Anyone else feel completely exhausted, run down, constantly stressed and overwhelmed all the time? Like walking dead perhaps? Do you ever fall apart and cry because you don't have the energy to take care of your family? Raise your hand fellow hot mess moms...
I recently learned about Adrenal Fatigue, which my acupuncturist Amy Rhodes appropriately calls, "Modern Mom Disease." (not to say just moms get adrenal fatigue, of course). My youngest is almost 3 now and I recently remembered I had my own self to take care of as well, not just my little ones - granted this doesn't come easy when your children are really young and have constant needs. Our to-do lists these days are insane and our bodies unfortunately pay the price. Adrenal glands are walnut sized organs that sit on top of the kidneys and are responsible for cortisol regulation, metabolism, keeping inflammation under control and our energy levels. They secrete stress hormones in fight-or-flight situations, which in modern busy lifestyles is pretty much all the time. They become over worked, "fatigued" and burn out from constantly secreting hormones.
The Dutch Test (test for hormones and adrenals) confirmed my suspicions of Adrenal Fatigue, and my numbers are in the tank, like full burn out levels. I don't like feeling this way and am committed to making changes, slowing down and being kind to myself. My Integrative Family Doctor , Cammy Benton MD, has me on a plan that involves the following and I'm hoping 6 months will make a big impact on how I feel:
NUTRIENT DENSE DIET WITH LOTS OF HEALTHY FATS AND FIBER
Avoid sugar, processed foods and hydrogenated oils. No more grains for breakfast and I now have a green smoothie (with Juice Plus Complete) and a hard boiled egg instead. Protein in the morning is really important to nourish adrenals throughout the day and cutting grain eliminates the mid-day energy dump.
...Ouch. Yes, I dropped coffee......this was tough since I love the flavor, smell, my mugs, the jumpstart and routine of it. Pretty much everything about coffee I love. But caffeine KILLS your adrenals, so I'm a tea girl now and am loving the way it makes me feel - I'm no longer jacked up all the time and didn't realize how much I used to tremble and shake from caffeine. I'm sleeping much better also - learned that the average half life for coffee is 6 hours meaning that after 6 hours half the caffeine is still in your system. That's' an average, so some people (like myself) are more sensitive and it can effect you much longer than you think.
FOCUS ON GOOD SLEEP.
Commit to 8-10 hours a night. This is hard when your little ones still wake at night....I am hooked on Doterra's Serenity essential oil and put on the bottom of my feet before bed every night.
Magnesium, Vitamin D, Vitamin B Complex, Ashwaghanda, Rhodiola, fish oil, holy basil and maca.
No more high impact and cardio, which put stress on your adrenals. I've been doing yoga 3 times a week and walking.
I've been going every two weeks and it is a wonderful way to support your adrenals. In Charlotte I highly recommend Amy Rhodes and have been her patient for nearly a decade - I prefer an acupuncture session with her over a massage any day.
MINDFULNESS AND MEDITATION.
I took a Primordial Sound Meditation class with Brenna Smith based on Deepak Chopra's teachings (highly recommend) and 15 minutes every morning has made a big difference. I'm working on being less distracted and more present and mindful.
Every day carve out some down time for yourself when you're not tackling your to-do list. Do things that let you zone out. Part of mine is making this drink, but I also enjoy my mindfulness coloring books and sewing projects like knitting, while listening to coffee house type music.
I realize this all sounds like a lot of changes, but keep in mind its for about 6 months while your body heals. I have been following this protocol for about a month now and can tell a huge improvement - I no longer feel on edge all the time, am more patient with the kids and am more present. Less frazzle, more zen.
One of the key adrenal healing herbs is Ashwaganda, which is an adaptogen that helps the body deal with stress and lower cortisol. Everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to Dr. Axe raves about its benefits and ability to protect the body against the effects of toxic stress as well as, regulate hormones, help with insomnia and anxiety.
Problem is it's AWFUL and the bitter taste will absolutely destroy your smoothie - I drank about five smoothies with Ashwaganda and just couldn't bring myself to do anymore. I really really wanted wanted to figure out a way to incorporate it into my day, so I googled recipes with Ashwaghanda, the stars aligned and I learned about moon milk. Two winner recipes came up from Bon Apetit (https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/moon-milk) and the famous LA's Moon Juice's Golden Milk recipe (http://www.fathomaway.com/moon-juice-golden-milk-recipe/) which I used to play around with and adapted into my own recipe. The ingredients are like an anti-inflammatory, detoxifying, healing DREAM TEAM: turmeric (another ingredient I have been desperate to figure out to use regularly), ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and of course, ashwaghanda all is creamy, protein rich homemade almond milk. I decided to add a little bit of my Sweet's Syrup and the combination is DIVINE - has a very Thai/Indian vibe.