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The Adrenal Health Protocol_Final

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>> Hi there. It's great to see you again. So far, we've talked quite a bit about how adrenal dysfunction, and particularly, HPA axis dysfunction impacts the body. By now, you should have a pretty good idea over the processes that occur and the consequences that result in the body from chronic stress. We know how frustrating this can be for your clients and how that frustration just causes more stress. So in this lecture, we're going to introduce the adrenal health protocol, which includes a specific set of recommendations for your clients to get their stress under control and take care of their overworked bodies, without causing more stress in the process. Have you ever worked with a client who is caught in the cycle of perfectionism? This is the person who has too much on their plate, but they won't ask for help because nobody gets things done as well as they do. Yet of course, since they're taking on the world, nothing turns out quite right anyway. Does this sound familiar? This protocol will be especially helpful with clients like these. Since HPA axis dysfunction is closely related to chronic stress, stress-relief tools and techniques are a very important part of reclaiming hormonal health. There are a number of ways your clients can step off the stress rollercoaster and get back on track to living a happier, longer, and less stressful life. The Adrenal Health Protocol recommends two crucial ways for clients to better support their adrenals, nutritional support and self-care and lifestyle practices. Let's explore nutritional support in more detail first. The first phase in the Adrenal Health Protocol is to get that diet cleaned up. It won't surprise you to hear that diet can make a big difference when it comes to managing stress. There are a lot of foods in the standard American diet that increase the impact that stress has on the body. Processed foods, pesticides, toxins, added sugar, gluten, antibiotics, and hormones can all increase the burden on the body. For clients who are used to eating the standard American diet, it can be overwhelming to transition to a clean way of eating. This should always be done as a step-by-step process, not an instant overhaul in diet. Lasting changes made in increments to help guide the process, I'll now share with you the four simple steps your clients can take to create a diet that supports adrenal healing. One, eat regular meals, especially breakfast. How you eat is as important as what you eat. There are numerous benefits to be gained from supporting your body's natural rhythms and properly timing meals to prevent dramatic dips in blood sugar. Doing so minimizes cortisol output and freeze up the adrenals to perform their secondary functions. It also provides more sustained energy throughout the day. Properly timed, adequate nutrition will make a person much more resilient to their daily stressors. Curious about what proper timing looks like, here is the recommended timing for meals to keep blood sugar stable. Eat within one hour of waking up. Once your client has stabilized their blood sugar, space meals five to six hours apart. In the beginning, meals may need to be spaced three to four hours apart, no snacking before bedtime, fast from dinner time until breakfast, and drink plenty of water, but not during meals. Number two, meals should include high quality protein, good fats, unrefined carbohydrates, and fiber. Combining protein, fat, and carbohydrates in each meal will prevent unwanted blood sugar spikes and crashes. Avoid eating carbohydrates alone and instead, always add protein and fat, even when snacking. Here are four ways to eat an ideal diet that will help heal the adrenals. One, eat low glycemic. Two, avoid alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco. Three, get plenty of omega-3's. And four, consume a widely-colored diet, including dark-colored fruit and vegetables. These four steps are simple ones your clients can take, but don't give them all at once. This could be overwhelming. Have your clients add these into their routine one step at a time. You can introduce a new one for them to try each session. Being sure to check in on how they are doing with sustaining the previous recommendations. Let's take a closure look at each of these recommendations. First, keep the glycemic load low. Cortisol raises insulin and insulin raises cortisol. The best way to address high cortisol is to incorporate low-glycemic foods or foods that don't raise blood sugar when eaten. The concept of glycemic load, GL for short, was developed by scientists to simultaneously describe the quality and quantity of carbohydrates in a food serving. The glycemic index, or GI, of a particular food refers to the quality of carbohydrates it contains. The glycemic load of a single food is calculated by multiplying the glycemic index by the amount of carbohydrates in grams provided by a food serving, and then dividing the total by 100. For a typical serving of a food, GL would be considered high if it's greater than or equal to 20, intermediate, if it's between 11 and 19, and low, if it is less than or equal to 10. Using this system, one serving of watermelon has a GL of 8, while a medium sized donut has a GL of 17. This might seem like a complicated way to figure out