Eating for Energy…let’s get specific

When it comes to talking about Eating for Energy…and the power of exercise & moving your booty…there are seriously several different strategies you could focus on, in order to create inspiration, deepen your knowledge and get feel-good & look-good results.

The lenses that I’m choosing to take with this guide is to talk about the power of Exercise & Food to:

—essentially Reduce Inflammation (tissue overwhelm)…

--and reduce Calorie Overwhelm (causes cellular overwhelm, fat storage & insulin resistance) OR Calorie Under-whelm (as under-eating causes lack of energy, too!)

—support good Adrenal Health & natural daily cortisol rhythms

—And how when you eat food that our genes have been programmed to “nutritionally expect”—it gives your body the foundational resources it needs to “right the ship” and work well.


Truly there is no such thing as “perfect health”…and our bodies are made up of super complex systems all working together…so of course there’s no “one solution” that solves it all.

I do think though that looking at *reducing & resolving Inflammation* and *energy overwhelm* are inspiring & effective foundational strategies however!

So before we get started with Macro & Micronutrients and how to build a rocking meal plan that helps you resolve inflammation & energy overwhelm, support your adrenals & squash cravings…and tastes really yummy & satisfying too…

Let’s talk about Inflammation first, and dig into:

—what is Inflammation? Is it just a “wellness buzz word”…or is it a real thing that happens in our bodies?

—how do Food & Exercise (cause and) resolve Inflammation?

So without further ado…

Key Concept #1:

Let’s talk about Inflammation first, and dig into:

What is Inflammation? And how do your food choices & moving your body affect it?

First, Inflammation is often defined by a constant, low-level, immune-system activation.

Dr. Chris Masterjohn describes Inflammation as being the state when our *tissues* (not just our cells) are overwhelmed with energy...

And the process of inflammation in our bodies is designed to help attack and then resolve, things that are raising red flags in our bodies.

So inflammation has to do with our immune system & our tissues…and it’s designed to have two parts: first, attack & then resolve (wrap things up & return to a pre-attack stage).

And the big problem with Inflammation…and why it seemingly has become a “wellness buzzz word” is because science has shown that in this day & age…

We can get stuck in a place of chronic, low-level inflammation—due largely to not enough exercise and “convenience foods” that aren’t that convenient for our health—

And getting stuck in a state of low-level, ongoing inflammation can indeed prevent you from being able to burn fat...and keep you stuck feeling unenergized.

So here, in the Eating for Energy Action Guide,  I’m going to highlight the power of FOOD (and ways of choosing/cycling certain foods & kicking others to the curb)…plus the act of exercising…and going for actively reducing extra body fat (which produces inflammation itself)…

Which when all combined, can allow you to feel more energized, happier and allow your body to be able to burn fat.

First up: Exercise rocks at nipping Inflammation in the bud

Besides focusing on eating an Anti-Inflammatory Diet...

One of the biggest health benefits of Exercise it seems—is that it reduces overall inflammation, woot.

In fact, Harvard researchers conducted a long-term study with over 27,000 women:

“We were actually surprised that reduced inflammation was the biggest explainer, the biggest contributor to the benefit of activity,” says Mora, “because we hadn’t hypothesized that. We knew that regular exercise does reduce inflammation over the long term, but we also knew that acute exercise transiently increases inflammatory biomarkers during and immediately after exertion.”

About a third of the benefit of regular exercise, they found, is attributable to reduced inflammation.

Focus on Reducing Inflammation
through food choices & moving your body

In this long-term study, Harvard researchers also found that reducing inflammation, through food choices & moving your body—also had these surprising effects:

“Lung cancer mortality dropped by as much as 77 percent. Reports of arthritis and gout also fell significantly.”

And the summary of the research goes on to explain that:

In medicine, believing something is true is not the same as being able to prove it. Because the idea that inflammation—constant, low-level, immune-system activation —could be at the root of many noncommunicable diseases is a startling claim, it requires extraordinary proof.

Can seemingly unconnected illnesses of the brain, the vasculature, lungs, liver, and joints really share a deep biological link?

Evidence has been mounting that these common chronic conditions—including Alzheimer’s, cancer, arthritis, asthma, gout, psoriasis, anemia, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and depression among them—are indeed triggered by low-grade, long-term inflammation.

