Feeling "unfixable" or like a slave to your chronic condition

This has been coming up a lot for us lately. 
The idea of feeling "unfixable" or feeling "stuck" with your health. 

Many in our community are just beginning to learn about adrenal fatigue, but for many the reality is that adrenal fatigue is another "condition" on top of many-- from sneaky, hard to pinpoint viral or bacterial infections, addictions, cancer, MS and much more.

We get feedback from those suffering that "adrenal support alone-- can't FIX me" and we totally understand why you feel that way.

But if we may, we want you to know why having strong, supported adrenals is important when recovering from something bigger than "hormonal imbalance".

YOUR ADRENALS = YOUR RESILIENCE GLANDS.

When I was working my way through nutrition school we went over protocols for supporting all sorts of different conditions-- literally ALL the different conditions. The thing that blew me away all those years ago and part of the reason I am so passionate about this topic today is because the number one recommendation mentioned, protocol after protocol was --- MANAGE OR REDUCE STRESS.

Let's face it, when your body is facing something huge-- an addiction,  cancer, a stealth infection like LYME or Epstein Barr Virus) or even emotional trauma, or surgeries…-- your body is doing what it can to regulate and survive, it's actually amazing what the body does to PROTECT us.  ** take a gracious minute for a big self-hug**

And if you're NOT facing something huge at this time, then think of how important the health and resilience of your body is to prevention. 

We can't deny these little glands are flippin' important, can we?
NOT ANYMORE!

Anyways, what I'm getting at is the more we can reduce the overall stress load on our body and keep our adrenal function as optimal as possible, the better equipped and energized our body will be to do its thing to help fight off or process what it's dealing with. Make sense?

We know that healing the adrenals might seem like small fish to some of you when you've got bigger fish to fry, but...we urge you to consider the following when moving forward with your recovery plan: 

Follow a holistic protocol

Often when we think of stress, we think of bills, traffic, overwhelm that comes with parenting or a job, but the truth is the stress we are talking about has the potential to come from all the main areas of our lives.

Stress is cumulative. Here are some other areas it can come from: 

  • Sleep

    • Are you sleeping at the right times?
    • Are you getting optimal sleep?
       
  • Diet/Nutrients

    • Are you giving your body the nutrients it needs to heal and be super resilient?
    • Are you eliminating those things that stress the body and the digestive tract?
       
  • Digestion

    • Are you releasing and detoxing properly to keep the body working optimally?
       
  • Exercise

    • Are you moving the body in a way that is honoring of what you’re going through?
    • Is your workout routine contributing to your condition or helping you get your life back?
       
  • Mindset

    • Are the thoughts going through your head keeping you stressed, thinking negatively about everything your body is experiencing and extra sensitive?
    • Are you constantly finding yourself in the same toxic thought patterns?

So when we’re talking about reducing the stress load on the body to heal our adrenals and have more resiliency, we need to address all these areas, not just one or two of them.

The magic that happens when you shift your thoughts, patterns and habits in each of these areas and actually STICK with them long enough for results to show up-- is pretty incredible.

So, if you've ever felt unfixable or just flat out STUCK, then it's time to ensure you're tackling this from a holistic angle..  because I promise you, miracles are happening every damn day.

If you need help implementing this, if you need a clear plan on how to move forward, or a support community to help get you through this, then click here to learn all about our Recovery Revolution and how you can be a part of it. 

Is Adrenal Fatigue Real?

hormonal imbalance

Is adrenal fatigue a real thing?

Despite the obvious fact that millions of people are suffering from the built-up toll that stress can put on the body with clear signs of hormonal issues and fatigue that just won't quit, the term "adrenal fatigue" is still considered with scrutiny by many. 

The thing is,  we get the scrutiny. In fact, "adrenal fatigue" isn't a defined medical condition and technically, doesn't actually exist.. but that's not to say the symptoms and feelings you have been should be discredited, not at all! Today we want to share our thoughts on this popular (and highly frustrating) topic. 

ABOUT THE ADRENALS

The adrenal glands are, by nature, tough and mighty little things. 
These little powerhouses are two walnut-sized glands that sit comfortably on top of the kidneys. They secrete hormones involved with all the major physiological processes in the body and are there to help our body adapt, adjust and survive the events the day may bring us. 

