My Adrenal Fatigue Story

I was once told that once you reach adulthood you will be incredibly fatigued from all the “responsibility” involved with growing into this stage of life.

The people who always preached about an endless amount of exhaustion were all adults, so of course, their living testaments were the highest form of credibility to a young and energetic seven year old at the time.

Once I hit college, I remember the dreaded waves of “adult” fatigue. At the time, I chalked it up to being overweight, partying too hard and not sleeping enough.

What I did not realize was that it was a part of a bigger problem…adrenal fatigue.

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Adrenal fatigue occurs when your adrenal glands do not produce enough/too much of certain hormones which regulate other systems like our reproductive organs, thyroid and digestion. This can lead to a complete overcompensation from other body systems which puts a tremendous amount of stress on you.

It may sound like a quick fix, but because adrenal fatigue’s symptoms mimic MANY other kinds of diseases and disorders, it’s often difficult to diagnose.

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For me, it took almost 5 years to figure out I had this.

After college, I entered the working world and my symptoms of fatigue worsened. I had always been a fitness fanatic, but was now sidelined due to severe muscle aches and exhaustion after my workouts.

While everyone else around me would often feel euphoric after working out, I would feel sluggish and literally need a nap.

I ignored these symptoms and kept working out harder and harder especially when I was training for my professional photo shoot last year.

I began to develop tons of injuries which would frustrate me to tears. I would take weeks off and let everything heal and get right back into the gym full force with my high intensity workouts.

What I didn’t realize was that my body was about to wage a complete war on itself.

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I became so fatigued last winter I oftentimes could NOT get out of bed. Yup, not even coffee could be my knight in shining armor.

On top of the fatigue, my appetite began to skyrocket and my periods became so unbearable it literally guaranteed a panic attack every month. My mood swings were also affected…my parents even asked if I was on steroids because I was so rageful.

I finally knew I had a severe problem to take care of, but at the time had ZERO health insurance.

I stopped working out completely and shockingly my moods became a little bit more tolerable. My muscles were not sore so I was able to have more energy throughout my day.

It was until about two months ago that I saw a holistic naturopath who listened in awe as I described my horrific symptoms.

She was almost positive I had adrenal fatigue and that it was all most likely from overexercising.

I ended up taking a salivary test and they found out none of my hormones were up to the levels they should’ve been! My estrogen levels were literally below zero…

She gave me a few things to regulate my hormones: organic milled flax seed, chaste tree extract pills and a higher than normal dosage of a b complex

In addition to that, she told me to request a complete blood test from my doctor and wrote down some additional things to test for, including my thyroid levels. (Thyroid problems are another common diagnosis for adrenal fatigue!)

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The results have actually been pretty great so far. I am not 100% completely cured. It takes many, many months to fully recover (some people honestly don’t ever make a full recovery) so I’m not rushing it.

As for my workouts…right after my 10K in September, I stopped with the intense stuff. I have been doing barre workouts and hot yoga along with some abs and random youtube videos. I do NOT make working out my first priority at this point in time. I know it’s harming me more than helping me.

I feel like adrenal fatigue is something that is often overlooked by many mainstream physicians. Most will just blame the individual for the ways they are: “get more sleep”, “drink coffee or tea”, “take this antidepressant”, etc. etc.

If you feel like you have adrenal fatigue, I highly recommend scouting out a local naturopath who can help you decipher between that and another illness.

Most do NOT accept insurance but I can honestly say mine has been worth every penny so far!

Have you ever experienced adrenal fatigue?

Peace, love and go to the doc!

~C.C.D.

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Things To Try Thursdays- Myprotein

Routine is made for machines and people who refuse to live their life thinking for themselves.

While daily routines are inevitable, your healthy eating habits should NOT follow suit. If you follow me on instagram, you know that I am ALWAYS switching it up.

As trite as it may sound, VARIETY is the SPICE of life. (and most often the only spice I use ;) )

I am a habitual user of many protein powders (mainly plant based) and had backed off for a while recently.

While old fashioned oats, eggs and spinach are supreme sources of nutrition for breakfast/post workout, I of course tired very quickly.

A company called Myprotein reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in reviewing one of their supplements, I jumped at the chance.

