Having no energy sucks.
It gets you down on life, and you feel like you’re being dragged through your daily activities against your will.
2 years after graduating college, I remember waking up on a Monday morning, I had plenty of sleep the last few nights, but I could barely roll out of bed! Apparently, I now needed coffee before I could even function.
At this point in my life I was drinking 3-4 cups a day, black, extra strong.
A lot of us joke about things like that, glorifying the caffeine addiction.
“A morning without coffee is like sleep” ~Author Unknown
“Sleep is a symptom of caffeine deprivation” ~Author Unknown
“Caffeine isn’t a drug, it’s a vitamin!” ~Author Unknown
Don’t get me wrong, this was me too! I love to relate to people, to make others laugh and being part of the in-crowd. But, it’s kind of sad, isn’t it?
That’s how I felt… I had 3 full nights of sleep in a row and STILL can’t function without a cup of joe? That’s depressing.
About 9 months after having this Monday Morning Moment, I finally found the courage to reclaim my energy through my diet – and quit coffee for good (you don’t have to quit coffee, but it helps, and I’ll tell you how).
This post will cover some quick things you can easily do to regain some of your energy. However, it’s a long road to reclaiming 100% of it, but this will get you on your way.
How Diet Increases Your Energy
I’m not a scientist, but I can tell you from experience that what you eat & drink has a direct impact on your energy and mood throughout the day.
Eating right does two things
- Your body becomes more efficient. Eating a variety of whole foods, getting plenty of rest, reducing your stress and moving your body all contribute to this.
- Your body purges waste. This is like a fog lifting, allowing your body and mind to function with less resistance.
Eating wrong, however, works against you.
Then why do we continue to eat the stuff that isn’t good for us? Always keep this in the back of your mind, so when you have a choice between something for your health, against your health, or neutral for your health, you can make a conscious decision.
Foods That Steal Your Energy
Anything that’s hard for you to digest, will take away your energy.
For us, here’s what this includes:
- Coffee (or high caffeine food & drink)
- Too many grains
- Too many nuts
- Too much soy
- Highly processed foods such as refined flours and starches
- Artificial ingredients, pesticides, herbicides, chemicals, etc.*
*These will knowingly put a strain on our body’s systems. Consuming man-made chemicals are like slow poison for the body, slowly contributing to that fog I was talking about earlier.
The Honest Truth About Coffee
It’s fun, it won’t hurt you, but it will keep you tired.
When you drink coffee or caffeine on a regular basis, you can become addicted to the energy that follows. Let me tell you, that energy isn’t coming from the coffee beans, it’s actually pulling from your adrenal glands. And, if you’re overusing them and the cortisol that’s produced every time you have caffeine, they won’t fully recover… ever. Which means you’ll constantly be crashing and tired without it.
Again, you’re the boss here, you call the shots. But that’s the honest truth. If you want to claim ‘All Things In Moderation’, fine. But, if you want natural energy from your food, you’re going to need to keep your caffeine in check!
Foods That Build Your Energy Up
Anything that doesn’t take away energy could fall into this category:
- GF grains
- Meat, Fish, Eggs*
*We don’t eat these because we don’t need to and like being vegan. However, if your body depends on these we encourage you to listen to it.
Sorry if you were expecting more here, but it’s THAT simple. Whole foods are natures medicine and the bodies preferred energy source.
We’re All Different
One person’s medicine is another’s poison. Example: cashews, lentils, pistachios or peas would give Sarah energy, but for me, I would have an extreme anaphylactic reaction, taking all of my energy just to stay alive.
I know, I know, that’s a little extreme…
But we all have food sensitivities and it’s important to get yourself tested for food allergies so you can avoid the things that are draining your energy.
Quick Win Ideas (More Healthy)
It’s important to focus on the foods that will build you up and provide you with the stamina to make it through your day without taking a nap. This takes weeks and weeks of clean eating, something you should ease into so you’re sustainable with it.
However, we ALL need a little boost here and there. Get yourself some quick wins in the afternoon with these tips…
- Green juice*
- Green smoothie*
- Whole food energy bar (strive for less than 10g of sugar)
- Giant entree salad with baked sweet potato cubes and a tahini dressing
- Kale chips
- Celery and almond butter
- Apple and peanut butter
- Green tea
*Use as many greens as you can handle, avoid buying them in plastic packages because they don’t have as many nutrients & life energy.
Quick Win Ideas (Less Healthy)
These are what we eat for a boost when we really need it, but will ultimately result in some sort of energy crash within 1-2 hours.
- Chocolate (we eat chocolate every week for dessert, but not very often for an energy boost)
- Yerba Mate
- Energy Bar w/higher sugar (Squarebar, Larabar, etc. where sugar is upwards of 20g)
- Coconut water
Sometimes you’re limited on options, time, etc. so use your best judgment.