Everyone wants more energy, because when you have energy there’s no limit to what you can accomplish! But when we rely on non-nutrient forms of energy, like the sugars and caffeine you find in energy drinks and processed food bars, your energy level will be short-lived, followed by an energy crash which will then require another energy drink! Brilliant product idea, huh?
So how do we get the energy that we need for our busy, productive lives, naturally?
Here are my top four tips to eat for energy:
1. Eat more whole grains.
Let’s break down why this is so important for your energy levels by comparing white and brown rice as an example. White rice is a refined carbohydrate. It is simply brown rice with the bran and the germ removed so you’re left with the starchy center, which is sugar, or glucose. Glucose is the form of energy your body uses. The problem is, since the bran and germ have been stripped, your body quickly and easily absorbs the glucose into your bloodstream, spiking your blood sugar level and giving you more energy than you need at one time, unless of course you’re running a marathon.
The bad news is, since your body doesn’t need all that energy at once, it will store the extra sugar as fat in case you need energy at a later time. Additionally, since your body doesn’t like to be so out of balance, it will try to lower your blood sugar level by producing insulin, which will then cause a blood sugar low, or an energy crash, which is the same thing that happens when you drink energy drinks or eat sugar.
By contrast, if you eat the brown rice, your body will have to break down the bran and the germ to get to the starchy center causing a slow release of glucose into your bloodstream, which means sustained energy over a longer period of time. Pretty cool, huh?
2. Eat enough food!
Please don’t skip breakfast or eat just a side salad for lunch. Your body will not get the energy it needs and you will find yourself fighting uncontrollable cravings for more food, likely in the form of sugar and caffeine, the quickest forms of non-nutrient energy.
Give your body the energy it needs to get through the day by eating a proper amount of food at regular intervals. Don’t skip meals.
3. Get more sleep and relaxation.
Seems obvious, right? But it’s still one of the hardest things for people to prioritize. Sleep and relaxation are part of ‘eating for energy’ because, for those who haven’t coached with me before, there are things in life that nourish us but don’t come on a plate. We call these Primary Foods, and sleep is a big one.
Sleep nourishes you. When you are tired or stressed, your body will crave energy, again, often in the form of sugar and caffeine. But if you reach for that energy drink, or that non-nutrient form of energy, you will further propagate the up and down energy deficiency cycle that you started with. So rest up!
4. Get rid of relationships that drain you.
This is another Primary Food tip. Look at which people or relationships in your life might be draining your energy. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are bad, but maybe there are boundaries that need to be set or communication that needs to happen. Or maybe, every now and then, a relationship needs to end. Make sure the relationships in your life nourish you.
Now that you have more energy, what would you like to do? The sky’s the limit!