Nine "Natural" Energy Boosting Ideas From Santa's Reindeer

11/27/2012

During this holiday season many patients give themselves the "gift" of a check-up. One of the most common concerns I hear is of a "lack of energy." There are lots of reasons to be tired: lack of sleep, illness, stress, certain medications or even just a full day of mental or physical activity. However, it's also important to know that the foods we eat can definitely fuel us up or send us on a sleigh ride to a destination called fatigue.

GET TO KNOW YOUR ENERGY FLOW

To get started, keep a diary of the usual foods (including snacks) you eat as well as the liquids you drink. Record this for two weeks and write down when you feel energized and when you feel drained (you will be amazed at how this correlates with certain foods and food groups). Next, make an appointment with a registered dietitian to review your energy robbing (highly refined and calorie dense muffins with a fruit drink, candy, cookies, others) and energy releasing (oatmeal mixed with milk or yogurt and real fruit) meals. Together, you will formulate an eating plan that provides the energy to fuel you through your busy and hectic day.

POWER UP 

In the meantime, here are some tips from Santa's Reindeer to keep your personal power supply on full:

Dasher...Eat breakfast - After a night’s sleep your body is in energy conservation mode and has a decreased metabolic rate. If you go about your day without added fuel, this low energy state continues. However, if you fuel up with a combination of healthy short and long-term power foods as well as a glass of water, your metabolic rate picks up and continues to flow with the good energy reserve supplied from breakfast

Dancer...Healthy snacks - Graze throughout the day while being watchful of calories. Apples, a banana, a piece of string cheese, high fiber slice of bread (3 or more grams) with a teaspoon of peanut butter, and peaches are examples of some energizing snacks. You can even add a handful of peanuts, walnuts, almonds or others in this category once per day

Prancer...Eat foods that contain magnesium - Yogurt, kefir, and low or no-fat cottage cheese all contain this mineral. Some studies have demonstrated that magnesium assists enzymes that are necessary for protein and carbohydrate metabolism

Vixen...Lean sources of protein - sardines, salmon, eggs, yogurt, chicken and turkey

Comet...Hydration with water and water dense fruits such as grapes, watermelon and apples (please speak with your physician in case you have any fluid restrictions)

Cupid...Breath in and out - yep, I know, you are already doing that. However, proper breathing involves the use of your abdominal muscles so airflow will be maximized and provide a kind of turbo boost for your body

Donner...Move, jump, jiggle, wiggle and dribble! Periodically move about, especially if you have a job that involves a lot of sitting. This will help to circulate your blood, improve your breathing, and rev up your energy levels just in time for the holiday dash

Blitzen...Take time for yourself to do things you enjoy - Whether it is painting, taking a nature walk, reading a good book or visiting friends, this is important because stress can build up and trigger mental fatigue

Rudolph the Red Nosed(and well rested) Reindeer…Sleep – sounds simple and brings back memories of our parents reminding us of our bedtime, but if you find yourself falling asleep during meetings, while wrapping presents, waking up tired or having difficulty reading because you’re nodding off, it may be from a lack of sleep

Santa's wisdon: whether it is food, activity, rest, work or play, the key to maintain your personal flow of energy is the gift of balance in your life. 

May you all have a happy and healthy holiday season!


Dr. Rob believes in preventative and integrative approaches to medicine. He specializes in family medicine as well as children's health and wellness.
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