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10 Warning Signs Your Diet Is Making You Cranky As Hell

10 Warning Signs Your Diet Is Making You Cranky As Hell

You wonder what the hell is wrong with you.

Why are you so cranky?

You don’t want to be short-tempered and downright mean.

But sometimes your fuse is short, really short, and you don’t know what to do.

You don’t want to go the Prozac route. And you wonder if murkier problems could be looming.  Your doctor would laugh in your face—since when is crankiness a disease?

You aren’t doomed to a lifetime of grumpiness.

You get to be a detective, and you will learn to read your body’s clues.

And the best part is you can change without taking drugs.

Read the following signs.  They are red flags from your body, highlighting where your diet is messing up your mood.

Ready? Let’s dive in.

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Don’t ignore these clues.

Everyone knows that diets affect waistlines.  There is much more to the story — your mind affects your digestion, which then causes changes in your mood.

This isn’t a new concept.  Alternative medicines like TCM and Ayurveda diagnose diseases by observing your tongue, nails, hair and pulse. A physical sign like peeling fingernails can indicate a nutritional deficiency — which can make you glum.

Because the sources of a bad mood are much harder to pinpoint, we often forget the mind-body connection.

Here are ten ways to recognize and act on the red flags your body throws to get you to pay attention:

1.  Your skin looks like crap.

Blemishes come from inflammation because your immune system fires up against outside attackers.  Often imbalances in hormones, like excess estrogen, cause inflammation.  And this also will make you angry as hell.   And yes, your diet can cause hormonal imbalances.

2.  Your fingernails peel and crack.

What’s up with your crappy nails?  In Ayurveda, dry, cracking nails are a sign of improper absorption of nutrients in the colon.  Your nails need the right nutritional balance to grow strong.  When you lack essential nutrients, you’ll also feel short tempered or glum.

3. When you get hungry, you want to kill someone.

Do you turn into a hangry (hungry + angry) maniac before you eat?  This is a sign that you are eating quick-burning sugars, or you aren’t eating regularly.  If you feel hangry often, take a look at your diet.  Are you scarfing down processed foods like pastries or candy?  Even  so-called “healthy” foods like bagels cause blood sugar slumps and a monster mood.  Nibble on a mix of whole grains, healthy fats, and proteins at regular intervals.

4. You crave sweet or salty foods.  A lot.

If you often crave certain foods, especially concentrated sources of a certain taste, like salty or sweet, you may have a deficiency in your diet.  And you will feel cranky as hell if you don’t get the nutrients you need.

5.  You catch colds easily.

Do you catch colds more often than you should?  Your diet is not fortifying your immune system.  So you are weak and run down.  No wonder you get cranky.  Certain foods, especially mushrooms and cruciferous vegetables, improve our immune system.

6. You enter a food coma after eating.

You feel sleepy, sluggish and achy a lot.  Finishing a meal, you enter a food coma.  Junk food makes you feel like crap — both physically and mentally.   A crappy diet can overwhelm your body and your mind. If junk foods aren’t the culprit, you are overeating, or you have food allergies.

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7. Sh** – you gotta run to the toilet again.

And you have those pesky pains in your tummy.  Did you know that the same neurotransmitter, serotonin, lives both in our GI tracts and in our brains?  Ninety percent live in our tummies.  Imagine you suddenly get tummy troubles like pain and bloating.  At the same time, you feel lethargic and blue.  Your tummy troubles affect your happiness hormone levels and make you feel glum.

If your GI tract is acting crazy, it is probably inflamed.  In ground-breaking recent news, depression and inflammation were linked. Try to decrease inflammation with your diet to boost your mood.  It’s not as hard as you’d think.

8. There’s a bizarre white coating on your tongue.

Open up and say, “Aaaah.”  Is your tongue covered with a fuzzy coating? (Stop and look in a mirror.)   In Eastern medicines, a fuzzy coating is a sign of buildup, aka sludge in your GI tract.  The sludge forms when food isn’t digested or assimilated.  Your GI tract should run like a fine-tuned engine.  And food powers your body. Studies link leaky guts with depression and anxiety.  Changes in your gut bacteria exacerbate depression.

9. You frequently morph from the energizer bunny to a lazy dwarf.

When you eat processed carbs or sugar, the high you experience results from a “sugar” in your bloodstream rush.   Your pancreas secretes insulin in massive quantities to regulate your blood sugar.   The low comes when your blood sugar drops a couple hours later.  High levels of insulin can cause depression and moodiness.

