Why Am I Tired ALL the Time?
My chronic fatigue must be because I’m overly stressed. No, it must be because my hormones are unbalanced. Hmmm, maybe it’s because my adrenals are burned out. Or perhaps it’s because I’m not getting enough sleep. Maybe it’s because I need to lose weight.
Do any of those thoughts sound familiar?! If so, you aren’t alone.
In fact, fatigue is the number one reason that people visit their healthcare practitioner. Of course, fatigue can be linked to any number of health conditions.
Several of us have chronic fatigue that is caused by some unknown inflammation inside of our bodies. When we give our bodies the tools to fight that inflammation though, that inflammation will decrease and we can gain back our energy as a result.
Numerous toxins, pathogens, and even some foods cause inflammation in our bodies. If we can decrease or completely remove the root causes of our inflammation-causing fatigue, then we can increase energy.
Sounds simple, right?
It is simple in theory, but applying the steps needed to increase your energy can seem overwhelming, especially when you are already tired.
Unrelenting fatigue that lasts longer than 6 months that will not go away with rest and is made worse by physical exertion is known as chronic fatigue syndrome. A doctor is needed to rule out other health issues and to make that exact diagnosis though.
As someone who dealt with chronic fatigue and severe brain fog for 20+ years, I can tell you that chronic fatigue is not an easy beast to beat. However, it is much simpler than most people realize.
It took me years to get to the root cause of my inflammatory issue. It drives me a bit crazy to realize I was searching in all of the wrong places for the answers. Before we dive into some solutions for beating chronic fatigue, let’s first discuss what may have caused you to develop the inflammation that is causing your fatigue.
What is the Definition of Fatigue?
In the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the general definition of fatigue is listed as:
- extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.
The health condition known as chronic fatigue syndrome is defined as profound fatigue that lasts more than 6 months. The fatigue is unrelenting even with a seemingly adequate amount of sleep.
Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
The symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome are vast and life-altering for many who suffer with this illness. Check out some of the most well documented symptoms in the graphic below.
What is the Cause of Chronic Fatigue?
The causes of chronic fatigue syndrome are different for everyone since various issues can trigger this health condition. However, inflammation in the body is the ultimate cause of not just chronic fatigue, but every negative health issue. Inflammation only occurs if there is some sort of dysfunction going on in your body.
Eating food that is non-inflammatory to your body is foundational to actually lowering inflammation. Being sure to choose non- to low-toxic products on your skin and in your home is also highly beneficial. Leading a low-stress lifestyle is also very important.
Tackling the food issue first might be the easiest for people to accomplish.
If you eat a non-inflammatory diet that is high in the bioavailable vitamins and minerals that your body needs, then you should start to notice improvements in your fatigue over time.
It is helpful to view it as a process though. It is not a “quick fix”.
Lowering inflammation through your diet takes TIME. Rebalancing minerals and vitamins takes time as well. Eating bioavailable, nutritious food is an excellent place to start in boosting your energy. More work might need to be done for some people (like detoxification), but eating an ancestral-based whole food diet is a great starting place.
Treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Treating chronic fatigue syndrome is not an easy task. Even if you don’t have chronic fatigue syndrome, just relieving fatigue in general is a challenge. The key to completely alleviate ANY health issue is to get to the root cause of the dysfunction.
Did you know that the #1 reason that people visit their health care providers is because of overwhelming fatigue? Fatigue is a major issue for SO many people. It should be a red flag to you that something deeper is going on inside your body.
Fatigue that is unrelenting is a sign that inflammation is occurring within the body. In fact, inflammation is the initial root cause of all dysfunction within the body. When there is no chronic inflammation happening in your body then you should not experience any persistent, negative health issues. It is important to address your inflammation before additional negative signs and symptoms develop.
Changing your diet and lifestyle habits can get you on the path to relieving your fatigue.
