When we think of things we lack in life, three things often come to mind: money, time, and energy.
Today, I'm going to write about energy because if we have it, we use our time more effectively and hopefully this leads to more money, or whatever result you desire :).
One of the most effective ways of getting more energy is to figure out what those things are that are stealing your energy. This normally happens from one of three factors: your food, your environment, your rest, your stress, and the people you associate yourself with. This article will focus on the food portion.
We often think of food as fuel, but just as if you put cheap gas into an automobile, the food you eat can cause damage that will eventually steal your energy. Here is a list of the top 3 energy stealing foods in no order.
1. Sugar - yes we've all seen kids get hyperactive from eating too much sugar, but what happens shortly after the chaos of their hyperactive states? They fall asleep. Sugar raises your blood glucose causing the hormone insulin to get released. Insulin then sends your blood glucose into a plummet, stealing fuel away from the brain - causing you to get sleepy or sluggish. Minimal sugar can be tolerated by most, but chronic consumption can also lead to chronic inflammation-when your body has to deal with inflammation, it also 'steals' energy that could be put towards other processes.
Tip: avoid the candy jar at work and steer yourself away from foods high in sugar during the day. If you're going to consume something sugary, save it for after a workout or for later in the day. This will help you to avoid having a crash during your work day. Once your body fat is low enough, you can likely get away with a miniscule amount of sugar (i.e. from 1-2 servings of fruit) daily, or do what I like to do-give yourself 1-2 moderate-sized sugar helpings per week on a carb refeed day (more on how to structure that in a future post).
2. Wheat, Gluten - not all of us have a gluten allergy but many of us have an allergy to bullshit-allow me to explain. The reality is that American wheat and gluten products now boast poor farming tactics, contain glycophosphates/pesticide chemicals, and genetic modifications. This is likely what's responsible for gluten intolerance surge and why peeps can hit up wheat products in Europe and be fine. This intolerance leads to gut inflammation and poor probiotic health. Remember that the gut and the brain are connected via the vagus nerve, and anything that affects the gut will inevitably affect the brain.
Tip: To preserve your energy, avoid gluten as much as possible. Yes, bread is delicious, but it can be very inflammatory. If you need to satisfy your bread urge, there are lots of gluten free breads on the market. Or, you could opt for sourdough bread. Sourdough contains probiotics which can help to feed the healthy bacteria in your gut.
Here's the thing-gluten is a texturing agent and doesn't affect taste. Yes, some companies haven't got the technology down so their gluten-free (GF) foods taste like shit. That doesn't mean that ALL GF foods taste like shit.
3. Any food that you have an allergy or an intolerance to - for a long time, I consumed about 3-4 whey protein shakes a day. But every time I had a shake, I would get severe gastric distress. Given that I believed I needed massive amounts of protein per day to build muscle, I promptly ignored these symptoms and kept drinking them anyway. This was a huge mistake. That gastric distress was a whey intolerance and my gut was telling me that I had serious issues. It was not until I fell into severe ulcerative colitis that I gave up these shakes. When I stopped taking them, I actually gained muscle mass.
When you continue to eat a food that you have an allergy or intolerance to, your body absorbs nutrients less effectively because of inflammation. This, in turn, leaves you lacking energy and the raw materials you need to build muscle and get stronger.
Tip: monitor yourself after you eat any food and record your body's reaction to it. If a food causes gastric distress, avoid it. It's not doing you any good.
I'll be back at you soon with another article on how to source foods.