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Energy: the elusive resource we all crave. It’s the motivation to conquer the to-do list, fuels creativity, and provides a sense of presence that prevents stagnation. But the question is: how do you recharge this internal battery, or find new ways to create energy stores and live more vibrantly, more awake?
Coffee has long been the default solution. It’s a time-honored ritual, sensorial and beloved—but the caffeinated aftermath can leave you jittery, unfocused and anxious. This is especially true in times of sleep deprivation or high stress. Lucky for you, there are tools nature provides to combat the push/pull of wanting a 3 p.m. coffee craving without the side effects of anxiety-provoking mental fatigue.
The Nootropic You Need
L-theanine is an amino acid, naturally present in green tea. It’s touted to help boost cognition and fight the stress and anxiety that seem to follow us all in a ubiquitous haze. It also happens to be a smart thing to pair with a stimulating cup of coffee. L-theanine helps to induce calm alongside the hit of caffeine, a stimulant known to raise levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. The yin/yang of these two compounds, instead of canceling each other out, foster a hyper-focused, enhanced clarity. L-theanine is classified as an anxiolytic, or an amplifier of alpha brain waves. If you’re familiar with kundalini or deep meditation, activating the alpha brain state allows for mind/body integration, alertness, and deep contemplation. Imagine accessing that kind of “power of now” in the height of an important meeting, or an office brainstorm for the next big idea?
The bioactive compound not only combats stress mentally; it’s also a physical destresser. Studies have suggested its ability to fight against neurodegenerative toxins like aluminum, and alleviate ailments ranging from PMS, hypertension, chronic pain, and even tumor growth.
Where to Find It:
Instead of popping a pill, there are ingestibles and snacks that incorporate a high-quality form of L-theanine to partake in throughout the day. As a mid-afternoon pick-me-up that gives new meaning to the concept of mindful snacking, the Energy Bar offers a unique combination of magnesium-rich cacao, B12 to beat brain fog, and L-theanine. Or, there’s Nootropic Chocolate— a hit of Lion’s Mane medicinal mushrooms, Gotu Kola (the herb that ascends Himalayan monks into meditation) and L-theanine, all in the form of a cacao bite.
Above all, L-theanine supports the body's systems without draining the energy stores in the process. Update your caffeinated morning ritual to one that calms, rather than exacerbates, jitters—and for many, coffee comes with that rollercoaster dynamic. Instead, turn to ingredients as tools that provide real body love. In this way, you can enjoy what you love while honoring what your body needs.
By Hannah Shanken • September 4, 2019
Photographer: Lianna Tarantin