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always tired, always having colds - what to have checked?

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  • always tired, always having colds - what to have checked?


    I am a recovering vegetarian - have been introducing meat back into my diet for about 6 months. I was diagnosed as being anaemic and couldn't stomach the iron supplements. My diet is semi-PB - I eat meat once weekly, fish once weekly, eggs everyday, cheese ocassionally and loads of veg using coconut oil or butter for frying and I use cream for cooking.

    I have cut down on cakes/pastry a lot and haven't had any since mid October. I sometimes have some nice chocolate.

    I have had plenty of colds this year. End October I had a nasty flu and it took me almost three weeks to recover. When I felt 90% back to normal I got another cold and that is only shifting very slowly. I am also a lot more lethargic and tired than normal.

    I am German and live in London - speaking to Doctors is the only time when I feel that my English is lacking. I know a lot of Latin terms & terminology, but they don't seem to be using that and I am not familiar with all those abbreviations...what blood tests exactly should I ask my doctor for?

    Also, any suggestions what I can add to my diet to deal with my slow/low immune system? I am currently not taking any supplements and am allergic to echinecea.

    Tired greetings from London
    Last edited by Flexi; 12-02-2010, 09:29 AM. Reason: typo

  • #2
    Welcome! Go fully Primal--Drop ALL grains & legumes, as well as any added sugar. Small amounts of dark chocolate are fine!

    Take vitamin D3 in an oil base to sufficiency. Have your Doctor order a (25(OH)D blood test.
    Take a good multi-mineral.
    Get enough sleep.
    Ancestral Nutrition Coaching
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    Primal Pregnancy Nutrition Article


    • #3
      Good job cutting out the cakes and pastries. Not eating grains and sugars will improve your immune system greatly. You should also get some good probiotics. Most of your immune system lives right there in your gut, so probiotics will give you better defense.

      I hope you can work in a little more meat. Things like chicken broth with onions and garlic are great aids to your immune system. Garlic is a natural antibiotic.


      • #4
        Re-speaking to doctors, might I suggest you actually ask them to use the Latin names? I think they habitually avoid them so as not to alienate patients, but could probably 'lapse' if you asked.

        Other ideas... I wonder if you might feel more energetic in winter with some more starchy vegetables? I'm finding I want more at this time of year, and they're not making me any heavier.

        Maybe replace the cheese with meat? Throw in some liver once a week - it's hugely nutritious.

        Oh, and you say you stopped the cakes mid-Oct and got the 'nasty flu' at the end of the month - I wonder if that might have been 'carb flu'? And if you might still be adapting to the change?


        • #5
          Have you checked to see if you have hypothyroidism?
          On a mission to help others master movement, build unbreakable strength, & eat MORE food (can't beat that.) Weekly fitness, health & nutrition articles at


          • #6
            +1 on the Vitamin D3. You need 5,000 to 10,000 IU daily to keep your immune system healthy.
            Check your blood level to be certain of getting enough.

            D Council: What diseases are associated with vitamin D deficiency?
            * Osteoporosis * heart disease,
            * hypertension, * autoimmune diseases,
            * certain cancers, * depression,
            * chronic fatigue, * chronic pain comprises
            Additional Diseases/conditions associated with vitamin D Deficiency
            * malformed, brittle bones, bone fractures and osteoporosis, stooped posture
            * Rickets, Multiple Sclerosis, Type 2 diabetes, Arthritus
            * Increased risk of cancers
            * bone pain, muscle cramps, tingling, weakness, loss of height.
            * Cardiovascular Disease
            * high blood pressure (hypertension)



            • #7
              What Grizz said. Also, be sure you are getting your minerals and C. Selenium is upstream in the chain that supports thyroid function. You can have low thyroid consequences even if your thyroid is normal if you are short selenium. However, getting every little bug that comes along and not being able to throw it off is classic for low vitamin D (and the chain of things supported by it -- magnesium, calcium, C). Things upstream of D are boron and K2. K2 only comes from animal sources. Be sure you are getting those. See cillakat's vitamin D page for lots of good information.


              • #8
                I agree with the other posters that recommend having your Vit D3 levels checked, but D3 is not enough by itself. Vitamin D, A, and K are synergistic and co-limiting. Taking one without the others, especially isolating Vit A or D, probably won't relieve your symptoms and can actually be toxic in large doses. In your case, you might look at taking a high quality cod liver oil or eating liver along with your Vit D supplement, as cod liver oil and liver (beef, chicken, lamb) has high doses of Vit A and cod liver has a good ratio of A and D. I use a fermented cod liver oil, as this is the only cod liver oil that has not had the vitamins stripped and synthetic replacements added back.