And there’s more….

People with diabetes have double the risk of depression.  Insulin resistance develops after insulin has been high for a prolonged period.  Insulin resistance is associated with depression.

10.  You poop like an old man.

Most people think constipation is for the elderly.  But did you know that constipation often coexists with depression?  Do you have at least one bowel movement per day?  High stress, anxiety, and depression are all linked to constipation.  Why?  The “fight or flight” response diverts blood away from the GI tract to the periphery.  Our bodies think they may need to run from a lion or a falling tree.  Digestion and elimination slow down.  Chronic stress affects both your bowels and your mood.

Do you recognize more than two of these ten signs?

What now?  You need to make changes.

It’s remarkably easy.  And you won’t have to become a sprout-eating hippie.

How To Tweak Your Diet To Improve Your Mood

Eat More Of The Following To Banish Inflammation

Have you heard the hype about Omega-3 Fatty Acids?  Omega-3s combat inflammation and lower rates of depression, anxiety, and stress.  You can find Omega 3s in walnuts, flax, chia and oily fish like salmon.

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Choose grass-fed milk and meat because they are high in Omega-3 Fatty Acids.

Turmeric is one of nature’s powerful anti-inflammatories.  It combats inflammation better than many drugs.  Take 1/2 teaspoon of the powder two times per day.

Try this anti-inflammatory ginger tea:  Boil 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger with three cups of water, turn off heat, filter and drink throughout the day.

Eat To Boost Your Energy (Even If You Are Lazy)

Simplify your meals to include vegetables, whole grains and high-quality protein. Examples are sautéed vegetables, brown rice with wild salmon, or tempeh.

Add variety to your diet by eating grains like oats, quinoa, brown rice and whole wheat.

Choose fruits, especially berries, to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Stop wasting your money on fast foods.  And watch your medical bills decrease.

Listen to your body.   When you get diarrhea or stomach aches after eating, eliminate the culprits.  Raw carrots, eggplants, peppers, dairy or wheat are common culprits.

Eat More Veggies and Spices To Boost Your Happiness

Choose plant-based proteins.  When you have the choice, go for the hummus and veggies over a steak. Eating less meat and more fruits and vegetables is even proven to improve moods.   This recent study found that vegans have lower levels of stress and anxiety than omnivores and vegetarians.

Eat veggies at least three times per week. This study found that eating vegetables three times per week cut the odds of developing depression by 60%. You can definitely eat vegetables three times per week.

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Spice up your diet to spice up your mood. Cloves, oregano, cinnamon, and nutmeg increase levels of serotonin, the happiness and well-being neurotransmitter. Those mood-boosting compounds are also found in apples, berries, grapes, kale, onions, and green tea.

Cut out hormonal disruptors.  Environmental chemicals such as BPA in the food supply mimic your hormones. BPA is used in the linings of many food products, including canned goods.

Don’t take my word for it.

You aren’t doomed to a lifetime of gloominess.  You can become happier, healthier and even fitter.  Start with a simple step like eating a salad with your lunch every day.  You don’t have to become a vegan to feel happier.

All this information is worthless if you stare at your navel and wish you were different.  So don’t be lazy.

Long-term changes that boost your health will make you happier.

Start to observe yourself, and be your own detective and health advocate.

We all deserve to be happy and healthy. But you must take an active role in your happiness.

You know it’s true.

When you are happier and healthier, you make the world a better place.

Start with one simple change.  How about oatmeal for breakfast?

Again, make the world a happier place, just one bite at a time.

Featured photo credit: http://picjumbo.com via picjumbo.com

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

Feeling tired all the time?

Have you ever caught yourself nodding off when you’re watching TV, listening to someone drone on during a meeting or even driving a car?

I know I have, especially when I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive.

Feeling tired all the time may be more widespread than you think. In fact, two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week.[1]

If you’re tired of feeling tired, then I’ve got some great news for you. New research is helping us gain critical insights into the underlying causes of feeling tired all the time.

In this article, we’ll discuss the latest reasons why you’re feeling tired all the time and practical steps you can take to finally get to the bottom of your fatigue and feel rested.

What Happens When You’re Too Tired

If you sleep just two hours less than the normal eight hours, you could be as impaired as someone who has consumed up to three beers.[2] And you’ve probably experienced the impact yourself.

