Category Archives: Nutrition

energy

How’s your energy?


My goal for my clients is for them to feel superhuman.

What would it look like to feel superhuman? You would have all the energy needed throughout the day to accomplish all your goals.  ALL goals – big/small, personal/business, important/frivolous. You’d get out of bed with the sun (no alarm needed) and feel ready to go. You’d have the energy to tend to your family, your job and yourself (no afternoon coffee needed) and by the end of the day you’d feel tired but not spent and be able to fall asleep easily. Throughout the day you’d get sudden moments of feeling excited to just be alive. Sound crazy? In this day and age when people are over-busy, gulping coffee and energy drinks around the clock and generally stressed out about everything, to feel superhuman may sound impossible but it’s not. It’s attainable, but it does take consistent work and investigation.

Small hinges open big doors.

It can be a daunting task to try to figure out how to regain your energy and stamina. Many of us are either wired and tired or feel sluggish and foggy. There are many things in our lives that sap us of energy but experimenting with small changes in lifestyle can often bring about big results. Sometimes a small change will take a while to produce results but sometimes it can be almost immediate. Experiment with various things to see what changes are big movers for you. Everyone is different but if you don’t try you won’t find what holds you back from feeling better than you thought possible. Try making small changes over time—don’t make 10 huge changes in your habits in one day—most people won’t find that sustainable for the long term. This could be a multiple year journey for you but it is worth it in the long run. There is also much too much information on each area I will mention to go into in an email, but this will be a guideline to investigate some key places that will get you on the path to feeling superhuman.

Prioritize sleep.

Arguably more important than diet and exercise, getting good sleep is a must. If you don’t have good sleep your body can’t be ready for the day. Sleeping is the time your body rebuilds and restores. Don’t compromise your sleep at all costs. Your body is set to become alert as the sun rises by releasing cortisol and then shut down as the day gets darker. Most of us are out of whack with our circadian rhythm. One culprit is that we are exposed to blue light well into the night because of artificial lights from electronics and indoor lights. Here is an article on the negative effects of this. One fix to blue light exposure in the evenings is using blue light blocking glasses. Here is a link to some. Gunnar’s are a bit more expensive than some but they look a bit more normal. There are cheaper ones for around $20 that work well, too. You may look funny but some people have found wearing these types of glasses hugely helpful.

Make sure your sleep space is as dark as possible and cool in temperature. Shut down any wifi connections at night and put your phone on airplane mode if you have to keep it on.

There are also apps that track your sleep quality. Here is one -though I haven’t personally used any of them, I know people who do and find them interesting and helpful.

How much sleep? That depends. You will need fewer hours if the quality of the sleep is high. Some people feel great with 7, others need closer to 9. It also depends on activity level. If you get a sleep routine and become aware of  how you feel and perform the next day, you will become in tune with how much sleep you require to feel your best. When you are in sync you will naturally get tired in the evening and wake up at a similar time each day without thinking about it. Your sleep routine shouldn’t change on the weekends much. Late night movie binging, though fun, isn’t helpful!

Food/Diet

I have talked about this before and there is much too much to talk about but try a few of these ideas.

