It’s been quite a year transitioning from eating junk food to my juice feast to eating raw to eating a whole foods diet. It’s definitely been a great feeling to lose 25 lbs.! It’s nice to be a size 6 and it’s awesome to have everything fit great! (I really do need a stylist though, I don’t know how to shop apparently)But, my main reason for doing all of this was to HEAL MY BODY. And I haven’t quite accomplished that yet. BUT, there is hope. And I have found something that is helping, tremendously!
So, as you know I suffer from dizziness. Sometimes I get the spinning vertigo too, but mostly I deal with a general dizziness. I’ve noticed it gets worse when I am stressed or anxious. Which I get because I’m worried about being dizzy. It’s a vicious cycle, you guys. I’ve gone to MULTIPLE doctors, had MRI’s of my brain, did allergy shots for 3 years, been on diuretics to rule out Meneire’s Disease, been on anti-seizure meds, basically if it’s available, I’ve done it.
I was in the library one day and I came across this book, called “Are you Wired & Tired?”. It’s a book all about ADRENAL FATIGUE and how that is the cause of A LOT of issues women have with hormones and energy and libido and well just everything we deal with. I wrote about that HERE. Well, the book had a pretty strict diet (ie gluten-free) and I really didn’t want to/didn’t believe my body needed that. The week of the 4th of July I was really feeling rotten and there was no explanation as to why. I was super tired, dizzy, tired, sluggish, did I mention tired? I decided to research the ADRENAL FATIGUE diet more.
Before I go over the diet, let’s review what the heck the adrenals do anyway.
Your two adrenal glands are small, triangular-shaped endocrine glands located on the top of each kidney. Each adrenal gland is approximately 3 inches wide, and a half inch high.
The adrenals produce aldosterone, which acts to conserve sodium ions and water in the body.
They produce cortisol, which increases blood glucose levels. They also produce gonadocorticoids, or sex hormones.
But being consistently under stress(emotional, physical, poor diet) takes a toll on the adrenal glands, and eventually, they run out of steam, and stop producing sufficient hormones.
Conventional endocrinologists and tests cannot diagnose adrenal fatigue, because they are prepared only to diagnose extreme dysfunction in the adrenals, such as Addison’s disease, a potentially fatal condition where the adrenals essentially shut down.
- excessive fatigue and exhaustion
- non-refreshing sleep (you get sufficient hours of sleep, but wake fatigued)
- overwhelmed by or unable to cope with stressors
- feeling rundown or overwhelmed
- craving salty and sweet foods
- you feel most energetic in the evening
- a feeling of not being restored after a full night’s sleep or having sleep disturbances
- low stamina, slow to recover from exercise
- slow to recover from injury, illness or stress
- difficulty concentrating, brain fog
- poor digestion
- low immune function
- food or environmental allergies
- premenstrual syndrome or difficulties that develop during menopause
- dizziness when standing or periodically throughout your day
- consistent low blood pressure
- extreme sensitivity to cold
The BOLD symptoms are the ones I suffer from.
Enter, the ADRENAL FATIGUE DIET. The concept is that by eliminating the foods that put a high demand on the adrenal glands, they can get the rest they need and effectively heal. This strict diet should only have to be applied 6 months – 1 year and as you feel better then you can slowly introduce back some of the items that can be part of a whole foods healthy lifestyle.
When I read the diet, I about died. The rules were, I had to eat:
- Gluten-free (meaning NO wheat, spelt, rye, barley) This doesn’t seem like a big list but gluten is in everything, you guys! Seriously no fun! – this was reeeeaaallllyy hard for me because I feel that since spelt has such a fragile & easy to digest gluten, this would be okay, but I had to stop eating it.
- Of course no white flour (it has gluten) or white sugar(spikes blood sugar and puts high demand on adrenals and pancreas) – this wasn’t hard at all, I already do this.
- No chocolate or caffeine (as a stimulant, it puts a high demand on your adrenals) – I was seriously so sad to take away chocolate, I’d gotten really good at using cocoa powder to make homemade spelt brownies and homemade frosty’s.
- No honey, raw sugar, maple syrup or agave nectar -(again it puts demand on the adrenals) Holy cow I was convinced at this point I’d be eating bland bowls of garbage.
- Only Low-glycemic fruits (berries, cherries, apples, pears, apricots, peaches, plums & grapefruit) NOT bananas, mangoes, papaya, pineapple.
- No fruit juice or dried fruit (again, the concentrated sugars raise blood sugar too fast) This too was hard because I eat a lot of dried fruit for snacks
- No fermented foods. (Sauerkraut -if you’re a weirdo and you eat that stuff, any aged cheese, mushrooms, etc.) I love cheese, so this has been hard, but I’ve just stuck with mozzarella for everything cheesy.
- Salt, salt and more salt. (A good mineral based sea salt on your food and in your water) It does totally seem odd because most people associate salt with bloating, water retention and high blood pressure, but if you are suffering from adrenal fatigue, it’s super important to add more salt to your diet. For me, it helps raise my blood pressure which helps me not feel so light headed all the time. And I don’t notice any weight gain or bloating because of it.
So there you have it. I’m feeling pretty dern good and I’m grateful that I was led to something that helped me!
UPDATE: I stopped this diet early at only 3 months. I felt okay, but not great. Read more about my current traditional diet.