Here are some common examples of what happens when you’re feeling tired:[3]

  • You may have trouble focusing because memory and learning functions may be impaired within your brain.
  • You may experience mood swings and an inability to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not because your brain’s neurotransmitters are misfiring.
  • You may get dark circles under your eyes and/or your skin make look dull and lackluster in the short term and over time your skin may get wrinkles and show signs of aging because your body didn’t have time to remove toxins during sleep.
  • You may find it more difficult to exercise or to perform any type of athletic activity.
  • Your immune system may weaken causing you to pick up infections more easily.
  • You may overeat because not getting enough sleep activates the body’s endocannabinoids even when you’re not hungry.
  • Your metabolism slows down so what you eat is more likely to be stored as belly fat.

Are you saying that feeling tired can make me overweight?

Unfortunately, yes!

Feeling tired all the time can cause you to put on the pounds especially around your waist. But it is a classic chicken and egg situation, too.

Heavier people are more likely to feel fatigued during the day than lighter ones. And that’s even true for overweight people who don’t have sleep apnea (source: National Institutes of Health).

Speaking of sleep apnea, you may be wondering if that or something else is causing you to feel tired all the time.

Why Are you Feeling Tired All the Time?

Leading experts are starting to recognize that there are three primary reasons people feel tired on a regular basis: sleep deprivation, fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

Here’s a quick overview of each root cause of feeling tired all of the time:

  1. Tiredness occurs from sleep deprivation when you don’t get high-quality sleep consistently. It typically can be solved by changing your routine and getting enough deep restorative sleep.
  2. Fatigue occurs from prolonged sleeplessness which could be triggered by numerous issues such as mental health issues, long-term illness, fibromyalgia, obesity, sleep apnea or stress. It typically can be improved by changing your lifestyle and using sleep aids or treatments, if recommended by your physician.
  3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a medical condition also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis that occurs from persistent exhaustion that doesn’t go away with sleep.

The exact cause of CFS is not known, but it may be due to problems with the immune system, a bacterial infection, a hormone imbalance or emotional trauma.

It typically involves working with a doctor to rule out other illnesses before diagnosing and treating CFS.[4]

Always consult a physician to get a personal diagnosis about why you are feeling tired, especially if it is a severe condition.

Feeling Tired vs Being Fatigued

If lack of quality sleep doesn’t seem to be the root cause for you, then it’s time to explore fatigue as the reason you are frequently feeling tired.

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Until recently, tiredness and fatigue were thought to be interchangeable. Leading experts now realize that tiredness and fatigue are different.

Tiredness is primarily about lack of sleep.

But fatigue is a perceived feeling of being tired that is much more likely to occur in people who have depression, anxiety or emotional stress and/or are overweight and physically inactive (source: Science Direct).

Symptoms of fatigue include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Low stamina
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Low motivation

These symptoms may sound similar to those of tiredness but they usually last longer and are more intense.

Unfortunately, there is no definitive reason why fatigue occurs because it can be a symptom of an emotional or physical illness. But there are still a number of steps you can take to reduce difficult symptoms by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

How Much Sleep Is Enough?

The number one reason you may feel tired is because of sleep deprivation which means you are not getting enough high-quality sleep.

Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of high-quality, uninterrupted sleep per night. If you’re sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.

So, quantity and quality do matter when it comes to sleep.

The key to quality sleep is being able to get long, uninterrupted sleep cycles throughout the night. It typically takes 90 minutes for you to reach a state of deep REM sleep where your body’s healing crew goes to work.

Ideally, you want to get at least 3 to 4 deep REM sleep cycles in per night. That’s why it’s so important to stay asleep for 7 or more hours.

Research also shows that people who think they can get by on less sleep don’t perform as well as people who get at least seven hours of sleep a night[5] So, you should definitely plan on getting seven hours of deep restorative sleep every night.

If you are not getting 7 hours of high-quality sleep regularly, then sleep deprivation is most likely reason you feel tired all the time.

And that is good news because sleep deprivation is much simpler and easier to address than the other root causes.

It’s also a good idea to rule out sleep deprivation as the reason why you are tired before moving on to the other possibilities such as fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which may require a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

4 Simple Changes to Reduce Fatigue

Personally, I’m a big believer in upgrading your lifestyle to uplift your life. I overcame chronic stress and exhaustion by making these four changes to my lifestyle:

  1. Eating healthy, home-cooked meals versus microwaving processed foods or eating out
  2. Exercising regularly
  3. Using stressbusters
  4. Creating a bedtime routine to sleep better

So, I know it is possible to change your lifestyle even when you’re working crazy hours and have lots of family responsibilities.

