Do you feel like your energy is depleted, all day long? Maybe you have coffee throughout the day and dream of sweets to give you a pick me up. But you feel like anything you do doesn't quite give you the energy boost you're looking for.
So, how can you have more energy when you're coffee doesn't seem to help?
As you already know, I'm a huge fan of food energetics and I'll use that as the basis of what I'm going to share with you today on boosting energy.
If you want to learn how to get more energy, then first we must talk about what is depleting your energy in the first place.
1) Optimal Energy Requires Optimal Rest
If you're working day and night shifts, have a ton of stress in your life and never have time for a break, then no amount of healthy food (or red bulls, for that matter) are going to help in the long run. Sometimes sleep is just the best remedy for lack of sleep - not smoothies.
To optimize the rest you are able to get, start focusing on what'll give you better quality sleep. My favorite is taking a bath with epsom salts and essential oils. The hot water improves your circulation, the salts help relieve any kinds of cramps (and the last thing you want is tension in your body), and the oils are so relaxing and make me feel like a goddess.
Another way to have better quality sleep is to eat warm foods for dinner (you don't have to have a cold salad - have something cooked, like a soup or stew) and make sure you leave about 3 hours before you go to bed so that you won't sleep uncomfortably with a full stomach.
And of course, you probably already knew this one, but try avoiding caffeine to help you rest better. Some people recommend not having caffeine after 3pm, but it really depends on the person. I know some people who feel alert at night if they have caffeine after 11am. You know what works best for you.
Anyways, assuming your schedule is pretty standard and you don't think there is anything in particular in your life that's giving you an energy drain, let's move on to understanding energy drains in food energetics.
2) The Higher the High, the Lower the Low.
There's 2 ways to look at cravings and energy crashes.
The first is that if you have too many stimulants like coffee and sugar, you're going to get a boost of energy followed by a crash. And that crash can make you feel even more tired than before.
I like to think of it like jumpstarting a car. If a car is not functioning, then jumpstarting it can get it going and it'll be fine. But what if you have a car that is working perfectly fine and you choose to jumpstart it instead of simply turning on the ignition? Over time, the car will get weaker from the jumpstarts.
It's the same with your body - a coffee or sugar every once in a while isn't such a big deal, and can be fun when the timing is right. But if you rely on it, it can actually make you weaker. Don't become reliant.
3) Too much contractive foods leads to cravings for expansive foods
The second way we can look at cravings and energy crashes is through the concept of expansion and contraction. In food energetics, coffee and sugar and other stimulants are considered "expansive", meaning they release tension and give you a boost. Foods on the opposite end of the spectrum, like heavy meats and salty foods, create "contraction", or tension within the body when consumed too much.
So for example, if you're on a low carb, high protein diet and eating eggs, chicken, and steak pretty much every day, then the volume of animal protein you're getting might be creating a lot more contractive energy in your body which makes you feel heavy and leads to cravings for stimulants (something expansive).
So one way you can avoid cravings for sugar, coffee, and stimulants is to minimize the amount of salty and contractive foods you have, like animal products. This is only temporary until you feel more energized.
So as you can see, we were talking about how to eat for energy but I wound up talking to you mostly about how to avoid stimulants and cravings for stimulants. Because low energy and cravings go hand in hand, and it can become a vicious cycle.
So to recap, optimize the quality of your sleep by taking baths, eating warmer foods, and leaving some space between dinner and bedtime. And try avoiding energy boosts from stimulants which will only give you bigger crashes, later. It might sound backwards, but less boosts will make you feel energized in the long run.