How I Developed the Perfect Adrenal Fatigue Diet
You have probably heard someone say “necessity is the mother of invention”. This was indeed true for me personally and ultimately what lead me to develop the perfect adrenal fatigue diet. You see, I too had adrenal fatigue just like you. I was the guy that got up in the morning feeling tired for no reason. Regardless, I would push my self to get to work and by 11am my eyes were drooping because I was “out of gas”. But I knew if I could just drag myself through the afternoon, my energy would perk back up in the evening once I got home.
Now you may be thinking that I was eating a bad diet and not exercising and that this was the reason I felt lethargic and found it difficult to stay motivated. But you would be wrong. In fact, my diet was extremely clean, a 100% Paleo Diet. As for exercise, I was weight training 4 days per week and was even just a few months off of a natural bodybuilding competition that I been successful at. What I realized after reading fellow doctor James Wilson’s book Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome, is that I was right in the middle of this condition. But what was suggested for recovery were things that I was already doing, so I had to think outside of the box. So I started with food and asked what should the perfect adrenal fatigue diet contain.
How Food Affects the Adrenal Glands
The adrenal glands are one of the most dynamic glands of the body. They have to adapt to all forms of stress; lack of sleep, toxins in the environment or a stressful day at work. These stresses add up and collectively take their toll on your adrenal glands. But as stressful as these things are, there is one stress that trumps them all; fluctuations in your blood sugar, or glucose. In fact, cortisol, the hormone we commonly think about as the stress hormone, is also called a glucocorticoid. “Gluco” in the name glucocorticoid emphasizes the importance of cortisol in regulating glucose. When glucose levels are low, cortisol kicks in to bring them back up. Thus foods that help prevent glucose from dropping, also known as hypoglycemia, should be primary considerations on the adrenal fatigue diet.
Commonly Recommended Foods on the Adrenal Fatigue Diet
If you research adrenal fatigue diet, you will most certainly find some consistent recommendations, that by and large are good and that should be followed. Most often food are broken down into categories of what do eat and not do eat, with more emphasis often given to what not to eat. For example, sweeteners, artificial and natural, hydrogenated oils, caffeine and processed foods like those in the standard American diet. Without question, these should be avoided, especially since they can also trigger inflammation, another stressor for the adrenal glands.
Then there is the common list of foods to include. Included are usually fats and proteins from healthy sources and vegetables. Such fats are coconut oil, avocados, olive oil, nuts and seeds. Recommendations for protein are often fish and lean meats with extra emphasis placed on consuming them in the morning and in divided dosages throughout the day. As I mentioned, I think each one of these is an excellent idea and absolutely should be part of your adrenal fatigue diet. But there still remains one group of foods that I don’t often see making the list.
The Food Group That Deserves More Emphasis
If you suffer from adrenal fatigue, you have a higher likelihood of having low blood sugar. This is the result of insufficient cortisol production. Lack of cortisol means that there is no significant hormonal support to prevent your blood sugar levels from dropping. So logic would suggest if your blood sugar is low, eat more sugar. But this causes a spike in blood sugar which is another adrenal gland stressor. So what you need is more carbohydrate, that does not spike your blood sugar, and that reduces the need secrete cortisol so as to help your adrenal gland recover. How are your going to get all of that in one food? Easy, starchy vegetables.
If you have adrenal fatigue, well times starchy vegetables should be a key addition to your diet. While vegetables often make the adrenal fatigue diet list, it is the inclusion of starchy vegetables that takes that list of foods from average to exceptional. Most vegetables do not have any significant carbohydrate contribution to the diet. Starchy vegetables on the other hand do. Now before you default to adding potatoes to your diet, realize that starchy vegetables includes far more foods than potatoes, or even sweet potatoes. The starchy vegetables that will make up part of your meal include things such as okra, turnips, rutabagas, parsnips, large / winter squash, and beets just to name a few. The adrenal fatigue diet would not be complete without these foods as they don’t spike blood sugar, reduce inflammation, reduce cortisol secretion and allow the adrenal gland to rest. They are nature’s ideal food to help the adrenal glands recover.
To help you get these foods incorporated into your adrenal fatigue diet, I want you to have a comprehensive list of Starchy Vegetables that will help speed your recovery. The more active you are, the greater the likelihood that you will need more of these foods. If you are less active, you may only need a small addition of these foods to your diet.
Follow My Road to Recovery
While my road to recovery incorporated a few key supplements such as high dose pantothenic acid (B5), the addition of adequately timed starchy vegetables helped me refine what I now feel to be the perfect adrenal fatigue diet. This diet has proven itself not only to me, but also to countless patients that I have helped overcome adrenal fatigue. It was also one of the reasons that I wrote The Paleo Transition Cookbook that offers quick recipes that incorporate starchy vegetables. Appropriate amounts of starchy vegetables should not make up the majority of your diet. However, if you want to recover as fast as possible from adrenal fatigue, starchy vegetables should be routinely consumed as part of a balanced Paleo Diet, which will inherently be YOUR perfect adrenal fatigue diet.
Thank you for the info in helping understand the adrenals and how to help with the healing through diet. I will start today with my food choices. I was curious about supplements also. I know there are some deficiencies that can contribute to adrenal fatigue. Can you recommend some common ones? I know zinc and vit c are helpful and I was told that my bloodwork showed low vitamin D so I have added that to my daily supplements.
Vitamin C and B5 are at the top of the list.