim and happy with your body. You just need to learn how to use it get the results you want. I highly recommend you consume these five energy foods regularly but don’t limit yourself to just these. The wider the variety of fruits and veggies you consume, the better! I recommend all my clients take a whole food supplement, which contains concentrated nutrition from 30 difference fruits and vegetables. I credit these little capsules alongside a healthy diet for my amazing energy levels. I also recommend a cleansing elimination plan like The Happy Mummy Cleanse so that you can truly uncover which foods are feeling your unique body and which ones are silently sapping your energy!