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

by Nyamka Bayanmunkh in


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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

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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

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I Got Rid of 176 Things!

by Nyamka Bayanmunkh in


Image Remember the Minimalism Game? I started the Minimalism Game this March and made it to day 18. That means I got rid of 176 items! I didn't including the eight items I found for day 19. Then, technically I have de-cluttered 188 items from my life in one month! Some went to the bin, some got recycled, and some got donated. Even my flatmate, who supports me but is not that into getting rid of her stuff, joined in and got rid of two big bags of her stuff! The other players of the game who made it to the end, they each departed with 496 items in one month. Between three of us is that's 1180 items!

Even though I didn't make it to the end of the  month, I am surprised and proud I got up to day 18. I am surprised because I thought I lived quite minimally and it would be quite a struggle to find things to de-clutter but the minimalist game has reminded me that minimalism is a continual process of paying attention to ones life and questioning whether things in your life add value to it. I am proud because I know when I pare down, two things happen. One, I get clear on what fits in my life what doesn't. Two, I make space for better things. So far got rid of 176 items, and made two new friends! It's a win-win situation.

Today is a start of new month and an opportunity to start a new game. If you feel like your stuff is taking over, or if you feel trapped by your things, if you want more space, or if you just want a fun challenge, the Minimalism Game is a good way to get started. If you make it to the end of April you will get rid of 465 things that you didn't need ! If you can't find a friend to play the Minimalism Game with you in real life, just search on twitter - that's how I found my two new friends.

It's day one of the Minimalism Game today, what is your one item you can do without?

With love and simplicity,

Nyamka


What Does Minimalism and Wellness Have in Common?

by Nyamka Bayanmunkh in


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Last weekend I spent four wonderful days in Sydney where I met up with other IIN students and grads, listened to inspiring stories and ate some amazing food. Sydney seemed to be such a busy and bustling place, the entire time I felt like I was in a movie scene where a small town girl comes to the big city and is overwhelmed and excited at the same time (even though Melbourne isn't a small town at all). This was my second time in sydney, the previous being a family vacation almost six years ago. Although, this time felt completely different as I left completely inspired and ready to take on the world.  Probably, due to the fact I was here with a purpose where I met inspiring people and listened to interesting stories as opposed to a languid family holiday where all I did was go sightseeing. 

My main intention for the weekend was to get inspired and learn from some inspiring people such as IIN founder Joshua Rosenthal, Chef Pete Evans and other IIN graduates and students. In reality I got inspired and then some! I had a breakthrough connecting two things that are integral my wellbeing, which are minimalism and health/wellbeing. I realised what minimalism and wellness have in common and how they tied together. Not having my days planned really allowed me to pay attention to my thoughts instead of getting distracted by the next thing to do (To all the people who I had the pleasure to meet/ or spend time with in Sydney, if I seemed a bit quite I was just trying take everything in and process my thoughts. Normally, I am pretty talkative!). Also sharing stories with like minded individuals really put fuel to the flame.

The commonality of the minimalism movement and the health & wellness movement is that they are both tools to a better life. The question that made me reach this conclusion went like this. I made it into a little exercise, here it goes. Think of a hypothetical situation where we have completely simplified our life and got rid of all the physical clutter and the mental clutter (This is only hypothetical because life is messy and we don't live in a bubble where we control everything, so just as perfection doesn't exist in this life, perfect simplicity also doesn't exist. We can only get closer to it but never reach it), where we are left with all the good things and plenty of time and space for more good things. Within this space we now have space to do some good, fruitful, and meaningful stuff - whatever that may be. Now, let's think of another situation where we are healthy as we could be, where you have lasting energy throughout the day, feel good most of the time, and sleep soundly at night. Just like the part above with minimalism, with this lasting energy and vitality we have the opportunity to spend it on some good, fruitful, and meaningful stuff.  This exercise made me realise it's what you do with your free space and energy that really matters. The tools are necessary but the best part is the opportunities that it gives you. Even though living simply and being well are good things on their own, what they allow you to achieve is something that's way more valuable. 

I like the idea that minimalism and wellness are tools just like a vehicle is a tool in reaching a destination. Continuing with the idea I asked myself what is it that I would do if I had all the energy, all the resources and the time I needed? My answer was to use my experiences and expertise to support others to have time and energy to do what mattered to them and be part of the solution to the worlds problems.From my experiences as a volunteer at various organisations so many of those who are working towards good causes often put their wellbeing last. Also, a lot of entrepreneurs with fantastic ideas get burnt out by stress and hectic demands of a growing business, often resulting in illness that gets in the way of continuing their project successfully. These are examples of people who can do greater good if they had more support. I am happy to know that I am on my way to start working with people who can benefit from my support.

With all these breakthrough I have decided that I want to keep going to more amazing conferences regularly! Before I leave you for now, I have one question. What would you do with your life if you had the energy, resources, and time to do whatever you wanted? Volunteer? Start a business? Become singer? Let me know in the comments, I'd love to hear!

Till then,

With love and simplicity,

Nyamka