Where does your energy come from? Your food. It powers you like petrol or diesel in a car: and if you put in the wrong fuel you end up with a broken engine. It’s a myth that only sugar and carbs give you energy: sure, they’re quick to convert but they’re only a small part of the picture as you can see below.
Inside every cell in your body there’s a little powerhouse called a mitochondria (well actually that’s not quite true, not inside red blood cells which are too busy carrying oxygen for you). Inside the mitochondria there is a cyclical chemical reaction which some people call the Citric Acid Cycle and others call the Krebs Cycle. Whatever you call it, imagine it like a Catherine Wheel style Firework with sparks of energy flying off it.
Here’s how it looks when you represent the process of producing human energy as a diagram:
What’s worth noticing are the co-factors that are crucial for your food to be converted into the energy that so many of us are lacking. See them in the boxes there? They include B vitamins, Coenzyme Q10, Magnesium (Mg) and then lots of amino acids from protein (listed in the green boxes). So refined sugar may be a quick fix but actually if you’re not eating a wide range of real foods your body is going to struggle to efficiently convert it into energy – and in fact if ATP isn’t bound to a magnesium ion then it just doesn’t give you the spark that you’re after in life.
So, next time you want an energy fix, think of the bigger picture: eat whole foods that are unrefined and therefore come ready packaged by nature with not just carbs that quickly break down to glucose (for example in the centre of a grain) but also the nutrients to convert that glucose into energy (for example magnesium and B vitamins in the outer husk of that grain). Magnesium is particularly high in vegetables, which is presumably why the word “vegetable” comes from the Latin “vegere” meaning “to enliven”. So invest in premium fuel and choose wholegrain bread, pasta and rice instead of that poor value white version which has had all the important bits stripped away, and add more vegetables to your meals.
However don’t take my word for it: try eating 3 meals a day based on the Harvard Healthy Eating Plate which recommends that half of each meal should be vegetables/fruit, take a photo of your food & upload it to Nourish along with a record of how your energy levels are affected. Experiment. Play with your food. Find out what works for you & your lifestyle. For inspiration, check out the Soul Nutrition photo albums and click on whichever food ideas you want to know more about. If you have the energy!