Your ADRENAL glands, known as the governors of STRESS and ENERGY are a vital component of how we feel in our lives each and every day. Your resiliency, energy, sleep, and endurance ALL depend of the health and vitality of your ADRENALS.
Adrenal fatigue (hypoadrenia) is one of the most common factors playing into the most common health issues of our time.
With a wide collection of symptoms, everything from hormone imbalance, blood sugar issues, insomnia, chronic stress, frequent colds, auto-immune issues, and adult onset diabetes can all be a result of your adrenals CONKING out. Sound familiar?
The stresses that can cause ADRENAL FATIGUE can be physical, emotional, spiritual, environmental, and even infectious.
ANYONE can experience ADRENAL FATIGUE. Are you?
1. Eating for Healthy Adrenals
- Balance your Blood Sugar: One of the most important focus points is keeping your blood sugar stable. WHEN you eat is almost as important as WHAT you eat. Eating regular, frequent, and balance meals is critical to keep the adrenal hormones balanced therefore a healthy blood sugar balance. It is extremely important to eat before 10am to replenish your bodies glycogen supply after a long night of sleep. With adrenal fatigue you may not feel hungry in the morning, but you should try to eat something. Even a small nutritious snack is better than nothing. An early lunch is better than a late lunch, and your evening meal by 6. Be sure to keep healthy snacks near by for in between meals
- Salt: Craving salt is a common symptom in all stages of adrenal fatigue. Interestingly enough, most people with adrenal fatigue have low blood pressure. Salt (high quality sea salt) is a good addition to your diet, not excessive salting, but moderate salt to taste for your food. Often as your adrenals improve, your salt cravings will diminish.
- Avoid fruit in the morning: Eating fruit in the morning is a sure blood sugar spike. Not to give fruit a bad name, as it is a nutrient dense food group, just wait for your daily serving of fruit (organic please) until later in the day, and best to eat it with something else high in protein such as nuts.
- Food combining: If you are suspecting adrenal fatigue, try eating meals composed of fat, protein and carbohydrates. You can also include as many organic vegetables as you like. The importance of combining fat, protein and carbohydrates will support your adrenal output throughout the day by providing a consistent source of energy.
- Avoid eating foods you are allergic to: Most food allergy reactions include the release of histamines and/or other inflammatory substances in the body. If adrenal fatigue is real for you, get your food allergies tested (fast- IgE and slow- IgG) to make sure you are not creating more inflammation, and higher levels of cortisol which stress the adrenals further.
2. Adapt Your Yoga Practice
A gentle, restorative yoga practice can assist you in recovering from adrenal fatigue. If you practice asana regularly, consider downplaying the intensity of your practice – standing postures and unsupported backbends can stimulate the adrenals and work counterproductively towards your healing. Give yourself permission to SLOW DOWN and sink into that spacious place created by remaining still and breathing deeply. Restorative yoga emphasizes relaxing into postures for 2 to 5 minutes each, which activates the parasympathetic nervous system. When our adrenal glands are depleted, our parasympathetic nervous system becomes unbalanced. A balanced parasympathetic nervous system enables us to have strong digestion, good sleep, a strong immune system, and a feeling of overall calmness.
Check out your favorite yoga studio’s restorative class offerings! Here are a few yoga postures that can you can do at home to turn off the adrenal glands and find deep inner calm. Create a quiet, serene environment to absorb the benefits of these poses – light a candle, turn the lights down low, play some relaxing music, and make some time for only you.
Supported Balasana (Child’s Pose)
- Bring your big toes together and your knees wide apart. Slide a bolster or folded blankets between your thighs. As you exhale, extend your body forward, arms resting in front of you, and surrender your torso and one cheek onto the bolster. For extra support, you can place a folded blanket between your buttocks and heels. Stay here and take slow, deep breaths for several minutes, turning your head at the halfway point. As you breathe, soften your thighs and lower abdomen, broaden your hip creases, and widen your back body. To come out, walk your hands towards your body and remove the bolster.
Viparita Karani (Legs Up the Wall Pose)
- If you have never been in this pose before, you might have to play with the distance between your hips and the wall to find your sweet spot – the more flexible you are, the closer to the wall your hips can be and the higher your support can be. To begin, bring a bolster about 6 inches away from the wall and sit sideways on either end of the bolster. Bring the closer side of your body to touch the wall. On an exhale, swing your legs up onto the wall and bring your shoulders and head down onto the floor. Your torso should be gently arching from your shoulders to your pubic bone, so adjust your bolster as needed to achieve this. Soften your throat and lift your sternum towards your chin as you roll your shoulders away from one another, arms by your sides. Rest here for 5 to 15 minutes. To come out, remove the bolster first by pressing your feet into the wall and turn your body to one side, sitting up slowly.
Supported Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bound Bridge Pose)
- Lie back over a bolster or folded blankets until your torso is elevated and your shoulders touch the floor. If your shoulders do not reach the floor, place a blanket underneath your shoulders for support. Soften your thighs, belly, ribs, chest, and shoulders; create space in your upper rib cage for slow, deep breaths. Relax your neck, throat, jaw, and face. Stay here for several minutes. When you are ready to come out, bend your knees and plant your feet underneath them, remove your bolster, and lie flat on the floor. Turn to one side and slowly press yourself back up.
3. Add Some Adrenal Herbal Support
Herbs such as ashwaganda, tulsi (holy basil), licorice root, and eleuthero can help to strengthen the adrenal glands. Ashwaganda is my personal favorite – it has long been used in Ayurvedic healing and, like licorice root and eleuthero, functions as an adaptogen in the body. Adaptogenic herbs have an overall balancing effect on the body and are extremely effective in helping us recover from stress.
In addition to helping with stress levels, ashwaganda also stabilizes blood sugar levels and reduces anxiety. A fun and easy way to take these herbs on a regular basis is to create an herbal tea blend.
Adrenal Chai Recipe
6 cups Water
2 Tbsp Ashwaganda
2 Tbsp Eleuthero Root
2 Tbsp Licorice Root
8 Star Anise Pods
3 Cinnamon Sticks
1-3 inches Grated Fresh Ginger
2 tsp Fennel Seeds
1 Tbsp Black Peppercorns
2 Tbsp Whole Cloves
Honey and Milk to Taste
Place all herbs in a large pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 to 45 minutes. Strain the tea and enjoy.
4. Lead a Pleasure Based lifestyle for Adrenal Vitality
Pleasure is the most health inducing thing you can do for your health. Find something you like to do, and do more of it! It could be anything from dance to sacred touch, to enjoying a quiet candle lit meal. Your pleasure is YOUR prescription to greater health and balance. Customize your life to include daily pleasures just for you!
Potassium rich foods help to keep the sodium / potassium levels balanced in the body, which is critical for adrenals. Calcium and magnesium, vitamins A, B(s) and C are also important in stress regulation and adrenal function.
Often times, these valuable vitamins and minerals can be found in highly alkalizing vegetables. Feeling tired? Try increasing your daily servings and keep a food log to monitor any changes.
Many people with adrenal fatigue have a high acid body and should focus on consuming cruciferous veggies.
Green Chard Wrap w/Sunflower Seed Paté
1 leaf green chard, the large part of the vein removed
1 avocado, sliced
1 grated carrot
1 grated beet
Cumin, to taste
Pink Himalyan Salt, to taste
Wash and Prep the green chard leaf by removing the large part of the vein. Make sunflower seed paté and scoop into green chard. Top with avocado, beets, carrots, and sprinkle generously with cumin. Then, add salt to taste. Wrap up and devour.
Having trouble kicking the sweet tooth- try cooking the carrots for a sweeter taste.