If your diagnosis is chronic fatigue then you are no doubt feeling flat and exhausted as you try to stay awake to read this. It is possible you have succumb to the effects of a viral infection, possibly one you had long ago and it has re-emerged to suck the life out of you. Epstein Barr virus (EBV) or cytomegalovirus (CMV) are potential culprits. These viruses lay dormant and cause conditions such as Glandular Fever and fatigue. Treating chronic fatigue can take 6-12 months or more and requires strict dietary modification plus antimicrobials and vitamin supplements and patience.
If you have pale skin, are vegetarian, have dark circles under your eyes as well as your fatigue you may have a form of anaemia from low iron and an appropriate diet and supplementation regime will help.
You may have an over or underactive thyroid gland causing your fatigue, we can chat about ways to determine the cause for you but for now…
…Start with Protein!
At some stage of our lives we succumb to fatigue and tiredness. This can be easily explained if we have young children who wake through the night or we have a busy life and lots of stress. But when you just feel like you can’t get up in the morning or you need an afternoon nap and haven’t over exerted yourself it becomes more of a mystery. Quite often we reach for caffeine and sugar to boost our energy and then create a bigger problem and a vicious cycle.
One way to combat fatigue is to make sure you are getting enough quality protein at every meal and in particular at breakfast. The average daily intake is based on body weight and activity level ranging from 800gm per day per kilo of bodyweight to 1.8-2kg for athletes. Protein balances blood sugar and helps avoid carb cravings. It helps you feel full and satisfied for longer, maintains steady energy and metabolism, improves digestion by increasing nutrient absorption and rebuilds muscle and repairs tissue and joints. Having a breakfast high in protein with some carbohydrate, fibre and quality fats is the perfect way to maintain energy and avoid that afternoon slump.
Protein packed breakfasts and snacks include scrambled eggs with avocado, mushrooms, rocket, feta, alfalfa and lemon juice, or poached eggs with quinoa patties or a protein shake with fruit and fibre.
A boiled egg makes a perfect snack and can be made ahead for snacks on the go with some carrot sticks and almonds and a calcium and protein packed hommus dip.
Protein smoothies are a convenient way to boost protein and fibre to sustain energy. Try blending some berries, frozen banana, nuts and seeds, hemp seeds or hemp protein, almond milk or A2 full fat milk with psyllium husks and cinnamon and an optional quality protein powder or whey protein, drink straight away or keep in the fridge and shake it up later on.
Protein pancakes are nice alternative, use an egg, a banana, vanilla, ground almonds and coconut flour or protein powder with enough milk to blend to a smooth pourable mix. Serve with berries or fruit compote, a dash of real maple syrup and organic cream or yoghurt for good fats, protein, carbohydrate and antioxidants.
Nuts and seeds make a great snack and provide protein, essential fats and fibre, make into homemade nut butters or eat a handful with coconut flakes and a medjool date.
Protein in a boiled egg = approx 6gm
Protein in one lean chicken breast = approx 25gm
Protein in 30gm of almonds = approx 7gm
Protein in 1 cup cooked quinoa = approx 8gm
Now that we have your protein sorted and you still feel tired and lack energy it may be a more serious problem of low iron or poor thyroid function or stress related adrenal fatigue and insomnia. A pathology test can help to determine this so for a clearer picture on how to address your fatigue, to determine if you have chronic fatigue syndrome or anaemia from low iron or just to find out how much protein you need, contact me and lets chat about how to boost you back up again!