Jul 24, 2012


So here I am. Sitting with a black sapote and a licorice tea up in Queensland's Far North Cairns. It’s not the typical hot sunshine drenched day you might ponder in your thoughts today, but nonetheless I am still in short and a tshirt – a far cry from my thermals, trakkies, ski socks, ugg boots, scarf and dressing gown I used to wear around my place in Sydney only last week. Yep I’ve made the big move and such explains my absence from here. Well that and trying to finish last assessments, cram for exams, see people, pack, clean, the list went on.

But no longer. I’m here and I don’t start college until August 6th so I have about 2 ½ weeks to CHILL OUT! The last time I took a proper break (away from home, college, work) was August last year. It was a 3 day trip to the Gold Coast – fantastic! But hardly a proper break. And since then I’ve been studying non-stop, working non-stop, and burning myself out! Literally. My kinesiologist told me last year that I was at a Stage 3 adrenal exhaustion – all I knew was that was one stop before chronic fatigue which I had seen my step dad and a girlfriend go through, still going through, and I didn’t want any part of it. I could definitely see the personality traits in them that I had myself and was not surprised I ended up where I was, but was determined not to let it go any further.

Sick and tired of feeling sick and tired??

That’s been me all year pretty much. Sure I’ve had good days and bad days, but the constant was that – kinda like a BLAH feeling. I was always tired but as a full-force Leo, I've always been one to go-go-go, get a million things done, and then some more. You know the types. I rarely stopped to rest, but when I did I felt like I couldn't get going again. No doubt the (subconscious) reason I never stopped. Exhausted. I even quit going to the gym for what ended up being over 3 months, and initially the thought of not going once was WHOAH! But then a niggly shoulder injury made me miss a session, then another, and another, until I realized how burned I really was and couldn’t go anymore. Anyone that knows me, knows that I loved my gym, and would go every second day and do anything from yoga and pilates, to pump and cardio classes. After a while of doing nothing, I wanted to start doing something, so I began walking in the mornings. It was a real eye opener to see little old ladies passing me when I did the walk from my place to the bottom of the street and back up – it’s about 20 minutes all up and the first half I always felt great… but the walk back always killed me and I’d get home and crash (typical adrenal exhaustion there – initially feels great, but then you’re burned)!!

A nutrition nerd I always turn there first to try and fix everything. It’s what I know, it’s (usually) easy, and doesn’t require seeing yet another practitioner. But after a while I didn’t know what else to try; having felt as though I had tried everything. So I asked my girlfriend, who is also an excellent Naturopath, if I could see her for a session to discuss a few things I was struggling with. Aside from the lethargy and exhaustion, it was my acne issues again that I wanted help with. I wont go into detail here but when I say I’ve tried everything, just believe me. If you really want the list, I’ll give it to you. Anyway, it was only then I recalled being told I had Stage 3 adrenal exhaustion last year. Um… AHA! Light bulb moment. Oh yeah! When my friend told me that adrenal exhaustion to that degree doesn’t disappear over night, and can take about 2yrs to work through, everything made sense. So the exhaustion, stress, tiredness, and inability to shed that stubborn kilo or two (no doubt due to cortisol and no diet) is all thanks to my poor little exhausted adrenals. A feeling of relief came over me as I settled into the couch (casual meeting it was) realising all this. Sure it’s not a great diagnosis and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but there is relief when you finally figure out what’s up. I was pushing myself to improve my fitness and eating loads of fruit to perk me up (as I have done so in the past to great effect) when they were only making everything worse.

So now what??

One step at a time. I’ve been experimenting a little since I saw my Naturopath. I’ve made the move north to calmer seas and settling in quite nicely (I didn’t move for my adrenals although that would be a cool story… I’m here to study). Day by day I’m feeling better and more alive, less tired and fatigued. I’m consciously aware of not piling too much on my plate having just landed, as I was very good at doing that back home. I’ve pretty much rocked up to a clean slate here and want to actively decide and slowly put things onto it one by one, and say no to things if it means I can’t do the little things I need to do daily right now to keep my health in good shape.

What am I doing differently?

