My Diet and Adrenal Disorder

I've been dealing with trying to fix my diet for a while now and I'm not going to sit here and talk like I'm the only one. But trying to figure out how certain foods affect my body, energy, and workouts has honestly been one of the hardest things I've dealt with each day.. I know a lot of people go through this, but right now I'm looking at it as my number one priority. It's pretty simple for me to avoid gluten, dairy, and all those foods us with Celiac know will wreck our body. But it's a lot harder when you have to experiment with foods not knowing if it's going to give you nothing but fulfillment and energy, or give you adrenal fatigue and complete chaos. This is something I'm going through right now and have been trying to manage each day.

Trying the Paleo diet:
So many things led up to me making this decision in early 2013. Some of you may have never heard of the Paleo Diet, some of you may have never tried the Paleo Diet,  but I know some of you may even be on it right now. One thing I've learned from it is how great it can be for your body, but how hard it can be. I made this life changing decision by the end of January and immediately saw a difference in my energy. Working out in the gym and having enough energy to get through it had been one of my biggest struggles. When I decided to remove all grains, legumes, and refined sugars, I felt like I could workout 2 or even 3 times a day if I wanted too! Everything felt great at first, so why was this not for me? In a matter of weeks things really started to go down hill and and I noticed my health was getting affected dramatically.

Why the Paleo Diet wasn't for me:
I know the Paleo Diet has a crazy amount of benefits for the body. I know it's helped tons of people and I've heard many say they can swear by it and that it will change any (normal) person's life. But for me, this simply wasn't the answer. I am definitely someone on the outside just looking in at what most people call normal. After a couple weeks I started to notice my energy drop dramatically as I progressed on the diet. I was honestly starting to feel worse on the diet than I have ever really felt before. I was soy free, dairy free, gluten-free, grain-free, and refined sugar free. So I really had to sit down and ask myself, "what is going on?" 

I was really starting to think I was crazy because I couldn't possibly think of anything else I could eliminate from my diet to make me feel better. I was about out of ideas and just ready to give up and give in to my old diet. But I had an idea. An idea from a book I read months ago that was supposed to help my Adrenal Disorder. I remembered that not having a balance of sugars (even fruit) with carbs can be catastrophic for my adrenal gland and actually send it into over drive. I knew this was something I could either spend months trying to change only to feel sick the entire way, or just go back to the diet I was on before.

Why my Diet and Adrenal Disorder is difficult to manage:
When it comes to me and how I feel each day, paying attention to what I eat and how it affects me is what I have to study most. From each food I eat at each certain time of the day, I have to make a mental note on how it makes me feel. "Did it mess up my vision, did it crash my energy, did it give me tons of energy then mess me up later?" These are all things I have to pay attention to each bite each day. And these are all things I have to pay attention to if I ever want to get better. Something as simple as starting out my morning with strawberries would honestly cause me to be unable to leave my bed or house for the rest of the day. It usually affects my vision, thought process, and ability to speak as well. I'm often unable to communicate or really get across sentences I am trying to say..all because of a little sugar at the wrong time of the day.

You know that low energy feeling you get from getting glutened? That's basically the best way I can describe how I feel when eating any type of sugar, but instead it takes much longer for me to recover. It really makes me have to be on high alert for a whole new category of food even though gluten-free can be hard enough already. Even though it is a lot more difficult to manage and a little more annoying since I am already gluten-free, I always look at each day as another day to get myself better and learn from what I eat. Getting mad and upset about the food I can't eat is never really a option for me, because honestly, I don't feel like I'll gain anything from acting this way anyways.

The 80/20 (non) diet I'm trying now:
For a while I felt helpless like there was no solution, but I always continued to have a positive outlook on everything. I never settle for something if it's just good enough. To me it has to be perfect, and my diet and how I felt was far from that. Right now I'm trying a new diet called the 80/20 diet. It's not considered a fad or really even a diet, just a rule of life being applied to it. If you haven't heard of it, it's actually pretty simple. For the food you consume each day you ask yourself with each meal, "Did this food exist 10,000 years ago?" If it did, then it falls into the 80 category. If it didn't then it falls into the 20 category. Basically what you want to do is make 80% of your diet natural, and 20% of your diet for all the other things we crave each day. This is an awesome rule that's been great for me so far and should be something you definitely look into.

How it's worked for me: (9/12/13)
I've been dealing with my Adrenal Disorder for almost 2 years now. I'd love to say I've it figured all out and by now I'm 100% better, but that's not the case. Since trying this new diet plan in April  it not only has made me feel better, it's made me pretty happy too. I've finally been getting the balance of food I've really needed to get my health back on track. Even though my diet and Adrenal Disorder is something that is hardest for me to manage as a 16 year old, I always have a positive outlook and know each day is another opportunity to get better at it. This diet has luckily been the solution to a lot of my problems! But of course there were many things I learned and always will learn along the way.

If you are interested to know how Adrenal Disorders and Celiac Disease may be connected, Click Here! I also explain more about the symptoms and life I live each day with my disorder.
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  1. That's awesome that you're so in tune with your body and you're able and willing to find what works for you. We're not all the same, so no diet could possibly work for everyone.

    I TRY to basically do the 80/20 diet. But since going gluten-free, I eat a lot more crap (which is weird, since I didn't eat much processed foods before). But I'm working back to it. It's tough because since cutting out gluten, I discover so many other foods that make me feel icky.

    Good luck and I hope the new diet plan works for you!

  2. Thank you! I noticed I started eating a lot more crap at first too but then got myself in check. It's taking a while to figure out what my answer is, but like you said, everyone's different. I appreciate you commenting and good luck with working back to your 80/20 diet too!

  3. Going Gluten Free has made a world of difference for me. More energy and ability to work. Not needing as much sleep unless I have a flare from the Rheumatoid Arthritis (which isn't Arthritis like so many think, it is an immune system foul-up) Some think diet sparks the R.A. to flare, maybe I need more than a Gluten Free diet. Am still new to all of this and investigating everything I can in hopes of avoiding the majority of medications that are out there for R.A. What this change in my little world did for me is to get me to eat less "junk food" as most of it is poison to me, and start eating more fruits and veggies. I eat Organic foods whenever possible.

    You sure are smart for a young man your age! You have caught on EARLY about your problem. Had I of known that Gluten was poison to me at your age, I probably would NOT be in the situation I am now at 59. My immune system might never have turned on me, slowly destroying my body. If ONLY I had known at 15 what I know now.....

  4. Thank you! I know I'm definitely one of the luckier ones finding out all this so young. A lot of people take years to discover they have to go gluten-free and usually their bodies take a lot of damage during that time. So I am thankful everyday I know what I have at age 15 rather than many years later. Glad to hear you found out though and are feeling better!

  5. Taylor, thanks for sharing. The 80/20 diet is definitely a system I am going to do more research on. I have not been successful at making a change because I feel so uneducated & somewhat in denial of my recent AI diagnosis.

  6. Hopefully it helps you if you try it! I've been pretty happy with it for and haven't really felt like I'm on a restrictive diet. I feel good to a lot of the time so far but still get to enjoy some of the foods I crave every once in a while. It really is a simple rule..hope it works for you too!

  7. Is there a post that talks about your adrenal disorder? I know someone with an undiagnosed illness that is driving her crazy. I'm curious about your symptoms--in case they match hers.

    (I have a celiac kiddo. Just found your site to look for recipes and got sidetracked by the adrenal disorder.)

  8. Yep! There is one called celiac disease and your adrenal gland which explains the symptoms I experience daily even after diagnosis. I also explain how adrenal fatigue and disorders are connected to celiac as well. It should be under my Glutenfree info tab. You can also contact me if you'd like to know more that could possible help your daughter! Just let me know and I'm sure I can help!

  9. It's tough when you try a diet that seems to be working for a lot of people and for you it just...doesn't. I posted about somewhat similar frustrations recently here, but about my vegetarian/whole foods diet. I'm sticking to it for now because it's still too early for my intestines to have healed anyway, so it's hard to tell what's working or not. Just wanted to say I share your pain and appreciated the thoughtful look at the paleo routine.

  10. I know, it is really frustrating..I'm just glad I realized that the Paleo diet wasn't for me and didn't continue to stay on it or I would of probably continued to feel worse. Hopefully your vegetarian/whole foods diet works for you and doesn't make you feel worse too! Glad I could share a little bit about the Paleo diet as well.

  11. Always appreciate your information Taylor! Keep up the good work!