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3 Simple Diet Changes to Boost Your Energy

3 Simple Diet Changes to Boost Your Energy

I bet that  more than once, you’ve wished you had more energy: going about your day-to-day life feeling like a drone without being able to get anything done. Somehow, what you have in your head (if anything at all, thanks to the lack of energy) just doesn’t seem to materialize. Even interesting things become boring somehow, all due to your low energy levels. Does it always have to be this way? Are we destined to be thrown into these energetic dry spells without warning? I say no, and you have the power to do something about it yourself.

Roller coaster

If you’ve experienced this lethargy, you’re most likely suffering from low energy because you are riding the blood sugar roller coaster: when your blood sugar rises too quickly, your body produces a lot of insulin to cope with the sudden rise. Your body will then store the sugar, which means it is out of reach (at least temporarily), so now you suddenly have low blood sugar instead and feel the need to stock up on more, and the roller coaster is accelerating. This is known as sugar craving.

What you want to do is make sure that you have even levels of blood sugar throughout the day—that way your body can use the blood sugar most efficiently and your system can control everything more smoothly. With a few changes in your diet, you can introduce food that help with controlling the blood sugar levels to give you an energy boost overall.

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Superfood?

Every now and then, we hear the talk of a new “superfood”—usually some new berry that no-one has ever heard of, or an exotic fruit you know you will pay way too much for. Usually the hype dies out after a short period of time and is replaced by something new. Although I am not very keen on the term “superfood,” some things almost warrant that label. The funny thing is that there are some ingredients that have been in most homes for a very long time that fall into that category.

A word of caution though: after reading this don’t go overboard with massive dietary changes. Everything in moderation is the ticket, and it’s best to consider how you can (if you can, considering allergies and so on) add a little of this to your diet and reap the benefits without doing big lifestyle changes.

So here is what I’d like you to consider:

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1. Cinnamon
Cinnamon not only tastes excellent, it also has an effect on your blood sugar level. When the food you eat contains cinnamon, your blood sugar level rises slower than without it. You still have to make sure not to eat too much sugar, but cinnamon can be your friend in keeping your blood sugar in check.

My favorite use of cinnamon is on my cottage cheese at breakfast; cinnamon on oatmeal is another great example. In addition, I’d like you to consider trying cinnamon in your dinner recipes—it’s really great with chicken and chili powder.

2. Almonds
Nuts in general are underrated in my opinion, but it often seems that people either eat way too much of them (and often salted) or not all. If you’re allergic to nuts, it’s totally understandable that you’ll avoid them, of course. Almonds are especially interesting as they are easy to find without added flavor or salt,  and they contain healthy levels of good monounsaturated fatty acids and high levels of vitamin E. Vitamin E can be tricky to get through a normal diet, so almonds are a very sensible choice here. At the same time, the fatty acids will help prevent sugar from raising your blood sugar levels too quickly, which is  another tasty way of getting off the blood sugar roller coaster.

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I usually eat almonds for breakfast, and there they provide my healthy fatty acid intake. Normally I eat 3-6 almonds, so we’re not talking about handful after handful. Being a nut lover, I really have to be careful not to overdo it.  Try chopped nuts in a side salad, or mix them in with your favorite fruit or oatmeal.

3. Cauliflower
I bet you didn’t see that one coming! Cauliflower is a great substitute if you are looking to reduce your consumption of rice, pasta, or potatoes: you can eat it fresh, steamed, boiled,  or as a nice mashed potato substitute when blended with a good vegetable stock. Eating cauliflower will allow you to feel full and satisfied with very few calories, and it will provide you with plenty of  fiber: a winning combination.

Cauliflower is my number-one lunch and dinner potato substitute, though the key to making it interesting is to use spices sensibly—It doesn’t have to taste as dull as most people think it does.

