(This information is not doctor-confirmed—it’s just my personal experience and opinion. Use your own judgement for your own health.)
Many websites list iron-deficiency symptoms such as tiredness, which I never really noticed. Yet it is my belief I was iron deficient.
I had a severe problem: I couldn’t move–not even roll over in bed–without feeling like my brain was spinning; and along with causing head discomfort, this kept me on the verge of nausea. This was extreme dizziness!
My doctor was on vacation. I don’t remember what prompted me to try iron supplements (I think it was an educated person’s suggestion), but a few hundred percent of the “recommended daily allowance” of iron, a few times per day, cured me gradually over I think about a day or two.
This does make sense, because iron is needed for red blood cells which carry oxygen throughout the body; and what happens when the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen? Dizziness of course!
Here is a nice clear page about iron http://health.learninginfo.org/what-does-iron-do.htm But if you read that page, and many others around the web, you’ll see that tiredness is the symptom most often mentioned.
So why didn’t I feel tired or lacking in energy? Because I was a person who habitually did what I judged needed to be done, regardless of my energy level. In other words, I had long before forgotten what rested and energized felt like, living on adrenaline, willpower, and love for others. I was deaf to my body’s subtle signals.
I repeated the on-off “test” process a few times: I stopped taking iron for a while or maybe only a couple of times per month, had the dizziness come back; took more iron and felt fine. I repeated this cycle more than twice, so I’m pretty sure it wasn’t coincidence. Iron really was what I needed. (BE WARNED: Too much iron can damage organs, so be careful and consider having your blood iron level tested.)
Then I had “another” problem: taking an iron supplement daily for a long time wasn’t enough. I cooked in iron skillets; took 100% US RDA of iron daily; I included in my diet lots of fresh broccoli and swiss chard, canned spinach, eggs, beans, prunes and raisins, and occasionally red meat (all iron-rich foods, but most are calcium too). Still I could feel the dizziness coming back (thankfully I’d learned to notice it before it got severe). Without blood tests I wasn’t sure what was wrong, but I was worried.
I did another internet search to learn what interferes with iron absorption. I realized that I was usually consuming my iron-rich foods with calcium-rich foods and whole grains (both of which block iron absorption), and I was always taking my iron pill with my multi-vitamin-mineral pill which also contained calcium. These were not helpful habits.
See these pages for detail on what interferes with iron absorption, and how to increase absorption:
I also read in the book “the Four Hour Body” that the author, Timothy Ferris, did have his blood tested before and after adding orange juice to his somewhat strict diet. His test proved what one of those webpages says: citrus juice increases blood iron content (because, it is thought, of the Vitamin C content in the juice). This didn’t make Mr. Ferris happy (because, he says, men don’t lose blood monthly and so have no way to rid themselves of too much iron); but it’s some good news for anyone already low in iron. Orange Juice can help. ……….By the way, I’ve only read a part of his book, but found it has a lot of good information in it. Here’s a link to it on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/4-Hour-Body-Uncommon-Incredible-Superhuman/dp/030746363X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1342717373&sr=1-1&keywords=the+four+hour+body
So, I started taking my near-daily iron pill with vitamin C (which helps with iron absorption), AND when other nutrients can not interfere: in the middle of at least a 4-hour stretch between meals, or two hours after dinner if I won’t be having a late-night snack.
Before I figured out how to absorb enough iron, I had already committed to taking better care of myself, including getting enough hours of sleep. I noticed that even 8-9 or more hours didn’t feel like enough, and I blamed this on my dreams. I was always busy in my dreams trying to get things done, just like in my waking hours. I learned to turn off my mind when going to sleep, telling myself that everything can wait because now was the time to rest. This helped considerably with waking up energized. But after correcting my iron intake, I was surprised at how much better I felt! I still get 8-9 hours of sleep occasionally, but often only seven, and I have real energy—I don’t have to push myself like I did for years. (I still sometimes have to push myself to work on the right chores when I’d rather work on different ones, but that’s another issue.)
- Iron deficiency can cause tiredness; BUT, if you don’t notice that, it can go on to cause severe dizziness.
- It’s serious when your body doesn’t have enough oxygen flowing—not something to cure with will-power.
