Anna Evans

How To Have The Energy by Colette Heneghan, Graham Allcott

Revitalising life: a comprehensive review of 'How to Have Energy' and exploring the power of nutrition in optimal energy management.

How To Have The Energy

The book has gotten 3.60 ⭐️ on GoodReads.

“Colette and Graham have written a must-read book full of practical information for people who have challenges with nutrition every day, people like me. Read the book and boost your energy, productivity and your career.”
– Kyle Whitehill, CEO, Avanti Communications Group Pl

Energy and nutrition are intricately linked, forming the backbone of our overall well-being and vitality. The food we consume serves as the primary source of energy for our bodies, providing essential nutrients that fuel various physiological processes. Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins are broken down during digestion, releasing energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) that powers our cells.

However, in the modern world, there is a growing concern about the lack of energy in many individuals’ lives. The current societal emphasis on productivity and the constant demands of a fast-paced world add to the stress and drain our energy reserves. The rise of sedentary lifestyles, processed food consumption, and inadequate dietary habits have led to a significant portion of the population facing chronic fatigue and low energy levels.

That’s why the authors of ‘How to Have Energy: Your nine-point plan to eating smarter, improving focus and feeding your potential‘ kept their primary focus on nutrition. Let’s explore what are the keys to full and energetic lives, according to the authors.

Authors’ background

Graham Allcott is a renowned speaker, entrepreneur, and founder of Think Productive – an esteemed provider of business productivity workshops and coaching.

Graham Allcott (r)

His clients include major organisations like eBay, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Heineken, and GlaxoSmithKline. Graham is the bestselling author of ‘How to be a Productivity Ninja,’ ‘A Practical Guide to Productivity,’ and ‘How to be a Study Ninja.’ Additionally, he hosts the popular business podcast, Beyond Busy.

Before starting Think Productive, Graham held diverse roles, including co-founder of Intervol, chief executive of Student Volunteering England, and advisor to the UK government on youth and community issues. Graham resides in Brighton, UK.

Colette Heneghan is a speaker, coach, and founder of Optimum Living – a successful well-being organization with a diverse client list, including Vodafone, BT, and professional sports teams.

Colette Heneghan (r)

She offers workshops and personal coaching on topics like nutrition for energy, leadership, remote working, resiliency, and the power of sleep. With over ten years of experience in the global corporate world, Colette holds an MSc in personalised nutrition, a BSc in business information technology, and diplomas in herbal medicine and naturopathic nutrition. Originally from Manchester, Colette now resides in the South with her partner and young daughter.

What is the book about?

In the first chapter ‘How to Have the Energy’ presents the High-Energy Plan, a transformative approach comprising nine key principles, habits, and attitudes to boost mind, body, and soul. The plan revolves around rethinking how one approaches food and the creation of energy for nourishment.

Chapter 2 delves into the science of food and cognition, identifying energy-boosting foods and those to avoid. Subsequent chapters focus on optimising each meal, being label-savvy, thriving on the go, shopping smartly, and adopting a lifestyle that complements good nutrition.

The book guides readers on applying this knowledge to create lasting habits for a healthier, happier life full of vitality. The chapters are designed to be read linearly, though the middle sections can be used as reference tools for specific situations. Emphasising informed preparedness and mindful food choices, the book aims to empower individuals to boost their energy and live life to the fullest.

Key takeaways from ‘How To Have The Energy’

1It’s ideal to have 12 hours of fasting a day

A crucial aspect of our eating rhythm is giving our bodies a 12-hour break from food and digestion within a 24-hour period. Breakfast plays a significant role as it sets the tone for the day and breaks the overnight fast. By allowing the body time to rest and repair, especially during sleep and by avoiding late-evening snacks, we support natural mini-fasts that aid digestion.

2‘Lunch is for wimps’ motto is utter nonsense

Deliberately depriving your body and brain of essential nutrients and relying solely on coffee doesn’t make you cool; it just turns you into a caffeine-fueled, crazy individual. Such behaviour doesn’t enhance your job performance; it’s nothing more than a sad and hollow boast. Making a habit of skipping meals is unsustainable and will eventually lead to decreased productivity.

3Mindful eating can boost your energy

Mindful eating and savouring food contribute to better nutrient absorption, as the body digests food more effectively when relaxed. Chewing food properly is often overlooked but is essential since the enzymes produced during chewing play a vital role in the digestive process. Mindful eating and proper chewing are not mere luxuries; they are critical components for obtaining optimal energy from our meals.

4Eating at your desk is bad for you

Eating at your desk or staying in the same space all day is detrimental to your well-being, which you probably already know. Besides productivity reasons unrelated to food, taking just a few minutes away from your workspace can clear your mind and contribute to better digestion. This, in turn, enhances the production of energy from the food you consume.

