Here’s a little test for you. On a scale from 1 to 10 rate your energy in this moment. Then, on that same scale, rate where your energy tends to be on average. If your answers to both are 9 or 10, that’s awesome. But for most of us that sadly isn’t the case.
Low energy is an incredibly common health problem, but one we often don’t stop to think about as much as we should. Perhaps we assume that in this busy go-go-go world we live in feeling fatigued is normal and just a part of a life. But it doesn’t have to be. That’s why my latest video is all about 5 ways you can improve your energy naturally.
Low energy and fatigue can affect our quality of life in more ways than we realize. Low energy can mean we aren’t able to get a workout in so we don’t get those feel-good endorphins that improve our sense of wellbeing. It can mean we’re constantly reaching for coffee which leads to unpleasant digestive symptoms or sugar which can lead to blood sugar roller coasters and weight gain. It can make us unable to properly process and cope with our emotions and daily events. Low energy isn’t just about feeling tired — it can cause a cascade of challenges in all areas of our life.
Working with clients on improving their energy levels is one of my favourite things because I know personally and professionally what a huge impact it can make to a person’s quality of life. When you have fatigue or low energy it is impossible to work, play and live the way you want to. You can’t get all the things done that you would like, your emotions and experiences are impaired and it’s hard to be present in your life in the same way. Fortunately, a few simple changes can go a long way and I’m excited to be sharing them with you today.
All too often when I first sit down with a client and they hand in their forms, including a 3-5 day food log, I am met with a very common and familiar look. It is a look of nervousness, embarrassment, and even guilt or shame.
“This isn’t how I normally eat.”
“This was a really bad week.”
“A friend was in town — I’m usually a much better eater than this.”
It’s a sentiment I can completely relate to because it’s one I would have expressed had I gone to see a nutritionist a few years ago. And honestly, these emotions and phrases are what I hear from probably 95% of my clients. In the moment we’re each sitting in these feelings and expressing these words we feel like we’re alone and that we’ve failed in some way, that we should be embarrassed or ashamed about how we’re eating because it isn’t how we “should” be.
Quitting coffee is hard. I know because it took a couple of years of quitting and then going back to it over and over before I was able to accept just how much better I felt without coffee and make it a permanent change. That being said, I still very much enjoy a cup of good-quality decaf whenever I’m home with my sisters… because life is all about balance.
If you’ve been considering taking a break from coffee and want to know the potential benefits and tips on how to go about it, this week’s video featuring Curious Katie is for you.
Maybe you aren’t ready to take a break from coffee — that is totally fair! Today’s video will still help give you a better idea of why one might quit coffee and how to do so if you decide you’re ready.
If you’ve ever wanted to get your nutrition and health information without having to read a whole article about it, I feel ya. That’s why I’ve created Nourished Sweetly’s very own YouTube Channel! On it I’ll be chatting about different aspects of health and nutrition and how you can experiment with various healthy changes to see if they work for you — no rules or “shoulds” required.
The first video is an intro to “gentle nutrition” — a way of making healthy changes free from diet-mentality, fear-foods and negative self-talk. It’s all about getting curious, being kind to yourself, and finding the healthy changes that work for you.
I’ll be doing these videos every couple of weeks so if there’s a certain topic you’d like to learn more about, let me know!
I’ve always liked the idea of chia bowls but until this past year I didn’t believe they could be filling enough to carry me through the start of my day. The first few I made weren’t the most flavourful, and just being made up of chia, nut milk, fruit and a few nuts, they had me reaching for second breakfast an hour later.
Now, there is nothing wrong with having a second breakfast when you’re hungry and you need it, but it’s nice to have a brekkie that’s satisfying enough to carry you through a good chunk of your morning. Chia pudding has the potential to do that beautifully, it just needs to be taken to the next level, in my opinion.
And that next level involves oodles of fresh fruit, nuts, seeds and other nutritious goodies that create a breakfast rich in a balance of protein, carbs and fats as well as a variety of vitamins and minerals. Best of all, this chia bowl can be customized with whatever ingredients you have on hand. Don’t have walnuts, try almonds. Don’t have berries, try another fruit. Don’t have cacao nibs… okay you can just leave them out but breakfast is a little more fun with chocolate so I highly recommend them.
