Overcoming Fatigue

March 30, 2019

Overcoming Fatigue

Over 1½ million people go to their doctor every year suffering from extreme fatigue. Fatigue may be the result of medical problems (listen in to learn which), but for the majority of people, it is usually the result of poor nutrition and a lack of quality sleep. Listen in for practical solutions to put into practice to finally feel rested and with a zest to take on your day.

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DARLENE: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. You know, today we're going to talk about what you can do to overcome fatigue. Maybe you're saying, you know, I'm tired of being tired all the time. You know, or have you ever gone to your clinic and complain to your doctor that you want more energy? And then you say, “Hey, please give me a pill or something to help me get over my fatigue”? If that's you, you're not alone. One and a half million people go to their doctor every year with that same complaint: Tired, tired, tired. Fatigue may be the result of, you know, a medical problem such as a low thyroid function or possibly fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. But for the majority of people, it is usually the result of poor nutrition. You knew we were going to talk about nutrition didn’t you? And the lack of sleep. Feeling tired all the time, constantly exhausted and struggling with such morning fatigue that you just want to crawl back into bed. Well, we think that calls for some very practical solutions that hopefully you can put into your practice right now. So that's what we're going to offer up today: ideas. You know, I'm Darlene Kvist, Licensed Nutritionist and Certified Nutrition Specialist, and we have not only just one person here with me today as our co-host. We have two. First we have Britni Vincent, who until just a few months once ago… How long ago was it now?

BRITNI: Six months ago. I’m still getting used to the name change.

DARLENE: You know, she used to be Britni Thomas. Now Britni is a Registered and Licensed Dietician. She teaches many of our corporate nutrition classes all over the twin city metro area. She sees individual clients that are in St. Paul and Lakeville offices. And one of her special interest is working with women who have hormonal issues. Lots of work. So Britni, you know, while working with clients, what have you found to be one of the major causes of fatigue?

BRITNI: Well, I was one of those people that went to my doctor and said, “I am really tired all the time”. And at this point I was only in my early twenties so that should absolutely not be happening at that age. So I asked for my thyroid to be tested, my iron… and everything was fine, which is great, but I still didn't have an answer to my fatigue. Looking back, I know it was to do with my sleep schedule, which we’re going to be talking about. And then my nutrition. I just wasn't eating enough of the good things, especially those healthy fats. So making that change with my diet has made such a huge difference. And then making my sleep a priority.

DARLENE: So those are two of the major things we're going to talk about. So I hope people stay tuned. Because we’ve got lots of good ideas.

BRITNI: And I mean, we see people that complain about their fatigue all the time. Almost every day. And in today's world, we know there's lots of different causes, such as adrenal fatigue, low thyroid function, poor lifestyle, eating habits… and we do know so many people live off of caffeine, fast food, all sorts of different convenience foods. Breakfast is often a cup of coffee with some sugar in it or that sugary creamer, a donut, a muffin. And when people start their day like that, it puts a lot of stress on their body. So the stress from the food coupled with just daily stress, over a few years, that's going to lead to their adrenal glands being burnt out.

DARLENE: We hear that all the time, don't we? Oh, okay. I'll say it again. Adrenal fatigue.

BRITNI: Yeah. And when that happens, you just feel exhausted-all day long.

DARLENE: So Britni, you know, you're saying poor eating habits can possibly lead to fatigue, is that right?

BRITNI: Absolutely. Yeah. And those poor eating habits, that's including skipping meals. We hear that a lot. Again, living off of caffeine and sugar. I mean people are really just trying to stay awake throughout the day, but it's becoming a vicious cycle. All that leads to brain and body exhaustion and we know it's a sign of the times, unfortunately. But that is part of what I do is I help people change those negative lifestyle habits and teach them how to eat a nourishing breakfast that's going to give them the energy throughout the day that they need.

DARLENE: So you were saying that eating a breakfast, will help you with your fatigue and with your energy level?