5If food needs a marketing team, it’s probably not worth eating

Many of us lack the time to investigate every product’s claims, leading us to assume that low-fat, low-sugar, or gluten-free products are automatically good for us. However, companies may compensate for what they remove by adding less desirable ingredients, like higher sugar content in low-fat foods.

To regain a healthier relationship with food, a useful rule of thumb is to question whether a product needs an extensive marketing campaign to persuade us to consume it. If so, it’s probably not worth eating.

6Beware the beige foods and eat the ‘natural rainbow’

Often, at big events like weddings or conferences, you’ll find an abundance of beige-coloured finger foods, which are heavily processed and lack nutritional value. Similarly, the freezer section in supermarkets is packed with beige pre-prepared meals filled with refined oils and artificial flavours. By moving away from the beige-dominated diet, you take a swift step towards boosting your energy and overall well-being.

One of the easiest ways to ensure your plate is filled with energy is by considering the colours of your food. While ‘eat your greens’ is a common mantra, don’t forget the importance of incorporating reds, yellows, purples, and oranges into your meals.

7Aim for foods with under 5 ingredients on the label

A helpful rule of thumb when reading labels on packaged foods is to count the ingredients – ideally aiming for fewer than five. One-ingredient foods, like plain porridge oats, are usually the healthiest option, free from additives that can hinder nutrient absorption. Longer ingredient lists with complex names often indicate processed foods.

8Forget about counting calories

Calories are not a smart measure of fuel for our bodies, and counting them is often a waste of time. Not all calories are equal – a hundred calories from crisps are different from a hundred calories from walnuts due to their nutritional content. Instead, focus on the quality of your food, understanding ATP as the body’s energy currency. Forget calorie counting and prioritise balanced, nutrient-rich meals.

9When it comes to lifestyle choices, consistency is better than intensity

Strive for balance rather than relying on quick fixes like January detoxes after months of indulgence. Don’t feel guilty for occasional treats if you’re consistently nourishing your body with nutrient-rich foods. True progress comes from quiet consistency in our everyday choices, not from intense efforts during brief bursts of motivation.

Table of contents

  • Contents
  • Title page
  • About the authors
  • Introduction
  • 1: The high-energy plan: 9 ways to fuel your brain, your work and your life
  • 2: The high-energy plate
  • 3: Breakfast
  • 4: Lunch
  • 5: Dinner
  • 6: Being label-savvy
  • 7: Thriving on the go
  • 8: How to shop for energy
  • 9: The toolkit
  • 10: Lifestyle
  • 11: Making it stick: habits and how to stay on
  • Track
  • Epilogue
  • Recipes
  • Further reading
  • Acknowledgements
  • Appendix

Strengths and weaknesses, according to readers’ reviews


  • Written in an easily digestible style.

  • Strikes a perfect balance between scientific information and real-life application.

  • Provides several helpful tables that serve as formulas to create healthy, high-energy meals, snacks, and smoothies.

  • The recipes and suggestions are adaptable to your personal preferences.


  • If you frequently visit wellness websites and read health literature, much of the content in this book won’t be entirely new to you.

Best quotes from ‘How To Have The Energy’

“There is a two-way communication system between the central nervous system and the gut, known as the enteric nervous system. It’s literally like another brain. In fact, the gut tells the brain more than the brain tells the gut. Your gut changes your emotional state and other related brain systems, and your brain changes your gut.”
“A study in 2015 found that for every additional gram of trans fat a participant ate, their word recall dropped. This was found to be particularly relevant in adults under 45 years of age.”
“Another simple tenet is this one. Eat more food made from plants, not food made in plants.”

Final takeaway

‘How To Have Energy’ is a comprehensive guide by Colette Heneghan and Graham Allcott that emphasises the significance of balance and quiet consistency in leading a healthy and energetic lifestyle. The book encourages readers to focus on nutrient-rich foods, mindful eating, and making sustainable choices for long-term well-being. It discourages extreme approaches and quick fixes, promoting the importance of quality over quantity when it comes to nutrition. The target audience includes individuals seeking practical advice and holistic guidance for enhancing their vitality and overall health.

Where to buy

You can buy ‘How To Have Energy: Your nine-point plan to eating smarter, improving focus and feeding your potential‘ on different online platforms, including Amazon, where it’s available in paperback and Kindle formats.

Healthypedia FAQ

Processed foods and added sugars can lead to energy fluctuations, causing feelings of fatigue and sluggishness. Limiting their consumption helps maintain stable energy levels.

Nutrient-dense foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, nuts, and seeds. These foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support cellular function and energy production.

Regular physical activity, quality sleep, and stress management also play significant roles in influencing energy levels and overall well-being.

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