For the past four years I’ve been wresting with my body. Like, I’ve built this big, giant ultimate fighting cage in my mind where we go at it every. single. day.
And I’ve tried and tried to do well with fork to mouth, but apparently not well enough.
Do you feel that way? Do you feel drained and tried ALLLLL the time? Have you even gone to the doctor to see what could be the matter? Your thyroid? Your blood sugar? Your adrenals?
But there’s nothing clinically wrong with you and you’re told it’s all in your mind?And that really makes you feel completely nutso?
I get it. That’s exactly what happened to me. And it sucks, yo. But it’s not all in my head, and I’m figuring this out. It may be stress induced, but what I’m, and possibly you, are experiencing is totally physical.
That’s why I want to share with you these 6 Things You Can Do Right Now to Super Charge Your Energy!
First, a little background.
I’ve had some inkling that my issues could be adrenal fatigue, but my doctor totally dismissed that even being a thing. He tested my adrenal function, but they can only tell if you have Cushing’s Syndrome (overactive adrenals) or Addison’s Disease (underactive adrenals). There’s no clinical way to tell if you are on the down slope to either of those problems. How frustrating.
That’s when I decided to once again take my health into my own hands, and I started to doing loads of research on the interwebs to see if I could find anything that describes exactly how I feel. I finally found one forum on dysautonomia where they talked about waking up with adrenaline rushes which plagued me relentlessly and made me feel like a poop emoji ? all the day long. To say that my quality of my life was quickly circling the drain would be a gross understatement. (insert flushing noises here)
I read article after article about the reality of Adrenal Fatigue, which made me feel better to know that there are practitioners out there who believe it’s real and treat it, but I still wasn’t finding some of the problems that I was having. Until I came across Dr. Lam. I figured that my health was worth $35, and I bought his book, Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome. I read it cover to cover in 2 days. When I read the part about the Stages of Adreanl Fatigue Syndrome, I almost cried. It described in detail the exact progression of my symptoms… even the adrenaline rushes and POTS type stuff, which totally amazed me! I found out what the adrenaline rushes were and I’ll talk about them later in this article.
This book is very in-depth, so if you want to go deeper than these five tips and learn more about the stages of Adrenal Fatigue, you just have to buy this book. In it, he says there are 4 stages, with stage 3 having 4 sub-stages. My symptoms fit in between 3C and 3D, which is pretty dern bad. Fortunately, I haven’t reached stage 4, which is complete adrenal exhaustion and requires emergency care. But if I hadn’t changed what I was doing, I would have eventually landed in the ER. In fact, I had a couple of nights where I thought I might have to get Morgan to take me there because I quite literally felt like my body was giving out on me. Not a party I want to attend, iykwim!
In a nutshell, here are 5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Super Charge Your Energy.
Now, I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist, so all of this is based on my own experience and what I’m doing in my life right now. But Dr. Lam says that even if you just feel tired for a day or two, that could be stage 1 or 2 of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome. And trust me, you do NOT want it to cascade down the hill to stage 3. In my lay opinion, you should do these 5 things to help get yourself back into alignment.
1. Cut out all sugar. Alllll of it.
Real sugar, fake sugar and everything in between. Yes, I know that sucks, but you have to do it. Sugar is so bad for you and if it can sneak into your life in big ways without your even noticing. Getting the sugar out of your diet will mystify you and you’ll feel a renewed sense of energy and you’ll probably drop some weight. Sugar wrecks havoc on your immune system, so I’ve started banning sugar from anyone’s diet when they get sick. We used to go get the boys slurppies and junk when they felt bad and, although I knew it was wrecking them, but I did it anyway. Not ‘ny more. They pretty much hate me for it, but they get better sooner, and that’s my haha told-ya-so moment.
P.S. Sugar means fast carbs, too. So cut out the starches and anything that your body can turn into sugar fast.
2. Drink Homemade Bone Broth.
I’ve always been petrified of making my own bone broth. But once I read the book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome, by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, I was convinced it was worth the effort. She has recipes in the book for bone broth, but it’s very simple.
I actually bought the GAPS book about two weeks before I found Dr. Lam’s and it has a ton of wonderful information in it as well for healing all kinds of disorders, diseases and anxiety. In fact, I’ll probably stay on the GAPS diet for two years. That’s my plan for now. If you can afford both books, get them today.
My recipe for Bone Broth
I just buy grass fed soup bones from health food store and boil them in the crock pot for 24 hours. Then I add carrots, celery, broccoli, red peppers and/or onions and cook until the veggies are soft. Then I strain the bones out, put the veggies in my Ninja blender and puree with some of the broth. I pour the pureed veg back in the pot, add salt and pepper and cook for a couple more hours.
