20 August 2019
How can you have more energy?
by Sally Fallon
I learned a very interesting fact recently, one that can give us guidance on how to overcome the modern phenomenon of chronic fatigue: up to 30 percent of the body’s energy goes toward digesting our food. So the obvious first step in treating a condition of constant tiredness would be to consume food that is easy to digest.
The fact is that modern food processing makes our food more difficult to digest, and many modern food habits put a real burden on our poor old guts. With so much of your body’s energy going towards digestion, there is not much left over for doing all the things we want to do with our lives.
1. Raw dairy foods, not pasteurized: Raw milk contains enzymes that help us digest and assimilate everything in the milk—proteins, carbs, fats, vitamins and minerals.
2. Lacto-fermented foods: Truly raw sauerkraut, pickles and other lacto-fermented foods (including beverages like beet kvass, homemade gingerale and kombucha) provide your body with enzymes, beneficial bacteria and lactic acid—all of which are great aides to digestion. Be sure to read labels—you want lacto-fermented foods that are truly raw. Eat them every day as a condiment with cooked foods.
3. Proper preparation of grains: Grains (including nuts and legumes) are very difficult to digest. Herbivores that live on grains and grasses have complex stomachs with up to four chambers, at least one of which acts as a vessel where billions of beneficial bacteria actually ferment these foods. (These animals can’t really digest grains either, only bacteria can do that.) On the other hand, human stomachs, while widely varied in shape and size, are simple stomachs, not designed to do any fermenting.
4. Nourishing, gelatin-rich bone broths: For many reasons—some not completely understood—true bone broth (made from bones, not from an MSG-laden powder) is a true digestive aid. Anything will be more digestible when consumed with bone broth.
5. Eat plenty of salt. What? Aren’t we supposed to cut down on salt? Actually the average U.S. consumption of salt, about 1 ½ teaspoons per day, just barely satisfies our daily requirement for sodium. Many people need a lot more. Salt provides chloride for hydrochloric acid, needed to digest meat; and the sodium in salt activates enzymes we need for digesting carbs. Salt is essential for digestion! Fatigue is a well-known side effect of too little salt.
6. Cook those veggies! I’m from California and love my salads—but they are not for everyone. Raw vegetables (and fruits) are much harder to digest than cooked, and if you are suffering from fatigue, I’d stick with cooked vegetables for a while. Vegetables cooked as a soup, in a nourishing bone broth—are particularly good for just about everything that ails you, especially for fatigue.
Of course, there are many other factors that can contribute to fatigue—low thyroid function, adrenal exhaustion, hypoglycemia, anemia, vaccine damage and deficiencies of various nutrients like vitamins B12, A and D, to name a few, but eating foods that are easy to digest should always be a first step in combatting this modern debilitating condition.
~excerpted from Sally Fallon's article "Feeling Tired All the Time? Chronic Fatigue"