These days, most people are on a constant loop of busyness. We are always on the go, feeling exhausted and like we may never catch up on much-needed rest. This leaves us reaching for caffeine, sugar, or anything that will give us that boost to get us through the next part of the day.
In short, feeling fatigued sucks. Pushing yourself just to get through the day is no way to live.
If you want to regain your energy, we need to first look at the foods you eat during the day.
Foods for Fuel
Your brain, the primary driving force of your energy levels, can use two things for fuel: fat or sugar. Most people struggling with fatigue are in sugar-burning mode: going from one sugar or grain-based meal to the next, becoming "hangry" (hungry and angry's grumpy spawn) if they don't get their fix. Even healthy, clean eaters can be stuck on this blood sugar roller coaster.
The most sustainable way to be your most energetic self is to transform your body from a sugar burner to a fat burner. Your brain is made up of 60 percent fat1. When you don't have enough healthy fats in your diet, you're sabotaging yourself and depriving your brain of the very thing it is made of to work optimally. No wonder we have so many brain problems such as brain fog in our society.
Fat in terms of energy to your body is like a log on a fire, slow burning and long lasting. Typical pick-me-up foods of grains and sugar are like kindling, a quick burst of intense flame that dies out leaving behind nothing but smoke (if you want to read more of the cool sciency stuff on why you want your brain to be fat adapted, check out my article on the subject!).
So, instead of foods that offer only a quick burst of energy but leave you crashing later, let's focus on how to nourish your body with good food medicine. You can start regaining energy today just by following this one-day diet. In addition to the healthy fats you need for fuel, I also included my other favorite foods to fight fatigue. This, my friend, is your energy rehab plan.
Your One-Day Energy Diet
Breakfast: Avocado Lox on Sweet Potato "Toast" with an Iced Adaptogenic Energy Latte
Focusing on a meal loaded with healthy fats in the morning will lay the foundation in order to give you lasting energy throughout the day. Wild-caught salmon, eggs, and avocados are filled with the uber-important fats your body needs to run at full capacity.
Complement your meal with an iced adaptogenic latte to get yourself an extra energy boost to start off your day.
Avocado Lox on Sweet Potato "Toast"
- 1 large sweet potato
- 2 large eggs
- 1 avocado
- wild-caught lox (salmon)
- Slice the sweet potato lengthwise into 2¼-inch-thick slices.
- Place the sweet potato slices in the toaster on high. Toast for about 5 minutes or cooked entirely. Toast a couple of times if needed.
- While the sweet potato is toasting, cook the eggs to your preference.
- Cut the avocado into slices.
- Top sweet potato toast with egg, lox, and avocado.
Iced Adaptogenic Energy Latte
- ⅓ cup coconut milk
- ⅓ cup organic cold-brew coffee
- 1 tablespoon spirulina
- 1 cup raw chopped spinach
- ½ cup frozen papaya
- 1 scoop pea protein
- 1 teaspoon chaga powder
- 1 teaspoon ashwagandha powder
Combine ingredients in blender and blend. Serve over ice.
Lunch: Shredded Brussels Sprouts + Sardine Salad
Refuel at lunch with this hearty salad. Not only do the sardines and almonds contain more healthy fats, the Brussels sprouts and kale are essential for methylation. Methylation is your body's biochemical superhighway that gets your cells all the energy they need to thrive.
Ingredients for Salad
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and shredded
- 1 bunch of Tuscan kale, chopped into ribbons
- 2 medium apples, cored and sliced
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 2 cans wild-caught sardines
Ingredients for Dressing
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Mash, slice, or dice sardines to desired consistency.
- Combine all salad ingredients together.
- Combine all dressing ingredients together and toss with salad. Serve immediately.
Snack: Chocolate Nut-Butter Fat Bombs
When the afternoon lull rolls around, it may be tempting to reach for something sugary. Instead, pop a couple of these fat bombs! These delicious little nuggets pack a punch with energy-packed fats from coconut oil and nut butter but still give you a sweet little treat.
- ½ cup coconut oil, melted
- ⅓ cup nut butter of your choice
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or other desired sweetener)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- In a bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.
- Spoon into a silicone mold of choice (you can also use mini-muffin tins with liners).
- Freeze until set and pop out of molds.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Dinner: Grilled Adaptogenic Mushrooms + Onion Steak
Continue to support methylation with the B-vitamins (especially B12), brain-food omega fats, and the energizing bioavailable iron all found in grass-fed meat. Amp up this energy-packed meal with the addition of adaptogenic mushrooms!
- 12-ounce grass-fed flank steak
- 8 ounces mushrooms (turkey tail or cordyceps)
- 1 cup onion, sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
- Heat 1 tablespoon of desired cooking oil in skillet over medium heat. Cook the beef until browned on each side and preferred level of doneness. Remove from skillet.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of desired oil in the same skillet. Add in mushrooms and onion and cook until tender. Add in garlic and rosemary and cook for about 1 minute.
- Cut the beef diagonally into thin slices. Place on place and top with mushroom/onion mixture.
Take it to the next level
Will Cole, IFMCP, DNM, D.C., is a leading functional medicine expert who consults people around the world via webcam and locally in Pittsburgh. He has holds a level 2 Doctor of Natural Medicine (DNM) certification. Named one of the top 50 functional and integrative doctors in the nation, Cole specializes in clinically investigating underlying factors of chronic disease and customizing a functional medicine approach for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and brain problems. He is also the host of the popular The Art Of Being Well podcast and bestselling author of Ketotarian, The Inflammation Spectrum, and the New York Times bestseller Intuitive Fasting.