When I first moved to New York City, I got caught up in the fast life, and everything I learned about living a wellness-centered lifestyle went flying out the door. Any health challenge or problem that I faced had to be fixed fast; I always felt as if I needed to get “back to work” instead of listening to my body. If my skin broke out – I’d get a facial. If I couldn’t sleep – I’d pop an Ambien. If I needed to stay awake – I’d chug a few lattes. If I did get sick – antibiotics were a quick fix. If I needed to lose weight – late nights at the gym and diet pills.
I didn’t spend much time adapting to my new lifestyle or learning how to integrate healthy habits. I thought I was offsetting a very unhealthy lifestyle by doing wheatgrass shots and 7am yoga class after being up all night partying. I ignored the signs that my mind, body, and soul were out of whack because balance was not in my vocabulary. I got sicker and sicker until I finally hit rock bottom a couple years later.
I suffered from adrenal fatigue… well, that is what the doctors call it.
The adrenal glands (also known as suprarenal glands) are the triangle-shaped endocrine glands that sit atop the kidneys. They are chiefly responsible for regulating the stress response through the synthesis of corticosteroids and catecholamine, including cortisol and adrenaline.
When the adrenals are tired, the body may experience a number of different symptoms. The most common symptoms caused by tired or worn-out adrenal glands are:
- Excessive sweating or perspiration from little activity
- Lower back pain and/or knee weakness or pain, especially on the side
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Muscle twitches
- Low blood sugar
- Heart palpitations
- Sensitivity to light, or difficulty seeing at night
- A craving for salt
- Low stamina for stress, and easily irritated
- Excessive mood responses after eating carbohydrates such as pasta, breads and sugar
- Chronic infections (bacterial, viral, fungal, yeast)
- Low blood pressure
- Light-headedness on standing up
- Tired but wired feeling, poor sleep
- Cravings for sweets and carbs, intolerance to alcohol
- Premature aging
- Dry, unhealthy skin with excess pigmentation
- Lack of libido
- Cystic breasts
- Tendency to startle easily
I knew how important the adrenal glands are to one’s immune system and that they are necessary for proper thyroid function. I had to reclaim my years of childhood knowledge and everything I had previously learned about healing myself. So, I started at the basics – the very basics.
- I slept a lot. I would go to bed early and sleep till at least 9am.
- I eliminated all sugar (even the fake stuff) and processed carbs. Sugar and simple carbs put a lot of stress on your adrenals, as adrenal glands help to regulate blood sugar levels.
- I transitioned back to a whole-foods, plant-based diet. I ate five to six servings of vegetables each day and included fruits, nuts, legumes, beans, and whole grains into my diet.
- I had fresh pressed juice and raw green smoothies every single day.
- I ate several meals throughout the day instead of the majority of my food at night.
- I quit the coffee habit, switched to Kombucha and tea, and drank plenty of fresh filtered water every single day.
- I exercised to be healthy, not to lose weight. If my body felt tired, I would join a yoga class; on days I had more energy, I would spin or do kick boxing.
- I cut out all the stress and took a break from my career. I created distance from the negative people in my life and nourished the healthy relationships that I had.
- I threw out my prescriptions and added an essential oil regimen back into my life for focus, sleep, immune support, and adrenal support; specifically: Clove, Coriander, Cypress, Geranium, Rosemary, Ylang Ylang.
- I transitioned from taking laxatives to a fiber-rich diet.
- I supported my immune system with lots of supplements and superfoods, including maca, camu camu, chia seeds, flax seeds, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin E, a B-complex, and licorice root.
- I got acupuncture and hired several coaches to support my transformation.
- I meditated daily and focused inward. Self-discovery was an important part of understanding why I had manifested this sickness.
- I laughed a lot and made sure to do something new or fun every single day.
My body, surprisingly, bounced back very quickly. Given the right kind of nourishment – for the body, mind, and soul – I truly believe we can find within ourselves the ability to heal. Today, I feel happier and healthier than I ever have and continue to practice balance every single day.