Over the last two weeks or so I’ve had a number of patients who don’t feel well. They’re tired, their energy is low, they have body aches, their digestion isn’t good. They all came in saying “Doctor, I don’t feel good!”
I used to hate it when patients came in with this problem. There are SOOO many problems that can cause people to not feel well! I always felt like I was hunting for a needle in a haystack. That was before I learned more about Integrative Medicine in general and Functional Medicine in particular.
Functional medicine principles state that the very first thing to do for ANY problem is to give the body what it needs, and STOP giving it what it doesn’t need (i.e. stop poisoning it). So we start with providing good nutrition and proper rest, and avoiding toxins.
How do we define good nutrition? Plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, lean meats in limited amounts, fatty fish, whole grain breads, nuts, seeds and fresh clean water. I’m a proponent of a completely plant-based diet (watch “Forks Over Knives” on Netflix or get it from your library if you’re not familiar with Dr. Esselstyn’s work at the Cleveland Clinic) but if people aren’t ready to go completely plant-based then limiting animal-based foods is a great first step. After all, perfect is the enemy of good, right? Any small steps taken in the right direction are reason for a happy dance 🙂
Another addition to consider in the interest of good nutrition is a high-quality multivitamin. If you’ve been following me for awhile you know I work with the Shaklee Corporation (click here to see why). You can check this link to see some age-and-stage-related recommendations for nutritional supplements.
As far as avoiding toxins goes, what are you taking into your body that may not be good for it? Do you eat a lot of added sugar and processed food? Do you drink alcohol too much? Do you smoke? Use drugs? Do you use a lot of artificial sweeteners? Everything you eat, drink, breathe and put on your skin has to be gotten rid of in some way. Are you putting a big strain on your lungs, liver and kidneys by asking them to process too many chemicals and additives and other toxic substances?
Toxins aren’t just substances you eat and drink. What kind of people are you hanging out with? Are they people you enjoy spending time with? Are they supportive of you, or do they drain your energy and make you sad and frustrated? In general I recommend my patients hang out with people THEY WANT TO BE LIKE. If you want to be a happy person but you constantly spend time with people who are angry, negative downers, maybe you need to find some new friends.
If you don’t feel well, of course I’d be happy to see you in the office to help you figure out what’s wrong. However, there are things you can do to get started feeling better.
- Get enough sleep.
- Take a look at your diet and get it cleaned up. Eat real food, not processed food or junk food. Fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and limited amounts of lean meats and fatty fish. Avoid dairy if at all possible (that’s a topic for another post) and the jury is out on eggs. I don’t eat them myself.
- Add a high-quality multivitamin or nutritional supplement program.
- Avoid toxins of all sorts, as much as you can.
If these measures don’t improve how you feel, it’s time to see the doctor. Bloodwork and other testing based on your symptoms would be in order. If your personal physician isn’t successful in figuring out and correcting what’s wrong, you might consider a second opinion from doctor trained in integrative medicine. Click here to find one near you!
There’s nothing worse than going through life feeling tired, run-down, achy and blue. Don’t give up, you CAN feel better!
QUESTION: Do you have symptoms that just won’t let you feel good? What have you done to get rid of them?