                • #9
                  This may be a bit radical at this stage but I would suggest red meat nearly every day and organ meats if you possibly can. These are powerhouses of all sorts of things that your system may be lacking, especially iron, zinc, B vitamins and it may be that once per week just isn't enough to make up the deficit.
                  My primal journal
                  You might find these handy: Free gluten free restaurant cards in 50+ languages
                  In Praise of the Primal Lifestyle


                  • #10
                    Way to go on striving to rid your diet of excess and harmful carbs. I agree with Dragonfly. I would also suggest you spend some time reading at "Healing Naturally by Bee" She advocates virtually the same Paleo diet, with further exclusions (no grains, sugar, starches, fruit). In her articles, she explains why, as we break our bodies from running on carbs and switch over to burning fat for fuel, how we can feel tired and even have a "cold". These symptoms, she believes, are toxins being finally released from our bodies. She also does not believe that any blood work is conclusive so does not suggest having any done (tho she did please her daughters this year by having blood work done). Altho I'm sure the symptoms are not pleasant, I think you can be pleased to know your body is healing itself and on the track to better health!



                    • #11
                      Thank you all for your reponses. I'll get a good supplement tomorrow and will start again with Vit D3 supplements. Though Hypothyrodism is also possible, as I had been diagnosed with Hashimoto's abt 10 years ago, but have never felt the need to start taking hormones (and am still hesitant to do so).

                      My problem with eating meat is that I don't really know that much about the preparation and storage of meat. I need to learn all these things. If I buy a variety of red meat for a whole week tomorrow, can I keep it in the fridge or do I need to freeze it? I have the Primal Blueprint cookbook, but can't get to the butchers everyday (they sell organic meat). The meat from the supermarket looks very red and bloody to me - which I was told is a sign that it hasn't hung long enough.

                      Will definitely give it a try. Thanks again!



                      • #12
                        Meat isn't as scary as it seems. Raw meat I wouldn't keep in the refrigerator more than a week. For some meats that's too long for my liking. If you're concerned about it, just freeze half and thaw it as you need it. All my meat is frozen, and I take it out of the freezer and put it in the refrigerator a couple days before I intend to eat it.

                        There will be some trial and error. Watch the cooking channels and look up recipes. They'll walk you through it.


                        • #13

                          Here is a four minute video that will illustrate the most key element to cooking meat or anything else, the difference between conductive and convective heat transfer.


                          Here is a guide for a basic pan sautee. Use whatever pan you like.

                          In order to get that nice crispy caremelized sear on your meat, you will need to start with a sizzling hot pan. Test your pan with a droplet of water. If it sizzles, you can add some lipid, like coconut oil, tallow. Just enough to shine the pan. Wait till you see very small ripples or dents in the oil. You shouldn't heat oils to their smoking point, but the ripples show the oil is hot enough to sear the meat. Now, place in the meat (chicken pieces, burgers, chops, shrimp etc), and don't move it for at least a minute. Let the meat develop a nice sear, before you begin moving/turning it. If you think it is getting too hot, or you see smoke on the oil, adjust the heat as necessary. When the meat is cooked, set it aside (tent with aluminum foil). Now those little stuck on bits of meat become magical. Pour 1/2 cup liquid (bone broth, wine, water, cider)into the hot pan, stirring up the stuck on bits with a wooden spoon or whisk. Turn heat down and let it reduce to intensify the flavors. Stir in some butter, to give it a nice shine and richness. Pour over your rested meat and serve.

                          Hope this gives you some ideas!
                          Last edited by MrsToon; 12-03-2010, 04:00 PM.


                          • #14
                            Re: bloody meat

                            It never hurts to thoroughly rinse any meat before you cook it. You can rinse it in cold water two or three times if you want to, for the bloodier cuts.

                            Orange chicken and vegetable stir fry dish made demonstrating the method I outlined above.
                            Last edited by MrsToon; 12-03-2010, 03:58 PM.


                            • #15
                              Besides getting your full vitamin/mineral levels checked along with thyroid hormones, you should certainly consider removing dairy from your diet. Yes eating more meat would be somewhat beneficial but dairy is known to be a pretty widespread trigger for immune problems. There are plenty of people who can handle frequent consumption of dairy but also a significant amount that cannot. Try cutting down drastically on your dairy consumption and consider keeping a food journal to track your symptoms along with your dietary intake.

                              Edit: on the meat storage questioning.
                              The time till spoilage of your meat will vary not only by how it's kept, but where you're getting it from, how it's wrapped, the overall sanitation of your kitchen/fridge, the sanitation of the store or processing plant you bought it from etc.

                              Some cuts will hold up pretty well for a few days but poultry can often times go sour realllll fast. In general I buy meats for a week or two week's period of time depending on specials or how tough it is to get my local store to order a cut for me (pasture fed heart). I normally make huge batches of any meal I make due to my personal chef training so each dish I make can last me for 2-3 days easily. Because of the somewhat delayed time in needing another batch of meat I normally will freeze any meat that I'm not planning on cooking in the next 3 days. When I'm running low on a saved dish then I'll simply just move another pack of meat out of the freezer and into the bottom tray of my fridge the morning of the day before I'm planning on cooking it. If you are going the frozen route then before freezing, repackage any meats that are in a styrofoam container/tray. This styrofoam tray will severely delay the thawing out process of the meat and will almost always prevent it from thawing in a day or two's time.
                              Last edited by ProtoAlex; 12-04-2010, 01:32 AM.
                              "You can demonstrate the purpose and limits of human digestion with a simple experiment: eat a steak with some whole corn kernels, and see what comes out the other end. It won’t be the steak."