I was packing my kids up for a trip to the park last month when I realized…something was wrong.
Work was finished for the day. The house was clean. My head felt clear, and the park sounded fun. But my heart was racing, and I felt riddled with anxiety. Full blown panic attack feeling had set in.
This had been happening more and more. This feeling that I was barely coping. Or, rather. The feeling that I wasn’t coping at all.
It scared me. As a single mom of four, working full time, shouldering the weight of finances and childcare, building a new love, maintaining a business, meeting deadlines, managing friends, trying to make yoga happen– life is busy. But, I’ve always been able to meet busy.
Yet the past six months, a near-constant anxiety has been building.
My hair has been falling out.
My belly has gotten soft.
My head feels spaced out constantly. Airheaded. Zoney.
My body doesn’t ever want to stop. Always itching to go. Even at bedtime.
Panic moments come. A lot. Randomly. Suddenly.
I googled my plight. Then started taking vitamins. I tried to get out for more workouts. But, nothing seemed to be helping.
THE UNEXPECTED ANSWER
Then, a few weeks back I was preparing for a recipe photoshoot of my bossguru’s new book, The ‘All-Day Energy’ Diet.
The book begins with his own story. As a teenager, he dealt with extreme lethargy, alopecia, and exhaustion. After meeting with handfuls of doctors who offered to patch his conditions with meds full of side-effects, Yuri struck off on his own and decided to try healing himself with pure nutrition. A few years later, he was playing pro soccer, and a few years after that he turned into the lively healthrepreneur he is today–an unstoppable, optimistic force to be reckoned with in the fitness industry.
I’m always fascinated by stories that begin with hurt and end with healing. I’m profoundly awed when the healing happens with food.
For so much of my life, food has been an enemy. Something to avoid. Something to curb. Something to stay away from.
Surrounded by diet books, weight loss mags, and the ongoing battle of trying to *not* eat that donut I so want to swim in, I’ve always felt a battle against food.
Reading Yuri’s book made me realize–food isn’t the enemy. Food is the cure.
And a powerful cure, too.
About midbook, Yuri offered up a checklist for “adrenal fatigue.”
I tend to be a pretty healthy soul, and “adrenal fatigue” sounded like one of those things crabby old women get after teh age of 82. But, sure enough. A look over the list and I realized. I was deep in the thick of adrenal fatigue.
DO YOU HAVE ADRENAL FATIGUE?
AdrenalFatigue.org lists these 5 signs as the most common indicators of adrenal fatigue:
- You have trouble getting up in the morning, even when you go to bed at a reasonable hour.
- You are feeling rundown or overwhelmed.
- You have difficulty bouncing back from stress or illness.
- You crave salty and sweet snacks.
- You feel more awake, alert and energetic after 6PM than you do all day.
I had every symptom on that list. What’s worse? I thought each of those numbers was normal.
Yeah, I was tired in the morning. Who wasn’t?
Sure, I was tired and overwhelmed. So was everyone, right?
Of course I craved salty and sweet snacks. Who didn’t?
As I read through the final chapters of The All-Day Energy Diet, I realized these things weren’t normal at all. It isn’t normal to feel foggy-headed. It isn’t normal to have your heart rate rise over enjoyable outings to the park. It isn’t normal to feel overwhelmed and exhausted, even if you have a busy day. And it certainly isn’t normal to feel keyed up during nighttime hours.
THE FIRST STEP IN HEALING MY ADRENAL FATIGUE
As I read through the book, it started to dawn on me just how abnormal I was feeling. That idea overwhelmed me. Panic started to rise. Jitters set it. I felt overwhelmed.
Yep, this was not normal. I needed to something, stat. But what?
The first thing is, buy the book. It’s a great read. (Plus, Yuri is giving a boatload of freebies away if you buy the hardcover from Sept 23-26. Visit his website for all the deets).
But, I don’t want you to have to wait for the book. If you’re like me and you suddenly realize something is awry with your system, here are two simple ways to start healing yourself:
- Quit coffee.
- Start your mornings with a green smoothie.
HERE’S WHY THESE TWO STEPS WORK: Let’s start with walking through what coffee does to your insides.
Coffee gives you energy by tickling your adrenal glands and telling them to secrete adrenaline.
Of course, other things throughout the day do this, too: stress, grief, cardio, sugar. All of these things send signals to your body that you’re in fight-or-flight mode. To get you through, your body boosts the adrenaline. You get energy to survive, and the adrenals wait for the next time you need them.
Problem is, of course, when the adrenals are called upon too often. They start getting tired. And once tired, they start firing at random.
