It’s thought of as common knowledge that energy decreases with age. We’re taught to accept our expensive addiction to Starbucks (while convincing ourselves that coffee’s flavonoids make it an anti-aging superfood) as part of life and move on. But I would like to propose to you that low energy has nothing to do with age, and everything to do with toxin exposure and the health status of our hormones.
You see, I used to be one of those caffeine addicts. Starting at the age of about 13 I have dealt with mild fatigue. I supported myself through high school with sugary caffeinated drinks and eventually switched to green tea (which has more caffeine than you’d think) in college to survive. I’m sure that seems hardly an issue but I can assure you, I was completely dependent.
Looking back I realize that my fatigue was self-induced adrenal (our main energy organs which sits above the kidneys) exhaustion. Once I began removing all toxins and supporting my hormonal system, my energy drastically resurfaced. Here are 5 lifestyle tips to practice to ensure healthy hormones and increase energy long term.
1. Cut out the caffeine. I know, easier said than done. I had attempted to eliminate caffeine from my life many times with no success. The reason being, caffeine stimulates temporary neurotransmitter production (the release of dopamine). The brain responds quickly by decreasing the natural release making you even more tired. Sometimes it only takes one dose of caffeine for this to happen. It truly is an addictive substance.
Cutting out all caffeine is essential to the process of strengthening hormones. If you want to avoid withdrawal and see your energy come back quickly, rebuilding neurotransmitter stores is crucial. L-tyrosine is an amino acid which stimulates the natural production of dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine in the brain. Taking just 1000 mg before breakfast makes breaking a caffeine addiction painless! Most people find after a week, they can lower the dose and within a month or two no longer need it at all. L-tyrosine can be found at most health food stores or online.
2. Remove refined sugar from your diet.
Refined sugar is also taxing on the adrenal glands, and unfortunately it’s in almost every processed food including the organic “health foods” like salad dressings. Refined sugar, corn syrup and anything ending in “ose” negatively affects thyroid, cortisol and insulin hormones. Replace refined sugars with raw honey, sulphate-free molasses, grade-B maple syrup, coconut sugar or rapadura and use in moderation.
3. Increase healthy fats and proteins.
Fats and proteins are often feared, but play a crucial role in repairing the adrenal glands. Without fat and protein you can expect to experience blood sugar roller coasters, weight gain and fatigue. Some great sources are raw organic cheese, coconut oil, pastured yellow butter, raw nuts and seeds, pastured, free-range chicken & eggs, grass-fed beef, nitrate-free meats and wild-caught fish.
4. Avoid the use of chemicals and artificial scents.
If you want sustained energy, removing chemicals from your life is key. The toxins that candles, air fresheners and perfumes emit cause stress on the body and are neurologically toxic. They often build up in the liver, causing continual chemical circulation in your blood stream and steady fatigue.
The truth is that completely avoiding artificial scents and chemicals is impossible unless you’re bubble boy (assuming your bubble is BPA free). They are in everything from laundry detergent, and candles to tampons! Do your best to limit your exposure by buying organic and scent-free products, swapping perfumes for essential oils and not putting anything on your body that you wouldn’t put in your mouth.
5. Spend time with your feet on the earth.
Walking barefoot is one of the most helpful practices that I could recommend to anyone dealing with hormonal problems and fatigue. The bottom of our feet not only have the biggest pores, but connect to specific parts of the entire body. When walking on the earth’s surface (which has a negative electrical charge thanks to lightning) we gain electrons that quench free radicals, reduce inflammation and stimulate our organs and hormones. Walking barefoot truly is the best therapy.
After adapting these habits I sleep like a rock (and I thought I slept well before) I never crave an afternoon nap and caffeine is utterly unappealing to me. I can assure you that you will regain steady energy throughout the day by prioritizing a hormone-balancing lifestyle over a daily quick caffeine fix.