It’s True: Diet Coke, sugary soft drinks, and popular energy drinks can give you a temporary boost of energy… So can a cup of Joe with sugar or an artificial sweetener (yikes).
…But none of those give you REAL energy.
These hyper-stimulating substances give you the ILLUSION of energy. Your mind may race and your heart beats a little faster. As you know, it’s common to feel a rush of what seems like real energy, but the feeling is followed by an “energy crash.”
In fact, frequent consumption of these beverages can hijack – and then damage or even destroy – the cells of your brain and nervous system, perhaps even causing you to gain weight. And guess what, many of them are intentionally designed by the food and beverage industry to create powerful addictions to these “food-like” products.
You know there’s a price to pay for those poor choices. Avoid these two energy depleting offenders at all costs:
Energy Depleter #1: Excitotoxins
Are excitotoxins sapping your energy right now?
Certain popular energy drinks (and diet sodas) contain harmful substances known as excitotoxins. The two most common are aspartame and monosodium glutamate (MSG). Dr. Russell Blaylock explained in his book, Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills, that more and more diseases of the nervous system are being linked to excitotoxin build-up in the brain. trokes, sleep disorders, brain injury, hypoxic brain damage, seizures, headaches, migraines, hypoglycemic brain damage, and even AIDS dementia have been linked to excitotoxic damage.
Energy Depleter #2: Artificial Sweeteners
Is that “healthy” artificial sweetener you mix into your iced tea making you fat?
Another downside to artificial sweeteners is that they may hinder your efforts to lose weight – and may contribute to your risk of developing insulin resistance. A recent review considers the regular, long-term consumption of low dose, low calorie sweeteners as one class of dietary additives known to influence the gut microbiota and potentially predispose susceptible individuals to insulin resistance -. Disruption in the gut microbiota is now recognized as an active contributor to the development of obesity and insulin resistance.
Trust Mother Nature.
Energy comes from the nutrients contained in food, designed by Mother Nature herself – just for you. These nutritional compounds are used as fuel, act as cofactors in metabolic functions, and scavenge free radicals. Free radicals cause oxidation. Oxidation is similar to the process of rusting. Slowing oxidation is a great anti-aging strategy. So, where can you find these natural powerhouses?
Here are 5 of my favorite energy boosting nutrients:
Energy Booster #1: Water
I’ve listed water first because it is a requirement for bodily functions. It aids in digestion, controls body temperature, and is a medium for metabolic processes, including the production of energy. Your body cannot produce its own water, so you must consume it. Water has no calories (energy), so it does not directly give your body energy. Drink frequently throughout the day, because being well-hydrated is necessary for optimal brain function and alertness. Your brain needs to be alert if you hope to get things done!
You know you must drink Purified Water. I highly recommend investing in a reverse osmosis (RO) filter for your kitchen sink. Drink from glass or stainless steel containers whenever possible. Avoid plastic bottles, which contain the health damaging chemical BPA. BPA (Bisphenol A) is one of many man-made chemicals classified as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), which alter the healthy functioning of the endocrine system by mimicking or imitating the role of the body’s natural hormones.
I have a couple of beautiful pitchers and a carafe that I use exclusively for making a daily “brew” of herbal tea. It’s easy, no brewing necessary. Simply fill your container with purified water and put a few tea bags in, then place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. I love Wild Berry Zinger by Celestial Seasonings. In my 1-liter carafe, I use 2 or 3 tea bags.
Energy Booster #2: Spinach
Not just for Popeye! Spinach is full of vitamins and nutrients such as Iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamins B6 and B12, betaine, and folate. There’s a ton of fiber in a serving of spinach. If perhaps you just have a personal aversion to spinach… All leafy greens are great! Go on a leafy green tasting adventure. Try Swiss chard (Oprah’s favorite), mustard greens, collards, bok choy, escarole, kale, watercress, dandelion, turnip, or beet greens. Enhance the flavor with freshly grated nutmeg (just a skosh), and then crumble some crispy bacon on top. I LOVE my greens with eggs. I like to sautée greens (in ghee or coconut oil) and then top with chopped hard boiled eggs – or nestle a soft boiled egg on top.
