The Energy Diet

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Feeling fatigued? Supercharge your meals with the 10 most vibrant foods and you may never have another "energy crisis."

WE ALL KNOW BETTER, but sometimes when we're in the grip of an afternoon energy slump, feeling weak and foggy, we reach for cookies, candy, and coffee for a quick fatigue fix. Sure, we get the fix but it sets us up for a vicious cycle of highs and lows that eventually leaves us with less energy than we started out with, says John Douillard, M.D., author of The 3-Season Diet (Three Rivers Press, 2001).

We crave caffeine and sugar, he says, when we're not getting what we need from 'real' food. And the types of real food we need depend upon the time of year and the individual, says Douillard, who subscribes to the principles of Ayurveda — the ancient Indian healing practice. In early spring, Douillard recommends the calming energy found in lower-fat foods like citrus fruits and cruciferous vegetables and those that help stabilize blood sugar, like bitter leafy greens and brown rice. (For recipe ideas, see page 98.)

During your next energy crisis, forego the quick fixes and choose one of the ten foods we suggest for a real and lasting boost. (For other fatigue-busting tips, see "Energy Secrets" on page 72.)

1. Broccoli Loaded with nutrients, broccoli offers a huge dose of vitamin C — which has been shown to reduce fatigue by increasing iron absorption — and is a good source of non-dairy calcium. Vitamin C can also keep your adrenal system running strong, which helps stabilize your energy through stressful situations.
2. Brown Rice A high-fiber complex carbohydrate that's packed with manganese, amino acids, and magnesium (important in many cellular functions including energy production), brown rice provides a complete meal when paired with lean protein like tofu, fish, or chicken. (For a healthy, hearty serving of both broccoli and brown rice, try our Chicken Stir-Fry with Broccoli, Spinach & Red Peppers on page 98).
3. Eggs Very high in protein and choline, which is vital to brain functions like memory, eggs also contain tyrosine, an amino acid that helps your brain produce the chemicals norepinephrine and dopamine, which improve your mental function and keep you feeling energetic. (Our quick and easy Fried Egg & Arugula Salad Sandwich recipe is on page 98.)
4. Green Tea For calm, alert energy, sip on green tea. The small amounts of caffeine (30 micrograms) and theanine, an amino acid that stimulates GABA (the calming molecule in brain receptors), produce feelings of relaxation, as well as improve cognition and mood. Green tea also stimulates your metabolism, which may make weight loss easier.
5. Oats This breakfast staple, also great in chili, bread, and waffles (see our Multigrain Waffles with Sautéed Apples & Yogurt Cream recipe on page 98) is a complex carbohydrate that's high in heart-healthy soluble fiber and unsaturated fat, which means it provides a steady stream of energy. They're also packed with energizing and de-stressing B vitamins.
6. Oranges The fruit's well-known vitamin C content aids in the production of carnitine, a molecule that helps the body burn fat for energy. (For a healthy dose of orange juice, try our Green Energy Smoothie or Dried Fruit Compote with Cashew Cream, page 99.)
7. Nut Butters The fat and protein in nut butters provide a concentrated source of energy, plus the soluble fiber in peanuts works to control blood glucose and prevents saturated fat from entering the bloodstream. Most nuts - including peanuts, cashews, walnuts, and almonds - are loaded with the amino acid arginine, which may relax blood vessels for better blood pressure control. Look for nut butters that don't have added sugar, which could contribute to an energy crash.
8. Salmon A great source of omega-3 fatty acids - which keep cell membranes healthy and maintain cardiovascular health by regulating blood clotting and vessel constriction - cold-water fish like salmon, herring, and scallops are also high in protein and magnesium, which aids in converting glucose (blood sugar) into energy.
9. Sea Vegetables Ounce for ounce, seaweeds like arame, duke, and nori contain the broadest range of minerals of any food, plus the B vitamins pantothenic acid and riboflavin your body needs to produce energy. (Our rich-tasting recipe for Arame Sauté with Bay Scallops is on page 99.)
10. Yogurt This creamy treat is an excellent source of energizing protein and B vitamins - which are critical to converting nutrients into energy and reducing stress and anxiety - including vitamin B12, which fights fatigue by building strong, healthy red blood cells. If you want added flavor in a yogurt, look for those sweetened with honey or real fruit.

