Most peoples biggest health complaint is lack of energy. It’s tiresome to wake up every day and still feel tired. We end up resorting to quick fixes, sugar laden coffees and sweet treats to give our energy a quick boost.
It’s a challenge to change our habits and replace them with healthier, more sustainable alternatives.
Are you up for a challenge? Here’s the thing, once you reset your bodies sugar addiction cycle, you’ll have energy all the time.
Instead of leeching nutrients from our poor overused systems, which is what sugar does, we can do the opposite. We can build our bodies to work for us, our natural state isn’t to feel depleted and tired.
There are so many disorders associated with fatigue that its very difficult to diagnose. Often it breaks down to controllable lifestyle factors and can be well managed with the right tactics.
Fatigue is all too common and it keeps us confined. We remain sedentary and uninspired because tiredness oozes from our every cell. It’s no wonder most people would rather watch television that go for a walk.
But it’s not really our fault, we’re taught to consume unhealthy foods and that there are more important things than our good health. Most of us work hard just to get by and at the end of the day there just isn’t much energy or motivation left to pursue enjoyable activities.
Even making meals from scratch seems too daunting for many of us, it’s too much work, easier to just eat out or enjoy convenience foods.
Inevitably we pay a price for these decisions. Our health suffers, our quality of life goes down and the tiredness grows until apathy pervades our every thought. So what can we do about it?
What Diet Changes Can Fight Fatigue?
The Roller Coaster of Fatigue
Imagine, riding a roller coaster over and over, never getting off, how sick and horrible would you feel even after two or three rounds? This is what most of us do to our bodies on a daily basis and it’s a recipe for disaster, or worse, diabetes.
When we consume sugar, refined carbohydrates, especially when we aren’t getting enough healthy fats. Just one doughnut, I swear, the next thing I eat will be a salad.
A common internal dialogue most of us have experienced. Not only do we feel guilty, but we set ourselves up for failure. The biological experience of sugar addiction doesn’t come with an on/off switch.
It takes time and dedication to break the cycle of addiction and regain control over cravings.
Life goes on, and there are plenty of alternatives to the far too common chocolate bars and bags of chips many of us rely of for sustenance.
Action Plan for Cutting Out Sugar
If you choose to commit to removing sugar from your diet, stick to your commitment. Too often we promise ourselves we’ll do something and don’t. When we get in the habit of not following through, we’ll never trust ourselves to actually commit to any goal.
The best way to remain steadfast and dedicated is to figuratively paint a picture of the goal you wish to attain. In this case you might want to make a list of how different life would play out if you weren’t always tired. What would you do if you had an abundance of energy?
Write it down or better yet create a visual representation with images that resonate with your goal. More energy equals a lot in life, and this one simple change, once you get over the hump can have a real impact on quality of life.
Look at your list or visual piece as a source of inspiration every single day, especially when you have a sugar craving. While the first few days can be challenging and you may feel more tired than usual, it just gets easier and easier.
2. Have a Plan
- Raid you cupboards and fridge, give away anything processed, high in refined carbohydrates, sugar, MSG and its pseudonyms.
- Make a shopping list and stock up and healthy whole foods, crucial to overcoming sugar cravings is adequate saturated fat intake. Make sure you have plenty of good free range meats, poultry, eggs, high quality raw cheeses (if you tolerate dairy), nuts and cooking fats like coconut oil and ghee.
- Replenishing your bodies nutrient stores with high density vegetables and low GI fruits like apples and berries is key. Building a restored sense of sustained energy through eating nutritious foods will help you more easily transition.
- Bring snacks to work and pack your own lunch. Commit to a few hours a food prep a week and you can make plenty of healthy meals. Bring snacks like nuts, seeds, dried coconut, veggies or a smoothie to go.
3. Follow Through
While I’d love to tell you this will be an instantaneous process, it’s not. Take at least 30 days to really adjust to this new routine. It takes one month to form a habit, so give it your best shot and you will get results. Remember the reasons you chose to do this in the first place and don’t give up.
Avoid temptations and plan your life around the possibility of more energy, and more freedom inevitably. Who likes to be stuck in a cycle of destruction? Not you!