You know that rush of adrenaline you feel when something scares or excites you? 
Yup, that's your adrenals prepping your body to take flight or to fight if that's what the situation may entail. 

These days, more than the need to fight or run away from threats, our bodies are pumping out stress hormones as we worry about things at work, as we deal with the complexities of different relationships, family stuff, financial things and so on and so forth.  The problem is the stress we're tackling today isn't fleeting like that moment when you see a bear in the woods is. These days we're stressing all the time about different things and if we aren't mentally stressing, sometimes the stress comes from dietary things, physical things, immune conditions, digestive problems, sleep schedules or general inflammation in the body. There are many different forms of stress. 

WHAT IS ADRENAL FATIGUE?

fatigue

Adrenal Fatigue is commonly thought of as a condition when the adrenal glands get "fatigued" or "collapse" from excessive wear and tear. After enduring periods of chronically high stress demands (or short periods of extremely high stress) these glands take a physical hit and can no longer produce stress hormones at the rate they used to. We agree that excessive wear and tear can implicate these glands to an extent.. but that's not the entire problem. 

Adrenal issues stem from these two places: 
the adrenal glands and the brain. 

communication

The adrenal glands don't just produce stress hormones blindly or intuitively.
They get their instructions from signals and communication from our brain through the Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal Axis (the HPA Axis).  When the adrenal glands are making too much cortisol or not enough cortisol, the communication along the HPA Axis between the brain and the adrenals must be considered... because more than just a fatigued glandular issue, there typically is a signaling problem between the brain and the adrenals.  Signaling issues between the two have a direct effect on how the adrenals behave and how the body responds to circulating cortisol too. 

So to be clear, when we say adrenal fatigue.. we are using a popular term for this greater idea of adrenal dysregulation. 

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SOME SIGNS OF ADRENAL FATIGUE OR ASSOCIATED HORMONAL IMBALANCE: 

  • Auto-immune conditions
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Anemia (iron deficiency)
  • Weight gain in the belly area that you can't seem to lose
  • Decrease or loss in muscle mass
  • You wake up in the early hours of the morning (between 3-5am)
  • Brain fog
  • Increase of energy in the evening after dinner
  • Anxiety or depressive thoughts
  • Eyes are sensitive to the light
  • Easily startled
  • Feeling dizzy when you stand up too fast
  • Slow wound healing or slow to recover from illness
  • Difficulty waking up in the morning
  • Feeling constantly tired- a tired that is not relieved by sleep (CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME)
  • Feeling like you can't relax
  • Cravings for salt or salty foods
  • Easily irritated or intolerant to stress
  • Digestive issues and sudden new food intolerances
  • Dependence on stimulants to function (coffee, colas, energy drinks, ect.)
  • Decreased libido
  • Exaggerated menopausal symptoms
  • Irritability if a meal is missed aka "HANGRY"
  • Blood sugar imbalances
  • Hypothyroidism (low thyroid)
  • Decreased immune system
  • Increased or exaggerated PMS symptoms
  • Fibrocystic breasts or fibroids
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Fertility issues
  • Low blood pressure

So, how do you fix the dysregulation?

When it comes to fixing the signaling issues mentioned above and nourishing up a depleted body that is suffering from exposure to chronic or excessive stress, it really begins with a self-check-in... with asking yourself where you could start respecting your body and its boundaries a little more.  It comes back to simple self-care, good food, making sleep and yourself a priority.  Sounds simple, doesn't it?

So why are so many people stuck struggling for so long?

The thing is that hormonal issues can feel really complicated.... 

there's a tonne of conflicting information in books and on the internet, 

one doctor says one thing, another says another, 

and changing the way you live can be really flippin' hard!

Slowing down and making changes like nixing the people pleasing attitudes, changing your work and lifestyle habits, making key dietary changes and setting boundaries for yourself isn't always a walk in the park... especially if you are super type A (like so many of us struggling with adrenal issues are). On top of that, just because you're wanting to stress less doesn't mean that the things that stressed you out before are going to necessarily go away--  so a whole mental shift needs to happen. The way we perceive stress and handle it needs to be tweaked, and yes my loves... it's challenging! It takes practice, it takes patience, it takes a lot of conscious effort.

