How To Eat For Energy - Step 4: Consider caffeine
Today we're on to step four in the five steps of eating for energy and getting rid of that 3 PM "crash."
Last week we talked about how to balance each meal and snack to stay full, satisfied and full of energy! If you missed steps 1-3, join in and read about them here:
In Step 4, I want to focus on the important impact that caffeine has on our energy levels.
Watch my video below or read on to find out exactly how caffeine affects our energy stores and the specifics you need to consider when it comes to breaking the energy zapping cycle.
What happens each time you drink a cup of coffee?
Your brain sends a message to your pituitary gland, which releases a hormone that tells your adrenals (the little organ on top of each of your kidneys) to produce the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol .
In other words, you're triggering the same kind of stress response that your body uses when you're in imminent physical danger.
In this case the body is not reacting to a true stressor, but rather the adrenals are releasing this hormone in response to the caffeine. You can imagine the impact that might have on draining your energy stores, especially if they're low to being with!
So before you stop reading, don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you to completely give up your coffee. We can still be friends! What I will tell you though is that it’s crucial to consider the following steps when it comes to coffee:
1. How are you using it?
Do you slam three cups of coffee first thing in the morning without thought? Do you rely on it to get you through the afternoon? Are you using it when you're absolutely exhausted in order to try and kickstart energy? Get really honest with yourself here and notice exactly how you use it.
2. How is it really affecting you?
In theory coffee is supposed to make us feel happy and energized. But when we're really exhausted and taxing our already spent energy stores, coffee can give us that “wired but tired” feeling that some of us might know really well. How does coffee make you feel? Really feel? Are you ok after one cup, but get jittery, wired, and have a stomach ache after two?
You may be really sensitive to caffeine and get palpitations and anxiety even thinking about a giant americano, or you may be one of those people who can drink espresso after dinner and sleep like a baby! Caffeine is something that needs to be processed by the liver, so the way we respond to it depends on our liver’s ability to process caffeine, which is another reason why it’s good to evaluate how much caffeine we’re taking in.
3. Got some information? Now do something about it.
So if you’ve come to the conclusion that even though you love coffee dearly, it doesn’t love you back, it might be time to so some experimenting. If this is the case or you're curious about how caffeine is affecting you, you don’t need to go cold turkey from coffee, but try swapping it out for other low caffeine or caffeine-free alternatives and see what you notice. Here are a few drinks that I rotate through based on how I’m feeling:
- Matcha latte: Matcha does have caffeine, but it’s a much gentler stimulant. It also has great antioxidant properties.
- Turmeric latte: This drink is delicious, filling and a great way to get the anti-inflammatory benefits of turmeric.
- Bulletproof tea
1 cup brewed tea (I use peppermint)
1 teaspoon coconut oil, organic grass-fed butter or ghee
1 scoop grass-fed collagen peptide powder (optional - I like Vital Proteins)
A dash of raw honey (optional)
Directions | Blend together and enjoy!
Additionally, caffeine is very dehydrating, so be sure to drink lots of water if consuming caffeine to help with your energy levels.
Next week we're going to be talking about Step 5 in the five steps of eating for energy: Setting energizing boundaries. In addition to looking at what we put into our bodies to help fuel us, it’s crucial to look at areas that drain our valuable energy as well. Stay tuned!
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