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Have you ever noticed that the field of nutrition can sometimes be a little stale, repetitive and boring? That’s why I love the unexpected, especially when it comes to dietary advice. Perhaps one of the most common desires I hear amongst those interested in better nutrition is “how can I have more energy?” Well, rather than recommend to you an energy drink with caffeine, an energy drink without caffeine, or some exotic supplement that may or may not rev up your engine – I’d like to offer these five seldom talked about tips that may very well help you feel the power. Try them out for yourself and let me know if you get your money’s worth.

1. Eat to the point of energy

Here’s a great nutritional strategy for increasing your vitality and mojo without necessarily changing anything you eat. It really works and I believe you’ll find it very useful. Most people eat until they’re filled with food. Makes perfect sense. If I’m filled with food, then that surely means I’m full. But with this technique, rather than eat till you’re filled with food, you eat until you feel filled with energy. The yogis of old postulated that there’s a hypothetical point in any meal such that if you stopped eating at that point, you’d walk away from the table with more energy. It takes a little practice – you’re looking for that point in the meal when you’d finish your meal still feeling a little hungry, but the kind of hungry that can easily be translated into a hunger to do the next thing. When we have just the right amount of something it can make us feel real good. But too much of that same thing can push us over the edge and drain our energy. Think – time with relatives, vodka, tickling, bad jokes, and any good buffet.

2. Assimilate the beautiful

One of the key physiochemical goals of the process of nutrition is to assimilate “stuff” that the body needs. The whole of our biology is actually designed to this end: to absorb from the environment that which perpetuates life. Read a bunch of nutrition books and you’ll learn about all the vitamins minerals and ancillary nutrients that the human body requires. But here’s the challenge: we are more than just a mere biological machine that munches on food for fuel. We need life. We need love. We need intimacy. We need relationship. We need meaning. And interestingly enough, we need beauty. You won’t read about the nutritional value of beauty in any textbooks, but don’t let that absence for you. Our eyes are constantly scanning the environment for input. Our ears do the same. Our 5 senses are hungry to drink in the beauty of the world – art, music, touch, colors, geometry, proportions, faces, symmetry, texture, novelty, trees, sunsets, and the fantastic richness that passes before us each day that we call “humanity.” The more we can recognize and acknowledge the beauty in our lives, the more fulfilled we become – and the less disordered our eating will be. When we fail to assimilate the beauty that the world is giving us, we get hungry for all the wrong things. Beauty is a food, it’s very low calorie, and it’s everywhere. Start eating.

3. Make your life more sugary

Of course we like sweets. Evolution has designed us that way. You have more sweet taste buds firing their little nervous system signals to the brain than any other kind of taste bud. If there’s indeed a greater intelligence that designed the human form, then that intelligence has a sweet tooth. And that same intelligence doesn’t mind titillating us with things pleasurable, and with foods that sweeten the deal. Life is good. Imagine if we lived on a planet where everything tastes bitter or boringly bland? Wouldn’t you choose the planet with the sugar and agree to simply deal with the challenges of getting hooked on sweets? Here’s a metaphysical principle about the body: it exists on a continuum. So yes, our biology recognizes sweetness – but so does our heart and soul. I think you know what I’m talking about. It’s easy to use too much sugar as a substitute for a life that’s not quite as sweet as it should be. If you want more energy then, and you want to let go of some of the metabolic fatigue caused by too much sugar in the diet, then make your life more sugary. Notice the sweetness that’s already there. Notice the love, the people, the smiles, and the goodness. Add a little more honey to everything that you give to the world. Be the sweetness that you want.

4. Be hungry

I’ve noticed that if I truly want to have more energy, I need to get better at being human, and to discover some of the intricacies that make us more efficient and well honed. To this end, it surely seems that when we’re well fed, we can do more. Then again, if we’re too full, it’s couch potato time and little gets done. So here’s my nutritional recommendation for having more energy that may seem a little paradoxical: be hungry. What I mean is this – be hungry for life. Be hungry for the truth. Be hungry to track down your purpose and your destiny. Be hungry to give your gift to others. Be hungry for a better world. As you become more aware of your hunger for life, your hunger for food finds its proper and natural place. You stop fearing your hunger because you’ve actually learned how to welcome it and honor it. When we reduce the larger meaning of hunger to the mere hunger for food, a problematic relationship with food is predictable. Hunger gives us energy. The desire to be fed with a full and complete life ignites a fire in us that can light up the world. Such a hunger is really hot.