BRITNI: Yes.

DARLENE: So, tell me more.

BRITNI: I think that if you're going to change one thing as far as your eating, change your breakfast because that really sets the tone for the day. And eating a balanced breakfast… My breakfast varies quite a bit. Oftentimes it's just leftovers. Not a huge fan of eggs. So yesterday I had beef and broccoli and a little potato. Today I had a protein shake. The other day I had a salad for breakfast. And I think getting over the idea that you have to eat breakfast foods for breakfast kind of opens a lot of different doors. But I know eating that way just gives me lots of energy throughout the day.

DARLENE: Well it's so interesting. Last night when I was working with my trainer, he said that when he was younger… He doesn't do that now, but when he was younger, his breakfast used to be like a cereal bar, like a NutriGrain bar and a Coke.

BRITNI: That's common. I used to eat tons of those little bars cause they were 80 calories and no fat.

DARLENE: And some parents even send kids out the door with a bar in their hand for breakfast. So also joining us this morning is Teresa Wagner. Teresa's a Registered and Licensed Dietician, who teaches many nutrition classes and works individually with clients in Saint Paul, right?

TERESA: That's correct.

DARLENE: She's also available to work long distance on the phone, either with Skype or on the phone. And that's kind of… We have a lot of podcast listeners. So that's more for those. And I kind of forgot to mention this, but Teresa is a mother of three young children. So Teresa, what do you find to be the reason for the epidemic of fatigue?

TERESA: Well, I would say kids, kids and kids. Did I say that three times? And of course lack of sleep. It's a fact of life that parents with small children often experience interrupted sleep. So I believe that the best way to stay healthy and prevent fatigue is to make sure that I'm eating healthfully and exercising.

DARLENE: I think, Teresa, I hear that from so many parents. You know, maybe they're able to get one or two hours of sleep a night when their kids are sick or something.

TERESA: Right, exactly. Or I mean it doesn't even have to just be sickness. It's, you know, you have those nights where they have nightmares or they just wake up. And because they're awake they think you should be awake. Or they just come for visits in the middle of the night.

DARLENE: So I think one of the things that you just said is in order to stay healthy for yourself, you have to eat better.

TERESA: That's right. Yep. We have to take care of ourselves. And I know that, you know, especially as a dietitian that foods are very powerful for preventing fatigue. But what I really didn’t understand was how choosing the right foods not only helps with my energy, but also keeps me healthy, especially when life happens. Like a sick kid, like we were saying, or those midnight visits that keep you up most of the night. So that's why when I'm working with parents, I focus on helping them develop the habit of eating breakfast, like we were talking about earlier. It might be two or three eggs cooked in butter, a slice of dark rye toast, and a few cherry tomatoes with a couple of spears of broccoli. The eggs and vegetables with supply our brain with the nutrients that we need to energize us. As a parent, I try to have the energy I need, so I will be prepared. If for some reason I need to be up with one of my kids most of the night, so that the next day if I have to work or when we work… regardless if you go to work or not, so you can do the work of your day, and be effective and be able to think clearly.

DARLENE: So kids being up all night, that's one cause of fatigue for sure. Not eating well is just another reason. So really there are many causes of fatigue. And you know, sometimes it's as simple as a side effect of a medication. Or it might be the result of some chronic illness, or perhaps it is your lousy lifestyle. And we know that a lot of people have lousy lifestyle habits. So you maybe wonder, “What do I mean by lousy lifestyle habits?

BRITNI: Well, I think I know where you're going with this one, Dar. Let's ask our listeners to think about their lifestyle habits. Think about what they've been doing the past week. I often ask my clients right away who drink coffee: “What are you putting in your coffee? Are you drinking just coffee with heavy cream in it or are you drinking it with the sugary creamer? Or going to a coffee shop and getting those foo foo coffee drinks with tons of sugar in them?” And often times it's not just coffee with heavy cream. It is the sugar laden coffee drinks.

