Upgrade your food, upgrade your energy!

So last week we learned how to turn digestion on. How’s it going? Are you remembering to relax, especially before eating, softening your belly as you breathe in? Keep at it!!!!

Now that digestion is turned on, let’s look at the possibility of upgrading food choices! Food should be delightful, energizing, and easy for you to fit into your day and lifestyle, and sometimes there are better and worse convenience options. You don’t have to suddenly eliminate everything except vegetables overnight. You don’t have to eliminate anything if you don’t want to, but I think it’s a useful quest to consider how you can make the food you already love one step closer to really nourishing! Food, like with anything else in life, is not about perfection, it’s about striving to be just 1% better each day.

Today I’ve got some upgrade possibilities for common snacks. You can apply these suggestions when shopping for other foods too!

*Yogurt – yogurt is typically marketed as a “healthy” food because of the probiotic strains of good bacteria. Don’t be hoodwinked! Yogurt is junk food: a delicious convenience food that my family loves; I just want you to properly categorize it in your brain. Because of its sugar content, it’s along the lines of “cookies.” The pasteurization process kills any probiotic benefit, so unless you’re fermenting your own fresh cow’s milk, you’re actually feeding bad bacteria with all the sugar in yogurt. The most important thing to watch for in yogurt is that it doesn’t contain ARTIFICIAL sweetener (unless your goal is to wreak havoc on your hormones and create neurological imbalance and massive weight gain. Then go for the sweeteners!) or coloring. It will contain sugar, but you do NOT want it to contain aspartame or any other ingredients besides milk, sugar, vanilla or other flavor/fruit pieces, and pectin. There will also be the advertised probiotic strains. For a sweet treat, look for Dannon vanilla yogurt and add your own fruit. You can upgrade this one step more by choosing Siggi’s, which has a creamier consistency and MUCH less sugar. Tip: when choosing snacks, you want to strive for the grams of protein to be equal to or more than the grams of sugar. Siggi’s has the best balance that I’ve seen so far in yogurt. Just be sure to READ the ingredients on any yogurt you’re considering!

*Yogurt add-ins – If you want a super energy boosting bonus to your yogurt, soak chia seeds in water for a few minutes until they form a gel-like consistency and stir it into yogurt! Chia seeds are magical and make me feel energized and full for hours. The gel that the seeds secrete when they soak in water actually binds to toxins and junk in your body, and pulls the pollution right out with them. If you prefer to have something crunchy, like granola, mixed into your yogurt, check out Purely Elizabeth granola. It’s lower in sugar than most granola and packed with wholesome ingredients! Chopped almonds are also great in yogurt and add a little protein to balance out that sugar!

*Fruit snacks – So as long as we are clear that fruit snacks are not fruit, we can proceed. You want to make sure that you choose a fruit snack with NO corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup!!! Avoid corn syrup of any kind at all costs. I can go into a 2 page detail why, so contact me if you want those details. Otherwise, you can trust me. Good luck with the label reading and finding something you’re willing to spend your money on with these, but the upgrade I offer you is to try fruit rope or fruit leather instead. Again, it’s not fruit, it’s the concentrated sugar out of the fruit, but for a chewy delicious treat, just make sure you’re not creating much more trouble than they’re worth by adding corn syrups, added sugars, or any food coloring.

*Applesauce/canned fruit – an easy, packable and portable option, when selecting any appleasauses or packaged fruit, please make sure it’s packed only in fruit juice. Fruit contains plenty of sugar, so it’s not necessary or tastier to add any sweeter. Especially in applesause, watch out for corn syrup! You want your packaged fruit to have 3 ingredients ONLY: the fruit itself, juice, and ascorbic acid. NOTE: monk fruit is an added sweetener. Keep looking for the fruit that contains only itself and juice.

*Coffee – Ha! You thought I was going to tell you to kick the coffee, didn’t you? Don’t worry, your caffeinated heart can start beating again!!!! Breathe, relax! Enjoy your coffee! I have 2 suggestions to help you upgrade your coffee habit AND increase your energy naturally. First, drink a full glass of water before your morning cup of coffee. You can find scientific evidence to both prove and disprove that caffeine is dehydrating, but that’s missing a bigger point. Caffeine robs your body of nutrients in various ways, so my suggestion isn’t for the hydration factor alone. Drinking water is simply a good habit, and one that can easily increase your energy, hydrate your skin and organs, and contribute to well being overall. And second, check out Teeccino. It’s packed with nutrients and comes in a variety of flavors, and you might like it enough to substitute your coffee outright, or might want to mix half into your coffee.

What other snacks, drinks, and go-to foods do you consume often? If you’re interested in figuring out a creative upgrade, comment below and I’ll see if I can offer suggestions!