Feeling tired or experiencing low energy tends to bring out the worst in me from feeling hangry to a lack of focus in my work and running on empty when I’m working out. In general, I’d consider myself a naturally high energy individual. I don’t sleep as much as most people do, and don’t often feel sluggish or tired. When I do, however, I prefer to lean on energy sources other than energy drinks and coffee. If you’re sensitive to caffeine like I am, or just not a fan of the jitters, I’m going to share 10 Ways to Boost Your Energy (without coffee). I’m also going to be talking about vitamin B12 because it’s a vitamin that is very much tied to energy. And, despite what you may have heard, it’s not JUST vegans and vegetarians that may need to supplement B12.
A big thank you to MegaFood® for partnering with me on today’s blog post. I love working with MegaFood because they are committed to organic and regenerative agriculture for a more sustainable future. The products have earned many purity seals such as non-GMO, tested for 125+ herbicides and pesticides, gluten-free, kosher, dairy-free and soy-free.
1. Vitamin B12
Let’s start with this one because it’s one that I myself overlooked for a very long time. Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin for the body and supports the nervous system, DNA synthesis and overall energy levels.* Vitamin B12 also supports healthy red blood cell production,* so when you’re low in B12 you may feel fatigued.
You may be familiar with this vitamin because it’s one of the only vitamins that is difficult to get on a vegan diet. As a result, supplements are always recommended to individuals with reduced animal product intake, but what you might not know is that there are other groups of individuals that should consider supplementing B12 too. Adults age 50 and older may have trouble absorbing B12, and some conditions may also make B12 absorption more difficult (Nutrition Studies Org). So, if you’re feeling low energy and can’t figure out why, you might consider checking in on your B12.
It’s easy to supplement! As a vegan myself, I supplement B12 daily and MegaFood has several B12 supplements made with real food from farm partners, and added nutrients. My younger sister enjoys the B12 Energy Cranberry Gummies because they are an alternative to tablets, and I usually supplement with either the Vegan B12 or the Methyl B12. My personal favourite is the Methyl B12 because it supports heart and blood health through methylated (active) forms of folate, B12 and B6.* It also comes in a mini tablet, which I find easier to take. A healthy heart and healthy blood deliver optimal oxygen* and oxygen = life! ☺ All three are vegan formulas, support healthy energy levels and the best part is they can be taken any time of the day and even on an empty stomach.*
Moving your body and getting your blood pumping is a great way to wake the body up. If you’re not up for a workout (which, understandably can be hard to do if you’re feeling fatigued), opt for something like an infrared sauna, or the great outdoors. Working out can actually be quite energizing, and infrared saunas help to elevate your heart rate and heat the body as if you’re working out but without the impact. If you can’t break a full on sweat, try taking a walk, or just standing up versus sitting down.
Sunshine is not only an energy booster but also a mood booster! It may encourage endorphin release and is also a great way to regulate your circadian rhythm. Being outside allows your body to receive natural cues about what time it is and whether your body should be up and alert or ready to rest. I also like to get outdoors and sit in the sunshine when I’m fighting jetlag too. If you travel a lot, check out these stress-less travel tips here.
Making sure your body is properly hydrated is key because oftentimes, when the body is dehydrated, it causes a feeling of exhaustion. Our bodies are made of mostly water and do need to be well hydrated in order to function at their best. If you’re working out or very active, pay special attention to hydration because it’s important for recovery as well. In the warmer months especially, make sure you’re drinking your water!
I love turning to the power of plants whether fresh produce, functional mushrooms, herbs or adaptogens. A few energizing plants include mint (peppermint is especially great), rhodiola, schizandra berry, cordyceps and ginseng. Consuming herbs doesn’t usually produce an immediate effect, but they work to support your stress hormones that definitely have an impact on your energy levels.*
Stay with me here–breathing is a really powerful tool you can take advantage of. Your breath can increase your heart rate, activate the sympathetic nervous system and energize you. Taking bigger, fuller and elongated breaths can help to increase your awareness of the body, while short, vigorous breaths can fire up and wake the body. One example of this is Kapalbhati, or Breath of Fire, a form of yogic breathing that invigorates the body. Another is Nadi Shodhana, or alternate nostril breathing, which can calm, rejuvenate and increase alertness in the body. If yoga’s not your thing, get your breath going by breaking a sweat (see number 2).
7. Essential Oils
This ties into the power of plants once again. Essential oils are very concentrated extractions of plants and many of them are wonderful for boosting energy.* Peppermint, as noted earlier, is a very refreshing scent that can really help to wake you up. Inhaling deeply or diffusing the oil would be a great way to use it (do not consume essential oils as they are extremely concentrated and can be dangerous internally). Other great essential oils with an energizing effect include ginger, eucalyptus, cinnamon and citrus or spicy oils.
This is a fun one. Get upside down! Whether it’s a headstand, handstand, forearm stand or even a simple downwards dog, inversions are really energizing. If you’re practicing yoga, you can focus on integrating more inversions and if you don’t have a yoga practice, it can be as simple as bending over in a forward fold (as if you were a ragdoll, bending at the waist), to let the blood flow and circulate. When you’re upside down, more blood flows to the head and brain, and often encourages focus and balance as you’re, well, upside down.
We’ve talked about some energizing plants via essential oils and herb, but what about eating them? Certain foods can have an energizing effect, like beetroot, which increases oxygen flow, ginger, citrus fruits and mint (gum and breath mints work too!).* From a big picture point of view, food in general can also be very energizing. If you’re not eating enough, or properly fueled, you could feel fatigued. Make sure you’re eating food of every macronutrient type, and enough complex carbohydrates to fuel your body.
Last but not least, and the most obvious and effective energy boost is sleep. Don’t roll your eyes at me! Good, quality sleep and enough of it is key for functioning properly and allowing your body to do its thing. If you find yourself low on energy, consider an extra few hours of sleep that night. If you need something in the moment, see if you can take a quick 5-minute nap. It might be just the energy boost you need to get going again.
I hope that you’ll give one (or all) of these a try, because I’ve yet to feel like I need to reach for a cup of coffee.
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.14
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BY Remy • June 29, 2019
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Hi there, I’m Remy! Welcome to Veggiekins Blog, home to nourishing vegan + gluten-free recipes and tips to live your best balanced and holistic life. I’m a human on a mission to empower you to be well and be kind to your mind, body and soul with the healing power of plants.
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