7 Tips to Increase Energy Naturally

I often get asked the question “How do I get more energy?”  In an age where we tend to work long hours even when away from the office, we find it hard to power down and give our bodies the rest it deserves. In fact a recent survey showed employees spend an extra 7 hours working on mobile devices outside of regular work hours.   This non-stop, always-tuned-in behavior can leave us feeling tired, irritated, and lightweight depressed all before 12 noon! If this sounds like you, then this article should help you get your mojo back — without dependency on coffee or other addictive stimulants.

1. Protein Power

Protein should be eaten at every meal for multiple reasons.  For one, without protein, blood sugar can spike and drop quickly leaving you with cravings for sugar at 3pm in the afternoon. No wonder why you keep making trips to the 5Bucks across the street. Save your money and skip the sugar crash by eating 20-30g of protein per meal and 10-15g per snack. Pair protein with healthy fats and starches for the ultimate energy boost.  Try these protein-packed lunch ideas.

2. Exercise

Get active if you want to boost your energy. It may sound counter-intuitive but studies show that exercise boosts energy levels in even those who suffer from chronic fatigue issues.  Exercise gets the blood pumping and boosts endorphins, the “feel good” hormones.  If you are sedentary  start moving by walking 15-30 minutes  during lunch breaks.  Any bit of activity will help with energy and clear brain fog. Need exercise ideas?  Try here.

3. Don’t Go Hungry

The fastest way to get the energy knocked from you is to go hungry for too long.  I’ve known people who refrain from eating all day and when they get home from work, they are ravenous and irritable. They end up eating waayyy more than they should because the body is trying to make up for the starvation it incurred earlier.  This is how people gain weight: starving themselves therefore slowing metabolism.   Don’t let this be you.  Start your mornings by eating something even if just a cup of herbal tea and boiled egg. By eating before hunger strikes, blood sugar will level out thus stabilizing energy and boosting mood.  Not to mention, metabolism will increase thus helping with weight loss. Try to eat every 3-4 hours to get ahead of hunger.

4. Refrain from Coffee

So many of you think that coffee is the way to gain magical energy.  Sadly it is not a quick-fixer and in fact can cause major adrenal fatigue issues for those whose bodies are sensitive to the affects of caffeine. Not only that, but coffee energizes you than deflates you about 3-5 hours after. Hence why many people drink multiple cups per day — to keep the high going.  Coffee also affects your sleep in the worst way causing restlessness and keeping you from entering deep, RIM sleep which leaves you groggy, tired, and reaching for that morning cup of Joe to get the day started.  Vicious cycle.

If you are addicted to coffee consider a plan to reduce your intake.  If you are looking for coffee alternatives, try black or green tea for 1/3 the caffeine + anti-oxidants.  Green tea has been shown to improve weight loss and increase brain power without the jitters.  If you apply all 7 tips you may soon learn that you don’t NEED coffee to function.  A cup here and there for exercise performance or just for the taste is totally okay as long as there is no dependence.

5. Say “NO” to Energy Drinks

Similar to coffee, energy drinks are not only addictive, they also tend to contain loads of caffeine, sugar and artificial chemicals.  These ingredients may be doing more harm than good in the long run as this article shows how energy drinks cause seizures.  The sugar content alone should be enough reason to refrain from consumption.  An 8 ounce serving of Monster Energy Drink has a whopping 27g of sugar! That’s equivalent to nearly 7 teaspoons of sugar in just that cup.  Crazy enough, Monster drinks come in 16 ounce cans.  When is the last time you drank just half a can?  Do yourself a favor and skip the sugar spikes and lows which ultimately leads to increased hunger and fat gain.

6. Drink More water & less alcohol

Alcohol is a depressant and quickly sucks the life out of you.  How many times have you woke up after a fun night of drinking feeling beat down to the bones?  Blame it on the alcohol.  Reduce alcohol intake to just 1-2 servings a few times a week or less and increase intake of water.  Not only does dehydration create false hunger pangs, it can also exacerbate fatigue.  So sip on water consistently throughout the day and limit alcohol intake to beat low energy.

7. Get More Sleep

Sleep is important to reset, recharge and rejuvenate the body to begin the next day on a high note.  For those who believe the quote, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” you may be headed toward that state sooner than you think.  Lack of sleep can cause obesity and other health ailments which can shorten one’s lifespan.  Sounds like the new mantra should be “sleep more, live longer.” Promote adequate, deep sleep by dimming down lights, powering down your computer and phone at lease one hour before bedtime.  Taking an epsom salt bath, reading, and relaxing right before bed can improve overall sleep quality.

Implement these 7 strategies to boost energy today.

