Do you faithfully begin your day with a cup of coffee? Statistics say over 2 billion cups of coffee are consumed worldwide each day, so chances are, you're a coffee drinker. Sometimes it feels like the only way to add some pep in your step is to fill up your mug with some fresh coffee, doesn't it?
A cup of coffee isn't a bad thing, but having an arsenal of ways to boost your energy without caffeine is beneficial, so here are some ways to do just that...
1. See the sunshine
Pop open your curtains and let the sunshine light up your mood. This is especially helpful if you have seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and can help to reset your biological clock. Let the sunshine in while you get ready for work, and you’ll find you have a much sunnier disposition.
2. Try rosemary
Rosemary essential oil has been shown to help boost brain function. On top of that, it smells delightful. Diffuse rosemary frequently and allow the aroma to infuse your home to feel more positive and alert. For more info on this amazing oil, check it out here.
3. Have a protein-rich beginning
A breakfast that is rich in protein is going to give you that jumpstart you need. Protein controls your blood glucose levels so get those on an even keel before you even head out the door.
4. Turn up the music
Maybe there is something to singing in the shower while you get ready. It helps liven you up and boost your spirits all in one! Make a playlist on your phone of your favorite songs that amp you up, and listen to it during your morning routine.
5. Try the Breath of Fire
In the practice of kundalini yoga, there’s a technique called Breath of Fire. It involves taking short, fast breaths in through your nose while contracting your diaphragm. It gets your heart rate up and gets the blood flowing.
6. Drink some water
Especially in the morning, water is excellent for cleansing away toxins and waking up our organs. More water means less dehydration, something that can sap your energy fast. For even more of a boost, add lemon to your water for more flavor and a dash of vitamin C.
7. Check in with your eating habits
What we eat has a significant impact on our energy. If you tend to eat large meals that take a lot of effort to digest, you can feel weighed down and sluggish afterward. Lighten things up by eating a lighter lunch and breaking your meals up throughout the day to keep you feeling sustained.
The next time you feel like your energy is tapering off, try one of these caffeine-free ways to stimulate your mind and body and get that energy flowing! Which one are you going to try next time you need a perk up?
What's your typical way of boosting your energy?
Hit reply and let me know what you’re excited about trying for a boost of energy.
Let's continue this conversation over in my new facebook group, Being Whole; I'd love to have you join us!
The world of food can be so confusing at times. There was a time when it was clear what food was - it came directly from nature - whether foraging, hunting, or farming.
Now there are so many things we eat that don't resemble a natural food.
Michael Pollan has a famous quote, he said, "Eat Food - Not too much - Mostly Plants".
And in his famous book, In Defense of Food, he defines what food should be. He says, "Don't eat anything your great-great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food."
And, we can all agree that some things are obviously not recognizable by our great-great-grandmothers: candy bars, fast food, and sports drinks.
We can also say that many of the common health issues we face today: heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, cavities, etc. didn't exist at anywhere near the rates before industrially processed foods became available.
But, where do we draw the line? How do we define processed? How processed is processed? And what the heck is ultra-processed?
Allow me to let you in on the internationally recognized classification system. And we’re going to go through it step-by-step with an apple.
According to NOVA, a tool for nutrition and public health research, policy and action,
the official definition of unprocessed or natural foods is:
"The edible parts of plants (seeds, fruits, leaves, stems, roots) or of animals (muscle, offal, eggs, milk), and also fungi, algae, and water, after separation from nature."
This is like eating a whole apple right off the tree - clearly unprocessed.
Minimally processed foods are:
"natural foods altered by processes such as removal of inedible or unwanted parts, drying, crushing, grinding, fractioning, filtering, roasting, boiling, pasteurization, refrigeration, freezing, placing in containers, vacuum packaging, or nonalcoholic fermentation. None of these processes adds substances such as salt, sugar, oils or fats to the original food."
So, with our apple example, once you cut the apple's core out and put the slices into a container to bring with you for your afternoon snack, you are processing it - minimally. You can even peel and boil that chopped apple to make applesauce. And, as long as you don't add anything else (like cinnamon), it's still considered minimally processed.
Processed foods, on the other hand, are relatively simple products made by adding sugar, oil, salt or other processed ingredients to unprocessed foods.
"Most processed foods have two or three ingredients. Processes include various preservation or cooking methods, and, in the case of bread and cheese, non-alcoholic fermentation. The main purpose of the manufacture of processed foods is to increase the durability of unprocessed foods, or to modify or enhance their sensory qualities."
So, if you take that applesauce, add cinnamon, and/or use it in a recipe, you technically have processed the apple.
This can still be a healthy choice, as you'll see in the next definition of ultra-processed.
Here's where things get interesting and scary!