But it took that large-scale human clinical trial to dispel any lingering doubt: the immune system’s inflammatory response is killing people by degrees.


So Inflammation is defined as a constant, low-level, immune-system activation.

And the process of inflammation in our bodies--in our tissues--is designed to help attack and then resolve, things that are raising red flags in our bodies.

We can get stuck in a place of chronic, low-levels of inflammation--and getting stuck here can indeed prevent you from being able to burn fat...and keep you stuck feeling unenergized.

So here, in the Eating for Energy Action Guide,  I’m going to highlight the power of FOOD (and ways of choosing certain foods & kicking others to the curb)…plus the act of exercising…and going for actively reducing extra body fat (which produces inflammation itself)…

Which when all combined, can allow you to feel more energized, happier and allow your body to be able to burn fat.

So what follows is an overview of these fabulous anti-inflammatory food strategies.


And giant P.S. before we get to this overview list--this way of eating is super filling & YUMMY, too!

I really loved hearing Dr. Isabella Wentz--who writes about thyroid disease and medication--share in a podcast interview an outline of the steps you can take with your Food Choices to quell the Inflammatory Response/Reaction.

I’ll be diving into more detail with many of these topics in this Eating for Energy Guide, too.

Essential strategies to reduce prolonged/harmful inflammation:

Illustration by Kasia Bogdanska

Steps to take with FOOD to quell the Inflammatory Response/Reaction

1. Understand that “Food is medicine”…

…that the things we put in our bodies can have such profound effects on us. It’s not just medication…everything that we put in our body is going to send messages to it.

2. Address MICROnutrient deficiencies:

Looking at which micronutrients you may be deficient in. Often you can address this by eating a nutrient-dense diet (I’ll break down specific weekly food planning strategies to “get in” most all of your micronutrients)…

Plus, most people will need to add in a few supplements as well (especially something like retinol Vitamin A, which is readily absorbable in liver foods…which most people don’t regularly eat)…I'm going to share some very simple strategies here…

And some people need to add in digestive helpers to make sure that they’re getting the nutrients from their food.

3. Address MACROnutrient deficiencies:

Some people are deficient in Carbs, Protein and/or Fat...(sometimes from long-term deficiency of digestive helpers…and some people didn’t feel good after eating protein or fat—but often it’s because we’re deficient in digestive helpers).

And also we get a lot of “nutrition education” from advertising, and we see a lot of ads or even “health food” grocery stores full of pre-made and sugar-rich foods...which many of these pre-made foods are actually not very good for us…many of these things are promoted on television & sold next to truly health-giving & energizing Whole Foods, giving them a “halo effect” of goodness that they don’t actually deserve.

In my program, I'm going to help you strategically plan your daily Macronutrients, based on Perfect Health Diet recommendations & a fabulous Daily Protein, Good Fats & Safe Carb-Cycling strategy too…so that you can burn fat and feel GOOD.

4. Optimize your Digestion:

In an upcoming blog post, I’ll share some simple Digestion Helper tests you can do, and ways to support your digestion as well, to make sure you’re able to better digest your macronutrients (protein, fat and carbs) and get the micronutrients you need from your food, too.

5. Combat Blood sugar swings:

You can help address *blood sugar swings* with proper nutrition, food choices and food timing, too…

This can go a long way in helping to resolve inflammation in your body..and feeling energized, too!

6. Do what you can to prevent/reduce a Toxic back-log:

Some foods we eat could be contributing to a toxic load in our bodies, and not helping us with it. And these toxic back-loading foods include many processed foods, some of the toxins found in fertilizers, GMO foods and also fluoride found in our water supply.

Choosing non-toxic cleaning & beauty supplies…drinking filtered well as making it a point to get good sleep every night—all help with this category, as well.

7. Avoid Food sensitivities

Food sensitivities can cause inflammation in your body, and at the same time, we want to be able to tolerate as many foods as possible. So it’s helpful to cut-out some common food sensitivities (like unfermented dairy proteins or gluten)…and it can be really helpful to work with a one-on-one practitioner to find out which foods you don’t tolerate well, also.

You can also DIY this process by starting off with the autoimmune Paleo template (AIP)…and then start adding foods back in to see which ones cause inflammation for you.

It is possible to be your own nutrition guru—and figure out which foods serve you and which ones cause you harm.