5. Don’t just eat food, be food

The study of nutrition is all about what you eat. It’s about the chemical makeup of your food and the science of how you digest it. We are the eaters, and food is what we eat. But if you take a look around you, you might just notice that everything is food for everything else. The world is constantly feeding upon itself. Plants eat the soil, animals eat the plants, animals eat animals, humans eat all sorts of things, and eventually each one of us will likely find ourselves buried in the earth, with our lovely remains being the meal for all sorts of microscopic critters. But I think life is even more profound. What if you considered your entire life as the meal? Dinner is served, and your entire existence is the main course. Let the world consume you, eat you, digest you, and feast upon all the contributions large and small that you came here to make. In this way, you’ll be perfectly digested, assimilated, and a useful nutritional contribution to the world body. By giving energy, we receive it right back. Your life is a like a superfood for the larger life that created you. So if you want to receive superior nutrition, be superior nutrition.

How did you give yourself to the world today?

Warm regards,
Marc David
Founder – Institute for the Psychology of Eating
© Institute For The Psychology of Eating, All Rights Reserved, 2014

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Dinner is served, and your entire existence is the main course.

Make your life more sugary


The Slow Down Diet: Eating for Pleasure, Energy, and Weight Loss

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  • Excellent article! I especially liked #3: Make your life more sugary. It’s so easy to get sucked into eating tons of sugar this time of year with all the parties and holiday events, so this was a great reminder to soak in the sweetness that life has to offer (that’s not filled with sugar). Thanks for sharing! -Erin

    • #3 Was the one that destroyed any validity the article may have had.

    • KarnaN

      Hi Erin,
      Karna Nau here, Director of Student Relations at the Institute.
      Thank you for your comment!
      I agree – we need not to be distracted with all the sugar and instead focus on the goodies that life offers.
      Warm regards,
      Karna Nau

  • David Dressler, BA, RMT

    Interesting concept, perceiving the world as “food” and a source of energy. I am sitting here, trying to “digest” what you have written. I am unfortunately “burping” a bit and there is a nagging “gurgle” in my stomach….

    Gurgle 1: This thesis appears to be metaphorical more than either psychological or certainly physiological. First of all, there are different aspects of energy that the brain perceives: physical, emotional, mental. That is, a unitary energy in the human being that expresses itself as action, feeling, and thinking. It becomes all three. Without energy, there would be no action, feeling, or thinking. The human organism does not, therefore, need to be “integrated”, there is no necessity to make a “mind-body” connection at all, but merely to perceive the unitary energy that is the source of action, feeling, and thinking. That IS integration.

    What does this have to do with eating and having more energy (the subject of the essay)? As you know, people eat for a variety of reasons–physical, emotional, conditioned by advertizing, etc. Clearly, the food we eat makes us fat, demented and dead eventually. We know it, yet we eat it. Our conditioning wins. Or, our depression wins. The result is a LOSS OF ENERGY as the body tries to do damage control from eating the wrong foods. Intuitively, we may notice that when we eat chocolate we get un-depressed, feel more energy. The tryptophan in the chocolate becomes a neurotransmitter called serotonin in the brain, counteracting depression, but the sugar contributes to weight gain and may make an energy swing from high to low if the person is pre-diabetic. A mixed blessing but a temporary rise in energy and elevation from depression. And so on. The point is, the wrong food has a medicinal effect as well as an energetic result (affects emotions and body at the same time), but negative consequences on physiology and on the mind eventually. The right food won’t cause these energy swings and physical deterioration. The right diet brings “high, sustained, reliable energy”–energy that rises quickly, stays high for a long time, very gradually declines; and when a person eats the same thing, gets the same results almost every time, without physical deterioration in the sense of obesity, heart disease, dementia, and untimely death.

