Last week, my sweetie (my husband) James was out of town visiting his family. And while I love my time and routine with him, I do find myself even more productive on my weekends when he’s not there.
It happened to be a long weekend (in B.C anyways) and I accomplished a lot of things in a short amount of time. I got my yoga on, went for a coffee (upgrading to a grande size which I normally don’t do), recipe testing, photos, social media, creating blog posts, newsletters, school, and so on.
Along came Monday and I didn’t feel good at all. I was lethargic and drained. I skipped yoga, laid around, and did very little. And, for the second time in years, I had to take a nap and was surprised that I actually slept. This was a sign.
I had pushed myself too much.
After a good month of feeling great, I didn’t feel so great any more.
You see, adrenal fatigue and any cortisol issues is like a see-saw. You can slowly feel great, but you can quickly feel not so great. And, if you’ve suffered from adrenal fatigue or cortisol issues in the past, you’ll know that after you’ve recovered, you can quickly fall back into it.
If you’re just catching up, I was diagnosed with low cortisol and as a result of that, adrenal fatigue. I’ve been quite open about my struggles with this post about the diagnosis and this post about the supplement plan that I am on.
Supplementation is critical for treating adrenal fatigue. I’ve recently been a little inconsistent with my supplementation plan which may have contributed to my falling off. However, the nutrition and lifestyle shifts that I have made has been equally the catalyst to improving my overall energy levels.
Now, this isn’t a one size all approach and what works for me, may not work for you. However, I suggest you try what I’ve done and make some tweaks along the way.
Paleo / High Fat / Low Carb
I had already converted to a mainly paleo and fat fuelled eating lifestyle. The heavy grains that my previous vegan eating style completely affected my blood sugar levels, allowing it to shoot through the roof. Blood sugar imbalances are a major factor in adrenal fatigue. Treat the blood sugar, and you’ll likely see an improvement in your health. Additionally, grains were starting to become something that I was building an intolerance to. I would find myself bloated consistently after eating it. By incorporating more healthy fats, and an abundance of vegetables (I heart this essential gadget), I found that I had less digestive upset and my blood sugar balanced out.
I was always a big-bad-assed juicer. When I laid my hands on the king of juicers, I went into a green juice frenzy. I’m not sure why I stopped juicing as often as I used to. Certainly, juicing by adding copious amounts of fruit, can send your blood sugar into a tailspin. Thankfully, I knew this and only incorporated very small amounts of green apple and loaded it with greens. That said, juicing for 3 days per week ensures that I am giving my body the nutrients it needs to boost the immune system and to heal my adrenals.
I quickly learned that eating when you are legitimately hungry is very important if you have adrenal imbalances. Why? Because not fuelling your body puts further stress on it. As long as I am ensuring that I am eating plenty of greens, and healthy protein and fats, if I am truly hungry, then I should give my body what it needs. This are a few key examples of what I turn to for healthy, low-sugar snacks that keep my blood sugar in check:
Brazil nuts: just 3 a day not only gives my body healthy fat and protein, it also gives me my recommended dosage of selenium which is essential for the thyroid and helps to boost the immune system.
Bone Broth: Many of us that lead stressful lives and careers, will likely have some sort of digestive imbalances. As a result, we may also have immune dysfunction as well. That’s why bone broth, coupled with extra doses of collagen (not always necessary), a scoop of homemade ghee, and a dash of turmeric, is a great way to heal the gut and boost the immune system.
Homemade Protein Bites: I started back at making my own protein bites when I realized that I wasn’t eating enough throughout the day and then ended up binge eating my dinner. These Chocolate Pistachio Protein Bites are my go-to and I’ve got a few more in the pipeline coming your way soon! If I don’t have time to make my own, I do reach for Nature’s Path Qia Bars – they’re grain free, and lower in sugar than most.
Foods that I am avoiding:
Sugar: when I look back at some of culprits that may have perpetuated my weekend crash, I realized that sugar may have been part of the issue. With Valentine’s Day in the office and heart shaped candies being tossed around, this may have sent my adrenals into a tail spin. I’ve never been one for sugar, but when I am not eating enough protein and fats, I tend to crave something sugary. It’s a dangerous slope. Amp up the fats and proteins!
Coffee: I love my coffee and I’m a big fan of amping it up with collagen, grass fed butter or ghee, hemp hearts, and some added flavouring such as cinnamon and vanilla. One of the other things that may have led me to the adrenal crash was that I upgraded my usual one cup a day to a grande. I know for a fat that sticking to one cup is the maximum that my body can handle. Now, many nutritionists (myself included) do promote the benefits of going caffeine/coffee free especially when you have adrenal issues. One of the things to consider is how you metabolize coffee – do you get jittery when you drink it? Do you get a head ache when you don’t have it first thing in the morning? If you answered yes to those two questions, then it may be best to avoid coffee. As an alternative to coffee, I love this Dandy Blend which I blend with the same ingredients as my fat-fuelled coffee – it’s delicious!
Exercise: In a recent post, I detailed the symptoms of high and low cortisol – do you fall into any of these categories? One of those symptoms was fatigue when working out and this was a key indicator for me as I am always active. I have been practicing yoga for about 12 years and over the past year, I was doing less of it and limited it to about one day per week. I know that yoga works best for me and my lifestyle. In fact, it’s a known fact that high impact exercise can be harmful for those with adrenal issues. Until you are healed, doing more low impact workouts is beneficial. I talk about this in my FREE Weekend Stress Detox and point you towards the essential workouts for us busy women!
Rest: talking about healthy rest is a passion of mine. The quality of your rest will directly impact your overall health and with any adrenal issues, it’s imperative that you improve this aspect. Getting 7-9 hours of sleep is a non-negotiable for me. If you read my post of the 10 Ways To Upgrade Your Sleep, you’ll learn the tips and tricks that I have when it comes to the zzzzz’s. It’s important to note that sleeping in when you can is a great benefit to your health – just do it!
Eat Life Balance and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on Eat Life Balance is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health related program.