AFS Diet Management and Supplements on A Busy Schedule

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH; Justin Lam, ABAAHP, FMNM; Carrie Lam, MD

Diet management on a busy scheduleWhether you are busy struggling to take care of your family needs, or working extra hours during the week and feel utterly overwhelmed, it is imperative that you put self-care before anything else. It may be extremely difficult to remind yourself to eat healthily and get exercise in your day to day routine when you are staring at a tremendously long task list, or have hundreds of time-sensitive emails waiting for your response. If you are trying to manage Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS), it is important that you eat healthily, use proper diet management, keep track of supplements, and get your body moving adequately.

You might find it difficult to comprehend, but proper diet management is far more crucial than trying to just workout every day. If your diet includes a heavy amount of sugar, deep-fried foods, and several cups of caffeine each day, you may be doing your body little good.

For those feeling submerged, staying late at work or barely getting enough sleep, the last thing you might have time to think about is managing your diet. But in reality, with healthy eating you will find yourself more energized and more productive than when you munched on that chocolate bar and cup after cup of coffee while sitting at your office desk, trying to focus.

The Importance of Diet Management

Astoundingly to many, proper diet management can, in fact, play a bigger role in your long-term health than physical activity does.

It is important to eat every two to three hours, even if it’s a small snack like raw almonds. This balances your blood glucose levels and keeps your digestive system moving.

Healthy fats, such as raw nuts and olive oil could help reduce stress and improve the health of your adrenal glands.

Protein, such as fish, and plant-protein from beans and legumes, are also extremely beneficial to managing AFS.

However, it is equally important to remove foods that could worsen the condition of your adrenal glands and cause you to be in a state of anxiety and stress.

Foods that are processed and full of refined sugar, hydrogenated oils, and genetically engineered ingredients could be harmful to your wellbeing.

Caffeine and alcohol are also absent from a healthy diet management plan, on your journey to a stress-free lifestyle.

Supplements: Dos and Don’ts

If you are taking supplements to reduce anxiety and stress in your system, it is also your duty to take precautions. Some supplements known to aid in reducing anxiety, insomnia, stress, and even irregular heartbeat – like passion flower – can cause extreme drowsiness and interact with other medications.

L-theanine is one supplement that can aid you in managing AFS. It is an amino acid found in green tea, and has been directly linked to reducing stress, anxiety, and even sleep disturbance. Beyond that, L-theanine increases stamina and energy, so if you are experiencing extreme fatigue and tiredness, and are finding it difficult to complete your everyday tasks, L-theanine may help. It can also help lessen minor feelings of anxiety and nervousness and improve the health of your adrenal glands. It can be found as a supplement or extract.

Generally, try to take supplements with food, rather than on an empty stomach. Always ask your doctor or licensed professional before starting any new supplements or making major alterations to your diet management.

Time Management: Space for A Healthier You

One of the best ways to manage your diet is to value your time. When you value your time, and show others around that you do, you are more likely to be productive and successful.

Diet management and organization for optimal healthBeing organized is important for time management. If you don’t already, start using a planner for your daily tasks, and tackle them based on priority. Be sure to include taking your supplements on your task list, as it is easy to forget when you are tired. This will reduce your stress levels, as you know exactly what to expect from your day.

It’s also a good idea to set yourself a sleep schedule – and stick with it! If every night you go to sleep at the same time and get sufficient sleep, you are more likely to wake up early.

That leads to the next tip: rise and shine with the sun. The hours of dawn are remarkable for productivity. When you wake up early and have a set routine, you are able to get your personal tasks done before getting ready for work or getting children get ready for school. You have time for proper diet management – like having a cup of calming tea and eating a healthy and energizing breakfast to start your day on the right track. If possible it’s also a good idea to take a relaxing walk and warm shower prior to your long day at work.

When you better manage your time, your mind will be clear, and you will feel more stress-free. This is one of many essentials on your journey to managing AFS.

The Importance of Physical Activity

Engaging in daily physical activity is extremely important to your health overall. It is especially essential if you are aiming to decrease your stress levels and manage AFS. Sitting all day at work at your desk or in meetings engaging in very little walking and movement is very detrimental to your health in the long run.

Taking a daily walk in the early morning or as the sun is setting could provide you with remarkable results in managing AFS. Walking increases your blood circulation, clears your mind, boosts your mood, provides you with energy, reduces the stress hormones whirling in your blood, and best of all, improves your sleep.

Take the stairs at work, and use your break time to walk outdoors if possible. If you are in need of talking with a co-worker, why not utilize that time and also walk? You will be able to return to your workstation feeling refreshed and with a clear mind.

Physical activity in nature is far more pleasing to the mind than walking on a treadmill. Enjoy nature, and allow your mind to comprehend the beauty all around. It truly will reduce your stress and anxiety levels if you do it often.

Note that in advanced stages of adrenal fatigue, exercise may not make you feel better and can, in fact, worsen your fatigue if overdone. If you have AFS, focus on gentle exercise.

Balancing Work and Stress

Diet management and life balancingWhether you are a college student who feels like you are living under one deadline after another, an overwhelmed father who works sixty hours a week, or a busy mom driving your kids around to school and extracurricular activities, you are bound to face stress. While it is important to achieve great results at work and prioritize your family, properly caring for your mental and physical health is just as essential.

A healthy diet management strategy should consist of whole foods, physical activity, and perhaps some supplements. In addition, working to reduce stress in other ways helps produce optimum results. While stress during final examination week won’t bring about devastating health consequences, encountering a high level of stress every single day could eventually cause damage to your physical and mental health. For that, it’s important that you balance your work, family, and self-care properly.

Holistic Tips to Reduce Stress

  • Get a sufficient amount of sleep every night.
  • Take afternoon power naps if possible.
  • Practice physical activity such as brisk walking.
  • Reduce if or eliminate caffeine (coffee, some tea).
  • Drink herbal teas such as chamomile, peppermint, or ginger.
  • Stay properly hydrated.
  • Remove alcoholic beverages from your diet.
  • Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
  • Reduce the amount of processed food you eat daily.
  • Spend time outdoors without electronics.
  • Use stress relieving essential oils such as peppermint or lavender.
  • Take Epsom salt baths once a week.
  • Indulge yourself with a good massage.
  • Get your daily tasks outlined and organized.
  • Allow yourself to make mistakes; relax.
  • Eat more healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, or nuts.
  • Sit and observe the sunrise or sunset.
  • Take time off for yourself.

With a little effort, using these and other tips to reduce stress can help give your body and mind more time and space to focus on proper diet management, and they can improve your health overall.

© Copyright 2017 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

Dr. Lam’s Key Question

Some foods and drinks, like caffeine (coffee, some teas), alcohol, processed food and even food extremely high in sugar, could all stale your management of AFS. Instead, eat a diet full of healthy fats (olive oil, nuts), fruits, vegetables, and proteins to ensure proper care of your body.

Diet management