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Myprotein was kind enough to send me the Impact Diet Whey in Double Chocolate. I have been looking for a protein powder that has a lower than normal carb/calorie count, so this fit the bill! (200 cals/6 carbs for 2 scoops!)

The company is based in the U.K. but products are available for purchase online internationally. Myprotein has premium sourced ingredients in all of their products and always ensures that you are receiving the lowest prices possible.

The ingredients in my protein powder included: a protein blend of whey/milk protein concentrate, ground oats, cocoa powder, whole psyllium husks, flaxseed powder, natural and artificial flavoring, soy lecithin and sucralose

I chose to make a strawberry cacao smoothie as a hot yoga post workout meal. It did NOT disappoint!

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Ingredients

♥ 6-8 frozen strawberries

♥ 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

♥ 1 scoop Myprotein double chocolate protein powder

♥ 1 tbsp. organic cacao powder

♥ cacao nibs for topping (optional)

As always, I used my favorite kitchen appliance ever…the vitamix!

You could also add some spinach (which I usually do) for a serving of greens too.

Overall, this protein powder rated as a definite YES. It’s NON-gritty, tasty, acts as a great meal replacement and is cost effective.

What’s been your favorite protein powder lately?

Peace, love and protein!

~C.C.D.

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Things To Try Thursdays- Barre Classes

Boutique fitness classes seem to be just as prevalent as chain coffee shops these days. On every corner there is a Starbucks, I can guarantee you not too far away is a spin/yoga/barre/crossfit studio.

Studio classes outweigh standard gym classes in two ways…price and quality. You will pay Ritz Carlton prices but the ultimate results are worth the expense.

I have been an avid gym go-er for years. In and out of YMCA’s, Retro fitness, Crunch and Snap Fitness. Every gym was unique but most of the time the classes lacked any kind of professionalism.

By professionism, I mean tact and care. There was no “bedside manner” if you will. The instructor did not correct your form and while you may be his/her friend outside of the class, inside they do not do their jobs appropriately.

I’m not saying I like to be put on the spot or pointed out of the crowd as doing something wrong during a fitness class. I definitely was one of the shy kids in school.

I do appreciate proper form being shown and corrected on those who take classes. It seems like the standard gym which includes x, y, and z amenities in the price allow the members to suffer in ways such as this.

After taking a few boutique classes outside of my regular gym, I have completely changed my point of view on exercise.

Exercise requires your motivation plus your effort. I’m one of the lucky, crazy ones who was blessed with both. I love seeing results and that’s my motivation.

However, recently I had been taking so many classes at my local YMCA that it overwhelmed my body. I became completely inflamed and my muscles were no longer lean and toned. I really disliked the way my body was beginning to look.

About two months ago, a local Athleta opened up in the mall over here.

To celebrate their first month here, they had yoga/zumba classes every week and also a barre class at a local studio.

I signed up for the yoga and barre classes. Loved them both to death!

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The instructors displayed care and dedication to every single participant. These were free classes opened to the public. It really comforted me and allowed me to get the most out of the workouts.

My absolute favorite was the barre class. If you are not yet familiar, barre is similar to ballet. You perform small movements with very light weights in the beginning. You also go through a series of stretches and strengthening exercises at the barre and then lastly go to the mat for floor/ab work.

The instructor constantly has her eyes on you the entire time. She calls out everyone’s name who she sees is performing exercises improperly. She comes over and corrects your form manually.

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It’s a really amazing experience. It’s been very beneficial to my poor joints which take a beating from all that running on pavement I do. I began seeing some results in just about 3 classes. :)

I highly recommend barre classes if…

1) you are a NEW client (they often will give you a giant discount if so) — my first month was only $75/unlimited classes

2) you enjoy small, controlled movements (not great for those who seek a high from tons of sweating or jumping)

3) you have joint problems (very soothing/low impact)

4) you’re looking to switch up your workouts

5) weight training by yourself is NOT working for you

6) you can commit to at least 3-5 times per week

On days that I do not attend barre classes, I either run/yoga or pilates. I took the weight training days completely out of my training schedule because it was too exhausting for my body. I think it’s best to just focus on barre for the first month, so you don’t burn yourself out with other activities.

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Have you ever tried a boutique fitness class? What was your experience?

