Monday, August 9, 2010
Fun with Adrenals
Hello! Wonder where I've been? Oh, it's too much for one post...we'll have to draw it out. For now can we just chalk it up to summer break? For those who are still with me, thank you so much, and I hope all the new info I have to share was worth the wait.
First, what do you know about your adrenal glands? Do you even know where they are? They are these little walnut-sized gems that sit on top of your kidneys. And as I've learned over the past 4-5 weeks, they actually pack a punch! When they get tired you're in trouble. I have a slight case of adrenal fatigue syndrome.
But, the good news is, you can often perk them back up with a healthy diet. I've been reading this amazing book, Adrenal Fatigue, by Dr. James Wilson. I also had an amazing chat with nutritional guru, Katerina Getchell, after hearing her on a teleconference with Christine Arylo. You also must increase sleep and reduce stress (even good stress).
Even though I eat really high quality foods, and would normally stack my diet beside anyone's, since going through some rather challenging experiences after the first of the year I noticed the following symptoms:
1. I was either craving sugary snacks (more than a weekly More Cupcake hit) and salty bits every day, usually around 3-4pm. I once had an entire jar of pickled okra for dinner!
2. My muscles seemed to take longer to recover from my normal 90-minute Sunday yoga practice.
3. I would get this weird energy burst around 10 or 11pm, when normally I'm out by 10pm.
4. I was always a little sleepy, but didn't sleep well and would often wake really hot, which made me worry I was pre-meneposal.
5. Although I hadn't gained on the scales, my belly has become more poochy than usual (Even when I was quite under weight I have a pooch. I love it, but like to keep it under control)
So...what do you do? Everyone is different, so you really need to read up. And I actually got blood work done and specifically told my Dr. what I was concerned about as many doctors don't really look at adrenals. After learning I had a slight case of fatigue I came up with the following plan:
1. When I wake I drink a glass of warm water with 1/2 tsp. of sea salt. It's gross, and I gagged the first few times, but now it doesn't bother me as much.
2. Eat early and often. I haven't given up my 1.5 cups of coffee, but it is no longer the first thing in my tum. I have a green drink, packed with spinach, mango, avocado, flax see and almond milk.
3. Have your lunch a bit earlier (around 11am) and then a good snack between 1-2pm. This helps me in a huge way. Huge!!!
4. Be consistant with your sleep time. And, when possible, sleep until 9am. For me this is really difficult as I naturally wake around 5:30am, so "sleeping in" means 7am. But I'm working on it. Try to get 8 hours, at least, every night. Really. Try it.
And here are a couple of recipes that will make your adrenal glands smile!
Black Bean Soup (from Kitchen Doctor)
2 T. clarified butter or virgin olive oil
2 t. cumin seeds
7 cloves of garlic
1 large yellow or red onion
1 cup rinsed black turtle beans
1 dried red chili pepper
2 t. turmeric powder
2 t. freshly grated ginger (or ginger powder)
bouillon powder or cubes
Sauté in cumin seeds in clarified butter or extra virgin olive oil until golden brown. Do not burn the seeds!
Add chopped garlic and chopped onion and sauté until the onions are translucent. Add black turtle beans and ample water (use large pot.) Add the chili pepper. When the beans start to become a bit tender, add the turmeric powder and some ginger. When the beans are completely tender, add the bouillon for flavor.
While the beans continue to cook, drink the liquid (which should be a bit thick.) Top off the water and add more turmeric and ginger and bouillon to taste. Eat as much as desired, but do not refrigerate and reheat. The beans can be kept warm in a slow cooker and eaten several times a day to build stamina and drain fluids from the body.
Sesame Ginger Kelp Noodles (from Dr. Rita Marie)
Sea veggies are supposed to be especially great for your endocrine system. I'm trying to incorporate more of them into my diet to up minerals and natrual salts. I think of this as more of a noodle-salad, and added some shredded cabbage, straw mushrooms, thin slices of carrots and red bell pepper.
1 bag kelp noodles
1 inch slice ginger
2 tablespoons raw sesame tahini
1/4 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
1 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
1 clove garlic (optional)
2-3 tablespoons of lemon (or more to taste)
1/4 – 1/2 cup water (depends on desired consistency)
chopped greens, scallions or other veggies
Put kelp noodles in a bowl and rinse well. Cover with water until sauce is ready. In blender, combine remaining ingredients until smooth. Adjust water to achieve a thick smooth consistency. Adjust salt to taste.
Pour sauce over noodles and massage with hands to help the noodles soften. Add chopped veggies if desired. Sprinkle with sesame seeds (optional). Eat immediately or save for later. The noodles soften more the longer they sit in the sauce
note: the noodles can have a fairly strong sea smell, so you really need to rinse them. I liked this salad a lot, but will make a dressing that's a bit more spicey next time...maybe add chile flakes and a little agave nectar.