Updated: Oct 28
Twenty years ago, I arrived in the USA with the worst eating habits you could imagine.
Coming from a dictatorship, where there was a lack of almost anything, I had no education on nutrition nor did I have an interest, since finding food each day was enough of a challenge for me.
Shocked by the abundance of choices, I barely ate for the first two weeks. Then, I adopted a diet which consisted purely of Snickers and pizza. Every. Single. Day.
It is not hard to imagine how terrible I started feeling. The grogginess, moodiness, and constant tiredness. Rock bottom came when I started gaining a pound of weight every day!
Somehow my young metabolism had surrendered to the massive amount of glucose I was ingesting. It was not a pretty picture.
With a burning intention, I started looking for information that would lead to a stronger, healthier me, and my life was never the same.
On this path, I became a “walking lab,” so to speak, trying different diets and things. I went from fierce carnivore to conscious raw-foodie in three years. Then back to omnivorous.
In this rocky path and after got gastritis as a result of the sudden and drastic changes -I realized the importance of balance. Being gentle with ourselves and making smooth transitions can go a long way.
As a result of my experiments, I came out with a list of 11 things that have significantly improved the quality of my life. These are habits that have made me strong, healthy, even reversing the occurrence of incurable ailments, such as Neurocardiogenic Syncope.
I hope these suggestions help you regain the lost energy and zest you deserve. I suggest you try them for at least two weeks and then assess improvements. While I believe staying healthy is a lifestyle, two weeks of commitment is a great place to start.
1. Drink high-quality water
The subject of water, all by itself, could take pages of lengthy discussion. My suggestion is that you do your research and dive into the pros and cons of the different types of drinking water there are available. In the United States, except for Fluoridation, tap water can be pretty good. However, it’s not my first choice.
Water mostly forms our bodies. For this reason, staying hydrated is essential for several functions to take place. Drinking high-quality water not only keeps your body from having to filter all the garbage that is sometimes dumped into tap water (such as the neurotoxin Sodium Fluoride) but it also has a positive and almost immediate effect on the system.
Look into systems such as Reverse Osmosis, or choose a good source of Spring Water.
Overdoing it does no good either, though. Listen to your body and hydrate yourself accordingly.
2. Mineralize your body
Minerals are an essential part of our constitution and often overlooked. Iron, Potassium, Magnesium, and Calcium are among the most important ones. Without them, our bodies can suffer from serious ailments.
Statistics show that a substantial percentage of Americans do not eat enough fruits and vegetables to meet minimum mineral RDAs. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, nine out of 10 Americans are deficient in Potassium, seven out of 10 are deficient in calcium and 50% in Magnesium.
The solution is to increase the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, supplement for deficiencies, or drink water with added minerals.
3. Avoid having a heavy meal before bed
In my experience, which has found confirmation in Ayurveda, skipping dinner whenever possible seems to have a beneficial effect.
For most of us, nighttime is when we relax and start getting ready to rest. What this means is the calories you consume at this time will not be used for energy, but rather converted into fat. Also, even when the body is an incredible multi-tasking machine, sleeping while digesting a heavy meal is not ideal.
Bedtime is when the body repairs itself so that you feel revitalized the next morning. Going to bed with a full stomach does not allow for this to happen the way it's designed to do. Of course, this process requires the consumption of energy as well. But I wouldn't compare it to what is spent actively during the day.
Skipping dinner has also contributed to me staying around 118 lbs for over fifteen years. It is not the only factor, but it is one of importance. The trick lies in listening deeply to the subtle messages your body sends out. If you are not hungry on a particular night, take advantage of it and fast until the following morning.
5. Be creative
Engage in activities that unleash your creativity. Take constant actions towards the realization of your goals, and your mood will improve significantly, along with your energy and zest for life.
When we are engaged in creative projects that feed our souls, we have a source of additional energy available to us. Sign up for the acting class you always wanted to take. Learn a new dance, a foreign language, and work on improving your value as an employee or develop your business. A healthy, active mind usually reflects in a powerful physique.
Look for ways to express yourself, to contribute to others, and to your development. Doing this will bring a new surge of energy to your everyday.
Look for ways to express yourself, to contribute to others, and your development. Doing this will bring a new surge of energy to your everyday.
5. Increase the consumption of “intelligent” foods
Intelligent foods are those that carry smart information, which is transferred to your organism once consumed. These refer to foods that are, in a sense, “alive.” Think fresh fruits and vegetables; which are rich in phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber.
These foods go easy on the digestive system, freeing up energy for other activities. A good sign of consuming intelligent foods comes when you start feeling light and with more clarity of mind. Smart foods create fewer impurities that accumulate in the organism, avoiding illness and slowing down aging.
As a general rule, consider that the longer the shelf life of the food, the shorter yours is. When it comes to it, the closer you stay to Nature, the more nutrients and benefits you will receive.
I suggest you take a field trip to your natural food store and explore it. While not all of the supplements will have the promised effect, some could substantially contribute to your energy levels and overall health.
Consider that each organism could react differently to the same elements. For this reason, it is essential to:
Take half the recommended dosage when first experimenting with a new supplement.