We know you have it in you, though! 

Ready to break through the patterns that are keeping you stuck and to get a clear personalized plan to recovery? Click here to see if you qualify for a FREE Breakthrough Power Session with one of our Team Professionals. 

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The 5 Step System for Repairing a Leaky Gut

Good digestion is a prerequisite for good health.

As we continue living with chronic stress in our life, an abundance of toxins in our environment, poor diets, bacterial imbalance, and gastrointestinal issues are becoming more and more common. One of the most common issues we see with adrenal fatigue sufferers is intestinal permeability.

What is Leaky Gut Exactly?

leaky gut

Intestinal permeability also known as "leaky gut" is a condition when essentially, the intestines become damaged and are unable to protect foreign invaders or larger food particles from the digestive tract, from leaking into the bloodstream. The intestines are typically lined with tight junctions that carefully protect what makes it through to the rest of the body.  When damaged, these loose junctions begin to let bacteria, incompletely digested food matter or waste through to the blood, setting off an immune alarm in the body. Cortisol and histamine surges are part of this alarm.  This scenario leads to increased food sensitivities, digestive issues, auto immune conditions and a plethora of symptoms. 

Click here to learn more about the symptoms of leaky gut and why it's important to adrenal fatigue recovery

The symptoms of leaky gut are vast, and the truth is that gut health issues could very likely be a root level cause behind many of today's common health issues. 

Just like the symptoms of leaky gut, figuring out the cause can be quite complicated. 
Luckily, the body has an incredible ability to heal itself if you provide the right environment for it to do so.  

When it comes to repairing a leaky gut, there are 5 steps, that when followed correctly will support creating an optimal environment for healing to take place. 

THE 5 STEPS TO REPAIRING A LEAKY GUT

1. REMOVE

Remove anything that is creating to inflammation or negatively affects the digestive tract. 
This starts with removing problematic foods, any common or known allergens, processed foods and excessive sugar.  It also includes removing unwanted microflora like yeast (candida), parasites or unfriendly bacterial overgrowths. 

2. Replace

This stage begins with replacing problematic foods in the diet with nutrient dense, whole foods. 
It also includes restoring the naturally occurring digestive aids that may be lacking, things such as hydrochloric acid, bile acids and digestive enzymes.

3. Repair

In this phase, the focus is on restoring the mucosal lining of the G.I. tract.
Food plays a large role here, focus on eating foods that are easily digestible like smoothies, soups and cooked vegetables and quality proteins. Foods that are high in healing vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, zinc and other antioxidants, along with fatty acids like omega 3. Bone broth is a particularly gut loving food and is a wonderful addition to a restorative diet. Supplements can also be used to help repair the lining more quickly, to help protect and soothe the lining and help ensure there are no nutrient deficiencies that could be slowing down the recovery process. 

Wondering the top healing foods you can eat and where to start with supplements? We're breaking it all down in this week's freebie! Grab it below! 

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4. REINOCCULATE 

In this phase beneficial bacteria are re-introduced. Ideally, this is done with a high quality probiotic supplement, but naturally occurring probiotic rich foods like kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha can be consumed to help support this via food as well. 

The correct balance of healthy flora supports more than just digestion. 
Click here to learn how our microbiome affects the brain, behavior, mood, and more.

5. REBALANCE

The rebalance phase is one that is on going, one that will help support a healthy and happy gut long-term.
This phase largely correlates with general good health practices such as mindfulness practice, sleep, healthy exercise, good food, and finding time for fun. 

When combined and worked on consistently, these 5 steps will guide you well on your way to abundant energy, easy digestion, a flat tummy, glowy skin and so much more.  Leaky gut recovery does not need to be a lot to swallow- it comes back to changing the GI environment and creating one that allows the body to recover, repair and come back into balance. 

Knowing the steps to healing your gut is one thing, but implementing them is a WHOLE OTHER THING...So, if you want SUPPORT AND GUIDANCE implementing these steps into your life, you need to know about this training: http://bit.ly/2iRSQAT

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Hot + Healthy Holiday Drinks

Snowy, winter days are here in Toronto. 