After I made the 4 simple changes in my lifestyle, I no longer felt exhausted all of the time.

In addition, I lost two inches off my waist and looked and felt better than ever.

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I was so excited that I wanted to help others replace stress and exhaustion with rest and well-being, too. That’s why I became a Certified Holistic Wellness Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.

Interestingly enough, I discovered that Dr. Sears recommends a somewhat similar L.E.A.N. lifestyle:

  • L is for Lifestyle and means living healthy including getting enough sleep.
  • E is for Exercise and means getting at least 20 minutes of exercise a day ideally for six days a week.
  • A is for Attitude and means thinking positive and reducing stress whenever possible.
  • N is for Nutrition and means emphasizing a right-fat diet, not a low-fat diet.

The L.E.A.N. lifestyle is a scientifically-proven way to reduce fatigue, get to the optimal weight and to achieve overall wellness.[6]

And yes, there does seem to be an important correlation between being lean and feeling rested.

But overall based on my personal experience and Dr. Sear’s scientific proof, the key to not feeling tired all of the time does seem to be 4 simple changes to your lifestyle.

L — Living Healthy

Getting enough high-quality sleep every day is the surefire way to help you feel less fatigued, more rested and better overall.

So, whether you’re sleep deprived or potentially suffering from fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, you probably want to find a way to sleep better.

In fact, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body isn’t getting the time it needs to repair itself; meaning that if you are suffering from an illness, it’s far more likely to linger.

As unlikely as it sounds, though, fatigue can sometimes make it difficult to sleep. That’s why I’d recommend taking a look at your bedtime routine before you go to bed and optimize it based on sleep best practices.

Here are 3 quick and easy tips for creating a pro-sleep bedtime routine:

1. Unplug

Many of us try to unwind by watching TV or doing something on an iPhone or tablet. But tech can affect your melatonin production due to the blue light that they emit, fooling your body into thinking it’s still daytime.

So turn off all tech one hour before bed and create a tech-free zone in your bedroom.

2. Unwind

Do something to relax.

Use the time before bed to do something you find relaxing such as reading a book, listening to soothing music, meditating or taking an Epsom salt bath.

3. Get Comfortable

Ensure your bed is comfortable and your room is set up for sleep.

Make sure you room is cool. 60-68 degrees is the ideal temperature for most people to sleep.

Also, it’s ideal if your bedroom is dark and there is no noise.

Finally, make sure everything is handled (e.g., laying out tomorrow’s clothes) before you get into your nice, comfy bed.

If your mind is still active, write a to-do list to help you fall asleep faster.[7]

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Above all, be gentle with yourself and count your blessings, some sheep or whatever helps.

This article also offers practical tips to build a bedtime routine: How to Build a Good Bedtime Routine That Makes Your Morning Easier

E — Exercise

Many people know that exercise is good for them, but just can’t figure out how to fit it into their busy schedules.

That’s what happened in my case.

But when my chronic stress and exhaustion turned into systemic inflammation (which can lead to major diseases like Alzheimer’s), I realized it was time to change my lifestyle.

As part of my lifestyle upgrade, I knew I needed to move more.

My friends who exercise all gave me the same advice: find an exercise you like to do and find a specific time in your schedule when you can consistently do it.

That made sense to me.

So, I decided to swim.

I used to love to swim when I was young, but I hadn’t done it for years. The best time for me to do it was immediately after work, since I could easily get an open swim lane at my local fitness club then.

Also, swimming became a nice reason for me to leave work on time. And I got to enjoy a nice workout before eating dinner.

Swimming is a good way to get your cardio or endurance training. But, walking, running and dancing are nice alternatives.

So find an exercise you love and stick to it. Ideally, get a combination of endurance training, strength training and flexibility training in during your daily 20-minute workout.

If you haven’t exercised in a while and have a lot of stress in your life, you may want to give yoga a try because you will increase your flexibility and lower your stress.

A — Attitude

Stress may be a major reason why you aren’t feeling well all of the time. At least that was the case with me.

When I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive, I felt chronically stressed and exhausted. But there was one thing that always worked to help me feel calmer and less fatigued.

Do you want to know what that master stress-busting technique was?

Breathing.

But not just any old breathing. It was a special form of deep Yogic breathing called the “Long-Exhale Breathing” or “4-7-8 breathing” or “Pranayama” in Sanskrit).

