leaky gut

3 Reasons You're Still Tired AF + What To Do Now

I wish I had a time machine so that I could read this post to myself 5 years ago. My hope is that if you are feeling the effects of extreme fatigue, that this post will give you a starting point on which daily habits, organ systems, and mindset shifts needing to be addressed before you diagnose yourself thanks to Dr. Google. 

I'll just start by saying that it is NOT normal to feel exhausted, day after day, especially if you aren't doing anything to warrant the exhaustion (i.e training for a marathon, taking care of a newborn, etc). 

Here are a few symptoms that I see as big red flags that something needs to change, beyond the usual Paleo-fixes:

  • Difficulty waking up in the morning
  • Inability to function without lots of caffeine 
  • "Wired" feeling at night 
  • Digestive problems like diarrhea, constipation, or acid reflux
  • Intense sugar/salt cravings 
  • Unable to preform in workouts
  • Brain fog, forgetfulness
  • General malaise 

If this sounds like you, there are the few possible culprits behind why you might still be tired AF:

1. Your diet still sucks

Don't worry, i'm not going to tell you (again) to focus on nutrient dense foods and avoid anything processed (you can read about that here!). The first thing to look at if you are still feeling tired AF is not just the quality but the quantity of food in your diet.

Are you eating enough Carbs? Fat? Calories?  

Also, this may seem like a no-brainer, but if you are expending more energy than you are taking in (i.e lengthy gym sessions) and not giving yourself enough time to recover, this will quickly lead to fatigue and eventually, adrenal burnout. 

2. You aren't digesting your food

Your nutrition is on point and you aren't overly stressing out your body via exercise, work stress, or otherwise. The next thing to look at is the quality of your digestion. 

Do you reach for Tums after every meal? Do you only poop every other day? Do you have diarrhea multiple times per week? (newsflash: none of these things are normal!!!)

These are all signs that something has gone awry in your gut, whether that be low HCL, leaky gut, food sensitivities, or possible gut infection or imbalance of good gut bacteria. Here are a few of my favorite troubleshooting solutions:

Improve HCL/ enzyme production: Swedish bitters, Betaine HCL, apple cider vinegar or warm lemon water before meals

Determine food sensitivities: MRT testing, elimination diet

Balance gut bacteria: invest in a high quality probiotic, and be sure to rotate strains very 3 months or so

Repair leaky gut: L-glutamine, collagen peptides, bone broth, remove food triggers

3. You have adrenal fatigue

(We did a whole podcast on this topic - listen here)

Symptoms of adrenal fatigue include chronic fatigue, cravings for sugar/salt, difficulty waking in the morning and falling asleep at night, decreased sex drive, less enjoyment out of life, and many others. 

Your adrenal glands are two pea-shaped glands that sit atop the kidneys and are responsible for not only our bodies "fight or flight" reaction, but our output of important hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Levels of cortisol should be highest in the morning, allowing us to wake up with ease and energy. By the end of the day, cortisol (should) be at its lowest, allowing for melatonin production to take over and for us to fall asleep easily. 

When the body has been under chronic stressors such as malnutrition, work stress, a divorce, too much caffeine, or even perceived stressors like finances; the adrenal glands respond by producing either too much or too little cortisol, at the wrong times (depending on the stage of adrenal fatigue). For example, this is why many people will have an extremely difficult time waking up in the morning, but then suddenly feel "wired" once 10PM hits. 

Sound like you? Here are a few things to try, once you've followed the steps from #1 and #2. 

  • Destress
  • Eliminate caffeine
  • Only do low stress workouts such as yoga or walking
  • Prioritize sleep
  • Put self-care first!!!
  • Make sure to get the adequate nutrients needed to support the adrenals - specifically vitamin C, B vitamins, Zinc, Magnesium and Essential Fatty Acids. 
  • Remember that you can supplement with these nutrients until you're blue in the face, but if the source of stress is not remedied, you're still going to be tired AF
  • Pinpoint and remove as many stressful stimuli as possible. 

