“Annie, I just got a text message. We can get our vaccines if we go right now. I hope the car starts; we haven’t driven it in so long,” joked LJ.
Minutes later, they arrived at the medical center. Signs directed them to the vaccine line, where there were about a half dozen cars ahead. They registered, got their shots, and drove home.
Annie pulled off her band-aid and tossed it, “Well, that was easy. It looks like our second shots are in two weeks?”
“Yes. I have meant to check-in with you to see how you are feeling after a year of isolation. I remember at the beginning of the pandemic, you were feeling anxious and worried.”
“LJ, I don’t think any of us will ever forget 2020. This past year increased our stress levels in unimaginable ways. I read an article recently about adrenal fatigue. Adrenal glands, located on the top of each kidney, produce cortisol. It plays an important role in the body’s ability to respond to stress. Cortisol regulates blood pressure and immune response. However, elevated cortisol over a long time often due to chronic stress can lead to high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, anxiety, and depression. I’ve talked to friends and neighbors, all complaining of ongoing tiredness, digestion issues, and sleeplessness. I remember you developed a plan to help me get through those early days. Maybe you could update it?”
“Yes, I have a new version that includes: an adrenal-friendly diet, hydration, the 20-minute meal, gratitude practices, the nutritional importance of community, solitude, and the value of a health/life coach.”
Adrenal Friendly Diet: this food-based method helps balance cortisol levels and boosts mood:
Eggs – elevates mood
Whole grains – sustained energy
Nuts – magnesium for healthy adrenal glands
Leafy Greens – fiber that lowers your blood sugar during meals
Fish – potassium for brain health
Lean Meats – iron supports the adrenal gland’s production of cortisol.
Veggies – anti-inflammatory properties that protects adrenal glands
Legumes – vitamin B9 (Folate) supports pleasure-inducing brain chemicals
Low-sugar fruits – high in vitamins C, B, and magnesium
Healthy Fats – olive, coconut, and grapeseed oils – hormone balance and stable blood sugar
Dairy – vitamins D, B2, & 12, potassium, and phosphorus
Sea salt – its magnesium supports adrenal glands, relaxes muscles, and promotes sleep
Water, Water, Water – the more hydrated, the less hungry, and the better your mood. Dehydration triggers the adrenal glands to produce more cortisol. Studies confirm that men should drink 15.5 cups per day and women 11.5 cups per day.
The twenty-minute meal – gives the stomach time to communicate fullness to the brain.
Expressing gratitude: blessing food before eating helps calm the nervous system, allowing for effective digestion. Stress eating triggers cortisol, which increases glucose into the bloodstream. Blood pressure rises, the digestive system shuts down, and much of what is eaten is stored as fat.
Community: eating with family and friends is a relaxed method for savoring food and get its maximum nutritional benefits.
Solitude: yoga, meditation, spending some time alone each day helps manage stress, resets the immune system, and gives the adrenal glands a break.
Health/Life Coach: a coach can help you create a structure and personalized strategy for achieving your goals. A coach will hold you accountable and help you feel motivated and encouraged.
Annie and LJ are a fictional couple. Their storyline promotes healthy eating and earth-friendly practices.