I don’t think many will disagree with me if I were to say that one of the biggest health complaints — besides the need to lose weight, of course — is lack of energy.
“What can I take to increase my energy?”
“I wish I had more energy.”
“I’m just tired all of the time.”
If everyone is looking for more energy, we might want to ask ourselves, “What is it that gives us energy?”
Well, despite the never-ending lineups at every coffee establishment across the country from the early hours to the wee hours, we might want to consider the fact that coffee, or caffeine rather, is not energy. Nor is the sugar kick from the can of soda in the mid-afternoon, nor the buzz from the alcohol in the evenings.
Although they do seem to do the trick in the moment, I know.
They can be fantastic — a miracle at times. If they weren’t, the sales of these products wouldn’t be some of the biggest in the world.
Now I’m not saying to eliminate these things completely. But if you’re relying on them as your main source of energy in a day, you might want to consider some alternatives that won’t wreak havoc on your body, lead to premature aging, diabetes or give you high blood pressure. Because, trust me, that’s no fun either.
So let’s consider where energy does come from.
Sure there’s the whole Kreb’s cycle of energy where we need the right nutrients to burn fuel in our bodies and exercise to stimulate blood flow and release endorphins and what not.
And junk food does not contribute in any way to this.
But have you ever noticed that when you just hear a great song on the radio, you can feel stimulated and alive? Or you get great news and all of a sudden you have this burst of energy?
You struggle to get out of bed at 7 a.m. to go to work but if it’s a trip to the mountains, you’ll be up and at ’em at 5.
Perhaps there is something a little more intrinsic to our energy levels than just food and exercise. Perhaps there is a little more mind-body spirit to it than we think.
Take a look at stress, for example. It depletes our bodies of energy completely.
That’s why things like meditation or simply doing things you enjoy can help increase energy levels.
Too bad we’re such suckers for punishment and don’t spend enough time doing the things that we enjoy.
Of course, I’m referring to wholesome things like playing music, doing artwork, making food, going for a bike ride or playing softball with friends. If you enjoy getting wasted, this is not advice to do more of that.
So what wholesome, fun things could you do more of? Try eliminating coffee, sugar and alcohol for three weeks and throw in three days of 20-minute exercise each week and you might just be surprised at how much more energy you have to actually do some of those things you enjoy.
Only three weeks.
Throw in some fruit, some smoothies and a few salads — we might just have to slap a sticker on you and call you energized.
Kristin Fraser, BSc, is a registered holistic nutritionist and local freelance writer. Her column appears every second Wednesday. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.