Challenges, Health, Living Free, My Story, Wholeness

My Favorite Ways to Boost Energy in 2018!

The beginning of a new year is a great time to make health changes, so let’s talk about one of the top issues Americans have with their health: Energy.

I struggled with chronic fatigue for years. It was very often debilitating & led to so many missed opportunities in my life — both personally & professionally.

I can’t tell you how many fun social events I missed because I could hardly get off the couch… how many times I had to cancel friend time because I felt bad… or how often I ignored a phone call (or text) because I was so tired. I have no idea how many “To Do’s” I haven’t checked off my list because I had no energy, sometimes to even lift a pencil, for hours at a time.

Chronic fatigue stole much from my life — jobs (I couldn’t keep up the demanding physical pace or sit at a computer for long hours at a time because it exhausted me further), pregnancies, happiness, better relationships, productivity, a clean house, & so much else.

It has, quite frankly, sucked. It’s been one of the hardest struggles of my life, and one many people around me haven’t understood. Because of this, it was also very isolating and challenging at times. People misjudge you when you struggle with chronic fatigue — thinking you’re lazy, dramatic, irresponsible with your health, or even that you’re making it up. There’s no way to change a closed mind, so don’t focus on naysayers. Some people may never understand because they lack the compassion & life experiences that those with a health condition face on a daily basis.

If you’re struggling with CFS, please know my heart goes out to you & I am here to pray for you!! Shoot me a message because I’ve been there. There are also MILLIONS of sufferers in America, so you aren’t alone at ALL. Everyone is just exhausted at home, so you don’t have much opportunity to meet each other unless you connect online 🙂

But I also want to offer you hope. If I could climb out of the intense pit of exhaustion, SO CAN YOU. Please believe! I prayed many, many, many times for my health. For God to heal me. For answers. For wisdom.

And guess what? The Lord started answering me… day by day, so slowly, He gave me insights into my health that weren’t always easy to hear but that have completely transformed my life.

I’m not saying I’m always perfectly energetic because if I slip into bad habits or forget to take good supplements, I notice a dip in my energy. But let’s just say I have occasional “bad days” now, instead of every single day being bad with almost non-existent “good days”. Praise the Lord!

If you’re dealing with fatigue, you likely have gut issues & nutrient deficiencies that make your body work hard to get by. You may also have a toxic system that needs healing through cleanses, avoiding toxins, & ingesting pure food & water.

Here are some things I’ve discovered that can transform your health — they’ve radically changed mine!

My Top Energy Supplements to Take:

  1. Dr. Mercola’s B12 spray — One of my favorite items on this list!! If you have MTHFR (a very common genetic abnormality affecting around 40% of the population), then getting the right kind of B-12 is key. B-12 is also known as the “Energy vitamin”! This is the easiest form to take it in, too (a spray that takes about 2 seconds of your morning & tastes great). I used to have to do at-home B vitamin shots 2-3 times a week, but this spray is much more convenient, cheaper & pain-free.
  2. CoQ10 — This is like crack for my energy! I LOVE IT. When I take it, I’m like zooming around my house on a mission, the way I used to be all through my younger years! If you’re over 30, some recommend you switch to the more easily absorbed Ubiquinol, but I haven’t made this switch yet & still feel amazing after taking CoQ10 so try what works for you 🙂
  3. Magnesium — This is the #1 mineral deficiency in this country. Our soil has been stripped of this VITAL mineral that affects 300+ important functions in your body. One of my favorite brands of magnesium is called “Natural Calm” because it causes your body to relax, sleep much better, & reduces muscle tension. It also essentially prevents my old migraines I used to get frequently (& that I still get from time-to-time when I forget to take it like 4-5 days in a row!). It gives me LOTS of energy, helped me deal with new mommy exhaustion :), & gives me a better attitude, too. I love magnesium! Make sure to take calcium & magnesium together (which I didn’t know at first) because they balance each other out in your body — unless you know you’re severely deficient in 1 & not the other. Magnesium helps you have a better child labor & delivery, too (wish I’d used that to my benefit with my daughter, lol!) & can do so much else. YOU NEED THIS. It’s NOT included in your multivitamin (or only a very small amount) because it impairs your body’s absorption of other vitamins, so you must take it separately. Do it!! Some people put magnesium oil on their skin if their gut is leaky or {my personal favorite!} take epsom salt baths (which are magnesium flakes} because your skin is a great absorber of this mineral 🙂 I do multiple methods — powder (easier to absorb for your gut), pills (just in case), & epsom salt baths. I also try to do green smoothies & salads fairly frequently because leafy greens are high in magnesium — this is what I give our daughter, too! She also LOVES my Natural Calm drink thankfully! 🙂
  4. Whole-food multivitamin — This goes without saying, but our food & soil is nowhere near what it used to be. Our bodies are also completely overwhelmed by fake, gender-bending chemicals, altered foods, pesticides, plastics & so much more. Your body’s demand for good nutrients to process & get rid of these toxins & also do its regular job of maintaining a happy, healthy body is HIGH in 21st Century America. You need a multi! If you’re a pregnant or nursing mom, your need is HUGE!!! I’ve personally noticed an enormous difference in my energy, the quality / quantity of my breast milk, recovery from childbirth, etc. from taking the right supplements. A multivitamin (especially whole foods based) is the healthiest, most readily absorbed, & easiest on your tummy way to get your daily nutrient needs. Don’t skip this.
  5. NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) — My favorite antioxidant!! When I take this, I feel amazing. I learned through research that glutathione is your body’s #1 detox pathway, & instead of taking glutathione (which tells your body to switch off making it, NO BUENO!), you take NAC — an amino acid — to support your body’s ability to make its own glutathione. Well, big words aside, it WORKS people! I didn’t take this as much when I was pregnant / nursing for obvious reasons (you don’t want to detox too hard & affect your baby), but prior to pregnancy, I took NAC almost daily! Read all their Amazon reviews: People swear by this stuff! It’s been a staple in my “supplement cabinet” for several years now & has been linked to increased fertility. Is it any wonder that, after struggling with fertility issues for nearly 3 YEARS, I became pregnant with a healthy baby girl (& had an overall great pregnancy!) in the months after I added NAC to my regimen! 🙂 YAY!
  6. Plexus products — First, I do not sell Plexus. The ONLY reason I don’t sell Plexus is because I don’t think people would believe me when I tell them to take it. Everyone suspects their friends & family members who hawk products at them constantly (& yes, it’s annoying lol), so I chose not to go this route. I want the people in my life to take Plexus’s incredible products because they have changed my life & the lives of other people I know. I started taking Plexus when TTC after noticing my friend who’d also struggled with fertility was around 7 months pregnant & I was like “Hmm…” Needless to say, I ordered Plexus soon after, & the very month I began taking Plexus products, I became pregnant! Coincidence? Hard to believe — we’d tried so many things for nearly 3 years. I also noticed I wasn’t so sensitive to caffeine & other things, which I’d had to avoid for many years because it made me so jittery. The Plexus products I love (in this order) are 1) Probio5 (It kills candida in your gut, which very few other probiotics on the market can claim! It’s my favorite probiotic I’ve ever tried & I’ve tried many), 2) Slim (stabilizes your blood sugar, curbs cravings amazingly fast — 1st day for my hubby & I!, makes you feel awesome & helps you lose weight), and 3) X-Factor (It doesn’t have all the nutrients you need, but it makes a great addition to your daily multi, & the added aloe in it helps your body much more readily absorb other nutrients! Love it! My hubby & I notice a boost in our energy ASAP when using it). That’s it. They have other amazing products, too, and EVERYTHING Plexus sells seems to be of the highest-quality with the best/cleanest sources, so I’m a big fan. I am linking here to my lovely friend Cindi’s Plexus shop because she is amazing and is the one who got me on it. Feel free to use your own loved one’s shop though.
  7. Iron — This sounds fairly obvious, as iron is what enables your red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout your body, but you likely need to supplement with iron as a woman. Men, on the other hand, have a much easier time meeting their body’s iron needs for obvious reasons — they don’t have a monthly cycle & they don’t lose tons of blood at childbirth. Unless you’ve been in a war & had serious bodily harm as a man, your iron needs are likely met through your regular diet, but for women, anemia is a serious concern. I struggled with anemia for years after taking an acne medication (Accutane) in high school (prior to that, I’d never had issues with my iron). My favorite sources of iron (besides grassfed steak) 🙂 are 1) desiccated liver pills & 2) Floradix! Both work amazingly fast. I love the liver pills, however, because they also provide A & B vitamins & because liver is incredible for you (also because I wouldn’t touch real liver with a 10 foot pole haha!), so this is a great alternative. Also, seriously just eat yourself some steak!! Leafy greens have a lot of iron, too, but a lot of them have an iron inhibitor in them (annoying huh?), so red meat is your best source food-wise.

