Guest Post by Sonia Turingia.
Cortisol is the peskiest lil hormone. Left to its own devices it causes a world of trouble. We’ve all heard about it. It’s the “stress hormone” and stress is the #1 cause of disease in the body.
Cortisol is designed to give you a quick boost of energy when you need to fight or flee a dangerous situation, like running from a Sabertooth tiger. It stimulates the adrenals to produce adrenaline. Giving you the energy and sharpness of mind outrun and escape that tiger. You’re running on adrenaline.
In our chaotic, deadline driven, society we often run around with our bodies reacting to everything as a threat. How many times have you “pushed through” the day despite being tired? Or start your day tired, hitting the snooze button, standing half awake under the shower? Then you make poor food choices and over use coffee and carbs to keep yourself going.
But there’s no tiger.
Repeated, daily high cortisol levels drains our adrenal glands and creates a serious hormonal imbalance. It can cause Adrenal Fatigue.
Adrenal Fatigue simply put is when the body’s demand for a constant supply of adrenaline cannot be met. You tank out. You hit the wall. You know that 3pm slump you hit on a rough day?? Imagine that…all …day….long.
Symptoms of an Adrenal Fatigue
• Fatigue – consistent, bone deep fatigue
• Inability to recover appropriately from exercise [you should feel tired postworkout for MAYBE 2030
minutes, then you should feel just fine. If you are dragging your ass for hours – that’s a sign!!]
• headaches with physical or mental stress
• weak immune system
• slow to wake – drag yourself out of bed after hitting the snooze button a few times
• feeling full or bloated after eating small meals
• craving sweets, caffeine, alcohol or cigarettes
• unstable behaviour/moods
• Waking up at 3am with an entire conversation going on in your head and you are unable to fall back
to sleep easily
• High blood pressure
• High insulin
• Low sexdrive
The Single Biggest Contributing Factor to Adrenal Fatigue is Stress.
It sounds simple enough, but the reality is that stress comes in so many shapes and sizes that it’s impossible to avoid it all together.
What we can do is identify the shapes and sizes that we can best control and make diet and lifestyle changes to work on lowering the stressload [reducing cortisol] in our bodies. We can find better ways to help our bodies to manage the stressors that we cannot eliminate.
And that’s where eating FAT comes in!
That’s Right, I Said Eat FAT
Fats like avocado, coconut oil, olives, feta cheese…these wonderful fats are soothing to the nervous system. It slows things down. Have you ever eaten a heavy meal [ like a bacon double cheeseburger] and felt sleepy afterwards??
Fat takes longer to break down than protein or carbs. It’s denser. It takes more energy to digest.
Use that fact to help heal your body!!
When you are nervous or highly stressed, eating a little bit of fat will calm you down!
• Have a smoothie with 1/4 avocado in it. Premake it in the morning when you know you’re going to
have a busy day and bring it with you.
• Keep a small jar of coconut oil at your desk and pop a teaspoon of it in your mouth 20mins before a
meeting or a presentation.
• Nibble some nuts and cheese
By calming the nervous system instead of stimulating it more [with coffee or sugar or carbs], you are effectively stopping the stress cycle. Cortisol isn’t pumping as high, nervous system calms down and the demand on your adrenals is less.
You are reducing the affect of the stress on your body.
4 Tools to Heal Your Adrenals
1. Eat FAT to satiety! Avocados, coconut oils & wraps, olives, nuts and seeds, fish oils [omega 3 fatty acids] ….to quiet the loop that feeds into higher cortisol production.
2. A variety of organic vegetables and small amounts of fruit.
3. Add mineral sea salt [Himalayan Pink salt] to food / water. This natural electrolyte will aid in re-
establishing hormonal balance.
4. A well-balanced (for you!) diet – focus on quality proteins and fats, add starch pre and/or post workout as needed for energy and recovery.
Keep it Simple
It’s not the stress that kills us. Its our lack of recovery from stress that kills us. Stress wouldn’t be such a bad word if it wasn’t a daily state of being.
Give that extra energy some FAT to chew on. You’ll feel calmer, regain focus and ROCK that stressful day without crashing.
Judge your “success” by how you feel at your next meal. Are you starving, shaky, low blood sugar??? Wereyou able to eat slowly and enjoy your food? Or were you soo hungry, you hoover’d it?
These are simple things. Easy to implement. But sometimes the simplest things work best.
If your interested in a high-fat snack, click HERE to get my delicious high-fat Chocolate Pudding Recipe!
Sonia is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and yoga teacher with a personal mission to helps others achieve kick ass health and athletic performance in the second half of their lives. Sonia has helped women of all ages to learn what they personally require to achieve kick ass health – and would be honored to help you, too! You can find out more by visiting her website.