Sleeping in whenever I can; CRAZY for a girl who has always been the first up in the house! A sleep in for me though just means not turning my alarm on, which I can do at the moment as I’m yet to find a job here. My body clock wakes me up about 7am each morning (yep, that precise), which is really good for me. The thing is though… I’m in bed by 930pm each night (last night it was 8pm lights out!) As for how many hours I’m needing – you do the math. 

Morning walks before brekkie; this is my head clearing, fresh air breathing, hello world time  (it also dips in burning fat instead of carbs for anyone wanting to shed a few kg's gently).

Trying my god damn hardest to rest; really rest. And I’ve gotta say it’s been a hell of a lot easier now that my assessments, exams, work and house packing are behind me, and I don’t have my entire life possessions surrounding me.  Not knowing anyone up here and currently living much further than walking distance into town, there's not a lot for me to do. And that's just how I like it!

Me on my yoga mat
Meditating… always needed but never done, I’m trying to do it daily. If only 10 minutes listening to one on my ipod, I know it will make the world of difference to my life, but there’s always been resistance there so I’ve never kept it up

More yoga; I’m LOVING yoga right now. Before leaving Sydney I was practicing a power-vinyasa-flow style of yoga with an incredible teacher 3x a week. I now have my own tailor made program to follow from him, as well as audio recordings and a DVD of another instructor I love. Even though power yoga is my preferred style (of course it is – it’s all about doing; very yang masculine which I'm great at, but need a little less of)), I don’t go too gung-ho with it, and do properly rest afterwards. It’s the internal space and time that I love with my practice, and that is just what I need.

And FOOD stuff…

Licorice tea; this is great for adrenals and having had a love-hate relationship with licorice tea I’ve now found one that is amazing, and not too sweet like most others I’ve tried (Pukka Licorice and Cinnamon – YUM!) 

Licorice root and maca root powders to any smoothies I make; I did this anyway just coz I love them both but now I’ve gotta consciously remember these if I haven’t had a smoothie after a few days, and get them in me! Maca is great as it is an adaptogen so it physically helps you to adapt to the world around you, and thus handle stressors better 

Supplemental vitamin C; a funny one for me to initially agree to taking. I’m otherwise against synthetic supplementation, but do believe they have their place, in extreme circumstances, in this day and age. A great article on ascorbic acid itself can be found here if you are interested in reading more, but knowing vitamin C is of huge benefit for adrenals (being a water soluble vitamin it disappears readily everyday, but additionally as the adrenals chew it up so fast, over worked adrenals leave the body with none), I discussed it further with my Naturopath. Opting for a high-dose powdered C with no additives, colours, flavours, etc I decided to start taking it and see how I felt. I figured either it’s mind-over-matter for people taking synthetic supplements, or there may be a time and place when if you’re body needs it, or synthetics work well for so many people because their diet is borderline synthetic anyways… whichever it may be, I thought if I take it and notice a difference, I’ll do more researchIf I notice no difference, I’m done with synthetics.

