Why are you tired and what can be done about it?

Did you know your low energy could be tied to what you are eating?  Did you know that your diet can help you through the stress? 

This blog post is by a guest author, Naturopathic Doctor Jennifer Bunzenmeyer.

You are what you eat!

We’ve all heard this saying before AND most of us know a little about what’s healthy and maybe not so healthy for us. But- what impedes us from eating a well-rounded, healthy diet? Well, in my experience as a naturopathic doctor, it’s unique to each individual. Through exploring what is going on at that moment with a person physically and/or emotionally, we usually come up with a few triggers. It could be stress and emotional eating, time constraints and low energy (how difficult is it to prepare food when we’re tired?!!)… or hormone imbalance (PMS can trigger a whole bunch of cravings for many of us!), for example.  

The goal with diet for fatigue is to balance blood sugar by combining our carbs, proteins and fats in the right combinations.  A starting point is to aim for ½ your plate veggies, ¼ plate starch (brown rice/quinoa etc) and ¼ plate protein (chicken, fish, beef or pork).  I like having protein with breakfast, lunch and dinner- this will help with energy through the day and to curb craving carbs and sugar which leave you feeling more tired!  

Did you know the stress hormone cortisol triggers us to crave fat, sugar and carbs?

That’s right- stress causes us to crave sugar, fat and carbohydrates.  The issue with adding sugar or high starch foods like cookies/cakes/crackers is that they will spike up your blood sugar which will lead to you “crashing” later in your day, causing low energy and a decrease in your ability to manage through stress. Instead, reach for high protein foods and a complex carb like the meals above or snacks like a piece of fruit and nuts or cheese, hummus and veggies or even a protein shake.  

Did you know your low energy could be due to insomnia from the excess amount of stress hormones revving through your body or being so depleted that your “stress gas tank” can’t keep up?

What about stress? How does this affect our energy? When we are stressed, our adrenal glands produce more adrenaline and cortisol to help us cope with the stress – we often hear this coined as “Hyperstimulated Adrenals”. If we have prolonged stress or intense stress, this cortisol gets consistently elevated which can make it difficult for us to sleep at night. It can be hard to fall asleep, or we can experience frequent waking through the night. If we’re not sleeping, we’re going to be fatigued! 

On the other hand, depletion of our stress response can occur!  Our adrenal glands can get so tired that they have difficulty producing the right amount of stress hormones we need.  You will often hear this referred to as “Adrenal Fatigue” but I like to think of it more as your body is having a hard time keeping up with supplying the hormones needed for stress and this causes EXTREME fatigue. 

Both circumstances of either hyperstimulated or exhausted adrenals can be supported through various herbs and nutritional supplements like Rhodiola, Siberian ginseng, magnolia, b-vitamins and diet tips that support blood sugar balancing.  These are all things I discuss with my clients to help them improve their energy and build resilience through times of stress.

tressDid you know that your low energy could be from toxic overload?

Toxins are such a “catch-all” phrase nowadays, BUT we are surrounded by various toxins daily. Toxins can come in many forms: pollution outside, pesticides or preservatives in our food, off-gassing of new furniture or housewares, just to name a few. At some point, our bodies can get overburdened with toxins which can lead to an impact on our thyroid, liver, and digestive tract.  Bromine found in commercial baked goods can interfere with thyroid function which can leave us tired, with sluggish metabolism and excess weight gain. Liver congestion can promote PMS symptoms and a slow digestion which can leave us tired and exhausted. Again, we’re like investigators trying to figure out what your body is telling us.  Once we do, we can give it support through dietary changes, vitamins, minerals and herbs.

There is a reason you are tired.

Let’s find it and give your body the support it needs so you can be at the top of your game!

With over 15 years in health care as a Naturopathic Doctor, as well as a Bachelor of Science, Dr Bunzenmeyer has counseled many people about the power of, what she coins wholistic living. Through assessments of present/past health, hormones, nutrition, digestion, energy, sleep, and lifestyle habits, she creates a new, individualized plan based on your unique needs.She listens to the intuition that your body and mind already inherently possess.

Dr. Bunzenmeyer has been interviewed as an expert advisor in a variety of published magazines including Chatelaine, Alive, Fresh Juice and Avenue Magazine.  Dr. Bunzenmeyer is a graduate of the accredited Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (ND) and the University of Waterloo (BSc).  She is a registered member of the College of Naturopathic Doctors of Alberta (CNDA) and the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND).  She is also a recipient of a CCNM award honoring her dedication and understanding of naturopathic therapies in clinical practice. Find out more at https://drjennbnd.com

Nicole Caines