Golden Milk

Golden Milk Recipe

Turmeric has a number of health benefits (read our blog on why we love turmeric the wonder spice here). The spices used in this drink are nourishingly warming and is great for drinking before bed. And bonus: this recipe is quick and easy to make.

Golden Milk

Serves 1

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Testing for Adrenal Fatigue

Are you tired, run down, gaining weight and feeling less than optimal? If you answered yes, you may be suffering from Adrenal Fatigue.

Adrenal fatigue is becoming increasingly common as a result of the stressful western lifestyle; we are constantly stressed from study, work, family, money and never take the time to de-stress, relax and heal our bodies.

Adrenal Fatigue is when your adrenals become fatigued. Sounds simple right? Unfortunately, is a lot more complex and debilitating than it sounds (as we’re sure you know if you are reading this)!

What is Adrenal Fatigue

For more information on the complexities of Adrenal Fatigue, read our post The 4 Stages of Adrenal Fatigue here.

We always find that the New Year is a great time to get ourselves in check. Our most import tests that we like to run can be found here. One of these tests is an Adrenal Cortisol level test.

Adrenal Cortisol levels (read more about them here) should be tested via a 24 hour saliva test, NOT blood, in order to determine if your cortisol production follows the diurnal curve that it should. Our highest levels of cortisol are required in the morning in order for us to carry on with our normal activities and then fall progressively towards night so that we can sleep.

Unfortunately, doctors tend to recommend a one-time blood test, which measures both your bound and unbound cortisol–not how much cortisol is produced at different times of the day. Ideally, you will need to be off all cortisol containing supplements for two weeks before testing.

adrenal-gland-chart

Tests results for optimum health should look like these numbers below:

  • 8 am: At the literal top of the range
  • 11 am-noon: In the upper quarter, and often about a quarter below the top
  • 4-5 pm: Mid-range
  • 11 pm to midnight: At the very bottom

We’ve written a number of posts on Adrenal Fatigue. For more information on the symptoms of the 4 different stages of Adrenal Fatigue (we know, 4 stages!!), read our post The 4 Stages of Adrenal Fatigue here.

We’ve also put together a post on our recovery plan which you can read here.

When recovering from AF it is important to remember that it will take some time – we didn’t get to this stage overnight. It is common for AF recovery to take 3 – 6 months, and even longer for those in the later stages of the illness (or for those suffering from other illnesses). Be patient – and if you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, just think, these months of recovery is time for you to focus on yourself and put yourself first.

Here’s to a healthy 2018!!

Relax with this one easy exercise

Deep-Breath-Relax

It’s that time of year again – Christmas! And while it can be a magical time of year filled with excitement, family and anticipation for what Santa might bring, it can also be a time of stress.

It’s less than a month until Christmas; how are you feeling? Do you feel like you’re running out of time? You still haven’t organised the dinner menu for the big day? You haven’t had a chance to buy everyone’s gifts yet? Has your ‘favourite’ (cue sarcasm) uncle just told you his extended family will also be coming to yours for lunch? Do you just feel like there is no time for you?

Did you know, stress has been linked to a myriad of health issues, including insomnia, depression, high blood pressure and mild cognitive impairment (MCI – a precursor to Alzheimer’s)?

Unfortunately, our typical way of relaxing (e.g. zoning out in front of the TV or tucking into a big bowl of comfort food – pasta, chocolate or ice-cream? or maybe all three anyone?) is doing little to reduce the damaging effects of stress.

What really helps – and only needs to take 5 mins – are deep breathing exercises. And bonus: it’s free and can be done anywhere, anytime!

Deep breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting a state of calmness. Breathing techniques help you feel connected to your body—bringing your awareness away from the worries in your head, quieting your mind and letting you focus on the now.

So how do you relax through deep breathing?

Visualisation combined with deep breathing is a powerful tool to halt stress in its track. You can do this exercise anywhere, but we really like to do it laying down (and, maybe a little bit over the top, but with our feet facing in the direction of a window or door – read on to see why). release stress breathing

(1) To start, imagine all of the tension in your shoulders floating away.

(2) Now imagine two holes in the soles – one in each.

(3) Take a deep breath. As you do so, visualize hot air flowing through these holes moving slowly up your legs, through your abdomen and filling your lungs.

(4) As the hot air moves through your body, relax each muscle it ‘touches’ (e.g. as you visual the air moving up through your shins, visualise your calf muscles relaxing).

(5) Now, as you exhale, reverse the flow of the hot hair – you should be visualising the hot air moving down through your body and exiting (taking with it the tension in your body) the holes in the soles of your feet (and, if like us, you have your feet facing a window or door, you can take it a step further and imagine the tension and stress flowing out of the window or door).