TERESA: Yes, because they're delicious.

BRITNI: They are. And you know before we continue with this, it's already time for our first break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. A brief announcement for you today: Starting the week of April 9th a new Nutrition For Weight Loss series begins at six convenient locations throughout the twin cities. As a dietician and a teacher of Nutrition For Weight Loss, I love getting the opportunity to see the results of my students. After eating real food for just two or three weeks, I often hear reports of more energy, better moods, fewer aches and pains, even sleeping better, again and just two or three weeks. So this 12 week class series can really be life changing for you. So call 651-399-3438 to sign up. Or go to weightandwellness.com to find the location. And I'm excited to be teaching, starting that week, Thursday nights in St. Paul.

DARLENE: And people talk about your teaching and they love it.

BRITNI: Oh, well thank you.

DARLENE: Of course I can say that about all our teachers. We'll be right back. Well welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. You know, today we're discussing ways you can overcome fatigue. If you want more energy, take a look at your diet, and follow some of our simple guidelines. Drink lots of water. You know, a dehydrated body and brain can lead to a tired and exhausted person. So we recommend about eight to 10 glasses of water. And that's going to help you maintain your energy. And guideline number two: Be careful with your caffeine consumption. It's best to limit your caffeine to one or two drinks a day of caffeine. Drinking more than one or two cups may make you anxious, irritable, fatigued… because too much caffeine can cause dehydration. And then that can interfere with your quality of sleep. It all goes together. So next Saturday we have another interesting show. We will have Cassie and Joann. And they're going to be talking about anti-aging nutrition. I'm going to be listening, and I think everybody will be because who doesn't want to know how to keep those wrinkles away? So obviously they're going to have to talk about that.

BRITNI: So before the break we were talking about coffee and people drinking those sugary coffee drinks. It’s so common nowadays.

TERESA: Yes. And I actually have a personal story to share because seven weeks and three days ago, about this time was my last coffee. And the reason why I had given it up is I just wasn't sleeping as well as I thought I should be. And for just various other reasons. I think as dieticians we always like to experiment with our diet as well. But what I have found now that it’s been out of my system for a while is that I do sleep better. It is more of a sound sleep. And one of the things that I find most interesting is that in the morning when we're rushing around trying to get everything together, get the kids off to school, get ready for work, and you know, just the things of the day is that my irritability level is down, but my patience level is up. And it's just a much more calm feeling in the morning, which has been such a benefit.

DARLENE: So Teresa, how much coffee were you drinking each day before?

TERESA:  You know, that's hard to say. Because it would vary from day to day. I wasn't the person that would drink coffee all day. It was really limited to the morning. But you know, a cup of coffee… I think a lot of times we think of a cup of a coffee… My idea of a cup of coffee's probably 20 ounces, which I think is about what most people think. We don't really think it's that standard 8-ounce cup.

DARLENE: Whenever they measure caffeine in things, they're thinking about it an eight-ounce cup. Not the 20-ounce.

TERESA: So I don't know for sure how much it was, but probably significant.

DARLENE: So you're less irritable, more patience, and you're sleeping better.

TERESA: Yes. Yes. It's fantastic.

BRITNI: Sounds like a win.

TERESA: It is a win. And I just don't think that people realize how much coffee can affect the quality of their sleep. As dietitians and nutritionists, we know that lack of sleep is the number one cause of daytime fatigue, which makes a whole lot of sense.

DARLENE: It does. And I think that's another thing that’s really hard for people to understand: that fatigue goes back to how well or how well you didn't sleep. So you know, a lot of times clients tell me, but I only drink a cup of coffee at breakfast, so how can that possibly be affecting my sleep? Have you ever heard that?

