Many developers live on soda. The obvious reason is the caffeine keeps the mind awake and highly functioning. Microsoft provides unlimited free soft drinks on campus mostly for this reason. I used to finish about eight cans of Diet Coke and other varieties a day when I developed there, but I soon started losing interest in carbonated drinks. Sodas began to taste like chemicals, and I started wondering whether these artificial drinks were healthy. I switched over to watery drinks like Talking Rain and Diet Ice, which are lightly flavored with fruits.
The nonobvious benefit of soda is the continuous supply of water, which cleans out the body and serves as a lubricant for mind. I actually drink about 8-12 glasses of water a day, and I find myself more productive and awake when I do so. The effect of caffeine from drinking soda seems to me secondary to the effect of drinking water.
My energy level yet hasn't been quite the same. I don't think that it is because of my avoidance of caffeine. My experiments with caffeine showed a little improvement, not enough to overcome my distaste for the chemical aftertaste of soda. I have been looking at exercise, which helps.
I have also looked at my diet and medicine. I discovered while dieting last year the effectiveness of ephedra. I am very skeptical about herbal drugs, but ephedra, which will be banned in March, was clearly effective. It works by stimulating the body's "fight or flight" adrenaline mechanism. It eliminates hunger and appetite, unleashes energy, and boosts metabolism. You lose weight with little effort from both the increased metabolism and suppression of hunger. The appetite suppressing ability is better than those of dedicated appetite suppressants. In the weight-loss war of pill vs. will(power), I think pills are winning; you just need to find the right one.
Ephedra is dangerous if overused or used during heavy exercise, since it increases the likelihood of heart attacks and strokes in otherwise healthy people. To limit my risk, I use just 1/3 the recommended dose which still gives me a boost in energy while helping me maintain or lose weight. Because it is being banned soon, I sought about six bottles of ephedra just in case I need it in the future; the upcoming ban has caused a recent upsurge in demand and disappearing inventories. Too bad, since it was a good product. Those people who are pushing for the ban, most likely never tried ephedra. I understand; I had been for the ban of fen-phen, without any knowledge of it.
I found GNC Thermo Burst, which appears effective in boosting energy. For weight loss, GNC's Total Lean appears to be good for the limited time that I have used it. As you can see, I have recently become a fan of GNC (General Nutrition Corporation). They have a national chain of stores, and produce a whole host of herbal products with claims strongly backed up by clinical research. I have tired of going into standard drug stores, spending a small fortune for herbal products, that leave me questioning their effectiveness after use.
I have also looked at the quality of air in my office; the air indoors can be ten times more polluted than outdoors. Just walking around outdoors and breathing the fresh air for a half-hour makes more energetic. My office is pretty dusty, so I vacuum more regularly, leave the windows open, and purchased a few air purifiers.
I bought the Ionic breeze, a $400 air purifier, which is silent and doesn't use traditional filters, which needs to be replaced. Unfortunately, I went back to my regular noisy Holmes filter, which seems more effective. I don't think the Ionic Breeze would be suitable for the bedroom. Apparently, the purifier attempts to charge the air causing dust particles to coalesce together and to stick to the purifier's internal metal strip like a magnet. Also, it releases ozone, a known indoor pollutant. Ironically, I feel something about that machine is making it harder (not easier) for me to breathe, either the existence of larger dust particles or the increased levels of ozone.