    Burp 2: It is not true, as the essay says, to eat until you feel filled with energy, which is supposed to happen before the stomach is actually full. This cannot happen physiologically, and physiology cannot be ignored when it comes to food. It takes a period of time until food is digested, assimilated, and its components are broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream and passed through the walls of billions of cells. Inside the cells, the ingested molecules are converted into ATP or cellular energy, at which point the individual experiences actual energy. Before that, any energy experienced was there before eating and one is merely paying attention to it, and it is the mental or emotional aspect of the unitary energy I mentioned. The yogis, which the essay blithely cites, were concerned with perceiving the unitary energy, especially in its mental and “spiritual” aspects; that was the goal of their meditation. They even denied themselves food, ascetically denied the needs of the body in many early practices. Meditating during eating, instead of reading the newspaper or watching television and stressing out, etc., is a fine practice because it brings one into the present moment, which involves eating, and lowers cortisol, which is a stress hormone and impedes digestion. But it is not true to say that energy actually increases physiologically in moments, rather one merely becomes aware of one aspect of one’s energy in that time.

    Burp 3: Enjoining readers to find beauty around them, etc. is an excellent strategy to lower stress and raise joy. It works with the perceptual system, quietens the conceptual system and memory, which in essence brings the individual’s attention into the present moment instead of being in one’s thoughts, which usually arouse stress. The mind spends most of its time thinking of the future and applying memory from the past to cope with present situations.This process is in time instead of in the present where one actually lives! It causes stress, which costs energy. The unitary energy is expended in thoughts oscillating between images of the projected future and echoes from the lived past. Not good for digestion or for living generally. Anything that reduces stress will leave energy left over for experiencing.

    Gurgle: On the whole, the essay is more metaphoric than practical. There are no actual techniques presented for raising energy; it is too general.

    • Marc David

      Hi David,

      Thanks for taking the time for such a thorough and thoughtful response! I appreciate the way your mind works, and you clearly have lots of great knowledge about healing and the body. Bravo. I think that for the most part, I’ll let your words speak for themselves because you have provided what I’m seeing as a different position than mine, and I welcome such a well articulated and intelligent viewpoint. I think that’s what the field of nutrition needs most – an open dialogue where dogma takes a back seat and the richness of possibilities and differences have room to breathe. With that said, I will address what I believe is your main over-arching criticism. You said: “ On the whole, the essay is more metaphoric than practical. There are no actual techniques presented for raising energy..” I agree that the essay is rather metaphorical. In all my studies of the mind and the structure of the psyche, and the working of the nervous system – it is indeed true that the human mind is metaphoric, symbolic, image based, emotional – in addition to be linear and logical. And given that the mind clearly has a powerful impact on metabolism, I find it quite useful to explore this part of us. I have found that there’s a ton of untapped practical wisdom to be found in the metaphoric nature of the mind and it’s impact on health, symptom, habit and disease. All kinds of compelling research ahs been done in this realm. Yes, food influences the body. And, the body/mind influences how we digest, assimilate and calorie-burn such food. What we think, feel, believe – and the well documented connection between the physiologic stress and relaxation responses and their impact on nutritional metabolism is compelling, and not spoken of enough. That’s simply the nutritional voice I choose to emphasize as a way to balance the equation more. And by the way, I love in your critique how you use the terms “burp” and “gurgle” to describe your response to my words. Very metaphoric. It made your ideas that much more compelling and digestible.

      Best regards,

      Marc David

      • disqus_hsut5WZm98

        Marc, thank you for your response from FOUR YEARS ago. I am very late in responding.

        I liked your response too. In these four years since I wrote what I did, I have come to realize even more that HOW we think, more than WHAT we think, not only determines who we really are but also how our body responds, which includes how it responds to food.

        I have come to more deeply understand that the right side of our brain–the maker of metaphor–is very emotional, powerful, and “thinks” or intuits both inner and outer reality in a very different way than the left, cognitive, linear half of the brain. So, why wouldn’t how we image food, or how we image anything including oneself, influence food choices and even how food is assimilated? Makes gut sense.

        By the way, I understand that the same kind of cells exist in the brain as in the gut.

        But then there is the fact the gut is populated with trillions of bacteria, the whole of which is called the “biome.” Kind of a revolting thought at first, speaking of “gurgles.” So, is it possible our food choices are largely dictated by the microbiome-being living in our intestines? And, if these bacteria can make us reach for more and more and more sweet stuff because they looooove it soo much, how else can they be influencing our thoughts and behavior?