BRITNI: Yes. Well, the average amount of caffeine in one cup of coffee… Again, this is eight ounces, that you brew at home, is about a hundred milligrams. But if you're going to go through that Starbucks drive through… I drive by that every day going to work, and I see that long line. So if you go and do that, a Starbucks grande coffee is actually two cups of coffee. It can have up to 330 milligrams of caffeine. It's a lot more.

TERESA: Yes, and I'm quite certain the majority of coffee drinkers don't know this stimulating fact. If you drink two cups or 60 ounces of coffee in the morning, you will get about 200 milligrams of caffeine that will stay in your system full force for seven hours. Then for the next seven hours, the effects are at a half life of a hundred milligrams of caffeine.

DARLENE: So slow down Teresa. Say that one more time for listeners.

TERESA: So if you start with 200 milligrams, that will stay in your system for that full force full force for seven hours. Then over the next seven hours, the effects are at their half life or at a 100 milligrams of caffeine.

DARLENE: So that's 14 hours.

TERESA: And then its half life again, which leaves you with 50 milligrams of caffeine at 21 hours. This can be affecting your system for quite a while.

DARLENE: That's a long time.

TERESA: So that is long time. So that 20 ounces that I was drinking was probably, you know, affected me well into the evening.

DARLENE: And so that's why you were really having trouble sleeping.

TERESA: Right, right. So, this caffeine can be affecting your quality of sleep like we were saying, but caffeine can also cause what we call surface sleep, which is lightly sleeping throughout the entire night and that's not good quality sleep.

DARLENE: And were you kind of surface sleeping when you were drinking caffeine?

TERESA: You know, I'm not sure, but probably because I would wake up quite a bit throughout the night. So that would be my guess. Yeah. If you start your day with that Starbucks grande coffee with 330 milligrams of caffeine, you will end up with at least 82 and a half milligrams of caffeine in your system at 21 hours.

DARLENE: That's almost a whole cup of coffee. If it was a hundred milligrams. Wow. Yes. No wonder.

TERESA: Right. And some people are just more sensitive to caffeine than others. And so, I mean, depending on the person, it can really cause a major effect.

BRITNI: Absolutely. And as dietitians and nutritionists, we know all the research really reports that people need at least seven and a half hours of sleep most nights to lose weight and to have the energy that they want. So I suggest: “Why not try to give up your coffee for a few weeks”? See what it does. Because you might find like Teresa did you sleep better, you have more energy; maybe it affects your moods.

DARLENE: And she did not have coffee this morning. And she sounds great. She's awake and alive. So now I want to address some of what I call lousy lifestyle habits. And one lousy lifestyle habit that many people have, which results in them being fatigued and not getting sufficient sleep is not having a set time to go to bed. You know, sometimes they go to bed at 10. Sometimes they go to bed at two you know. And really a lot of them get go to bed at two. They get wrapped up in watching TV. You know, whatever's on. Late Night or even something that isn't even interesting. They still watch it. Or they're posting on Facebook or they're playing games on the computer. That's another big one. You know, these people, they seem to lack the ability to set a schedule and to follow it. So then, therefore, they're short on sleep all the time and they’re a little… I see they're a little anxious all the time. Cause lack of sleep causes, like you said, anxiety.

TERESA: Irritability.

DARLENE: Isn't it interesting?

BRITNI: And that was part of my problem is that the time my work schedule varied from day to day. So some days I'd have to be to work at six some days at noon. So my sleep schedule… I did not have a set time to go to bed and that absolutely know contributed to my extreme fatigue.

DARLENE: You know, one of the other things besides watching TV… People will decide, oh, I have to do my laundry now.

BRITNI: Yes, absolutely. All of those things are just stimulating your brain and actually reducing the production of melatonin.

DARLENE: And sometimes I think people drink the extra coffee, so they've got the energy.     

BRITNI: Yeah, definitely. And teenagers. So I see a fair amount of teenagers in our offices, and they need even more sleep. It's crucial. They need at least nine hours of sleep. And we've seen locally, lots of schools have changed the later start because they were finding that their students were having a hard time staying awake and then that's affecting their learning. And how they're feeling throughout the day.