What are actions you take to increase and maintain energy levels throughout the day?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

5 Foods for Beautiful Skin

“You’ve got that glow, girl!” Aww thanks, I reply with humility.

Throughout the last few years I have received countless compliments on my skin, mostly from other women who love the bright radiance characteristic of healthy skin.  Until recently, I never thought much about it, just thought I was lucky.  But as I ponder on it, it makes perfect sense:  after all, he foods you eat affects the health of your skin.  I generally eat meals containing grass-fed, pastured meats, healthy fats, and colorful vegetables.  My beverage of choice is water, herbal and green tea with the occasional glass of red wine thrown in when I’m in the festive mood.  If someone asked me “What are the top 5 foods to eat for amazingly pretty skin?” this is what I’d suggest:

1.  Salmon

Everyone who tolerates fish should make salmon and other fatty fish such as sardines, canned mackeral and tuna a part of their weekly meal menu.  Fish is a rich source of Omega-3 essential fatty acids which is a potent anti-inflammatory.  Wild-Caught Salmon FiletsIt is vital to get omega-3s in your diet because the body cannot manufacture it in the body: it obtains the omega-3s externally through the food you eat.  Get rid of scaly skin and dryness by increasing your intake of fish. Omega-3s keeps the body hydrated and keeps the skin from flaking and drying out.   Start with 2-3 servings a week.  For those of you who do not eat fish, supplement with high quality fish oil to achieve similar benefits.

For non-fishy sources of omega-3s try pastured raised grass-fed beef (the commercial variety is full of inflammatory omega-6s), omega-3 enriched eggs and walnuts.

2.  Lemon

This image shows a whole and a cut lemon.

Lemon, limes, oranges, grapefruit are chock-full of vitamin C – a powerful antioxidant that fights inflammation and slows the action of free radicals in the body which can contribute to wrinkles, dryness and fine lines.  You may feel sour at the thought of biting into a lemon, but this fruit is amazing for bringing out the flavor in foods.  Squeeze into sauteed greens to reduce bitterness, add in marinades to improve the tenderness of meats.  Also, lemon takes away that metallic taste often characteristic of tap water.  So the next time you are at a restaurant, ask your waiter for a few wedges of lemon to go with your water.

Other rich sources of vitamin C include broccoli, tomatoes, bell pepper and peaches.

3.  Avocado

Avocados are truly amazing, alligator skin and all.

“In this single delectable fruit are combined the protein of meat, the fat of butter, the vitamins and minerals of green vegetables, the flavor of nuts, a six course dinner.”

AvocadoWith such raving reviews, it is no wonder avocados are wonderful for skin health. The fruit has even been patented for treatment for dermatitis and arthritis — not surprising since it is full of fat soluble vitamins A, D, and E to help promote healthy skin. The cosmetic industry has capitalized on the value of avocado with the influx of products such as avocado oils, creams, and facial masks.  Save your money by simply eating the fruit.  You can even make your own nourishing avocado facial mask to soften and soothe skin.

4.  Pumpkin Seeds 

Pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc:  a mineral that plays a role in over 200 metabolic processes in the body!

English: Pepitas - roasted and salted

Pepitas – aka Pumkin Seeds

Zinc is touted as being a solution to acne and other skin disorders such as rashes and wounds.  Supplementation of zinc has been shown to reverse defects in immune function related to aging; a key nutrient for the elderly.  Pumpkin seeds act as a wonderful topping on salads, soups, and

yogurt. You can even add ground pumpkin seeds into the ground beef mix the next time you make hamburgers.  The kids won’t even know its in there!

Other foods rich in zinc include fresh oysters, ginger, pecans, Brazil nuts, and eggs.

5.  Sweet Potatoes

The softer, orange-fleshed variety of sweet po...

Who doesn’t love a sweet potato roasted in the oven?  I swear they taste like candy when you make them this way — without any added sugar.  Sweet potatoes –or yams — are rich in vitamin A which is important for skin repair and maintenance.  Deficiencies can result in dry, flaky skin. It is always best to get your vitamin A through foods as opposed to supplementation so try various foods including liver (one serving of liver per week is all you need!), collard greens, chili peppers, dandelion,  kale, spinach and cantaloupe.

You can eat as much of these foods above without seeing much improvement in your skin health if you do not drink enough water.  For young looking, healthy skin, drink water so that your body can clear out impurities, rejuvenate skin cells, and absorb nutrients.  Many doctors recommend 8 cups of water daily.  You may need to drink more (or less) depending on various factors.

Cheers to beautiful, healthy skin! What foods do you eat to keep your skin healthy.  Share in the comments.