Pay attention to your body’s reaction to it and act accordingly.
Some health items worthy of exploration are kombucha tea, raw cacao (powder or in solid form), acai & other products high in antioxidants, blue algae, organic cold-pressed oils, chia & raw shelled hemp seeds, etc.
Find a physical activity that you enjoy and practice it at least four times a week. Get creative with it, as the goal is to keep moving. Exercise increases your endorphins; making you feel happier, healthier, and stronger.
Sometimes you will find that it is hard to keep the motivation going; so find a partner who will encourage you to work out when you’re not in the mood. Another way to stay committed is to play a sport you enjoy.
Surprisingly, you will find out that the more you exercise, the more energized you will feel when you are performing other tasks throughout the day. It takes spending energy to create more energy.
7. Indulge in restful sleep
Sleep is the body’s natural medicine. If cut short, the body doesn’t have time to complete all of the phases needed for muscle repair, memory consolidation, and release of hormones regulating growth and appetite.
A good night of sleep requires certain elements to be present. Darkness is one of the essential ones. With the advent of the modern world and the invention of the light bulb, we can extend the time of brightness well beyond the sunset.
Many leave a few lights on, and while they do fall asleep, the quality of their rest is not as complete as the one who sleeps in total darkness. I have experimented with this myself, and the difference was pretty remarkable.
So, make sure all lights are off when you go to bed. If the light comes into the room, whether insignificant, get shades or sleep with a mask. Doing this alone will substantially improve your sleep quality.
So, make sure all lights are off when you go to bed. If the light comes into the room, whether insignificant, get shades, or sleep with a mask. Doing this alone will substantially improve your sleep quality.
8. Eliminate certain foods from your diet
When obesity, diabetes or heart disease strike, we feel compelled -almost forced- to make drastic changes to our diet. At that time, we imagine our life filled with cups of tasteless steamed broccoli & a strange-looking meat substitute called tofu.
Truth is making a significant change in diet does not have to feel like torture. While it is essential to add different foods to our menu, it is also possible to get creative with it, enhancing flavor.
Consider adding spices that have been scientifically proven beneficial; such as rosemary, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon. Get a new healthy recipe book, search online, or create your culinary masterpiece.
Consider the possibility that certain "food" items have no business in your body. Especially in the face of an illness, when the body needs all the help, so it can get to get rid of the invader.
Consumption of refined sugar, which can be in the form of candy, bottled juice, sweets, pop, etc. is a significant killer of energy and a good state of health. Soda especially holds no nutritive value in my book. The only good use I have seen with it is utilizing it to clean a rusty car battery. Just think of what it does to your system.
Fast foods are also off-limits if you want to be healthy. Many of the ingredients used are mysterious in origin and the calorie intake is quite unforgiving.
You should reduce the intake of canned foods, which comes packed with preservatives. Remember, the longer the shelf life of the food, the shorter yours is.
Indulgence in any of the aforementioned a couple of times a month is not going to cause much disturbance. Just like eating a plate of salad one single time is not going to result in you losing weight or becoming healthier overnight. Consistency is key.
9. Eat less
Have you ever notice the less you eat, the more energized you feel?
As a general rule, it pays to listen to your body and comply with its requests. If you are hungry, eat; if not, don’t. The body knows best!
Also, avoid eating out of stress, anxiety, or boredom. Emotional eating is a significant cause of weight gain, and it can be avoided by being conscious of why we are eating. Ask yourself if you are hungry or reaching out for food out of one of the states mentioned before.
Keep your portions small and never put on your plate more than what you will eat. This single practice can substantially improve your health and make you lose weight if you are on the heavy side. When dining out, ask for an additional plate and as soon as the food arrives, place the portion you will eat on one and have the rest of it bagged.
When our bodies are busy with constant digestion and elimination of the toxins we consume, there is little energy left to fight and prevent disease or go about our day energized. Give your body a break whenever you can. Consider a 3-5 day juice fast or skip dinner sometimes.
10. Go easy on Tamasic foods
In Ayurveda, Tamasic foods are those that make you sluggish, slow and tired. Too much cheese, pastries, alcohol, some fermented, processed or stale foods are some examples.
In Ayurveda, they say “you are what you digest.” Thus, the slow digestion of sluggish foods will make you lazy. By eating vibrant, light and quick to digest foods, you become just like them.
11. Practice Mindfulness
The practice of Mindfulness is one of the simplest, yet most powerful habits you can create.
Every day, you have a certain amount of mental energy available. So, making the best use of it becomes paramount.
This particular practice reminds you to bring yourself back to the present moment each time. When we're not in our minds, we're able to experience life in its fullest dimension. We start seeing, smelling & perceiving in a new way.
This, in time, provokes in us a state of blissfulness, beyond anything we have imagined.
A byproduct of Mindfulness is thinking with clarity and being able to work on creative projects for longer times, without getting mentally or physically tired.
In all, respect, replenish, and protect your body. We all have this capacity to choose the right thing for ourselves.
I invite you to be cautiously explorative and committed to a healthier, more vibrant you!