Chicken Stir-Fry with Broccoli, Spinach & Red Peppers Serves 6 This stir-fry takes 40 minutes if you cook the brown rice and prepare the tamari cashews while the chicken marinates. The vitamin C in broccoli and peppers help your body absorb the energizing iron in spinach.

3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
¼ teaspoon lime zest
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon minced jalapeño, seeds removed
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
1 pound organic chicken tenders, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon canola oil
½ cup roasted unsalted cashews
4 tablespoons tamari
1 cup short-grain brown rice
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 head of broccoli florets, cut into bite-sized pieces
5 cups spinach, rinsed and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons peanut oil

1. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons sesame oil, lime zest and juice, rice wine vinegar, honey, jalapeños, garlic, ginger, and cilantro. Add chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the cashews: Heat the canola oil in a medium skillet. Add cashews and stir-fry until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Sprinkle with i tablespoon tamari and stir until coated and crisp, about 20 seconds. Set aside on a plate to cool.
3. In a medium saucepan, combine brown rice and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for another 25 minutes, until all water is absorbed. Cover and keep warm.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining tablespoon toasted sesame oil, tamari, and red pepper flakes to make the stir-fry sauce. Set aside.
5. After 30 minutes, take the marinated chicken out of the refrigerator, drain, and discard the marinade.
6. Heat a wok or large sauté pan over medium heat. When hot, add the peanut oil and chicken and stir-fry until golden, about 3 minutes, then add the pepper and broccoli. Continue to cook and stir for another 3 minutes. Add the spinach and the stir-fry sauce, toss well and remove from heat.
7. To serve, place ½ cup cooked rice on each plate and divide the chicken mixture among the plates. Top with a handful of tamari cashews.

Per serving: 412 calories, 19 g fat (3 g saturated), 38 g carbohydrates, 25 g protein, 5 g fiber, 767 mg sodium (34% Daily Value).
Fried Egg & Arugula Salad Sandwich Serves 2 Eggs — rich in protein, good fat, and memory-supporting choline — combined with whole-grain bread and fresh arugula make a sandwich that's great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner (try it with a glass of red wine, a good source of the antioxidant resveratrol).

1 slice whole-grain bread
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Coarse sea salt
Cracked black pepper
1 cup arugula salad
2 eggs

1. Toast the bread.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon oil with balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, add arugula and toss. Place the bread on a plate and top with arugula salad.
3. Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the remaining olive oil.
4. When oil is shimmering, crack the eggs and slip gently into pan. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, depending on how you prefer them. For sunny-side-up: Spoon a little hot olive oil onto the yolk as it cooks. For over easy: Flip the eggs over and let cook another minute.
5. Remove eggs with a spatula and place on top of the arugula salad, sprinkle with coarse sea salt and cracked black pepper, and serve.

Per serving: 280 calories, 20 g fat (4 g saturated), 17 g carbohydrates, 9 g protein, 2.4 g fiber, 317 mg sodium (14% Daily Value).
Multigrain Waffles with Sautéed Apples & Yogurt Cream Serves 6 It may be a little more labor-intensive than, say, cereal and milk, but this "power" break-fast - with whole grains and fruits - is a great-tasting source of energy that will last until lunchtime.

