I love Karim Fugel's approach to nutrition, which is one of adding in, rather than taking away. By adding in a habit of drinking water first thing in the day, for example, I will naturally eliminate some cravings for food I don't really need, without having to turn into the food police. I asked Karim for some tips, easy enough for the busiest among us to try for a couple of weeks. They're simple, ones I've tried before, but not consistently enough to feel a difference. Now I'm motivated, and I hope after reading her story, you will be too!
Eating and Drinking for Energy
by Karim Fugel
After a 13-year battle with breast cancer, my mother lost her fight. Since then I have paired the passion for fresh, healthy food that she instilled in me together with my wonder at how what we put into our bodies affects us. In fact, not only the food that goes into our bodies, but also our connection to that food, our thoughts, our relationships. As a nutrition consultant, holistic health counselor and Reiki/CranioSacral therapist I am able to help others connect those dots.
Working with Patty has been so much fun, as I am sure you can imagine! I enjoy all of my clients and am inspired not only by our differences, biochemically speaking, but also by our similarities.
Patty’s main goal is around energy – to increase it overall and to manage her late afternoon dips in energy when she reaches for something sugary.
After going through the details of Patty’s typical day – what she eats and when, how she spends her day and how she feels, we came up with three changes to incorporate into her routine over the next couple of weeks. These tips will benefit anyone who is trying to improve her or his energy levels or shed some holiday pounds.
1) Pump-up Your Protein
Starting your day with concentrated protein (eggs, greek yogurt, nuts) is one of the easiest ways to increase your energy throughout the day.
Protein is energy food! It can make you feel satisfied without feeling stuffed. When your meal has a greater ratio of protein to carbohydrate, it stabilizes blood sugar and reduces insulin response. Insulin has been dubbed the hunger hormone.
Because protein naturally activates the body’s innate satiety mechanisms, you're less likely to overeat. Overeating is a big reason for the post-meal slump where you feel a major drain on your energy.
The leucine in protein is suspected to help you maintain muscle mass while losing body fat when on a weight-loss program. Eating protein will ensure that your metabolism is stimulated, especially when combined with weight training.
2) Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
There is no other essential nutrient that can improve energy, increase mental and physical performance, help fend off food cravings, and keep your skin healthy and glowing, like water. Patty is dehydrated! She has agreed to fill a large, 64 oz, bottle of water each morning and put it on her desk so she can easily monitor her intake.
Have you heard the saying: ‘The solution to pollution is dilution"? If we think of this in terms of our bodies, it gives us a framework for how to keep things clean.
We are made up of about two-thirds water. Water is necessary to digest and absorb nutrients and vitamins. It's involved in every single metabolic process that goes on inside us, and it carries away waste and helps flush fat and toxins out through our liver and kidneys.
Our bodies can live without food for 8 to 10 days but can only live without water for 2 to 3 days. Under-hydration causes the body to work harder than necessary to perform its normal functions. This highlights how water not only lubricates and cushions joints and muscles, but also how proper hydration is associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease. Dehydration is often the underlying cause of hunger. Most people reach for food when they really need water.
The simple steps to maintaining proper hydration:
A) How much to drink?
Divide your weight by 2. This equals the # of ounces of water you should drink each day.
So, a 150lb person should drink 75 ounces of water each day. This is not total fluids, only water.
Add an additional 8 ounces of water for every 8 oz. cup of coffee or alcoholic beverage you consume per day. Patty should also add 8 oz because the antihistamine she takes daily is dehydrating as well.
B) When to drink it?
Begin your day with 1 -2 glasses of water. If you like, add the juice of half a lemon or lime – warm if you prefer. This morning water will do more for your hydration than anything else you drink throughout the day. It may also reduce caffeine cravings.
In general, having most of your water during the earlier parts of the day eliminates the disruption of sleep due to the need to urinate.
Drinking copious amounts of water during a meal dilutes the enzymes needed to digest the food you have eaten, so drinking in between meals (water bottle on the desk or on the go) is key.
3) Get Out and Walk, Girlfriend!
Patty and I discussed replacing meeting friends for breakfast or lunch with movement. Ask your coffee klatch friends to meet for a walk instead!
An exercise routine, especially walking with a friend, can be fun, uniquely satisfying and instrumental way to improve overall energy, vitality and your ability to cope with life's many stressors.
Thoughtfully conducted exercise and movement routines provide you with valuable feedback from your body. Your strengths and weaknesses become more apparent when you intelligently challenge your limits.
Any type of aerobic exercise will increase energy. Resistance exercise boosts your metabolism, which, in turn, increases energy. Flexibility exercise aide in decreasing the energy drains of muscle tension and anxiety. See Michelle's piece, "Fit and Happier" for more exercise intel.
In working with clients, I stress the importance of making small steps. At the end of a 6 month program they are amazed to see how many changes they’ve incorporated into their daily lives. The small steps are easy to handle and are so impactful as you layer them on. I recommend when reading an article on nutrition to not try to ‘do it all.’ Take one or two changes that feel manageable to you and see where they take you. Try adding on instead of taking away. Hopefully these mini changes will become so ingrained in your daily life that you will not even feel like you have made any major adjustments!
About Karim H. Fugel, MS, CHHC, Reiki Practitioner, CSTKarim is a Nutrition Consultant and Holistic Health Counselor. She earned her masters degree in Holistic Nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health. She is certified by Teachers College Columbia University in partnership with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition as well as the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. Karim has received a certificate in Food Therapy from The Natural Gourmet Institute for Food and Health. She is a member in good standing of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.
Karim’s upcoming seminar on Friday, January 27th at the Dobbs Ferry Women’s Club is titled ‘Good Health Tastes Good.’
To learn more about Karim and her work visit www.lettuceandfreedom.com
Note from Patty: Every Tuesday in January, I'm bringing you a guest post by a member of my own "Better Life Brain Trust" - ie, smart, savvy friends who are experts in their field and have great advice to offer. If you're just joining us, check out:
Michelle Collins, personal trainer, "Fit and Happier"
Mary Carlomagno, professional organizer, ""Give it Up! Live Better with Less"