You know food affects your fatigue levels. But what the heck are you supposed to eat in order to get more energy? The internet is full of conflicting information.
There’s always some new diet claiming to increase your energy levels. Currently, the ketogenic diet seems to be the best way to beat fatigue. Next year I’m sure there’ll be something else.
Then you have the internet… One site claims diet ABC will alleviate all your fatigue. While site XYZ says to never follow diet ABC, it will make your fatigue even worse. What are you to do?
Focus on your individuality. Not diets. Your fatigue is different than the fatigue of anyone else you know. You’re a unique snowflake. Your nutrition should reflect this. Heck, food might not even be the cause of your fatigue. But the only way to find out is to experiment.
I created a straightforward reset diet specifically for fatigue. By performing this reset, you’ll get your first introduction to what foods contribute to your low energy levels.
Why 30 days?
The Fatigue Reset Diet is an elimination diet designed to balance your blood sugar, identify food sensitivities, and increase energy. I use it with nearly all my patients. And it continues to be the best first step in overcoming fatigue.
The advice offered in conventional medical offices is that the foods you eat cannot affect your energy. Just saying this sounds crazy. How could food not affect your energy levels?
Unfortunately, this reset diet has not been clinically studied. But we’ve not only done this ourselves (many times), we’ve guided hundreds of patients through it. And we can tell you this: it works. It works incredibly well. No other therapy – natural or otherwise – can come even remotely close to accomplishing all of these goals within 30 days.
After doing this hundreds of times, 30 days seems to be the magic number. It’s long enough for you to notice dramatic changes but short enough to not feel burdensome. Commit for 30 days. It’s your first step to more energy!
After completing the elimination diet, you’ll have a bit more leeway to go off the rails every now and then. (After all, there’s more to life than food!) But the Reset phase is not one of those times. This is where you gather your strength and buckle down. There should be no cheating while doing the fatigue reset diet. Just one food could trigger a whole new cascade of reactions. Don’t do it. It’s not worth it. Commit for 30 days.
Foods to eat. Foods to avoid
I’ve broken the Fatigue Reset Diet down into three categories:
- Eat liberally:
- Enjoy as much of these foods as you like. No counting calories or calculating ratios of protein, fat, or carbohydrates. This isn’t a “cleanse” or a fast. If a food is on this list, you’re free to eat it. You can eat as much or little of this food as you like. Don’t be shy!
- Eat in moderation:
- Eat these foods, but don’t overdo it. Try for no more than 2-3 servings of these foods each week. I’ve given specific outlines for each food below!
- Avoid completely:
- Yep, completely. 100% removal. Do not cheat with these foods. The success (or failure) of the Fatigue Reset Diet hinges on your ability to avoid these foods.
Foods to eat liberally
Remember, enjoy as much of these foods as you like. If a food is on this list, you’re free to eat it. You can eat as much or little of this food as you like.
Meat and poultry:
Emphasize beef and lamb, but also pork, chicken, turkey, duck, and wild game like venison and ostrich. Organic and free-range is always preferable but is especially so during this program. Opt for grass-fed/finished beef, pasture raised pork, and free-range chickens.
If there was one food everyone with fatigue needs to eat more of, it’s organ meats. Liver is the most nutrient-dense food on the planet. If you don’t like the taste of liver, one good trick is to put one chicken liver in each cube of an ice cube tray and freeze them. Then, when you’re making any meat dish, dice up one chicken liver and add it to the meat.
I’ve also been known to slice beef liver into small pieces and freeze it. I then swallow the pieces like a multivitamin! It’s the perfect way to avoid that distinct liver flavor.
Muscle meats (steak, pork chops, chicken breasts, etc.) are high in an amino acid called methionine. Methionine is what gives red meat its bad rap for causing heart disease. Bone broths are rich in an amino acid called glycine.
By adding glycine to your diet, you decrease the risk factors associated with high methionine consumption. So, make sure you’re having 3 servings of bone broth each week!
Emphasis on the fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and herring. Avoid farmed fish. You need to ensure your fish is wild. Farmed fish do not have the beneficial fats that wild fish have. Opt for 2-3 servings of fish each week!
The sure sign of a healthy egg is an orange yolk. Pale yellow yolks are low in omega-3 fatty acids – an anti-inflammatory compound. Free range and organic eggs are more likely to have orange yolks.
Starchy tubers include all those awesome root vegetables. Eat plenty of yucca/manioc, taro, and lotus root.
Non-starchy vegetables are those veggies grown above ground level. Think broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, peppers, etc. Feel free to enjoy these veggies in either cooked or raw forms.
Traditional cultures ate fermented foods on the regular. A lack of fermented foods is one reason why we have more gut issues than ever before. Add foods like sauerkraut, kim chi, kombucha, and kefir. Make sure you purchase these foods as “raw” in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. If they are pasteurized and found on the shelf in the middle of the store, all of the beneficial bacteria are killed. No bueno.
Don’t be shy. Fat can be an incredible source of nutrition – just ask all your friends on team keto. Opt for healthy fats like coconut oil, canned coconut milk (only ingredients: coconut milk, and water), palm oil, lard, duck fat, beef tallow, avocado and olive oil. Don’t forget about avocados and olives!
Sea salt, herbs, and spices are all great foods to add. Make sure you check ingredient lists – many prepared sauces/seasonings add sugar and artificial flavorings.
Eat in moderation
Eat these foods, but don’t overdo it. Try for no more than 2-3 servings of these foods each week. I’ve given specific outlines for each food below!
Before you even venture into this area, make sure the meat(s) are gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free. Only then should you proceed. Examples include bacon, jerky, sausages, etc. No more than 3 servings per week.
Whole fruit and vegetables:
Blood sugar imbalance is a common cause of fatigue. Therefore, you should opt for low sugar fruits like blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries. Try your best to limit tropical fruit consumption – these guys are very high in sugar! 1-3 servings per day of fruit. Sweet potatoes, yams, and onions are higher in carbohydrates and should be limited to 3 servings per week.
Nuts and seeds:
A great source of energy. opt for fatty nuts/seeds like macadamia nuts, pecans, walnuts, hempseed, chia, and flaxseed. No more than a handful of nuts/seeds each day.
I know you need coffee to get going in the morning. But for those of you with fatigue, caffeine can wreak havoc on your adrenal glands. If you absolutely must have your morning coffee, opt for 1 shot of organic espresso. No more! And none of those double-double sugary drinks either!
So good! Opt for 70% or higher and ensure sugar is not on the ingredient list. One piece per day.
Eating is one of the best social activities we humans can partake in. If you can avoid eating out for 30 days, do so. If you must eat out, check with your server to see what the food is fried in. If it’s vegetable oils like canola, safflower, etc. pick a salad!
Yep, completely. 100% removal. Do not cheat with these foods. The success (or failure) of the Fatigue Reset Diet hinges on your ability to avoid these foods.
This includes all things dairy. Even fermented dairy. No butter, cheese, yogurt, milk etc.
If you’ve followed my writing for any length of time, you’ll be well aware that gluten and fatigue don’t mix well together. For your Fatigue Reset Diet, you’re not only going gluten-free but also grain free. No wheat, bread, pasta, grains or anything of the like.
Contrary to what your vegetarian friends tell you, legumes are not that healthy. And they commonly contribute to fatigue. Get them out of your diet. No lentils, peanuts, peas, or beans. Yes, soy sauce is from a legume (soybeans) and you’ll need to avoid it.
This is an umbrella term for all things sweet. It includes sugar and artificial sweeteners like sucralose, aspartame. And for the 30 day period, you’re going to also want to avoid healthy sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, and stevia. You’ll survive, I promise!
No, gluten-free cookies are not healthy. If a food comes in a box, you’re going to avoid it. No healthy bars or secret sauces either.
Cook with coconut oil, olive oil, or healthy animal fats like duck fat, lard, and tallow. Avoid all of the oils from vegetables and seeds.
Whether it’s diet, regular, lite, or any other variety, soda is out of your diet for 30 days. This alone will likely improve your energy levels!
Your beloved red wine will return in 30 days time. For the Fatigue Reset Diet, please abstain from any alcoholic beverages.
Additional modifications for those with severe fatigue
Remember how blood sugar irregularities cause fatigue? To best balance your blood sugar, you’re going to want to ensure tropical fruits are completely removed from your Fatigue Reset Diet.
Additionally, I would encourage you to limit your consumption of vegetables grown in the dirt. This includes foods like beets, carrots, radishes, yams, and sweet potatoes. These foods can be quite high in sugar. If your blood sugar is causing your fatigue, limiting consumption of these foods will result in improved energy.
Ok, there you have it, the Fatigue Reset Diet. The very same nutrition plan we recommend to patients here at the clinic. Jump in!
Let me know how it goes in the comments section below!
Also published on Medium.