Eating less fruit; GASP! Something I could probably write a whole blog on but let’s see how short and concise I can be here… my body used to thrive off of fruit. I’d eat it from dawn to dusk and felt amazing! I’ve always been one to have a lot of energy and be bubbly with excitement so fruit worked really well for me... until of course all this adrenal fatigue started kicking in. Whether my fruit consumption was a factor in it all or merely something that had to be looked at as an after fact, I don’t know. But I can tell you that little by little I was noticing that my body wasn’t tolerating it as well as it once did. I wasn’t feeling amazing on it anymore, so I was turning to other foods to replace the fruit, and thus snacking more on nuts and seeds, coconuts and avocados. These are all wonderful things to eat regularly but I was finding myself tired on these also and my energy was lacking. A good girlfriend of mine eats plenty of all these and finds that she functions better with more of these and less fruit; one man’s medicine is another’s poison so-to-speak. I strongly base my work on the individual. 
So after seeing my Naturopath and discussing bits and pieces about protein, I began adding more of that into my diet, in place of fruit (I had to laugh initially not wanting to now come across as a “protein protein protein” follower all of a sudden).   
Fruit is a wonderful natural wholefood from Mother Nature. We all know this. I used to disagree with the usual 1-2pieces per day all the government and dietetic recommendations seem to give, believing that we could practically live off fruit. I have always said, and truly believe, there is no one diet that suits everyone (yep, even 100% raw vegan; I don't believe it will work for everyone), but I never stopped to consider fruit in all that. Not to any degree of really looking into it anyway. Fruit contains fructose which is a natural sugar, but fructose inside the body is still fructose. So for someone who's adrenals are as shot as mine are, 6 or 7 bananas first thing on waking is a huge shock to the liver who has to process it all. I'm sure there are people who would disagree and say fruit is the best thing to eat on waking. It's light, easy on digestion, and very cleansing, I don't deny these facts, and to a degree, I still do believe it's wonderful to break-a-fast... but it's all relative to the individual in discussion. In this case, that someone is Me. And that much fruit was doing me more harm that good. Sugar (of any kind) very quickly shoots blood sugar sky high, and just as quickly brings it back down. Any adrenal fatigue diet recommendations will make mention somewhere that most fruit is to be avoided, especially at breakfast. And of the fruits I see most raw vegan consume in large quantities, bananas and dates are big no-nos. Their high potassium content makes adrenal fatigue worse.         
Not having fruit for breakfast is making huge changes in my day. I feel more focused and my energy is calm but alive. With a fruit smoothie I felt high as a kite. I did love that feeling for years though, and it's what woke me up and got me going, excited, and energised. But over time that feeling got worse and I would get headaches and feel as though my body was trembling or shaking from the inside out - you couldn't physically see it, but it was uncomfortable.
If I want a smoothie now, I'll make it with much less fruit - no more than 2 small bananas if that. I'm getting into berries some more which are far lower in sugars, and I'll typically add either coconut flesh, coconut yoghurt or protein powder, in place of the old 7 bananas.
A day of fruit for me is something like a banana or two, a handful of berries, and maybe something else floating around (today – half a black sapote and some papaya). I feel much less jittery, less anxious, calmer, at ease and stable. It’s very hard for me to omit bananas and dates all together but I can imagine it being hard for any raw vegan as it appears they are the two main staples in everyone’s diets. Cutting back though has made huge differences for me

Protein; making sure I get at least one serve of Sun Warrior in each day, nuts and seeds, the odd bit of tempeh (I’ve had it a few times in the last month or so), as well as… eggs! Yep, the once raw vegan girl is now eating eggs. For my adrenals, and my skin. I think I’ll write a whole separate blog on why I’m back on eggs… loads of stuff to write there so hold onto your pants. Eating more protein foods mean I’m eating less fruits, keeping my blood sugar levels more stable and in turn my moods and anxiety are also calmer.

Poached eggs with rocket, kale, and home made hummous, flax oil and ACV

Leafy Greens, broccoli, red saurekraut, poached eggs, tahini, flax oil and AVC

Kang kong, alfalfa, rocket, yellow capsicum, broccoli, tahini, pepitas, ACV, nutritional yeast flakes and poached eggs

Brekkie is usually when I have my eggs, and on a big plate of greens, avocado, flax oil, ACV... or a slice of sprouted bread with tahini and zucchini and greens or salad on the side. I'll have to come up with some more creative suggestions as I don't want the same thing everyday. The protein and fat in place of the fruit makes a huge difference for me. My Naturopath laughed initially when I told her "I feel really good eating eggs, they went down fine, and I'm not hungry for hours". Her response was "well yes Christie, the protein will be stabilising your blood sugars". And indeed they are. I still love fruit but intuitively I was backing away from eating as much as I used too in the last month or so anyway, and it's clear to me why I needed too.

Sprouted buckwheat, chia and millet bread with tahini and sliced zucchini, as well as kale

And for my skin…

Zinc foods; this is a given with skin conditions but more so if you begin looking into zinc-copper ratios in the body; how too much copper is more common (yet minimally spoken about and thus minimally known about), the two compete in the body, vego’s are typically lower in zinc (so too high in copper), and the list of other maladies that can be attributed to an uneven balance goes on. Zinc foods are typically animal based foods but plant sources include pepita’s and tahini (or sesame seeds), at least one of which I am sure to be consuming everyday. Wheatgerm is high in zinc, but also high in copper, so something I don’t want right now. Eggs are another source of zinc...

