With adrenal fatigue comes a host symptoms and complaints; some more subtle than others. The intense cravings for sweet sugary snacks (and the opposite end of the spectrum, salt) can be overwhelming. The body needs cortisol, a steroid hormone, to counter the affects of stress. Cortisol also balances the sleep/wake cycle, maintains the metabolic rate, and boosts blood sugar levels when needed. With adrenal fatigue, the adrenal cortex works overtime churning out cortisol to counter the “fight or flight” syndrome leaving precious little cortisol to balance other necessary functions such as regulation of blood sugar. Cortisol is necessary to control blood sugar levels, and with low cortisol levels, adrenal fatigue sufferers tend to develop hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). When blood sugar falls too low, the adrenals attempt to pump out more cortisol to increase blood sugar levels, putting further stress on the adrenals and leading to a vicious cycle – adrenal fatigue leads to low cortisol levels, low cortisol levels cause low blood sugar and low blood sugar exacerbates adrenal fatigue.
Cravings for sugar are common with adrenal fatigue as they give you a short term energy boost. In the long run, however, it will only deplete your energy further. There are several ways to stabilize blood sugar by making sound nutritional choices. Eating a combination of good quality protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates at every meal and snack, eating regular meals and avoiding “heroine-like” foods such as sugar, white flour and fast foods that cause blood sugar levels to spike and then drop. Going gluten-free can take some of the pressures off the adrenals and digestive system.
What? No sugar? It’s unrealistic to go through life without the taste of “sweet”. So what’s a girl (or guy) to do when the desire for something capable of causing a “foodgasm” hits? For chocolate cravings try our raw Nourishing Chocolate Pudding recipe. Rich, creamy, loaded with anti-oxidants and healthy fats, this pudding will satisfy your cravings and even impress the kiddies without sending them bouncing off the walls.
Another recipe to try is our Gluten-Free Lemon Cake, high in Vitamin C, using plain almond flour and eggs which negate the need to add any additional fats yet combine to make a dense, creamy and incredibly satisfying dessert. It does contain added sugar in the form of raw cane, honey, or agave, but a little of this cake goes a long way and the almonds and eggs are pure protein which slows down the absorption of the sugars.