When our stress hormones, cortisol and DHEA, get out of whack, Adrenal Fatigue is the result. Symptoms include exhaustion, digestive problems, weight gain, depression, anxiety, and PMS. Here are some simple lifestyle adjustments you can make to promote adrenal repair, allowing the body and brain to heal from the effects of chronic stress. Try them. They just might make you feel WAY better!
1. Belly Breathing. We breathe 22,000 times in a day. If that breath is a shallow, rapid “chest breath," this will send a stress message to the brain, putting the body into a “fight or flight” mode. Breathing deeply and slowly tells the brain the body can relax and repair. Lie on your back with your hands on your lower belly. Slowly fill your lungs deeply from the bottom, so you are expanding your belly on the inhale. Slowly exhale completely and the belly will go down. The chest doesn't move much. Take 15 breaths like this in the morning when you wake up, and at night before you sleep, or if you need a refresher in the afternoon. Practice this daily, and a deeper more relaxed breath throughout the day will become second nature.
2. Go to bed by 10 pm. Sleeping from 10 pm to 6 am is ideal. The quality and depth of our sleep will be better than if we sleep from midnight to 8 am, even though the amount of hours is the same. This is because going to bed by 10 puts us in tune with the cycle of light and dark that the rising and setting of the sun brings. We are mammals and our hormones (cortisol and melatonin) are attuned to this cycle in nature. Sleeping from 10 pm to 6 am balances your circadian rhythm. If insomnia is a problem, your Body Wisdom Health wellness program can help.
3. Start each morning with a large glass of warm filtered water with lemon and high mineral sea salt. This is a soothing, energizing and detoxifying way to start the day. It can really ease the symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue. Stir an 1/8 teaspoon of high mineral salt such as Himalayan pink salt or Celtic sea salt into your glass. (Skip the salt if you have high blood pressure.) Squeeze plenty of lemon in and enjoy.
4. Eat protein regularly. Balancing blood sugar is the first step to healing adrenal fatigue, and eating adequate protein regularly is the best way to do it. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but should be at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Animal protein is more nutrient dense than beans and grains, which are high glycemic foods that can stress the digestive system. Good protein choices are grass-fed beef and lamb, organic poultry, wild caught cold-water fish, and pastured eggs. If you are vegetarian, emphasize eggs and raw cheese, yogurt or kefir.
5. Exercise but don’t over-exercise. Pushing ourselves too much with exercise is one way to quickly exhaust the adrenals and contribute to weight loss resistance, particularly if you are in Stage 2 or 3 of Adrenal Fatigue. This is especially true of long cardio workouts like jogging and cycling. Slow paced yoga and slow but heavy weight lifting both have an anabolic, or repairing effect on the nervous system which benefits the adrenals. You can tell if you are over-exercising if you feel exhausted after your workout or the next day. Tune into this. Find that fine line where you challenge yourself but don’t push too hard. And remember, it's different for everyone!
6. Eat fermented veggies. Fermented vegetables like raw sauerkraut and Korean kimchi are traditional superfoods. And they're yummy! They are chock full of beneficial bacteria, enzymes and bio-available nutrients. You’ll find them in the cold section of your natural foods store. (Make sure the label says “raw.” Pasteurized or vinegar ferments don’t have all these benefits.) Fermented vegetables are a great way to restore digestive health. A healthy gastrointestinal tract acts as a foundation for adrenal health and overall wellness.
7. Eat at regular intervals. Your adrenals control your circadian rhythm and thrive on a balanced predictable routine. Try to eat each meal at roughly the same time each day. Eat a protein rich breakfast, lunch and dinner, and don’t skip meals. Eat breakfast within 1 hour of waking. Don’t go more than 4 hours without eating and eat dinner 1 ½ to 2 hours before bed. Its best not to eat after dinner which can throw off metabolism, leading to weight gain and disturbed sleep.
8. Receive Somatic Experiencing Therapy. Somatic Experiencing, or SE, is a type of therapy that works with the body and nervous system. Trauma and difficult emotions can get “stuck” in the nervous system when we aren’t given a chance to fully process them. This nervous system imbalance can keep us in a “fight or flight” mode and cause adrenal fatigue. SE therapy allows for the reprocessing and discharging of that trauma, bringing healing, a sense of calm, and renewed energy. SE really gets to the heart of what causes Adrenal Fatigue.
9. Take magnesium. Most Americans are magnesium deficient. This is because we use up magnesium very rapidly when under stress, and we are a very stressed culture. Also, the soil that our food is grown in is more mineral deficient than in previous times, so less magnesium makes its way into our food. Try taking “Natural Calm” magnesium beverage (available at natural food stores) one hour before bed to relieve stress and help with sleep.
