This is a review post.
Last year I set myself the target of establishing a habit of dedicating two hours a week to learn something new. For most of last year I actually dedicated this time to learning about herbs, which I shared in my August 2019 monthly review.
I was drawn to looking more into the wonderful natural world of herbs as an extension of my nutrition journey. Long term readers of the blog will know I have drastically changed the way I have eaten over the last seven years. My focus is to eat well to fuel and nurture my body so I have good health and plenty of energy to do my chosen activities and pursuits.
A key learning has been that not only is food is medicine but it can be a performance enhancer too! Delving into the world of herbs last year showed me that as a society for so many years we have left much on the table in terms of using herbs to enhance our lives. Many traditional and alternative medicines harness the power of herbs and it is exciting now to see that they are becoming increasingly popular in the mainstream.
Nootropics refer to natural, synthetic and prescription substances that enhance mental function. Natural nootropics are one group of herbs that are becoming popular as we look to these herbs to help us perform better.
So what exactly can natural nootropics do for us? When I am researching supplements, natural or otherwise, I like to use Examine.com. It has the largest database of nutrition and supplement research on the Internet and all of their evidence summaries for supplements are fully referenced. They have this to say about nootropics:
These supplements may affect your ability to think well and process information. They may also influence the health of the brain and neurological diseases. Faculties related to cognitive function include memory, alertness, attention, and intelligence.Examine
In the summer I had 1.5 hour drive to drop my daughter off to a friend’s house at the beach and a 1.5 hour drive back home. After dropping my daughter off, I filled the car up with petrol and went to get myself a drink. I headed to the functional beverage section. Functional beverages are drinks that have beneficial effects on one or more functions of the human body in addition to their basic nutritional values.
There are several types of functional beverages – probiotic drinks, sports and performance drinks, energy drinks, ready to drink teas, caffeinated beverages, nootropic drinks, and enhanced waters. I had intended to buy a kombucha (probiotic drink) but my eye was drawn to a brightly coloured bottle – it was Shine+. I checked the label to see what the ingredients were and if this is something I would feel comfortable drinking, I was and I bought one to try out and I have bought it many times since.
Shine+ is Australia’s first Nootropic Drink designed to help people feel better, think better and do better. It contains a number of natural nootropics that combined help with focus and make you feel very switched on.
The key nootropics in the drink are:
- Gingko biloba – a natural supplement known for its cognitive enhancement properties
- Turmeric – not only does this help give the drink its golden colour but Curcumin, the primary bioactive substance in turmeric has been proven to have excellent anti-inflammatory properties
- Caffeine from green coffee beans and green tea – caffeine is classified as a nootropic because it sensitises neurons and provides mental stimulation
- L-theanine – is one of the main active ingredients found in green tea, and it helps promote relaxation without drowsiness, making it synergistic with caffeine.
The combination of caffeine and L-theanine means we can take advantage of the mental stimulation caffeine provides without having the post caffeine crash we are used to after having too much coffee!
How I use Shine+ to help me shine
This is not a drink that I have every day, nor every week. I use it as one of my productivity tools as needed. I found it works exceptionally well for me when I am creating presentations like I needed to create fortnightly for my Power Up Performance Group. Members had set dates that they could select the topic for the key group call presentation. Because the group was learning and moving at such a rapid rate, I wanted them to have as much time as possible to work out what topic would help them most. This meant they only had to give me a week’s notice of the topic.
This is a tight timeframe to turn around a quality presentation! After I had researched the topic as needed and written down all my ideas in a free flowing format, I would then have a bottle of Shine+ and pull it all together. The drink would help me feel incredibly focused and my often wandering mind would seem quieter and clearer.
The nootropics really helped me with the creative side of putting a presentation together that would not only inform but be interesting and aesthetically pleasing. My ability to work without feeling the need for a break was increased too.
I used Shine+ to help me work at my best along with my other key productivity strategies when I am doing deep work, which are:
- turn off distractions – no email open, no phone near me, no notifications at all
- focus playlist – I would put on my headphones and listen to my focus playlist
- working in my productive zones – I am a morning person and as such do my best work in the mornings, so made sure these presentations were my first task for the day
- single tasking – by having gathered the research earlier, I couldn’t get distracted into research rabbit holes, wasting time on websites, videos, etc that were not key to what I was writing about. I could focus on the writing only.
- setting boundaries – Parkinson’s law is the adage that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. When creating presentations the natural tendency is to want to include as much information as possible, which also means spending loads of time on it! For these presentations, I knew the maximum number of slides that would work and I would also set a time limit for myself.
I have felt no ill after-effects of taking Shine+ but it is important to note the health advice on the label:
Contains caffeine and is not recommended for children, pregnant or lactating women, or individuals sensitive to caffeine. Consume no more than one bottle per day.
I think it is exciting to see the growing trend of more functional beverages making it onto stores’ fridge shelves. It is great to have more options of having something tasty to drink that also has beneficial effects on body or mind. If you have some deep work on your to-do list, I can recommend giving Shine+ a try to sharpen your mind for the work session.