Food & Lifestyle Changes

You didn’t think I’d address your health without talking about what you put in your body (& what you do with yours), right?! I know… we all just want the easiest route. I’ll be honest, the above supplements will help IMMENSELY, too, but when you make the following lifestyle changes in addition to supplementation, you will feel like a ROCKSTAR. Take it from a girl who’s walked the veryyyyyyyyyyyy long journey of recovery from CFS (& whose journey would’ve been infinitely shorter if I’d known these tips a decade ago!).

My cheat sheet to great energy SOON!

  1. Forgive people. If you’re hanging onto negative spiritual / emotional baggage, please believe you are weighing down your physical body, too. I personally went through Neil T. Anderson’s POWERFUL “Steps to Freedom in Christ” booklet in my early 20’s, and I’ve never felt more free or more full of peace & joy than that period of my life!! Neil T. Anderson also has an AMAZING book called The Bondage Breaker, which could help you uproot some other spiritual things that are weighing you down & causing blocks in your energy. I also recommend Dr. Henry Wright’s book A More Excellent Way: Spiritual Roots of Disease for some mind-blowing info on the connection between your spiritual state & your physical health. You can also try this simple activity: Pray & ask God to reveal who you need to forgive & then to give you the complete grace to 100% forgive them from your heart — then write down every single one. One-by-one, go through and pray out loud that you forgive these people for whatever they did to you (& how they affected you), then pray a blessing over them. That’s what Jesus said to do for our ‘enemies’, and the best part is praying for them often softens our hearts towards them & makes forgiveness possible. This is a hugely important step in the right direction towards feeling better in every part of your life!!
  2. Eat “alkaline”This is one of the single best tips on here. Your body’s pH is meant to be slightly alkaline, but many foods in our diet are acid-forming (like dairy, sugar, meat & grains). Alkaline-forming foods include a whole lot of vegetables & fruits (especially lemons & limes). It doesn’t mean you don’t eat acid-forming foods but that you balance out your eating & add more alkaline foods than acidic. When I started eating this way, I felt better almost immediately, regardless of following any specific food plan. Here’s a great chart to help you know the best foods to eat:

