"The battle is real," as my friend says.
And when it comes to adrenal fatigue and food, it is a tough battle to wage.
I don't know what it's like for others, but for me, it was a vicious cycle. Giving into fatigue led to mindless eating, and mindless eating usually meant unhealthy "comfort foods" that would put my body in a relaxed state that only fed the fatigue. And so the cycle went.
The fact is that much of our diet causes chronic inflammation to our organs and arteries. Inflammation puts stress on our bodies, which causes strain for our already overtaxed adrenals.
How Food Affects Adrenal Fatigue
The trick is to stop listening to our emotions that want to be soothed with chips, cookies and burgers, and go for the foods that will help heal our bodies, reduce inflammation and boost our metabolism.
Before we get into the do's and don'ts, I just want to say that I am trying my best to follow this plan. I'm not there yet, but I am much better than I used to be. I eat far fewer carbs, far more protein, far less junk food and sugar ... but I could eat more leafy greens.
Nix the Caffeine
One of the very first things you must do to help good adrenal function is to stop the caffeine habit. Caffeine is a stimulant. It agitates your body and causes your adrenal glands to work needlessly. Replace caffeinated drinks with water and herbal teas.
Cut the Carbs
While one needs carbs in their diet, we can all agree that our society consumes far too many carbs and far too few leafy greens. Carbs cause our blood sugar to spike, and in moderation, this is OK. But proteins help our energy levels work at a slow, even pace. To help your adrenal glands function better, switch to a lifestyle of lower carbs, higher protein and a large, daily dose of leafy green vegetables.
**Update! In February 2017 I began a ketogenic lifestyle, and it has been crucial in my healing process. Find my Keto articles and recipes here.**
To help with good digestion, begin to add foods to your diet that are rich in probiotics: natural yogurt, homemade sauerkraut, kefir and other fermented foods. These foods promote good health in the body, which aids in warding off viruses. By doing so, it cuts down on the stress your body would otherwise face.
Other Foods You Should Eat
—Fresh/raw seeds and nuts.
**Update 2018 – This list has been edited since writing it. I have crossed out the carb-heavy foods as I truly believe that only whole-food carbs can be advantageous for adrenal fatigue sufferers. Leave behind the grains and sugar, and reach for a sweet potato!
Food You Should Avoid
Two More Food Tips:
1. Food allergies and/or sensitivities put a lot of extra strain on the body. Many times we don't realize that we have food allergies or sensitivities until we've eliminated those foods from our diet.
I am lactose intolerant, and I've noticed that anytime I have food with milk or cream in it, my body suddenly feels horrible. An easy way to determine a food allergy or sensitivity is to do an elimination diet. Once you've eliminated all foods that typically cause a reaction, introducing them back into your diet one by one will help you determine whether you need to avoid a certain food altogether. Typical allergies or sensitivities are: dairy, eggs, gluten, nightshades and nuts.
2. Candida is an abundance of yeast in the body that can cause fungal infections. The result is a body that falls prey to viruses and an assortment of symptoms very similar—and connected to—adrenal fatigue. Following a Candida diet that restores your friendly bacteria and stops the yeast overgrowth will help to reduce stress in the body.
Rosilind Jukic, a Pacific Northwest native, is a missionary living in Croatia and married to her hero. Together, they live with their two active boys in the country, where she enjoys fruity candles and a hot cup of herbal tea on a blustery fall evening. She holds an associate degree in practical theology and is passionate about discipling and encouraging women. Her passion for writing led her to author a number of books. She is the author of A Little R & R, where she encourages women to find contentment in what God created them to be. She can also be found at these other places on a regular basis. You may follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.
This article originally appeared at rosilindjukic.com.
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