Need Some Help Healing From Adrenal Fatigue?
I'm here for you! Kick start the adrenal repair process with your Body Wisdom wellness program. The process starts with an adrenal lab test, a simple, take-home saliva test-kit. From there, we can tell exactly how your stress hormones are working. We can fix imbalances in them, through primal nutrition, pure and natural supplements and mindfulness practices. Your Body Wisdom wellness program is a powerful way to take your health into your own hands and discover what it's like to feel AMAZING!
Schedule a consultation! These can be done in my office in central Tucson, AZ, or by phone or Skype, nationally and internationally. Feel better, from the ground up, with Body Wisdom Health.
Wow! It makes me incredibly happy to see my clients feel so much better! Here is Julie's story, about how she has found digestive wellness, from the ground up. With holistic lab testing, we got to the root of her health problems, and healed things from there. She followed a Body Wisdom wellness program of pure, natural supplements, primal nutrition and stress reduction practices. Read about her inspiring success!
"I have struggled with digestive issues for over 12 years. They've pushed me to make big changes and recognize bad habits; and have sent me on a path of learning, discipline, and self-discovery. Yet even as I worked hard, did the "right" things and learned and changed, my problems persisted in one form or another. Really to be honest, I was stuck and addicted to some of the bad things. I found myself in a cycle of trying things to no avail; trying things and failing--in one form or another--to stick things out. I was frustrated by the lack of results. I tried everything and read about everything.
Working with Sarah and Body Wisdom Health--doing lab tests to make accurate assessments, and working in a systematic way to address how different body systems relate--has been totally amazing.
The source of over a decade of digestive issues? A bacterial infection, found on a gastrointestinal lab test run by Sarah. Binging and cravings that felt like food addiction, stress, fatigue, joint pain and a host of other symptoms--all reduced to one simple issue.
There are bumps along every road. When I was self-diagnosing and self-treating these bumps would just totally derail me from my wellness plan. Having Sarah to turn to and to hear her say "that's normal, it means we need to tweak this and do that instead" has kept me on track and helped me finally break through to feel healthier than I have ever felt. I'm still working on gut repair and detoxification. I know that it's only going to continue being totally transformative and life-altering as I continue my path with Body Wisdom Health."
-Julie Ferreira, Elementary School Teacher
Are you ready to feel healthier than ever? Book a consultation with me, and we'll get you started on your path to true wellness.
Thanks for reading!
Parasites, bacterial infections and yeast overgrowth can really stress out your body. Chronic, low-grade gut infections can cause fatigue, joint pain, allergies, anxiety, depression, chronic headaches, sleep problems, skin issues, a lowered immune system and weight gain. They also can be a causative factor for autoimmune disease and fibromyalgia. And believe it or not, these effects can be present even without any digestive symptoms! Gas, bloating, digestive pain, diarrhea and constipation sometimes accompany an infected gut, but not always. Running a lab test, to look for low-grade infection, is a first step to learning why you might not be feeling your best. In my practice, about 60% of my clients test positive for gut infections.
The Gut As A Foundation For Health
Why would a parasite or other infection in the digestive system cause joint pain, allergies or other seemingly unrelated symptoms? The answer lies in understanding that the gut acts as a foundation for every other body system. If the gut isn't working well, overall health will suffer. The digestive system is designed to breakdown food, gather nutrients from it and deliver them to the rest of the body. These nutrients from our food are what the body uses to build and operate every other body system. Through the gut we absorb the minerals we need for healthy bones and joints, the fat soluble vitamins and antioxidants needed for the brain and mental health, and the macronutrients required to support our metabolism, which controls fat loss and gain. If gut health is compromised by infection, these body systems don't get what they need and difficult symptoms arise.
Inflammation and The Immune System
A chronic low-grade infection from a parasite, bacteria or yeast overgrowth causes significant inflammation in the digestive tract, again, sometimes with digestive symptoms, sometimes not. This inflammation leads to a condition called permeable gut, or leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut means that the pores in the lining of the digestive tract become larger than normal. Instead of properly broken down nutrients passing through the intestines into the blood, larger protein molecules can get through. The immune system then attacks these molecules and recognizes them as "foreign invaders." Next time that food (often it's gluten or dairy) is consumed, the immune system reacts, or overreacts, and a food allergy is developed, with symptoms like stuffy sinuses, skin rash, malaise or belly ache.
