There is a famous quote by Hippocrates that I love: “Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food.” Since I have enrolled in the Institute of Integrative Nutrition this has become my new philosophy.
I’ve recently discovered there are so many people walking around with one common problem –NO ENERGY! If you examine some of the conversations you’ve had with people you know –everybody is tired. If you ask someone how they’re doing, they will typically answer – “I’m tired.” My initial thought to that response is “what are you eating?”
If you examine the diets of most Americans you will find the culprit of why they are so tired. Research indicates the American diet consists of 60% processed foods (muffins, potato chips, bread, TV dinners, fast food, etc.). According to an article published in the New York Times (2010) Americans eat 31% more packaged food than fresh food, and they consume more packaged food per person than their counterparts in nearly all other countries.
I can honestly say that I have finally come to a place where I eat to live and no longer live to eat. Obviously, we all have the desire to indulge on occasion, and I’m no different. I can’t imagine my life without Kettle potato chips or the awesome vegan oatmeal raisin cookies at Whole Foods! I allow those foods in my diet a couple of times a month. But for the most part, I eat with a purpose – to have the energy to do the things God has called me to do.
If I’m feeling tired or dragging a little bit I automatically think about what I can eat or drink to help me. It could be a handful of nuts, a hot cup of green tea, but more than anything else I reach for a bottle of water. YES – I said water! Most people are dehydrated and they don’t even know it. Since the human body is composed of approximately 70% water, water is one of the best energizers.
Think for a second about how much more you can get done if you only had more energy. Do you believe there’s a way for you to have sustainable energy without overdosing on caffeine and those so called “energy” drinks? I’m here to tell you there is, check out the following list.
7 Ways to INSTANTLY Increase Your Energy!
1. Drink Lemon Water – I’ve covered the benefits of drinking water in general, but adding fresh lemon juice boosts those benefits tremendously! First thing in the morning before you drink any coffee or tea, drink a cup of hot lemon water. Make sure it’s juice from real lemons. Lemons are rich in vitamins so they have tons of health benefits. (Top-10-health-benefits-of-lemon-water )
2. Limit Caffeine – The primary sources of caffeine for most people are coffee and soft drinks. The average American drinks 3 cups of coffee per day. Unfortunately, caffeine does not give you “energy”; it’s a stimulant drug that affects your adrenal glands and central nervous system, which can interfere with your sleep. Lack of sleep contributes to the vicious cycle of being tired.
3. Exercise – no matter how tired you are before you exercise, you should just push through it and do it anyway, because I GUARANTEE you will feel better afterwards and you will be glad you made the time to do it. It doesn’t even have to be strenuous to make an impact in your energy level. If you work at a desk for most of the day, schedule breaks to get up and walk outside your building –circle the parking lot; take the stairs, just move for at least 10 minutes at least twice while you’re at work. This is especially helpful to overcome that afternoon slump we all get around 2 or 3pm.
4. Eat Breakfast – this is one of the biggest culprits contributing to the lack of energy most people feel. It’s so important to eat something first thing in the morning to pull your body out of its “fasting” state from sleeping all night. You need to rev up your metabolism first thing in the morning and the BEST way to do this is to EAT something. For people who don’t like breakfast, a simple, healthy smoothie is a great option. (Quick and Health Smoothie Recipes)
5. Take Your Vitamins- it is so important to add a vitamin supplement to your diet, especially if you’re not eating a well-balanced meal with plenty of fruits and vegetables. If nothing else, find a good multi-vitamin that suits your particular needs (depending on your age, your vitamin needs are different). Not all vitamins are created equal so please AVOID synthetic vitamins. (How to Identify Synethic Vitamins)
6. Avoid/Limit Processed Foods – not all processed foods are bad, but there are some you should limit your intake or avoid all together, including packaged baked goods, processed meat, frozen dinners, etc. (List of Processed Foods to Avoid)
7. Get Enough Sleep – Researchers discovered that getting an extra 60-90 minutes of sleep each night improves memory, increases the ability to concentrate, and strengthens the immune system. Here’s some good news: if you incorporate just a few of these simple strategies (drink more water, limit/avoid caffeine, exercise) you will sleep better.
So, what do you have to lose by trying some or all of these suggestions? To the contrary, you have so much more to gain. Which ones will you try?
Until next time…
Peace, Love & Fitness