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Feeling fatigued? Why not reach for an energy drink, dark chocolate bar or get your favorite comfort food delivered? The indulgence may be wonderfully satisfying, but that feeling, unfortunately, is short-lived…
Energy boosters can stimulate surges of energy, but in the process, deeply exhaust the body. Sadly, each time the energy surges in the wake of a double espresso, it will crash into deeper depths. To dig itself out of the depths, the brain seeks an even stronger stimulant.
With a million Americans suffering from low energy, and many more complaining of always feeling tired, this is not a small problem. (1) To find a source of lasting energy, we must address the underlying cause of tiredness.
Below are 10 Ayurvedic secrets to unearthing pure energy and contentment, without the stimulants.
#1: Test your Energy Aid
As a result of stimulating the nervous system to cultivate energy, it doesn’t actually have, the adrenals and other energy-producing centers of the body become depleted. There are many energy drinks and supplements on the market that promise to supply you with never-ending energy, “without the crash.”
Here is my “acid test” to determine if the energy aid is paying back energy debt or incurring more:
A healthy energy aid should be capable of boosting energy in the morning, and if taken before bed, it should allow for restful sleep – the goal should be rejuvenation, not stimulation. If you take the energy aid at night and it wires you and disturbs your sleep, it is a stimulant in disguise. These types of products will slowly deplete your reserves and, over time, take tolls on your energy, sleep, mood and focus.
Here are my favorite energy aids that can be taken in the AM for energy, as well as before bed for a good night’s sleep:
#2: Pay Back Energy Debt with Rejuvenative Herbs and by Building Ojas
In Ayurveda, the best way to pay back energy debt is to build “ojas.” Ojas is best translated as “vitality,” and is the most refined component of digestion. Ojas builds immunity, energy, virility, radiant complexion and a joyful and loving temperament.
While in the west we think of the digestive process lasting about 4 hours, according to Ayurveda, it lasts 30 days and ojas is the final product. There are certain herbs, activities, and foods to help boost the production of ojas.
- Bonding with another person or loved one
- True love – giving yourself fully to your partner
- Caring for others
- Giving unconditionally without expectations
While ojas has not been identified by western science yet, many believe that ojas is actually the hormone, oxytocin. Oxytocin is the bonding hormone that is secreted by the mother, the baby and even the father during childbirth. This hormone bonds the family for life. It is produced when you give, love, bond, touch and care for others. But there is a catch – you must do these things unconditionally, with no needs or expectations.
- Raw honey
- Organic non-homogenized, vat-pasteurized or raw milk
Make an Ojas-Building Drink for Healthy Sleep and Energy
At LifeSpa, we call this drink the “Ojas Nightly Tonic.” An organic 30-day supply can be found in our online shop.
Here is the simplified recipe: Take 1/4 teaspoon each of ghee, dates, almonds, coconut flakes and saffron and bring to a boil in milk. Add raw honey and drink in the morning and before bed.
Note: All of these ingredients have been well-studied to provide healthy sources of sustainable energy.
Try our Golden Moon Milk Recipe
#3: Get Off the Roller Coaster
In 1980, the government began subsidizing farmers to grow wheat and corn in an attempt to eradicate hunger. Back then, no one knew that wheat and corn would be processed in such a way that they would be even worse for you than white table sugar. The result is a population with blood sugar concerns of epidemic levels, the inability to burn fat and an insatiable desire for sweets.
The way to break this cycle is to force the body to burn fat as a source of fuel – the way the body was designed. There are two main sources of fuel in the body: sugar (carbs) and fat. While the government was funding bread sales at less than a buck a loaf, we were also told that fats were bad. Without healthy fats in the diet to stabilize energy, and with an abundance of cheap bread and corn products on the market, blood sugar levels became unstable. Energy levels soared and crashed incessantly until yesterday’s complaints of hypoglycemia became today’s pre-diabetes and extreme fatigue epidemics.
#4: Reset Fat Burning Ayurveda-style and Get Your Energy Back!
Americans have lost their ability to burn fat. Inundated with added sugars in almost every product on the shelves, our bodies have adapted to burn sugar as our energy supply, when fat is our body’s preferred energy source!
Of course, both work in the body as fuel – but fat is way more efficient and long-lasting compared to sugar. Sugar is quickly depleted in the body, and can leave the body over-stimulated, exhausted, craving, and storing unused sugar as fat. Basically, we need to train our bodies to start burning fat instead of sugar. We can do so by changing our eating habits with the goal of avoiding spikes in blood sugar by implementing the fat-burning suggestions below.
A good night’s sleep may be one of the best ways to lose weight and reset fat burning which, in turn, delivers long-lasting, stable energy. According to numerous studies, not getting enough sleep is an independent risk factor for weight gain. (4)
#5. Eat Three Meals a Day with No Snacks
Eating three meals per day burns fat in between each meal and through the night, which we are designed to do.
- Don’t eat late at night – studies show the later you eat, the harder it is to lose weight. One study showed that you lose 25% more weight if you eat a breakfast and lunch, instead of a lunch and supper. (2,3)
- Make lunch a bigger meal – studies show we digest better in the middle of the day (and this is traditional around the world). (2,3)
- Stop snacking – studies show we eat 100% more food than we need. Have nothing but water between meals to force fat burning and achieve stable energy.
- Our bodies are 60-80% water. It is essential to deliver energy to the cells, reset fat burning, boost energy and lose weight. (7)
- Sip hot water the best you can throughout the day.
- Drink half your body weight in ounces a day.
#7. Boost Digestion
- Drink 8-12oz of water 15-30 minutes before food to pre-hydrate the stomach and fire up digestion.
- Take cumin, coriander, fennel, ginger, and cardamom (LifeSpa’s Gentle Digest formula) before or with meals to fire up the fat burners and deliver energy to the cells. (5,6)
- Take a short rest on your left side after your big mid-day meal.
#8. Eat Foods for Energy
- Nut and seed butters
- Sesame seed butter (tahini)
- Vegetables – leafy greens, kale, spinach, chard and watercress
- Root vegetables – beets, yams, carrots, and potatoes
- Fats – coconut oil, olive oil, ghee and fish oils
- Complex carbs – oats, barley, quinoa, millet, amaranth
#9. Eat Balanced Meals
- Aim for 1/2 veggies, 1/4 starch, 1/4 protein on your plate.
- Example of a balanced plate: Chicken 1/4, cooked veggies 1/4, yam 1/4, salad 1/4 – olive oil as dressing.
#10. Fresh Air and Exercise
- Ayurvedic Exercise
- Take a walk breathing through the nose to drive more prana (life force) into the body.(8)
- International Journal of Obesity (2013)37,604–611; doi:10.1038/ijo.2012.229;published online 29 January 2013