Energy Balancing 101 for Mums

Clinical Nutritionist Jan MacFarlane shares her tips for energy balancing with nutrition, how to improve your mood and increase your energy, along with a couple of time saver tips for busy mums.

We all know it so well, we become parents and we put ourselves last.

Staying up late washing, making school lunches, rushing off to do the school run with a greasy top knot, no breakfast and just a coffee in hand.

And let’s not even talk about taking time for self-care to destress. Because it never seems to happen for us.

My beautiful clinic patients who are mothers come to me with one common denominator. They are all stressed. They are all exhausted. And they all put themselves last.

This constant state of chronic stress over time can lead to gastrointestinal disorders, and autoimmune conditions.   

Cortisol, the stress hormone, when chronic and long term, plays nasty havoc on our bodies.  It throws out our blood sugars (which in turn throws out our energy balance),  alters the immune system responses, suppresses the digestive system and the list goes on.

Look, I get it. Everyone sings the same song. “Just do more self care”  –and we all know we have to but it feels so hard to make the time. Or we’re just too bloody tired to!

Well I’m here as a friend in arms. Not to judge. Not to preach. But as a gentle reminder to say, if we don’t fit our own oxygen mask first, we’re no good to anyone else.

Stress definitely got the better of me over my parenting years,  with an autoimmune onset for me before I knew I had to make changes. I can’t tell you what, when and where to schedule your self care, but I can say… whether it’s going for that wine with the friend you’ve been planning for months, or just putting on your runners and taking a walk – you deserve it.  

Today I thought I’d share an important part of energy balancing, along with a couple of time saver tips I’ve seen help my mummy patients immensely. Oh, and my morning power smoothie that can be used as a snack at any time of the day!

nutrition with jan. marie

Increase your energy, improve your mood

One of the most effective ways to increase your energy and improve mood is by balancing blood sugars. Insulin, a hormone that regulates our sugar levels, heavily impacts how we feel throughout the day. When you wake up in the morning –after fasting all night–  your insulin levels are at their lowest while cortisol (the stress hormone) is at a peak.

So what throws out our blood sugars?

Yep you know it, not eating breakfast. And what raises our cortisol? Yep you know it, not eating breakfast. While fasting works for some to help decrease calories, rest the gastrointestinal system and help aid cell regeneration, I find for most of my mummy patients who are in high stress mode in the morning, unfortunately fasting is not their friend. If fasting is something you would like to do, I recommend tapering off meals at night earlier instead.

What balances blood sugars?

Not every food is blood sugar balancing. Carbohydrate-only meals such as cereal or toast are burnt up too quickly and therefore create a “spike” and a “drop”, creating disregulation and will result in an energy slump shortly after.

However, proteins, good essential fatty acids, and fibre all help smooth that spike and are burnt up at a nicer even rate, resulting in longer lasting energy.

One of the best breakfasts I recommend is a power smoothie, containing a nice digestible form of protein, a good essential fatty acid, along with various fruits and veg for fibre and antioxidants. This can also be used as a snack at any time of the day. Eating every 3-4 hours will also help to keep a nice blood sugar balance going (3-4pm after school pick up slump be gone)!

 My top two timesaver tips for busy mums

  1. Online grocery shopping: Some people love going to the shops. I’m not one of them. Once you get the hang of shopping online, it can be done on your phone from anywhere (sitting in the car at school pick up) and takes 15 minutes.
  2. Pre-made meals: These have evolved so much these days, there are actually healthy options now! Here in Adelaide we have our local Bowlsome stocked at Foodlands (frozen or fresh) and Soulara is a plant based delivery service. Both great for your lunches on days when things just get too hectic.

green power smoothie

My Greenie Goddess Power Smoothie recipe

  • 1 cup organic almond milk, coconut water or filtered water
  • 1 cup of baby spinach/cucumber or greens of choice 
  • ½ – 1 banana fresh or peeled & frozen
  • 1 tbsp vanilla protein powder (I like raw Amazonia protein, Keep it Cleaner plant protein, Bondi Vegan protein)
  • ¼ avocado

This can easily be played around with. Swap greens for berries, or cacao for a choccy smoothie.

Love, Jan

Clinical Nutritionist
Nutrition With Jan Marie

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