Adrenal fatigue is a stress condition that occurs when your adrenal glands, pituitary glands and hypothalamus are all underperforming. This is caused from long term physical and/or emotional stress. When adrenal fatigue is occurring it leads to a lower number of hormones and neurotransmitters in the body, that will affect the body in a myriad of ways.
How do you know if you're experiencing adrenal fatigue? The symptoms are:
-difficulty getting out of bed in the morning
-extreme fatigue throughout the day
-food cravings (mostly sugary and salty foods)
-dark under eye circles
-overuse of stimulants like caffeine
-increased energy in the evening
-weakened immune system
-inability to handle stress
I have experienced the above symptoms and IT IS torture! My experience with it is: I can't get out of bed in the morning, no matter how much sleep I've gotten. I feel like a zombie all day and need 2-3 cups of green tea to stay awake. I get very overwhelmed very easily so work becomes pretty difficult. My skin gets VERY dry and I'll notice that I'm bloated all the time. Also, my sugar cravings get out of control. I feel like I NEED something sweet every 3 -4 hours and if I don't let myself, I become very agitated. I also know it's getting bad when I start to consider spoon eating maple syrup or jelly. And without fail every night, I will wake up (and I mean, ready to start the day) at 1am and 4am and have trouble falling back asleep. I've been experiencing these symptoms on and off since I was 29. Back in May, I was complaining about how I felt to my coach Lacy and she was the one who said, "yep. you're experiencing adrenal fatigue". It felt great to have a name for what I was experiencing and even better when she gave me a protocol to help me heal.
Her protocol is adapted from Women Code , which I think should be a must read for every woman. It's a very empowering book because it gives you incredible knowledge about your body, hormones and period. The protocol calls for no stimulants (caffeine, cacao or chocolate), no processed sugar and only low sugar fruit like berries/citrus (although I can do bananas because they don't spike my blood sugar), protein within the first hour of waking up, protein every three hours and 8 hours of sleep every night. The idea is to keep blood sugar stable (more protein and less sugar) to keep energy levels from crashing and preventing your adrenals from pumping out too much cortisol.
I followed this protocol for 3 months and I felt amazing! I had so much energy and all my symptoms went away. After the 3 months, I thought I was completely healed and returned to drinking green tea, eating sugar, not being strict about my bed time and lax about my protein intake. It was mostly because I felt great and it was summer! During summer the rules loosen and I run around more, soaking up all the magic warm nights provide. At the end of August, I started to notice my symptoms returning but brushed them off. By mid September, I could no longer deny that I was back where I started and was again experiencing adrenal fatigue. I was frustrated at first but, it showed me one of my patterns which is work hard until things feel good and then get lazy. I learned through seeing this pattern that when I work hard towards a goal and start to see the benefits of that hard work, I have to keep working hard because that's when the real work really begins. After experiencing the unbearable fatigue once again, I'm back on the protocol and on my way to feeling amazing!
The protocol is super easy for me. At first, I was thrown by the protein intake but, I realized I can get protein very easily as a vegan. I rely heavily on hemp seeds, lentils, nut butters and nuts. The only problem I was having was finding a good protein dense breakfast that I loved. Enter Loni Jane to save the day! She published her burcha cup recipe on her website and I knew I had to try it. The burcha cup is creamy, delicious, full of protein, healthy fats and low in sugar (and high in probiotics!) so, it's perfect for helping heal adrenal fatigue. I've been eating it every morning (thanks for the push for me making it Stevie!) and it keeps my blood sugar stable, my energy high and me feeling great. Plus, it's incredibly yummy! I linked to the recipe so please check it out and start making this perfect breakfast for yourself too!
If you want more information on the protocol or adrenal fatigue, please reach out and I would love to help guide you!