    Source: http://blog.envole.net/alkaline-food-for-energy/

  3. Go gluten-free. This is the #1 thing the Holy Spirit laid on my heart when I was in the worst of my physical exhaustion. I literally was laying on the couch, my pulse rate slowing, feeling like I was going to die because my heart rate & breathing was slowing down & asked Him “I’ll do anything! Show me what to do”. Before I completed that life-changing prayer, He answered: Gluten-free. That’s all He said {He’s a man of few words}. I did it and within several days, my husband told me it was like he had a new wife!! For all the reasons why gluten-free living is vital — especially if you struggle with chronic fatigue, leaky gut, & other digestive / autoimmune issues — read my long blog post here. Also, it’s so not hard, y’all! 🙂 I’ve been mostly GF since spring 2013, & my health has been on the upswing since then!!
  4. Eat organic! We do mostly organic. Game changer people! Organic food not only doesn’t have all the genetically-modified ingredients in it, but it ALSO doesn’t have the chemical pesticides sprayed to death on it or weird harvesting / processing food industry tricks that conventional food does. It also tastes better (for sure!) & is way higher in nutritional quality!!
  5. Quit eating out a lot — or if you do, go to places like Chipotle or other restaurants that are non-GMO or better yet, organic! 🙂 Your overwhelmed body will have the ability to purge toxins, absorb much-needed nutrients, & heal itself when you quit putting health triggers into it. When I did this, I noticed a HUGE change in my energy & well-being within a few weeks!! I continue to improve the more I eat at home & not weird restaurant food. [Mind you, there are many new restaurants popping up out there that are offering much healthier options! So look for some in your area!!] This doesn’t mean I never eat out at ALL, but it means our family preps a lot more of our food than we used to & we save a ton of money, too! Very nice indeed 🙂
  6. Drink daily green smoothies. — Throw lots of greens in there & foods like cucumber, celery, parsley, pears, green apples, lemon, etc. to improve your daily health. This is the easiest way to get your greens in every day, & it’s delicious!! My 1.5 year old daughter thinks green smoothies are a TREAT & sucks them down ASAP! It’s amazing. You can vary the ingredients & even throw in fun things like coconut oil / turmeric / ginger / garlic / cayenne / cinnamon / whatever health-buzzy ingredient everyone is talking about without having to take it plain. Yay!
  7. Apple cider vinegar (raw, unpasteurized, “with the Mother”) — Every day. This is the best, best, best thing I know to do for your gut daily!!!!! ACV kills candida (yeast overgrowth) in your digestive tract & cures a ton of ailments as a result. This will boost your energy, clear up your skin, absolutely kill so many of your cravings, balance out your digestion, even improve your mood & focus! If you look up ACV benefits, there are too many to count 🙂 Feel free to take yours straight (hardcore) or water it down… just take it!
  8. Progesterone cream (for women) — Most women are estrogen dominant in this country because we have so much estrogen in our food & water supply (also birth control, plastics, & chemicals mimic estrogen in your body!). Suffice it so say women are struggling with fertility issues & all kinds of other things because their body’s rather delicate progesterone-estrogen balance is out of whack. Applying NATURAL forms of progesterone cream can gently tip your body back into balance, & you’ll notice increased fertility, libido, glowing skin, etc. etc. etc. very rapidly after using it!! Even if you’re not trying to conceive right now ladies, when your hormones are unbalanced, your entire system isn’t functioning optimally, so please consider taking progesterone. Have your doctor test your levels (I did), & that was her #1 piece of advice to me: Take progesterone! Long story short, 1 month after I did this consistently we had a baby on the way 😀
  9. SLEEP! At the right times!! — This is so crucial to your overall health, mood, & hormonal balance that I can’t not talk about it. I’m a lifelong (until recent years) night owl, and I mean MAJOR night owl — so please keep that in mind. I can now successfully & energetically spring out of bed around 6:30am when I go to sleep by 10:30pm. Have you ever noticed when you go to bed past midnight that, even if you sleep 8+ hours, you feel groggy? I have. That’s because an all-important hormone purging happens between 11pm & 1am, and if you miss that beautiful window, you pay for it! Optimally, we should follow our ancestors & sync our bodies with the sunlight — heading to bed not too long after the sun goes down 🙂 In the modern world, technology & lighting can keep our bodies artifically stimulated for many hours past what’s best for us, so we can easily stay up past midnight (or later). Don’t fall into this trap. This was one of the final & most important pieces of my “energy puzzle” that I needed to do to turn my health around. Aim for bedtime within a few hours of sundown & find a rhythm that makes your body feel AMAZING! You’re worth it, your family is worth it, & the difference in your energy will amaze you. Ideally, if you’re sleeping between 10pm-6am, you’re on a very good, natural sleep plan. My husband & I are trying to stick to 10:30pm-6:30am, & I feel so energized when we do!! 😀
