Helpful Food Choices For Stress and Adrenal Health
Happy Thanksgiving week to everybody:)
First of all, I want to say thank you to each and every one of you! I want you to know how thankful I am that you are here and how blessed I feel for being able to share with you some nuggets of wisdom I have learned over the last 15 years of being a Naturopath. Thank you for being here and I value each one of you!
With this being Thanksgiving week, I thought it may be a good time to send out an article about how our food choices can be a helpful part of stress recovery.
I know this is a week that most of us will be eating many types of different foods and possibly eating more than usual, so I thought it best to send out an article about how our food choices can be healing to our overly stressed bodies.
Lets’ start with foods and liquids that are best to stay away from when you are dealing with chronic stress, health concerns, or would like to improve general health and wellness.
The list that I’m recommending you to avoid is a general list of food items that can hinder our healing process if consumed or worsen our already stressed system.
Best Foods/Liquids to REMOVE for Optimal Health, Healing, and Restoration
*Artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes (such as Splenda, Equal, Aspartame, Nutra Sweet)
*Soda and pasteurized fruit juices
*High fructose corn syrup and any products containing them
*White sugar and white flour products, such as; cakes, cookies, pies, candies, and breads
*Gluten (gluten is very inflammatory and can be a problem for many individuals)
*Artificial colors, artificial flavors, MSG
*White salt (keep reading for healthy salts to be using)
*Food colorings and dyes, food additives, preservatives
*Processed foods and meats, deli meats and other deli items
*Deep fried foods, fat substitutes, vegetable oils, and partially hydrogenated and hydrogenated fats, such as margarine, shortening, corn oil, soy oil, canola oil, grapeseed oil, olestra
*Alcohol, such as; wine, beer, mixed drinks, hard liquor, and excess caffeine
*You may need to remove other foods from your diet and lifestyle depending on what your specific health challenges are. Some of my clients need to remove all dairy, gluten, nightshades, and other food groups after specific testing, especially if they are dealing with autoimmune diseases or other chronic issues.
The following are generally the best types of foods to be putting in our diet when we are going through stressful times and/or recovering from traumas and stress, either physically, emotionally, or spiritually.
Best Foods/Liquids to INCLUDE for Optimal Health, Healing, and Restoration (organic is always best)!
*Lean, grass fed, organically grown meats, Wild caught or Organic farm raised fish
(best animal proteins are chicken, organ meats, turkey, pheasant, capon, quail, guinea, duck, lamb, eggs, beef, bison, venison, salmon, sardines, cod, anchovies, herring, haddock, sea bass)
*I recommend staying away from shellfish and pork because these types of meat are difficult to digest and can cause stagnation in the digestive system
*Beans and legumes (adzuki, lima, kidney, navy, pinto, split peas, cannellini, northern, garbanzo, certified organic, GMO free tofu/tempeh- 1-2 times per week
*Gluten free grains, such as; brown rice, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, quinoa, wild or black rice, GF oats
*Raw nuts and seeds (soaked in filtered water for 8 hours and rinsed for optimal digestion and absorption)
almonds, flaxseeds, hempseeds, cashew, coconut, walnuts, brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pecans, macadamia nuts, filberts, hazelnuts)
*All vegetables and herbs and lots of them!
My favorites are: leafy greens ( arugula, dandelion, beet tops, bok choy, broccoli rabe, cabbage, swiss chard, kale, collards, mustard greens, spinach, salad and microgreens, brussel sprouts), asparagus, carrots, beets, celery, green beans, peas, snow peas, broccoli, cauliflower, squashes of all kinds, pumpkins, onions, garlic, leeks, sweet potatoes, parsnips, potatoes, parsley, basil, dill, fennel, cilantro, rosemary, oregano, thyme, sage, ginger, turmeric, peppermint, cayenne, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, curry
*Fresh or frozen fruits and berries, such as; apples, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, cherries, lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, cranberries, melons, bananas, kiwi, pineapple, mango, pomegranate, pears, peaches, plums, grapes
*if you are dealing with diabetes, yeast, candida overgrowth, and/or fungal infections, then fruit servings may need to be decreased as well as certain fruits removed completely until infection is healed/ blood sugars stabilized
*Microbiome Friendly Fermented Foods, such as; kimchi, sauerkraut, coconut yogurt, kefir, beet kvass, coconut water kefir, gingered carrots, fermented dilly beans, fermented dill pickles
Drinks, such as; filtered water, herbal teas, green tea, water with fresh squeezed lemon or lime, coconut water, kefir
*If dairy is tolerated, fermented dairy products are best prepared with organic, grass fed raw milk
Fats and oils, such as; avocado, coconut, extra virgin olive oil, ghee, red palm oil, grass fed butter
*Salt, such as; Himilayan salt, Celtic sea salt, or Real salt (unless you have been told to avoid sodium)
*I mention salt here because it is a needed electrolyte when we are under stress. Our adrenals, (our stress glands), need extra sodium when we are chronically stressed and exhausted. I usually recommend adding salt to taste in your foods (only the salts mentioned above). You can also add a pinch or 1/8-1/4 tsp of above-mentioned salt to your water in the morning to get your adrenal glands activated.
