Are you hitting the snooze button one too many times in the morning before hopping out of bed? Or, are you just barely getting by in the morning without your extra-large dark roast? If so, it might be time to rethink your a.m. pick-me-up.
Your Body On Caffeine
There’s no doubt that caffeine works as an outstanding pick-me-up and that coffee is delicious. Want proof? Look no further than the Starbucks on almost every other street. But, caffeine is a temporary fix to an ongoing problem. Caffeine is a stimulant that gives your body a false sense of energy.
When caffeine is absorbed through your body, your adrenals (tiny glands that sit atop your kidneys) are stimulated. These glands produce adrenaline to help combat stress-related issues. The more coffee you drink, the more stress-busting hormones your body releases, which then taxes your adrenal glands and leads to what is known as adrenal fatigue. The initial boost will wake you up just enough to feel good, but after the caffeine reaches its peak, the crash hits and you’re left feeling just as tired as you started – itching for your second cup or a sugary treat.
Blood Sugar and Energy Levels
The key to sustained energy throughout the day is maintaining your blood sugar. Typically, wherever you find caffeine, sugar is not far behind and like the caffeine effect, fluctuating blood sugar levels can leave you feeling tired and sluggish. Your body naturally uses carbohydrates as its primary source of energy, which is then converted to glucose (sugar). Without the fiber content provided by many complex carbohydrates to slow the absorption of sugar, your body instead receives an immediate boost of sugar that extends the peak/crash cycle.
That’s why the goal for your new morning pick-me-up should be simple: To provide sustained energy that will keep you going until your next meal without the crash. To help balance the hormones that have been disrupted from over-caffeinating and increased sugar, you’ll need healthy fats, hormone regulating supplements, and natural sugars with fiber to slow the absorption of glucose into your bloodstream.
Why Do You Need Healthy Fats?
Not all fats are created equal. Healthy fats help gather essential nutrients and transport them throughout your body. Saturated fats, like those found in avocado and coconut, help your body absorb calcium, which is especially important for women. When your body has the nutrients it craves to sustain normal function, you’re less likely to encounter cravings that are designed to help fill those nutritional gaps.
Maca: The Hormone Regulator
Everyone loves a superhero. Maca is like the superhero of supplements. If you’re not already consuming maca, it might be time to start. This wonder supplement is used for an array of ailments including chronic fatigue syndrome, female hormone imbalances, and sexual dysfunction. This tubular root has hints of butterscotch flavor and is an easy addition to shakes and smoothies.
Natural Sugar and Fiber
Since your body uses complex carbohydrates (like fruit) for energy, incorporating them into smoothies is a great way to provide energy without the crash. The fiber in the fruit helps slow the absorption of sugars giving you prolonged energy throughout the day.
For a natural pick-me-up in the morning, try the following morning mocha substitute that is designed to give you the sustained energy you need to make it through any groggy morning.
Morning Maca Mocha (serves 2)
1 frozen banana
2 Tablespoons herbal coffee alternative (try Dandy Blend Herbal Coffee Substitute)
2 Tablespoons maca powder
2 Tablespoons cocoa, cacao or carob powder
1-2 cups dairy or non-dairy milk alternative
1 teaspoon honey or real maple syrup
Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy! Optional: For a protein boost, add 1 scoop of protein powder and/or 1 Tablespoon of nut butter.
Whether you’re a morning person or a night owl, everyone could stand to have a little more energy in the morning. But, how you choose to boost your energy can make all the difference between soaring like a superhero throughout the day or feeling as though you’ve crashed into a brick wall only a few hours later. Be sure to get your energy boost through natural sources and you’ll feel far more ready to tackle the day.