what to eat, but spending a little time with your clients on this can reap big rewards. For people who are numbers-minded, this system provides a concrete way of showing how it makes a difference, which carbohydrates they choose. For more detailed information on determining glycemic load, be sure to check out the link we've provided in the recommended reading section of this module's skill building activities. Second, alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine should be greatly reduced or eliminated. These substances are all highly toxic to the adrenal glands. Your clients who drink, smoke, or have a morning coffee habit will be really bummed out to hear this information. But once these things are out of their system, they will likely feel much better. Both alcohol and caffeine can cause mild to moderate dehydration, which is considered a physical stressor and can worsen HPA axis dysfunction. Alcohol inhibits immune system function, raises blood sugar, and impairs liver function. There's also evidence that histamines stimulates the adrenal glands to produce more cortisol. Wine and beer are high in histamines and can further exacerbate adrenal dysfunction. If a client is already dealing with HPA axis dysfunction, the effects of alcohol can be really detrimental to his or her health. This can feel even more stressful at first since many adults rely on a glass of wine or a beer to wine down after a stressful day. If you don't drink alcohol, don't forget that this can feel like a really difficult sacrifice for your clients to make. It's important to show them that you understand while encouraging them to slowly work toward crowding drinks out with healthier activities that will support their adrenals. Caffeine artificially stimulates the adrenals, which puts your clients on an energy rollercoaster. Once the caffeine high wears off, they're likely reaching for another cup of Joe or a sugary muffin to carry them through to lunch. Help your clients wean off of these stimulants by having a coffee with half decaf or introducing yerba mate or dandy blend, which are coffee substitutes. These are great ways to start cutting back without feeling the loss of going cold turkey. Smoking, in addition to all of the negative effects on heart and lung health, has been associated with higher cortisol levels. This may seem counter-intuitive because most people who smoke will light up as a way to soothe their stress. But smoking artificially stimulates the adrenal glands, leaving your body even more stressed out. Not that anyone needs another reason to quit smoking, but if your client has adrenal dysfunction, this is a great reason to assess their readiness to change and perhaps look into some smoking cessation methods. Third, including omega-3 rich foods in the diet can help to lower cortisol. Omega-3 fatty acids are excellent at cleaning up inflammation caused by chronic stress and helping the cells to function better. The brain is extremely sensitive to the inflammation caused by stress. Something else that contributes to this inflammation is a high level of omega-6 fatty acids. Balancing those high levels with a healthy amount of omega-3 helps to relieve the inflammation. There are two components to omega-3, EPA and DHA. DHA is used as a structural component of the brain. EPA is a powerful anti-inflammatory and is required by the body to clear brain inflammation. A low level of omega-3 in the blood means the brain has less ability to cope with stress. Animal sources of omega-3 are more easily used by the body since they don't require any processing. So meat eaters will have an easier time in getting adequate omega-3's. Vegetable sources contain alpha linoleic acid, or ALA, which has to be first broken down by the body into DHA and EPA. The body isn't very efficient at this process. Less than 5% of ALA gets converted to EPA and less than 0.5% of ALA is converted to DHA. So when possible, fish is still the best source of EPA for brain health. If their diet allows, you can recommend that your clients incorporate 4 ounces of wild-caught fatty fish into their diet a few times a week. This has been shown to decrease body fat, increase lean muscle mass, and lower cortisol levels. They can also add in other great sources of omega-3's, such as, sardines and grass-fed beef. The best sources for plant-based eaters are avocados, walnuts, and chia seeds. Fourth and finally, a multicolored diet, rich in nutrients will support optimal adrenal gland function. Dark-colored foods in particular, such as, blueberries, blackberries, beats, black beans, and kidney beans are especially nourishing to the adrenal glands. Many of these foods are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants which are crucial to adrenal health. Pastured beef, chicken, or pork liver are excellent sources of bio-available vitamin A and B vitamins, which are essential for adrenal health. Sea vegetables like, kelp and homemade bone broth are an exceptional source of trace minerals and should also be incorporated to support optimal adrenal function. Other vegetables that deeply nourish the adrenals include celery, escarole, asparagus, and bitter-dark leafy greens. These are packed with magnesium and fiber as well as antioxidants which can help to maintain stable blood sugar and keep toxins out of the digestive tract. Celery also has a healthy form of sodium that can help with