In Summary

  • It may sound obvious, but the first place you need to look is diet. You really are what you eat. If you spend the whole day living on tea/coffee (stimulants which give you a short-term lift) and various deep-fried snacks, how do you expect to feel?
  • Good meals made up of complex carbs, vegetables, protein and some ‘good’ fat (like the kind found in avocadoes) make sure that this doesn’t happen.

We all have those days: you wake up exhausted and spend the whole day reaching for coffee to perk you up whenever you get the chance. For most people, that’s where it ends. After a good night’s sleep, they’re back to their usual chirpy selves. But what if you’re still tired the next day? And the day after that? At my clinic, I’ve seen everyone from stay-at-home mums to a high-flying executives who feel tired all the time.

It may sound obvious, but the first place you need to look is diet. You really are what you eat. If you spend the whole day living on tea/coffee (stimulants which give you a short-term lift) and various deep-fried snacks, how do you expect to feel? Good meals made up of complex carbs, vegetables, protein and some ‘good’ fat (like the kind found in avocadoes) make sure that this doesn’t happen.

But what if you are eating all the right things? One of the most common causes of fatigue is liver congestion. This means that your liver is so backed up with things to do, it isn’t detoxifying the body as it should – and that’s why you feel exhausted.

Rather than embarking on a full-blown detox, there are some simple things you can do to give your liver a break. First up, say goodbye to stimulants.

Drinking plenty of water is also important, either straight or in herbal teas.

Fruit and vegetables come next and you need five servings in total, of which one should be a cruciferous vegetable (broccoli, sukuma, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts), one should be rich in beta-carotene (anything orange/yellow such as carrots, sweet potato etc.) and another full of vitamin C (broccoli, peppers, strawberries, citrus fruit, tomatoes). For your complex carbs, you can have rice products, millet, lentils or beans, but you want to avoid wheat, rye, oats and barley. For the protein element, choose meat, fish, tofu (from soya), lentils and beans (they contain carbohydrate and protein), nuts and seeds. Avoid dairy produce (milk, cheese, yoghurt, ice-cream) and eggs.

The first few days may be pretty heavy going so start slowly, maybe only incorporating a few of the suggestions above. However, after a month of eating in this way, you should begin to feel lighter (mentally and physically) and have considerably more energy. Most people also find that they sleep more soundly too.

So next time you reach for that umpteenth cup of tea or coffee during the day, ask yourself: could I do this another way?