DARLENE: So it may really actually surprise people that as nutritionists, we actually help people develop positive sleep habits. We don't always talk about food. We talk about habits a lot. So developing good sleep hygiene… That's what they always call it-sleep hygiene. It takes time and it really takes a commitment to your health. These changes just don't come easy for people. It takes time.

BRITNI: We're going to talk more about those habits when we come back, but it's already time for our second break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition, and I have another announcement for you. Starting April 15 through May 15th we are offering five of our 90 minute classes for only $10. $10. You cannot beat that, and these very popular classes are designed to provide you with solutions to common health concerns. You may be interested in Eating to Reduce Pain and Inflammation or Nutritional Solutions for Better Digestion, or Nutrition to Reduce Your Cancer Risk. So for the day and location, check our website weightandwellness.com. Or just call (651) 699-3438 and we'll be happy to answer any of your questions.

TERESA: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you're tired of being tired all the time, I have a couple more ideas for you to boost your energy. Number one: eat breakfast. Food, especially real food, boosts your metabolism and gives your body and brain energy.

DARLENE: So what you just said, it boosts your metabolism. That should turn everyone on to listen.

TERESA: That's right. Eating to lose, right? Number two: don't skip meals. Going without food for too long allows your blood sugar level to drop and you will experience low blood sugar and fatigue. As a dietitian, I work with clients who want more energy and better health through eating better. Call our office at (651) 699-3438 and set up an appointment. And be sure to check to see if your insurance will cover the cost of your appointment.

DARLENE: That's something new. More and more health insurances are doing that.

BRITNI: So before the break we were talking about sleep hygiene and all of the habits that go with sleep. And a lot of our clients come in and they've been diagnosed with adrenal burnout or adrenal fatigue, chronic disease… Many of you listening might have also been diagnosed with that. Well, many experts recommend going to sleep by at least 10:30 or 11:00 PM and sleeping until eight 8:30 or 9:00 AM. So that really means getting nine and a half to 10 hours of sleep.

DARLENE: Sounds perfect. Yes, sounds perfect.

BRITNI: And even if you don't have a chronic health condition… Like myself, I know I really need nine hours to feel my best. And I just have to make it a priority to get that much. Because our brain, our body, it actually heals while we're sleeping. So that is crucial.

TERESA: Yes. And even yesterday I had a client who has fibromyalgia, or I should say, she put her fibromyalgia into remission. She had such a hard time sleeping, and it was because of the pain of the fibromyalgia. Pain from fibromyalgia makes it very difficult to go to sleep. And then with that lack of sleep it increases your perception of pain, you know, being tired increases perception of pain.

DARLENE: I think that's another thing is people don't realize that when they lack sleep, and if they have a pain condition in their body, they're going to have more pain.

TERESA: Yes. Right. And then the symptoms of fibromyalgia just keep increasing as well. So it was just that sort of vicious cycle that she was on. But in any case, she had changed her eating and put her fibromyalgia into remission. And she was so happy that the answer was just making changes at the grocery store. It wasn't a change in medication. It was just what she ate.

DARLENE: Just making changes in the grocery store!

TERESA: Now she can sleep from 10:30 to 7:30 and she said never in her life had she been able to shut her eyes at 10:30 and not open them until 7:30; That that had never been something that she had experienced before. So now she wakes up, and she doesn't have pain. She can get up and get on with their day right away in the morning. And I was just saying for those of us that don't have that sort of pain, we don't understand necessarily that when you wake up, that you can't just get out of bed and get going; where it just took a lot of warm-up time for her to be able to get on with her day. And now she can.

DARLENE: You know, Teresa, I think there's a lot of our listeners that have a lot of pain when they wake up and it takes some a long time to get going. So it seems like once she cut back and stopped maybe eating sugar, and some of the bad fats, her pain started to go away. It makes you feel good when you have clients like that.

