I love how deeply food can change our state. Whether we’re happy, sad, sick or healthy- what we put into our mouths has the potential to right the wrongs.
This is especially true when we are very fatigued. It’s definitely typical among the women I work with, my chronic daily fatigue is absolutely not normal. In fact, it’s our bodies screaming at us for help. Give me what I need to function!
That’s where food comes in. As part of my 28-Day Fatigue Fighting Meal Plan for Moody Women, I designed the following smoothie recipe to be highly nutrient dense- with exactly the right things to fight fatigue, mellow moods and balance hormones.
This smoothie makes an excellent breakfast, or it can be used as a snack or small meal on the go. Smoothies are great when we’re tired because they take little effort and time to make- simply load up your blender with the ingredients and you’re good to go!
Swiss Chard + Strawberries
Not an entirely popular vegetable, Swiss chard is highly nutritious. Like other leafy greens, it ranks high on healing power for hormonal imbalances- including those that cause use to feel fatigued all the time. For example, Swiss chard contains at least 13 different types of polyphenols, potent antioxidants that can reduce inflammation. Inflammation is a major contributor to fatigue.
Swiss chard is an excellent source of vitamin C. Vitamin C is extremely beneficial for restoring the health of our adrenal glands- two tiny glands that help regulate our stress response, and the chronic stress that leads to our fatigue. In fact, the adrenal glands are one of the organs with the highest concentrations of vitamin C in the body. Plus, the more stressed we are, the more vitamin C our adrenals need to function properly.
Strawberries are also incredibly nutrient dense, with high concentrations of fatigue-fighting vitamin C. Be sure to purchase organic strawberries, as these berries are among the highest in pesticide residue of any other fruit or vegetable. Strawberries are also one of the lower sugar fruits, meaning that they won’t spike blood sugar in the same way an orange or melon would. Research has even shown that strawberry intake is connected to blood sugar health. Lastly, strawberries are highly concentrated with folate, a B vitamin essential for the creation of red blood cells and energy.
Simply one of my favourite sources of healthy fat, coconut oil has huge benefits for adrenal health, fighting fatigue and balancing mood. The saturated fat in coconut oil is used to create steroid hormones- cortisol (a major stress hormone), being one of them. In fact, coconut oil has properties that help reduce the weight of our adrenal glands, which become bigger and inflamed when we are chronically fatigued.
Fats like coconut oil are also needed in abundance to balance blood sugar. Women who are chronically fatigued and have adrenal glands fighting to work optimally most often have blood sugar imbalances because our bodies become unable to recognize the signals of insulin. And the constant up and down of cortisol sends all of this into a tail spin.
Collagen, which can be found in powders (like Great Lakes, Organika or Vital Proteins brands), is extremely beneficial when fighting fatigue and restoring adrenal health. Collagen can also be found in bone broth, an easy-to-make superfood if ever there was one.
More specifically, collagen is helpful for healing the gut. When we are stressed out over years, and don’t take proper care of ourselves the lining of our gut becomes compromised. This “leaky” gut allows for inflammation and extra stress on the body, creating more fatigue. Collagen can help reinforce the lining of our gut and “seal” the lining, thereby reducing inflammatory and stressful particles from getting into our bloodstream and making us tired.
Collagen powder is also a very easy protein to digest.
A huge favourite of mine (I buy them in 5lb. bulk bags!), hemp seeds or hearts are rich sources of many different types of beneficial fats. For example, they contain good amounts of GLA (gamma-linoleic acid), which helps to control inflammation. Hemp are also high in omega-3 fatty-acids, a highly anti-inflammatory source of fat that has been shown in research to improve mood and balance hormones.
Due to the high concentration of fats and protein, hemp is a natural appetite suppressant- a great thing when you’re dealing with fatigue-related cravings for sweets and carbs. Like collagen, hemp also has benefits for digestive health. They are high in fibre, and so help us to have healthy bowel movements and they feed our good gut bugs or “probiotics”.
Highly debated, there is a strong myth circulating that salt is bad for you. I’m so excited to dispel this myth for you today! Yes, regular table (iodized) salt has been treated and bleached- leaving it without nutrition. However, good quality salt (grey sea salt or pink Himalayan salt) has huge benefits for fatigue. I often recommend to my clients that they drink a glass of warm water with salt in it first thing in the morning everyday to help fatigue (try it!!).
Like vitamin C, salt (and the minerals it contains like sodium and potassium) is used in droves when our adrenals are struggling. The adrenals release a hormone (aldosterone) which regulates the balance of salt, potassium and water in our bodies. When overworked and fatigued, our adrenals require more salt to function properly. Some women I’ve worked with even need to add salt to every glass of drinking water while they heal.
- 1 cup swiss chard
- 1 cup organic strawberries
- 1/4 cup fresh italian parsley
- 2 tbsp hemp seeds
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp collagen powder
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
- 1/2 - 1 tsp good quality grey sea salt or pink himalayan salt
- Put everything in a high-powered blender and blend until smooth. Drink immediately!
- Drink this immediately because if you let it sit the chia seeds will thicken the mix.