Over time, the toxins created by this immune response will overwhelm the liver. When the liver is overwhelmed by too many toxins, it cannot detoxify properly. Toxins circulate back into the blood stream and elicit more immune system response. This constant triggering of the immune system can lead to other kinds of allergies and, ultimately, autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto's and rheumatoid arthritis.
An infection in the gut puts the immune system on high alert. When these infections persist for months or years it becomes compromised as it uses much of its energy trying to deal with the infection. This leaves less immunity to fight off other infections like colds or the flu.
Infections and Adrenal Burn-out
A long term, low-grade gut infection acts as a significant stress on the body. The stress hormones, cortisol and DHEA, are produced by the adrenal glands. They control energy levels, mental clarity, inflammation and our circadian rhythm. Infections in the digestive system send a constant stress signal to the brain and the adrenal glands, and can lead to an imbalance in these stress hormones. This results in a condition called Adrenal Fatigue. Headaches, joint pain, sleep issues, depression, anxiety, brain fog and fatigue are all symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue.
Whole Body Wellness
Because the body is a whole, integrated system, well-being in the brain, the joints or the immune system is intimately connected with digestive health. When a chronic gut infection is left untreated, the inflammation, toxicity and stress it creates can keep you from feeling your best, and can lead to serious long-term health consequences.
If you suffer from any of the above symptoms, getting tested for parasites, bacterial infections and yeast overgrowth is a first step to wellness. The lab test is a stool test, a simple, take home kit. You just have to be willing to scoop your poop! Believe me, it is worth it to see mysterious and difficult symptoms--some of which have been around for years--disappear when we clear the infection from your body. Treatments involve anti-inflammatory nutrition, holistic lifestyle adjustments and natural supplement programs, based on your lab results.
Schedule your consultation with me, to learn more about lab testing and Body Wisdom Health's wellness programs. And remember, if you're not in Tucson we can work together remotely, by phone and skype.
In health and happiness,
Feel better in your belly! Did you know that healing the body's stress response is the first step to digestive wellness?
The reason for this lies in understanding the physiological effects of stress and the adrenal glands. The adrenals control the body's stress response. They are two small glands located on top of the kidneys. When the brain perceives a threat, or a crisis, it steps up its game and tells the adrenals to secrete stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. This is great for running away from a tiger, or for clambering back up a cliff side if you've, unfortunately, rolled off of it. These stress hormones make our muscles strong, our eyesight acute and our minds quick thinking--all the skills we need to save ourselves during a crisis.
In an emergency situation like this, do you think your body wastes time doing lovely, healing things like properly digesting food and assimilating nutrients from it? You guessed it--nope! When you are under stress, survival is prioritized and digestion is deprioritized.
The problem is that stress levels are way up for modern humans. Many of us are running away from that tiger or scrambling up that cliff, 24/7. Busy schedules, lack of sleep, poor diet, juggling a heavy work load, along with the demands of family life; these all contribute to a major stress load on the body. As well, these stressors are often compounded by psychological issues stemming from trauma, abuse or grief. Needless to say, this stress load is far greater than anything our hunter/gatherer ancestors typically had to bear.
Our DNA is 99.99% identical to these ancestors' and, like them, we are designed to handle short bursts of stress but not chronic levels of it. When the brain is overloaded by stress, it becomes desensitized and "forgets" how to turn off the stress response. Cortisol courses from the adrenals like a faucet that has been left on. When this situation persists for months or years, it can be an underlying root cause in many health maladies, like heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's, asthma, Crohn's disease and irritable bowel syndrome.
How exactly does chronic stress impair the digestive system? When cortisol levels are out of balance, due to chronic stress, the immune system is compromised, making you more susceptible to gastrointestinal inflammation and infection. This can lead to gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, digestive pain and discomfort--plus IBS, ulcerative colitis, acid reflux, Crohn's disease and celiac disease.
75% of our immune system is centered in the gut. Powerful immune cells called "secretory IgA," or SIgA, lie in the mucosal lining of the intestinal tract. This is your body's first line of defense against infection. When the stress hormone, cortisol, goes out of whack, SIgA becomes deficient and can't properly fight off infectious pathogens when they enter the body. Dysregulated cortisol also causes inflammation in the gut.
Lack of SIgA, plus increased inflammation, creates the perfect breeding ground for bacterial and parasitic infection, as well as for yeast overgrowth (candida). While rarely diagnosed by conventional doctors, these kinds of infections can cause terrible digestive discomfort and gastrointestinal disease.