  10. Get sunshine daily (or often) — Vitamin D has been called a “hormone” more than a vitamin because you primarily get it from sunlight & it regulates sooo many other important functions in your body. This one is hard for me because I love being at home, reading & writing {nerd alert!}, but I have zero excuses: I live in the Sunshine State where the weather is amazing most of the year & sunlight is abundant! 🙂 Get outside daily, even for 10-15 minutes, & also consider taking a great Vitamin D supplement like this one from one of my favorite brands.
  11. Drink purified water — And no this doesn’t mean bottled water (which studies have found to be essentially tap water in many cases!). We got a Berkey water filter several years ago, which filters out FLUORIDE (so important!) as well as tons of other things. We’ve noticed we are MUCH less thirsty than we once were and our thirst feels more satisfied than it did pre-Berkey. This water filter is the cheapest, most widely-praised filter I found, and one great feature about it is it doesn’t rely on electricity but rather gravity!! This means if stuff were to hit the fan & a natural disaster / extended power outage / water shortage were to happen, your family would be in a unique position to filter your water, even from streams & other impure sources. The fluoride filters last for 6 months, and the carbon filters last several years, so the price is hard to beat. I love our Berkey & highly recommend it!
  12. DETOX / cleanse — I am a huge fan of cleanses, and January is an excellent time to begin this after the holidays when tons of people are doing the same 🙂 My favorite cleanses include this kidney/gallbladder cleanse, the Master Cleanse (which is a doozy, but excellent if you struggle with chemical addictions, high blood pressure, or clogged arteries), and of course this gentle colon cleanse {3 months of using whole organic psyllium husks 4x a day, while eating regularly}! I also LOVE The Whole Journey’s Candida Cleanse, which personally reset my health several years ago & is essential if you’ve struggled with carb, sugar, or alcohol cravings & all the other signs of yeast overgrowth (which is very common!). Please note these aren’t always the easiest cleanses, but you will feel fantastic!!!!!!!! And just remember, you can get through a few days or weeks of anything… even if your body’s cravings try to tell you otherwise. Food cravings are often due to chemical triggers or yeast overgrowth in our guts, unless you truly have a nutrient deficiency & you’re craving something good to satisfy that, so don’t let your body boss you around. This is hard. I’ve struggled for years with this, but the more I learned how an imbalanced gut & lifestyle can set us up to crave the wrong things, the easier it became mentally for me to fight through the sometimes unfun parts of detoxing… because I knew I was headed in the right direction. Fasting is also amazing for you. I used to do this regularly before I became pregnant & breastfed my daughter! I miss it & how amazing it makes me feel.
  13. Exercise 🙂 — Ahh, the tip most of us don’t want to hear. This may look different for each person — some like intense cardio workouts like running, swimming & spinning, while others prefer weight lifting, and others stick to low-key exercises like Pilates & walking. It doesn’t really matter, as long as you’re trying to incorporate a variety of exercises into your life & sweating. Sweating is one of our body’s primary ways to detox, so it’s great for you & makes you feel so much better. With chronic fatigue sufferers, however, you have to be very careful not to overexert yourself during your recovery period, so start slowly & if it doesn’t feel right, stop. With CFS, I recommend things like Pilates, stretching, taking walks & lifting light weights in the beginning. Work your way up to cardio workouts or skip them altogether & stick to exercises like HIIT (a full-body workout with only brief periods of cardio) or ones that calm your body while gently challenging it. Exercise oxygenates your whole body, so it’s important to get some if you have fatigue, but don’t kill yourself — it can cause more damage when you’re healing. I love Pilates because it’s gentle, well-rounded, & makes you focus on deep breathing while challenging your body in very effective ways!

Okay, y’all. Those are my health tips to get your 2018 going in the right direction! I hope these help you. Blessings to all! 🙂
~Summer

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