Are coffee and energy drinks your lifeblood? Does waking up each morning feel like cruel and unusual punishment? When you get home at the end of the day, do you barely have enough life force to put on Netflix and your pajamas? Do you have the best intentions to exercise, but never actually make it to the gym because you’re too lethargic to put your sneakers on?
...Is your spirit animal a sloth?
Unfortunately, many of the bad habits that make you gain weight also drain your energy, making it that much more difficult to stay on top of your health and weight loss goals!
If it feels like your life is just one big hamster wheel of perpetual fatigue, maybe it's time to take a closer look at what and how you're eating….
4 Common Energy-Zapping Diet Mistakes:
1. Eating too much high-fat, animal-based protein
The longer your food takes to be digested and eliminated, the more energy gets used up by your body, and the less you have to spare.
High-fat foods like butter, cheese, ice cream, pork, beef, and dark chicken are very difficult to digest! Even after you fall asleep, your body continues straining to digest these foods. This zaps the body’s focus and energy away from resting and recharging, disrupting natural sleep patterns.
Solution: Plant-based sources of fat and protein are MUCH easier for your digestive system to break down and use! They'll help you to stay fuller longer and stabilize your energy levels throughout the day (no crash!). Choose healthier fats like avocados, raw nuts and seeds, and healthy unrefined oils like olive, avocado, and coconut. Plant-based protein sources like nuts, seeds, leafy greens, chickpeas, and lentils are nutrient dense and full of fiber, promoting optimal digestion, a healthy gut, and sustained energy!
2. Indulging in high-glycemic carbohydrates like refined sugars & grains
The higher the glycemic index, the worse it is for sustaining your energy. High glycemic foods like sugary sweets, bread, and pasta rapidly spike your blood sugar and then make it crash, leaving you fatigued, unfocused, and unmotivated.
These foods also negatively impact your energy levels long after the crash hits. Refined sugars and grain promote inflammation in the body which, in excess, can make you feel totally foggy and drained.
Solution: Get your sweet fix from fresh fruit or healthier plant-based alternatives like this chocolate pudding and this pumpkin ice "cream". Swap out your ordinary table sugar for a low-glycemic natural alternative like stevia or monk fruit. Fuel your body with high-fiber, nutrient-dense carbs like quinoa, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and lentils that will help keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day.
3. Not chewing your food thoroughly
As a result of our busy lifestyles, most of us tend to eat on the go. On average, people only chew their food three times before swallowing. Why does this bad habit drain your energy?
Digestion doesn’t begin in the stomach, it begins in the mouth. Ironically, the slower we eat, the FASTER we metabolize our food. The more your food gets broken down in your mouth, the more enzymes you produce and ignite to digest that food, the less work your gut has to do, and the more energy you have to spare!
Solution: Well, this one is pretty obvious… Take your time chewing! Try counting to 10, 30, or even 50 before you swallow your food. If you’re always on the go and the thought of counting your chews makes you roll your eyes, save your digestive system the hard work by incorporating more fresh juices and smoothies into your diet!
4. Not eating enough fiber
Digestion, digestion, digestion! Let’s beat that dead horse one more time, shall we?
A lack of fiber makes digestion more strenuous, draining the body’s energy. A diet rich in fiber both fosters healthy digestion and helps keep blood sugar stable, sustaining your energy throughout the day.
Solution: The best way to get enough fiber is to eat a diet abundant in plant-based foods!
Here are some simple, plant-based tips to get more fiber into your diet:
- Sprinkle your food with superfood seeds such as chia, hemp, flax, or pumpkin.
- Raspberries and blackberries are especially rich in fiber; mix them into your oatmeal, salads, smoothie bowls... or just snack on them straight from the container!
- Prep ahead of time: Chop your favorite vegetables and store them in baggies or Tupperware in the fridge to grab and go.
- Leave the skin on pears and apples. This is where the bulk of the fiber is!
- Instead of chips, crackers, and pretzels, snack on salted raw nuts.
- Avocado is one of the most fiber-full fruits. Check out this simple Superfood Guacamole Recipe!