By Louise Don – Personal Trainer and Nutritional Therapist

Happy Family Jumping Together On The BeachThe sun is shining! The days are getting longer! Sunny daffodils and colourful crocuses are peeping up at us! Springtime is here – my favourite season – the promise of new beginnings bursting forth!

So how can we make the most of the abundance of delicious fresh food coming into season, and use it to give us optimum energy levels?

It can be helpful to think of the food we are eating in terms of a return on investment.

Is this piece of food I’m eating going to give me more energy than it uses to digest, process, absorb and clear the waste products out of my body? Or am I going to be left with an energy deficit? For example, many manufactured foods are unrecognizable by our digestive systems and become energy-thieves, because they are often setting up a chain of events that lead to stress, gut irritation, immune system activation, inflammation and uncomfortable symptoms.

It’s helpful to understand how the trillions of cells in our body generate the energy we need to fuel our daily activities. In simple terms, glucose and oxygen are converted to energy, carbon dioxide, heat and water.

But of course it’s a bit more complex than that. Without going into the details, it’s clear that although we need glucose to fuel our cells to give us energy, too much glucose (ie, carbohydrates) can cause blood sugar spikes and lead to fat deposits, energy slumps and a host of health issues.

So instead of a see-sawing, up and down, supply of glucose, what we want is a steady continuous supply to keep us nicely fuelled all day.

So once we’ve got this nice steady supply (see tip 1 below), we want to convert the glucose to energy. To do this we need a variety of nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals to make the energy-giving steps happen. Not to mention that we need to be breathing in and transporting a good amount of oxygen to our cells to keep these energy-giving processes burning.

So how do we give our bodies the best chance of absorbing, transporting and assimilating these valuable nutrients?

By setting up the optimum conditions for our cells and organs to do the jobs they do best. What do they do best? Producing energy, creating hormones, neurotransmitters, enzymes and other messengers, clearing away the waste products, reproducing, and a host of other maintenance activities.

One of the biggest obstacles to our cells being able to do their work effectively is STRESS! And this stress can come not only from external events (work, family, traffic, etc), but also from the food and drink we put into our bodies. One example of this is refined sugar – a powerful internal stressor – causing the afore-mentioned sugar spikes and slumps – giving a loud message to our overworked adrenal glands that there is an emergency at hand – up go our adrenaline and cortisol levels, our hormone balance goes awry, and down go our digestive and other maintenance systems, such as immune system, and healing and repair systems.

So, here are 7 top tips you can try for lowering your stress levels and boosting your energy:

  1. Stabilize your blood sugar and set up a steady continuous supply of glucose into your bloodstream by:
    • Eating a good breakfast – including protein which slows down the entry of glucose into your blood
    • Replace refined carbohydrates (which are rapidly broken down into glucose and absorbed) with complex carbohydrates (which are slower releasing)
  2. Drink 2 litres of good quality water each day – to help keep the flow……..of digestive juices, of nutrients being transported around your body, of your cleansing cycles enabling the flushing out of waste matter…
  3. Eat real natural food such as vegetables, fruit, meat, eggs and fish – packed full of essential vitamins, minerals, proteins, oils and complex carbohydrates
  4. Deep breathing – to bring down your stress levels, give your adrenals a break, and bring good levels of oxygen into your system
  5. Get plenty of good quality sleep – again to bring down stress levels and give your organs and systems that all-important time to regenerate, repair and heal
  6. Regular exercise in the fresh air – to……yes, bring down stress levels, bring in more oxygen, build muscle mass and reduce fat, and raise the vitality levels of all your cells and organs so they can carry out their energy-giving processes more effectively
  7. Regular relaxation – yoga/meditation/walking in nature/laughing/massage…doing things you love doing


For more information on the ideas behind these tips, come along to my FREE talk: