8Sep/121

On the road to better energy!

Lately I have been focusing on a new aspect very closely related to the whole idea of training to get fitter and healthier - that of training and supporting your internal systems. I really strongly believe that healthy eating is key to getting the best out of yourself. So often, people will view food as something that they should enjoy first and foremost. What it does once inside you, apparently is secondary. For me, whilst I love my food to be tasty, what it does is almost the more important aspect.

So I asked Rachel Fiske, Holistic Nutrition Educator, how food can support our Adrenal System. This is the system that basically has everything to do with your energy levels and your mechanism for coping with stress. Since my life over the past year has been somewhat extreme in terms of stress, it's not such an odd question. Anything I can do to keep myself in tip-top shape is a bonus as far as I am concerned.

Your adrenal system has two key hormones that regulate it, adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline, the one most of you have heard of and cortisol are the hormones that are effectively the kickstarter to your engine - they fire you up quickly when you need to make a run for it - typical in reactions to stress. Whether it's running from a great big predator (which I hope you will find was used by our forefathers, not so much these days although that depends on your love of hiking in Alaska) or running around like a lunatic trying to cover everything you have to do in a 24-hour day...adrenalin and cortisol are what gets you going.

So how do you choose foods that help regulate these two? Well - protein is a big factor in that - and of course elimination of sugars in your diet. You don't need more of the latter then what comes naturally through foods such as fruits and vegetables really - overdosing on sugar creates a false loop in your body of "hey, I have so much sugar in my blood, I must be needing it to run hard now, so let's produce more insulin and adrenalin as I must be stressing out...." all the while you could simply be chilling out, hanging on your couch with a bag of sweets in your hand - all these reactions are going on in your body!

Back to some pointers then... here are a few tips Rachel gave me that are important to consider if you want to support your Adrenal System in a healthy way:

  • A well-balanced diet – focus on quality proteins and fats as discussed in the dietary recommendations. Make sure you are eating a balanced meal or snack 30 min to 1 hour post work-out.
  • A variety of organic vegetables and fruit
  • EFAs (omega 3 fatty acids) to manage inflammation and quiet the loop that feeds into higher cortisol production. Cold water fish, grass fed meats, flax seeds/flax oil, and a high quality cod liver oil supplement mentioned in dietary recs.
  • Add mineral sea salt to food. Himalayan and Celtic are the best.
  • Balanced meals – judge your “success” by how you feel entering your next meal (starving, shaky, low blood sugar? Probably not the best for your body in that case...)
  • Blood sugar balance by eating enough protein at each meal (roughly 15 grams).
  • Addressing the stress in your life...of course much is unavoidable, but what counts is how you deal with/handle it!
  • Do not over-train, this is a big one. Your body absolutely needs sufficient rest.
  • Drink "adaptive herb teas" such as Tulsi or Liquorice...more on that in a next blog!

 

More great tips by Rachel can be found on her site:

Rachel Fiske, Holistic Nutrition Educator, CPT-NASM*

madronawellness.org

 

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