How To Eat For Energy This Summer

by Simona Terron
It’s almost summer and if you want to kickstart your workout plan to prepare your beach body, you’d do well to pay attention to your diet. Eating sensibly isn’t tough but it’s important to listen to your body to better understand what it needs for optimal performance and a healthier appearance. This means choosing smarter items to fuel and energize yourself.

One way to do this is to learn how the right combinations of foods affect your health and can boost your energy levels. While much fuss has been made about how you should eat starches with alkaline and proteins with acidic foods, Monica Reinagel, MS,LD/N, CNS, a board-certified, licensed nutritionist and professionally trained chef believes these are mere guidelines and not very accurate ones at that.

With a Master’s of Science in Human Nutrition, and as a graduate of culinary school, she propagates a rather ‘sane and scientific’ approach and ‘foodie-friendly’ advice. In fact, it’s delightful how she describes the human digestive system as ‘a little like a car wash’.

Monica not only clearly outlines the entire process of ingestion, digestion, assimilation, and elimination using the same metaphor; she also explains how the principles of food-combining are not really applicable with all the new knowledge that has been gathered with advances in science and technology.

What she does say is this, “Food-combining rules have an unadvertised benefit: You often end up eating less when you are following them. Typical restaurant meals, for example, include protein, starch, and vegetables. If you are following the rules, some portion of that meal will remain on your plate. And even when you are cooking for yourself, research shows that when a meal contains fewer different things, you tend to eat fewer calories. (If that sounds unlikely, stop for a moment to recall how much you ate the last time you were faced with a buffet.)”

Not overfilling your stomach can definitely improve digestion, reduce fatigue, and enhance weight loss. You could probably get the same results by simply cutting back on portion sizes. But, if following these rules works for you, go for it. Just know that there is no physiological or biochemical reason to avoid combining protein and starch.”

She actually mentions that there is in fact, at least one reason you might want to go out of your way to combine protein with starch. “Eating protein with carbohydrates tends to smooth out the rise in blood sugar that happens when you eat carbs by themselves.

In addition to her own website and blog, Monica has a weekly nutrition podcast, a blog on The Huffington Post, a handful of books, and is a regular guest on shows like The TODAY show, Doctor Oz Show, and NPR’s Morning Edition.

In an appearance on the Doctor Oz Show, she explained how you can harness the synergistic and delicious food combinations that can help you maximize nutrient absorption. Not only that, she shared a few fantastic easy-to-make and delicious to eat food combos that do just this. Try them instead of reaching for store-bought supplements next time. While here’s the video for you to watch, we thought we’d roughly share the tips she’s offering, below:
  • Combining vitamin C and E helps you to absorb both of them better. So why not pair some protein-rich hummus (great for vegans and those who don’t want to eat meat) and red peppers instead of deep fried chips. You could also sauté broccoli for its high vitamin C content, which your body will be better inclined to absorb if you marry it with some slivered almonds that are chock full of vitamin E. There are few foods in nature that offer this combination so feel free to make it at home.
  • Cooking salmon with some nice fresh kale and other leafy greens means that the vitamin D in the salmon will allow you to absorb all the bone building calcium and vitamin K in the kale and leafy greens.
  • Avocadoes are rich in mono-unsaturated fats, which is why guac not only tastes better with crunchy carrot sticks, but eating them together means the avocado in the guac boosts the carotenoids in the carrots by 15 percent.
So what are you waiting for? Get started on these healthy food combos and let us know how energized you feel!
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