Not depressed!

11 Oct

I have three young children and that is quite a tiring job, but for the past three years in particular I have experienced episodes of crippling tiredness on a monthly and sometimes weekly basis. Every time I mentioned this to a doctor they would point to my children as the cause and tell me to try to get more sleep. But I knew it was more than just tiredness. It was incapacitating. It felt like my body was made of jelly and it made me feel depressed. It affected my body and my mind. I had no energy and no positivity left. Then, after two or three days, I would come out of it. It felt like a cloud lifting.

It recently got to a point where I was panicking at the thought of another ‘episode’ as I had begun referring to them. My internet research suggested I had bipolar disorder. Two doctors offered me anti-depressants but the booklet they came with was so scary….this medication can cause manic episodes, liver damage and weight gain. I held off, insisting on a blood test to figure out the cause.

It turns out I was low not only in iron but in red blood cells that would help me absorb the iron. I have always had a tendency to be anaemic, especially while pregnant. I don’t eat red meat because I really don’t enjoy the taste of it and usually take a supplement. But the doctor explained that my body was having trouble absorbing the iron I was taking and that he may have to start giving me an injection. I begged for an alternative and he suggested trying a liquid supplement.

I gave myself a day to think about which course of action I wanted to take. I am a big believer in food curing all and I wanted to try devising an iron-rich diet with the proper foods included to help me absorb any iron I was getting. I love the internet so much. There is so much information to access. It was fun to do because it felt like I was in control. The fatigue used to hit me out of nowhere and the scariest part was not feeling like I could get myself out of it. I read so much about it and came up with list of foods and food combinations that would help me. I also decided to continue with my regular iron supplement until it was finished and then perhaps I will switch to a liquid supplement just to be sure I’m covered.

I have been eating my new diet for two weeks and feel AMAZING. I still get tired…I have three kids after all…but a good night’s sleep fixes it.

Each day I try to eat muesli, tuna salad with red kidney beans and leafy greens, a green soup I made out of every iron-rich vegetable I could find and then dinner which is focused on dark poultry, more vegetables and brown rice when possible. I’m not too strict about it. As long as I eat these meals most days I am okay. The muesli not only contains iron-rich oats and raisins but it also contains cinnamon, nuts and seed – all of which help me to absorb iron. I have also reduced my caffeine intake because this affects iron absorption too.

When it comes to eating plans I don’t believe the same thing works for everyone. Starting with a blood test is a great way to go because if anything is deficient, that can be your starting point. I am so happy to have cured myself of this. Food can be medicine and it can be poison but when you eat well most of the time, your body can handle any treats you decide to have.

La Dolce Vita – Jo Abi

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