Americans spend millions every year on expensive power bars and shakes to power up sagging energy levels or to replenish themselves after a workout.
If you’re spending your money on power bars, you might want to consider a different approach. Power foods are not a modern invention—Ayurveda has long recognized certain foods as natural but serious energy-boosters. The list includes fresh organic fruits, vegetables, spices, and whole grains.
These foods are rich in chetna, a Sanskrit word for the healing and nurturing intelligence of nature. They are foods so lively with nature's intelligence and purity that fatigue-causing toxins are less likely to accumulate in your body when they’re eaten.
An Ayurvedic staple food: Ancient grains
Athletes have long relied on the carbohydrates and proteins in grains for long-term endurance and energy. Yet not all carbohydrates are created alike. A croissant, for instance, is high in fat and low in nutrition. The most nutritious carbohydrates are whole organic grains, which have been found to support healthy cholesterol and blood glucose levels and promote a healthy immune response.
Maharishi AyurVeda considers organic rye, quinoa, amaranth and millet the most nutritious, because they are especially high in protein and minerals. They are also high in fiber, and because of that they have a detoxifying value. These are the same auspicious grains that are described in the ancient Ayurvedic texts.
One-half cup of amaranth (measured dry), for instance, contains 14 grams of protein, 8 mg of iron, and also magnesium and zinc. The same amount of quinoa contains 13 grams of protein, 9 mg of iron and 3 mg of zinc. Rye is also high in protein, with one-half cup yielding 15 grams of protein and 4 mg of zinc. Millet is a good source of B vitamins.
All of these grains contain copper, which is an essential trace mineral that improves energy and immunity, and their zinc content also boosts ojas, the finest product of digestion that creates lightness, inner energy, immunity and bliss.
How to cook power grains
To prepare quinoa, rye, amaranth or millet, place two cups of water in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Add a teaspoon of organic ghee and one cup of the grain. Boil for ten minutes and then lower to a simmer. The grain-to-water ratio is two cups of water to one cup of grain. Cook until the grain is tender (usually 20-30 minutes is enough).
High-energy fruits and vegetables
Other high-energy foods include fresh organic vegetables, which should constitute forty percent of the meal. Green, leafy vegetables are especially high in minerals and fiber, so they should be eaten often.
Fruits are another great source of instant energy. You can start the day with a stewed apple, and if you feel hungry in between meals, try snacking on a ripe juicy pear. If you are feeling heavy and bloated after lunch, eat a fresh papaya, as they contain enzymes that aid digestion.
According to Maharishi AyurVeda, grapes (or their dried counterpart, raisins) are among the best of fruits because they enhance sattva (purity), pacify the mind and heart, and increase the coordination between them. They are also a rich source of iron and Vitamin B6, and provide magnesium, calcium, zinc, and potassium. Raisins aid digestion and elimination when they are soaked in water overnight.
Nature’s massive source of vitamin C and rejuvenation is Organic Premium Amla Berry. Every athlete should consider taking this incredible Ayurvedic herb. It contains five of the six tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, astringent and pungent. The only taste missing is salty.
These five tastes give it a holistic, balancing effect on the doshas. Amalaki, (the Ayurvedic name for amla), is also a great rasayana, revered in the Ayurvedic tradition.
Rasayanas are the cream of Ayurvedic herbal substances, and have remarkable longevity-enhancing and rejuvenative qualities. Rasayanas also create ojas— the master biochemical of beauty, immunity and connectivity in the body.
Hard-to-digest foods create dullness
Just as there are foods to boost energy, other foods drain it. Any fast foods as well as canned, frozen, packaged, leftover, or old foods — or foods laced with preservatives, chemicals, and additives — are difficult to digest and contain little nutritional content.
If you do eat some of these foods, and you feel heavy after eating, drink half a glass of water with ¼ of a fresh lime squeezed into it. Or take a tablet of Herbal Di-Gest to aid digestion. If you feel occasional indigestion or heartburn, try Aci-Balance, as it works quite quickly.
If you’re feeling dull, sluggish, and drained of energy every day, it could mean that your diet contains too many energy-draining foods, which have clogged your microcirculatory channels with toxins, called ama in Ayurveda. This is an opportunity to upgrade your diet to include delicious foods that create more ojas and energy.
Digestion-boosting herbs and spices spark energy
Adding Ayurvedic spices to your food is an easy way to increase the value of chetna, or nature's intelligence. Try sautéing cumin, coriander, fennel, and turmeric in ghee, then combine with sautéed or steamed vegetables or cooked grains. Or add spices to your drinking water to boost your energy.
The important thing is to eat foods every day that boost your energy, rather than relying on artificial boosters when you feel your energy sag. Try Organic Churnas specifically formulated to pacify Vata, Pitta or Kapha doshas.
Your body is a magnificent expression of engineering and has the potential to generate all the energy you want. Organic Triphala Rose is a revered traditional Ayurvedic digestion-toning formula usually taken daily before bed. It balances the digestive fire, called agni in Sanskrit.
Agni represents the transformative intelligence of digestion. It is a process of great importance in the Ayurvedic health model because it is linked to immunity, beauty, energy and detoxification. Balanced digestion reduces ama, or toxins; increases ojas, the finest byproduct of digestion; and aids your ability to assimilate nutrients from any other supplement or food.
Fatigue Free is another product that helps you recover your energy. It is a combination of Ayurvedic herbs and minerals that help move ama out, reestablish the flow of energy and quickly support the building of new cells.
Whole, natural, plant-based foods like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables along with spices and herbs come perfectly packaged with energy-giving nutrients and digestion-boosting properties. Explore the Ayurvedic recipe blog to find new favorites and prepare them in new and exciting ways.
© 1999, 2021 Maharishi AyurVeda Products International, Inc. (MAPI). All Rights Reserved. MAPI does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. See additional information.