        And that makes me ask myself: WHO–or WHAT–just wrote these words now?


        • Hi David,

          Thanks for writing in! You are so right about the importance and influence of the microbiome within our gut. Love your sense of humor in what you wrote, and your desire to respond even after so many years! Glad to have you as part of the psychology of eating, and the psychology of the gut microbiome conversation – such a rich topic indeed.

          Thanks for sharing,
          IPE Staff

          • disqus_hsut5WZm98

            You are welcome. Thanks for your quick response and appreciation.

          • You’re most welcome! 🙂

    • Mackenzie Marie Brinckerhoff

      Great post! I love being encouraged to cultivate cosmic energy, not just to eat “energy rich” food. Finding ones purpose is the most fulfilling thing a person can achieve, and it has always helped me find the energy to get through even the most difficult day. When getting bogged down in life’s stressors, stopping and getting present to the beauty in the world around me gives me the boost I need, and it makes me happier to boot.
      It’s easy to forget to stop and breathe sometimes, so I wanted to say thanks for this post reminding me to do so!

    • elizabeth

      Well articulated, and I would like to respond from my own personal viewpoint. I find the article inspiring. I need that inspiration to motivate me to focus on my weight loss goal, to keep me moving in that direction. It is a daily effort for me to FOCUS on my food issues and become more conscious of the patterns.

      When I read this article, my heart said, “Yes!” and I felt a surge of energy, positive movement toward mobilizing my will power once again, today, this morning, now, to eat that healthy breakfast instead of the mindless easy one. And plan my meals for the day and anticipate the pitfalls on the road (party at my friend the saboteur’s house)…and plan ahead.

      You need the practical, but you also need the daily encouragement to keep going, like the people on the sidewalk cheering when the marathon runners go by….and it feels less draining, more positive, more empowering!

      The metaphor works for me! “You can do it!” “Keep on going!” “Here’s what you can do!”….these are the messages the metaphors actually mean to me.

      Very specific.
      Very focused in the sense of what to pay attention to instead of food!
      Very energy raising!
      Very motivating!
      Very practical!

      And Marc, I love your gracious, appreciative reply!

      I’m just very happy right now and ready to run that marathon with your encouragement on my back!

      Thank you !

      • Hi Elizabeth –
        Again, so many wonderful, practical insights here – thank you for sharing some of your wisdom here with us. Very inspiring and infectious in a great way!


  • Marc, this was food for my soul. “Assimilate the beautiful.” I’m assimilating your entire post! Thank you.

  • David Dressler, BA, RMT

    LOL! (As they say.) How can I argue with Marc David when my name is David Mark (Dressler)? We are simply “mirrors” of each other! Your “David” is on my right and my “David” is on your left. If THAT is not a metaphor for the right and left brain, I don’t know what is. Put both “Davids” together, and maybe we have the whole truth. (Hey, my stomach didn’t burp.)

  • Tanya

    This is totally inspiring. I love how you so often make me look at food differently.

  • Cindy Johns

    I really enjoyed this post. Thank you for showing a different way to satisfy hunger and create energy. Refreshing thinking

  • LiZa Bliss

    What a beautiful post Marc and David too. It is seldom so blissfully put in opposition stance. You are both right on track Metaphysically and saying the same thing only differently.

    Thank you,


  • Marc David

    Hi everyone,

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments and responses.
    We really appreciate your loyalty to this field!


    Marc David

  • joe Grosso


  • Laura Maria Hornsby

    Thank you for the metaphor and right-brain stimulation in this article! It helps me go around my logical, linear thinking of “how to” eat and dive into a new experience of eating. I just discovered the IPE website and organization, and I’m thrilled to find support for a mind/body/spirit approach to integrous eating. I’ve dropped my former goal of being a “perfect eater”, and the metaphor in this article piques my interest for the experience that could result from being hungry for life, not just food. Thank you!!

    • KarnaN

      Hi Laura,

      Thank you so much for your kind words.
      We are so glad that you found us and it is great to hear that this article inspires you!