Think you have adrenal fatigue?

Sign up for the FREE 5 Day Adrenal Fatigue Detox Challenge HERE!

 

Tell me in the comments:

Have you tried everything listed but you're still tired AF? (AF= As Fuck :) )

*This post contains affiliate links*

What Are Collagen Peptides? An Intro To My Favorite Supplement

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*This post contains affiliate links*

If you have been reading my blog for awhile you probably know that I am not a huge fan of marketing gimmicks like ‘miracle’ protein shakes and ‘skinny’ teas.

I’ll also be the first to admit that the reason these products don’t sit well with me now is because i’ve been allured by them in the past and wasted a SHIT TON of money on them.

I am very careful to only recommend supplements and products to my clients that I have personally had great success with, and in my opinion are worth the price tag.

Since healing my gut, there are only a few supplements that I take religiously: a daily probiotic, HCL with protein-heavy meals, and my favorite: collagen peptides.


What are collagen peptides?


from the vital proteins website:

"Collagen peptides are short chain amino acids naturally derived from pasture-raised, grass-fed collagen protein. Unlike gelatin, these peptides are soluble in cold liquids as well as hot. Collagen peptides contain the same amino acids as gelatin which are identical to the protein found in skin, nails, hair, bones, cartilage, and joints. Gluten Free, rBGH Free, Non GMO.”

I decided to start using collagen peptides during a time when I was suffering from horrible acne, digestive problems, and hair loss. Needless to say, I became intrigued for vanity reasons but continue to use this product on a daily basis because I have noticed SO many improvements in my health.


What are collagen peptides useful for?


Hair/skin/nail health - Collagen supplementation has been proven to improve skin elasticity and rejuvenation. I believe that supplementing with collagen was one of the most important factors in healing my cystic acne. I have also personally noticed an improvement in how fast my hair and nails grow since starting to use it.

 

Bones/ joints - Did you know that 90% of our bone mass is collagen? Research has shown that in addition to vitamins and minerals(calcium, vitamin D, k2), collagen supplementation has been shown to stimulate bone formation. Collagen has also been proven as an effective treatment of osteoarthritis and joint pain. (source)

Gut health - the amino acid profile of collagen is similar to that of bone broth, and provides a healing and soothing effect on the digestive tract. It also contains glycine, an amino acid that improves nutrient assimilation and stomach acid production.

Metabolic function - High levels of tryptophan occur from primarily eating the ‘muscle meats’ of animals which is a common practice in our diets today. This can be problematic by causing the amino acid profile of our blood to contain increased cortisol - a stress hormone that interferes with healthy thyroid, hormone, and metabolic function. Collagen contains the amino acids cysteine, methionine and histidine which help to balance out the high levels of tryptophan - ultimately leading to improved metabolic function.

Protein - if you are someone who has a hard time digesting whole-food sources of protein, collagen peptides are an excellent source of bioavailable protein (18 grams per 2 scoop serving). I often recommend collagen as a replacement for other processed, sweetened protein powders.

Added bonus: collagen peptides are completely flavorless, so you can add them to any smoothie, cold/hot beverage, or soup! I personally love using them in my nightly banana soft serve - they give it an extra creamy texture :)

Recipe:

- 1/2 cup almond/ coconut milk (more if consistency is too thick)
- 1-2 frozen bananas
- 1-2 tbsp nut butter (optional)
- dash of salt
- 1/2 tsp vanila
- 1 cup ice
- Stevia/honey to taste (optional)

Blend in Vitamix or other high powered blender until “soft-serve” consistency

- add toppings: chocolate chips, fruit, nuts, whip cream

This is the brand of collagen peptides that I use and recommend:

Vital proteins - I love that they are transparent about their sourcing, and all of their products are from pasture-raised animals.

Want to turn your passion for nutrition into a business (you can run from anywhere?)

