Are you experiencing the 2 o’clock crash? Do you skip meals because you are too busy? Are you too wiped out to exercise? Keep reading for some great nutritional tips!

by Daphne Kirkwood
An important part of your overall fitness and well-being is nutrition. Without a good nutrition plan in place, all kinds of things will creep up and happen to you, including sickness, injury, fatigue, disease and weight changes.

Who wants to be SICK? No one!

Who wants to have the afternoon crash? I don’t!

If you want to feel your best and have the strength and stamina to tackle your day AND your workouts, then your nutrition has to be dialed in.

I have always considered myself ‘healthy’ and very active, but have taken my nutrition up a few more notches over the past year because of my cancer diagnosis. I realize the daily energy I need to tackle being an entrepreneur (aka Lady Boss), mom of teens, and exercise … all is directly tied back to what I am fueling my mind and body with. Those food choices make all the difference in how I will feel the entire day.

Going Vegan
I have switched to more of a pescatarian, vegan style diet so that I can minimize the toxins from the dairy and meat. This was an important shift for me that I didn’t realize I needed to make until I went to a specialist in Integrative Center in Chicago. The doctors discussed with me the risks of putting growth hormones into my body, especially while fighting cancer. I didn’t want to be encouraging any more unhealthy cells to grow in my body!

I also started to (almost daily) make smoothies to keep my energy levels up and to take in fruits/veggies/protein all in one swoop. I started juicing with all kinds of veggies and fruits: Who knew they could taste so good and make you glow?

Both of these things helped me ‘fill in the gaps’ during the day when I need a mid-morning snack or an afternoon uplift. I can make both of these ahead of time and take them with me to work. I thought I felt amazing pre-cancer, but now my body feels completely full of life and full of energy.
Five steps for good nutrition

Here are five simple ways to start taking your nutrition seriously:

1. Plan ahead. Set aside 30 minutes on your ‘day off’ to look through recipe books, Pinterest, online forums, cooking magazines, etc. and find recipes that interest you. Write these meal ideas down on a calendar or list for the upcoming week.

2. Look in your cupboards. See what you have on-hand that you need for your upcoming week of meal ideas. Grab your phone and use the Notes app and type out the ingredients that you need for the recipes on a list. Put your breakfast and snack ideas on the list too! Then go to the grocery store and pick up these items at one time so that your shopping is done and you can refrain from making IMPULSE food choices throughout the week.

3. Make smart choices. Making the right food choices includes limiting processed foods, sugars, meats, etc. This is going to go a long, long way when you want to have sustained energy throughout the day. Find the mix of foods that works best for your blood sugar levels so that you can avoid the afternoon crash. Start your day off with a mix of protein and carbs, like a simple Chia Seed Breakfast ‘Pudding’! You want something that is low glycemic in the morning so you can have sustained energy to keep you rockin’ all day long!

4. Food for Fuel is King! Being conscious and aware of WHAT you are putting in your body and how your body feels after you put the food in your body is a great way to start understanding how your body likes (or doesn’t agree with!) the foods you are putting in your system during the day.

5. Vitamins and Supplements work. Due to the way our foods are processed and the amount of nutrients we need every day to stay energized, it is not uncommon for all of us to need vitamins and supplements. Taking a daily multi-vitamin (without crappy fillers) is a great place to start with this. My favorite multi-vitamin right now is by Douglas Laboratories - Ultra Preventive 2 Daily.

Disclaimer: I am human and an imperfect one! I decided a long time ago that I would not beat my head against the wall to be perfect at my nutrition. However, I do my best, I remain diligent, aware and conscious about the food I am putting in my body to fuel me each day. And when my son asks me sometimes on a Friday night for a pizza for dinner, by golly we have pizza! I encourage YOU to do the same!