Peace, love and barre!

~C.C.D.

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Simple Tips To Navigate Processed Food Labels

Food labels are the so called “novels” to our meals. If we aren’t reading them meticulously, we’re sure to miss the most significant details, leaving us feeling unsatisfied.

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Why are we unable to take the CliffNotes version when it comes to reading the labels on our food?

…Because marketers and companies lie…or tweak the truth enough to make you believe that 100% natural actually means 100% natural. Or that just because a product does NOT contain HFCS doesn’t mean it’s necessarily better for you…The examples are endless.

This leaves our bodies with a nutritionally void ending.

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When it comes to reading food labels, I have a few basic tips to share with you.

1. Scan the ingredients list first. These should all be things you are familiar with. If you cannot pronounce it, do not purchase it.

2. Pay attention to items labeled low fat, low carb, or low sugar. Chances are there are other artificial additives in their place, which again, does not make the food more nutritious.

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3. If you are choosing organic, be sure that the label is USDA organic. Currently, the US only recognizes this label as truthfully organic.

4. Make sure your carbs, fats and proteins are balanced. When purchasing a processed food, always check the nutrition to ensure you are getting an adequately balanced meal. I recommend: no more than 10 g. of fat (healthy fat- monounsatured), 25-35 g. of carbohydrates, and 20-25 g. of protein. Bonus if you have more dietary fiber too!

5. Pay attention to serving sizes on labels. Often times we overlook this and end up overeating. It’s important to stay within your limits to avoid unwanted calories and eventual weight gain.

6. The best food to buy has zero labels. These are our bountifully nutrient dense fruits and vegetables. There’s no need to worry or count calories when it comes to servings of these! Just make sure you’re buying locally and organic as much as possible to avoid pesticide exposure.

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What guidelines do you take to the grocery store with you?

Peace, love and food labels!

~C.C.D.

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#FitBlogNYC Recap

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Ah the most glorious day of the year took place last Thursday, October 16. No, it was not my birthday or even some strange early Christmas celebration… (although it might as well be in my book!) #FitBlogNYC happened!

#FitBlogNYC is a blogging event hosted by Fitness Magazine. It’s their third year hosting it and every year they outdo themselves. It’s mainly created for bloggers to actually meet in person. At the event, there are several sponsors who give you free product in turn for you sharing them in some way, shape or form on social media. In addition to sponsors, there are valuable listen and learn sessions from speakers of all different health, fitness and food backgrounds.

If you go to any blogging event, this should be THE ONE.

Not only is is set in beautiful NYC, but it’s free admission and a great networking event to grow your online presence.

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So the food is always fantastic and super healthy…this year breakfast involves JUICES (you know right up my alley!) and fruit with a delish strawberry sauce and either the choice of muffins or scones…both vegan and gluten free. YUM.

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photo 5The first few speakers expressed the importance in maintaining the balance between a healthy dose of exercise and overtraining.

 

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Oh…Carla Hall was next…and I got a pic…no big deal! :) She’s going to be launching her new restaurant pretty soon, so stay tuned!

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After the speakers, we made our way to the sponsor tables!

 

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You know my soulmate was right by my side the entire time…I love her, she even waited for me in the NYC rain before we went in! :)

Soulmate (Karina) & I plank challenging it up at the Tonalin table! You can do anything for 30 seconds :)

Soulmate (Karina) & I plank challenging it up at the Tonalin table! You can do anything for 30 seconds :)

We didn’t have the opportunity to take out of the norm pics this year (no photobooth fun!) but we did get a minute to cheese together :)

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Oh and of course there was more greenie goodness…

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There was one more panel of speakers left…this was all related to blogging. One of my favorite bloggers, MizzFit Bianca was invited to speak. Everyone had such great information and was so inspiring!

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The day was over…but as if we had not been showered with enough product love…we were blessed with this GINORM bag of goodies! Seriously, I’m five feet and I felt like I was carrying a whole other me!

Swagtacular!

Swagtacular!

The swag was so absolutely amazing. I feel so honored and incredibly lucky to have attended for the third year in a row!

This jewelry really spoke to me, I think it’s my fave part of the swag!

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Thank You Fierce Forward For Life & Erica Sara!

