Complaints of fatigue have become more and more common in my practice. And while a constant lack of energy can be a sign of a more serious medical issue, I think that for most people, the desire to crawl under your desk and nap mid-afternoon stems from your diet more often than anything else.
Food is our fuel. Think of your body as a sports car that you only want to fill up with super premium fuel, so it runs flawlessly and efficiently. If you start putting in a low-grade fuel, the car will still run, but you’ll get worse mileage and subpar performance.
It’s the same with your body.
When we fuel our body with low grade fuel, such as caffeine or sugar, it puts us on a roller coaster of high and low energy. We get a burst of energy right after consuming, but within hours we crash and have to drag our body to the nearest coffee shop or vending machine for resuscitation. We turn to these foods to give us energy, but the truth is, they are the things ultimately zapping it!
If you’ve found yourself caught on this never-ending ride, hit the brakes by weaning yourself off your stimulant of choice. Replace coffee with a non-caffeinated beverage, like chicory root coffee or a fruit smoothie. For the smoothie, make sure it includes chia seeds, maca, or goji berries, all of which support long-lasting energy.
I promise you, replacing coffee with these natural energy foods will lead to more energy, not less.
If you turn to sugar when you’re feeling tired, swap sugary treats and energy drinks for nature’s candy: fruit. Eat it on its own, or blend into a smoothie, and you’ll get the boost of energy you desire, without the blood sugar spike and crash of refined sugar.
Another type of “low-grade fuel” is anything that your body is allergic or sensitive to. Take notice of when the fatigue hits. If you get sleepy after eating certain foods, you likely have a food intolerance. Try eliminating the trigger food or foods completely for at least two weeks, and see if that makes a difference. Gluten is a common culprit here.
With my clients, I’ve found that eliminating one or all three of these culprits—sugar, caffeine, or allergenic food—is enough to give them back their vigor and enable them to get through an entire day without any external assistance, or naptime.
Additionally, water is the best all natural energy drink you’ll find, as fatigue can be an early symptom of dehydration. Women should aim for 9 cups a day, and men, 10 cups.
What are some of your favorite ways to naturally boost your energy? Have you improved your energy by making one of these switches?