Fat is Our Friend to Fight Fatigue
While it’s still common to assume that saturated fat is evil, the real scientific evidence shows otherwise. Take a look here for a more detailed explanation about why saturated fat is actually good for you. There’s no longer any question that we need fat to have abundant energy.
When we deprive ourselves of good fats, we lose, we get sicker and our body signals us that something is missing by craving high carb foods.
If you’re experiencing chronic fatigue and lethargy, odds are you aren’t getting enough stable saturated fats.
Incorporate at least 3 Tbs of saturated fat daily, instead of cooking with olive oil and other polyunsaturated fats, stick to saturated.
Not only are they a more heat stable option, they’re also going to provide better long term energy and help to keep a balanced blood sugar.
Use a Cleanse or Detox to Stop Feeling Tired
Fatigue can be a symptom of a deeper problem, an accumulation of toxins in the body is draining. Our detoxification organs work so hard to remove unwanted environmental toxins.
We make things a lot harder for these organs when don’t consume high quality foods, free from chemical pesticides and genetically modified ingredients.
Go organic, avoid conventionally raised meats and poultry, seek out produce that is as fresh as possible.
Making these changes alone helps to eliminate a lot of problems for the liver and other detoxification pathways.
The Best Supplements to Fight Fatigue
Sometimes changing our diet just doesn’t cut it, we need to address deeper nutritional needs and deficiencies. There are plenty of natural substances we can harness to help us beat fatigue.
1. Superfoods for Energy
What is a superfood? It’s obviously something worthy of being superior to food, but what’s so special about superfoods? Well, technically a superfood has all the essential amino acids, making it a complete protein.
Usually most superfoods also have unique noteworthy characteristics which set them apart from any other food. To give an example, kale is a superfood because it’s a perfect protein and its rich in omega 3’s and magnesium.
Some excellent energy boosting superfoods and their main characteristics include:
- Bee pollen: good for the immune system and boosting energy
- Royal jelly: reduces inflammation and high cholesterol
- Goji berry: rich in antioxidants, high in beta-carotene
- Acai berry: high in vitamin C, can help with weight loss
- Blue green algae: rich in antioxidants and chlorophyll
- Raw cacao: releases happy neurotransmitters in the brain, high in magnesium
- Maca: hormone balancing, adaptogenic
I like to mix bee pollen into my trail mixes along with dried goji berries for an extra nutritional boost.
Many of us aren’t even aware that we’re deficient in b-vitamins. When we’re under stress our bodies actually eat up more b-vitamins than usual and chronic stress keeps them depleted.
Even common prescription drugs like NSAID‘s can deplete our b-vitamins.
Vitamin B-12 is closely associated with our energy levels, it’s relatively rare in most foods. As we get older our bodies start to absorb less B-12 so it becomes more important to supplement with a reliable source. Either stick to a whole foods vitamin supplement or go with a version of B-12 that is methylated for better absorption.
The best food sources for B-12 are eggs, liver and fish so it can be especially challenging for vegetarians to acquire enough of this important nutrient.
Symptoms of B-12 deficiency
3. Chromium picollonate
If you find that your sweet tooth is a little too intense, it could be that you’re deficient in chromium. Chromium is an important mineral which helps to regulate blood sugar.
You could also up your intake of foods naturally rich in chromium such as beef, eggs, broccoli and brewers yeast.
4. Chia seeds
Chia seeds aren’t just for growing strange clay pot pets, they’re also a nutrient dense, filling and omega-3 rich seed. Chia swells to more than ten times its original size when placed in liquid, making it a very filling and satisfying food. Adding chia into your diet could help with stabilizing blood sugar levels, getting more healthy omega fats and providing a good source of fibre.
5. Hemp seeds
Hemp is really the perfect food, the seeds are some of the easiest protein sources to digest in existence. They are high in omega-3 and 6 fatty acids and because they are so high in protein can be a great addition to a morning smoothie or mid day snack.
Often the foods we eat steal energy from us because they take so much effort to digest and assimilate. Not so with hemp seeds, these protein packed gems offer there nutrients up without stressing the digestive tract.
