Hey everyone! Today we're wrapping up the Fairy Gutmother's three part series on the blog about ways to better health. She's discussed digestion, hydration and today she's talking about stress. Hope you enjoy! Don't forget that our Spring YBC Mantra Box will be shipped out in March (here's what was in our Winter YBC Mantra Box), and they'reavailable for pre-order now! And, we now offer YBC Video Bundles which are available for beginner and intermediate students even when you're offline! And lastly, don't forget that if you've downloaded our YogaByCandace Official App and have reviewed it in the App Store, you'll receive a free gift when you send the review screenshot to Lauren. xo Candace
Ahh stress. There is so much to say, where do I even begin? Stress is the root of many illnesses and absolutely wreaks havoc on the body. Among other things, stress increases inflammation, destroys the gut, and weakens the immune system.
I could spend all day talking about all of the side-effects of stress, but for this post I will discuss one of the most common side effects of stress I see in clients: elevated blood sugar levels. Often times when evaluating clients, blood sugar levels are off the charts and the clients are always asking, “How could that be? I don’t even eat sugar!” Well, stress eclectics a similar response in the body.
You see, anytime we are stressed our bodies go into “fight-or-flight” mode which triggers a blood sugar response. When looking at our primal-selves, the only times our bodies went into fight-or-flight mode was when we were being chased by a tiger or were in a life threatening situation. Now, due to our stressful lifestyles and diet, we are constantly taxing our bodies with elevated blood sugar levels.
So what exactly is happening to the body? Well, when you’re stressed, your adrenal glands (tiny almond shaped glands sitting on top your kidneys) secrete hormones (little messengers in your body) that send a signal to increase blood sugar levels to respond to the fight-or-flight situation.
In more detail, your adrenals release the hormones cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenalin. Cortisol increases your blood sugar levels by telling the body to release fat and protein into the blood for energy. Adrenaline increases the heart rate and blood pressure while at the same time telling the liver to release sugar (or glucose) into the blood. Noradrenalin sends the message to transport blood away from the organs into the muscles and heart for action, fueling the fight-or-flight response. All three hormones send the message to increase blood sugar levels.
During stress, our body’s blood sugar level immediately drops, causing the adrenals to send the signals to increase blood sugar. The problem is that due to our stressful lives, our bodies are continuously trying to manage these levels which are demanding on the body. Because of this, blood sugar instability can lead to a myriad of health issues like diabetes, insulin resistance, adrenal fatigue, thyroid issues, hormone imbalance, and much more.
So how do we fix this? Well most stress management requires some sort of a lifestyle change, whether that means changing jobs or ending a toxic relationship, saying no and creating more time for yourself, meditation, yoga, exercise, being in nature…there are countless ways to help combat stress.
In addition to lifestyle changes, there are also ways to help maintain stable blood sugar levels through diet. Here are three ways to help manage blood sugar through diet:
1. EAT FAT! This is such a common misconception in our society; fat does not make you fat! In fact, fat is the preferred source of fuel for the body. Think of your body’s energy as a fire and carbohydrates are the quick burning sticks and grass you use to start the fire whereas fat are the logs that maintain the fire for long period of time. This is exactly how our bodies work! So to help regulate blood sugar, try eating more fat for meals to help maintain energy levels throughout the day.
I am talking about the good kinds of fat, like ghee, grass-fed butter, tallow and lard. Cooking with these fats is an excellent way to maintain energy. Other foods to keep in mind are nuts, avocado, eggs, and fish which are high in fats and fatty-acids that provide a great source of fuel for the body. For severe blood sugar instability, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride (GAPS Diet Founder) recommends melting butter and honey and storing in a jar. Every couple hours, take a bite of the honey and butter mixture to help stabilize blood sugar. This will help eventually train your body to use fat for energy and will also provide the body with a constant source of stable energy so that you avoid those swings in blood sugar levels.
2. LIMIT PROCESS FOODS! These foods are not familiar to the body and are loaded with chemicals and preservatives that are not natural to our diet. Processed foods like “low-fat” crackers and snacks are simply highly processed and unrecognizable to our system as a source for fuel. Processed foods can also cause irregular swings in blood sugar levels and can also be very damaging to the gut. My best advice is to replace the processed food with a whole food option made with real ingredients your body recognizes.
3. There are a couple supplements I recommend to clients to help maintain blood sugar levels or to those who suffer from adrenal fatigue, usually caused by prolonged elevated blood sugar levels due to stress and/or diet. ADB5 Plus is a wonderful supplement that helps support adrenal glands that have been severely fatigued due to stress. Bio Glycozyme Forte is another supplement that is great specifically for blood sugar regulation. Both supplements are full of nutrients essential for healing and supporting the systems associated with stress and blood sugar regulation.
To sum up, we need to manage our stress levels. It is not healthy for our bodies to endure constant states of fluctuating blood sugar levels. In addition to finding ways to help manage stress, eating a diet more aligned with what our body actually needs can be incredibly healing.
Disclaimer: Always check with your doctor when making any changes to diet or supplement intake.
About Fairy Gutmother: Hi! I am Carley, a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) and Certified GAPS Practitioner (CGP). I became interested in health and nutrition after battling Lyme disease and using food as thy medicine to help heal my body. You can read more about my experience with Lyme on my website. I truly believe the words of Hippocrates that “All disease begins in the gut” and once you begin to heal the gut, you can start to heal the body. Feel free to contact me here if you’re interested in learning more about healing. I look forward to hearing from you and working together to restore your health!