This is the first of a series of posts I will be presenting on the concept of energy.
Some questions I am often asked are:
How do I get more energy? Once I have it, how do I sustain it? What can eat or do for energy? What is a fast and easy way to get energy naturally? Etc.
First, let’s look at what energy is . . .
Energy = Vitality = Power to Live and Grow
Energy, like money, is not the finite thing we often believe it to be. It is abundant and has no limit as long as we know how to tap into it. In fact, again like money, we often need to give in order to receive. This is why some of the quick fixes like caffeine, sugar and “uppers” can give short-term relief, but deplete us even more in the end. There is a lack of wholeness in these solutions and no real give and take.
When looking for the long-term solution to more energy, we may need to make a little extra effort at first, but after that initial well-planned out-put we can expect continued and increasing returns. So, as with any savvy investment, I recommend getting clear on your goals; doing your homework; getting the tools you need and then keeping an eye on your progress and continue to fine tune as needed.
The first step to any evolution is Evaluation. In this step, we look at what is true for us right now, without judgment, but with acceptance. Perhaps your present reality is that you never feel like you have the energy to face your day. Getting out of bed becomes more and more of a struggle and you end up leaning heavily upon caffeine and sugar. This causes you to bounce from high to low all day and sends you to bed with a headache, a cranky demeanor and a big crash! The foods you may choose are usually something processed or packaged with the idea that this is what is easy and fast. The fast part is often critical because you have waited until your body is starving to address your hunger. The nawing in the belly may be satisfied, but the energy is not replenished
Upon evaluating this present situation it is important to notice that there is a deficit. At this stage in the game it may feel impossible to give anything in order to gain. What I will offer here is an easy addition or replacement to the quick and ineffective energizers they are presently going for.
Water – Our Most Vital Nutrient
If you are finding yourself grabbing for soda and/or coffee all day to keep you “lifted”, most likely water is not a big part of your diet. Water is such a vital nutrient, yet we are given every reason why we should have something else – soda, coffee, alcohol, milk . . . All of which only deplete our energy.
* about 70% of our bodies are made of water.
* 75% of our muscles are made of water; 90% of our brain is water; 69% of our liver is water; even bone contains 22% water – without adequate water consumption, tissue and organ function will become severely impaired.
* we can go for a month without food, but only 2 or 3 days without water.
Being told to drink more water raises the question, “What is more?”. There is the one-size-fits all prescription of 8 glasses per day. But are these 8-ounce glasses? 12-ounce? 4-ounce? The real answer is based on your own body, life, activity level, climate and even your Dosha (an ayuvedic body typing).
A great rule of thumb is to start with your body weight in pounds and divide that number in half. This gives you a baseline of ounces of water per day. For example, a 140 pound person would be looking at roughly 7o ounces per day. If they are active, this number would increase. If it is hot and dry, the amount would also need to increase. If they consume a lot of watery vegetables and fruits, the amount can decrease a bit.
In Eastern medicine, increasing water increases yin, making your body light and airy, creating an expansive energy through the whole system. If you are too yang – too tight or contracted, suffering from stress, headaches and bodily tension – you may want to increase your water intake to balance these systems. Additionally, cravings for sweet, yin foods may be a signal that you are dehydrated.
Signals of Dehydration:
* Water Weight/Retention – yes, if you are not taking in enough the body will hold on to what it does have. Never underestimate the intelligence of the human body!
* Chronic constipation
* Chronic headaches
* Chronically tight muscles
* Varicose Veins and/or hemorrhoids
* Cravings for sweets
* Dry mouth; dry eyes; dry, chapped skin and lips; dry nasal passages
* Stale taste in the mouth/bad breath
* Low water intake – less than 2 glasses per day
* High consumption of alcohol and/or coffee (daily)
* Taking diuretics regularly
* Low consumption of fresh, whole foods (especially vegetables and fruits)
* Dark colored urine; recurrent urinary tract infections; kidney stones
Okay, now you understand the body’s critical need for water, but will any water do? Can you just walk over to your sink, turn on the faucet, fill a glass and drink to your heart’s content? Well, not exactly. Tap water is chlorinated and usually contains some level of contaminants that will not serve your body. Try a good quality bottled spring water (beware of bottled “drinking water” – tap water in a bottle), but do expect to pay for good bottled water. Another long-term and more cost effective method is to invest in a filter. A little online research should generate some good options that can suit your individual needs.
When to drink water can be equally important as how much. Upon rising, your body is generally quite dehydrated, so I recommend 1 to 2 glasses before taking in anything else. This may energize you so much, you might even forget about your coffee! Then be sure to stay hydrated throughout the day. Often I speak with people who realize in the evening that they did not get enough water in and try to make up for the deficit right before bed. This will only compound a lack of energy by interrupting your sleep to go to the bathroom. The best solution is to develop a system by which you can have water available to drink all day.
If you have read this far and are cringing because you just despise the “taste” of water or feel it is bland and flavorless, allow me to pass on some ideas. Water is necessary for life, like air. Does your air taste good? Would you stop breathing if it did? Really, I encourage you to do whatever it takes to maximize your water intake. Have it with a squeeze of lemon, lime or orange; add a cucumber slice or two; add some fresh mint leaves; you may also enjoy adding a drop of therapeutic grade essential oil (please see http://vibrant-health.younglivingworld.com) – orange, lemon, grapefruit, lime are all good choices.
Because every bodily function and process depends on adequate water, I encourage you to take this small first step towards getting the energy you want and deserve. Without water to transport nutrients to the cells of the body, even if you focus on eating healthier foods, you may not assimilate and utilize these nutrients. Water also assists in waste removal, which means that without it toxins will accumulate much faster in the body.
So please pull out your finest crystal, add a squeeze of lemon and sip this simple energy elixir throughout the day. You will be amazed at how much better you feel!
A great book on the many ways water can heal: Your Body’s Many Cries for Water