When I was 20 I caught the Epstein Barr virus which eventually resulted in debilitating chronic fatigue. At the height of my war with chronic fatigue it was like my life was over. I slept 17 hours a day and barely left my room during the rest of the time. It took a long time and a lot off effort and fantastic support for me to finally become well again.
I only tell you this because I want you to know that I have extensive personal experience with the phenomena of fatigue in terms of experimenting and listening to my body. My practical experience has taught me what makes fatigue worse and what helps overcome fatigue. Today I’m going to share with you what I’ve learned so that you can avoid certain key energy zappers and, I hope, improve the quality of your life.
1. Processed Foods
If you’re eating processed foods you’re contributing to the toxicity of your body. Consider why we have certain physiological detoxification processes maintained by organs such as the liver. When our physiology was formed there were none of the man-made additives and chemicals in food that our ancestral humans consumed.
Up until about one hundred years ago the liver only had to deal with organic substances. Today, if you’re eating processed foods your liver is being overwhelmed by synthetic and organic chemicals it must process. According to the book Food Allergies and Food Intolerance, if you’re eating what passes for the average diet and drinking unfiltered tap water you are exposing yourself to at least 200 synthetic chemicals and chemical cocktails every single day.
All the extra work your liver and kidneys are doing requires a lot of energy.
If you’re anything like most people in the western world you consume some form of caffeine. Caffeine is something we reach for when we feel we need more “energy”. Unfortunately caffeine does NOT give you energy. What caffeine does do is stimulate your nervous system. Stimulation is a very different animal to energy.
By using caffeine as a stimulant you’re actually wearing your body out. When you consume caffeine your body releases a hormone called Cortisol. What you should know about Cortisol is that it is a stress hormone. Think fight or flight.
It is the Cortisol in your blood that keeps you awake and pepped up after consuming caffeine. Cortisol suppresses white blood cells, natural killer cells, and other features of the body’s immune system as well as increasing blood pressure. If you’re already stressed and you’re consuming things like caffeine you’re probably well on your way to adrenal fatigue.
Here sugar includes refined and processed simple carbohydrates. That means white bread, white rice, pasta, and so forth. This sort of food spikes your blood sugar as effectively as sugar itself does. As always after a big spike in blood sugar levels comes a big crash.
When the body’s blood sugar level crashes below a healthy equilibrium you feel tired and fatigued. You’ll also feel highly unmotivated, become irritated and snap at your loved ones, all because you ate something high in sugar or a highly refined carbohydrate. For your reference the different names sugar parades under include lactose, sucrose, glucose, maltodextrose, maltose, dextrose, fructose, corn syrup, honey and maple syrup.
We all know (at least I hope so!) that refined sugar is bad for us. What you may not be aware of is that sugar is actually an anti-nutrient. What that means is when you consume refined sugar and carbohydrates there are no vitamins and minerals in that food. So in order to digest and process these things your body is required to draw from its own vitamin and mineral stores. That is never going to be good for your energy levels, nor your long-term health and wellbeing.
4. Toxic People
We’ve covered a lot of ground that has focused on the things we consume that are energy zappers. So I thought we’d finish with something a little different. Toxic people are people who are always negative, down on themselves and easily disturbed by any minor event that doesn’t go their way. You know who they are. They’re the complainers. The people who always criticize but never back that up with helpful solutions, the ultimate pessimists.
If you’re around such people for very long you’ll start to entrain to their energy level. You’ll enter into their headspace and essentially get dragged down, both emotionally and in terms of energy. To counteract this you will want to limit the amount of time you spend in the company of this type of person.
Sometimes, such as in a work environment, it is impossible to be free of toxic people. So in that case you will want to guard against spending your valuable energy complaining about these people to others and even to yourself. Once you leave work make sure you don’t bring it home with you.
Please give us your thoughts on the energy zappers presented here by leaving a comment. Also feel free to tell us about other top energy zappers that you have experienced, and what you were able to do about it.
Photo by tim