      Karna Nau
      Director of Student Relations
      Institute for the Psychology of Eating

  • David Dressler, BA, RMT

    Marc, my sense is that your “metaphorical” view of food is right-brained and that mine is left-brained (except for burping and gurgling). Undoubtedly, images and metaphors affect us, starting on a deep unconscious level with such things as dreams and more consciously as art, religion and intuition..Certainly, left-brained, logical thinking is the prevailing approach to conception and getting things done in modern Western civilization, the more so since Descartes and the rise of mechanistic modern science. In my view, the goal of “assimilation” (not limited to food) is to function from BOTH sides of the brain.

  • Monica

    I’ve read quite a few of your articles now Marc and this is by far my favourite to date. I think everyone would benefit greatly from reading this. I am soo pleased to have found your site and thank you so much for sharing your wisdom.

    • Hi Monica –

      Thank you so much! I’m glad you found us and feel inspired by this work. I also hope these tips, as they prove themselves out, come in handy for you.

      Marc David

  • Hi Marc,

    Thank you for bringing an authentic holistic approach to nutrition and life, which this article exemplifies beautifully. In a nutshell, this offers a lesson in presence to recognize and experience endless opportunity for integral nourishment, growth and participation. Albeit intangible to some as all progressive knowledge will be, this is where humanity must venture to embody and express both unique individual and collective wellness. The amazingly adaptable human bodymind can be effortlessly energized and nurtured through multiple channels so we don’t have to spend so much energy obsessing over one, therefore our attention can be directed to greater purpose.

    Also, bravo for introducing a concept of ourselves as food, as part of the cycle of life. One of the themes of this year’s IONS conference was embracing the life-death continuum, and #5 is a subtle and digestible way to plant that seed.

    • Hi Kriste,
      Thank you for your kind, encouraging words.
      It really is amazing to look at the true capacity of the human body to be both incredibly wise and powerful. And thanks as well for mentioning the IONS conference, I will put that on my radar.


  • Eileen

    Hello Marc,
    Thanks for the tips. How do I know when I’ve become full of energy? I have trouble knowing when I’m full enough of food! When will the energy levels be at their best?
    I’m on medication which is sapping my energy and I’m struggling from day to day and usually spend one day at the weekend just sleeping with occasional breaks to eat something or go for a quick, short walk with my dog.
    More energy would be very welcome.
    With reluctant yawns,

    • Hi Eileen,
      Wow, sounds like a rough time. I’m so sorry to hear about your experience with your medication.
      Maybe this will be a time when you simply need to learn to live with less energy, and thus manage your energy with great care. And maybe it’s time to at least explore with your doctor other alternatives to your healing process that does not cause further health challenges.

      Best of luck to you,
      Marc David

  • Judy Epstein

    A beautiful, well written article. Food for thought!! I loved it all. Thank you.

  • Hi Judy,

    I’m so glad you enjoyed the article. Thank you for reaching out to share!


  • Kathy Lalor

    Loved this Marc! Thank you. What impacted me was “your life is like a super food for the larger life that created you.” I am a source of nourishment for The Universe! Brilliant!

    • Hi Kathy,

      I’m so glad that you connected with the article. Thanks for reaching out…


  • My Peace Of Food

    This is awesome. Your wisdom and energy, it’s so fresh and new compared to all of the diet and nutrition information that has been fed to us in so many different forms over and over already. Thank you! I bookmarked this and #1, eat until you feel energetic, rather than full, I mean…that even just SOUNDS better, more logical, more…why look at it any other way? This is really sinking in for me!

    • Marc David


      So glad you connected with this idea to seek more energy. It’s a much different approach and I know it will open up a different nourishing adventure for most anyone who gives it a go. Thanks for writing!


  • That is funny!
    We are so pleased to meet you David. 🙂

About The Author
Marc David

Marc David is the Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, a leading visionary, teacher and consultant in Nutritional Psychology, and the author of the classic and best-selling works Nourishing Wisdom and The Slow Down Diet. His work has been featured on CNN, NBC and numerous media outlets. His books have been translated into over 10 languages, and his approach appeals to a wide audience of eaters who are looking for fresh, inspiring and innovative messages about food, body and soul. He lectures internationally, and has held senior consulting positions at Canyon Ranch Resorts, the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, the Johnson & Johnson Corporation, and the Disney Company. Marc is also the co-founder of the Institute for Conscious Sexuality and Relationship.