If you are dealing with chronic stress and adrenal exhaustion, follow these tips to keep blood sugar in balance:
*Eat breakfast within an hour of waking to keep your energy steady and balanced
*Eat only high nutrient foods
*Keep yourself fueled and do not go hungry (don’t skip meals)
*Eat every 3-4 hours during the day but try to stop eating 2-3 hours before going to bed
*Rest after meals (sitting up) or take a slow -paced walk to digest food
*Eat in peace and avoid eating when stressed
Recommendations for reducing stress while eating:
*Take several full deep breaths before you take your first bite…let go of the worries of the day and hold an intention that the food you’re about to eat will nourish and strengthen your body with nutrients of joy and fulfillment.
*Light a beeswax candle at the table, play relaxing music, decorate your eating area with beauty and things that relax you…a lovely idea is to use an essential oil diffuser that diffuses healing fragrances into your space while you eat. Pick oils that calm you or bring you joy (lavender, sweet orange, lemon, bergamot, chamomile, vetiver, rose, and ylang ylang are some ideas)
*If you eat out, pick a restaurant that has a relaxed atmosphere or eat outdoors in a peaceful atmosphere
*Dine with eating companions to nourish and inspire you. Mealtimes are not times to dine with individuals that bring you stress or those that are always picking arguments. Try to avoid this at all costs if possible.
*Let your conversations be free of negativity and gossip and choose topics that elevate your mood.
*Notice your posture as you eat. A straight spine allows for fuller, deeper breaths.
*Use mealtimes to let go of worries, work, and frustrations. Let your positive thoughts assist you in assimilating your nutrients and aiding in the digestive process.
Here are 2 recipes to aid with stress in the body and to replenish nutrients to an overly stressed system:
Beiler’s Broth (A Healing and Restorative Soup)
I have been giving this recipe out for many years as a Naturopath. Beiler broth was developed by a physician named Henry Beiler as a medicinal soup for those in need of healing and restoration. The vegetables used in this soup are naturally high in sodium, which are very healing to our sodium loving adrenals, which suffer when we are under constant stress.
It is a nourishing and soothing broth-based soup and fairly easy to make. The ingredients also aid in detoxification and acid/alkaline balance of the body. This is a great soup to eat when your digestive system has been overworked or you need something easy to digest. It’s wonderful to eat this for several days after holidays, when we typically overeat, to give our digestive systems a rest.
6 cups bone broth or filtered water
3-4 medium to large zucchini (roughly chopped)
6-7 stalks celery (roughly chopped)
1 ½ pound green string beans
1 bunch parsley (roughly chopped)
5-6 cloves garlic (optional)
2 cups kale/spinach/chard/ or dandelion greens (roughly chopped)
Place all ingredients into a large pot (except for parsley and leafy greens). Bring ingredients to a boil, let soup gently boil for about 10-12 minutes or until vegetables are bright green and tender. Take off stove and stir in parsley and leafy greens. Place lid on top and let cool on stovetop. May eat as is or puree in a blender for a smooth soup. May add other spices to your liking (if you wish) and salt and pepper to taste.
Chicken Liver Pate
Organ meats, especially liver, is one of the most nutrient dense sources of minerals and vitamins, especially B vitamins. B vitamins usually become depleted in our body when we are under chronic stress. This is a delicious and nourishing recipe for restoring our adrenals and overall health.
½ lb chicken livers (thawed if frozen and well-trimmed)
1 shallot (sliced thin)
1 garlic clove (minced)
1/4 cup fresh parsley (chopped fine)
½ tsp sage
¼ tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
3-4 TBSP ghee
½ cup water or bone broth
Salt and pepper to taste
In a medium saucepan, melt ghee and add chicken livers, shallot, garlic, herbs and spices, and water or broth and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, or until livers are pink inside (about 3-4 minutes). Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes.
Remove bay leaf and with a slotted spoon, transfer ingredients to a food processor and process until coarsely ground or pureed. Add salt and pepper to taste. Keep refrigerated and serve with gluten free toasted bread or crackers.
I hope you enjoyed this article and have gained some wisdom into healthy eating habits during stressful times. May you all be blessed and have a lovely Thanksgiving celebration with your loved ones!
With thankfulness and gratitude!