The digestive tract acts as the foundation for good health. It is the place where nutrients are absorbed into your body. These nutrients are the "building blocks" for all the other systems in the body--the heart, the brain, the reproductive system, the bones, etc. By healing the gut you truly optimize whole body wellness.
The first step to healing the gut is improving the immune system, and lowering inflammation, by raising SIgA levels. Enhancing SIgA levels happens when you heal your adrenals and become more resilient to stress. The process starts with a simple saliva test to look for adrenal dysfunction, or "adrenal fatigue." This is followed by a holistic, take-home gastrointestinal lab test, to look for infection. From there, a simple wellness program--whole food nutrition, a lab-based supplement program and stress reduction techniques--optimize your digestive health. You can feel better in your belly! Make an appointment with me today, and start your path to true wellness, with Body Wisdom Health.
What can our ancestors teach us about how to eat? A curious dentist in the 1930s wondered just that. His name was Weston A. Price, and he noticed Americans had bad teeth! He drew a connection between nutrition, poor dental health, and rising rates of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
He saw that his patients' dental health was getting worse--more cavities, more gum disease, crowded teeth and narrow palettes. In his adult clients he noted that the worsening dental health was accompanied by other rising complaints, like arthritis, osteoporosis or diabetes. He wondered if this was from the changes in diet brought on by the Industrial Revolution. At the time of Price's research, foods like processed sugar and white flour were starting to become the norm in American households. He connected the dots, hypothesizing that his patients' worsening dental health was due to changes in diet. As the American diet became more processed and divergent from traditional foods, peoples' dental health and overall health declined.
Weston got a bee in his bonnet! He and his wife set out to travel the world in search of its' healthiest people. His travels took him to visit the islanders of the South Seas, to the Eskimos, to the highlanders of Scotland, to the Australian Aborigines, to the Peruvian Indians and beyond. He found groups of people that were, at the time, untouched by modern industry. They were living (and eating) the way their ancestors had for thousands of years. They were strong and healthy with good teeth, broad palettes and healthy facial structure. They were free of modern illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, cancer and arthritis.
The diets of the groups of people that Dr. Price studied really varied, however there were certain foods that were commonly eaten by these exceedingly healthy people. These foods and the work of Weston A. Price have become a foundation for today's primal foods movement and a springboard for the paleo diet. By combining scientific research with the wisdom of our ancestors we can reverse disease and find health and happiness. Schedule a consultation with me to get started on your Body Wisdom Health primal nutrition Wellness Program!
Here are 3 traditional superfoods that will keep you deeply nourished, in body and mind. Your ancestors would be proud!
Fermented Vegetables: Back in the day people didn't store their food in fridges, right? Instead, they often fermented it to preserve it. Most traditional societies had some form of fermented foods. Fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and Korean kim chi are packed with bio-available nutrients, beneficial bacteria, healthy fiber and digestive enzymes. You can't get better than that! Make sure your fermented veggies are raw. Pasteurizing kills the good stuff. Typical store bought sauerkraut is generally pasteurized and doesn't cut the mustard. Look in the cold section of your natural foods store for raw fermented sauerkraut or kim chi. It's pricey to buy, but cheap and fun to make! Check out this recipe.
Coconut oil: While coconut oil is only recently popular in the US, it has been used as a traditional superfood in many parts of the world for thousands of years. Coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids (MCTs), a type of healthy fat that burns easily and is not stored as fat. There is evidence that MCTs have a therapeutic effect on the brain, helping to prevent disorders like Alzheimer's. Because coconut oil is high in lauric acid, it is excellent for digestive health as well. Lauric acid stops the growth of bad bacteria in the gut, allowing beneficial bacteria to grow, which strengthens the immune system and overall health. Enjoy 1 to 2 tablespoons of organic, unrefined coconut oil per day. Fry your eggs in it, use it in your stir fry, take it right off the spoon, or put a tablespoon in your tea or coffee.
Bone Broth: Traditional peoples the world over have relied on the healing effects of bone broth. In the words of renowned author Sally Fallon, "Stock contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily--not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulfur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons--stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain."
Bone broth has an important healing effect on the gut. It heals what's called, "leaky gut," a condition that contributes to digestive problems, allergies, asthma, auto-immune diseases, mental health issues, arthritis, joint pain and osteoporosis. Perhaps one of the reasons these conditions are on the rise is because of the loss of bone broth in our daily diets. To make your own, check out this recipe. To be sure there is plenty of the good stuff packed into your delicious bone broth, boil the bones for 12 to 24 hours or more. In doing so you call upon the wise traditions of our human ancestors over the millenia.
