Have you ever refused to go back to a certain gas station because you were convinced there was something wrong with their gas? Maybe your car didn’t act 100% after you filled up at a different place? It’s funny, most of us can immediately make the connection between bad fuel and a sluggish car but when we feel run down and out of energy it doesn’t occur to us that it could be our diet that’s to blame.
The old analogy of your body working like a car is a tired one but it’s such an apt comparison. The food you eat is what powers you, what keeps you going and if you’re not eating healthy then your lack of nutrition will inevitably be reflected in your mood and energy levels. Here are a few tips for how to improve your mood just by making simple changes in your diet:
Cut Out Simple Carbohydrates
No matter what the fad diets tell you, carbs are not the enemy. Simple carbs, however, just might be the antichrist. The reasons simple carbohydrates like candies, processed sugars, white breads, pastas, ect are so bad for you is that they’re such a quick burning energy source. They get burned up almost as soon as you eat them and in doing so spike your blood sugar levels. This causes you to feel a surge of energy that’s quickly followed by sluggishness and maybe even a cranky mood.
And while the idea of giving up your sugary snacks may seem impossible, it’s not as hard as you think. Just try replacing them with an equivalent food like instead of potato chips, try a whole or multi-grain snack like Sun Chips. Instead of having a pastry for breakfast, have a whole wheat bagel or toast with cream cheese and never, ever skip your first meal of the day.
Little changes like those will make a bigger difference in your level of energy than you’d think
Lose the Caffeine
I know some of you just turned off your brains when you read that. Obviously, I must be crazy to consider such a thing but trust me, it will help your energy levels in the long run. The reason for cutting out the caffeine is it’s a drug. Most of us don’t think of it that way since it’s so ingrained in our everyday lives but just like any other addictive substance, however much your body gets of it you’ll always crave more. And just like sugar, caffeine causes you to have energy crashes. Your body gets the rush it needs and then it looses the steam just as fast as it got it.
Here’s the good news, you don’t have to go cold turkey, just try substituting your full caff coffee for decaf which you may be surprised to know isn’t 100% caffeine free. Or better yet switch to a hot tea such as black, green or white tea.
Get Back to Basics
As whole, we’re eating way more processed foods than ever before and there are a lot of hidden and not so good for you additives sometimes buried in the labels. Whether you want to lose weight, get healthy or increase your energy levels you can’t go wrong by going all natural. A good rule of thumb is to not eat anything with more than 5 ingredients on the label (or 5 grams of sugar per serving).
Just getting in the habit of looking at labels can help by making you more aware of what you’re eating and help you understand the correlation between what you eat and how much energy you have.