Some people will need to follow further detoxification protocols, however, it is essential to make sure you are FIRST consuming whole food sources of micronutrients and macronutrients. You can work your way up to using detoxification strategies by saturating your body with nutrients, but doing a detox program or protocol should never be the first thing that you try.
Naturally Boosting Energy Levels
Most people want to know the magic solution for boosting energy naturally. The key is quite simple, yet it’s not magical by any means. It is actually something that ancestral cultures did quite naturally.
Eating a whole food, nutrient-dense diet is one of the most important things that you can do to boost energy levels. Focusing on eating mostly animal-based, mineral-rich and vitamin-rich foods to boost energy is one of the main keys to regaining health. When we eat whole food sources rather than taking individual nutrients in a supplement form, we are better able to absorb the nutrients that we are consuming.
Foods that are high in minerals and vitamins, yet low in anti-nutrients (AKA “plant toxins”) are beneficial to focus on. Removing certain foods for a period of time may be necessary for some people.
I even temporarily followed an animal-only diet in the past in which I removed plant foods that caused inflammation in my body. I actually removed everything with the exception of animal foods. It was necessary so that my body could heal. Some people may want or need to try that for a period of time. Everyone’s health is so individual though, so please do your research to make a properly informed decision for yourself.
In the past, I had tried a plant-based vegan diet, a raw vegan diet, a gluten-free diet, a low lectin diet, various detox diets, the GAPS diet, an anti-candida diet, a histamine-lowering diet, intermittent fasting, dry fasting and prolonged fasting. You name it, I tried it. Some of them alleviated some of my negative health symptoms, however, none of them were able to completely resolve them all long term.
They were unable to get to the root of my health challenges.
Once I removed foods that contained antinutrients and filled my body with bioavailable macronutrients and micronutrients in the form of whole foods, then I finally began to heal. I also changed several of my lifestyle habits to match those of ancestral people of the past. It was a gradual process though.
Everything that I did was crucial in my healing protocol.
Is it Safe to Eat Whole Foods?
This may seem like a ridiculous question, but I will address it nonetheless. Generally speaking, it is healthiest to get your nutrients from whole food sources rather than individual nutrients, or even lab-created nutrients. Nature is nearly always best!
The plan to heal your body should be based on your own needs and figuring out your own personal root cause of dysfunction. Of course, always be sure to consult your healthcare provider to make sure what you are wanting to do works well with your healthcare plan and any medications that you are currently taking. The whole food sources of boosting energy are generally recognized as safe since the nutrients that you are consuming are from whole foods rather than individual nutrients.
What Supplements Should I Take for Fatigue?
As a former chronic fatigue sufferer, I can tell you that I tried nearly every “energy-boosting” supplement that I could get my hands on. None of them actually worked long-term. And I do mean “none” of them. I wasted 1000s of dollars trying to figure out how I could get better. So, what finally helped relieve chronic fatigue for me?
When we are suffering with chronic low energy, some sort of inflammation is occurring in our bodies. It’s vital for us to eat high quality food that contains easy-to-absorb bioavailable nutrients.
It is hard to really refer to any of the below as “supplements”. In fact, they are all whole food options, however, they technically may be considered to be supplements by some people. They each helped lower the inflammation in my body over time which helped me feel better.
I centered my diet around all of the foods in the graphic above. However, I knew it was necessary to gradually add them in. I was coming off of a misguided whole food plant-based diet (AKA “whole food vegan diet”) that would be considered relatively “clean” by most people. It consisted of very few processed food options. However, I learned via the Weston A. Price Foundation, Morley Robbins, and several others that our bodies need more nutrients than plants alone can give us.
My health suffered because of the plant-based diet. A change was necessary if I ever wanted to give my body the quality and quantity of bioavailable nutrients that it required.
I now guide my clients through this diet transformation process. It is AMAZING to see the changes that they experience and that their lab results show in such a short period of time.
See which SIX foods to focus on FIRST to support energy metabolism in your body and why in Part 2 of this series.