8. Spackling over Intestinal permeability

We always want to focus on shoring up our intestinal permeability with nutrition, because this could be causing a lot of inflammation in our bodies...and there are effective and simple strategies to remedy this.

Our gut health and intestinal permeability really affect our energy and emotional health too, so it’s a good thing to focus on….and strengthening our gut lining is a powerful way to dramatically reduce Inflammation in the body.

It’s also important to know that a big part of our immune system is actually contained in the cells that line our digestive track! Signals from other organs in our body communicate with these gut-lining immune cells, which in turn influence what gut bugs get killed off or are allowed to thrive in our gut as well.

So paying particular attention to keeping the lining of your digestive track healthy and in integrity—is a huge way to reduce inflammation in your body

And if you're looking to help another organ in your body—say for example your thyroid—then focusing on strengthening the health of your intestines is so key!

Fascinating stuff, right?!!?

*Your digestion starts in your mouth too—so addressing your oral/teeth/gum health is so, so important too!


And finally—one other key to reducing Inflammation in our body that I'm going to share about in this Action Guide as well--comes from the Harvard long-term study about Inflammation I've been referencing quite a bit, and that's:

9. Letting your digestive system REST between meals.

This basically means that you want to plan your three main meals in a way that you feel FULL & satisfied from eating them...and you actually don't need to snack between meals. Woah!

This allows your digestive system adequate REST between meals...As one of the lead Harvard researchers found that:

The metabolic stress that is a hallmark of modern life, the stress that the body has not evolved to handle, is constant eating...When people eat, energy and nutrients enter the body rapidly, are processed, produce in turn a lot of by-products, and then need to be reduced to “functional substances that are distributed throughout the body, and then disappear very quickly...

Many cells and tissues actually undergo a huge amount of stress during this process,” he explains, “as they store appropriate nutrients and dispose of harmful intermediates.” Part of this process also involves mounting an immune response. “The pancreas, for example, must secrete four to five hundred milliliters of enzymes every day” to be able to manage the incoming energy load with every meal.

“If you place these organs under constant stress, they start malfunctioning.” The consequence is that “right now, one out of every 10 individuals has diabetes. One out of every four individuals has fatty liver disease. And if you reach a certain age, one out of every three individuals will develop neurodegenerative disease.”

And in addition to eating constantly (too many snacks in-between meals)...

Eating too much food at one meal…eating foods that are essentially “empty calories” (like flour-based, processed foods)...and/or eating food that contains toxins (like seed oils like canola oil) all place a lot of undue stress on your digestive system and therefor, your inflammatory system.

So getting the toxins out…and focusing on eating a "perfect amount" of food at each meal so that you feel full & can make it to your next meal without having to snack…

Can be a delicious--as well as key--way to tamp down inflammation and set the stage for your body to be able to burn fat & feel energized, too.

These 9 keys are some of the big things you can do with FOOD ^^ to reduce/resolve inflammation in your body…be able to burn fat…and have the energy you need to get into a pleasurable FLOW with lifting weights & daily brisk walking.

I’ll also share some additional resources too—to help optimize your circadian rhythms & adrenal health (more about this soon & why it's so important).

The power of Reducing Inflammation
through food choices & moving your body


Reducing Stress and finding ways to have fun, connection & joy in your life


And then I absolutely believe that as important as it is to get a good night’s sleep…eat energizing food that helps your body resolve inflammation…and move your booty on the daily…

That it’s also key to find ways to release stress daily.

AND, make space & find activities that are FUN…that are artistic…that involve music, dance, craft projects…volunteering in your community…finding friends that you can laugh and speak truly with…

All of these ingredients are so, so essential too. 🙂

Let’s talk briefly about Lense #2:

Avoiding "cellular energy overwhelm"...aka, not eating too many calories

Prevent cellular energy overwhlem or underwhelm?

Ok—so if we want to reduce/help Inflammation resolve—which occurs when our *tissues* get overwhelmed with too much energy…

We also want to get in a “perfect amount” of energy for our CELLS too—as this is one of the primary ways to help manage and prevent Insulin Resistance.

Many people associate insulin resistance (and obesity) with eating too many Carbs—hence the popularity of Low Carb & Keto diets.

Dr. Chris Masterjohn breaks it down though that any type of Macro (not just Carbs—but Protein or Fat, too) can cause Insulin Resistance.