the dehydration that is common in HPA axis dysfunction. Help your clients to incorporate these super foods into their diets on a daily basis. And in time, they'll begin to feel more resilient to stress. Okay, did you get all of that so far? The first phase of the adrenal health protocol involves eating breakfast, regularly spacing your meals, and filling your plate every meal with high quality protein, good fats, unrefined carbohydrates, and fiber. Next, we discussed eating a low glycemic diet, cutting down on sugar, avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco, including omega-3's, and eating a colorful diet. Phase two of the adrenal health protocol involves integrating lifestyle practices to restore healthy adrenal function. The big picture idea here is to help your clients discover how they can work smarter, not harder. This is because often when we're faced with stress, we tend to do the opposite. During a hectic point in your life, have you ever thought to yourself, "If I just work a little harder, push a little more, I'll get through this, and the stress will die down?" If you have, you probably learned that the more you pushed, the more you wear yourself down and the harder it was to get through things. Your clients who are living in a state of chronic stress likely feel this way, but they may not even realize it. After a while, feeling frazzled starts to feel like baseline and your clients may not even realize how stressed out they truly are. From this space, looking at the big picture of stress in one's life can feel complicated and overwhelming. Clients may get very emotional or they may shutdown and not want to go there at all. But if a client is in a state of adrenal dysfunction, this is a good time for them to examine their lives and evaluate the stressors that are infringing on their quality of life. As their Health Coach, you can help them take a look at what they can modify or take off their plate and help them create a system for accountability for following through with these shifts. Maybe your client is totally overwhelmed with work and they come home to a messy house every day. The piles of laundry and dishes are making their home environment feel chaotic, but no matter how much they try to get done in one day, they can never seem to get around to the chores of the home. So this stresses them out even more. Guiding your client to get up an hour earlier twice a week to clean would be working harder. Their house maybe cleaner, but they'll be too tired to enjoy it. But what about the value of paying someone to come in and clean the house once a week, often we have a hard time justifying expenses like these, but the removal of the stressor and the improved energy of a tidy home might be totally worth a monetary investment in your client's self-care. This is an example of working smarter. Consider this analogy, at the end of the day, you plug your cell phone into the wall to recharge it. What do you plug in to? Where are your clients getting their energy from, and what's sucking their energy stores? One of the biggest drains to a cell phone battery are the apps that run quietly in the background. What are the "apps" that drain your client's energy and what can they eliminate to conserve their energy supply? Help your clients brainstorm ways they can start to recharge their batteries. Ultimately, the goal is for them to release the illusion of control and surrender to the idea that what is meant to be will be. To help them do this, I'll share with you four practical lifestyle shifts to combat stress. These may seem obvious, yet chances are they're probably lacking in your client's lives. First, show your clients how to take a pause. One of the greatest tools for fighting the detrimental effects of stress is the "pause." When tasks and decisions pile up, it's tempting to agree to take on everything and let yourself be overwhelmed. As you can imagine, this sets off the adrenal alarm bells and puts a person into a state of panic, anxiety, irritability, and anger. This is particularly true for women who are natural givers and tend to push through to take care of work, home, family, and friends, even when they're running on empty. Instead of pushing forward at the expense of their physical and emotional health, open your clients up to the magical possibility of giving themselves permission to take a pause. Remind them that when asked to make decisions or do a million things at once, no matter how busy life can be, they're always allowed to stop, breath, and hit the pause button for 10 to 30 minutes. If you are a type A personality, you know how hard this can feel at first. But it's so important to learn to just sit with yourself and step outside of the chaos when life gets overwhelming. Taking a break from the madness to do a 10-minute guided meditation audio or taking a walk around the block to get some fresh air, for example, is like a reset button for a system that's an overdrive. Your clients may feel like they're wasting time, but they'll soon find out that they'll be more productive in the long run and they'll learn how to prioritize and choose what will serve them best in that moment. Next, create clear priorities and boundaries. An important piece of doing what we just talked about involves creating clear priorities and then putting boundaries in place. This act of self-preservation helps to mitigate