This week, in our Friends of The Happy Pear series, we catch up with Dr. Tasneem “Dr. Taz” Bhatia. Dr. Taz is a board-certified integrative medicine physician and wellness expert, who specialises in women’s health, weight loss, nutrition and family wellness. Her latest book Super Woman RX, tackles the demands that modern society places on women, and offers five unique and highly-effective plans that maximize health, happiness, and beauty!
“We are all superwomen—but accessing and activating superpowers takes special attention to what you eat and how you choose to live,” says Dr. Taz who has seen more than 12,000 patients in her Atlanta-based health centers and has been featured in numerous US media outlets. Dr. Taz understands the pressure and demands—especially on the modern woman—and she believes that knowing what your body needs to keep energy up and humming all-day long is half the battle.
Dr. Taz’s top 7 ways to keep energy high
In the shorter and darker days of autumn and winter, it can be a challenge to get enough daylight—and lack of light affects how your brain functions, including the regulation of your mood and energy. I encourage everyone to get outside for 10 minutes of sunscreen-free natural light (sunscreen is important, but it interferes with your body’s ability to make vitamin D). A brisk 10-minute bout of walking is the perfect activity, because you pair the natural mood boost from your brain’s endorphins with the sunlight, which triggers the hormones that keep you pumping, and inhibits the ones that make you sleepy. You can also use a sunlamp if you won’t have access to any natural light.
Another way to help nudge your energy skyward is to use supplements that are known to help increase your energy and elevate your feelings. I’m a big fan of vitamin D and B vitamins. Vitamin D deficiencies are at an all time high for both men and women, and supplement recommendations are far too low. I recommend taking 2,000 IUs of vitamin D a day. B vitamins help your body transform the food you eat into the fuel it needs to be for you to use it for ideal energy. I recommend 1,000 micrograms of B12, and 25 mg each of B1, B2, B5, B6 per day. Finally, as touched on above, exercise naturally releases endorphins that boost your mood—and an elevated mood means more energy. In addition to incorporating movement all throughout your day, it’s a great idea to also include some morning yoga stretches, a tai chi class, a bike ride, some swimming, or a nice long hike.
Having adequate energy to get through your day isn’t just about getting enough sleep—it’s just as important to get the right amount and quality of sleep. Too much sleep can cause you to feel sluggish, just as too little slumber time can. Having a regular bedtime isn’t just for kids. When you have a set bedtime and wake time routine, it helps your brain and body to balance and release the proper hormones that help you relax and rest during the night, and to wake feeling ready to seize the day the next morning. Aim to get into bed between 9 and 10 p.m. and to be asleep by 10 and 11 p.m. (make sure your bedroom is dark, no little flashing screens or displays). Set a manual alarm clock and plan on getting up between 6 and 7 in the morning. Most of my patients moan about this initially, but they thank me when they see first-hand how much more energy they get all throughout their day by getting regular quality sleep at night.
4. Eat the Right Fat and Fibre
It’s a pretty simple concept to grasp when you take a minute to think about it—heavy, artery-clogging saturated and trans-fats slow down and clog up your machinery, and refined, highly-processed carbs give you a quick burst of energy only to leave you drained and craving more junk food—it’s an ugly cycle. Thankfully, it’s also a bad habit that can be delicious to break. That’s because your diet doesn’t have to be about deprivation. Instead, I encourage men and women to look to food as fuel to energize. The best news? That doesn’t mean banning fat and carbs, just shifting your perspective. Healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado, and walnuts help your meals to be super satisfying without weighing you down, and complex carbs—whole grains, fruits and vegetables keep you full of steady energy all day long.
I’m a fan of tonics, teas, and power drinks—homemade of course—but if I had to pick just one for energy and health, it would be the green smoothie! There’s no faster way to give you a quick jolt of energy and to detox your liver all at once. As a Traditional Chinese Medicine student, I learned that your liver is your powerhouse—it is the tool used to filter all impurities in your body’s world—and that’s a big job! A sluggish liver drains your whole being of vitality.
Detoxing isn’t just about going on a juice fast—you can help your body rid itself of toxins and to rejuvenate with a day at the spa—doctor’s orders! Taking time out at the gym to hit the sauna or steam room, or soaking in a Jacuzzi helps your body to release energy draining toxins, increases your circulation, and keeps energy humming. You’ll sleep great and wake the next day full of energy.
Body work, such as acupuncture or massage, is a great way to relax, rejuvenate, and revive—plus it’s a treat. I suggest that you do one or the other once a week to move stagnant, stale energy, and to invite in new, fresh vitality. As a certified acupuncturist, I’ve seen this ancient healing practice open up blocked channels of energy and witnessed countless changes for the better.
ABOUT DR. TAZ MD: Personal health challenges in her twenties, combined with a broken health care system, motivated Dr. Taz to pursue an alternative definition of health and healthy living. She was early in her medical practice, as a young resident, and couldn’t find answers to her health challenges. After studying various systems of medicine, she found a wealth of information not yet taught in conventional medical schools and opened her unique and innovative practice, CentreSpringMD. “I’ve been lucky enough to see and help more than 12,000 patients, and I see hundreds more each month,” says Dr. Taz.
Dr. Taz MD is board-certified in integrative medicine and a fellow of the University of Arizona Program in Integrative Medicine led by Dr. Andrew Weil (completed 2008). A native Atlantan, she attended The Westminster Schools, Emory University, the University of Georgia and the Medical College of Georgia. After completing her residency in pediatrics at the Medical College of Virginia in 2000, she received the Emily Gardner Award for Best Pediatric Resident.
She is the author of the best-selling books, the Super Woman RX, the 21-Day Belly Fix and What Doctors Eat. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband and two young children.