I’ve also included a couple of my favourite “superfoods” in my chia breakfast bowl. Maca powder is great for balancing hormones, which is something I’m working on right now, as well as being thought to improve endurance… so you’ll be extra powered-up! And the bee pollen is a great source of protein and antioxidants. Plus they both offer interesting flavours that really compliment this already-delicious bowl. But you can certainly go without them if you don’t have them on hand!
I’ve been having this chia bowl for breakfast almost every day for the last couple months and it has been providing me with so much nourishment and energy — I can’t wait for you to try it!
Powered-Up Chia Breakfast Bowl
Take your chia pudding to the next level! This powered-up chia bowl is bursting with nutritious ingredients that will fill you up while also satisfying your taste buds.
1/3cupalmond milk or other dairy-free milk
1/4cupcanned coconut milk or coconut cream
3/4cupfresh or frozen berries (or sub other chopped fruit)
1/2banana, sliced or cubed
1/2tbspraw pumpkin seeds
1tspbee pollen (optional)
1/2tspmaca powder (optional)
Combine chia seeds, almond milk, maple syrup, cinnamon and maca, if using, in a bowl. Let sit for 15-20 minutes.
Top chia pudding with coconut milk and then all remaining ingredients. Stir to combine or enjoy as is.
A 2010 poll commissioned by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada found that two-thirds of Canadians had tried losing weight in the past 5 years. And whether it was by eliminating food groups, using meal-replacement bars and shakes, trying out weight-loss supplements or fasting, only 17% of those who were overweight and 8% of those who were obese managed to lose at least five pounds and keep them off for a five-year period. Only 8%-17% maintained a weight loss of more than five pounds!! That’s a pretty terrible margin to spend months, weeks or even a day of your life force-feeding yourself weird non-foods or depriving yourself of food so you’re constantly hungry and irritable.
But this wacky world we live in and the big business that is the diet industry would have us believe that counting almonds or eating 100-calorie snack packs or cutting out whole food groups is the way we’ll achieve health and happiness. Spoiler alert: It’s not.
If you’ve ever put yourself through the insanity of dieting, you are not alone. In fact, you’re with the majority of the population. But just because it’s what most people are doing and it’s what you’ve gotten used to, it doesn’t mean you have to keep doing it. Here’s to giving up all the sh*tty things diets make us do like…
1. Being deserving of a Masters in Mathematics for all the calorie and/or macro-counting you do
Oh calorie counting. Just think of all the useful things your brain could spend time doing if it wasn’t busy comparing and contrasting the calorie content of half a dozen granola bars. You could likely have written several books, learned Mandarin and watched every season of Doctor Who and Star Trek. (Or caught up on every season missed of The Bachelor #timewellspent.)
And then there’s macro-counting. Hot damn is that an insane mathematical process you have to do on a constant basis. If you’ve macro-counted for an extended period of time, please shoot me a message. I want you to do my taxes. My accountant ain’t got nothing on you.
2. Weighing things that do not need to be weighed
As if counting out individual almonds isn’t enough, many diets will have you measuring and weighing just about everything. Blueberries, spinach, chickpeas… heaven forbid you eat “too much” of any of them and throw off your calories or macros for the day.
Here is an extensive list of things that need to be weighed. 1. Babies. They’re growing and stuff. 2. Bulk food items. You gotta pay for that sh*t. 3. I’m out. You know what doesn’t need to be weighed? Kale. If you wanna eat kale, eat the damn kale. If you don’t want to eat kale, that’s okay too. Have some spinach, or some broccoli, or… whatever you like. Just. Don’t. Weight. It.
3. Eating things that should in no way be construed as food
Companies looooove coming out with products you “need” in order to lose weight and become those happy, smiling people you see in the “after” pictures. Instead of actually eating whole foods that nourish your body, when you need them, and to your unique hunger cues, you can ignore everything your body is telling you and stick to a strict diet of non-foods.
Take the slim fast diet for example. In it you get two shakes or smoothies for two meals, three 100-calorie snack packs — that can be such nutritious *heavy on the sarcasm* options as sour cream & onion baked chips and chocolate pretzel poppers — and then one 500-calorie meal (because even on a product-based diet plan we still gotta keep your math skills up to par! Get your kale scale out!) Now what’s in these tasty shakes that you get to have for breakfast and lunch every damn day for as long as you’re on the diet? Well, in their creamy chocolate shake we have…
Mmm… sounds delicious! Pour me a glass of that. But not two. I’m slimmin’. Fast.
