Nutrition and Stress

African American mother and daughter in kitchen making healthy breakfast

Five Tips to Boost Your Energy During the Day

“The higher your energy level, the more efficient your body. The more efficient your body, the better you feel and the more you will use your talent to produce outstanding results.” – Tony Robbins

It’s 10:30 AM. You just feel like you need to boost your energy to get through until lunch. You decide to grab an extra cup of coffee to get though the morning. Thirty minutes later the fatigue returns, making it harder to stay focused and feel productive.

Being stressed out can drain you of physical and mental energy. You run on all cylinders all day between work and home, feeling wired but tired when you put your head on the pillow at night. Your mind races with everything that still needs to be finished. Yet there is a nagging fatigue that overwhelms your body. And low energy is hard to ignore when you are dragging though the day.

Your energy bank.

Think about your energy as if it were kept in a bank account. Each time you take care of something or someone, you are spending from your energy account. Giving back to yourself refills your energy. When you withdraw from your energy account repeatedly without putting energy into your account, you enter into the chronic stress zone.

Here are five tips to boost your energy during the day:

African American mother and daughter in kitchen making healthy breakfastEat breakfast. Food fuels the body. Breakfast is a great stress reliever plus it gets you revved up for the day. Make a quick smoothie, adding kale or spinach, protein powder and other vegetables. Try steel cut oats with blueberries and almond or coconut milk for a great breakfast. Keep a healthy snack ready for mid-morning to keep you going strong. Adding protein to breakfast can energize your day and help you feel full longer.

Stretch more. Sitting in one position for any length of time causes stiff, tight muscles. Moving every thirty minutes will promote better circulation, keep your muscles lengthened, and energize your body.

Meditate. Meditation allows the mind to clear get focused and be present. A meditation myth is you must sit crossed-legged and have at least 30 minutes extra to properly meditate. The truth about meditation is even five minutes of quieting your mind in a comfortable chair can be helpful.

Drink Water. Did you know if you are thirsty that you are already dehydrated? While water isn’t a direct source of energy, it is a vital part of the chemical reaction to create energy in the body. Caffeinated drinks, such as coffee will increase dehydration rather than replenish fluid in your body.

Exercise. The last thing that you feel like doing is exercising when you are tired. Exercise during the day helps to energize you and release feel good hormones in the body. Just taking a walk around the block can help you rejuvenate after sitting at the desk for a while.

There are so many choices you can make that directly affect your energy level. Choose one or all of these energy-boosting tips to keep focused, productive, and happy.

Stress and Anxiety: Could Low Blood Sugar Be the Link?

Feeling stressed and anxious? Could it be low blood sugar?

When you have stable blood sugar, you will feel grounded, experience less overwhelm and stress, feel less anxious and have no cravings – if your cravings are blood sugar related (cravings can also be due to yeast, low serotonin, low endorphins, low catecholamines and low GABA)

Signs of low blood sugar may include:

• Anxiety, irritability, agitation, nervousness
• Feeling stressed and overwhelmed
• Feeling shaky between meals or when you skip a meal
• Poor memory, focus and fatigue
• Intense sweet craving at various times of the day
• Waking in the night (low blood sugar is one of many causes of insomnia)

Simple dietary changes to help stabilize your blood sugar

1.  Eat enough protein

• Eat at least 20-25g (4oz or palm-sized portions) of good quality protein at each meal
• Grassfed beef, lamb, wild fish, pastured chicken, turkey and eggs, dairy (if it’s not an issue for you), legumes
• This is not negotiable – you must eat breakfast every day! And within an hour of waking
• If you can’t quite give up your coffee make sure to eat breakfast first
• Make sure to include protein at breakfast! (egg, fish, chicken sausage, cheese/yogurt, even dinner for breakfast)
• Substitute packaged cereals with real oatmeal (if gluten is not an issue or buckwheat and add nuts, seeds, coconut, butter, yogurt or kefir or a scoop of whey protein
Smoothies are good too – use fruit like berries and banana, use water as your base, add 1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk, 20g whey protein powder (other optional additions: green powder or freshly juiced greens, yogurt or kefir, nut butters, freshly ground flax seeds)

