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How to Overcome the “Desk Doldrums” (aka Eating for Energy)

by Marissa on May 31, 2012

Working a desk job always gave me a case of what I termed the “desk doldrums,” the inevitable feeling of zapped energy that comes on strong either mid-morning or late afternoon.

And I happen to think I wasn’t the only person in the world who experienced this.  Exactly when the desk doldrums strike is different for everyone but when they do, they’re relentless.

The first thing most people dive for is sugar or caffeine which I found cured me only for a short time but eventually the doldrums crept back and plagued me for the rest of the day.

After awhile, I realized a few things that worked long-term.
1. Eating whole foods: As tempting as the vending machine or the treats my colleagues brought to share could sometimes be, I found that when I stuck with unprocessed, un-packaged foods as snacks along with vegetables, beans and whole grains for lunch, my appetite and energy levels were a lot more stable throughout the day.

2.  Choosing foods that are alive: Raw foods have a life force and keep my digestion smooth and help me avoid any sluggish feelings. When I start to drag, I find a green juice can provide the same jolt that caffeine does.

3. Add superfoods: Adding superfoods like chlorella, maca and coconut water to my morning smoothies gives me that extra kick in the morning and helps keep me full until I’m ready for lunch. No mid-morning snacking necessary.

Go here for a superfood smoothie recipe.

4. Go green: Some people build their meals around protein but I build mine around leafy green vegetables because the more I eat, the better I feel. I aim to eat greens at every meal (at the very least) as consistently as possible. That means greens in my morning smoothie. A big green salad for lunch and a green salad for dinner or some other kind of cooked greens.

5. Experiment with animal food: Eating too much meat, dairy, chicken and eggs can lead to low energy levels as can eating too little. Experiment with how much is right for your body. I’ve found what kinds are right for me and know how often I need to eat them to maintain balance. My body tells me when I’ve had too much or need more.

6. Sweeten gently: Replace sugar and artificial sweeteners with gentle, natural sweeteners like maple syrup or coconut sugar. Sweet vegetables like yams, carrots and beets can reduce sugar cravings associated with low energy.

7. Walk it off: Believe it or not, taking a short walk outside or even to a friend’s cubicle can do wonders to distract you and perk you up. You’ll come back from your short break re-charged and refreshed.

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