Caffeine, Taurine, Sugar, Syrup, Lattes, espresso. What? Americans love their coffee. We love our energy drinks (and now shots.) We love anything that will keep us stimulated and awake when we are really tired underneath. People use these on an almost daily basis to get that energy boost when they “need” it. Now don’t get me wrong, the occasional cup of coffee is not going to hurt you. It’s the use of it that really bothers me. If you are using stimulants to keep yourself working or playing or exercising when you should be resting, that is a problem. The problem is that you are not really using YOUR energy. You are forcing your body to take from its reserves. This entails tapping into your adrenal glands. Sugar, table salt, and too much caffeine are some of the worst offenders. I will mention the adrenal glands in a bit more detail in a later post, but for short, they are small glands that help your body deal with stress. This includes anything from getting in a fight, giving a speech, running for your life, suppressed emotions, being in a bad relationship, and anything else going on in your body. When you are very low on normal energy the body starts using backup. This is an amazing adaptation we have acquired through evolution. It allows us to always have that extra battery to power through something if our lives depend on it. The problem is that these mega energy drinks, weightlifting supplements, and Starbucks coffees are kicking these little glands into gear almost 24/7. As you can imagine, this only really works for so long. Eventually, your body gets tired of the abuse and your adrenal glands tire out. This is a big problem. The adrenal glands help every system in your body to work better. Without proper functioning, you leave the door open for chronic or worsening health problems and lower and lower base levels of energy. So what do we do about it?
Normally, if we are following the basic rules of a healthy diet and lifestyle, these things will not affect us as much. The basics are eating quality food, getting good sleep, breathing clean air, getting adequate sunlight, mild exercise, and clean water intake. Emotional basics might include making time for a spiritual practice, church groups, counseling, etc.
A big one here is nutrition. Your body has countless functions that it performs on a daily basis. A lot of these functions either can’t happen or happen very slowly without nutrition. You need certain vitamins and minerals in certain amounts to function normally. So make sure the diet has a wide variety of whole foods so that your body can do what it wants to.
Sleep is another big one. How many people are out working too hard, running around with friends all night, or exercising too hard without putting the time in in the bedroom. Sleeping is when your body heals and recharges itself the most. Also, eating before bed is a terrible idea as your system will be trying to digest whatever you ate instead of regenerating.
So what is the lesson here? We have an abundant supply of energy (a lot of it free) in our environment. If we can learn to tap into this energy we will not need to rely on manmade things to give us the illusion of energy.