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Here’s how you do “Long-Exhale Breathing”:

  1. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your hand on your tummy (so you know you are breathing deeply from your diaphragm and not shallowly from your chest)
  2. Breathe in deeply and slowly from your diaphragm with your mouth closed while you count to 4 (ideally until your stomach feels full of air)
  3. Hold your breath while you count to 7 mentally and enjoy the stillness
  4. Breathe out through your mouth with a “ha” sound while you count to 8 (or until your stomach has no more air in it)
  5. Pause after you finish your exhale while you notice the sense of wholeness and relaxation from completing one conscious, deep, long exhale breath
  6. Repeat 3 times ensuring your exhale is longer than your inhale so you relax your nervous system

This type of “long-exhale breathing” is scientifically proven to reduce stress.

When your exhale is twice as long as your inhale, it soothes your parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the relaxation response.[8]

Plus, this is a great technique for helping you get to sleep, too.

N — Nutrition

Diet is vital for beating fatigue – after all, food is your main source of energy.

If your diet is poor, then it implies you’re not getting the nutrients you need to sustain healthy energy levels.

Eating a diet for fatigue doesn’t need to be complicated, time-consuming though.

For most people, it’s just a case of swapping a few unhealthy foods for a few healthier ones, like switching from low-fiber, processed foods to whole, high-fiber foods.

Unless your current diet is solely made up of fast food and ready meals, adjusting to a fatigue-fighting diet shouldn’t be too much of a shock to the system.

Here’re 9 simple diet swaps you can make today:

  1. Replace your morning coffee with Matcha green tea and drink only herbal tea within six hours of bedtime.
  2. Add a healthy fat or protein to your any carb you eat, especially if you eat before bed. Please note that carb-only snacks lead to blood-sugar crashes that can make you eat more and they can keep you from sleeping.
  3. Fill up with fiber especially green leafy vegetables. Strive to get at least 25g per day with at least 5 servings (a serving is the size of your fist) of green vegetables.
  4. Replace refined, processed, low-fiber pastas and grains with zucchini noodles and whole grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum, oats, amaranth, millet, teff, brown rice and corn.
  5. Swap natural sweeteners for refined sugars and try to ensure you don’t get more than 25g of sugar a day if you are a woman and 30g of sugar a day if you are a man.
  6. Replace ice cream with low-sugar alternatives such as So Delicious Dairy-Free Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream.
  7. Swap omega-6, partially-hydrogenated oils such as corn, palm, sunflower, safflower, cotton, canola and soybean oil for omega-3 oils such as flax, olive and nut oils.
  8. Replace high-sugar yoghurts with low-sugar, dairy-free yoghurts such as Kite Hill Plain Yoghurt with 1g sugar or Lifeway Farmer Cheese with 0g sugar.
  9. Swap your sugar-laden soda for sparkling water with a splash of low-sugar juice

Also, ensure your diet is giving you enough of the daily essential vitamins and minerals. Most of us don’t get enough Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, Calcium, Iron and Magnesium. If you are low on any of the above vitamins and minerals, you may experience fatigue and low energy.

That’s why it’s always worth having your doctor check your levels. If you find any of them are low, then try to eat foods rich in them.

Alternatively, you might consider a high-quality multi-vitamin or specific supplement.

The Bottom Line

If you are tired of feeling tired, then there is tremendous hope.

If you are tired because you are not getting enough high-quality sleep, then the best remedy is a bedtime routine based on sleep best practices.

If you are tired because you have stress and fatigue, then the best remedy are four simple lifestyle changes including:

  • Enough High-Quality Sleep with Bedtime Routine
  • Regular Exercise You Love
  • Stress Reduction with Long-Exhale Breathing
  • Fatigue-Reducing Diet

Overall, adopting a healthier lifestyle Is the ideal remedy for feeling more rested and energized.

More Tips to Help You Rest Better

Featured photo credit: Cris Saur via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] YouGov: Two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week
[2] National Safety Council: Is Your Company Confronting Workplace Fatigue?
[3] The New York Times: Why Are We So Freaking Tired?
[4] Mayo Clinic: Chronic fatigue syndrome
[5] Mayo Clinic: Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
[6] Ask Dr. Sears: The L.E.A.N. Lifestyle
[7] American Psychological Association: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
[8] Yoga International: Learning to Exhale: 2-to-1 Breathing

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