Our food has a limitless supply of “energy power” that most of us barely tap into. We can all become more efficient eaters, and the purpose of this article is to provide 6 easy, practical tips for getting the most out of the fare we consume.
After each recommendation, I provide a “7 day trial” that you can implement for the next week. Try these exercises and begin to feel increased energy, greater focus and heightened awareness:
A few years ago, I attended a nutrition lecture that I will never forget. The speaker told the tale of his father, a Holocaust survivor who claims that chewing was the one activity that saved his life. Apparently, he and a few friends made a pact to chew every piece of food and drink a minimum of 150 times. No matter how small the bite or sip of water, they chewed and chewed. And they lived. Ask yourself: how often do I swallow my food almost whole, and what am I missing out by chewing more proficiently?
7 Day Trial: For the
next week, chew all of your hard food a minimum of 50 times. This is beneficial for so many reasons: it will slow you down, bring greater awareness to your eating, and also help your digestion significantly. Make chewing a habit.
2. Go for a walk after you eat
A lengthy walk after eating can do wonders for your energy. Walking stimulates digestion and encourages gravity to do its natural work. People in the U.S. wonder how Europeans can eat so much butter and fatty foods, yet be so thin. One of the reasons is that they tend to go for long walks after a meal. This one activity can vastly improve your health.
7 Day Trial: For the next week, make a point to walk at least 15 minutes after you eat. Even if you have to walk around the block 5 times, do it. Even better: take a walk with a friend, be in an open space, and enjoy the outdoors…then go back to your daily life.
3. Drink more water during the day
Most Americans, and most people around the world, are completely de-hydrated and do not even know it! Water keeps the body lubricated, so that when a meal enters the system it is ready for work. How much water should you drink? I recommend at least 4 Liters a day and it is very important to drink at least 1 liter upon waking up in the morning, as this is when you body is most de-hydrated from a long absence of water.
7 Day Trial: For the next week, drink a big glass of water first thing in the morning (before you do anything else). Also, make a point to drink at least 4 additional 12 oz bottle’s worth during the day. You will see an immediate increase in energy.
4. Limit your eating after 7pm at night
I am not sure about the rest of the world, but this is where most Americans fail. Eating late at night is unhealthy for a myriad of reasons, but predominately because it disrupts digestion. At night, the body is ready for rest, and digestion is a process that requires a lot of hard work. Eating before bed time is simply not effective, as the food just sits in the stomach and causes grogginess and lack of energy the next day.
7 Day Trial: For the next week, do NOT eat anything past 7pm. You might be surprised how difficult this is, but I can assure you that you will a) sleep better and 2) experience a tremendous increase in energy.
5. Start your day with high protein breakfast
Simple carbs release sugar in the body at a faster rate than complex carbs, fats, and protein, and give the body an immediate “up” feeling. But it is short-lived, and if you are in the habit of a high carb breakfast you are constantly fighting a battle for energy during the day. Start the day off more balanced, and ingest a whole-grain cereal, eggs, or even an incredible nutritious health shake.
7 Day Trial: For the next week, eat NO carbs in the morning. Also limit, or stop completely, caffeine intake. You might feel drowsy for the first few days…realize this feeling is literally a withdrawal from a bad habit. Stay with it, and fill your body with complex carbs and protein to start your day.
6. Create the habit of Cardiovascular workouts
A minimum of 30 minutes of cardio workout, at least 4 times a week is a fantastic way to get the most energy out of your food. Regular cardiovascular exercise optimizes your food intake, and helps create vitality, resilience and health. Food is energy, and exercise is a mechanism for purposefully creating the
flow of energy in your body.
7 Day Trial: For the next week, force yourself to get in at least 120 minutes of cardio (not straight though). This is especially necessary in the winter, when many of us become “lazy” and do not want to go outside, or go to a gym and exercise. However, if you want to get the most from your food, exercise is a necessary component.
TRY these exercises. They are simple, and can provide you unbound energy from the food you consume!