Ultra-processed foods are:
"Industrial formulations typically with five or more and usually many ingredients. Such ingredients often include those also used in processed foods, such as sugar, oils, fats, salt, anti-oxidants, stabilizers, and preservatives. Ingredients only found in ultra-processed products include substances not commonly used in culinary preparations, and additives whose purpose is to imitate sensory qualities of [unprocessed] foods ... or to disguise undesirable sensory qualities of the final product. [Unprocessed] foods are a small proportion of or are even absent from ultra-processed products."
So, pre-packaged apple strudel with a long shelf life is very much an ultra-processed food. If you took a look at the ingredient list of pre-packaged apple strudel (one with a long shelf life), you would see added sugars, oils, preservatives, and flavor enhancers. And we can argue that the healthy apple is a small (very small) proportion of the strudel.
There is a clear delineation between unprocessed (the apple) and ultra-processed (the pre-packaged strudel with a long shelf life) foods. An apple is nowhere near what a mass produced apple strudel is. But, there are a couple of different categories in between these - namely minimally processed and processed.
It’s clear that unprocessed (apple) and minimally processed (plain applesauce) foods are almost always quite healthy and nutritious. It's also clear that ultra-processed food is not so healthy.
Now that you know the definitions of these foods, I think you'll agree with me that the commonly used term processed is often referring to the industrial ultra-processing of foods.
I’d love to hear your thought on these definitions. Let me know in the comments below.
Recipe (minimally processed): Slow-Cooker Applesauce
4 lbs apples, washed and chopped
¾ cup water
Place apples and water in a large pot.
Bring to a boil and simmer until apples are soft about 20 minutes.
Blend or mash the apples into desired consistency.
Serve & enjoy!
Tip: Add some cinnamon for extra flavor and use the applesauce to make overnight oats.
We all have to learn how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. But we rarely do because it’s so much easier to seek what’s familiar and safe. We sniff a hint of uneasiness and we run as fast as we can - it’s the major reason why we find it so hard to change our habits. Feeling inconvenience makes our hearts pound, our palms get sweaty and our stomach does somersaults.
Whenever we find ourselves in this position we disguise our discomfort by picking up negative habits which rarely succeed at getting rid of it. They can range from binge eating, drugs, alcohol, and other kinds of addictions and abusive behavior.
But when you befriend your unease, you empower yourself with one of the most essential survival skills you can have. It doesn’t come naturally, and it can be a bit overwhelming, you have to work at it to achieve it.
It’s not easy and definitely scary, but very worth it. It’s in that area of discomfort where you find out what you’re made of. You become tougher and more experienced. You hold on, weather the storm, knowing that it’s temporary but it’ll shape you into the person who you’ve always wanted to become but never knew how. You also have to realize that it’s a long-term plan for you to grow and gain clarity.
Pushing boundaries, breaking limits - that’s when you grow as an individual and begin finding new possibilities to help you reach your true potential. It’s when you’re uncomfortable that you actually test your character and resilience. But when you’re on a journey of self-discovery, it’s normal to face some bumpy times emotionally. That’s why it’s important to work on boosting your self-confidence because you’re the only one who can get rid of your fear and stand strong in the face of turbulence.
You can’t always have a clear picture of your master plan, sometimes you just have to take that leap of faith and trust yourself to deal with the outcome no matter what.
And it’s when you push past your comfort zone that your creative juices start flowing and can create new ideas. Putting yourself out there and feeling self-conscious can be frightening, yet also dynamic and intoxicating.
There are many things you can do to allow yourself to embrace discomfort and use it to your advantage.
· Write about it. Putting your ideas down on paper eases their hold on you so that you control your fears, not the other way around. It’s a great way to organize your thoughts and feelings. And you gain fresh perspective when it comes time to make that decision you’ve been paralyzed with fear over.
· Find support. You can go to a support group or seek therapy, talk to a trusted friend or family member. Knowing that you’re not alone, that there are others who feel the same fears and doubts, makes it easier to face. You are never really truly alone.
· Meditate. Take deep breaths, close your eyes and try to clear your mind. The act of steady breathing alone has proven to decrease stress hormone levels and bring a calm inner strength. If you prefer movement to sitting down, go for a walk. Research shows that fresh air coupled with a healthy dose of sunshine clears the cobwebs and bolsters your resolve.
· Get a massage. Human touch plus the detoxifying effect of the actual massage will definitely put things into perspective. It releases ‘happy hormones’ which fight against the harmful effects of stress, thus helping you realize that any hard times will pass and that you can come out on the other end that much stronger for it.
· Find inspiration. Pick some quotes that inspire you, write them down and put them somewhere where you can easily see them. Knowing other people have gone through similar experiences and have lived to tell about it will give you that push you need to keep going.
· Track your progress. Revel in how far you’ve come. You’re a changed person and you should be proud of all you’ve accomplished. It can help you build up your confidence even more by seeing how strong you are. Then, ultimately, reward yourself for all your hard work - you’ve earned it!
Once you master how to become comfortable with being uncomfortable, you can pretty much master anything in life.