It’s really easy and so nourishing. It’s one of the most vital things to do to improve gut health. If your veggie, do it with just veggies and I bet it would be good for your gut as well. I’ve been thinking about trying it because I want to move to a more plant forward diet. Right now, I’m watching all these documentaries on food on Netflix, and I’m starting to be convinced of the plant based philosophy. We’ll see. I love my meat, but I’ve been vegetarian before so I know it’s possible. I think the key to feeling well is to do an elimination diet and really see how your body feels and reacts to what you put in your body.
3. Drink freshly pressed juices
Nothing makes me feel better than a freshly pressed green juice. I’ve been juicing for about 3 years off and on, but now, I do it everyday. Those micro-nutrients flooding your body just can’t be beat. I have Sleep Maintenance Insomnia, which is responsible for those early morning (like between 3-5 am) adrenaline rushes waking me up. In Dr. Lam’s book, he actually talked about SMI and how it’s blood sugar related! Basically, your liver has a hard time storing glycogen and your body, in it’s wisdom is sending out those vital hormones to jolt you into taking action. When I read that I almost cried! It wasn’t all in my mind. The doctor was recommending Beta Blockers thinking it was anxiety. What a relief I now feel knowing that it isn’t.
So now, I keep a small glass of green juice and some cashews on my bedside table to take immediately when I wake up no matter what time it is. This morning was pretty bad. I woke up at 3 am, but I just chugged my juice and was able to go back to sleep. Hopefully, as I continue to heal, I was be able to once again sleep through the night.
4. Eat/ Drink fermented beverages and foods and take a probiotic supplement
Your gut health is so important. If you are tired and feeling sluggish, you could be spending too much energy on your digestion. That’s why drinking bone broth and fresh green juice is so good for you. Your body can take a break from working so hard on digesting your food and put it’s energy to better use in healing itself.
Eating fermented veggies like sauerkraut and kimchi, making your own yogurt (it’s not hard and it’s SO good!) and drinking Kombucha helps to send naturally occurring good bacteria to your gut where it can help strengthen it and heal it. You can further aid in your gut health by taking a high quality probiotic supplement. I always buy Garden of Life Women’s Raw Probiotics for Women. But try to buy it locally because it needs to be refrigerated so the bacteria stays alive. This is one thing that I’m not willing to risk buying off the internet.
5. Walk a mile or two.
We all know that exercise is awesome for us, but if you are feeling tired and sluggish, it’s the last thing on your mind. But if you can just take a leisurely stroll and enjoy nature, you’ll feel renewed and refreshed. At the stage I am in, exercise can actually cause a “crash” so I can’t even walk right now. It’s so frustrating because I started running last year and loved it. By March of this year, I couldn’t run at all. It put me in the bed by 2:00pm and that was awful. So now, I’m just taking it easy and as soon as I feel like I’ve moved up the scale to level 2, I’ll start back. If you are just experiencing mild fatigue, Dr. Lam says that exercise will help you in all kinds of good ways!
6. Sleep a minimum of 8-10 hours and reduce your stress.
Honestly, sleep is probably the most important part of these tips. I know people who boast that they can go on five hours of sleep, and maybe they can, but I think they’re crusin’ for a brusin’. If you are feeling tired, your body is trying to tell you something. Please, please, please listen to it. Say no to activities and outside responsibilities so you can reduce your stress load and go to bed by 10pm.
I’ve always been able to go to bed early, but Morgan (husband) is a night owl. Over the years, I’ve tried to keep up, but now that I’m in the midst of dealing with this syndrome, I refuse to stay up past 10. I can’t wait until I can sleep for 10 hours straight. It’s a gift you can give your body when it’s screaming out for it.
Some Final Thoughts
When you change your diet, also be aware of the “carb-flu”. If you feel sick after eliminating sugar and other carbs/grains from your diet, it’s not that you need them. It’s probably just your body detoxing from them. Give it a few days and see how your body responds once you’ve been off of them for a few days or weeks.
If you take anything away from this post, I want it to be that when you feel tired and/or ill, your body WANTS you to slow down. The world is filled with “hustle” and if you run an online biz like me, the mainstream big-wigs are all about the hustle. Work harder, work longer, so you can rake in the $$$. Not me. I’m turning my gaze toward ease and flow and doing what I can, when I can to create a life that I love that supports me both financially, physically and emotionally.
Dr. Lam calls Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome this: Stress-Induced NeuroEndocrine Syndrome. Wow. Incredible how modern day life combined with a modern day diet can wreck havoc on your body.
Success is great, but it’s better to be alive than rich. It’s better to be healthy and live a slower, simpler life than have all the money in the world and be dead tired all the darn time.
If you feel endlessly exhausted, there is hope and it just might come in the form of good nutrition and being kind to yourself. Watch Joe Cross in Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. You’ll be amazed and the transformation he makes by just drinking juice for 60 days.
Take care, good care, of yourself! And I’ll keep you posted on my journey. I have so much more to say about this elusive syndrome!
Do you struggle with unexplained fatigue? Let me know down in the comments below!