stress. It's tempting to do everything and be everything to everyone, but without priorities, it's hard to actually make decisions and stick with them because other unimportant tasks end up taking precedence over previously important tasks. One way to help with this is to challenge your clients to create a concise list of all their activities and to-dos. Ask them to circle what's important to them, and by that, I mean, what's actually intrinsically important to them. Now what they think they "should or must" do. Once they can identify what's less important or not important to them at all, explore how they can delegate or give up these tasks all together. Before adding a new task or a commitment to their life list, they can ask themselves this powerful question, "Will doing this recharge my batteries or deplete them?" If the activity will deplete them, then it's up to them to either say no or find a smarter way of doing it. This might include splitting the responsibility with the partner, asking the kids or a family member to help out, enlisting the help of a friend or neighbor, or outsourcing to a professional. On that note, the third step is to remind your client that it's okay to ask for help. As I mentioned earlier, many people, especially women, struggle with perfectionism. They may not realize this, but you'll be able to pick it out quickly by seeing how willing and able they are to accept help or advice from others. If they're resistant or believe that no one can do what they do, they're probably afflicted with the perfectionism bug. Perfectionists are skilled, driven, and often quite accomplished, but this comes at the expense of their own wellbeing. Help your perfectionist clients, see that asking for help doesn't mean they are weak. Remind them that progress is more important than perfection. And that a satisfactory finished job is better than an unfinished job with perfect details. Once they get passed the discomfort of asking for help, your client may be pleasantly surprised to feel the weight of lifted burdens, while seeing that the world didn't crash down around them as a result of relinquishing a task to someone who may not do as good a job as them. Finally, help your clients crowd out the stress by adding relaxing and restorative activities into their routines. Here are four stress-relieving activities to suggest to your clients. One, a floatation tank. This is also known as a sensory deprivation tank. It's basically a large tub of water that contains about a thousand pounds of Epsom salts. Due to the high salt content in the tank, you float on top of the water, giving you a sense of weightlessness. It is a deeply relaxing experience that creates a profound sense of calm and contentment. Two, try an earthing sheet. This may sound a little woo-woo, but there is scientific evidence that directly connecting to the earth can help reset adrenal function and improve chronic fatigue. If your clients don't regularly walk on the grass or the beach barefoot, suggest they try an earthing sheet on their bed to help them sleep better. Number three, lay on an acupressure mat. This is a mat with a bunch of small plastic spikes on it. It may not look very comfortable at first glance, but acupressure mats are incredible tools for eliminating pain and improving sleep. Encourage your clients to purchase an acupressure mat and lay on it for 10 to 15 minutes a day. Bonus points, if they use this time for meditation. That sums up the second phase of the adrenal health protocol. We discussed a range of stress-relieving practices including taking a pause, creating clear priorities and boundaries, and asking for help. We also covered stress-relieving activities including floatation tanks, using an earthing sheet, and lying on an acupressure mat. These recommendations coupled with the dietary guidelines in the first phase of the protocol can help your clients to repair and restore their overworked adrenals and improve their overall quality of life. It's obvious that humans can't continue to ignore the laws of nature in pursuit of society's definition of success. Perfectionists and overachievers tend to beat themselves up for not measuring up. But it's important to keep in mind that the current system of overachievement isn't working too well for most of us. A better solution for stress management and mitigation does exist. The adrenal health protocol is a way for you to help your clients stand up to their stressors, becoming more resilient and adequately equipped to manage stress in the process. As a busy professional, you too are likely faced with a high level of stress. And so, we hope that you pay special attention to this content on stress management and apply it to your own life. So now, we pose the question directly to you. What things in your life drain your battery and what do you do to plug in and recharge? This is a great opportunity to share our experiences and support one another, so let's take this discussion over to the Facebook group and discus our personal observations. See you over there and bye for now.

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Duration: 22 minutes and 12 seconds
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Language: English
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Posted by: ninaz on Mar 25, 2018

The Adrenal Health Protocol_Final

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