  • No packaged food
    Or more specifically, nothing with an ingredient list (frozen broccoli is technically packaged but shouldn’t have an ingredient list beyond broccoli) Some people have had amazing results in their health by ridding their diet of the long list of chemicals put in packaged foods. Try 30 days packaged food free. If that sounds too daunting – there are lots of products at health food stores that are technically packaged but the ingredient list is only 5 or 6 items all of which you have heard of and are really ingredients – you don’t have to give up your sweet tooth completely. Also, you can use spaghetti squash for a pasta substitute. Poke holes in the squash, put it in the oven at 400 degrees for an hour. Cut it in half when done, remove seeds and scrape the squash into a bowl. For a sauce you can do a simple tomato base with added herbs and veggies of your choice. With enough determination you can make workarounds for any packaged/processed food!
  • Lots of organic leafy greens.
    If you go organic you reduce a lot of pesticides, fungicides and herbicides. This is healthier for your gut micro-biome. Organic produce will also be more nutrient dense because of how the soil is treated. Many people have had their lives changed by eliminating the chemicals found on foods and in foods that are processed.
  • Drink good quality water.
    Avoid water that has sat in plastic (even if its BPA free). Bottled water in plastic has been sitting in the container for a long time and has been exposed to heat which leaches the plastic chemicals into the water. Filter your main faucet at home. Reverse osmosis is great but there are more affordable filtering methods, too. I buy reverse osmosis water in town by the 5 gallon container and have a water dispenser in the kitchen.
  • Eat only High quality meats
    If you eat meat pay for quality. Meaning grass fed and hormone free. Make sure it is not only grass fed but grass finished. Some companies feed the animals grass for a while but finish them on grains which alters the fatty acid of the meat. You want grass fed/grass finished meat that will have more omega 3’s and vitamin K.  Make sure its free of antibiotic and hormones. You aren’t what you eat, you are what you eat ate. Chickens should be free to eat outdoors – not fed corn and soy! We are fortunate to have a great local option. Watkin’s beef has a butcher shop that you can go to and purchase healthy, humanely treated beef and chicken. Check out their website or directions to their butcher shop. If you eat fish, which is great, eat wild caught – NOT farmed! For similar reasons as above.
  • Eliminate
    For 30 days take gluten, dairy, grains and legumes out of your diet completely. This is probably the most daunting for people and certainly the most controversial. Try it – even for two weeks (though 30 days is better) Then reintroduce one of the items back into your diet one at at a time. If you feel no ill consequences – great! But you may find that you don’t feel as great when you eat them. I know people who have revolutionized how they feel by simply removing one or more of those items from their diet.
  • Eat Fat
    Give your body the healthy fat it craves. First cold-pressed, unfiltered olive oil, avocados, raw seeds and nuts, healthy meats (if it isn’t good quality meat as described above, cut the fat off!) I was a slow adopter to this one. But our bodies need fat for lots of reasons. Avoid the low fat/fat free craze.
  • No vegetable oils ever
    Canola, corn, soy etc. This is one of the reasons to avoid processed food but restaurants cook with them. They are horrible for you. If you do nothing else on this list but remove these from your diet you will be healthier! Check out more about them here.

I could go on and on but it may already be too much! Pick one or two things and start with that.
Start to feel superhuman!

 

Be your own Guinea Pig

“LIsten to everyone, follow no one”
– Dean Karnazes

Image of guinea pigThere is no one size fits all in diet or exercise.

In fact, you can listen to anyone’s “rule” about exercise or diet and I’ll guarantee you can find some one else who says the complete opposite to that “rule” – and they will both swear they’re right. In some sense they are. Some things work for some, other things work for others. Sometimes we know why and sometimes we have no clue. In the area of diet this is especially true.

This is why it’s so important to be aware of how you are responding to a new input (be it food or training). Something that worked beautifully for one can be kryptonite for another. A perfect example is with diet and gut health. Fermented foods are one of the big keys to wellness for many and introducing them into the diet can have many beneficial effects. However, if you are histamine intolerant they can cause more damage than good. More on histamine intolerance here.

Swimming is notorious for having contrary recommendations.

Breathe out continuously/don’t breathe out continuously, look straight down/look more ahead, kick/don’t kick – the list is endless. But somewhere in all the information about perfect swim form and what you need to do, is the recipe for you. However, you may have to try a lot of combinations. One of my big swim fixes came talking to an older master swimmer. He shared his story about the chronic pain he had had in his shoulders and how he fixed them from chronic pain and injury. He talked about “swimming from the back”, specifically using one’s lat muscles. It made sense and when I applied his discovery to my swimming, it turned out my weren’t “turned on” and I wasn’t recruiting them. With some exercises and awareness I fixed that and am swimming faster with less effort.

You need to be your own guinea pig.

Don’t go blindly into something just because it claims to be the next big thing or to be the answer to all your problems. But do experiment. I have learned so much about my health and fitness by trying various exercises and foods based on recommendations from others. Some worked miracles, others not so much.

Also, think about why someone is so excited about whatever it is.

My mom was told by a friend that she should try a new supplement that was somehow going to fix all health problems. It was supposed to contain the 12 best super food/minerals/plants on the planet. She asked me to do some research before she bought some. It turned out to be a multi-level marketing product.  Though some of the ingredients were great ones, there were also fillers and other not-so-great ingredients. She would be better off to buy the good ingredients on their own and make sure they were well sourced and potent. If money is the motivator be wary! But if someone found great results with something that isn’t a marketing ploy – try it if it sounds good.

As I try to help people, I remind them to do their research, examine the information out there, ask questions and try things.

See how you feel – better? worse? and keep looking and learning.

In the middle of writing this post I took a break and  listened to a favorite podcast. The guest and topic were apropos for my post. The podcast is the Bulletproof Radio with Dave Asprey and his guest was Holli Thompson, creator of Nutritional Style. You can listen to the podcast here and learn more about Holli here. She shares her story about the importance of nutrition and how individual it is.

So , though I want you to enjoy listening and learning from the information, recommendations and advice I will share from my and others’ personal experiences, it is not dogma. There is no one answer for everyone!