The Lettuce Inn

Where Lucy discovers the truth about food...and other stuff too!

07 December 2011

How to Increase Your Energy Levels
Part 2 – Eat more raw fruit and veggies

Do you ever feel tired after eating a meal?  Are you hungry all the time?  Do you feel sluggish and lack energy to get through the day?  

Perhaps eating more raw fruits and vegetables could help!

With our busy lifestyles it is so easy and convenient to buy pre-prepared meals or snacks rather than preparing our own, and while this may save us time in the short term, in the long term it costs us our health and energy levels.

When you are eating processed, packaged and take away foods it is not always easy to work out what is in the packet.  Looking at food labels can be confusing and sometimes just too hard to work out whether the stuff on the label is good for us or not.  You have artificial flavours, colours, preservatives, letters and numbers to work out, and some words are too hard to even pronounce, let alone work out what they are! 

If you eat processed foods on a regular basis, you are not getting what your body needs as these foods are often nutrient poor, and your body craves more and more food to try and get the nutrients it needs to function properly.  Processed foods are also harder for our body to process and digest and this combination of too much and too hard to digest food, can easily zap our energy levels.   

When you eat a healthy diet, including lots of raw fruit and veggies, your body is getting the nutrition you need and it will be easier to maintain a healthy weight and, as you will be eating less food, you will feel lighter and have more energy.

According to the “Australian Guide to Healthy Eating” we should eat 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables a day.  A serve of vegetables is half a cup of cooked vegetables (including beans) or 1 cup of salad vegetables.  A serve of fruit is a medium piece of fruit.  I wonder how many people actually eat this amount of fruit and veggies.  I eat quite alot of fruit, but I am now wondering how close I come to the 5 serves of veggies.  I think I may fall short most days.

Vegetables and legumes are a good source of vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre and carbohydrates.  Fruit is a good source of vitamins, including vitamin C and folate. It also provides carbohydrates in the form of natural sugars and fibre. 

If we want to be healthy, full of energy and free from disease, we need to at least meet, if not exceed, these dietary guidelines.  As always, eating as much organic fruit and veg as possible is ideal as organics don’t use pesticides and chemicals and also contain more nutrients than their non organic counterparts.  I know organics can be expensive, and personally I use the “EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce”.  They have a dirty dozen and clean 15 list to help you to work out which fruit and veg are most contaminated with pesticides and so should be bought organically, and which ones contain the least amount of pesticides, which can be bought conventionally.  They also have a full list of 53 fruit and veggies in order of most pesticides to least.  Check out their website at

Fruit and vegetables pass through our digestive system quickly and our body uses very little energy to process them.  So the more fruit and veg we eat, the more nutrients we get, the less food we need to eat and the more energy we have!  It is also important to eat them in their raw natural form, instead of being cooked.  This is because:

1.  Cooking depletes vitamins and minerals and destroys enzymes which help with
     digestion.  Therefore, when you eat raw, you eat less to satisfy your nutritional

2.  Raw foods have more flavour than cooked foods so there is no need to add salt,
     sugar, spices or other condiments that can irritate your digestive system.

3.  Raw foods are quick and easy to prepare.  Just grab a piece of fruit and eat it, or
     spend a few minutes putting together a salad.

4.  As raw fruit and veggies give us more vitamins and minerals and other healthy
     nutrients, this can make us healthier and less prone to illness and disease.

Here are some ways to get more raw fruit and veggies into your day:

1.  Start the day with a green smoothie – simply blend 3 or 4 pieces of fruit with a couple of glasses of water and a handful of greens.  My favourite combination is apple, pear and spinach – yum!  A great way to start the day.

2.  If you don’t have a blender, instead of your usual breakfast, eat 3-4 pieces of fruit.

3.  Try having a salad for lunch with a handful of greens and chopped up raw veggies.  I usually add one cup of cooked brown rice to my salad to help fill me up.  Add yummy but simple dressings to give more flavour such as hommus, tamari or any other dips you like.

4.  Swap your morning and afternoon snacks for fruit.  

Nature intended us to eat foods in their natural, raw, whole, organic state, providing us with optimum health and weight, abundance of energy and freedom from disease.  The closer we can get to this, the better we will feel and the happier we will be.  Make one small change to the way you eat each day and I guarantee you will be better off for the rest of your life!


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