Episode 75 – The Overlooked Cause of Adrenal Fatigue
Today I’m talking about a frequently overlooked cause of adrenal stress. Most of the time, we talk about external stressors – work, events, crises, deadlines, finances – and the wear and tear that results.
But, we also have to consider internal stressors – the things that cause underlying inflammation, use up our precious nutrient resources and clog up important biochemical pathways.
So, today, I want to talk about blood sugar balance – I cover four simple ways to keep it in check, so you give your adrenals a rest.
Michelle Rogers, ND, MSAOM, FDN-P
Over the past several years, I’ve created the most accessible, streamlined and effective virtual practice working with high-achieving women entrepreneurs, go-getters, and other badass women all over the world.
I intentionally blend my background of Functional, Naturopathic, and East Asian Medicine with my extensive experience in the online business world to help provide my clients with the personalized blueprint and strategy they need to get the mental focus, energy and business strategy required to share their gifts, better serve their clients and show up even more for the people they love.
Hey there, Michelle here with another episode for you, and today I’m talking about a frequently overlooked cause of adrenal stress. Most of the time, we talk about external stressors – work, events, crises, deadlines, finances, drama – and the wear and tear that results on our body.
BUT, we also have to consider internal stressors – the things that cause underlying inflammation, use up our precious nutrient resources and clog up important biochemical pathways.
So, today, I want to talk about blood sugar balance. This is a tricky one, because what I tend to see is that most people don’t start paying attention to this, until their doctor is ready to put them on Metformin. Blood sugar dysregulations start happening WAY before your hemoglobin A1c starts to elevate, so start creating good habits BEFORE things take a turn.
The thing about investing in your health is that the BEST time to do it is when you don’t’ think you need it.
At the VERY least, work with someone who understands the value of preventive care, because waiting for something to go wrong with your health is like…
– only working on your marriage after a divorce
– only working on your business after bankruptcy
– only studying for the test after you fail
– only watering your grass after it’s burnt
– only saving for retirement after retirement
If you’re like me, you know the value of your health, and how your health literally dictates how you operate in every other aspect of your life.
Your health is your foundation AND your ceiling.
If your health is a 7/10, you can’t be a 9/10 business owner, mom, partner or friend… at least not for long.
So, one of the easiest ways to start addressing adrenal health and overall hormone balance is to make sure that your blood sugar is stable.
- eating regularly at similar times of day.
- eating healthy fats, protein, fiber and vegetables at eat meal.
- acknowledging your food sensitivities and avoiding them.
- not skipping meals, unless you’re intermittent fasting.
- And making sure your biorhythm is in check – if you missed last week’s episode, definitely check it out!
Now, I know there’s a lot of misinformation online about whether or not we should eat three main meals a day, to snack or not to snack and then we have those self-proclaimed grazers.
So, let’s talk about this first. Ideally, we should be eating three main meals per day, unless we are intermittent fasting, in which you’re eating 2-3 larger meals within an eight hour period.
The reason these demarcated mealtimes are important is because our digestive tract needs to go through somewhat of a dishwashing or housekeeping cycle about 90 minutes after eating. It’s like a wave that goes from top to bottom – emptying our small intestine – helping with digestion, absorption and rebalancing healthy gut bacteria.
If we’re snacking in between meals or grazing all day, we’re not allowing our digestive system the rest it needs to get its housekeeping done, which can lead to all sorts of issues, including blood sugar imbalances, due to the internal stressors of inflammation, toxicity and potentially leaky gut.
On top of that, when you’re snacking and grazing, you’re likely not tapping into your hunger signals, because you’re not even trying to listen.
I invite you to ask how much of that snacking and grazing is actually rooted in the emotional realm instead of the nourishment realm.
Next topic – balancing your meals.
Making sure you have healthy fats, protein, fiber and vegetables at every meal is essential for balanced blood sugar. It doesn’t matter if you’re making a smoothie or a 5-course meal, you need to have all four components.
Having this balance each meal ensures that you’re providing your body with slow burning energy sources that will sustain you through til the next meal.
