We all get bogged down from time to time and quite often it happens to us even when are not aware. When you are constantly feeling drained it might be time to take a look at what exactly is bringing you down.
There are some obvious reasons, like not eating enough calories, getting enough sleep and not giving yourself enough time to rest and rejuvenate, but daily fatigue is not normal. Check these energy vampires and see if any apply to you.
1. Adrenal Fatigue (Chronic Stress)
Adrenal Fatigue is a term categorized by under functioning adrenal gland in individuals who are under chronic stress whether it’s mental, emotional or physical stress. Cortisol is secreted from our adrenals and when our body requires us to constantly sustain high cortisol levels, they become impaired in their ability to respond to stress properly. Symptoms to look out for are chronic fatigue, not feeling rested upon waking, high or low blood pressure, food cravings, sudden weight changes, mentally foggy, frequent infections, worsening or severe PMS and low libido.
Fix ~ Use daily stress relieving methods like meditation, deep breathing, foods rich in B and C vitamins like avocado, broccoli, and berries. Aim for 1 serving of each of these foods mentioned. Here is a great smoothie recipe for adrenal support. A more serious condition requires a more personal protocol including appropriate herbs and supplements.
2. Toxic Overload
When our detoxifying organs become overloaded with too many toxins it impairs our ability to eliminate them. Such toxins could be heavy metals, liver intoxicants, microbial compounds and the break down of products of protein metabolism. Toxins can damage the body in an insidious and cumulative way. Once our detoxification organs become overloaded toxic metabolites accumulate and over time become more progressively sensitive to other chemicals.
Fix ~ Doing a whole foods cleanse 1-2 times per year and adding daily detoxifying foods like beets, lemons, and broccoli sprouts into your diet will help your body remove excess toxins. Here is a great recipe.
3. Hormonal Imbalances
When our adrenals are constantly secreting high amounts of cortisol, this impairs our body to properly create and metabolize hormones. Progesterone is forced to assist cortisol therefore cannot convert into aldosterone, this can lead to hormonal imbalances. The thyroid gland is also effected as high cortisol prevents thyroid hormones from working properly. Signs and symptoms to look out for are persistent weight gain, accumulating belly fat, loss of muscle mass, low libido, fatigue, anxiety, irritability, night sweats/hot flashes, depression, poor sleep patterns, insomnia, digestion issues and cravings.
Fix ~ There are many factors that lead to hormonal imbalance, but a common factor is always liver function. One thing you can do is eliminate as many toxin sources from your life as possible. Clean up your make up bag and cleaning supplies by getting rid of conventional and cheap ingredients that can lead to endocrine disruption and avoid plastic like it’s the plague!
4. Digestive Disturbances/Food Sensitives
When we are consuming wholesome nutrient dense foods, the essential vitamins and minerals found in these foods make it easy for the body to utilize and absorb to assist in healthy digestion and elimination. Processed foods are much harder on the body to break down and metabolize because they nutrient depleted and we require those vitamins and minerals to enhance in happy digestion. More serious conditions include candida overgrowth and leaky gut, which are best determined by a qualified health care professional.
Fix ~ Start recording a food journal and take note of how you feel after each meal. If you suspect a food sensitivity, eliminate that food from your diet for at least 4 days. Alternatively to an elimination and re-introduction diet, you can do a simple food sensitivity test and find out what you are sensitive to. Here is a great recipe if you suffer from dairy sensitivity.
5. Nutrient Deficiencies
Processed foods hold no nutritional value so when you are consuming these types of foods it makes it very hard on your digestive system to metabolize. Over time this can make you deficient in fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins and minerals which we require for enzymatic activity and energy production in the body. What’s more, eating nutrient void foods will rob your body of more nutrients to make up for the nutrients lacking in the diet leading to further fatigue.
Fix ~ Choose whole foods at least 80% of the time and find healthy quality alternatives to your favourite processed foods.Ex. Kit Kat Bar ~ switch to organic 70% (or more) dark chocolate sweetened with coconut palm sugar.
6. Toxic Relationships (Setting Healthy Boundaries)
It’s hard to see whats best for you when your invested in a relationship and it’s not always easy to remember who you are and what you want. This is can have a detrimental impact on our health because it’s easy to lose sight of yourself. Setting healthy boundaries is important because it enhances your ability to cope with stress, make healthy choices and keeps you on track to reach those short and long term goals.
Fix ~ Creating healthy boundaries depends on your ability to respect yourself enough to know your limits. The first step is always to create a healthier relationship with yourself and understanding your own worth. You are enough. You are worthy.
7. Chronic Inflammation
Chronic inflammation can wreak havoc on our health because the symptoms you can experience cause us stress and when we are stressed it only provokes what is internally going on. It can hold a huge impact on our daily lives because our adrenals are being signaled to release cortisol which causes an imbalance of hormones. When we do not treat the source of the inflammation, it’s easy to think of your symptoms as ”normal”.
Fix ~ To reduce overall inflammation in the body, we need to start in the gut. Eliminating foods that you are sensitive to and re-inoculating with digestive enzymes and probiotics are important steps.Here is a great resource of recipes for probiotic rich foods!
8. Electro Magnetic Frequencies
Our adrenals are greatly impacted by electro magnetic frequencies because the continuous exposure puts stress on our bodies which puts weakens our adrenal glands because they are being signaled to release too much cortisol which inevitably disrupts our hormones.
Fix ~ Give your body a break by switching your phone on to ‘airplane mode’ at night, and reduce exposure overnight by switching off your wireless router.
When we do not consume enough water, it requires the brain to work harder to accomplish normal tasks. Muscles are restricted and unable to preform tasks to their full ability because they require more energy. The more energy we require to accomplish normal tasks, the more food we require and the faster we are likely to burn out.
Fix ~ Add more fun to your water with frozen fruit, fresh herbs and citrus. Carry a glass water bottle with you and keep a jug of water on your desk at work. Aim to drink water throughout the day, not just in the morning or at lunch.
10. Cellular Energy
Fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins and minerals are required in the diet to generate enough Acetyl CoA so we can begin the Kreb’s Cycle also called the Citric Acid Cycle. This is a set series of reactions that provide one phase of cellular respiration. This is an important pathway because it’s made of cells that produce usable energy. Therefore, in order to preform the Kreb’s Cycle properly, it is greatly influenced by food we consume so we can produce energy via cellular respiration.
Fix ~ ensure your diet contains easily digestible protein (I like Genuine Health Vegan Fermented Protein), Healthy fats like nuts and seeds, and loads of fresh fruits and veggies that will give you the nutrition your body craves. Adding herbs like Ashwaghanda will help your body adapt to stress and get your energy engines moving again.
It’s important to note that chronic fatigue can be a sign of something more serious, such as infection, clinical depression or undetected illness. It’s important to discuss a plan of action with your healthcare provider.
What’s one action step you can take today to improve your energy levels?
This article was co-written by my wonderful holistic nutrition intern Hannah Seamen. Hannah is currently finishing her diploma at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition and is very passionate about creating healthy delicious recipes, helping individuals with improving their digestive wellness and creating individualized meal plans. Check out her Instagram page at Live Beyond Wellness Nutrition