Too much of ANY Macro (not just Carbs)
...can cause Insulin Resistance

Again, many people associate Insulin Resistance with eating too many Carbs—but really it could be any kind of Macronutrient—Protein, Fat or Carbs—that could cause “cellular energy overload”…not just Carbs.

If you want to dive into how ANY type of Macro (not just Carbs) can cause Insulin Resistance…I highly recommend listening to Dr. Chris Masterjohn’s podcast on this topic. In it he describes:

  • why an individual cell would decide to stop responding to insulin (and how this differs from “tissue energy overload” or inflammation originating in your tissues—which can also cause cells to stop responding to insulin too
  • how a cell protects itself—and the order of steps it takes to deal with excess energy before it says: “stop calling me” to too much insulin knocking on the door…
  • this too much energy can be from “…whatever energy you have coming in, regardless of whether it came from fat, protein or carbohydrate…”

Dr. Chris Masterjohn goes on to explain (in his podcast):

"Well, similarly in the human body, if some of the cells are rejecting energy, no big deal. But if the preponderance of the cells are rejecting energy, then at some point you’re going to cross a threshold where more energy is being rejected than other cells can take up, and it’s going to be left in the blood. And in the case of glucose, blood glucose is going to rise.

But look at someone who has diabetes and tell me, do they just have high blood sugar? Well, no, they also have high triglycerides; they also have high free fatty acids; they also have high ketones. So if you look at this case of insulin deficiency or insulin resistance – and here, you know, when I talk about cellular energy overload I’m talking about type II diabetes and insulin resistance, I’m not talking type I diabetes. But, you know, you will also see this lack of – this general increase in energy molecules in the blood in type I diabetes as well. But let’s just isolate this conversation to type II diabetes. You will see elevations in all of these energy molecules in the blood. And that’s reflective of the fact that it’s not just glucose that isn’t being taken up into the cell, it is also just general refusal of the cell to take up energy.

Now, that doesn’t mean that the only thing going on is someone is consuming too many calories. What it means is that the energy coming into the cell is greater than its capacity to store it or to burn it cleanly..."

And we want AVOID overwhelming our cells with too much energy (too many calories)…and I will show you how to pleasurably do just that!

Safe Carbs are not your enemy...and isn't "counting calories" from the 70's??

So maybe this is getting you intrigued—and possibly excited—that Eating for Energy is a Moderate Carb strategy (Carbs aren’t evil)…

And/or at the same time you may be thinking—but Counting Calories?? Isn’t that a 70’s Weightloss commercial truism that isn’t important if you’re eating Whole Foods?

Well, actually getting a “perfect amount” of calories (based on your gender, height & activity level) IS important to feeling energized and being able to burn fat.

Similarly—if you eat *too few calories* (especially Carbs if you’re not fully Ketogenic)…then this can also cause blood sugar management issues, especially in the middle of the night—giving you poor sleep and thus poor insulin management in the morning, too.

It’s all too easy to eat “too few calories” if you’re a “super healthy eating person”…someone who’s trying to eat conservatively. You really have to do the math & see how many calories are recommended for you—and then track it and see how many you're getting…

“Intuitively eating” can lead you to under-eat many times (especially as women)…And eating too few calories can leave you really wiped out & unenergized.


Case in point:

It’s really difficult to get into a FLOW with movement you enjoy if you’re eating both too many OR too few Calories…so I’m excited to dig into how to get a “perfect amount” of Calories for you.


Don’t fight gravity

Dr. Chris Masterjohn describes the effect of too many, too little & the “perfect amount” of Calories for you (and your activity level)—as physically operating the same as gravity: calories in & calories out is undeniably important.


At the same time—it’s not *just* about simply counting calories, either. I’ll share why highly considering the QUALITY of your food choices is so important, too!!

More to come about why all Carbs are not your enemy—and how going for a “perfect amount” of Calories is really key.

Before we dive in…I want to briefly share more about 2 more Key Focuses, when it comes to Eating for Energy.

I gave you the DL on why thinking about eating an Anti-Inflammatory diet is so important…and structuring your meals so that your Digestion can “rest” between meals is key...Plus why Safe Carbs aren't your enemy...

Let’s talk briefly about Lense #3:

Supporting Daily Cortisol Rhythms

What are daily cortisol rhythms…and why is it so important to support them?