Collagen Peptides vs. Gelatin

Both options are great, in my opinion! Collagen peptides (blue container) dissolve easily into hot or cold drinks, making them a great option for smoothies, soups, baking, you name it!

Gelatin (green container) has all of the same properties as the peptides, but will gel if mixed into cold liquids - so this one is better for hot uses or making gummies :)

Do you use collagen? What improvements have you noticed?


Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I get a small amount of commission (at no additional cost to you!) if you use them to make a purchase. I appreciate your support!

How Your Digestion Is Causing: Depression & Anxiety (Rebelle Nutrition)

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In part 1 of this 3 part series, I talked about how digestion and poor food choices can contribute to autoimmune diseases and allergies. Part 2 will discuss the connection between digestion and mental health.

The connection between digestion/ poor food choices and mental health is very near and dear to my heart. Throughout my life I have struggled with both depression/anxiety as well as digestive issues, and only through improving my diet and optimizing my digestion was I able to realize how closely the two are connected.

First let’s look at the 5 neurotransmitters that are responsible for the emotions we feel including depression, anger, energy levels and problem resolution:

- GABA
- Serotonin
- Norepinephrine
- Endorphin
- Dopamine

Research shows that there is a direct correlation between the stores of these neurotransmitters in the body and our personal brain chemistry. Lack or imbalance can contribute to emotions like anger, depression, hyperactivity, memory loss, drug/alcohol cravings and bad moods.

How is digestion involved?

The levels of these neurotransmitters are directly effected by our nutritional choices; including intake of amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. This is where intake and absorption of high quality protein is essential. Sources like pasture raised eggs, grass-fed beef and wild caught fish are all great options.

If our diet is lacking in these things, OR we are not digesting the nutrients in our food properly, we are unable to produce the neurotransmitters and amino acids necessary for optimal mental health.

What about poor food choices?

In terms of nutritional choices, regularly consuming foods that you may have a sensitivity to can damage gut lining (as mentioned in Part 1). The difference here is that instead of an autoimmune reaction, ‘leaky gut’ will inhibit the production of the 5 neurotransmitters responsible for optimal mental health. It is important to note that sub-optimal digestion, or 'leaky gut' can manifest in a number of ways that will vary from person to person, whether this is a physical stomach ache (the most obvious), autoimmune conditions, mental health problems, or hormonal imbalances (all of which were my inspiration for writing this series of posts :) ).

For example, lets say you’re like me and sensitive to gluten. 2 years ago I traveled to Europe and you better believe I was going to eat some bread. Continuous exposures to gluten containing foods that you aren’t used to eating (hello baguettes) can cause the intestinal lining to become permeable (leaky gut). Although for me this didn’t result in any digestive discomfort, within a few days of traveling I began to feel waves of sadness and depression that I hadn’t experienced in years since changing my diet. This was a huge reminder for me that choosing more nutrient dense foods (meats, fruits, fish, vegetables, eggs, etc.) play a vital role in the management of my moods. I also find that when eating more gluten-containing foods I tend to lose weight, which (for me) is a big red flag that I am not absorbing proper amounts of amino acids from the foods I am eating.
***Sidenote: many people also find the opposite to be true, and will experience weight loss when food sensitivities are removed, and digestion is improved.

If you suffer from depression, anxiety, or any other mental health issues and are interested in seeing whether changing your diet makes an improvement, an elimination diet that removes gluten, dairy and added sugar (real or artificial) for at least 1 month is a good place to start. During this time it is also extremely important to ‘heal and seal’ the gut lining with things like bone broth, L- glutamine, aloe vera, slippery elm, and licorice. Make sure to include as many nutrient dense foods as possible including a wide variety of protein (amino acids!). Always focus on eating lots of organic produce, and be sure to increase essential fatty acids like avocado, coconut, olive oil and ghee. Finally, prioritize chewing extremely well so that a heavy burden is not placed on your digestive system.

Want more on how to eat real food?

