Friday, February 17, 2012

8 Ways to Maximize Your Energy + 2 Quasi-Recipes

I recently had the pleasure of teaching a six-week wellness workshop.  We talked about ways to maximize what I call “broad-spectrum wellness”—wellness that encompasses your mind, body, spirit, and interpersonal relationships—in order to achieve concrete goals.  Since achieving anything is so much more difficult when you’re feeling sluggish and foggy, I put together a list of quick energy boosters.  Enjoy! 
8 Ways to Maximize Your Energy
1.      Eliminate (OK, or reduce) refined sugar from your diet.  Yes, it sucks at first.  It is like quitting smoking.  But you will be amazed at how much different you feel after even a few days.  And then you can add small amounts back in.  Use raw honey or agave syrup as sweeteners (in moderation).
2.      While you’re at it, try to avoid refined starches, fried foods, and alcohol.
3.      Load up on fruits, vegetables, raw nuts, avocados, and lean proteins.  These are energy foods—and maybe nothing is more energizing than fresh fruit or vegetable juices.
4.      Drink. Dehydration makes you groggy and slow!  Try herbal or decaffeinated teas (limit caffeine), Fancy Water (see below), fresh fruit and vegetable juices (not bottled, pasteurized ones), and Lemon Tonic (see below). 
5.      Nurture yourself.  One of the most nurturing things you can do is surround yourself with people who respect and care for you.  But also, take time for yourself.  Make your own well-being a priority.
6.      Exercise every single day.  Even—or especially—when you don’t feel like it.
7.      Play.  All work and no play makes Jane a dull girl.  Play—however you conceive it—recharges your batteries and motivates you to carry on through the less fun but necessary tasks of life.
8.      Sleep.  A lot.  Sleep is almost always the first thing people skimp on when they’re pressed for time, and this is a fool’s game.  Sleep is when your body quite literally rebuilds itself.  It is when your brain converts experience to memory, and the subconscious tries to work out the complications in your life by way of dreams.  Sleep deprivation decreases your immune function and increases your body’s production of stress hormones.  It also impedes your ability to lose weight.  You must sleep.

Fancy Water
This is just water given the spa treatment.  Fill a pitcher with cold filtered water.  Add any of the following:
Sliced citrus fruits (kumquats are really great, here)
Sliced apples
Herb sprigs (like mint, lemon verbena, lavender, rosemary, sage)
Sliced cucumbers
Slices of fresh ginger
Cinnamon sticks
Cloves (go easy on these—potent!)
Whole berries
Serve in nice glasses and drink lots of it.

Lemon Tonic
This is an old-timey cure for what ails you, traditionally often made with raw cider vinegar, which some people swear “flushes fat”.
1 glass warm filtered water (can also be made with green tea)
Juice of 1 lemon or 1 T organic raw cider vinegar
Cayenne pepper to taste
1 T. raw honey
Crushed raw ginger (optional)
Combine all ingredients and stir to dissolve honey.  Drink warm or over ice.

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