4. Eating the same thing until you want to puke and/or murder the person who invented that thing
Okay, so maybe you forgo the whole processed “food” diet and instead go the whole foods route. There are plenty of insane diets to choose from. Cabbage soup multiple times a day anyone? Or how about lemon juice, water, maple syrup and cayenne pepper? Yeah cause you’re a hummingbird. You can live off that sh*t. You go into it all high on the excitement of all the weight loss that’s sure to come and the clarity of knowing what you “can” and “can’t” eat. And for a variety of reasons you might actually start to feel good a couple days in. But then, whether it’s after 5 days or 2 weeks you realize whatever you’re eating isn’t “actually really enjoyable” as you so adamantly declared on the first day, you realize you can’t possibly stomach another ounce of the stuff and you end up like this.
5. Cutting out whole food groups for virtually no reason
Once you’ve graduated through all the fad diets and realized how insane and ineffective they are, it’s pretty easy to get sucked into the diets in disguise realm. These are the diets that claim to be just about health but given that they’re cutting out or greatly limiting whole food groups it’s easy for the diet-brain to take over. Suddenly every pimple or bloated belly can be blamed on that half a bagel you ate two days ago.
Pick up one book: gluten is killing you. The next, it’s fat. Another: it’s sugar. Damn it, what is with all these food groups and macronutrients trying to destroy the human race!? Here’s a thought: They’re not. Sure, there might be foods you’re genuinely sensitive or allergic to, and if that’s the case, noticing you no longer have terrible ongoing cramps, bloating, or other symptoms when you take a break from them will make not eating them pretty easy. No restrictive diet required.
But if it’s just the latest health craze getting in your brain and making you think you have to cut something out even though you’re not entirely sure why and you don’t feel all that different with or without it — run from whatever or whomever is convincing you of these crazy rules. Run far, far away.
Giving up diets
Diets are a sh*tty, sh*tty waste if time. When we quit obsessing about weight loss we get to get back to actually living our lives. We can learn to eat whole, nourishing foods that make us feel great because we want to, not because we have to. We can get in touch with what our bodies need and how they feel when eating certain foods. We can be at peace with food and our bodies and quit following insane plans and ridiculous rules. We can quit trying to make our bodies look a certain way and stop fearing how every piece of food is going to make us look. We can be okay with however the heck our bodies want to look. It’s time for us to all just be. Diet-Free.
I am currently taking on new clients who want to give up dieting and start living. Check out my work with me page and don’t hesitate to get in touch about how you can start waving goodbye to all of the sh*tty things diets have made you do and start living the healthy, happy life you want.
More and more often these days you’ll hear people say “diets don’t work” and “it’s about a lifestyle change”. And although these statements are true, with society’s ongoing obsession with weight loss and appearance, giving up on mainstream diets in pursuit of a “healthy lifestyle change” doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve given up on dieting.
Shockingly, up until a few weeks ago I had never had eggplant Parmesan… I didn’t even know it was a thing! But then my friend made a dairy-free vegan eggplant Parm for our weekly viewing ofThe Bachelor (#noshame) and I was OBSESSED. I can’t even remember how many times I said it was the best thing I’d ever eaten.
During the Super Bowl halftime show this past weekend Lady Gaga leapt off the top of a building, performed a 10-minute-long dance number while singing and then caught a football in mid-air. And all some people were able to talk about was her belly fat.
The fact some individuals felt the need to say anything about Lady Gaga’s belly after her jaw-dropping halftime performance simultaneously blows my mind and leaves me unsurprised. That a woman of Gaga’s talent, courage, presence and beauty can be criticized for the amount of fat she has on her abdomen highlights the deeply-rooted beauty standards that have taken hold and can have people criticizing parts of women’s bodies that are 100% normal.
I have been a fan of meal prepping for quite some time now. Having all the ingredients on hand for a quick breakfast on-the-go, carrying a lunch and snacks with me when I’m away from home and always having something in the fridge to eat in a flash for dinner have become a way of life for me.
But I wasn’t always that way. Through high school, when tasked with making my own lunches, my go-tos were pizza pockets, a plain bagel or a bag of sugar cookies. Even through most of university I would rely on microwave mac and cheese or a Tim Hortons muffin to get me through the day.
However, slowly, I learned more recipes, got comfortable packing meals in a way that they wouldn’t leak and ruin my day and overall started incorporating more whole, homemade foods into my life. My energy soared, my digestion improved… not to mention, my bank account loved it!