As a naturopath, one of the complaints I hear from my clients all of the time is that they don't have enough energy to get them through the day. While there may be a myriad of reasons for this, I like to start with the basics: breakfast.
When sugary wheat-based cereals, toast and coffee are substituted for healing green smoothies, their energy levels begin to soar and they come back with brighter eyes, clearer skin, and bigger smiles.
I like to get most people started with a simple smoothie recipe consisting of:
- a good quality plant-based protein powder
- two servings of fruit
- two servings of greens such as spinach, kale or watercress
- blended with either water or their choice of almond, rice or oat milk
This works pretty well at stabilizing blood-sugar, energy, mood and concentration levels throughout the rest of their day. However, for people who have been chronically ill or have nutrient deficiencies, or who simply want to bring their level of health from great to REALLY great, there are five foods I recommend to turn their basic smoothie into a SUPER smoothie!
You CAN have chocolate for breakfast! Cacao, the natural from of cocoa, is very nutritious (and delicious), containing vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. I often recommend cacao to stressed patients with adrenal fatigue, as the high magnesium content is especially soothing to the nervous system. Add a spoonful or two for a healthy chocolate-flavored smoothie.
This purple berry from the Amazon rainforest is an excellent source of antioxidants, a group of nutrients that help to protect the body from ageing and cellular damage. We all need more antioxidants in our diets to protect us from oxidative stress, inflammation and toxins like pollution. Other antioxidant rich foods you could try include blueberries, black cherries and pomegranates.
A herb used extensively in Peru, maca is not only medicinal but a great source of nutrition. It contains high quality carbohydrates, proteins, fibre and essential fats, as well as being high in calcium and iron. It also has an effect on the endocrine system, improving libido and fertility in both males and females, so I frequently recommend maca for hormonal imbalances and for couples wanting to get pregnant.
Most people do not get enough omega 3 fats in their diet, which are essential for a healthy brain and cardiovascular system, as well as good hair, skin and nails. Chia seeds contain a staggering 8 times more omega 3 than salmon, as well as being 20% protein and a good source of calcium and iron. Add about a tablespoon to your smoothie.
For patients who are highly acidic, chronically stressed, or suffering from general inflammation, I recommend an extra dose of greens in the form of powdered spirulina, chlorella or wheatgrass powder. The green component in these foods, chlorophyll, is one of nature’s potent healers, helping to alkalize the body, reduce inflammation, protect against cancer, reduce candida and cleanse and deodorize the blood – it even eliminates bad breath!
So, whether you want to start with the humble basic smoothie recipe or you are ready to get more adventurous with some superfoods, starting your morning with a nutrient-dense breakfast will set you up for a day of energy and vitality.