Feeling exhausted, like, all the time? If you’re gulping down your third cup of coffee while fantasizing about having an entire Saturday to catch up on sleep, we get it. We’re big on coffee around here – especially in L.A. where coffee is having a total moment. Knowing the balance necessary to counter our caffeine habits, it’s almost embarrassing the amount of coffee recovery-related stories we’ve shared with you (see them all here!)
Christine Dionese, integrative health & food therapist, is the kind of wellness pro we can depend on for hard-core at-home recipes like this one. It’s a little more complex than dipping a tea bag in some hot water, but we think this recipe is fascinating – and incredibly good for those of us who need the stress support. Too much coffee and too much stress can deplete our adrenal glands. Christine is breaking down what adrenal fatigue is, why it matters and what you can do to support your adrenal function with this cool DIY that mixes ‘shrooms into your morning ritual…
Up early, run to work without breakfast, coffee one. Work while eating a huge lunch because you missed breakfast resulting in afternoon slump, pour coffee two. Get home and feel like crashing, but still need to do more work, pour coffee three. Frazzled and can’t relax in the evening, wake up exhausted in the morning. Rinse and repeat. Sound like you?
If you’re reading The Chalkboard it might not sound like you because you don’t skip meals, you drink your greens, sip tea and zen out at yoga everyday, right? Right? Perhaps it only describes you on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, or it’s the occasional you. I find the fall to be a particularly vulnerable time of year for many of my patients in private practice. Work projects ramp up, the holidays swiftly approach and boom, those health-attracting habits you powerfully embraced throughout the spring and summer months are traded for eating on the go and relying on caffeine for fuel.
If you’ve been burning the candle at both ends – or are prone to – you may be experiencing some degree of adrenal fatigue.
If you’re exhausted, blame it on your brain. If you’re also anxious, you can blame that on your brain as well.
The underlying issue beneath adrenal fatigue takes root in the brain. The communication loop that connects your adrenal glands and the brain, called the HPA or hypothalamic axis is responsible for regulating environmental influences that signal the release of cortisol and catecholamines such as epinephrine and norepinephrine (aka your fight-or-flight biochemicals). Not enough quality sleep and excessive amounts of caffeine can cause blood-sugar levels to unnecessarily fluctuate, further perpetuating this cascade. The result? Increased fatigue. If stress becomes prolonged, eventually anxiety and fatigue together may occur.
At this point, your brain needs help. Insert behavior change: Add adrenal tonics.
You’ve got to get that brain of yours to “believe” you’ve reduced or removed stress. If you can’t sleep through the night, start taking 20 minute power naps to convince your cortisol and catecholamine levels to cooperate. Step away from your screen for at least five minutes and om out with three yoga moves, followed by an avocado or handful of cashews. You likely already know the drill. And sure, enjoy a daily cup of coffee if you love it, but then fight that urge for coffees two, three, four… Go for an adrenal tonic instead.
Remember what I just said about making your brain “believe” you? Here’s the trick: When I develop a new food therapy protocol for a patient, I always create abundance. I never take a ton of foods away the patient loves without creating a suitable addition. Let’s face it, our emotions are connected to our behaviors surrounding food; we need variety, and some of us need comfort. Just be aware that excessive coffee or overly-caffeinated beverages may be that comfort standing between you and your ability to combat adrenal fatigue.
Rather than have you suffer from “emotional coffee loss,” let’s just replace it with something equally as good, equally as happiness-stimulating, but even better for your brain. This will convince your brain: adrenal soothing mushroom roast. Rich, medium to full-bodied, earthy and won’t leave your brain hanging!
Mushroom endnote: If you love the taste of umami, but have gone vegan or vegetarian, dehydrated mushroom powder offers a similar, rich flavor on its own and can be added to all varieties of recipes!
Mushroom + Maca tonic
3 cups shitake mushroom
2 cups reishi mushroom
1- 2 Tbsp chicory root powder
1 Tbsp cacao powder or nibs, I prefer nibs, optional
1 Tbsp maca powder
1 tsp grey or pink salt
Rinse or dry brush your mushrooms to clean. Pat dry with a towel if washing in water.
Slice mushrooms into ¼ slices. Place on dehydrator racks. Dehydrate at about 100 degrees until mushrooms are no longer spongy, but are not brittle. This will take several hours. Allow to cool.
If you do not have a dehydrator, you can set your oven to about 150 degrees, but you will achieve best results with a dehydrator.
If using an oven, flip ‘shrooms after an hour, absorb excess liquid, place in oven an additional hour, allow to fully cool.
In a Vitamix, food processor or high-speed blender grind mushrooms to fine powder. With the handle of a wooden spoon, loosen up mixture, be sure all mushrooms have been ground.
Add remaining ingredients to blender to combine into a mixture.
Now you’re ready to brew. Brew one cup using the same measurement you would for your particular coffee maker. Taste. For a darker roast add more chicory and/or cacao. If too bitter, add additional salt. For a sweeter roast, coat mushrooms with coconut oil or ghee before dehydrating
Note: this recipe is not exact – ingredient amounts are suggested in ranges since we enjoy varying flavor profiles. I suggest starting with small batches until you find your desired taste.