Last week I ordered a copy of Spent: End Exhaustion and Feel Great Again by Dr Frank Lipman. (This book is also published under the title Revive, and the Kindle version is here.) One thing I like to share on this site is my dealings with Chronic Fatigue and what I have been doing to try and cope with it, not because I like to indulge in over-sharing, but more because virtually EVERY woman I know at this point in time manifests some symptoms of chronic fatigue for various reasons. The causes of our afflictions are myriad, I am sure, but the means by which to cope and get better are going to be the same, so maybe my experiences will help someone like me. Similarly, Dr Lipman wrote this book because of treating so many exhausted people, and it crossed paths with me due to none other than Gwyneth Paltrow talking about it in her GOOP newsletter.
The interesting thing to me is that so far it espouses advice that I have found to be true through my own research and trial and error over the past few years. He recommends meditation and relaxing yoga, exercise in strict moderation, cutting out sugar and refined carbs, and encourages the use of greens powder and other supplements. All of this is exactly in line with what I know works for me. It is gratifying to have someone back me up, though, and it is really good to have all the facets of this multifrontal assault mapped out in clear no-nonsense language in one book.
Two things that Dr Lipman talks about in the book are new to me, though, and I am the sort of person that tries anything so I have already added them to my arsenal against fatigue. The first thing is that I am now taking Siberian Ginseng and Rhodiola herbal supplements along with my eleventy million other supplements because Dr Lipman recommends that we take adaptogenic herbs in order to help our bodies deal with the stresses of every day life. It’s too soon to tell if they have made a difference but it was a ten quid investment, so we’ll see.
The other thing I am doing now is that I am making fresh and super-healthy smoothies for breakfast every morning. In Spent, Dr Lipman says that if everyone were to make just one change from his suggestions, he would hope that it would be that they start their days with a smoothie. The idea is that smoothies are have a high nutrient density, so give you loads of good energy and vitamins, but they are easy to digest so your body can use that energy to go about your daily tasks, So I ordered a beefy 750W Bosch hand blender and having been trying this out for the past couple of days.
The smoothies work well with me because I am not a breakfast person and don’t generally like to eat until lunchtime. However, if I wait until I am hungry, I start reaching for crappy easy food, so the smoothies fill that food void without making me feel a bit yucky in the mornings and keep me satiated until well into the afternoon. For the past year I have been frequently having a scoop of greens powder mixed with soy milk as my impromptu breakfast shake anyway, so this just takes that idea to a healthier level.
My basic ingredients are a pot of yogurt, some soymilk, a tablespoon of virgin coconut oil, a scoop of greens powder, a scoop of whey protein, and a pot of actimel. Past that I go crazy and add whatever fruits and veg I fancy that day, and maybe some peanut butter or cocoa powder. I particularly like using half an avocado and some frozen banana as my base, as the whole thing ends up so thick and lovely and creamy like a milkshake. From there I add a few blueberries or some apple or pineapple, or really whatever looks good in the fridge/freezer. I always add a bit of fresh spinach, too, for extra greens power. Trust me, it doesn’t taste like a salad. Even the Man had some for breakfast this morning and he is virtually allergic to eating anything green.
The catch with smoothies is that you can’t just throw some fruit and yogurt together in a blender and call it healthy. Fruit is good for you, but it is loaded with sugar (particularly evil fructose) so like anything sweet you have to take it in moderation. To blunt the insulin spike that the sugars cause, you really have to add some fibre (greens) and protein. Otherwise, quite frankly, you might as well just have a milkshake, because you’ll just sugarbomb yourself and get fat and be hungry again by 11am. To be careful not to load up on sugar, here are some tips for making healthier smoothies. (With one caveat: don’t use agave nectar. Ever. It is chemically identical to high fructose corn syrup. I don’t need any sweetener in my smoothies, but if you must, use honey or maple syrup instead.)
If you aren’t the throw-stuff-in-a-pot-and-see type like myself, here are a couple of links to some Lipman smoothie recipes. I LOVE the greena colada one!