SAUTÉED APPLES1 tablespoon butter
2 apples, cored and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons apple juice
YOGURT CREAM
7 ounces Greek yogurt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons agave nectar
WAFFLES
2 cups buttermilk
½ cup rolled oats
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup buckwheat flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup evaporated cane juice crystals
2 eggs, lightly whisked
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add apples and cinnamon and stir. Add the apple juice, cover, and cook until the apples have softened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm until ready to serve.
2. In a medium bowl, combine yogurt cream ingredients and refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes. (Ingredients can also be refrigerated overnight in an airtight container.)
3. In a medium bowl, mix buttermilk and rolled oats well and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, buckwheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and evaporated cane juice crystals.
5. When oats have soaked for 15 minutes, whisk eggs, oil, and vanilla in a small bowl, then mix into oats/buttermilk mixture.
6. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and whisk together just enough to combine, being careful not to over-mix (some lumps are okay).
7. Cook waffles according to waffle-maker instructions. Top immediately with sautéed apples and yogurt cream and serve.

Per serving: 365 calories, 11 g fat (5 saturated), 55 g carbohydrates, 12 g protein, 5 g fiber, 387 mg sodium (17% Daily Value).
Green Energy Smoothie Serves 4 Kale - high in vitamin A, which is essential for eye health - Is the under-the-radar ingredient, along with the more obvious fruit juices and banana. This supercharged, easy smoothie makes a great breakfast or snack.

2 cups orange juice
1½ cups apple juice
1 cup kale, roughly chopped
2 bananas
Crushed ice

Combine orange juice, apple juice, kale, bananas, and crushed ice in a blender and blend at the highest speed until kale is thoroughly integrated into juice. Allow ingredients to settle and foam to rise to the top before serving. Pour into glasses filled with crushed ice.

Per serving: 160 calories, 1 g fat (0.13 g saturated), 39 g carbohydrates, 2 g protein, 2.2 g fiber, 12 mg sodium (0.5% Daily Value).
Dried Fruit Compote with Cashew Cream Serves 8 Unlike most sweet treats and desserts, which can make you crash shortly after you eat them, this compote offsets the natural sugars in dried fruits with soluble fiber to keep your energy levels steady for hours after eating.

COMPOTE
2 cups water
1 cup orange juice
¾ cup brown rice syrup
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup roughly chopped dried pears
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup raisins
½ cup golden raisins½ cup roughly chopped dried dates
½ cup roughly chopped dried figs
½ cup roughly chopped prunes
½ cup roughly chopped dried apricots
5 slices fresh ginger
8 cloves
4 cinnamon sticks broken in half
8 cardamom pods
CASHEW CREAM
1 cup raw cashews 1 tablespoon honey 1 teaspoon vanilla
extract Pinch of salt
1/3 cup water, plus more if needed

1. Combine water, orange juice, rice syrup, salt, and dried fruits in a medium saucepan. Place ginger, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and cardamom pods in a piece of cheese cloth and tie a knot to form a spice bundle. Bring fruit mixture to a simmer and add in spice bundle.
2. Simmer for 15 minutes or until fruit is fork-tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool fully.
3. Meanwhile, make the cashew cream: Combine ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Add additional water one tablespoon at a time as needed to create creamy texture.
4. The compote can be stored in an airtight container in a refrigerator for up to one week. Serve warm or chilled. Top with cashew cream.

Per serving: 437 calories, 8 g fat (1.3 g saturated), 93 g carbohydrates, 5.6 g protein, 5.6 g fiber, 158 mg sodium (6.8% Daily Value).
Aram e Sauté with Bay Scallops Serves 4 Arame's minerals and B vitamins keep your neurons firing on all cylinders. But let's be honest--you'll find yourself making this dish again and again just for the succulent omega-s-rich scallops.

