We’ve all felt it… that sneaky feeling that comes on right around 3pm. You’re feeling fine, then all of a sudden it hits and you want sugar, coffee, and a nap. Good news – you can avoid this with some simple changes. It’s important to understand that having consistent energy throughout the day comes down to your ability to keep your blood sugar stable and making sure you’re getting enough of the right nutrients. If you’re on a blood sugar roller coaster of highs and lows, chances are you’re feeling h-angry, tired, and depleted. If this afternoon crash is a regular occurrence for you, ask yourself if you’re doing the following and start changing one thing at a time.
- You’re not drinking enough (of the right type) water – we’re going back to the basics with this one. How much water do you really drink? Half your body weight in ounces? Thirst can manifest as hunger, especially if you’re not getting the trace minerals found in water that satisfy your body and give it what it really needs with enough energy to make it through the day. Instead, keep a water bottle with you at all times and add a pinch of himalayan pink salt or mineral drops to make sure you’re getting minerals and electrolytes (especially if you’re running to the bathroom all the time!).
- Your breakfast is a blood sugar nightmare – the standard coffee and refined carb (granola bar, muffin, bagel) is going to send your blood sugar through the roof, followed up by a crash. Instead, have high quality protein and good fat with carbs from something like fruit or veggies. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Smoothie with Vital Proteins collagen (protein) or your favorite protein powder, coconut milk, and frozen berries
- A couple eggs (include the yolk, please!) cooked in coconut oil, 1/2 sweet potato, and 2 cup of spinach or your favorite veggie
- 1/2 avocado spread on Ezekiel toast with smoked salmon
- You’re eating fake sugar – I’m not talking about your stereotypical candy bar loaded with things we know aren’t good. This fake sugar could be hiding in your coffee creamer, 0-calorie beverages, snack bars, salad dressings, and yogurt. This is causing your blood sugar to spike, but also giving your body sweetness without the nutrients. Sugar without vitamins is like taking energy from your body without giving anything back. Instead, use natural sweeteners like raw honey, pure maple syrup, stevia, and dates. Since I know this is easier said than done, just slowly start using natural sugars to replace fake sugars so that you will have less cravings and consistent energy throughout the day. Here are a few examples of how to go sugar free:
- Make your own coffee creamer with 1 cup coconut milk (my favorite brands are Native Forest, Trader Joes, and 365), 3 tbsps maple syrup, and 2 tsps vanilla extract.
- Make your own snack bars with mashed dates, hemp seeds, almond butter, and shredded coconut.
- Avoid ingredients ending in -ose on labels. The easiest way to do this is to take out processed foods completely.
- You’re not getting outside – sunlight and enough Vitamin D help to regulate your circadian rhythms, give you energy, and increase your mood. Staying locked up in the office all day or sitting inside with the windows shut has a huge impact on your energy levels. Instead, take a walk in the afternoon to not only get your blood flowing, but also to take in natural sunlight.
- You don’t pack your snacks – keep healthy snacks close so you don’t have to get to the point of wanting to eat anything and everything. When you’re already feeling tired, the decision making process is much more difficult. It’s easier to reach for the closest burst of energy, usually in the form of refined carbs or sugar. Instead, have something mid morning like 1/2 an avocado and a boiled egg. A handful of nuts with some berries will also go a long way and hold you over to lunch. Heat up a sweet potato in the microwave and add 1 tbsp coconut oil with some Redmond’s salt for a real afternoon pick me up – minus the crash. Some easy packable, portable snacks that you can carry with you or stash in your desk include beef jerky (Krave is my favorite), jerky bars like Epic or Tanka, fruit bars like Larabars (read labels and avoid artificial sweeteners!), kale chips, Sea Snax, mixed nuts, dried fruit, and coconut chips.
If you’re guilty of any of these, now is the time to be your own health detective and figure out which culprit could be draining your energy. Which change can you commit to this week?