Friday, December 7, 2012

Fighting Fatigue Naturally: Food

Watch what goes into the body

Staying away from our arch enemy refined sugar and grains is always on the hit list around here, but winter is certainly a critical time to stick to it. Decreasing or best eliminating foods that your body turns to sugar and then lazy making fat is my 1st line of defense (bread, pasta, rice to start).

Increasing good fats gives me so much more energy than anything else out there all year round. I crave avocado like crazy when I'm deprived of energy (it's the temptation to eat it with a huge bag of chips that takes me out). My good fat go to list is: coconut oil, olive oil, butter, salmon, avocado (any form) and even though it tastes like death... cod liver oil. I have a real hard time with cod liver oil but if it means not feeling like a hermit all winter, maybe I can suck it up or maybe I'll keep looking on that last one.

Going green has a whole new meaning

Speaking of the green goodness of avocado, the fact is that the deeper the green the greater the energy. We eat a fair bit of soup in the winter and so the addition of kale or swiss chard can be very helpful. Something new I want to get in on is a daily cup of nettle infusion.  
"A daily cup of nettle infusion increases energy without wiring your nerves. Nettle strengthens the adrenals, allowing you to tolerate more stress with less harm. And it nourishes your immune system, too. To make it: Put one ounce of dried nettle leaf in a quart jar. Fill to the top with boiling water. Cap tightly and steep at least four hours (overnight is fine). Strain and drink. Refrigerate the remainder and consume within 36 hours." (click here for source)
Well I tries this for a few days in a a row and I must say I was like an energizer bunny. I had to slow myself down those days. I'll try it again soon to test it out, but my stash will run out fast. If this truly gives me a kick in the butt I might wanna save it up for the days I REALLY need it.


Low Iron makes me very sleepy

Having suffered from low iron levels in the past (mostly when pregnant), I know how tired I can get from that. Add to it low potassium or iodine and yikes! So it looks like a rice free version of an Asian diet might be a on the menu this winter. I used to eat sushi for my nori fix, but the rice & lack of availability up here sends me looking for other ideas. I might just deep fry it in coconut oil and top my suppers or salads.
"Celery, cabbage, seaweeds, nettle infusion, and red clover infusion are excellent sources of potassium. Molasses, chocolate, seaweeds, nettle infusion, and dandelion leaves are all superb sources of iron. For iodine, seaweed shines, but sea salt, mushrooms, and greens grown in gardens fertilized with seaweed also supply significant amounts." (click here for source)
An old standby for increasing my iron is grass fed beef liver. Here's my recipe. A far stretch from the liver & onions of my youth (though I liked that as well so long as it was covered in A1 Sauce). Now if liver really isn't your thing you might want to check out your local health food store and pick up some Floravit. It's a liquid iron supplement that actually tastes good. In the meantime I will keep looking for more yummy recipes to help battle these winter greys, so keep posted.

Beef Liver and Onions 

with mushrooms and bacon


small amount (2 servings) grass fed beef liver
1 yellow onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 mushrooms, sliced
6 slices bacon, sliced (watch for nitrates, they are bad for you)
coconut flour (enough for coating)
arrowroot powder (maybe a tsp or so)
thyme (to your taste, but I like a lot 1 tbsp)
salt and pepper to taste
kale or other dark leafy green for serving with it


Cook bacon with sliced mushrooms, onions and garlic. Slice up the liver into strips, coat it with coconut flour seasoned with salt, pepper and thyme (if you have a bit of arrowroot powder great because then you get a bit of "gravy" with the pan drippings). Remove bacon mixture from pan and set aside.

Add a bit more coconut oil to the pan and cook the liver (not to death or it gets too tough). Gently brown it on all sides (a couple minutes). Return the bacon, onion & mushroom mixture to the pan and loosen up the pan bits with a bit of water (about 1/4 cup for a small liver amount). Sometimes I add a bit more thyme to amp up the flavor (I love mushrooms with thyme).

Let it cook for a couple minutes longer with the lid on. I serve it over baby kale or add kale to the last cooking stage to wilt it up a bit. Add there you go. Enough iron to get you through the month. Only something I make a few times a year, but it's so good (when done right). No A1 sauce needed here!