The best part about this exercise is that you can do it anytime you feel like you need to relax and calm down…even in the middle of that shopping mall as you rush around buying last minute gifts (because, let’s face it, everyone else is too stressed also trying to buy those last minute gifts that they won’t even notice).

 

 

3 Reasons to use Melatonin

Melatonin – or as we like to call it, the wonder hormone – is a hormone produced by the pineal gland; a tiny gland found in our brain.

This gland is thought of as the master controller of our body clock. It manages our day-to-day circadian rhythm, telling us when to sleep and when to wake, and our longer-term biological clock, telling us when we get to experience those wonderful major hormonal milestones, such as puberty and menopause!pineal-gland

The pineal gland controls our circadian rhythms by releasing melatonin. Melatonin synthesis and its release is stimulated by darkness and hence is primarily produced at night. Typically, melatonin is used as a sleep aid to help people overcome jetlag or to help shift workers who have difficulty sleeping.

And that’s why we started using melatonin – to help us sleep. However, melatonin can also help with regulating hormones, thyroid function, our immune system and even help with slowing down aging!

Here are 3 of the benefits to using melatonin:

  1. Melatonin improves your sleep

As we mention above, our pineal gland controls our wake-sleep cycles by releasing melatonin. Melatonin is stimulated by darkness. However, when we watch tv before going to bed or lay in bed playing with our phones, the light from these devices interrupts the release of melatonin.

This disruption throws off the entire melatonin cycle, impacting both the quality and length of your sleep. When you don’t sleep, you suppress all of the systems in your body. Supplementing with melatonin helps your body to regulate its sleep-wake cycle and helps to prevent a breakdown of the other systems in your body.

sleeping

2. Melatonin helps to regulate hormones

I started supplementing with melatonin to help with sleep. However, after a couple of weeks using it, my period returned – after missing for five years! Initially I thought that this was down to the melatonin improving my sleep and therefore reducing the amount of stress in my body. Yet after some further research, I found that melatonin can actually help with regulating hormones.

Italian physician Walter Pierpaoli, MD, in particular, has spent decades researching melatonin and its effects on hormones. Dr. Pierpaoli believes that supplementing with melatonin can not only re-synchronize our circadian rhythms and wake-sleep cycles but also our overall endocrine system.

In one of his studies, Dr. Pierpaoli looked at perimenopausal and menopausal women aged between 42 and 62. This study found that using melatonin supplements for 6 months:

  • Increased estrogen levels,
  • Improved thyroid function,
  • Reduced follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) levels in the women under 50,
  • Restored normal menstrual cycles in the younger women,
  • Restored normal menstrual cycles in a number of women who were already postmenopausal,
  • Delayed characteristic endocrine changes that occur during menopause, and
  • Helped with the conversion of T4 to T3, resulting in increased T3 levels in the study group.

3. Melatonin can help slow down aging

As we age, the pineal gland produces less and less melatonin. This natural decline means the pineal gland has to work harder to produce the melatonin we require to sleep well. Supplementing with melatonin allows the pineal gland to rest, protecting the pineal gland from aging and slowing down the aging process of our other glands and organs.

Studies of mice and the effects of melatonin have shown that, when provided with a melatonin supplement, the treated mice demonstrated regained energy, a youthful sex drive and a normal thyroid hormone cycle. As such, melatonin may slow some of the effects of aging.

 

I really believe that melatonin is one of the reasons my period returned after five years. Not only are my hormones returning to normal levels, I also feel much more relaxed and even rested when I wake up in the morning. One thing I should mention though – if you do decided to supplement with melatonin, just be aware that your dreams can become very vivid!!

How to exercise with Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal Fatigue Recovery

When suffering from adrenal fatigue, it’s important to understand how your gym habits are effecting your recovery. We’ve already covered how working out can impact our cortisol levels (read the post here), so this post is for all of the other exercise addicts out there who just can’t bare giving up your daily workout!

Ok so we admit it, continuing to workout when you are suffering from severe adrenal fatigue may not be in your best interest. In fact, working out when you’re suffering from stage 3 or stage 4 adrenal fatigue might seriously worsen the state of your health. If you are in either of these stages you really should give up exercise until your symptoms improve (and seek professional help).

However, if you’re in the early phases of adrenal fatigue some exercise might be beneficial to your recovery. But it’s all about how you workout.

As your cortisol levels are at their highest in the morning, it’s better to get your exercise in in the morning, rather than in the evening. This way your body will be better able to handle the stress impact from the spike in cortisol.

Instead of a high intensity workout, try a less strenuous exercise like yoga or taking a walk around the block. If you are seriously addicted to exercise and would find this change too difficult to deal with, you could start incorporating there exercises into your workout plan by taking a yoga class one day a week instead of a spin class.

Progress with your recovery will take time. As you make these changes to your workout, try to keep a journal on how your symptoms respond. If you feel more stressed after yoga, try tai chi instead. Finding what works best for you is the most important thing.