- To make sure more of the iron you consume is absorbed: A) try to eat some iron-rich foods at separate times from tea, coffee, bread, cereal, dairy, beans, tofu, etc., B) try to take any iron supplements on an empty stomach if you can, or with foods that don’t interfere.
- Take citrus juice or vitamin C with your iron foods or iron pills. (NOTE: Potatoes are rich in vitamin C too, if not over-processed.)
- Listen to your body and find out what it needs, so you can last longer to do more for others (and for yourself).
Now I feel great, and have more energy than I’ve had in a long time. Real energy.
May 19, 2012
Here’s the best diet plan ever.
FUN Advantage 1:
You get to create your own version.
FUN Advantage 2:
You won’t get tired of it, and if you think you are tiring, you just adjust your version.
You don’t have to think about getting too fat or too thin, ever.
How is it win-win?
Because while you’re losing unhealthy weight, you’re accomplishing something else altogether that will make you feel great, AND your accomplishment will be positively meaningful to someone else (or even maybe many other people).
Okay, I’m sure you’re ready to hear some details. Nothing in life is simple, but this has a very simple start.
First, set your mind and heart on something bigger than personal physical gratification.
Second, every time you think of eating (outside of normal meal times), remind yourself that you don’t have time—you need every minute to work toward your important something. Remind yourself that you’ll feel better by accomplishing a step in that direction, than you would feel if you stopped to eat. Try it and see how you feel. Food will taste better when you’re truly hungry and have accomplished something valuable, and you won’t have any guilt from eating when you finally get around to it.
Your important something could be anything, like:
Helping your child to be smarter and happier,
Helping more people with your work or your charity,
Being healthy and energetic in order to______ (fill in the blank),
Learning or experiencing ______ (fill in the blank),
Earning more money so you can______ (fill in the blank),
Be specific, choosing something that would make your heart soar if you were succeeding—something that would make you feel like an important and positive contributor to the world.
You will pour so much energy into your “something important,” that excess weight will slip away. And when you need more energy to keep working, you’ll remember to take time for food. You’ll want to eat simpler, cheaper meals, so you can spend more time and money on your “something important”; and you’ll truly want healthy foods, because you’ll seriously want good health to accomplish your “something important.” But at milestones, you’ll relish a celebratory feast—without any guilt.
If you ever think you’re tiring of the whole thing, it’s not a matter of giving up on a diet–because your focus isn’t dieting; your focus is your “something important,” your goal. If that “something” is tiresome, adjust either your goal or your method of attempting to reach it.
When you reach one goal or complete one “something important,” you’ll feel so great that you’ll set new goals and keep going—lean and strong.
If you don’t believe me, look around. In general, overweight people are unhappy and reach for food to feel good fast. Forget about food, and reach for something meaningful to do. You’ll be glad you did, and so will the people you affect.
August 31, 2011
In the effort to enact a balance between sharing thoughts on living, and living something about which to share my thoughts, I may not always live up to a common conception that blogging means logging very regularly or frequently.
I won’t feel guilty when I don’t post for a while, because when I’m too busy to post, I know that interesting things are happening, and so interesting posts will eventually follow.
I’m a serious blogger, not a lazy or forgetful one. This post is partly to let you know that I haven’t given up on posting, and that in fact several posts are in progress–I’m just too tired right now to think straight enough to finish any of them.
I have just completed a poem co-written with my mother, and a silly story co-written with my son. Both of these will be posted on my publisher’s website during the coming week. I’ll blog a link when they’re up.
In the mean time, YOU are also INVITED to write something with me–something which might be suitable to display on my publisher’s website as well. It could be fun! Just go to http://www.rifll.com/write.htm
I’ve also been enacting my idea that when working for the sake of others (whether for existing family and friends, or those yet un-met), one can not only get much strength from God, but also spend less time on sleep and fewer dollars on food (because one is too busy to eat so much). Consequently, heart-felt service to others (paid or unpaid) is by far both the best diet plan and best sleep aid.
…..NOTE: As in all else, proper balance is required, as too little sleep or food will render you unable to serve anyone. Too much sleep or food is a self-indulgent waste of resources, including yourself as a human resource.
I’ll see you again in a few days! 🙂