Eating too many simple carbohydrates or foods that are high on the glycemic index – high sugar foods, right – provide our body with fuel, of course, the it’s fast burning fuel, so we use it up quickly and then our body wants more.
This fast burn, puts a lot of stress on our body, because it jacks up our insulin response, with tucks all that sugar away into our cells, which then leads to blood sugar crashes, which stimulates our adrenals to release cortisol to tell our liver to produce more blood sugar from stored glycogen…
It’s obviously a complex circuit, but you can imagine that if this is happening regularly – on top of all those external stressors I mentioned earlier – you can see how this can take a toll on our adrenals glands, right?
Next, let’s chat about food sensitivities.
I want to clarify something really fast, because I know a lot of people get confused by this. So, food sensitivities, food intolerances and food allergies are all very separate things, but we can put them under the umbrella of a – not-so-good reaction to a food or group of foods.
Food allergies are associated with certain immune antibodies called IgE antibodies that can lead to immediate inflammatory responses, some of which can actually lead to anaphylaxis reactions, like people who eat peanuts and their airways swell up. No good.
Food intolerances are when we have something like lactose intolerance. It’s not necessarily an immune-mediated reaction, but it still causes inflammation and usually a specific symptom or group of symptoms.
Now, you can obviously see how food allergies and food intolerances can cause inflammation, which is going to add stress to our adrenals, right – those are usually pretty immediate reactions that you can easily pinpoint to a specific food, and unless you’re careless or well-prepared, you probably avoid them.
On the other hand, food sensitivities can be MUCH harder to identify. These are food reactions that are associated with a certain immune antibodies called IgG antibody, but the thing is, this reaction is a delayed-type reaction, so it can actually take 3 or so days, because you have a reaction… and I don’t know about you, but I literally can’t remember what I ate for lunch three days ago… can you?
This makes it really difficult to pinpoint which foods might be causing the issue, and it is the exact reason why I use food sensitivity testing in my practice. It gives us a much clearer picture to work with so we can optimize your gut healing protocol without causing additional inflammation and stress.
Alright, lastly – it’s important to not skip meals and try to eat at the same times each day.
Skipping meals has a very effect of what I mentioned when I talked about the blood sugar crash that comes after eating a bunch of simple carbs and high glycemic foods without balancing them out with healthy fats, protein, fiber and vegetables.
BUT, instead of causing the insulin spike, it just causes the cortisol spike to tell your body to liberate stored sugars from your liver, which is why you end up feeling light headed, dizzy, shaky and overall shitty.
Before we wrap up, I also want to say that I’m not vilifying sugar across the board, because I don’t think it’s helpful to deem any foods evil… unless we’re talking about frankenfoods like GMOs or non-food items like twinkies – do those things still exist, but ANYWAY, foods and food groups are not inherently evil.
It boils down to our relationship with it and how we can compliment those foods to decrease the stressful burden it can place on our body. So, if you know you’re going to have something sweet, whether it be a piece of gluten free pie a cookie or even a piece of fruit, be sure to pair it with some protein, and then do an intermittent fast the next day to allow your insulin levels to regulate.
Alright, in summary:
- Eat regularly and at similar times of day.
- Eat healthy fats, protein, fiber and vegetables at eat meal.
- Discover your food sensitivities and avoid them.
- Don’t skip meals, unless you’re intermittent fasting.
- Eat protein with anything sweet
- And make sure your biorhythm is in check – if you missed last week’s episode, definitely check it out!
And that’s a wrap – if you found this episode helpful, please share it with someone you love.
ALSO, there are only 14 spots left in my small group holistic weight loss program that is starting January 1st. This is an awesome program that literally RESETS your metabolism, and I’m actually going to do it right alongside you.
Registration closes on December 26th, so if you’ve been thinking about it, now is the time – 2019 is the year of transformation!
To learn more about Your Metabolic RESET, head to wellthywoman.co/ymr for Your Metabolic Reset.
Otherwise, I’d really like to know what you thought about this episode, so hit me up on Instagram, send me a DM or take a screenshot of you listening and tag me @wellthywoman.co.
Otherwise, tune in next week for more awesome and actionable info!
Chat with you then!