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?
Founder – Institute for the Psychology of Eating
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