TERESA: Yes it does. And it’s just, yes… It's just amazing. Food is just amazing.

DARLENE: We say it all the time.

TERESA: Yes we do. But it still seems like it's amazing, right? I mean it's just a surprise sometimes, even though we know.

DARLENE: We know, as dietitians and nutritionists, we know it. And we try to teach clients all the time that that's a fact. And until they experience it, I don't think they believe it. But once they experience, they're on board.

TERESA: That's right. So a rather sobering fact: changing the subject a little bit, is that 20% of fatal car accidents are the result of driver fatigue.

DARLENE: Wow. That's amazing, isn’t it?

TERESA: We know that fatigue is common in everyone's busy lifestyle these days. But biologically it is not normal. People are walking around feeling crummy, tired, exhausted for much of their lives. But this isn't necessary. For energy we need good nutrition. Real food supports energy production in our bodies. At Nutritional Weight and Wellness, we teach clients to eat protein, vegetables, and healthy fats in balance.

DARLENE: You know, it's kind of interesting. They say,” But can’t I eat some grains”? Or “Won't I be missing something if I don't eat grains”? Or, you know, “I need my bread”. Or whatever they're saying. And so we just keep repeating that over and over. At least I do. I'm sure you do too.

TERESA: And all the nutrients that you find in grains and breads you can find in other foods. So it isn't necessary to have grains in your diet.

DARLENE: And I don't think they understand that for many people, not for everyone, but for many people, that grains are inflammatory for them.

BRITNI: Well, and I think, thinking about all of the delicious foods that are really going to help heal your body and instead of the opposite thinking of the foods that really you should cut back. I mean just changing that perspective can be really helpful for people. And we find all the time that a common macronutrient that many individuals cut out of their diet is fat. Oftentimes to lose weight, but sometimes it's not even conscious because it's just engrained in their brain.

DARLENE: I agree. Yeah, that's right.

BRITNI: And I mean that was me as well. I wasn't trying to lose weight. I just thought that's what was healthy.

DARLENE: That's what we've been told over and over. That's going to prevent heart disease. Remember?

BRITNI: Yup. We still hear that. But unfortunately, when you cut out the fat, you are not as satiated. So you naturally eat more carbohydrates. But then in those low fat products, they replaced the fat with more sugar. So all of a sudden you're eating lots of sugar, lots of processed carbs. Some of you might be thinking, “Is that a bad thing”? How does that sugar and processed carbs impact my energy? Well, here's a really good example that I can sure relate to. And I'm sure many people can. You eat a bagel in the morning with low-fat cream cheese. Well that's like eating four slices of bread or over 80 grams of carbohydrates. That 80 grams of carbohydrates turns into over 20 teaspoons of sugar. That is definitely not going to help your energy. And in fact, you're going to crash from that a few hours later.

DARLENE: So let's get into the biochemistry behind eating too many carbs and too much sugar. So simply, when you eat a lot of carbs and sugar, you'll have a kind of a spike in your blood sugar. It will go up. So yeah, you feel great for a few minutes or maybe half an hour.  And then it comes crashing down and then you will have intense fatigue. You know, you might feel a little irritable, little crabby, you know? So low blood sugar is a major cause of fatigue. And people walk around all the time with low blood sugar. And it's hard to avoid, especially when you have back to back clients. We know that. We experience that a lot. So we have to protect our bodies always.

TERESA: Yes. And another way to protect our bodies and to have good energy is to stay away from the bad fats. Bad fats like margarine and those vegetable oils such as soybean oil, canola oil, corn oil, and cottonseed oil. From a biochemical standpoint, good beneficial fats such as butter, coconut oil, avocados, and olive oil are the best fats for energy production.

