Let's be honest, coffee is practically a lifeline for a good chunk of the population. But are you really doing yourself any favours in the long run?
“Don't talk to me until I've had at least 2 cups of coffee,” is the morning mantra held by most of the population. I'm sure many of you can relate to that bleary-eyed, zombie-like state before that magical black elixir brings you back to life.
But as much as you may rely on that daily jolt of caffeine, it's important to ask yourself why that is. Is reliance on artificial energy sources like coffee (or energy drinks, cola or prescriptions) really the best way to kickstart your day, or is there a healthier more natural approach to get that energy?
Let's unpack and explore artificial energy versus the power of food, how natural fuel can create hormonal balance and stabilize blood sugar, which naturally turns on metabolism, which in turn increases and sustains energy levels. It also allows your body to release stored fat, which is never a bad thing.
That warm cup of liquid motivation might do wonders in the short term—hence the huge lineups at Starbucks and Tim Hortons first thing in the morning—but are really helping? By the way, those lines do come back mid-afternoon.
Caffeine provides that instant pick-me-up, but it's often followed by a crash. You know that feeling, you're buzzing with energy one moment, and the next you're crashing, yawning at your desk, feeling drained and reaching for another cup to stay afloat until it's time to go home. The cycle starts again the next day, leaving you forever dependent on the next cup o' joe.
It's not just coffee. The world is rife with artificial energy sources – energy drinks, sugary snacks and even prescription medications. While they can give you a temporary boost, they often wreak havoc on your gut, along with your hormones and blood sugar levels, creating a rollercoaster of spikes and crashes throughout the day.
So, what if we could harness the power of food to stabilize your body, giving you the energy you want and need naturally and consistently?
When you put the foods you love together in the right portions and right frequency throughout the day, you're creating hormonal balance and stabilizing blood sugar. It's all about choosing the right foods that nourish your body and keep your hormones in harmony. Hormones play a crucial role in our energy levels. Insulin, for example, is a hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar. When we choose whole, clean, single-ingredient proteins, fats and carbohydrates together frequently throughout the day you will maintain steady blood sugar levels. Stable blood sugar means balanced hormones, increased metabolism, more energy, weight loss, better sleep, optimized immune system, and more.
By prioritizing clean, single-ingredient foods, avoiding processed, sugary options, and focusing on creating health rather than artificially trying to boost one thing, we can maintain hormonal equilibrium and have all the energy you need to not only get through your day but to have some left over for your family, hobbies, etc., when your work day is done.
Food is always your foundation, but we can't overlook the importance of water and staying hydrated. Every function your body and brain does requires water. Dehydration can zap your energy and make you feel lethargic. Opt for water, herbal teas or infused water to stay well hydrated throughout the day. Hydration goes hand-in-hand with a balanced meal plan to maintain optimal hormonal balance and blood sugar levels.
Physical activity also plays a pivotal role in enhancing energy levels. Regular exercise releases endorphins, which are known as the body's natural mood lifters. Even a short walk during your lunch break can interrupt the stress of the day, invigorate you and boost productivity.
So, there you have it. The battle between artificial energy sources and the incredible power of eating for hormonal balance and stablizing blood sugar.
Am I suggesting never having coffee again? Not at all. Just know that relying solely on caffeine or other stimulants is a short-term solution that can leave you feeling drained and dependent.
If you love the flavour and the whole warm-mug-in-the-morning thing is part of your morning routine, have it with a breakfast of say, eggs and fruit, something that includes protein. Not a breakfast eater? Add a scoop of good quality vanilla protein powder to your to-go mug for a latte that not only tastes amazing but you'll start the day nourished, balanced, and energized.
Having the odd cup because you love the flavour is vastly different from needing it in order to function on a daily basis.
By prioritizing clean proteins, healthy fats, and a variety of fruits and vegetables, avoiding the processed stuff and by staying well-hydrated, you can maintain a steady level of energy throughout the day. Coupled with small, frequent meals and intentional daily movement, you can truly transform your approach to energy, leaving the need for those two cups of coffee in the rearview mirror.
So, next time you feel the need for an energy boost, think about the long-lasting benefits of eating for energy and health, and maybe, just maybe, you'll find yourself saying, "Don't talk to me until I've had my balanced breakfast…”
Learn how to eat for balance and energy and still enjoy the holidays without dieting. Watch Tania's free video.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.