Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving


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Juice cleanses

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I know cleanses are nothing new for me to blog about but I felt compelled to respond to this article in the National Post. Specifically, to the suggestion that it can be a good thing that you feel fatigued during a juice cleanse. The spokesperson for the company providing the juices to the author (more on that later) stated: “Simply, if you’re putting less into your body, you’ll have less energy,” explains Snyder, “but fatigue can be a positive.” Apparently it can be a positive because it can spur you to have better sleep. It’s also advised to ease-up on your exercise routine during a juice cleanse.

You know what else can help you have a good sleep without depriving you of sufficient calories and nutrients? Fresh air and exercise. It seems ridiculous to me that you would want to consume a diet that leaves you feeling fatigued. Your diet should serve to improve your energy and mood.

I also find it a little inappropriate that the author is essentially promoting a line of juices through this article. If she had included scientific evidence to support the use of juice cleanses and had not named a brand of juices, and interviewed their spokesperson, the article might have a little bit more credibility. As it stands, this article is essentially an advertisement masquerading as journalism.


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What to do if you’re tired

My recent decision to start following Dr Oz on twitter for blog fodder is now paying off. Yesterday I saw a tweet from him suggesting that if you were feeling tired that you might be suffering from a magnesium deficiency. While this is plausible (most North Americans don’t get enough magnesium – the above photo shows some good sources of magnesium), it’s certainly not the first avenue I would explore when someone complains of being tired. It’s funny how many of us seem to have forgotten about sleep as the most important contributor to preventing and alleviating fatigue. I’ve had people complain to me about feeling tired and then ask me things like “should I eliminate wheat?” Good nutrition definitely plays a role in how you feel and your energy levels but if you’re feeling fatigued and lethargic there are probably other avenues you should explore before nutrition, and definitely other nutrients you should explore before magnesium.

Here’s the line of questioning I would employ when feeling tired: How much sleep did I get last night? If I got less than eight hours I would attribute much of my fatigue to that. If you’re not getting enough sleep try quitting all electronics an hour before bed. Try getting into bed with a book at least half an hour before you actually want to fall asleep. Make sure that your room is as dark as possible. You may need to employ ear plugs and/or an eye mask to block out distractions, sexy no? There are lots of other tips for getting a good nights sleep. I googled some for you here. If duration or quality of sleep are not the culprits I would next ask how much exercise you’re getting? I know it sounds kind of counter intuitive but exercise can actually boost your energy, it can also help improve your sleep. Nutritionally, I would next ask if you’re getting enough water. I always keep a water bottle at my desk and when I get the post-lunch-sleepies I make sure to turn to the water before getting another coffee or tea. Nutrient-wise, I would first wonder if you’re getting enough iron, vitamin B12, and protein. Failing all that then I might explore magnesium, among other nutrients.

If you’re always feeling tired and this is a concern to you then you should probably see your doctor to determine the cause. While many of us don’t get enough magnesium this is rarely the primary cause of fatigue. Don’t diagnose yourself from a television personality.