In this installment of the adrenal fatigue series we are going to cover the second part of diet. This will be the foods and beverages that need to go when trying to heal the adrenals. You’ll find the first part of the diet series here.
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Now let’s get stuck into the topic of what has to go from our diet to in order to heal and restore energy.
Adrenal Fatigue Diet & Lifestyle – Part 2
It probably comes as no surprise but poor diet in general is a complete stress on our adrenals not to mention everything else it puts stress on in our bodies.
Poor dietary practices are hormone wreckers and the biggest culprits are sugar and sugar substitutes, refined carbohydrates, processed food and junk, trans fats, caffeine, pesticide and chemical laden foods and alcohol.
There’s probably a few things on that list that you’re currently consuming, perhaps in too high a dosage, so if you suspect adrenal fatigue, now might be a good time to implement change.
So let’s look at some of these things a little more closely.
Sugar and sugar substitutes
When it comes to healing the adrenals, blood sugar regulation is very important. Cortisol is responsible for keeping blood sugar normal by taking peptides and coverting them to glucose. As someone has an increased demand for blood sugar, it causes an increase in peptides and the making of new glucose, a process known as gluconeogenesis.
We need more glucose to provide energy to the body. The problem is that with adrenal problems cortisol is not functioning properly and often goes from lows to highs. That means eating excess sugar puts additional load on the adrenals that we just don’t need.
Sugar is in so many foods and comes in many different forms and is hidden in foods. Look for sugar, high fructose corn syrup, honey, and any ingredient that ends in ‘ose’ or ‘tol’, as these are often sweenteners. Examples include glucose, sucralose, maltose, dextrose, sorbitol, and xylitol.
Sugar substitutes can also have the same affect on the body, they still promote a response the same way sugar does. Chemical sweeteners such as equal, aspartame, and saccharin are obviously the worst, but even natural sweeteners can contribute to the load, so go easy on stevia, xylitol, palm sugar, agave, molasses and so forth.
Refined carbohydrates, processed food and junk, trans fats
I’m going to lump all of these things in together because often refined carbohydrates come packaged up in the form of processed foods, and on top of that are frequently full of trans fats. Refined carbohydrates also include anything white, and made with white flours etc.
I don’t think I need to go into detail here on just how many processed, crappy foods are out there. Unfortunately we are surrounded by crap foods, and many of the ‘foods’ on the supermarket shelf are not what we want to be eating. I often say that the cardboard box contains more nutrition than the so called food inside 🙂
Pesticide and chemical laden foods
Pesticides and chemicals in foods also have an impact, especially upon our senstive hormones, so wherever possible it’s best to choose organic fruits, vegetables and meats. I know this isn’t always possible due to cost restrictions and sourcing items, but just do your best because everything you do, no matter how small will all have a positive outcome overall.
If you can’t eat organic food you can still heal.
Don’t drink your sugar
Beverages can be an area easy to slip up on when it comes to sugar. All sodas and diet drinks have to go but also on the list of outs is fruit juices. Even if you squeeze your own fruit juice it is still like injecting sugar into your body. If you don’t believe me, you might want to look at this article here.
If you do like to juice, stick to vegetables only because you really don’t need that spike in insulin.
One I know you may not want to give up but if you think you have problems with adrenals, it really has to go. It messes with your sleep, it screws up your hormones, and it only adds to your body’s overloaded stress response.
Caffeine is a powerful stimulant and when suffering from adrenal fatigue it’s something we often reach for in order to start the day, get through the day, and bump us up when we need it. But this is only having an adverse affect upon our cortisol highs and lows that will only perpetuate the issue, even one coffee is no good when trying to heal the adrenals. So goodbye coffee 🙁
Here is a way to stop drinking coffee without getting a headache.
Alcohol tends to be another downfall of adrenal fatigue.
We’re stressed out, overwhelmed, tired, wired, and fed up, so a nice glass of wine or a bottle really looks appealing at the end of the day!
We have this idea in our heads that it helps us relax, and it does momentarily. But the adverse affects are that it doesn’t allow us to get a long and restful sleep. It may promotes a spike in cortisol during the night. It raises your insulin and blood pressure, and heightens the flight or fight response. We need to work on calming the system, so alcohol is a no, no. And that’s all alcohol, not one drop is allowed during the healing process.
When we have problems with our adrenals, we’ll often crave many of the foods above because we are looking for fast fuel and a lift to get us through the day. If you’re having strong addictive behaviour toward sugar, processed foods high in carbohydrates, or caffeine, don’t overlook adrenal health as a possible cause. No it’s not just your lack of willpower 🙂
The next article on this series is over here. We’ll cover what to eat and when.
Nutritionist and Health Coach
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