2 cups arame
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 3-inch matchsticks
(You can use a mandolin for this.)
1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into 3-inch matchsticks
1 cup water
1 tablespoon tamari
3 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
8 farmed bay scallops
¼ tenspoon salt
¼ tenspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons toasted white sesame
seeds and/or black sesame seeds

1. Place arame in a medium bowl and cover with water. Soak for 5 minutes, then drain.
2. Heat sesame oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, and ginger, and stir-fry for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the arame and stir.
3. Add (up of water and cover. Raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes (the liquid will evaporate).
4. Add tamari and mirin and cook an additional 5 minutes over medium-high heat. Removr from heat and stir in the cilantro.
5. Remove and discard the tough muscles from the scallops; season with salt and pepper.
6. Heat butter and oil in a nonstick skillet. When hot, add scallops and sauté over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes each side. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and remove from heat.
7. To serve, divide the arame between four plates and place 2 sesame scallops on top, on each plate.

Per serving: 287 calories, 17 g fat (3 g saturated), 18 g carbohydrates, 13 g protein, 8 g fiber, 872 mg sodium (38% Daily Value).
ENERGY SECRETS Want all-day energy? Eat enough of what you need at every meal. This checklist will help you do that.

* COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES that are high in fiber (like oats, brown rice, and other whole grains) are absorbed more slowly and sustain you for longer periods. They also help keep blood sugar levels stable, evening out energy highs and lows, and preventing you from overeating later in the day.
* PROTEIN (soy, lean meats, nuts) helps regulate the release of energy throughout the day. "Protein takes a long time to turn into glucose, providing a steady release of energy into your body," says Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., author of From Fatigued to Fantastic! (Penguin/Avery 2007).
* "GOOD" FATS (cold-water fish, olive oil, eggs) are concentrated sources of energy. "A 2002 Danish study showed that the monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) in nut butters help curb your appetite so you don't overeat, which helps keep you from feeling weighed down," says Heather Zwickey, Ph.D., of the National College of Natural Medicine.

SUPER SNACKS

A morning or afternoon snack keeps blood sugar from spiking and dipping. Teitelbaum also suggests a high-protein snack just before bedtime to keep your blood-sugar levels from crashing while you sleep which may wake you up.

* Granola with nuts and dried fruit mixed With yogurt
* Apple slices with cheddar cheese
* Whole-grain crackers and hummus
* Tuna fish on a whole wheat cracker
* Whole wheat bage with hut butter and a banana

LEARN MORE: To make your own high-protein energy bars at home, go to naturalhealthmag.com/granolabar.

PHOTO (COLOR): CHICKEN STIR-FRY with BROCCOLI, SPINACH & RED PEPPERS PROVIDES AN ENERGY BOOST FROM LEAN PROTEIN, IRON, AND VITAMIN C (RECIPE ON PAGE 98).

PHOTO (COLOR): FRIED EGG & ARUGULA SALAD SANDWICH COMBINES THE LONG-LASTING ENERGY OF EGGS WITH FIBER-RICH WHOLE GRAINS AND VITAMIN-PACKED ARUGULA (RECIPE ON PAGE 98).

PHOTO (COLOR): MULTIGRAIN WAFFLES with SAUTÉED APPLES & YOGURT CREAM TASTE so GOOD YOU MAY FORGET HOW LOW IN SUGAR AND FAT THEY ARE (RECIPE ON PAGE 98).

PHOTO (COLOR): GREEN ENERGY SMOOTHIE: GETS ITS DELICIOUS FLAVOR FROM FRUIT JUICES; ITS COLOR — AND VITAMIN A CONTENT — COME FROM KALE (RECIPE ON PAGE 99).

PHOTO (COLOR): DRIED FRUIT COMPOTE with CASHEW CREAM IS LOADED WITH ANTIOXIDANTS AND "GOOD" FATS — NOT SUGAR OR EMPTY CARBS (RECIPE ON PAGE 99).

PHOTO (COLOR): ARAME SAUTÉ with BAY SCALLOPS PROVIDE HEART-HEALTHY OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS, PLUS THE HIGH MINERAL CONTENT OF ARAME, A SEA VEGETABLE (RECIPE ON PAGE 99).

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By Linda Monastra

Photography by Dasha Wright

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