DARLENE: So I think one of the things… that's still new information for people isn't it?  You know that it's okay to eat butter. It's amazing. It's okay to eat coconut oil. You know all the things that people had been told in the past are harmful.

TERESA: That's right. And we also have to remember that our brain is made up of fat. 60% of our brain is fat, in fact. And 25% cholesterol. So eating beneficial fat will nourish your brain and will support your metabolism for energy and for weight loss.

DARLENE: So you know from time to time a lack of energy and exhaustion can be caused from a simple deficiency of vitamin D. And your vitamin D level should be somewhere between 50 and 80 to feel really good. However, we have clients that come in and their levels are under 20; maybe 8, 16. And they are fatigued and sometimes their bones even ache. And it's kind of interesting to know that often bone pain, and sometimes older people have this, bone pain can be just a deficiency of vitamin D. That's crazy, isn't it?

BRITNI: And low moods. It's amazing all the things vitamin D affects in your body. So it is time for our third break already. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. I have one last announcement to make. We have videotaped our Nutrition For Weight Loss classes. So you can take this life changing series online. So if you are one of our listeners outside of the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area, the online Nutrition for Weight Loss classes are a perfect option for you to get the information you need to lose weight, restore your energy, and your health. Some of our clients have lost 10 pounds while others report losing a hundred pounds by eating real food. The online Nutrition for Weight Loss program may be the answer that you have been looking for. So check it out at weightandwellness.com.

DARLENE: And, one other thing, the Nutrition for Weight Loss plan… You do not have to starve.

BRITNI: Oh, absolutely not. You are satisfied all day.

DARLENE: Okay, great. We'll be right back.

TERESA: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you're struggling with your energy, I have two more suggestions for you to try. Number one: don't crash diet. You know those diets, they're 500, 800 calories. They have you exercising all the time. You know the diet that lasts for about five days. It's not a sustainable diet. Leaves you angry, maybe “hangry” as we like to say. Hungry and angry. Those low-calorie, low-fat diets don't contain enough energy for your body's needs. A typical crash diet deprives you of nutrients such as key vitamins and minerals. So what we want to do is we want to eat real food in balance, which will give you energy. Number two: eat iron-rich foods. Women, especially those who have been on a calorie restricted diet, or who have been on those crash diets, can be prone to an iron deficiency. We recommend including grass-fed red meat in your diet coupled with spinach sauteed in butter for an energy packed meal.

BRITNI: I'm really glad you brought that up, Teresa, because just recently I've had two clients who I suspected they had low iron and some common symptoms… A very strange one is actually chewing ice. People that seek out ice and chew it, that usually means you're iron deficient. Thinning hair, extreme fatigue, difficulty losing weight. So I recommended that these two women go to their doctor and ask for their hemoglobin, but also their Ferritin, which is your iron storage marker. And after supplementing even a week, they felt so much better, so much more energy. And guess what? They started losing weight.

DARLENE: So was there with their ferritin level on these ladies?

BRITNI: Yes. So optimally we want it to be at least 75. One of them was five. So you can imagine.

DARLENE: She was exhausted. And she didn't realize how poorly she felt because she just became so used to it. We do hear that a lot. So if you're suspecting that, definitely get those lab tests done. And before the break we were also talking about vitamin D. That's a good one to ask your doctors. Especially living in the Midwest. Many people are deficient. And again, we get people that come in, they're so tired, so run down... Another area that I look at is gut health. Sometimes they just can't digest and break down their foods so they're not getting sufficient nutrients.

DARLENE:  I think that's happening to a lot of people.

BRITNI: I think so too. Absolutely. So, for example, another deficiency that's common is vitamin B12, either because you're not eating enough animal protein, which is our best source of B12. Or again, they're lacking that ability to break down their food, and access the B12. And when looking at your lab value, it should be at that upper half of the range just to feel optimal, and your body to work optimally.

DARLENE: For your B12?

