So, I guess this is part III. Today I want to talk about dietary and lifestyle solutions for adrenal fatigue. What works, and what worked for me. There is lots of information out there if you google “Adrenal Fatigue Diet”. LOTS… so here we go.
Dietary needs for Adrenal Fatigue
- Avoid concentrated sugars, nicotine, alcohol, partially hydrogenated fats, artificial sweeteners, deep fried foods and allergic foods (dairy, grains, etc).
- Hydrate the body. Hydrate with clean water, not from plastic. Coconut water is a good source of electrolytes.
- Improve your nutrition!
- Eat clean protein, good fats (think saturated fats- coconut oil, palm, butter, refined avocado oil, olive oil, flax seed oil), clean fruits and veggies and high fiber. carbohydrates.
- High fiber has been shown to stabilize blood sugar and possibly pose less stress on the adrenals – but this get this from good sources. This could be nuts, berries, vegetables, quinoa.. there are quite a few sources. You would be amazed at the fiber in some vegetables.
- Eat lots of leafy greens and salads or try juicing your vegetables!
- Eat fried foods only occasionally ( I mean really really occasionally!)
- Increase your Trace Minerals. Kelp and Dulse are great sources of minerals, salt and iodine. Himalayan Sea Salt is also wonderful.
- Try Spirulina or Chorella. I get mine from www.sunfood.com. Mine are in tablet form. I just remember to take some when I am walking through the kitchen getting another glass of water. They are both superfoods. Spirulina is one of nature’s most perfect, nutrient rich foods and there has never been a more delicious way to get high quality nutrition into your body. Spirulina is a renowned source of protein, chlorophyll, trace minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and is also a world-class immune system booster. Plus spirulina is known to protect against and detoxify radioactive particles and can help balance your body’s pH (alkalinity).
- Eat raw nuts and seeds – only a handful: filberts, cashews, almonds, Brazil, Macadamia nuts, pecans, walnuts, chestnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and flax seeds.
- Avoid the white: white sugar, white flour! Get your carbs from vegetables.
- Avoid stimulants such as caffeine (coffee, black tea, colas) and energy drinks.
The Digestion Connection
Cortisol and adrenaline are used to balance your blood sugar when it is low. As your blood sugar drops due to skipped meals, delayed meals, or eating the wrong foods (processed, refined grains and HFCS), your adrenals will be forced to produce even more cortisol and adrenaline.
If the adrenals are exhausted and unable to produce enough cortisol or adrenaline then your blood sugar will continue to drop! This brings on the cravings, hypoglycemia, PMS, inability to focus, ADD and weight gain.
When your digestive system is irritated and inflamed, your body’s natural response is to eliminate the inflammation. Cortisol, produced by the adrenals, is generated to reduce inflammation. So, the continual irritation in your digestive system causes your adrenal glands to produce more cortisol. This is more work for the adrenal glands and contributes to the overproduction of cortisol and adrenaline racing through your body.
This contributes to the vicious cycle, because elevated levels of cortisol begins to erode the intestinal lining. This leaves you susceptible to hidden food allergies, yeast, fungus, and candida overgrowth. These all contribute to digestive difficulties which further inflames the intestines and causes more work for the adrenal glands.
What did I do
I went paleo for 2 years. Yes, two years with no grains whatsoever, no dairy,no fried foods, no sugar and no legumes. Most of my diet was equal portions of fat and protein with a lot of veggies. This helped to create a better relationship with me and food. I learned what it took for me to be satisfied and not hungry. Funny, when you eat enough good quality fat, protein and veggies.. you stay full and you do not crave really bad things, well, at least most of the time you do not. This way of eating helped me in so many ways. I lost 80 pounds and started to actually feel better. Now when I slack, I know it. I feel horrid.
Another good dietary plan is the GAPS diet. This is the Gut and Psychology Syndrome. What you eat impacts you and this protocol intends to heal digestive disorders and psychological issues subsequent to those.
Your gut is tied to your overall emotional, physical, mental and immune health.
Ah, how do we deal with the stress when we are already stressed out?
- Reduce your exposure to petrochemicals and other toxins.
- Bisphenol A, Pthalates, parabens and other petrochemicals all disrupt the HPA axis (that would be your Hypothalamus, Pituitary, Adrenals Axis). In plan language, they are all endocrine disruptors. Remember the FDA thinks these chemicals are safe in small amounts, but they are found in everything – air fresheners, synthetic scents, cosmetics, soft plastics, new cars, nail polish, adhesives.. So you think you are still getting these in small amounts?
- Bisphenol A and Parabens have an affinity for a number of estrogen receptors… they are Xenoestrogens that your body has no idea what to do with. So, your body tries to process it in the liver and the liver shoves it into your fat cells to protect you from the toxin.. Only to crank out more of these xenoestrogens. It’s a vicious cycle that leads to the tire around the middle look, plus more inflammation your body has to deal with, thus more cortisol it wants to secrete.
- Detox and Cleanse to remove as much of these chemicals out of your body
- Hydrate with pure water
- Take your probiotics
- Boost Glutathione levels – Whey and colostrum from unpasteurized bovine milk is an excellent booster. Organic walnuts, broccoli, asparagus, watermelon, garlic, spinach, tomatoes, avocado, and turmeric all contain or create the needed precursors for intracellular GSH creation.
- Even short term fasting helps
- The Master Cleanse diet or another type of cleanse may help as well.
- Detox Baths are fabulous! I strive to do this at least once a week.
- Exercise – in moderation. Too much high intensity exercise causes more cortisol, epinephrine and norepinhephrine to be produced. Walking, yoga, Tai Chi, low intensity weight lifting, Pilates….. Are great choices.
- Get enough sleep !!!! Seriously, cannot stress this enough. Try to keep a solid sleep schedule. Lack of sleep tears every system in your body down. You can actually attribute weight gain, lack of liver function, lack of adrenal function, you name it to lack of sleep. Work to be in bed before 10:30 pm. At 11 pm if you are still up you will get a second wind, your adrenals will start producing cortisol and you will be up to 1 am after that.
- Stress reduction with meditation or some other form of stress reducing. Once again, you can google and all kinds of things will come up!
- Try stress reducing with Young Living Essential Oils: Stress Away, Tranquil Roll-On, Peace and Calming, White Angelica, Joy, Geramnium and Ylang Ylang to name a few!
- Take some time for yourself. Do not beat yourself up when one day you have enough energy for 5 people and the next day you do not. Just take it a little slower. I have read you should try to sleep when you want to sleep (yeah, I know, I can’t do that in the car either…)
You know we only have two parts left for this (at least at this time) — Young Living Solutions and Emotions tied to Adrenal Fatigue…. both will happen very soon!