Working out with Adrenal Fatigue

Exercise_Basics

Working out, and working out hard, is healthy right? Well not always…

High intensity workouts cause a rush of cortisol to be released by our body. Our body then reacts to this the same way it would if we were under stress (think fight or flight mode). Whilst typically healthy people can manage this spike in cortisol, those of us who suffer from adrenal fatigue can’t and the response can really mess with our healing progress.

Unfortunately, people suffering from adrenal fatigue often get a surge of energy in the evening. So instead of winding down after a busy day, we’re tempted to use this energy as motivation and head to the gym for a workout.

However, high intensity workouts at night can disrupt our body’s natural cortisol cycle (read more about your cortisol levels here), as our cortisol is starting to lower. This can worsen your adrenal fatigue (not to mention, interrupt your sleeping patterns further, lowering your mood and even causing weight gain).

In the really severe stages of adrenal fatigue (read about the 4 stages here) it might be best to skip the workouts for a while. This should let your body recover from the added stress of high intensity exercise.

Don’t get us wrong, exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. But, just like any healing plan, finding what works for you is the most important thing.

If you really can’t give up the gym, read our next post on how to exercise with adrenal fatigue.

 

Do you have a magnesium deficiency?

Do you suffer from ‘growing pains’? Muscle cramps? Insomnia? Anxiety? PMS or even chronic fatigue? If so, you might have a magnesium deficit.

Magnesium is a powerful mineral that is important for helping our bodies to function. Anything that is cramped, tight, irritable and stiff — a body part or a mood — is an indication of magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is responsible for more than 300 enzyme reactions and is found in all our muscles, bones and brain. We need magnesium to help our cells make energy, stabilize membranes and help our muscles relax.

The list of symptoms caused by a magnesium deficiency is long – medical references show there are more than 3,500! These are the most common:

  • Muscle cramps or ‘growing pains’magnesium deficiency
  • Muscle twitches
  • Restless Legs Syndrome
  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Insomnia
  • Sensitivity to loud noises
  • Anxiety
  • PMS
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Irritability
  • Palpitations
  • Asthma
  • Kidney stones
  • Irritable bladder, and
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

Magnesium deficiency has also been connected to whole body inflammation (and as you know, inflammation is a problem/cause of all autoimmune diseases).

Unfortunately, our modern world can again be blamed for why so many people suffer from these issues. Many of us live on a diet of highly-processed, refined food that is predominantly made from white flour and sugar – all of which contain no magnesium! Furthermore, magnesium is poorly absorbed, and easily lost, from our bodies – especially when we consume excess alcohol, coffee, table salt, or are involved in intense exercise with lots of sweating or prolonged stress (which also relates to adrenal fatigue!).

Toxic Food - What NOT to eat with Hashimoto's

However, a number of medical studies have found that these symptoms can be reduced or eliminated by adding a magnesium supplement to our diet.

The most absorbable forms are magnesium citrate, glycinate and taurate. It’s important to note though that the magnesium found in those cheap, supermarket shelf supplements are often magnesium carbonate, sulfate, gluconate and oxide. These are poorly absorbed by our bodies and best avoided.

In order to aid in its absorption, magnesium supplements should also be taken alongside Vitamin B6 and Vitamin D.

To really amp up the absorption, you can take a warm bath with Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate)…we like to use our Epson salt bath as time to meditate and take some time out for ourselves!

Now, you’ll know if you have taken too much magnesium as you’ll be running to the toilet all day! If this occurs, just scale back the about of magnesium you are taking.

We like to take our magnesium supplements at night. This helps our bodies to relax and sleep better. We also find that magnesium really helps with our stress levels!!

3 Yoga Poses for Relaxation

Yoga Poses for Relaxation.png

It’s hard to relax in the modern, fast-paced world we live in. Unfortunately, constantly being on the go can leave us feeling drained and worn out. If you’re finding it hard to relax and can’t sit still enough to follow your guided meditation recording, why not try some yoga.

Yoga is an excellent way to unwind after a busy day, so we’ve compiled the top 3 yoga poses to help you relax.

  1. Tree Pose

The tree pose is a great way to ground yourself – because you have to focus on breathing and balancing on one leg, there’s no room for your mind to wander. It can also help you to centre your mind by focusing on a gazing point.

Instructions: img_0362

Start by standing with both feet together. Ground your balance by focusing on your gazing point, and as you take a deep breath in, carefully move your left foot up your right thigh. Focusing on your breathing, place the bottom of your right foot on your upper thigh, or if your joints are sore, place it on your calf. Be careful not to push your weight into your knee as this can cause injury.

Once your foot is in place, and you’re balanced, bring your hands together in front of your heart in a prayer position.

As you focus on your gazing point, feel your breath slide down to your navel and then slide up as you exhale. Repeat the deep breathing until you feel grounded. Repeat with your other side.