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Conclusion
What I propose in this post may take a little bit of time to produce noticeable results in how  you feel, but give it time: this is about simple changes that can have a big impact on your health in the long run. If you’re looking for faster results, you can try some of the great hacks found here. All in all, these three changes are not what you would find on the cover of a magazine, but in my opinion, they are far better: they’re easily implemented, with no magic involved.

So, what do you think? I would love to hear from you.

Featured photo credit:  yoga woman on green park via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on August 13, 2020

12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

As a mediation teacher, I am constantly confronted with these two questions regarding the benefits of meditation:

1. Why can’t I enjoy the benefits of meditation continuously?

I ask back: Is it maybe because you see mediation as a technique, performance, or some exclusive activity? The answer is: yes!

Or, because your mind is constantly evolving on the past negative attachments and traditional habits? After careful thinking they answer: yes, probably!

Although meditation is very simple and challenging at the same time, in the above mentioned case, it’s not easy to benefit from meditation, especially when approached with the idea that it has to be learned, studied, or applied. Meditation is to be seen as a natural, mental cleansing process that happens on a basis of awareness on a moment-to-moment experience. When that takes place, the benefits of meditation are continuous.

2. What is the purpose of meditation?

The purpose of meditation is to accomplish a level of consciousness for mastering the mind and uniting with the finest, deepest, and subtlest part of yourself as a being.

It is a conscious process of observation of the mind—helping the meditator to understand the structure of its mind and the quality of its content. During this process, countless benefits of a physical, mental, and spiritual/philosophical nature arise for the meditator.

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Meditation as a Fixer and Benefactor

In this article we’ll have a look at the primary and the ultimate benefits of mediation, which improve your body and mind at the same time. For the sake of clarity, readability, and tangible experience, I have separated the benefits into three groups.

You can change just about anything you don’t like about yourself (psychologically, as well as physically) through meditation. However, this is only possible with a specific approach, when your brain allows the benefits of meditation to do their work.

This means not to interrupt the benefit with other thoughts, but to let their effect implement itself in your body and mind. This approach is crucial.

The following exercises will make you feel the benefits of meditation instantly, but the continuity of the benefits of meditation on your body and mind depend on the discipline of your brain, how you manage external stimuli and your thoughts.

Less Physical, More Psychological

Even though the practice of meditation is more psychological and less physical, the first benefit we’re going to experience is both physical as well as mental.

This benefit happens literally immediately, right at the moment of meditation. It is the essence of mediation basically.

The First Benefit of Meditation

The first benefit of meditation is twofold:

  1. Improving inward attention (sharpening the mind)
  2. Relaxation of the body

Let’s do it right now. This benefit consists of only one step, and it is very simple to perform. It goes like this:

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Sit still and pay attention to your exhalation.

That’s it! Technically, the whole journey into the world of mediation begins here and nowhere else. And right here, you benefit from this step in the following way:

When you pay attention to the flow of your exhalation (gentle, deep, effortless exhalation), your body begins with the process of relaxation instantly (your heart rate slows down, your nervous system calms, and tension in your muscles is relieved).

When the nervous system calms, your mind calms down, and, more specifically, less thoughts are produced by your mind. How, exactly? By applying one of the most valuable mental skills—attention—the mind follows the breathing and has no space and time to generate any other thoughts. Only when the attention goes off the breath, other thoughts are constructed, and the mind is accelerating with thought production again.

Keeping the First Benefit Effective and Ongoing

Here you apply the approach of not letting the relaxation and attention process get interrupted; rather let the effects of these benefits implant in your body and mind as deeply as possible.

This is to say, the instant relaxation and inward attention happen at the same time when you follow the flow of your breath. Repeating this process—creating a constant rhythm out of the breathing and the attention—you create a process of meditation.

Keep your attention on the flow of your breath and see how the calmness of body and mind begin to rule your present moment. The longer you stay connected to your breathing, the stronger you’ll feel the benefit. Start with 3-5 minutes at a time without doing anything else, and increase to 10-20 minutes and onwards.

Can you think of a better, simpler and quicker exercise that can relax the body and improve attention in this way, at this speed?

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This benefit takes you to the second one.

The Second Benefit of Meditation

While still working with the first benefit of mediation, you slowly start to see the second benefit of mediation, which is fourfold. I call it the major value of mediation:

  1. Energy (physical and mental strength)
  2. Observance
  3. Peacefulness (stillness, and space of mind for deeper observation)
  4. Patience

Peacefulness is the source of a blissful life. The energy is the fuel to express that blissfulness. Whatever we want to accomplish in life we need: 1) Physical and mental strength, 2) Observance of that energy, 3) Peacefulness—the calmness and stillness that creates space for freedom of being and creative thinking, and 4) Patience for the process of accomplishment.

You can only get creative in thinking and boosted with physical and mental energy when you get in touch with the deepest levels of yourself—when you harmonize your mental and physiological activities. How do you do that? Let’s try it right now:

This step involves the observation of the two separate movements of your breath. After paying attention on your exhalation, you have prepared your body and mind to really see and feel what true peacefulness and true energy means.

1. Energy

Keep your attention on your inhalation (inhaling gently, deeply and lightly) and feel the new energy (new oxygen) flowing in your body. The inhalation is the symbol for aliveness and vitality. It is the the primary act that connects the baby’s body with the outside world after coming out of the womb[1]. Each inhalation is a new opportunity for your body to revive, regenerate, and renew itself.

2. Observance

The observance comes during the process of meditation, enabling you to see the physiological benefits of introducing new energy to your body. Use that benefit by utilizing its effects, and create deeper observation into yourself. With every single inhalation, this observation will enable you to generate even more energy, mentally and physically.

3. Peacefulness

Keep your attention on your exhalation, and feel how, out of the relaxation, peacefulness is spreading throughout your whole body. The exhalation is the symbol for relaxation and peacefulness. Only through meditation can you realize what absolute peacefulness means.

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4. Patience

The meditation delivers the previous benefits to you immediately and opens up the possibility for many other benefits and great virtues. A specific one to mention, which is essential for reaching the ultimate benefits of meditation, is patience. If you have experienced the aforementioned benefits, it means that you have invested a certain amount of patience into mastering yourself and your mind.

The Ultimate Benefits of Meditation

Patience is a key quality when it comes to the ultimate benefits of meditation.

Since the mind is the tool that reveals everything, mediation is the method for the proper utility of the tool.

The above mentioned benefits of mediation lead to the ultimate benefits of mediation—qualities that depict what makes a human being human. As you dwell in a meditative state of being, the following benefits begin to emanate:

  • Diligence: the persistence for righteous effort to reach an intrinsic value; inner strength.
  • Temperance: to express self-control and show excellence in managing the physio-biological and mental necessities
  • Courage: using righteous effort and braveness to look into the weaknesses of yourself and at the hardship of your life, endure it and patiently overcome the obstacles
  • Loving kindness and Compassion – a capacity to care, understand, and tolerate other people’s state of being, wishing them freedom from suffering.
  • Wisdom: the moment when you feel that mediation gives you the feeling and the knowledge that what you do relating to life and practical affairs is just.
  • Equanimity: that puts you in a state of composure, and you experience an ongoing blissful state of being.

These are the 6 ultimate benefits of meditation that put your body and mind in a state of health and balance.

Final Thoughts

Mediation exists to put order in your mind and awaken the best of you, to reconnect you to your goodness and your inborn intelligent capabilities.

Meditation is the window to your true Self. It gives you a panoramic view of your heart’s greatness. It shows you the true meaning of love, freeing you from the dungeons of ignorance and despair. The power of meditation dismantles the evil that’s trying to cloud the beauty of your heart.

Your heart, body, and soul are the bridge over which the challenges of life frequently carry their heavy load. Meditation is the support of that bridge. Make use of that support.

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Featured photo credit: Mor Shani via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Medline Plus: Changes in the newborn at birth

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