Fatigue, or lack of energy, is now the primary reason for people visiting doctors in the Western World. It is essential for the human body, for it to grow and develop, to be broken down to a degree. This has always been important since it is the only way that we can become stronger; however true fatigue as we are coming to know it in the 21st Century is debilitating and destructive to the human race.

Statistics currently show that 50% of adults seeking medical treatments complain of fatigue. In addition to this:

- 20% of people claim that their fatigue is currently intense enough to affect their control in every day life.
- 20% of fatal road accidents involve fatigue.
- 30% of single car road accidents involve fatigue.

Due to this alarming increase in the number of people suffering from fatigue, as a whole, consumption of stimulants is experiencing a wild increase too. Caffeine is now the most abused substance in the world today, obviously by adults but alarmingly 77% of children over the age of just 6 months also regularly drink coffee – Imagine what the figures must be for adults! However, coffee is not the only culprit – we also have unprecedented consumption levels of fizzy soft drinks, sports “energy” drinks, “energy” bars, caffeine pills, just to name a few. All of these aforementioned are ladened with vast quantities of sugar, caffeine and other stimulants, all harmful to the body in the quantities currently being consumed by the public, and most certainly not the cure for the modern problem of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Now, it’s obvious that fatigue is just an imbalance in energy – Too much going out and not enough coming in – It’s relatively simple!

But, the paradox to this situation is that our society is actually doing less and less in our much modernised world. The typical routine for most of our population might be as follows: Hitting the snooze button at 06:00am for “just another ten minutes” before the day begins. Hitting the snooze button again! Finally rolling out of bed at 06:30 and stumbling downstairs, making a cup of coffee (not organic), a quick shower, rushing to put some clothes on and running down the road to make the early train to work. Picking up some fast food to keep your grumbling stomach at bay into the mid morning when the first coffee starts to wear off, so you have another, followed by a can of Coke… And this sets the trend for the rest of the day! The rest of the day is spent sitting at a desk, or on the train home, and then in front of the TV before going to bed.

Yes of course, there is the occasional bit of effort during this day, and certainly lots of rushing around, but compare this daily routine (or other similar routines) to that of the Australian Aborigine’s who would spend their days hunting, tracking and food gathering, often travelling many miles on foot, setting up campsites along the way, while the women were mostly responsible for the harvesting and gathering of smaller foods. Indeed for both male and female Aborigine this was an extremely active and I am sure a tiring lifestyle to live.

Now I think I can guess what you are thinking - I am very much aware that we should not be going out to hunt for our food – that is now called a job to earn money and a ‘supermarket’ or local farmer to spend your money with! However the point I am trying to highlight is that our modern society is not chronically tired because they do too much in their days, they are tired because they are not nourishing themselves adequately.

In this article I am not going to talk about energy expenditure in everyday life, but primarily incoming energy. Most of which comes through your nutrition. This becomes fairly obvious whenever you look at any processed food package in that food is measured in calories, or more specifically kilocalories which, to those in the know, is a scientific term for energy.

I could finish this article here by saying you should just eat more to gain more kilocalories and energy, but that is not the case. Each and every person is different, and therefore has different nutritional needs. Some diets will take energy from people, give energy to others, and have no effect on the energy, and the health, of a third person. So which diet is right for you? Let’s go back to our primitive societies to answer this question since not only are our lifestyles very different; but so is the nutritional value of the diets that we and our ancestors ate.

I am going to separate my nutritional solution to fatigue into three categories and tackle them one at a time: Quality, Quantity, and Mindfulness.

First, quality. Quality is key when it comes to nutrition, and although this can be made into a very long topic, one simple rule should be followed. “If it wasn’t here 1,000 years ago, DON’T EAT IT!” This means avoiding all processed foods, foods in packaging that have long shelf lives, and foods that do not agree with us. Typically these can be broken down to the four white devils - white wheat flour; white sugar; white processed table salt; and white pasteurised dairy.

To explain the reasoning and science behind eliminating these non-foods from your diet is beyond the scope of this article, however in the early to mid 1900’s, Dr Weston A Price travelled the globe extensively finding the healthiest primitive races he could find, and none of the healthy individuals ate these foods, and the ones that did had a rapid degeneration in their health. This book is called ‘Nutrition and Physical Degeneration’ and describes food quality in fantastic detail. To conclude on quality in this article I will suggest that we eat as organic a diet as our budget will afford, and cook our food minimally to preserve its energy thus we are not eating, nutritionally-dead food.

Secondly, quantity. The above factor of quality seems very obvious to people, and many people are doing this in their lives and taking into consideration the wisdom that kept primal tribes healthy. However it is quantity that people seem to miss out on. Metabolic Typing is an individualised plan that pre-determines what ratios of macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates and fats) you would function most optimally on. For example, (back to our old primal ancestors again!), an Eskimo would be an extreme on the scale and would be called a Protein Type due to their very liberal usage of fish, organ meats, and blubber, and their lack of fresh fruits and vegetables available. Whereas the other extreme would be a South American Indian who would eat fruits, vegetables and grains as the largest part of their diet. And what if you are neither of these extremes? Then your ratios will operate on a sliding scale between these to find out what your own nutritional needs are. The way to find out what your Metabolic Type is, is by visiting a Metabolic Typing Advisor or a Holistic Lifestyle Coach for testing. Or alternatively, think back to what your family would have eaten 3 or 4 generations ago and try emulating this. You will be surprised at what effect it will have on your energy and sustaining it throughout the day!

And last, but by no means least, is your mindfulness with your nutrition. If we go back to our modern day man who rushes through the day, eats on the go, drinks substances that no doubt disagree with him, we are likely to establish a few things. By eating foods that do not agree with him, by eating quickly and not taking time out to chew foods, he is putting a lot of pressure on his body to work harder than it needs to.

The digestive system requires 90% of your body’s available resources when it is digesting your foods after you have eaten, so if you are rushing around after eating, of course your energy levels are going to be severely compromised. Also, to add to this, chewing your food adequately (until it is liquid) before you swallow is the first part of digestion and can also make your digestive system much more relaxed by chewing more, rather than the national average of just 4 bites before swallowing! So, become mindful with your meals, and slow down.

These three elements of nutritional advice are crucial to increasing your body’s energy levels. As a Holistic Lifestyle Coach, I see all too often that once a person has more energy, then other lifestyle habits can be modified to gain greater results and work can now begin on conditioning the body and building energy from the ground up.

Author's Bio: 

Brett Sanders is a CHEK qualified Holistic Lifestyle Coach and Exercise Coach and practises his principles of lifestyle management and stress relief through nutrition, condition and tuition.