  1. Extended Puppy Pose

This pose helps to lengthen the spine and calm the mind (which is important after a long day, and especially if you work a desk job). It also helps with grounding.

Instructions: img_0379

Start by kneeling on a yoga mat or comfy floor. Focusing on deep breathing, walk your hands out so that you are on all fours. As you exhale, move your buttocks back towards your heals and lower your forehead onto the ground. Relax your neck, but make sure to keep a slight curve in your lower back. To stretch your spine, press your hands into the ground and stretch through the arms as you pull your hips back toward your heels.

Breathe into your abdomen and focus on lengthening your spine in both directions. Hold the pose for 30 seconds to a minute. As you exhale, release your buttocks down onto your heels.

  1. Corpse Pose

Like the other two poses, the corpse pose helps to relax and ground your whole body. It’s also a really good pose to do before bed.

Instructions:img_0374

Start by laying down on your back on a yoga mat or comfy floor. As you focus on breathing deeply into your stomach, align your body to make sure both sides of your body are resting evenly and your shoulders are relaxed.

As you inhale, close your eyes and picture your muscles and bones relaxing into the floor. Image your body is being absorbed by the floor and spreading out like a puddle of water.

Working from the soles of your feet all the way up to the crown of your head, consciously imaging every body part, muscle, organ and cell relaxing. As your internal mental chatter starts to quiet down, fill your mind and body with peace.

Stay in the corpse pose for 5 minutes. To exit the pose, exhale and roll gently onto your right side. Take 3 deep breaths on your side. As you exhale again, press your hands against the floor and lift your torso up, dragging your head slowly after.

How to Detox from Copper

Mind-racing

Detoxing from excess copper is a long and difficult process…and it is important to understand as much as you can about the condition because taking the wrong steps can exacerbate the condition.

If you have read my initial post, you will know that with pretty much everything I have tried, I have felt worse before I have felt better. This is because as your body is detoxing, the copper is mobilized and exits through many of the body’s detox pathways. As it does this it can cause a wide range of symptoms including:

  • Headaches,
  • Racing thoughts,
  • Anxiety,
  • Mood swings,
  • Digestive problems,
  • Very orange poo(!),
  • Skin conditions, and
  • Increased fatigue.

Be aware of your detox symptoms and if they are too severe, you may need to slow down the detox process.

So how do we actually detox from copper?

1. Eliminate the source of copper

Whilst this is the most important step, it is also the most difficult. To do these, you need to identify all possible sources of copper in your life (diet, lifestyle, environment etc.) and get rid of as many as humanly possible (because you probably aren’t going to be able to eliminate your exposure to some xenoestrogens when you’re out and about).

2. Supplement with zinc

Zinc is the most natural way of removing copper efficiently. As we have talked about in our previous post, zinc and copper have a close relationship, working together to help our body function. It is not the amount of copper and zinc in our body, but the ratio that matters. The optimal ratio of zinc to copper is 8:1, therefore supplementing with zinc can help bring this ratio back into balance. (Make sure to check with a practitioner about how much zinc to take – more is not always better).

Drink more water

3. Drink water

Ok so we know we should be drinking 8 glasses of water a day, but how many of us actually do this? When trying to detox from copper it is important to not only drink the recommended amount of water, but more. The water in our body helps to get the copper mobile and moving through the detox pathways.

4. Increase copper antagonists

These are minerals that help rebalance copper (excrete copper). The main copper antagonists are manganese, vitamin B, C and E, sulphur, selenium and molybdenum.

5. Sweat

Using saunas, steam baths and anything that increases sweating is helpful in removing copper from your body. Steam baths with added clay and Epsom salts also help to pull out toxic metals (and the Epsom salts help you to relax too – just be careful not to swallow any…unless you can get to a toilet very fast). We like to body brush before the bath too, not only does it open your pores, it also has a relaxing routine too it.

6. Coffee enemas

Coffee enemas are used to help eliminate toxins, not just copper, from our body. There is some controversy surrounding enemas and their health benefits, but if you are at your ‘wits end’, like us, trying to find answers, anything is worth a try!

7. Reduce/eliminate foods high in copper from your diet – Check out our copper toxicity and diet post for what foods this includes.

detox copper eat meat

8. Eat foods high in zinc – Again, check out our copper toxicity and diet post.

9. Address your adrenal health

This is easier said than done. In our previous post we mentioned the relationship between adrenal fatigue and copper toxicity is more like a catch 22. Read our post on adrenal fatigue and copper toxicity here.

10. Practice meditation

Meditation, among its other benefits, can help turn off your overstimulated sympathetic nervous system (caused by excess copper) and help you to relax (which will also help in step 9).

11. Identify if methylation and gene mutations are an issue

We suggest reading Dr Amy Yasko’s book Autism: Pathways for Recovery (downloadable free from her website).