Stress, Caffeine and Adrenal Fatigue (Plus a recipe for a Chocolate Maca Chai Tea)

by Nyamka Bayanmunkh in


ABM_1407482645

I have a daily caffeine habit that I have been working hard to curb it. Currently I have one cup of black tea every morning. It used to be more.  Back in the day to keep my energy levels up through the day I had coffee in the morning, and then continue the day with countless cups of black tea until I went to bed. I was so exhausted even with all that caffeine as soon as my head hit the pillow I fell asleep.

I needed caffeine to function because without it my body didn't have enough energy. Instead of slowing down and looking after my self I just upped the caffeine. Taking time out to nurse my to health was not an option. If I just had enough coffee and black  tea I could do everything but my body was struggling to keep up with it all.

I had dark circles under my eyes, I had excess cravings for salty food, my muscles on top my eye regularly twitched, sometimes my neck muscles twitched so hard I almost threw my neck out, I woke up at night because of painful leg cramps, I got light headed when I stood up,  I had very painful PMS symptoms, and my hair was going grey all at the ripe age of  20.

Of course not all of the symptoms were the result of my excess caffeine consumption. I was tired and worn out without the caffeine, but the caffeine was definitely not helping.

Caffeine is a stimulant that binds to the adenosine receptors in the brain. This leads to a range of complex reactions such as an increase of stimulation at the adrenal glands, over time it can lead to adrenal fatigue.

Caffeine  stimulates our heart,  makes our  blood vessels dilate, increases our blood pressure and amplify  our stress hormones making us more alert and concentrated even when we are tired and worn out.

The endocrine system is sensitive and a small change in your hormone levels can have a significant effect. Over time elevated stress hormones due to a stressful life or from the over consumption of caffeine wears your body out and can  increase vulnerability to a variety of health disorders related to inflammation and fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is a common occurrence in individuals who are tired and highly wired, which is what I was.

If your life is in danger and you need  to be alert to save yourself  having tons of caffeine makes sense. However, being on it every single day I was just putting undue stress on my endocrine system when it was already messed up from  my stressful life plus the antibiotics, and the other prescription pills. 

As I learnt more about health and nutrition I realised I had to stop living this stressed out full to the brim life and stop relying on  caffeine to get through my day. Cutting out that one cup of coffee in the morning was not easy. The headaches were painful and I wanted to turn to caffeine whenever I felt tired, which was very often. The headaches went away in a few days and within a month my caffeine tolerance had adjusted.

My terrible  health symptoms went away over a period of few months. I wasn't going  grey haired prematurely and I had enough energy to get  through the day with just one cup of caffeinated tea.

Now I have one cup of black tea in the morning, rest of the day I have water and herbal teas. When I have 2 cups of caffeinated tea I become jittery and shaky. So for now it's only one cup of caffeinated tea. I savour that one cup because soon I'll be going completely caffeine free. I have a feeling I will feel even better than I do now with no caffeine.

Below is a recipe for my Chocolate Maca Chai Tea, my favourite caffeinated drink for the time being. It's a warming, spicy, chocolate-y and creamy. If you want you can also leave out the chocolate because it has a bit of caffeine too.

Chocolate Maca Chai Tea

2014-08-07 11.11.21

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of of boiling water
  • 1 chai tea bag
  • 1 tbsp of  coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup of milk of your choice
  • 1 tbsp of cacao powder
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • stevia/honey/rice malt syrup to sweeten it  (optional)

Directions:

  1. Infuse tea for 5 minutes.
  2. Remove tea bag. Pour hot tea into the blender and add rest of ingredients. Blend and pour into a large mug. Top with cinnamon if you wish.

Have it in the morning instead of your coffee, and over time you can slowly transition to having less and less caffeine.

Now to you, do you depend on caffeine like I do. Are you trying to quit? Do you suffer from any of the symptoms I mentioned above?  I'd love to hear your caffeine story so let me know in the comments section.

With love & simplicity,

Nyamka

If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to A Girl Called Nyamka  for  more tips on living well and regret free. You can also find me on Facebook , I share good stuff over there daily! Oh, and please feel free to share this with anyone you think that might benefit.


What I Ate in Sydney

by Nyamka Bayanmunkh in


Food is an important part of travel for me. Before any holiday I research and note down the places I want to eat. Usually I don't have to research because the places are already ingrained in my brain from reading food and travel blogs. My trip to Sydney was no different. I made a list and planned to stick to it.  Except I went to one place twice, which wasn't on my list, and only visited one place from my list. I think there were so many activities happenning as part of the conference, I didn't have the time to go to all of the listed places. I am not disappointed though, because the two places I did go were amazing!

Image

The photos of the food are all what I ate at 'Earth to Table',which is located in Bondi. As you may notice 'Earth to Table' is the one not on my list. However, I am so glad a friend picked it as a place to meet up because the food is truly heavenly. Food served there is organic, raw, and vegan (also gluten and processed sugar free). I enjoy raw vegan food but I never loved it. 'Earth to Table' made me love their raw vegan food. My first order was the zucchini alfredo with marinated mushrooms topped with shaved macadamias. It was so creamy and delicate. The flavour of the cashew sauce was mellow and pleasing. I don't like creamy pastas, but I like this one. After the meal i felt satiated and and very light, one of the many benefits of raw vegan food in my experience.

Image

The next day after lunching at 'Earth to Table' I was planning to wander the streets of Sydney after yoga. Except when my new friends mentioned they were going to 'Earth to Table' I changed my plans and went to Bondi with them! Lunch was awesome where we chatted whilst eating delicious raw vegan dishes. This time I ordered off the menu. I asked the waitress if they had the dish with the avocado on top, as I was eyeing it the day before. They had it and it was the special of the day, a rainbow salad consisting of zucchini, carrots, beetroots with sprouts, spinach and avocado. It was delicious! Raw vegan food is a cooling food, which suited  the day as it was warm and quite humid. 

Image

 

If you happen to be in Sydney this is definitely a place to try. Get their 'cheesecake', also. It was the lightest raw vegan cheesecake I have ever had. I had the Blueberry and Lemon "Cheesecake". The "cheese" filling made of coconut flesh was so smooth and fluffy. Raw vegan desserts I had before were always quite dense, although delicious. So this one was a very pleasant surprise. I concluded that it must be the young coconut flesh that makes it so airy and light, perfect for hot summer days.  Both times we went there the place was packed and a queue generated very quickly. The staff was lovely too, I noticed them take care of their queuing customers by providing them with free refreshments. I saw small glasses of smoothies being sipped by customers as they waited.

Image

 

The other amazing place I had the opportunity to dine at was 'Bodhi'. Bodhi is located in the city near Hyde park. Their food is vegetarian and has an Asian an influence. Their outdoor area was very pretty with large fig trees decorated with shimmerring  fairy lights. I didn't remember to take any photos because I was completely engrossed in the discussions and the food. There were so many dishes all very good. One thing I did notice was that the vegetables were allowed to be the star of the dish which was nice, no overpowering sauces or spices.  The most memorable dishes were the stuffed courgette flowers, warm black rice salad, rice dumplings filled with spinach, pumpkin, and mushrooms. Also the fried radish squares (daikon, maybe?) were very moreish. Gave me good ideas about incorporating more vegetables into my diet. Next time I go to 'Bodhi' I'll take photos or at least try to remember everything I ate. The food was definitely one of the highlights of this trip to Sydney. Looking forward to the next time so I can go through my list and check the rest of the places off!

Till next time Sydney! With fond memories,

Nyamka.