Body Wisdom Health's primal nutrition can help you heal chronic health problems, to find a healthy weight, and to feel energetic and AMAZING! Book your consultation with me today!
Get to the root cause of persistent symptoms and conditions; with functional diagnostics and your Body Wisdom Health Wellness Program. Your free first time consultation can be held in my Tucson office, or by phone.
The Root of Wellness
There are three body systems that act as a foundation for health: the adrenal glands, the digestion, and the liver detox system. These systems feed the rest of the body. Using lab tests, we can find imbalances in the three body systems. When they aren't functioning well, health issues and symptoms arise:
Dysfunction in these three body systems--the adrenal, the digestive and the liver--can be an underlying cause for many diseases and conditions, such as:
Balancing the three body systems is a powerful way to strengthen your immune system, lower inflammation, and avoid chronic illness. It increases your energy, resilience, and vitality throughout your life. If you suffer from any of the above symptoms or conditions, please make an appointment for a FREE first time consultation, so I can help you feel better, soon!
Wellness Consultations with Sarah
Want to know more about me, and how we work together to get you well? I am a trained practitioner of The Kalish Method, which is pioneered by functional medicine leader Dr. Daniel Kalish. I use this method to build a Wellness Program made for your body's needs and designed to fit into your life. During our consultations, we talk, in detail, about your health history, your lifestyle, and your health goals. Together we do the detective work of understanding symptoms and their underlying causes. Once we have your lab results, I can address what is found, and design your program. Each Wellness Program is based on nutrition, natural supplements and mindfulness practices.
You'll learn about your body's nutritional needs. Our DNA is 99.99% the same as our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Current rising rates of disease and obesity stem from a diet that strays from the traditional superfoods that all humans need. You'll learn how to avoid eating in a way that increases inflammation, and how to bring in important, nutrient-dense foods, in a diet that is delicious and satisfying.
Your lab results will show how your body is functioning. They can reveal nutritional deficiencies, underlying infection and hormonal imbalances. Along with the anti-inflammatory diet, certain supplements are used to bring the body out of a deficiency state and into optimal health. Difficult symptoms disappear, so you can feel your best and love your life!
All aspects of my work focus on healing the effects of chronic stress. With nutrition and supplements we can improve the biochemistry of the body. Equally important, however, is breaking the cycle of emotional stress that often underpins physical health problems. During your Wellness Consultations, we take a close look at sources of stress in your life. We strategize ways to address it. You'll take home a tool-box of stress reduction techniques for feeling happier, sleeping better, quieting the mind and enjoying your life.
It's Time To Feel Better!
You've got nothing to lose, because your first consultation is free! And there is no time like the present for beginning your wellness journey.
Wellness Consultations take place in my office in mid-town Tucson, AZ, or can be held as a Phone Consultation.
Want to Learn More? Join Us For A Free Lecture
If you'd like to know more about balancing the three body systems, and taking back your wellness with Body Wisdom Health, join us at the next free lecture.
I'm looking forward to meeting you!
-Sarah Cotten HLC
Yum! These delicious and satisfying muffins make the perfect snack. They are high protein and low-carb plus gluten-free, dairy-free and grain-free! Made with both coconut flour and coconut oil, they are a great way to get your medium chain fatty acids, which are essential for a healthy brain. Who knew such a wholesome treat could be so tasty! And kids love them!
½ cup organic unrefined coconut oil*
7 organic eggs (8 if they are backyard eggs and on the small side)
¼ cup honey
½ tsp vanilla extract (labeled as gluten free)
½ tsp sea salt
2 tsp cinnamon
½ cup coconut flour (sifted)
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
You can substitute the blueberries for other berries or fruits, or for vegetables like pumpkin or grated carrot.
*A word about coconut oil: At 75 degrees and higher, it is clear and liquid, lower than that, it is white and solidified. For baking, if necessary, warm it in a pot over low heat to liquefy it first. Also, cold eggs will solidify the coconut oil in your mixing bowl. Soak eggs in warm/hot water for 7 min before adding to bowl.
Beat eggs in mixing bowl with whisk. Pour honey, coconut oil and vanilla extract into bowl and mix. Add in sea salt, cinnamon and sifted coconut flour and beat until it is not lumpy. Add in blueberries and gently mix. Spoon batter into muffin papers about ¾ of the way full or slightly more.
Bake at 350 for 16 – 20 min. When a toothpick comes out clean they are done.
Enjoy as is or, if dairy is included in your diet, with Kerry Gold brand grass fed butter, a very healthy Omega 3 rich fat.