For most of us, there are days where we feel energised and days where we are a bit more slow. It typically has to do with how well you slept, what’s been going on in your life, the weather, your hormones.
The best thing you can do, when you’re feeling lower energy, isn’t to push through, but to practice self-care: listen to your body, support yourself with the best possible nutrition and take it a bit easy for a day or two. You’ll see that you will soon be ready to rock and roll again, when you allow yourself to be tired, when you’re tired.
However, constantly feeling fatigued and low on energy is not normal. When you can barely make it out of bed each morning, need a cup of coffee to get started and more to keep you going, when you would like nothing more than a nap after lunch and you simply feel like you’re worn out all the time, something is not right.
I am working with a client who reached out to me when she was experiencing all of the above symptoms. It was an alien feeling to her, not to have an endless supply of energy. She was used to being extremely active, always on the go and described herself as a spinning top. Yet here she was, feeling tired, lethargic, worn out and desperate to figure out what was going on.
I often see in my clients’ health history a stomach infection or digestive complaints that correlate with a trip or relocation.
Which is a common reaction to changes to your environment, climate, foods and even the stress of travelling or relocating. Your digestive system and in particular your gut flora are exquisitely sensitive to these kinds of changes.
In identifying whether this is a possible explanation, it is important to look at your health history and other symptoms that may be present.
In my client’s case there was a history of Ulcerative Colitis (UC), which is an Inflammatory Bowel Disease, water retention, acidity as well as joint and muscle aches and pains and allergies, all of which intensified while travelling. All of these symptoms pointed at inflammation, an imbalanced immune system and a compromised digestion.
Good health (which translates into feeling well and having good levels of energy) begins in the gut.
For your body to function optimally you need to not only eat a high quality diet but also be able to draw nutrients from your food. When your digestive system is compromised you may not be able to do so efficiently. And this can show up in many different ways and have a ripple effect in different ways, including lower energy levels.
Low energy and fatigue is an issue with many women and even more so among expats and frequent travellers. Many of my clients experience a drop in energy levels that doesn’t seem to resolve itself when moving to Asia and many blame the hot and humid weather conditions. While this definitely plays a role, it typically isn’t the only thing that is going on.
The good news is that you don’t have to continue to suffer fatigue or lethargy. It is possible to rebalance your digestion and boost your health and energy levels. Here’s how I approached this with my client:
1. She revamped her diet and took out all the foods that contributed to inflammation and brought in nutrient dense foods to bring in as much goodness as possible. In addition to inflammatory foods, she turned out to be highly reactive to histamine so I helped her fine tune her diet to be low in histamine.
2. We brought in some high quality baseline supplements (a methylated B Complex, vitamin C, vitamin D (her lab tests showed low levels of this important vitamin), magnesium and specific strains of probiotics to support UC and histamine intolerance).
3. She included special foods that support gut healing such as bone broth and coconut oil and foods that are naturally high in anti histamine.
4. She adopted certain habits that help to support digestion such supporting stomach acid levels, hydration, including plenty of fibre and prebiotic rich foods.
It didn’t take long for her to feel like herself again. 2 weeks to be exact. Her swelling, joint pains and leg cramps, and acidity were gone as was her afternoon drowsiness. Her energy levels were up and she had dropped 4½ kilos in weight.
It is important to note her that she had a remarkably quick recovery and that it isn’t always so easy to turn your
energy levels around. There can be other underlying causes that may need to be addressed, like hormones.
Your digestion is, however, always a great place to start. My recommendation would be to start by taking out the top three inflammatory foods for a period of time and see if you notice a difference: sugar, gluten and (conventional) dairy and focus on bringing in plenty of nutrient dense foods. Leafy greens are some of my favorites! Try my favorite green juice recipe (below) for a quick influx of nutrients, first thing in the morning.
If this isn’t enough to do the trick and if you want help getting your energy levels up, I invite you to sign up for a free nutrition breakthrough session here so that we can discuss ways to have you spinning like a top again, just like my client!
Green juice (serves 2)
• 1 bunch celery
• 2 cucumbers
• 1 green apple
• 1 lemon (peel removed)
• 5-7 kale (or other green) leaves
• 1/2 bunch parsley
Run ingredients through a juicer or blend all ingredients in Vitamix or blender and strain through a nut milk bag or muslin cloth.
Monique Jhingon is a Functional Nutrition & Lifestyle Practitioner who offers select private coaching to expats whose health and digestion has been compromised as a result of transitioning into new environments, cultures, climates and foods.
You can read more on her website and sign up for a free Nutrition Breakthrough Session here: