Raw food scientist Max Tuck offers her tips for boosting your energy in the winter months.
If there’s one thing that everyone seems to want more of, it’s energy. It’s no myth that we can achieve more energy through the food we eat, and there are plenty of wonderful plants we can enjoy not just to give us more energy, but also to create vibrant health and well–being.
Green juices, including wheatgrass juice
Green juices are a nutritional wonder, and I recommend that all my clients have at least one green juice per day. They deliver a power pack of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Importantly, they address one of the key health issues for vegans, that being the possibility of low iron levels. If your iron levels are low, there is the increased risk of anaemia, and if the body isn’t receiving enough oxygen because of borderline anaemia, you’ll really notice a drop in energy levels.
Iron is stated to be less bio available from plants than from animal sources. However, all dark leafy greens contain iron, together with high levels of vitamin C, which in turn is essential for the adequate absorption of iron. Juicing your greens removes the cellulose from the plant, and ensures that the health–giving nutrients, including iron, are more easily absorbed. Research at the Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida has shown that people with low haemoglobin levels respond very quickly to twice daily drinks of fresh wheatgrass juice.
An added bonus is that green juice is very hydrating, and if you’re well hydrated, you’ll have more energy. Drink a juice of cucumber, four sticks of celery, some sunflower greens and pea shoots, a handful of wheatgrass and half a lime and you’ll be ready for anything!
If green juice is the king of energy, sprouted food is undoubtedly the queen. Many seeds can be sprouted, and it is this germination process that allows the maximum nutritional benefits to be realised. Sprouted food is more easily digestible, meaning in turn that the energy that would otherwise be used in the digestive process is spared. The sprouting process also concentrates the presence of many beneficial micronutrients and antioxidants.
Excellent energy–giving sprouted foods include buckwheat and mung beans, and the small grain sprouts such as quinoa. All of these give slow–release healthy carbohydrates that do not adversely affect blood sugar, whilst also containing good levels of protein; another important issue for vegans. Balancing your blood sugar is one of the most important things you can do to maintain energy levels throughout the day.
If you are new to sprouted foods, introduce them to your diet slowly. It takes a little time for the friendly bacteria in your intestines to adapt to these foods, so go easy to start with until your gut has had a chance to get used to them.
Soaked nuts and seeds
Most vegans rely on nuts and seeds as a staple source of protein. I always recommend that nuts and seeds are soaked prior to being eaten, since they’re one of the harder to digest vegan foods. Soaking removes the enzyme inhibitors, in turn allowing them to be more easily digested. It’s common for people to feel a bit tired and “heavy” after eating dried nuts, but this usually isn’t the case after soaking them overnight.