The Plan to Increase Your Energy

Stop relying on caffeine to get through your day. This plan will perk you up the natural way.

Posted on | By Dr. Tieraona Low Dog
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How to Energize Without Caffeine (2:07)

Not everyone has a problem with caffeine, and most of the research actually shows that modest amounts can be good for us. But in some cases, people can easily develop a caffeine addiction. If you need an energy drink or coffee within one hour of waking, plan your day around when you’ll have your next caffeine boost and believe that you cannot “function” without them, you could be too dependent on caffeine. And it’s not easy to come off of that dependency. Classic caffeine withdrawal symptoms such as headache, shaking and irritability make it difficult to stick with cutting caffeine out of your diet. Here’s how to quit caffeine and get energy in natural ways instead .

Step 1: Wean Down

Going off caffeine cold turkey can be very difficult, especially when one is consuming so much. Try weaning off instead to avoid the withdrawal symptoms (headache, fatigue, irritability, difficulty focusing). This approach takes more time but is more likely to be successful.

Replace the caffeine habit with a healthier alternative both during and after your weaning program. You’ll need to plan for what to do when you are feeling tired and are craving energy drinks or other caffeine. Make it harder to get them – don’t keep them in your usual places. Keep your caffeine sources on the kitchen counter and keep only what you need for the weaning protocol. The rest should be opened up and drained down the sink. Tell your friends and family what you are doing, you’ll need their support it is always easier to make changes when you are part of a team.

Weaning Protocol:

Monday and Tuesday: 4 cans/servings of energy drinks or caffeine (or whatever your regular amount is, decreasing by one serving every two days).

Wednesday and Thursday: 3 cans/servings of energy drinks or caffeine.

Friday and Saturday: 2 cans/servings of energy drinks or caffeine.

Sunday and Monday: 1 can/serving of energy drink or caffeine.

Tuesday: No more energy drinks or caffeine.

Put this protocol on the refrigerator. Only have out what is available for the day.

Step 2: Replace Bad Habits With Better Habits

There are different kinds of energy. You want to start to experience and develop a calm, alert state of energy. Not jagged, up-and-down, all-or-nothing kind of energy.

Morning Energy: If you like having a smoothie in the morning, adjust your recipe to increase the iron content and replace some of the flavor and texture you might enjoy from an energy drink or other source of caffeine. Try this Sparkling Peach Protein Smoothie or Warm Iron-Rich Protein Smoothie for a natural morning energy boost.

Afternoon Energy: Substitute all those energy drinks or caffeine in the afternoon with an iced or warm blend of decaffeinated green tea and tulsi. There are organic blends in the marketplace or they can be purchased separately (they also come naturally flavored).  Tulsi, also known as holy basil, is an adaptogen, or herb that helps the body cope with stress. It has long been treasured in India as a delicious, uplifting and nourishing tea. Green tea contains L-theanine, a compound that leaves one with a calm focus.

Pour 3 cups boiling water over two tulsi tea bags and one green tea tea bag. Let steep for 5-7 minutes. Remove teabags. Put in container, take to work and sip throughout the day.

For those afternoon slumps, try these high-protein No-Bake Energy Balls to last you until dinner without crashing. Get more energy-boosting recipes here.

Step 3: Breathe and Walk Your Way to Energy

Relief is just a breath away. When feeling tired or the craving hits for caffeine, stop and take seven really slow deep breaths. It is amazing how something so simple can calm and energize us. Focus on getting your energy through physical movement and food. One 15-minute walk midday will help promote a calm, sustained energy. Do this every day for two weeks and then increase it to 20 minutes. Studies show that low to moderate intensity exercise improves feelings of energy and decreases feelings of fatigue. A pedometer can be a great way of increasing physical activity to help you eventually work up to 10,000 steps per day.

This plan was created for Dr. Oz's Truth Tube. Get past expert Truth Tube plans here.

Article written by Dr. Tieraona Low Dog
author of "Healthy at Home"