With the holiday season upon us, it's the perfect time to put on your wooly socks and get comfy on the couch with a good book and a nice warm, festive beverage. 

In my past life, I'd be cozying up with copious cups of coffee. 
Coffee hasn't disappeared completely from my life these days, but my relationship with it has changed considerably since my struggles with adrenal fatigue.   Read more about this change here. 

These days, I have found really fun ways to enjoy festive drinks and "lattes" in ways that support my health. I'm super excited to share a few of my favourite recipes with your today! Unlike coffee, these drinks won't interfere with your sleep, make you anxious or put excessive cortisol demands on the adrenals. 

I've also snuck in a few special ingredients to help keep them balanced and extra hormone loving. 

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In the spirit of the holiday season, today I'm pumped to share a few of my favorite hot + healthy, festive drinks.


All of these recipes are gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and sweetened naturally. 

Gingerbread Cookie Latte

gingerbread latte
  • 2 cups steamed nut milk
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/3 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp molasses 
  • optional- 1 scoop of Dandy Blend Coffee alternative

Heat nut milk over the stove, whisk in spices and vanilla. 
Transfer to a blender (or use a hand mixer) and add coconut oil and molasses. 

Serves 2. 

Creamy Cashew Egg Nog

vegan eggnog
  • 1 cup soaked, raw cashews
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp quality salt
  • 6 re-hydrated dates
  • a generous sprinkle of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg
  • optional- 2 scoops of collagen protein powder (we like this one)

Add everything to a high powered blender and blend well. 
Pour 1 cup into a mug/glass and garnish with fresh nutmeg and a cinnamon stick.
Serves 4-6

Collagen Loaded Hot "Chocolate" 

hot chocolate
  • 1 cup steamed nut milk of choice (unsweetened)
  • 1 tsp carob powder
  • 1/2 tsp cacao powder (we like this one)
  • splash of vanilla
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 heaping tbsp of collagen protein (we like this one)
  • a sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup or sweetener of choice
  • Optional- make healthy, homemade marshmallows like these and float one on top! 

Over the stove top, heat your milk. Whisk in the rest of the ingredients or use a blender or hand mixer if you prefer it frothy. Depending on the time of day or how sensitive you are to caffeine, you can omit the cacao and use more carob or vice versa. 

For more holiday recipes, including my favorite festive "mocktails" be sure to grab our Holiday Adrenal Survival Guide below! 

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Wishing you health and happiness this holiday season!
xo Danielle + the HYAF Team

 

 

Holiday Adrenal Survival Guide

YOUR HOLIDAY ADRENAL SURVIVAL GUIDE

We all know the holidays can be a stressful and exhausting time. I remember how challenging it was when I had stage 3 adrenal fatigue.

But through the years, Danielle and I have learned a few tips and tricks, to make this time of year WAY more enjoyable. 

We're excited to share these with you today...

What if you could enjoy your time with family?

What if you could avoid burnout this year?

What if this holiday season was flare-up FREE?

We believe ALL these are possible with these stellar tips we’re about to share with you.

And make sure you download our sweet gift, a free holiday adrenal survival guide to help you implement these tips. The Holiday Guide includes a checklist of to-dos, self-care planning, recipes and more.

1.       Be Prepared So You Don’t Feel Deprived

Chances are you have food restrictions of some kind or a special diet. Don’t go another holiday making yourself feel deprived. Instead, plan to bring your own side dishes and dessert that you can enjoy. Make them or buy them. We are fortunate now that stores are accommodating so many diet restrictions these days. Check your local natural food market or Whole Foods for delicious options that meet your food needs.

And make sure you grab our Holiday Adrenal Survival Guide for some great adrenal friendly recipes.

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2.       Say “No”

Don’t be afraid to say no to activities or engagements that feel super heavy and have the potential to cause great stress and anxiety. When you say “no” to those things you are saying “YES” to your health, your sanity, your well-being. You don’t have to do it all. Maybe you can say goodbye to that holiday cookie exchange this year...

