We've been over this before: I'm always tired.
As it turns out, correcting my sleeping mistakes was only half the battle. Now, I've found out my constant state of drowsiness could stem from my sh*tty eating habits.
Seriously, why do I always feel like I'm one blink away from falling asleep right at my desk?
To help combat my drowsiness, I tracked down nutritionist Nikki Ostrower, founder of NAO Nutrition & Wellness, to explain my long days of endless work and after-hours socializing.
First, she made it clear I'd need more than our allotted 30 minutes to get a proper evaluation of all the ways my diet may be hindering me from attaining a healthy lifestyle.
Still, Ostrower briefly detailed how someone who's always tired can stay energized all day.
1. Kickstart your morning with an energizing ACV detox.
Sipping down an Apple Cider Vinegar concoction isn't just for cleansing your liver after a drunken weekend.
In fact, ACV can aid your energy levels throughout a long day of meetings and after-work parties.
"Take one tablespoon of Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar, mix that in with one cup of water and drink it," Ostrower suggests. "The enzymes help you break down food, while the probiotics help to assimilate and absorb nutrients."
A cup of this brew is like a "push to start" feature for your body.
2. Eat protein and almost no sugar for breakfast.
I prefer a hearty breakfast over a shot of wheatgrass in the morning, but that's not always for the best. After inhaling an overpriced bacon, egg and cheese sandwich early in the morning, all I want to do is work from home.
And by work from home, I mean go back to sleep.
Ostrower says it's best to keep your blood sugar stable with whole foods in order to keep energy steady all day.
"Try eating oatmeal with hemp seeds, chia seeds, coconut oil and some berries on top," she says. "You're getting fiber, healthy fats [and] protein from the seeds."
The seeds are also anti-inflammatory, which will help keep you satisfied.
3. Kick fatigue with peppermint oil.
Look, staring at a computer or iPhone all day causes fatigue. And, if you're already fighting to keep your eyes open, it can make things worse.
To combat the z's you want to catch while staring at that Excel sheet, keep a bottle of ingestible peppermint oil close by.
Rubbing drops of peppermint oil on your temples or drinking a few drops can do wonders, according to Ostrower.
"It's great for fatigue and headaches," she explains. "It's also great for energy. Also, drinking a glass of water with two drops of peppermint oil helps with digestion."
Don't think you have drinking essential oils daily, however. Just inhaling the scent can help boost your energy.
4. Don't skip your 4 pm snack.
When the afternoon lulls us into sleep, most people reach for coffee. I, however, can settle for a granola bar and ginger tea.
While energy bars can be great for giving you, well, energy, not all nutrition bars are created equal.
For an end-of-day kick, Ostrower suggests eating something that's rich in fiber and protein. Healthy fat is crucial, too.
"It could be veggie sticks, anything from snapeas to carrots and celery with some guacamole, salsa or hummus," she says. "You can eat an apple and almond butter or grass-fed beef jerky. There are some great artisanal brands that are super lean and anti-inflammatory.
If you need a Slim Jim alternative, Nick's Sticks are a much better choice.
5. Don't f*ck around and forget to eat four times a day.
I'm famous for skipping lunch.
I'm too busy to waste time stuffing my face and eating lunch can put me in a food coma, making me sleepier than I already am.
So, unless a co-worker invites me out or my growling stomach reaches embarrassing volumes, I don't mind working through midday feasting hours.
However, Ostrower highly suggests the "too busy to eat" mentality is crap.
"It depends on the type of fitness you're doing, but typically you need to make sure you eat three meals and a snack," she concludes.