In 2016-17, I was pretty sick. It started with pneumonia and got worse from there. At some point, my doctor diagnosed me with adrenal fatigue – basically, I’d been stressed out for so long my adrenal glands couldn’t keep up their usual endocrine dance. Some people debate whether adrenal fatigue is “real” diagnosis, and I’m not interested in arguing. I do know that by following these suggestions, I did feel better, and when I didn’t, I felt much, much worse. It took me about 2 years of alternating small improvements and plateaus to feel mostly healthy.
There’s a lot of material out there about the condition, and if you think you have it, I hope you’re working with a health care provider. What I want to do here is share the guidelines I followed and the recipes I relied on so if you are going through the same thing, you don’t have to expend your limited energy finding recipes.
As always: I am not a doctor. Your mileage may vary. Listen to your body and your health care provider. The guidelines my doc gave me were:
- Reduce or eliminate the source of the stress.
- Find something to smile about, laugh at, and enjoy every day.
- Be in bed before 10pm and nap as much as you want (without disturbing nighttime sleep).
- Rest twice a day (midmorning and midafternoon) for 15-20 minutes in a reclined position. I don’t know what the magic is, but being horizontal makes a HUGE difference.
- Gentle exercise only – don’t tire yourself.
- Stretchy yoga, t’ai chi and qigong
- Adrenal yoga session 1 – adrenalSupport
- Slow abdominal breathing
- Slow walks <1.5 miles
- Drink 2 liters salted water (a big pinch of real sea salt and maybe a squeeze of lime in a glass of water), rehydration solution, and/or broth daily
- Don’t eat foods you are sensitive or allergic to
- Have plenty of sodium
- Don’t let blood sugar crash
Adrenal fatigue recovery eating plan
Keeping blood sugar steady is incredibly important. For me, this is what it took to not let my blood sugar crash:
- Have protein, fat, and complex carbs at every meal.
- Aim for 20+g protein at breakfast.
- Don’t go hog wild, but don’t fear carbs, either. You need that easy blood sugar.
- Eat snacks as needed – including getting up in the night to eat if I wake up hungry. I highly recommend keeping a batch of these turkey/beef meatballs in the freezer – two of these are a perfect overnight snack.
I also figured out two years into this that I had a gut full of candida, which was making it very hard to keep my blood sugar steady and to sleep through the night. So, when treating that, I also added the usual anti-candida rules:
- No white rice, white flour, white pasta, white potatoes, fruit, or sweeteners of any kind
- …except a 5g sugar treat each day to keep me sane, e.g. 8 dark chocolate chips.
You may or may not have this issue.
Of course, it takes energy to feed yourself well, and that’s just what you don’t have. So having a plan help. When possible, I’d prep this stuff once a week:
- A vegetable-heavy soup in good broth (usually eaten as mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack)
- A big batch of turkey-beef meatballs or grilled chicken thighs (usually eaten at breakfast or middle of the night)
- And if possible, a big batch of cooked vegetables or freezing some pre-made meals to have for lunches
And then dinners were from this list, which I keep adding to under the tag “good_carb”. I’m going to sort/link some specific recipes in my next post.
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