Today I am doing a little blog update from a cozy coffeehouse in Uptown Dallas, Texas. Exciting! So.
The number one question I am asked when it comes to adrenal balance is, “What do you eat?” This is a biggy. I believe that what you eat 100% affects your health & LIFE.
When you’re dealing with adrenal fatigue, a few adjustments can make a BIG difference. (Check out my first AF posts: here & here!)
There are so many books & theories out there about the perfect “diet”–it can be overwhelming. I know I felt very confused at first, but over the past couple years I have learned so much and I’m excited to simplify and share!
First. A brief history. When I was diagnosed with stage three adrenal fatigue, my diet (& body) was waaaaaay out of wack. I knew it, because I didn’t feel healthy AT ALL. I had gained a good 25 lbs and had NO energy. I was in a rut that I desperately needed to get out of.
The CRAVINGS. Oh man, the cravings. My body was pretty much running on sugar & caffeine. Two things I seldom touch these days and two things that are at the top of the list when you read about things to avoid with AF.
Once I figured out what was good for my body and what wasn’t, I slowly started to balance out. The cravings subsided (THANK GOODNESS I FELT CRAZY!)– and the weight that I so desperately tried to “work” off pretty much took care of itself.
Back. To. Normal.
Below I outline three of the major points I believe helped me move onward & upward on the road to happy healthy adrenals. I also typed out a few of my staples towards the end just to give a brief view of what my week typically looks like. Let’s go!
1. Intuition. Seriously. This is number one for a reason! When I was first introduced to the idea I was frustrated. I wanted a clear cut action plan… not someone telling me to get more in tune with my body! However, it couldn’t be more true. Think about it. There are a million different theories (vegan, macrobiotics, paleo etc.) that work for different people. Many times I would eat things that I knew didn’t jive with my body (soy, dairy, grains) because someone else that was “healthy” advised it, so it should be good right? Not neccessarily! One persons medicine is another person’s poison. You really truly need to listen to you own body.
When you eat something how do you feel right after? What about an hour later? Or a few hours later? Sluggish? Bloated? Energized? Anxious? Satisfied?
Please keep this in mind with all of my suggestions below. This is what worked for me. Take what feels good, leave what doesn’t. Try something new. You’ll surly get the hang of it and you’ll be navigating yourself to the wellness that is right for you before you know it!
2. THE GOOD. This is a collection of what I have read works for AF and also what I have tried and works for me. I mentioned in my previous posts that I try to eat as clean as possible. Pretttty much what that means is that I try to avoid the packaged and the processed.
A lot of time, when we are eating things that our body doesn’t recognize (colors, dyes, preservatives, sugars & artificial sweeteners) our natural internal brilliance gets downright confused. When you think about it, back in the day, we never had access to any of the junk that is called food these days. We had, well, REAL FOOD. CLEAN FOOD.
An abundance of Veggies/Greens/Fruits/Protein/Nuts/Seeds! The scariest part for me during this transition was thinking everything had to be difficult and time consuming. It doesn’t! There are so many absolutely delicious healthy things you can prepare easily. I usually tweak a mix of Vegany/Primalish recipes. At the bottom of the post I put a few examples of how I mix up all of the above and some links to resources to finding clean recipes! Seriously, YUM.
3. THE CHALLENGING. Things to probably avoid, at least at first. When doing my AF research, I read that you really want to stay away from things that will “stimulate” your adrenal glands. Things like caffeine, processed sugar and alcohol most definitely do that and are at the top of the list.
For all my coffee lovers out there, I FEEL YOU! (I went without my java for a few good months and now I am the girl shamelessly ordering decaf at Starbucks early in the morning!)
Some other things… gluten! The day I gave up gluten my life changed! SERIOUSLY. For me, gluten doesn’t feel right. Messes up my digestion and lowers my energy levels. I will still do some grains like quinoa. However, other grains like rice and oats don’t sit well, even if they are gluten free.
Large amounts of dairy doesn’t do it for me either, small amounts here and there seem to be fine. I try to find high quality dairy if I do eat it. (Organic 1/2 & 1/2 in my decaf, blue cheese crumbles on my salads… but you definitely won’t see me drinking a glass of milk or eating pizza!)
Alcohol is another thing that stresses out the adrenal glands. I avoided it during the first several weeks and now I enjoy a hard cider on occasion. I prefer not to drink a lot though.
It really is all about the BALANCE.
I know, if someone would have said that to me while I was in stage three I would have wanted to smack them! “I am doing my BEST to stay balanced!”, was my thought. However, it really is all about the holistic balance. Awareness in all aspects of your lifestyle, foods, sleep patterns etc. When you give your body the correct tools, it will return to its natural state: health and equilibrium.
During my Yoga Teacher Training we talked a lot about the effects of being too rigid. It is most definitely unhealthy to be too strict or hard on yourself. I believe this to be especially true when it comes to what we eat. Do what you can, when you can. Stressing out about this will only compromise your healing, not accelerate it.
Follow your intuition. Do what feels good and NEVER EVER give up. Take your health into your own hands. Trust yourself. Invest in yourself. Embrace the new found realizations with positivity and determination. Keep learning and keep loving. This is what I like to call, the BEST LIFE. You deserve it, my friends.
A couple of my staple meals. I eat them all at different times so I didn’t specify breakfast/lunch/dinner/snack. This is what my week mainly looks like and I might indulge a bit on the weekend, but my boyfriend and I really like to “keep it clean.”– I’m telling you, you’ll feel so much better!
I’ll also add a few links to some places I draw recipes from. Even just going into Trader Joes and grabbing whatever, making different meals with a protein and some veggies. The options really are endless! –
*2 organic eggs scrambled with mushrooms, green peppers & olive oil over a bed of spinach, cut up avocado & salsa. This is SUPER versatile, you can pretty create any kind of omelet you want full of veggies and goodness.
*Big smoothie! Pretty much have one every single day. I use water, spinach, kale, avocado, almonds, 1/2 frozen banana and frozen blueberries. There are also a MILLION and one green smoothie recipes online. They are full of greens and taste delicious.
* Big Salads. Mixed greens, some type of protein (chicken, tuna, turkey, salmon etc.) and fresh veggies anything you want!… cucumbers, celery, avocado, tomato, peppers etc. Throw in some walnuts, or sunflower seeds.
This is completely up to you to create exactly what you want. I usually try to remake a healthier version of my favorite restaurant salad.
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*Start with a piece of protein like my salad (chicken, turkey, salmon etc.) and make a good veggie on the side. I got a lot of ideas from Practical Paleo. I make yams slices baked with olive oil, asparagus baked with olive oil, broccoli and maybe a little salad to go with it. It all cooks up pretty quickly.
*Hot Quinoa (easier for me to digest then g/f oatmeal)- – with walnuts, a bit of honey & a big scoop of almond butter and splash of organic milk. apple on the side or cut up in the bowl.
*Coconut Yogurt (the least processed I can find, plain) with raw sunflower seeds & berries, apple or celery with almond butter, pistacios or almonds etc.
The kitchen was never my strong point so I am still working on it. Meal prep is so very important and I am learning more and more everyday. I am starting to really enjoy looking up new recipes and trying out different things.. (did I really just type that?) Wow! Now that is progress! ;)
Check out this list from Mark Sission. SUPER helpful.
Phew! If you made it this far, I thank you! I hope you were able to find value in the post. If you know someone that might benefit from this information, please, share! I wish each of you endless health & happiness.
To the BEST LIFE! XO