Taking Care of Our Temple

Here’s a public service announcement: drinking an abundance of energy drinks and not enough water, along with too much protein in the diet, and then taking over-the-counter sleeping pills each day is not good for your body. This probably seems like common sense to most, but for me, being stubborn like I am, I had to find out the hard way.

How did I get here? For as long as I can remember, I’ve had trouble going to sleep at night. Those that know me, know I’m a talker. I’m high-energy. So even when I’m physically tired at night, my mind keeps chugging along like a freight train. I have this issue with or without caffeine. I’ve enjoyed, however, drinking a Dr. Pepper from time to time and somewhere along the way, I was introduced to this wonderful man-made concoction called an energy drink.

Energy drinks have been around for years, but it seems they really hit their stride, in terms of taste, in the last few years. Now I could not only drink one of these bad boys and feel like I could run the Boston Marathon, but I actually enjoyed the taste too. Perfection!

Adding to all of this fun was my insistence on playing softball 7 months out of the year and thinking I can still go day in and day out like I did as a baseball player at 18-years old. Some of my more muscular friends had told me that a diet high in protein is what I needed to be lean, and mean, on the field. Sure, why not?

So, all of this put me in a daily cycle of staying up too late, taking a Benadryl to go to sleep, waking up exhausted, drinking an energy drink, basically eating nothing but protein, drinking another energy drink, then being way too wired to go to sleep, taking a Benadryl and doing it all over again the next day. Rinse. Wash. Repeat.

Eventually my body threw in the towel. In response to this, I went from one extreme to the other. All of a sudden, I drank no caffeine. Just water. I hardly ate any protein, and I didn’t take anything at night to sleep. So, then I spent about a week dealing with various type of withdrawals from going cold turkey on things I had been putting into my body for years.

So, what am I doing now? I walk every day. I pray and meditate every day. I’m drinking more water, but I still work some caffeine in there. My diet is more balanced. And I started taking melatonin in the evening to sleep. It works for me. I feel better than I have in a long time.

As I mentioned in last month’s column, I’m not a health or fitness guru by any means, despite being a fairly regular participant in yoga classes. What I am, however, is someone who is finding out what works best for me. And that may be completely different from what works best for you. That’s ok. What’s important is that we listen to what our bodies are telling us. It’s the only one we have. Let’s take good care of it.