There was a point a few years ago when I suddenly realised I was tired all the time.
As a working mum tiredness had just become a state of being, but no matter how much sleep I got I never felt truly rested. I kept thinking that I just wasn’t going to bed early enough and then I’d go to bed early and lay there, unable to sleep. I was so grumpy in the morning it eventually became a running family joke — stay out of mum’s way until she’s had her coffee.
But even the caffeine didn’t help, the fatigue would linger all day.
I went to the doctor with my complaints and one blood test later I was told I was iron deficient. In fact I was pretty much anemic.
I wasn’t alone, with one in thee Australian women reportedly not getting enough iron from their diets and one in five being iron deficient. Most, like me, wouldn’t even know it.
Symptoms of iron deficiency can include fatigue, heavy menstruation, looking pale, feeling unfit, leg cramps, headaches, anxiety and hair loss. I started tick them off as I read down the list. They were just masked by my reliance of sleep, pads with wings, spray tans, massages, headache medication and shampoos that make my hair look thicker and fuller.
I may not have mentioned to my doctor at the time that I’d been dabbling in veganism and vegetarianism for the past few years which turned out to be a terrible idea for me. I’d never felt worse -- my skin became sallow, my hair and nails brittle and I was more tired than ever before. But really, it was a bad idea because I just wasn’t THAT good a vegan. I was constantly sneaking cheese into my diet. And sometimes I just felt like I needed some meat.