3.       Shop Online

We are so lucky we no longer HAVE to deal with long lines at the shopping mall or stores in order to get through our holiday shopping list. We can shop almost anywhere online now. Take advantage of it.  If you MUST go out and shop choose early mornings or evenings during the weekdays. If hitting up the mall, it's important to have a game plan- what you need and where you need to go, this is especially important if you find malls to be stressful places. 

4.       Limit the Gift Craziness

Is your holiday giving gift list super long? Are you worried, first how you will get it all done and second, how you will pay for it? Ask your extended family if they’d like to pick names instead this year and maybe just increase the price limit so everyone gets something they really want. This is a great way to give one really meaningful gift, to reduce stress and to ease some financial pressure. 

5.       Stop the Emailing Craziness

I don’t know about you, but I get sick of all the family gift exchange emails asking me what me, my husband and children want. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do feel blessed to have some generous family, but the back and forth gets to be too much. And then after you share your ideas, there’s the back and forth of someone wondering if Aunt Jane already got that or now or you get 3 of the same thing. You can solve all that easily by making an Amazon wish list. People mark off the items on the list once they buy them so no more emails like that to waste your time and even better no returning repeat gifts after the holidays. And Amazon is not the only option, here are a few more. There is Giftry.com and Wishmindr.com

6.       Give Yourself a Gift

adrenal fatigue and holidays.jpeg

Balance out the holiday chaos with some rejuvenating self-care. The next few weeks will most likely be full. Find yourself an hour each week at least and do something just for YOU. Book yourself a massage or spa time. That could be your partner’s gift to you. Or just take a break from shopping and walk outside in nature.

7.       Limit Time with Those That Drain You

We love our families and they mean well, but they also know how to push our buttons more than anyone else. If your family drains your energy and causes you anxiety, say “NO” or at least limit your time with them.

And if you will be spending time with family that is challenging we have a tip for you. Be prepared by choosing to react differently to them. I like to think about a bubble of protection around me... and this bubble is keeping me calm and it also helps me see things for what they are. When a family member makes a comment that would normally affect you, you don’t let it come into your bubble. You walk away or maybe say something as simple as, “Sorry you feel that way” or my favorite “that’s an interesting point of view”.

Remember a lot of times people say hurtful things to protect themselves. So that SH$#! Is there’s, not yours. Let it go and don't let it impede on your holiday fun. 

8.       Choose Calm When Things Get Intense

When you’re driving around running errands and things feel intense, put on calming meditation music. Which you can get free on youtube.com or if you want guided meditations for energy boosting and stress relief particularly for adrenal fatigue sufferers, grab my meditation album or give this gift to someone you know who could really benefit. 

9.       Don’t Forget The Protein

This time of year, there are sugar loaded treats everywhere you go. Make sure you are balancing sugar intake with healthy fats and proteins. This will also prevent sugar “crashes” and keep your energy high.  Pair this with a bit of portion control and this is a great tip to help navigate holiday meals without sparking major spikes and crashes. 

10.   Remember to Move

The Holidays often create sluggishness. Say goodbye to the food comas by continuing to move and be active this holiday season. This will also keep you from putting on extra pounds. After a big meal, take a walk around the block and maybe ask the family to join you. You can have great conversations while you’re walking and it's amazing what a bit of fresh air can do to help calm and refresh the body. 

11.   Eat Mindfully

When you’re eating this holiday season I challenge you to be super present. Savoring your food, enjoy its flavor, be grateful and take it slow. Great digestion starts right in the mouth. Chew slowing and thoroughly, allowing those enzymes in your saliva to start the process. Also, when you eat slowly you realize sooner when you are full, which will keep you from overeating. When filling your plate, we encourage you to fill your plate with vegetables first, then add a bit of protein and be mindful of the starchy, high carb options. This is a great way to help ensure you're filling up on quality foods and will help keep you on track with your health goals at the same time. 

There you go, 11 tips to not just surviving the holidays, but thriving

Be sure to grab our Holiday Adrenal Survival Guide below for yummy holiday recipes, and your planning tool box for embracing the most stress-free holidays ever!

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We wish you a healthy, calm and happy holiday season! 
xo Angela, Danielle + the HYAF Team