It is important to note that i’m NOT saying that changing your diet will completely eliminate any mental health symptoms you may have. Eliminating gluten and increasing sources of nutrient dense foods was something that made huge changes for me personally, but everyone is different. Mental health problems are very complex and multi-faceted; contact your Doctor if you have questions concerning your mental health.

Stay tuned for Part 3 on hormones!

How Your Digestion is Causing: Autoimmune Disease

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3 Surprising Ways Your Digestive Problems ManifestMaking the connection between a stomach ache and eating something that doesn’t agree with you is fairly obvious.

But did you know that nearly every chronic health symptom can be linked back to the health of your digestion, including the foods you do and don’t eat? Some of these symptoms include:

  • Seasonal allergies
  • Food sensitivities
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Joint pain
  • Skin problems
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • and a whole lot more...

This series of blog posts will highlight a few of the common complaints I see frequently with my clients, and explain how dietary changes can often be the remedy.

      1. Autoimmune conditions/ Allergies

  First, let’s define what happens during an autoimmune condition, and which illnesses/symptoms are autoimmune in nature.

In simplistic terms, an autoimmune disease develops when your immune system views your healthy cells as foreign, and begins attacking them. Autoimmune diseases can affect one or more types of body tissue. There are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases including: 

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Lupus
  • Celiac disease
  • Psoriasis and Vitiligo
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  • Addison’s disease
  • Type 1 diabetes 

If none of these resonate with you, great! However, there are many symptoms of immune disfunction that are not quite a full-blown autoimmune disease, yet may still cause discomfort on a daily basis. These include:

  • Allergies
  • inflammation
  • progressive degeneration, joint pain

Do these sound more familiar? I often find that these 3 symptoms progressively get worse with age, and will often be blamed as a ‘part of getting older’.

I refuse to accept that excuse, so let’s go a little deeper into how the food you eat and condition of your digestive system can attribute to these symptoms. 

Intestinal permeability or ‘Leaky Gut’, essentially means that tiny particles of food are passed through the intestinal lining and into the blood stream without being digested. Leaky gut develops over time through repeated exposures of antibiotics, chronic stress, poor dietary habits, consumption of alcohol and use of aspirin and other NSAIDs.  This causes an “attack” of the healthy cells of the immune system and leads to the autoimmune diseases listed above.

The good news is, while certain allergies are inherited, most are a result of digestive problems and dietary stressors - meaning we have the power to improve them or eliminate them completely.

If you are suffering from season allergies, food sensitivities, inflammation or joint pain, a good place to start is an Elimination diet for at least 1 month. This would exclude:

  • Anything processed (cereals, crackers, cookies, breads, etc.)
  • Artificial sweeteners (sucralose, aspartame, etc.)
  • Gluten (the protein in grains like wheat, barley, rye, etc.)
  • Dairy (yogurt, milk, cheese, etc.)
  • Man-made oils (canola, vegetable, hydrogenated, etc.)

Want more info on eating real food? Sign up for my free 7 day course below!

Ok, back to gut healing.

During this time you will also want to focus on:

  • ‘healing and sealing’ the gut lining with things like bone broth (homeade is best, or I like this one),  L- glutamine, aloe vera juice (which actually helps the gut lining repair itself- SO cool!), slippery elm, and licorice. (For more digestion tips, go here!
  • If you suffer from a diagnosed autoimmune disease as I listed before, your plan of action will be a little bit more intensive, and also exclude things like eggs, chocolate, coffee, and nightshade vegetables (tomatoes potatoes, peppers, eggplant, paprika, mustard seeds, all chili’s including spices). 

This is not an exhaustive list, and for lots more information on the Autoimmune Protocol check out this website.

The AIP protocol is very restrictive, but if you have a diagnosed autoimmune condition I would definitely recommend following this plan to a T. 

The overall goal of an elimination diet is to allow the digestive tract to regenerate and heal so that you are able to tolerate more foods again without the recurrence of any symptoms.

Let me know if you have any questions about allergies/autoimmune conditions, and stay tuned for Part 2 on mental health!