2.  Eat 3 meals and 2 snacks

Protein, fat and carbohydrate at each meal and snack.
• Lunch example: protein= Beef, lamb, fish, chicken, turkey, legumes; fat=butter, olive oil, avocado; carbohydrate = starchy veggie like sweet potato or brown rice
• Meal ideas: meat and veggies, salad and protein, veggie soup with protein, lentil soup
• Snack ideas: boiled egg; crackers and hummus; fruit and a few nuts; crackers and cheese; raw carrots/zucchini and cream cheese
Always carry some nuts with you for emergencies! Pumpkin seeds are a great choice.

There are nutrients that also help with blood sugar control: the amino acid glutamine, and zinc and chromium.   It may also be helpful to have your adrenal status assessed because burned out adrenals can lead to poor blood sugar control, fatigue, digestive issues and other hormonal problems.  Doing a salivary cortisol test is the best way to do this.

All of this and much more is covered in great detail in The Antianxiety Food Solution: How the Foods You Eat Can Help You Calm Your Anxious Mind, Improve Your Mood and End Cravings, now available in major books stores, at Amazon and via

Thanks to Elizabeth E for her recent comment on Amazon (this is an excerpt):

“I just recently finished reading this book and am grateful for such a great resource! I’ve already begun employing some of the suggestions laid out and they are helping. For example, I am making sure to include more protein in my breakfast and it’s definitely helping my anxiety!”

Trudy Scott is a food-mood expert and nutritionist who educates women about real whole food and finding natural solutions for anxiety and stress, depression and other mood problems, together with the sugar and carb cravings that often go hand-in hand with mood issues. She is author of  The Antianxiety Food Solution – How the Foods You Eat Can Help you Calm Your Anxious Mind, Improve Your Mood and End Cravings (June 2011, New Harbinger). Trudy is immediate past president of National Association of Nutrition Professionals and now Special Advisor to the board of directors. and

Five Anti-Stress Foods You Need to Know About

The greatest wealth is health.  ~Virgil

Healthy food is sometimes last on your list of priorities when you are under stress. The main focus is crossing everything off the to-do list and the food you place in your body is an afterthought. You write your list of things to do yet planning for meals filled with nutrients seems to fall by the wayside. Food comes to mind when we are hungry. What might be handy are several fast food joints for a quick bite to eat.

Skipping meals or eating unhealthy leads to poor nutrition. As a result, you begin to lack in many nutrients that keep you healthy and less stress signs. You might begin to notice different symptoms like difficulty focusing or lack of energy that may simply be the need for a good healthy eating lifestyle. The fact of the matter is we focus on the outside but not what’s happening on the inside of your body.

Maybe some of the stress symptoms you feel have to do with what you put in your body.

Here are five anti-stress foods you need to know about:


Quinoa is generally considered a whole grain but is actually grown for its nutrition filled seeds.  Quinoa is rich in vitamin B, which has a calming effect you’re your nervous system. It can be easily cooked and used for all meals. It’s also high in protein and it a great food for energy. Quinoa also has the added bonus of being gluten-free. It is so quick to make with a bowl, boiling water and cover for 10-15 minutes. You can also cook it in the rice cooker as you are getting ready for work.

Red Bell Peppers

Red peppers might be a little pricier than other peppers but the taste and nutrition value more than make up for the cost. Seriously, red bell peppers are just fully ripened green peppers. The sweetest of all bell peppers, the red bell pepper has vitamins A and C and folate, which fuels your body and helps fix damaged cells that happen from stress.


Blueberries are packed with vitamin C as well as other antioxidants which help support a healthy immune system. They are usually available year round. I like to stock up on them during the summer months, freeze then package them for off season months. Just spread your blueberries on a cookie sheet and freeze. Make sure that they are not touching as much as possible. Once in bags or containers, you will easily be able to grab the blueberries you need for smoothies and other treats without being a frozen clump of fruit.

Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds, the fruit of the sunflower, filled with all sorts of helpful nutrients.

They contain tryptophan, which helps in the production of serotonin, the “feel good” chemical. Sunflower seeds are also rich in vitamin B complex to help calm your nerves. These seeds are tasty used as a salad topping or as a quick snack.


Yes, I saved the best for last (I saw some of those funny faces!) All kidding aside, spinach and other leafy green vegetables are rich in magnesium, which helps you keep in a calm state. Spinach is also rich in antioxidants to help build your immune system. Add spinach to smoothies especially if you want to add more greens to your diet. That’s a wonderful way to cover up the taste of spinach and still get it’s nutrient-packed punch.

Although a sample of foods cannot alone combat stress, making healthy food choices can contribute to a happier, healthier lifestyle. Looking to change your diet? Seek counsel from your physician or dietician to help you add the foods you need to fuel your body properly. Always follow your recommended diet and ask your health care providers if these foods are right for you.

Three Easy Tips for a Stress-Proof Breakfast Plan

Never work before breakfast; if you have to work before breakfast, eat your breakfast first.  -Josh Billings

Stress, hunger and eating breakfast are big topics in stress management.Tired of your stomach growling mid-morning in meetings? Maybe you feel like you ran out of fuel and you’re struggling to stay awake at your desk. Did you eat breakfast? If not, your last meal might have been well over 12-16 hours ago and you’re now running on fumes.  Missing breakfast can add to your negative stress load. You may then feel less prepared to deal with issues you encounter each morning.

Here are three tips to make sure you put good fuel in your body each morning to have less stress in the morning.

Eat breakfast. This seems like a simple suggestion but many people skip breakfast. Some folks say they have no appetite in the morning. Without breakfast though, blood sugar levels can fluctuate during the morning, playing havoc with your focus and energy. So, it seems logical to reach for caffeinated beverages, such as coffee or soda.

Solution:  Get up 15 minutes earlier to eat breakfast. Pack snacks such as almonds, carrot or celery sticks for a mid morning snack. If you pack fruit, always have with a healthy fat, such as nuts. Keep hydrated, drinking water throughout the day. Feeling low on energy can also be due to needing to up your water intake.

Prepare your breakfast in advance.  Fast food chains have made it far too easy to grab something to eat on the way to work. There are many articles on “healthy fast food” but these words in the same sentence truly cause me to scratch my head. Some fast food breakfasts include your entire daily intake of sodium and ½ of your calories.

Solution: Have vegetables, such as red peppers, onions and mushrooms pre-cut in containers to make breakfast quickly. Sauté the vegetables and add in eggs. This takes about five minutes to prepare. Add in any leftovers from the night before, such as diced chicken or steak.  Smoothies can be a very quick breakfast and take little time to prepare.

Watch your caffeine intake.
Even though coffee is considered a fruit, this fabulous drink is not enough to keep functioning until lunch. If you only have coffee until lunch, you have now gone a possible 18 hours without food.  This is stressful on your body. The number of caffeine drinks you have each day can sneak up on you. Coffee and other caffeinated drinks can flip the stress reaction switch. A side effect is a jittery, wired feeling that most people have experienced after high-test coffee. Also, those yummy lattes and frappuccinos can begin to add up cost-wise, too.

Solution: Count how many caffeinated drinks you are having each day. This can actually contribute to feeling agitated and stressed. Add water to your day to keep your body alert. Look at your energy drink to check the caffeine sugar levels. Try not to take in caffeine past 3 pm since it may start to affect your sleep at night. Drink more water, too. Also, put that 5 plus dollars in a jar each day instead and see what kind of special treat you can have by the end of the month.  Then you can plan to do something that will relieve your stress, such as a massage or toward a special weekend getaway.

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