Happy Herbivore Blog

September 15, 2011

Green Energy (Healthy, Natural Ways to Stay Awake, Alert & Beat the Slump)

A reader recently asked me; “How can you keep energy levels up in a healthy way? (Instead of energy drinks, etc). You are a POWERHOUSE!”

When this question came in, and I read it out loud, Andrea & I started giggling--not at the question but at the thought of me cracked out on an energy drink. I have far too much energy naturally (Andrea gripes that I’m an evil “morning person” because I roll out of bed saying “hello morning!” with a sunny disposition).

Point is, I’m always perky and bouncing off the wall. The thought of giving me a stimulant is terrifying. I’d end up like Lily Bean the one time gave her watermelon and she started running frantically around the kitchen table to amuse herself.

If I drink coffee, I get so wired and jittery that I feel compelled to go out and run a marathon. It’s true. I should really test that sometime.

Was I always this energetic? Hell no. I used to drink 10 cups of coffee a day and I still felt like a zombie.

What changed? My diet.

When I switched to a plant-based (vegan) diet that was also centered around whole foods, I noticed huge surges in my energy levels. It was a real lesson that food is fuel. The better the fuel, the better my body operates. It’s just that simple.

If I need a kick in the pants, I eat a big salad which is always really energizing for me. I started eating salads at lunch time about a month ago as way to ensure I’m getting variety and plenty of greens in my diet... an added bonus? I no-longer experienced energy lulls in the afternoon. It was as if my salad recharged my batteries and powered me through the afternoon.

If I’m really dragging I go for a green juice, which energizes me in a way coffee never could. Green smoothies (like HH’s Green Goddess Smoothie) are also energizing for me, which is why I like to have them first thing in the morning. They really help keep me focused and awake. I do wake up bright-eyed and bushy tailed, but sometimes my head is still a little foggy. My smoothies erase that.

Scott, meanwhile, swears by fruit. Anytime he starts to feel tired or he needs a boost of energy -- he grabs a piece of fruit. Sometimes fresh, sometimes dried (if he’s at work) -- he swears by it. “Fruit will pick you up immediately. It’s shocking how fast it will energize you.” He says.

Andrea, meanwhile, recently realized that the reason she was a bit slow in the mornings, and sometimes dragged in the afternoon, was because she wasn’t getting enough sleep at night. One morning she woke up bright eyed like me and said “I slept really well. I feel great. I need to go to the gym at night more often. It helps me fall asleep fast and sleep more soundly. I think a lot of my fatigue was from not enough sleep.”

It’s true. I can’t stress how important rest is enough. Getting a good night’s sleep sets the tone for your energy levels the next day.

So to summarize this post -- instead of coffee or an energy drink:

* Green Smoothies
 * Green Juice
 * Salad
* Fresh Fruit
* Plenty of sleep at night.
* Regular exercise.

Do you have any healthy tips for beating the energy blues?

blog comments powered by Disqus