BRITNI: Yes, B12. So those individual often need a probiotic like Bifido, but one that we find really helpful is a digestive enzyme supplement. So Ortho Molecular's Ortho Digestzyme. It's a mouthful. That can be really, really helpful to help digest, especially the meat.

DARLENE: I think people don't realize that when they eat meat, if they can digest it, that's how they make their B12. It's really simple. But if you're not eating meat or you can't digest it, you could have low B12 and you feel fatigued.

BRITNI: And it affects your memory. Your mood, all sorts of different things.

TERESA:  Your muscles. And another thing that Ortho Digestzyme has is it has some hydrochloric acid in it, which I think sometimes we're low in B12 because we just don't have enough acid in our stomach, in order to have that adequate levels of B12.

DARLENE: That's a good point, Teresa.

TERESA: Many people are fatigued because they are eating inflammatory foods. So, inflammatory foods… Are you grabbing a handful of M&M’s here or there? Are you grabbing the Starbursts? You know, are you having the crackers with those oils we talked about? The hydrogenated oils or the the soybean oil? Cottonseed oil? So question you have to ask yourself, “Is the food I'm eating helping or hurting my energy level”?

DARLENE: And I wonder how many people actually think that's right.

TERESA: I don't think a lot of times we are thinking about energy and food. But our longtime listeners know it's no secret that processed foods, fast foods, most convenience foods… negatively affect our health and zap our energy. Perhaps that morning blueberry muffin that you eat every day during your break at work puts you in a sugar coma. Your lack of energy will only stop if you stop eating the foods that is zapping your energy and causing that fatigue.

DARLENE: And sometimes that's hard to do. It's very hard to do. But once people start realizing what it's doing to their energy and their health, then they have more motivation to really try and change. And especially if they're meeting with one of you two.

BRITNI: Well, and I think just looking at the food and is this going to help me feel better or not? And thinking of it that way can really make that choice a lot easier. And, another energy zapper: I know we all find very common is eating foods that you're sensitive to. So underlying food intolerances such as gluten. That's a very common one, could be also causing your fatigue. So if you're suffering from fatigue, you might consider trying to eliminate sugar, but also those gluten grains. So basically anything with flour, wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut. That's where we find gluten. And you need to do this for 100% of the time for at least three weeks to really see a difference.

DARLENE: I agree with you.

BRITNI: It can't be eliminating gluten for two days and then you think that's enough.

DARLENE: That's right. And not just kind of eliminating it.

BRITNI: Eating a little bit every day. 100%. And a lot of people feel so much better that they don't even want to go back to eating it.

DARLENE: It's just changing those habits, you know? And like you said, you know, if people will do it for three weeks very consistently... So basically, what are they eating then? I mean, they're eating meat, right? Or eggs or fish. And then some healthy fat, you know, some butter, some coconut oil, something like that. And a bunch of vegetables. And that's the part that I think people find is a little tricky. And they need to be creative in how they make their vegetables. They need to cook them in and some butter.

BRITNI: Make it more exciting.

DARLENE: I have a little trick that I use. I put a little bit of butter in, a little bit of ghee, which is clarified butter; a little bit of coconut oil and a little bit of avocado oil. And that's what I saute my vegetables in. And it's great. It's interesting how when you combine those three different or four different oils, you have intense great taste, and the vegetables are easy to eat then. And then I always try to throw in a bunch of different vegetables. I just don't eat broccoli. I eat a variety of vegetables. So if you are tired of being tired all the time, we hope you realize that your check engine light is on and you need to make some nutritional changes. You know, we love to help you make these changes, so you don't, you just don't have to feel fatigued all the time. Instead you're going to have a lot of energy and vitality, and kind of a new zest for life.

TERESA: And who doesn't want that?

DARLENE: That's right. So our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. You know, it's a simple yet powerful message. Eating real food is life changing. So thanks for listening. Thanks Britni. Thanks Teresa. It was an interesting show.

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