Eating For Energy

Stress can zap us of our energy, and fast. Whether it’s in the form of excessive physical stress, mental stress, or even emotional stress, our energy is affected.  When we are depleted from stress, yet have obligations, we may tend to reach for stimulant items, such as coffee.  If this becomes a habit, a dependency may be created perpetuating the energy issue.  Now, what if I told you that this article may be able to help you feel less of a need for as many caffeinated drinks in your life simply by learning about a type of physical stress called “nutritional stress”?  Yes, it’s an actual “thing.”  This article will not only help you understand why you may feel so drained on some days but also motivate you to build a better strategy for a more naturally energetic life through nourishment versus stimulants. 

Nutritional stress is energy exerted by our body due to the processing of our food choices.   Although it is quite common for our body to feel tired after a heavy or large meal, some foods can be far more strenuous on our bodies to digest and absorb than necessary. This goes beyond just getting in the right macros and getting in your veggies and vitamins.   Helpful factors to focus on are:   

• Foods that Provide High Net Gain
• Whole Foods
• High Alkaline Forming Foods


A goal that will benefit you in energy department, is focusing on “high net gain” food items. This means eating foods that spend as little digestive energy as possible, and yield the greatest number of micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants etc).   Through this strategy, there is a greater benefit to energy yield on your nutritional investment.  In contrast “empty calories,” offer little energy or nutrient yield for the energy spent processing. Go for nutrient dense!   I’ll share how to do this below.


Digesting food requires energy. The amount of energy needed depends on the food item consumed. The less energy spent on digestion, the more energy you will have for life, training recovery etc. Counterintuitively, refined, highly processed food can require more energy to digestion. Unrefined WHOLE FOOD ITEMS require considerably less energy to digest.

Whole Deal on Best Carbs for Energy Tip:  Consider whole foods, such as fruits and pseudograins (amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa, wild rice) over items that contain refined grain flour commonly found in traditional flour and pastas.  These foods contain carbs that are easily assimilated and easier to digest, preserving your energy.   

The good news is that if you still wanted pasta or bread in your life, the development of the natural grocery industry provides these options in better for you forms that include the above mentioned pseudograins as ingredients.   Thanks to the evolution of the grocery industry, we live in an extremely high option and high net gain ingredient world at our fingertips. 


For our body to function at a peak level, it can be beneficial to adhere to an alkaline focused diet.  The measure of acidy and alkalinity is our body’s pH level.  When our pH drops, an acidic environment is created and our health is affected at a cellular level, which can create fatigue and accelerate disease.  Although our body can buffer a change in pH level, eventually the continued need to buffer this environment will require energy that can become strained over time. 


Since success comes from understanding reasons behind choices and knowing your options, here’s a starter list of pH friendly whole food items to incorporate into your diet.

• Vegetables: Asparagus, Beets, Bell Peppers, Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chicory, Cucumbers, Green Beans, Leafy Greens, Leeks, Onions, Parsley, Parsnips, Peas, Sea Vegetables, Sprouts, Zucchini.
• Pseudograins: Amaranth, Millet, Quinoa, Buckwheat.
• Fruit: Apples, Avocados, Bananas, Berries, Cantaloupe, Cherries, Dates, Figs, Grapes, Grapefruits, Lemons, Limes, Mangoes, Most Melons, Nectarines, Oranges, Papayas, Peaches, Pears, Persimmons, Pineapple, Pomegranates.
• Oils: Almonds and Coconuts.
• Sweeteners: Stevia.
• Miscellanious: Balsamic Vinegar, Cider Vinegar, Gingerroot, Yerba Mate.

Think “high yield, whole food, alkaline” and you will notice that you feel better and have more energy. If you still want to grab a cup of coffee to enjoy that’s great, but now it can be less of a necessity. Enjoy the power of proper nutrition!

About the Author: Laura Coleman

Laura Coleman is the ultimate fitness as a lifestyle enthusiast, touching just about every aspect of the fitness industry. Part of her experience ranges from fitness trainer, NPC figure competitor, Muscle Beach Classic judge, print model, and writer. She also has 12 years experience in nutritional supplement B2B sales, promoting sports nutrition, vitamin and mineral supplements.

Fun fact: She has even had the pleasure of being Ralph Dehaan’s photography assistant during extended lunch breaks in her early years where she’d hop in and be the fitness girl on the bodybuilder’s shoulder one minute while helping Ralph adjust lighting another. Can anyone say, hustler 

She’s been featured several times in Oxygen Fitness Magazine, is the proud face of the Labrada Nutrition Lean Body for Her Protein Box, and is a common face for several HOIST Fitness Systems campaigns.

With 15 years of deep industry experience, Laura is excited to be back and active with the Labrada family through social media and writing. With a world wind of experience, there’s something beautiful about ending up right where she began 15 years ago. She is beyond excited to join Labrada in carrying the message of not just fitness, but TRUE WELLNESS AND SELF KINDNESS. Stay tuned as she continues to make her mark in the industry as a resource of knowledge but most importantly comfort and trust.

Follow Laura on Instagram @laurapcoleman

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice, nor is it to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please consult your physician before starting or changing your diet or exercise program. Any use of this information is at the sole discretion and responsibility of the user.