Energy Booster #3: Coconut Milk
If you haven’t tried it, you must! Coconut milk contains a beneficial fat called lauric acid. It is a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT), which is easily absorbed by the body and used as a source of energy. MCTs have been shown to help maintain a healthy weight, raise your metabolic function, and aid in reducing stored body fat. It can improve digestion, mood, and even help balance hormones. You’ll need to use full fat coconut milk to reap the benefits. My favorite way to enjoy coconut milk is in Asian cooking. You can Google plenty of good recipes. When I lived in Guam, I was introduced to an authentic Thai dish called Gaeng Khiao Wan Gai (Green Chicken Curry). I love to make it every now and then. If you’re not up for trying this dish, hang in there. I have a simple, tasty recipe that contains coconut milk coming up just for you.
Energy Booster #4: Blueberries
The deep blue hue of a blueberry isn’t just what makes them beautiful. The color is due to its concentrated amount of a phytonutrient (plant-derived nutrition) called anthocyanidin, a powerful antioxidant. Consumption of blueberries can help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Did you know that free radicals cause accelerated aging of the skin? Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals, so blueberries are great for glowing skin. Eat them with nuts and coconut milk!
Energy Booster #5: Cinnamon
Studies have proven that cinnamon can help lower blood sugar levels, so it qualifies as a nutrient that can help in your efforts to lose weight (or maintain a healthy weight). It’s an antioxidant, it has anti-inflammatory properties, and it’s antimicrobial. Those 3 benefits make it a wonderful spice to use on your skin. Mix with honey (preferably from a local source) and apply to your face. In certain cultures, this spice is believed to improve libido, so sprinkle away.
Okay, you’re a busy woman. I get that, and you may not be like me – someone who actually loves to cook (and EAT). So, I’m about to make your life simpler. Are you game?
Guess how you can EASILY incorporate all 5 of these foods into your diet every day?
Grab your blender.
Here’s an easy-to-make Energizing Smoothie Recipe.
It’s potent and tasty, a powerhouse of nutrient-dense ingredients: blueberries, coconut milk, spinach, and cinnamon. It’s the perfect drink to get your Moxie going!
- ½ cup fresh or frozen organic blueberries
- ½ cup full fat organic coconut milk
- I purchase Nature’s Forest brand from Amazon (by the case!)
- 1 cup fresh organic baby spinach
- baby spinach is more tender, and I believe has a milder taste
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- ½ cup purified water
- A few ice cubes
- Place all ingredients into blender and mix until smooth. Adjust the amount of water and ice to arrive at a consistency you like. Enjoy!
- Instead of blueberries, feel free to use strawberries, blackberries, or raspberries.
- Substitute any organic leafy green. Kale is popular, and has amazing nutritional value, but the taste is a bit stronger, and perhaps more bitter than spinach.
Add Protein to create a macronutrient balanced meal or snack:
- Enjoy your Smoothie with a separate source of protein, such as a hard boiled or deviled egg, sliced deli meat, or some jerky.
- Add a scoop of high-quality protein powder to your Smoothie. (***see resources below)
So, how can you pry yourself from the grips of these enslaving, “fake” energy boosting substances?
Choose to Love Your Body…. even if just for a day.
When you wake up tomorrow, forego your habitual, go-to stimulating beverage. Instead, substitute with this energy-boosting Smoothie. It’s a natural way to amp up your Moxie.
And maybe you won’t go back to your old habitual ways. Let me know how it goes…
***A few types of the Protein Powders I have used, available on Amazon (I receive no compensation):
- Great Lakes Gelatin, Paleo Collagen Hydrolysate, Collagen Peptides, Grass-Fed, Non GMO
- Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein, Hi-Fiber
- Any non-GMO, organic pea protein powder
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26742071 Polyphenols and glycemic control.
- https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150226084425.htm Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals costs EU billions annually
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27090230 Reshaping the gut microbiota: Impact of low calorie sweeteners and the link to insulin resistance?