Many thanks to Fitness Magazine and all sponsors: Hoka One One, Tria Beauty , Luna, Balance Bar, Pure Protein, Tonalin, Eddie Bauer, Dermalogica, and Oster

Peace, love and blogging events!

~C.C.D.

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Runcap: Run 10, Feed 10

Yes, I did it!

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I have had the habit of in the past saying I would commit to something but never following through. It has happened quite often with my fitness goals. Becoming injured has been a very real and legitimate excuse most of the time.

As you may know, I was obsessed with training for a bodybuilding competition a while back. I had made my workout and eating plans up, stuck to them and about halfway through both times injured myself.

It completely disheartened me and left me with a complete lack of motivation. It also left me with those awful voices of comparison. (so and so can do this, so why can’t I?) I also do not include I CAN’T in my vocabulary.

Well there’s obvious times you must cease the current goal you are working towards. Injuries are no lazy excuse.

After healing up for a few months, I decided in July that I would begin training for my first 10K and first race ever!

It was a daunting challenge as I mostly did no more than 3 miles every once in a while.

I followed their training plan in the beginning but then was becoming too exhausted and sore to increase my weekly mileage.

So, I scaled back to two runs per week: one lower mileage run (2-3 miles) in the beginning of the week, one longer distance run (4-5 miles) towards the end of the week.

I had improved results by scaling back this way.

I only had completed a full 6.2 miles twice before actually running the race. Both times it was incredibly humid and trying on some pretty steep inclines!

I was definitely proud of myself. It completely boosted my confidence just knowing I would be able to pull myself through the race.

Two days before race day, I began to go into panic mode.

I could not sleep properly due to the anticipation and excitement.

Once 400 AM came around on Sunday, September 21st, I was in full adrenaline gear.

My boyfriend and I literally bolted out the door and arrived super early for the race. I was still super jittery even though we had enough time to make it there.

The race was held on the West Side Highway paralleling the Hudson River. The views were an added benefit and welcomed distraction.

I began at a 9:45 pace for the first two miles and then I held a steady 10:00 after. (This was impressive enough for me!)

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I only stopped once. Mile 5 for water. (Another amazing grace!)

The run did not seem as long as I though it would. I PR-ed and finished in 1:07! That’s a huge improvement from my 1:30 it was taking me previously. I also believe the flat terrain was the reason.

I was proud, proud, proud of myself. On top of the humidity and early waking hours, I also had a severe case of PMS. (seriously, when do I not?) It makes running with a chest that much worse. I wore two bras because I knew I would NOT be able to stand the pain without some kind of shelf security.

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My boyfriend finished in an hour. I am super duper proud of him too!

Afterwards we hit up a few of the tents for some goodies, but we were so exhausted we only stayed for a little while.

That night I slept like a baby. I was so elated that I was able to accomplish something like this. I was never a runner before. This has only added fuel to the running race fire…I want to do another…:)

What was your first race like? Did you enjoy it?

Peace, love and firsts!

~C.C.D.

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5 Ingredient Oat Balls

It’s September. For me, that means it’s just like every other month. I don’t have kids and I don’t teach, so life goes on as usual.

For others of you though…September is a time to reinstitute a routine. You wake up early, workout (or try to), get the kids up and fed and head to work/school.

You had better hoped to regain your strength over the summer because the fall requires energy…and lots of it!

My favorite time to create recipes is usually during this time of year. Everything is so pumpkin-y and maple-y and spice-y. It’s the precursor to Christmas, which is just heavenly in itself. (minus maybe the cold and snow!)

I made these oat balls a few weeks ago and in true me fashion, they were devoured within less than two days.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 packet maple/brown sugar instant oatmeal
  • 1/2 crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1 handful of chocolate chips
  • dash of non-dairy milk to cut the dryness

You simply mix in a bowl until desired thick consistency and roll into balls!

It’ll be hard not to lick your hands afterwards! ;)

These balls are awesome for storage up to 1 week frozen and 3 days in the fridge. It makes meal prepping that much easier for healthy snacks! :)

Peace, love and easy balls!

~C.C.D.