Eggs; full of vitamin A, E, D, protein and good cholesterol. I will only eat them with the white protein part cooked, and the yellow yolk still runny. Another blog on my egg-tastic reasons and creations soon.

Fermented sauerkraut, water kefir and kombucha; all beneficial bacteria that will colonise in the intestines. Everyone needs the good guys but apart from yoghurt or probiotics in Western society, we don’t typically consume anything else that will help here. Having had loads of gut issues over the years, I always make sure I’m consuming these babies daily. They (can) also help with acne issues as a stagnated colon can cause toxins to get out of the body in other ways, and thus come out the skin. For me, I know my colon is not my acne reasoning as I’ve tried colonics, enemas, juicing, and good gut bacteria programs all before and it made no noticeable difference, but in regards to my gut health, these all make a huge difference 

Apple cider vinegar mixed with water and using this as a toner on my face; followed by a simple jojoba oil in the evenings… looking good 

And a new microfibre cloth from my spectacular beautician in Sydney, which totally gets all dirt, pollution, scum, make up, everything off my face without any cleanser and that alone is WOW such a difference! I think the warmer weather might also be starting to influence my skin for the better also. No more dry flaky bits.

Day by day I’m feeling better and less tired all the time (although I’ll admit that I'm yet to totally curb the black coffee’s and know they're probably doing me more harm than good... but I've always loved coffee, once a barista for 8yrs... but I've gotta get back to having it once-in-a-blue-moon for the taste pleasure, and not daily as a wake up). Doing a few things each day, and then resting at home in the afternoons is doing me wonders.

I’m training three mornings a week up here with a big group of girls in a boot camp type thing, so the movement and socializing is loads of fun, and I’m careful not to push too hard. I was initially worried that it would only push me backwards with exhaustion, but my sister and I wanted to do it together, so I kept my thoughts positive. With multiple trainers each morning, we can pick an ‘easier’ option at times, but doing some cardio after so long without it, feels so good! I’m refueling with a protein shake afterwards and then a good breakfast such as poached eggs on a big plate of greens, or a bowl of unheated oats (they call them unstablised oats) with seeds, coconut, raisins and a banana with nut milk or water not long after.

I read my star sign in Sunday’s paper which said  "...this week you can expect to finally get an energy recharge. The dark, tired times of the past should start to become a fading memory..." woohoo!! (any other Leo's out there you've got the same message) I love how I totally accept and believe all the good things horoscopes have to say, and if something bad crops up, that's when I say it's a crock of s#*t haha. 

So, like I said earlier I will write about my how's and why's of going back to eating eggs after so long without. I understand that some people may not agree with it and choose to no longer follow my blog and that's fine also. I'll leave you with a short and sweet list of a few other things I found in my research if you might also be healing your way through adrenal exhaustion...

General Guidelines for Adrenal Fatigue Recovery…

Eat breakfast before 10:00 a.m. (not fruit) and never skip it
Eat frequent, small meals
Eat slowly and mindfully
Bedtime snack (use soaked raw nuts) helps to have a more peaceful sleep
Take apple cider vinegar before meals or digestive enzymes with meals to helps break down foods in the stomach, and assist in digestion if you're not eating predominantly raw foods
Eat 6-8 servings of a wide variety of brightly colored vegetables - provides vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants which are crucial for optimal health
Sprouts are great containing high quality concentrated nutrients
Sea vegetables are rich in trace minerals, good quality vegetable protein, and easily digested
Sleep by 10 p.m.
Sleep in until 9:00 a.m., if possible
Do the things you like
Laugh several times a day


Banana, dried figs, raisins, dates, oranges, grapefruit; the potassium can make adrenal fatigue worse
Fruit and juice in the morning; high in potassium and fructose
Honey, sugar, syrups, soft drinks
Avoid foods you are addicted to or allergic or sensitive to; these foods cause more stress on your body

And if you eat these…

Avoid refined flour products: pasta, white rice, bread, pastry, baked goods
Avoid deep-frying and browning; hydrogenated oils
Avoid coffee or other caffeinated beverages
Avoid starchy foods such as potato


  1. You are making your Naturopath so proud ;) Luv HK

    1. Oh helloooo!! :D So nice to see the comment's from you :D xx