In the past, when I heard the word “cortisol,” I instantly thought of it’s sister word “stress.” When you get stressed out...that causes cortisol to flow in your body and makes you feel like poo.

Recently I’ve been experimenting with supporting a good, healthy daily cortisol rhythm to help myself & others lose extra body fat “more effortlessly”…and experimenting more with techniques to reduce stress and feel more positive and resilient.

Do I have your curiosity piqued?

Ok—so here’s a bit more about what Cortisol does in our bodies (besides flooding us when we get stressed or anxious)…and how supporting a daily RYTHYM of it is so, so powerful for feeling good & being able to build muscle and burn fat.


Daily Cortisol FLOW:

Cortisol researcher & author Dr. Alan Christianson breaks it down & shares that we want our daily production of cortisol to be like having our own internal morning pot of coffee:

We want to cortisol to be high in the morning, to help us wake up and feel energized as we go. Then we want cortisol to slowly decline through the afternoon, and reach it’s lowest point in the evening so that we can sleep well.

I absolutely love the book The Adrenal Reset Diet by Dr. Alan Christianson, which is fabulously subtitled: “Strategically cycle carbs and proteins to lose weight, balance hormones, and move from stressed to thriving.”

I don’t agree with two of his main food recommendations, which I'll detail in the Protein & Good Fats modules—but other than these details…this book is a fabulous resource and recommended reading for sure.

Ok, and back to the topic at hand—when we’re talking about supporting a good daily cortisol flow—so that you have good hormone health too—we have to look at a funny, small, often forgotten organ in our bodies:

Our Adrenals.

nice adrenal glands you got there

Why our the Adrenals so important?

For a brief summary of the important body tasks that the Adrenals are in charge of, Dr. Christainson writes:

“The adrenal glands have three layers nestled inside each other, like the layers of an onion. Each layer’s job is unique, so researchers believe it may be more accurate to think of each of them as three glands rather than one.

The outer layer’s main job is the regulation of salts (electrolytes) in the blood, the blood pressure, and the body’s acid levels. The middle layer primarily controls blood sugar, but it is also in charge of the stress response (inflammation) and controls how cells use the hormones from the other glands. The inner layer, working in conjunction with the ovaries and testicles, makes the sex hormones used in reproduction, such as estrogen or testosterone. The inner layer also helps with tissue repair and immune function."


"Your adrenal glands control a staggering list of vital functions in your body. The biggest ones are:

  • Regulation of other hormones
  • Balance of electrolytes
  • When to turn off inflammation
  • Fight-or-flight response
  • Sleep and waking cycles
  • Blood sugar
  • Body weight”

So many important things are controlled by your Adrenals…AND:

Dr. Christianson writes that adrenal hormones are directly tied to obesity as they:

“control a switch that sends calories to your belly fat or to your muscles.”

And when people have high amounts of cortisol flowing through their body from adrenal challenges...

“or from medications like prednisone [they] gain lots of belly fat regardless of their diet or activity.”


Why your Rhythm of Cortisol can help make you FAT (or help you burn fat)

So when you have really high cortisol that won’t shut off, or high cortisol when you need to go to sleep, or low cortisol when you need to wake up…this flawed daily cortisol rhythm can significantly disrupt your body’s ability to burn fat…because instead, these hormones actually direct your body to make more fat.

And I’m excited how you can use protein, safe carbs & good fats in each meal—as a daily “cycle” (plus getting good sleep & timing your exercise well)—to optimize your cortisol rhythms and address one of the bigger roadblocks to burning fat in this fast-paced world.


Get that "Morning Internal Coffee Pot" perking up

You can indeed use food & good sleep/waking practices to get your internal coffee pot of cortisol to wake you up at a good time and gradually decline over the course of the day, so that you can turn this built-in fat-creation switch to OFF.

Plus, having a good daily cortisol rhythm really does help you feel more cheerful, energized and resilient, too.

Personally, I've been loving these experiments, myself!! 🙂

good Daily Cortisol Rhythm

So in this Eating for Energy guide…we’ll be looking at food choices through the lenses of:


reducing inflammation through food choices & moving your body

—getting a "perfect amount" of Calories for you (plus Moderate Carb)

—supporting Daily Cortisol Rhythms with food timing & good sleep