Our ancestors had so much wisdom when it came to preparing traditional foods in order to reap the most nutrient-density. Due to this, traditional foods that our ancestors consumed were extremely healing and could even help remedy various ailments and boost energy!
Modern Day Energy Boosters
In modern day society, energy drinks, Starbucks and bars are the new norm to give ourselves an energy boost. Unfortunately, these foods and beverages are frequently marketed as “healthy”, but many of these foods contain dyes, hidden sugar, and an exorbitant amount of caffeine. This is far from healthy and even dangerous!
Specifically, energy drink beverages contain such a high amount of caffeine. Even having just a couple of these drinks can send you to the ER! It seems as though modern day conveniences have left us worse off in many ways. Although energy drinks or an espresso shot may be a quick fix when it comes to a fast energy spike. These high spikes end up making us crash within a couple of hours. In addition, they also give us an overabundance of sugar and having us spew out high levels or cortisol.
Our ancestors used many different resources when it came down to finding foods to boost and balance energy levels. They did not have the convenience to grab a caffeinated beverage or protein bar when energy levels weren’t stable. I'd say they were far better off that way. Below are four traditional foods that can help balance out energy levels when you are feeling exhausted.
Bone broth has been a staple in various traditional cultures. Not only is bone broth good for digestion, but it also has energy balancing benefits! Many would not think to pick up a cup of bone broth when feeling drowsy but bone broth can provide lasting energy without the coffee jitters, thanks to the amino acids glycine and glutamine. Glycine has been shown to provide your muscles with a boost of energy and is associated with increased brain functioning.
Glutamine has been studied for its role in boosting energy and it has been shown to be critical in energy metabolism. Together, these two amino acids can provide sustained energy for the body. At times, our bodies prefer to use glycine as a source of energy, and other times, it uses glutamine. Both of these amino acids help with consistent energy metabolism and boost energy. A high-quality bone broth is sure to provide steady energy levels throughout the day.
Raw milk from grass-fed cows may be one of the most traditional beverages as our ancestors consumed this milk. It may be the last thing you would think of as something to remedy exhaustion, but raw milk from grass-fed cows has a powerhouse of nutrients and good fat that can provide sustainable energy throughout the day. Many do not realize that milk actually provides the body with fat, carbohydrates and protein!
While pasteurized milk does retain some level of nutritional value, it seems that unpasteurized milk from grass-fed cows is superior in protein, vitamin, fat and mineral content overall. Raw milk even has good bacteria. Research even suggests that “a number of these microorganisms also have the potential to contribute to health through the production of antimicrobials or possessing other probiotic-associated traits”.
Furthermore, raw milk is an excellent source of protein and it contains hundreds of different healthy fatty acids, including conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and omega-3s. These fats help the body keep energy levels stable throughout the day. Unlike glucose which provides the body with quick energy the fat in raw milk provides the body with slower burning energy to help keep exhaustion at bay. In addition, raw milk contains higher amounts of beneficial antioxidants, such as vitamin E and beta-carotene. These antioxidants have been shown to help reduce inflammation and fight oxidative stress which provides your body more energy.
Liver is perhaps one of the most traditional and nutrient-dense foods known to mankind. In fact, many Native American tribes would save the sacred liver of an animal for those who first needed nutrients the most (pregnant women and children). Our ancestors all intuitively knew that organ meats in the animal held the bulk of nutrients. Most of our hunter-gatherer ancestors would go straight for the organ meat before anything else. Liver is mother nature's multivitamin and also one of the best things to eat to help keep energy levels stable.
The amount of B vitamins in liver make it a powerhouse for energy. Specifically B12 being the star of the show when it comes to energy production. Almost every cell in the body uses B12 to help convert fat and protein to energy. In addition, inadequate B12 levels can decrease normal red blood cell production which can impair oxygen delivery. Research indicates that because of its relation to red blood cell production, a B12 deficiency can cause fatigue, tiredness and/or anemia. But, if eating liver isn’t your thing, no need to worry! Nowadays many supplement companies make vitamins that contain liver! Including a couple of grass-fed liver vitamins into your supplement protocol is a great way to incorporate liver into your diet without having to prepare or taste it!
Before modern day canning, most of our ancestors understood the process of “lacto-fermentation”. Lacto fermentation is the process of using beneficial bacteria that are naturally occurring on vegetables and converting them to lactic acid. In the modern day, we don’t have to ferment ourselves, we fortunately have the luxury of going to a health food store to pick out some of our favorite fermented vegetables. Lacto-fermented vegetables include traditional favorites such as kimchi, sauerkraut and pickles fermented in sea salt. Traditionally, lacto-fermented vegetables
Because of the fermentation process, all of these vegetables contain a large amount of probiotics. These probiotics help support the gut microbiome which helps support your energy levels. Specifically, the presence of lactobacilli microbes facilitates energy production. Furthermore, probiotics boost energy by improving digestion as a whole. When we aren't properly digesting our food, we aren't getting the macronutrients and micronutrients necessary for our bodies to produce optimal energy. In fact, this study exhibits that microorganisms play an important role in nutrient and energy extraction and energy regulation.
Time to Boost your Energy
Many of our ancestor’s traditional foods hold diverse nutritional density as well as benefits for helping to balance out energy and fight exhaustion. Incorporating traditional foods like bone broth or sauerkraut will not only help keep your blood sugar and energy stable but they will also support your gut microbiome, digestion & boost your energy levels. Supporting digestion on its own can help energy levels immensely. So next time you start yawning at 3pm try to incorporate a couple of traditional foods into your diet.
If you are interested in learning more about ways you can remedy your exhaustion and boost your energy, connect with one of our nutritional coaches here at Vessel via live chat right in our app after you take your first test & they can give you amazing lifestyle recommendations. Sign up today!
Kaylee Noland See all the author’s articles