It can sometimes take a hot minute to connect the dots between sugar-fueled smoothies and all-out hump day slumps, but once you give your meal ingredients a closer look, you’ll soon realize the connection.
We’re all juggling all the things, seemingly all the time. Work, stress, workouts, downtime, cooking, socializing, meetings, dates, parties… No surprise, then, that some of us are damn TIRED! And for some of us, these bouts of weariness might be stemming from the foods we eat and when we eat them. Our friends at The Chalkboard Mag (with whom we have an ongoing content swap) curated six helpful tips for keeping our energy levels more consistent throughout the day.
As always, please consult your health practitioner for information and advice on managing your health before taking it upon yourself to solve. 🌱
SLOW DOWN + EXHALE.
Remember this: digestion begins in the mouth. When you’re eating at your desk or with colleagues who have a lot to say, it’s easy to inhale a smoothie or salad without a thought. But be sure to chew whatever you’re eating well (we won’t provide any hard and fast rules, you get it) to help your body digest sufficiently. Some wellness pros even go so far as to encourage ‘chewing’ your water to encourage the body to begin producing saliva.
You may have heard the term fight or flight when it comes to stress and our nervous system. The lesser known flipside of that mode is rest and digest. Rest and digestion are closely linked. Finding a restful moment to enjoy your lunch is crucial for healthy digestion. Digestion takes up a huge amount of the body’s energy reserves — get ahead of that afternoon energy slump by digesting properly.
WATCH BLOOD SUGAR.
A simple carb or sugar-rich lunch may provide you with an initial rush of energy, but it can cause blood sugar to crash in the afternoon. Be sure to include a healthful dose of fiber, as well as protein and fat in your lunch — these will help your body slow-burn whatever you’re consuming. If you’re a smoothie-for-lunch kind of gal, that may mean throwing in more greens or whole berries for fiber, full-fat oils or a nut butter for healthy fats. Kick it up a notch with a good scoop of clean protein powder to keep you full well into the early evening.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.
Stop eating when you’re 80% full. Even if you’ve stuffed yourself with nourishing foods, your body will be hard at work digesting all that you ate, leaving less energy for good decision-making and creative projects. If you ordered takeout and don’t want the huge portion to go to waste, simply stash 20% of it in the office fridge and enjoy it a few hours later. Studies show that populations with the longest lifespans eat to about 80% satiety at every meal to manage their energy levels and metabolism.
Want a lunch hack that’ll also save you time getting to work in the morning? Try stashing a few of your daily supplements, like digestive enzymes and probiotics, in your desk.
TAKE UP A TEA RITUAL.
Stash a good digestive tea in your desk and try cultivating a post-lunch tea routine to ease your body and mind back into a comfortable afternoon workflow. For a small hit of caffeine, try matcha. Tea is rich in so many phytonutrients that you’ll be adding a dose of skin-healthy nutrition to your daily routine, too.
JUST ADD VITAMIN D.
Depending on where you land on any given workday, find opportunities for sunshine and a light walk. Get your body moving to help digest and for your daily dose of vitamin D. The fresh air will also give your senses a jolt in the best way possible, so make it happen whenever you can. If an outdoor walk just isn’t in the cards, at least stand up, stretch and take a quick stroll around the office.
+ If you’re in the market for some healthy meal options, check out some of our In The Kitchen recipes!
Lead image by Michael Persico.