Our family has this adorable video of my son Jacob, when he was a baby. While sitting in his highchair at the dinner table, he started drifting off to sleep with a chicken drumstick in his hand. His eyes would blink-blink-blink, his head would nod, he’d drop into a snore, then suddenly he’d pop up and bite into his drumstick, sleepily gnawing at it before sleepiness got the better of him, and he’d fight the drift into sleepiness once again.
This video reminds me of tired adrenals. Poor babies keep trying to get rest, but they can’t. Constantly behind, they shoot off what little adrenaline they have whenever they can. Which means they’re constantly behind, working at random, and totally off kilter all day long.
Which is why that enjoyable afternoon-trip-to-the-park had turned into a recipe for wired-and-tired-buzz-body. My morning coffee PLUS workstress PLUS major life changes PLUS busy mom everything PLUS PLUS PLUS was constantly calling on my adrenals. And they’d been so called on, they’d worn themselves out.
Once I realized this, I started replacing my morning coffee with a Green Smoothie. This is the second step inspired by Yuri’s All-Day Energy Diet.
THE ADRENAL FATIGUE SMOOTHIE
HOW GREENS HEAL: Yuri’s approach to healing adrenal fatigue and reclaiming your energy is to start by re-balancing your blood. Our modern-day diet is so full of acid-forming foods. Gluten, wheat, sugar, dairy, and processed shit. A body doesn’t get much fuel from these foods. It can digest them, but it doesn’t get life-giving nutrition from them. In other words, these foods deplete the body.
Thankfully, there are hundreds of raw, natural foods that replenish the body. The All-Day Energy Diet claim is that you can restore your energy, doubling it in just 7-days if you eat right.
Eating right begins with boosting your blood alkalinity with leafy greens. Cutting gluten, sugar, caffeine, and dairy out of your diet (these foods are the most common causes of allergies & disease-promoting internal inflammation) helps restore a natural blood pH, and floods your body with the nutrients it needs to heal itself.
There are dozens of ways to do this, but the easiest for me was to blend the most potent daily foods into a single smoothie. Here’s what goes into it:
Fresh kale. High in calcium, kale helps your body calm the nervous system, calming down that fight-or-flight response.
Greens Powder. A scoop of superfood greens powder adds that extra boost of detoxifying, cleansing supergreens. I’d never suck down a scoop of chorella or spirulina, but whipping it into a smoothie made it easy to sip.
Low in sugar, carbs, and calories, blueberries add serious disease-fighting antioxidants, PLUS a natural sweetness to the smoothie. I purchase frozen organic blueberries from Costco. It’s cheaper and easier than buying fresh blueberries, since I can buy in bulk, and store the berries in my freezer for weeks. So much better than running to the store every 3 days for freshies.
If you haven’t tried this superfood, it’s time to add it to your daily regiment. An ancient Aztec root, ground into powder, maca helps your body create hormone-regulating enzymes. It’s a powerful, natural way to help your adrenal hormones renormalize. As a snappy side note, maca is also said to have boob-boosting powers. And, though my boyfriend thinks I’m crazy, I promiseswear my breasts are boostier. This powder is seriously the shiz. If you’re having any kind of hormone irregularity, look into it with your doc as a truly effective option..
MCT is a combo of coconut and palm oils. It gives your body an energy boost with slow-burning fats that won’t make you crash mid-afternoon, supports weight loss, and strengthens the immune system.
Lemon helps hydrate the lymph system, and stimulates healthy enzyme function, which can help with body detoxification. High in potassium, lemon also helps the body relax and destress.
A little bit of sweet, not a drop of blood sugar spike. I add just a drop or two to cut any nappy greens flavor.
HOW LONG UNTIL IT WORKS?
Within three days of swapping smoothie for coffee, I noticed a difference. That panicked feeling stopped firing at random times. I didn’t feel so groggy in the morning.
Within a week, I kept saying to The Boyfriend, “OMG! I’m wittier, aren’t I?” I suddenly felt more clearheaded, more capable of paying attention, more able to engage in the now. And I stopped feeling frantic when stress & busyness struck.
Busy work days were just that–busy, not impossible.
Busy kid nights were just that–busy, not overwhelming.
After one week, I felt a measurable shift. Within two weeks, I felt like the better version of me. More alert, more capable, more in control of my wild and zany life.
What a relief to discover such a simple fix to months and days and weeks of stressinsanityworryburdenchaos.
One smoothie. Once a day.
If you think you may be adrenal fatigued, try swapping your morning coffee for this smoothie. Then, pick up Yuri’s book and let him walk you through the rest of his program.
It’s a powerful reminder that food isn’t the enemy. It shouldn’t be avoided. It shouldn’t be fought against.
Food—real food–should be eaten.It should be enjoyed.
And when eaten right, food heals.