Energy Medicine Top Tips
1) The energy audit
There are so many different types of energy – emotional, physical and mental energy. There’s no formal diagnosis of fatigue, it’s a subjective opinion about the way you’re feeling.
2) What’s causing your fatigue
There are a number of things which could be at the root of your fatigue.
Adrenal fatigue – this can result from overworked adrenal glands due to chronic stress. Also known as ‘burn out’, adrenal fatigue can affect your energy in different ways, causing a general feeling of exhaustion, loss of motivation and libido and a sense of being overwhelmed.
Inflammation – research has shown that certain chronic inflammatory conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, liver disease or rheumatoid arthritis can lead to fatigue and a general sense of malaise.
Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, ME – CFS is a type of persistent fatigue over a period of at least six months which is not caused by exertion and not relieved by rest. Other typical symptoms that help to contribute to a diagnosis of CFS include: aching muscles, headaches, oversensitivity to certain smells, digestive problems, unrefreshing sleep.
Anaemia – a shortage of iron is the most common cause of anaemia. This may be as a result of blood loss over time e.g. heavy periods or sudden blood loss due to a burst ulcer, for example. After blood loss, the body needs more iron to produce haemoglobin and red blood cells. It may also be due to nutrient deficiency. Typical symptoms of anaemia include feeling tired and weak, unusually pale skin (for you), sore tongue, headaches, poor concentration and palpitations.
Hypothyroid – sluggish thyroid is a common cause of low energy; typical symptoms include feeling sleepy during the day, difficulty losing weight, sensitivity to the cold, thinning hair, morning headaches, mentally sluggish, and constipation.
Nutrient deficiencies and excesses – this may be due to poor diet and lack of key nutrients important for energy or poor absorption. Excessive consumption of anti-nutrients, processed or refined foods may result in a sluggish liver which affects energy production.
3) Mitochondria- your own personal powerhouse
Mitochondria are structures which are found in every body cell. They take fat, protein and sugar & protein and combine it with oxygen to produce energy for every body cell.
4) What happens when mitochondria stop working
Because mitochondria are found in every body cell, when they stop working it can lead to a wide range of different health problems. Fighting infection means that the immune cells require a lot of energy. The worse things get, the harder it is for your body to produce energy which can lead to a vicious cycle of low energy, fatigue and chronic illness.
5) The key micronutrients for energy
Micronutrients include vitamins, minerals and plant compounds which are essential for health. Unlike the macronutrients protein, fats and carbs, we only need small amounts of micronutrients but the right amount is essential.
Magnesium – is responsible for literally hundreds of enzymatic reactions across the body and is vital for energy production as we have seen. It also plays a key role in optimal function of the nervous system, regulates muscle function and can help to support adrenal health. It’s particularly helpful in cases of long-term fatigue or exhaustion, such as burn out or CFS. Good sources of magnesium include brown rice, DGLV, nuts and seeds. Try an Epsom Salts bath.
B Vitamins – play an essential part in the chain reaction of energy production. Low levels of vitamin B 12 can result in a condition called pernicious anaemia, which is common in cases of chronic stress and which can cause extreme fatigue. Vegetables are an excellent source of B vitamins except for B12 which is mostly found in animal sources of food, although certain fortified products such as marmite or breakfast cereals can contain B12. B vitamins are water-soluble, so it’s important to pay attention to cooking methods. Opting for steaming rather than boiling vegetables can help to avoid depleting the vitamins.
Iron – is required to make haemoglobin and a deficiency in iron can lead to severe fatigue. Dietary iron comes in 2 forms – heme iron found in animal sources and non-heme iron in plant sources. Heme iron is more easily absorbed by the body and non-heme iron can be more susceptible to external factors such as caffeine which can reduce the body’s ability to absorb iron.
6) What’s stopping the body from absorbing these nutrients
Caffeine: You don’t necessarily have to give up your morning coffee in order to absorb nutrients, but do wait at least an hour between consuming caffeine and meals or supplements. Iron is one nutrient particularly affected by caffeine. Caffeine can reduce iron absorption by up to 80 percent. Consider substituting non-caffeinated versions of coffee, tea and other drinks when you can.
Alcohol: Even when consumed within recommended limits, daily alcohol consumption may cause deficiencies. Alcohol damages the lining of the stomach and small intestines, altering or reducing absorption of vitamins and minerals. The recommendation? Keep alcohol to a minimum.
Medication: Nutrient-drug interactions can work both ways. For example, corticosteroids, often prescribed to reduce inflammation from sports injuries, decrease absorption of calcium and vitamin D. On the other hand, grapefruit and grapefruit juice can enhance the absorption of some pharmaceuticals like Tegretol (an anticonvulsant) and Zocor (used to treat high cholesterol), which may result in toxic levels. Any drug has the potential to affect nutrient absorption, so it’s best to check with your doctor or pharmacist to find out if your medications could be a culprit.
Exercise: Excessive levels of intense exercise can result in raised cortisol. It’s also very hard on the mucus membranes of the gut which can impair gut function and reduce optimal absorption of nutrients.
7) Processed foods distract the liver from supporting energy metabolism
Excessive levels of caffeine, alcohol, processed foods, artificial additives can distract the liver from supporting energy metabolism.
We think of the liver as the detox organ, but it has over 500 functions and we tend to keep it very busy processing dietary toxins, pollution, pesticides, fungicides, medication, alcohol etc. One of its many jobs is the metabolism of the energy from digested carbohydrate and fat. By supplying the body with energy, your liver plays a key role in preventing fatigue. A healthy liver helps to provide a steady flow of energy to the body cells throughout the day. A sluggish liver has a reduced ability to produce and store glucose. Keeping your liver in good shape is crucial to optimal energy levels.
