It's not often I get all nitty-gritty into the health stuff, but what I'm here to talk about over the next few weeks is becoming more of an issue in so many people's lives. I'm seeing it in friends, family and clients, even myself. It's time to start the healing loves...
So many of us are walking around, not understanding why our bodies aren't functioning the way we want them to. We are complicated creatures living stressful lives. Sometimes that drumbeat of stress is the only sound we start to hear after awhile. Adrenal Fatigue may be the culprit.
In this 3 part series I will be going over ways to bring balance back to our bodies through three different modalities - Food, supplementation and lifestyle. Even if you aren't suffering from Adrenal Fatigue, adding in some of these protocols will most definitely make a different in your overall well being.
So let's get started loves... what is adrenal fatigue?
In short, It's a stress related condition when your adrenal glands stop functioning the way they are supposed too. Adrenal glands direct your body’s response to stress by releasing the hormones cortisol, DHEA and epinephrine, all of which work together to regulate your immune system, heart function and energy levels.
When your adrenal glands are overtaxed for a long period of time, they begin to weaken. Typical causes of Adrenal Fatigue include long term stress from life events, death, divorce, work, relationships you keep and even ongoing health issues like auto-immune disease. Eventually, your adrenals weaken and stop responding to your body's needs the way they should. This is when you may start to experience symptoms such as persistent tiredness, lack of enthusiasm and mild depression.
Some other common symptoms you may have, depending on what stage you are in:
Difficulty waking up in the morning even if you have had a lot of rest prior
Dizziness when standing
Inability to handle stress
Late night snacking
A surge of energy in the evenings
Sudden craving for salty snacks
Dark circles under eyes
Loss of muscle tone
Craving sugar and carbs in the late afternoon
Weakened immune system
If some of these symptoms start sounding familiar, take note. Here is the thing though, Adrenal fatigue is not taken seriously by most practitioners until it becomes life-threatening and presents as Addison’s disease. You can absolutely go to your doctor and get some Cortisol and Thyroid testing done though. Most likely your numbers, if off, will present as sub-clinical and unless your doctor is progressive will just tell you to get more sleep and try to relax.
Thankfully there are things we can do to help coax our system back into balance.
Today I'm going to give you an overview of the food part. Looking over everything, it may look like common sense to you but it's always easier said than done, right? I suggest trying to cut out only one thing at a time and adding in one thing at a time. There is no need to overwhelm yourself, that's actually the LAST thing I want you to do. You may also see foods that won't work for you especially if you are vegan or vegetarian. That's ok. These are just suggestions and there are plenty of alternatives that work for a variety of dietary lifestyles.
Foods you'll want to cut out:
~ Caffeine, really important since the last thing your body needs is more stimulations. Caffeine stimulates the "fight or flight" response. I suggest weaning off to decaf or black tea and slowly working down to green, white and then herbal teas.
~ Processed sugars, Sugar regulation is controlled by cortisol, so when you eat too much sugar you are taxing your adrenal glands. Try using stevia or if you must use sugar go for raw honey (Manuka is fantastic), maple syrup or coconut palm sugar.
~ Foods you are sensitive too, If you know or have a sneaking suspicion dairy, gluten, soy etc aren't your friend. Cut it out for now. You want to stop the inflammation going on inside your body so you can start absorbing all the nutrients you are going to start giving it.
Foods you'll want to add in:
~ Raw Fermented foods such as, Kombucha, Dairy Kefir, Coconut water Kefir, Kim chi, Raw sauerkraut and Kvass. Rebuilding your gut health is essential for recovery.
~ Bone broth, think of it as liquid vitamins and minerals. It helps to reduce inflammation, boost the immune system and encourage healthy cholesterol.
~ Seaweed, one of the missing links in most diets. Seaweed has vital minerals and phytonutrients essential to good health. They all have different flavors and textures so play around and find the ones that taste great to you.
~ Better sources of carbohydrates like berries, beans and whole sprouted grains and seeds like quinoa, rice and millet. Balancing how your body deals with sugar and avoiding those spikes will help tremendously for inconsistent energy levels.
~ In season fruits and vegetables. You need a foundation before you build the house. Consider this your bricks and mortar.
~ Organic, pastured meat. Protein is essential for energy and maintaining blood sugar levels. Buying organic, pastured meats insures that you are skipping all the hormones and antibiotics from CAFO's.
~ Good sources of fat from avocados, coconut oil, butter from grass-fed cows and nuts. Another great source of energy that will help boost your metabolism.
~ Water with a pinch of sea salt and a squeeze of lemon throughout the day. Caffeine is dehydrating and since you may have been overdoing it, you need to replenish your body. Adding in Celtic or Himalayan salt (the tiniest pinch) will help restore electrolytes.
Take it slow and be gentle. If you are looking to get the most bang for you efforts I think ditching the coffee and adding in raw fermented foods daily is a fantastic way to begin the healing process. Next up, we'll be talking about some of the other supplements you can bring into your via vitamins, herbs and essential oils.
Stephanie is a certified holistic health and lifestyle coach. She works with women to help them discover their inner radiance through the food they eat and the homes they keep. Her newest course "Sexy, Raw & Radiant" begins July 7th.
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