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I’m NOT Half Crazy…YET

Everyone has a little bit of crazy in them. Whether it’s pouring a bucket of ice water over your head for a good cause or eating an entire loaf of amazingly soft bread (yes, unashamedly ME!) instead of finishing off a handle of vodka. To each his own…

As you may or may not know, I’m always up for a challenge. I cannot just work out for the sake of working out. I know it’s great for me but the whole purpose becomes like a boring office job. Do I ever want my life compared to an office? No. The only cube life I want to experience is in the form of an iced beverage.

As for the challenge part, I have decided to actually SIGN UP for a 10K. That means live running with other people, race numbers, packet pick ups and times.

For a while I have been running solo and to be honest it can also be filed away under “boring office job”. Leading up to my runs is always a huge surge of energy but when I’m actually doing it, there’s zero exhilaration.

I’m registered for the Women’s Health Run 10, Feed 10 race in NYC this September. I have also recruited my boyfriend as my race buddy. This will be my FIRST EVER OFFICIAL race. Take that, boring workouts!

As for training, I have been following the awesome training plan provided by Women’s Health and for the most part sticking to it!

I’ll have you know the furthest I have ever run is about 4 miles..so indeed this will be a challenge. If I master this…maybe I’ll actually be able to qualify for a half crazy marathon! :0

The only thing missing now are my kicks of choice…I have about 3 different pairs of sneaks (Saucony, Reebok, Mizuno) I rotate around with…but they are all getting pretty worn, so maybe I should splurge for a new pair.

I’ve been searching for a great pair of running sneakers for about a month now, so clearly I am indecisive.

These are my new babies:

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Peace, love and challenge yourself!

~C.C.D.

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Deconstructed Cherry Chocolate Mint Blizzard

If your tastebuds are anything like mine and you were lucky enough to live near a Dairy Queen that was opened year round, blizzards were ARE the hallmark of life. Along with… maybe…your tamagotchi and cabbage patch doll.

Dairy Queen was my equivalent of today’s Mickey D’s. I always had a tendency to crave more towards the sweet and less toward the salty.

I lived off of blizzards for probably way more of my childhood than I should have. When I actually discovered how detrimental these blizzards were to my health, I knew it was time to eliminate them.

Eliminate is a powerful word…maybe it’s more appropriate to say I took a blizzard hiatus.

It wasn’t until a few years ago that I started making healthier substitutions for foods/sweets I loved. I’ve become pretty good at subbing this for that, without any outside help from the Eat This, Not That diet.

The past few weeks I had been craving ice cream in the worst way…the blizzard way!

My frozen banana faux yo wasn’t cutting it, so I was faced with the temptation of DQ Chips Ahoy commercials and actually contemplating giving in.

Luckily for me, my willpower and the fact that my stomach was beginning to resemble a flat tire, stopped me. A trip to Whole Foods proved to be a healthy substitution.

I ended up creating a deconstructed blizz with the following ingredients: (cherries for added antioxidant benefit)

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  • 1/2 c mint chocolate chip organic ice cream (Whole Foods brand)
  • 1 crumbled soft chocolate chip cookie
  • 3 frozen sweet red cherries
  • lightly drizzled maple cinnamon agave syrup

I’m no calorie counter but I can guarantee you this is nowhere near the calorie/fat content of what a regular blizzard clocks in at.

What are your favorite versions of the worst desserts/snack foods?

Peace, love and blizzards!

~C.C.D.

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Frozen Banana Cacao Smoothie

Since the eighty degree temps and high humidity have gotten us all pregamed up for summer, the only perfect way to celebrate is with food and beverage.

Frozen beverages are my kryptonite during the summertime. A kryptonite I will completely accept any day of the week.

I’ve been back on a mainly liquids as nourishment kick and figured I’d try to fuse my two loves…juices and chocolate.

(The only pre-prep you need to do is freeze some ripe bananas and make some iced coffee cubes.)

Frozen Banana Cacao Smoothie

Frozen Banana Cacao Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2-1 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tbsp. raw cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2-3 frozen iced coffee cubes (I used vanilla creme brulee flavor)

This has been tripling as my breakfast, pre-workout and caffeine boost in the morning. It’s also super satisfying in that it abates sweet cravings. I have noticed my cravings at night have decreased immensely while incorporating this smoothie into my diet.

What’s your favorite beverage or food during the summer?

Peace, love and smoothies!

~C.C.D.

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