8) Raw VS cooked food
One way to keep your liver happy is to eat plenty of vegetables. Vegetables are an excellent source of vitamin C which helps to support levels of glutathione in the liver. Glutathione is responsible for 60% of the detoxification pathways in the liver, helping to keep things well on track. Sulphurous vegetables such as onions or brassica support sulphation pathways.
Encouraging yourself to eat 50% raw each day is going to significantly boost your vegetable intake which will mean that you’re eating plenty of fibre. Fibre plays a key role in optimal digestion and liver support which will in turn help to support your energy levels by enhancing nutrient absorption and promoting energy production in the liver.
While most foods tend to be more nutrient rich in their raw form, certain foods can benefit from being heated. Research shows that lycopene increases by 25 percent when tomatoes are cooked for 30 minutes. Cooking significantly increases the bioavailability of beta carotene, found in red/orange/yellow plants like tomatoes, carrots, sweet potato, and spinach. It denatures protein in eggs and meat, making them much more digestible.
9) Lunch to keep you invigorated
10) Organise to prioritise
Make it easy to eat your plant food at home: keep fruits and vegetables where you’re most likely to access them.
Slow down nutrient loss: Heat, light, and oxygen degrade nutrients.
Make sure to store:
- all vegetables — except those of the root variety — in the refrigerator until you need them.
- all fruits except berries — this includes tomatoes and avocados — at room temperature away from direct light.
- all cut fruits and vegetables with a squeeze of lemon juice on them and in an airtight container. (Cut produce rapidly oxidizes and vitamin C, an antioxidant, slows decay.)
- all herbs — with their amazing phytonutrients — chopped up and frozen in an ice cube tray with water.
11) Keep hydrated
Every body cell relies on water for successful function. Be mindful that dehydration can often masquerade as hunger as the symptoms can be similar e.g. tiredness, headaches, dizziness or light-headed.
If you’re not sure how much water you should be drinking, keep an eye on the colour of your urine, which should mostly be a pale straw colour. If it’s darker on a regular basis this indicates dehydration and if it’s completely clear most of the time, then this suggests overhydration.
12) Exercise for an instant wake up
Exercise plays a vital role in keeping you focused and mentally alert. We all know that eating right can help keep your energy levels up and make you feel better. But can maintaining a healthy lifestyle really give your business a boost? Recent studies say yes. One UK university found that on the days they exercised, 33% of people felt they were more motivated, 72% had better time management, and 79% demonstrated improved mental concentration and performance. A simple walk round the block or thirty minutes of yoga could be enough to energize your mind and body for the day ahead. Structure in plenty of breaks to your day and where you can include some activity. Keeping active is proven to reduce stress levels and help combat frustration and anxiety — all the negative things that reduce your concentration and productivity.
13) Rest- The key to refueling
Are you getting enough rest and how much ‘me’ time do you allow yourself? It could make a huge impact on your energy levels.
Last November an online survey called The Rest Test was launched to investigate what rest means to different people, how they like to rest and whether there is a link between rest and well-being. 18,000 people from 134 countries took part and just over two-thirds of respondents said they would like more rest. Almost a third thought they needed more rest than the average person. One question asked people how much they had rested the previous day, leaving them free to define rest in any way they wanted to. The average was three hours and six minutes.
Feel Good Recipe Suggestions
Honey Garlic Chicken
8 pieces of chicken (thighs, wings and drumsticks work best)
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon molasses
4 garlic cloves, grated finely then chopped to a paste
1 teaspoon onion, grated with a microplane or grated finely then chopped to a paste
1 teaspoon sea salt
Salt and pepper for seasoning chicken
- Preheat oven to 420 and place the oven rack in the top third of the oven. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Season chicken with a pinch of sea salt and fresh cracked pepper and place it on the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
- While the chicken is in the oven combine all other ingredients in a medium sized bowl and mix together thoroughly.
- After 20 minutes, remove chicken from the oven and, using tongs, place each piece in the bowl with the sauce. Drain any fat that is on the baking sheet into the bowl with the sauce. Toss to coat thoroughly.
- Return the chicken to the baking sheet, skin side down, and put the chicken back in the oven. Set the sauce bowl aside to save the sauce for the next step. Turn oven to broil and broil for 5 minutes. Remove chicken from the oven and turn to skin side up. Using a rubber spatula, coat the chicken skin with any remaining sauce. Broil for another 5 minutes.
Raspberry, Avocado & Mango Salad
1/2 cups fresh raspberries, divided
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
1 small clove garlic, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
8 cups mixed salad greens
1 ripe mango, diced
1 small ripe avocado, diced
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup toasted chopped hazelnuts, or sliced almonds, optional
- Puree 1/2 cup raspberries, oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper in a blender until combined.
- Combine greens, mango, avocado and onion in a large bowl. Pour the dressing on top and gently toss to coat.
- Divide the salad among 5 salad plates. Top each with the remaining raspberries and sprinkle with nuts, if using.
Bell Pepper Salad
1 Red Bell Pepper, coarsely chopped
2 Yellow Bell Peppers, coarsely chopped
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
16 ounce bottle Robust Italian Salad Dressing
- Place chopped bell peppers and cherry tomatoes in a medium bowl.
- Pour Italian salad dressing over the pepper / tomato mixture.
- Cover bowl and place in the refrigerator overnight, for best results. Can be served within a 3-4 hours as well, but peppers will not be as tender and flavorful.