6. Omega-3’s to Beat Fatigue
Unless you eat fish 3-5 times a week, omega-3 supplements are really critical. Omega-3’s help us to balance our hormones, and thus our energy levels.
They are well know for their heart and brain protective properties. Many people experiencing anxiety, depression and chronic fatigue are actually just deficient in omega-3’s.
The best sources of supplemental omega-3 is fermented cod liver oil or krill oil.
7. Green Tea Extract Treats Adrenal Fatigue
Green tea is great to drink on in its own right, but even more powerful is the antioxidant rich green tea extract we can take in supplement form.
This substance is high in brain boosting, focus enhancing phytochemical as well as fighting harmful cancer causing free radicals.
Green tea extract is well know to increase metabolism and help with weight loss, without any weird side effects. It’s quite low in caffeine and can help balance disorders of the thyroid gland.
An ancient herb used in traditional South American medicine since time eternal is now getting attention for its stimulatory effects on metabolism.
Though traditionally guarana was used in times of fasting to keep energy levels up and to regulate digestion.
We can harness this plant to boost energy levels and potentially help with weight loss. Be warned, its not for the caffeine sensitive and actually has a higher percentage of caffeine than coffee.
If you have trouble focusing this herb may be able to help you get more work done with its brain function enhancing properties.
9. Yerba Mate
Another South American herb, yerba mate is a mineral rich herb with a bevy of antioxidants. It’s stimulatory effects are fairly mild compared to coffee but still work to enhance focus and energy.
Unlike coffee, yerba mate can actually help digestion and its a more alkaline choice to start the day.
Yerba mate contains the same alkaloid as chocolate, theobromine, a strong vasodilator helps to relax the blood vessels and allow for better blood flow.
One study showed that yerba mate can restore insulin sensitivity in rats, a promising insight into treating diabetes naturally.
10. Panax or Siberian Ginseng
Ginseng is popular in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) touted as everything from cancer cure to libido booster, there are certainly some amazing benefits of taking ginseng.
Korean ginseng is an adaptogen, meaning it helps your body to find balance and works with your own particular chemistry. It also increases the bodies resistance to stress and helps to nourish the adrenal glands.
Siberian ginseng, though not actually a member of the ginseng family, is also adaptogenic.
Also known as eleuthero roots, this plant is anti-inflammatory and great for boosting energy. Taken consistently, both Korean and Siberian ginseng can increase energy and heal adrenal fatigue. It can even help with lowering blood pressure.
The adrenal glands undergo a lot when we’re stressed out, it’s their job to produce cortisol so when we experience chronic stress they can easily become depleted.
When dealing with fatigue its important to adress the possibility of adrenal “burn out”. B-vitamins are of particular importance but substances like ginseng and ashwaganda can help to speed the process along.
This is an Ayurvedic herb used medicinally in India for lowering stress and helping reduce anxiety.
Ashwaganda is also an adaptogen important for healing adrenal fatigue.
It’s immune boosting properties are an additional bonus as well as its blood sugar stabilizing effects. Ayurvedic practitioners recommend using ashwaganda to cope with stress, and stabilize blood sugar levels.
12. Exercise to Fight Fatigue
While it can be hard to exercise when your feeling tired, in the end it really helps us to harness more energy and stamina. Even low levels of exercise can help increase quality of sleep, an important factor in fighting fatigue. Moving regularly also helps to reduce stress and anxiety and gives a release of happy invigorating hormones. Our bodies were designed to move and we can’t thrive when we don’t engage in physical activity. Try and exercise early in the day so that the extra energy doesn’t interfere with your quality of sleep.
Embrace a Better Quality of Life, You Deserve It!
Making the changes to attain greater health can be challenging to overcome at first. Remain steadfast and know that you don’t have to feel tired forever.
There are so many additional benefits to embracing these lifestyle choices. Reduced inflammation, better sleep, less stress, more time to enjoy life and feel productive.
The benefits never end and when we ditch the sugar and junk food and the thought process that says impossible, we find a new path to freedom that opens up amazing possibilities.
This article was originally published on rootandsprouts.com
*Image of “running” via Shutterstock