Getting healthy: adaptogens, chocolate berry and green smoothies, and sprouted lentil salad

My acupuncturist, who is consistently the healthiest, most vibrant person I know, told me at my last visit that I have a bit of adrenal depletion from the stresses of my 10-week contract editing job in a big technology company, now over. It was a long commute until everything was finally aligned for me to work from home the last two weeks.

When my contract ended, I had plans to swim, hike, and get outdoors, but my energy was low. All I wanted to do was veg out at home.

She told me to take over-the-counter rhodiola (for the endocrine system) and eleuthero (also known as Siberian ginseng). Both are adaptogens, meaning they are metabolic regulators that increase the ability to adapt to environmental factors both physiological and psychological, and avoid damage from such.

That means they help you recover from stress and alleviate its adverse effects.

After a week, I feel better. Yesterday I had a big surge of energy and walked 3.5 miles and kayaked for an hour. Today is a slow day. Tomorrow, I want to do some hiking and swimming. I want my full energy and vibrancy back!

She shared her diet with me:

  • For breakfast, a chocolate berry smoothie made with raw cacao, organic berries, chia and flax seeds soaked in filtered water for a couple of hours, coconut/almond milk, and whatever other kinds of goodies you want to add. I add pomegranate molasses, goji berries, coconut water or fresh grapefruit juice, maca powder, hemp seeds, and peeled ginger. Add other fruit if you like, but berries are awesome for brain health and not that laden with fructose. Filling up my blender yields about 3 servings, and I will sip on one all morning.
  • For lunch, a green smoothie made with something picked fresh from the garden (kale or chard), more soaked chia and flax seeds, and garlic. I add coconut water or grapefruit juice, hemp seeds, maca powder, turmeric, spirulina, ginger. I also added some packaged fresh spinach and lettuce and a leaf of Romaine, plus celery—what I had in the fridge. I will sip on one all afternoon.
  • She eats one regular meal a day, at dinner.
  • She eats some seaweed every day, like a sheet of nori that you’d use for sushi.
  • She sprouts lentils and finds ways to include them in her diet. I’ve been sprouting red lentils, which are so tiny, they soften and sprout quickly. Sprouting amplifies the nutrients in the lentils as it turns a dormant seed into a living plant.  The legumes become much easier to digest, and more minerals and enzymes become available. By eating them raw, you preserve the enzymes.

Here is my recipe for sprouted lentil salad:

  • Soak red lentils overnight in plenty of filtered water since they triple in size. Drain, rinse, and cover jar with a cloth. Rinse and drain every eight hours. You can use them as soon as they soften—they start releasing their goodness from soaking even before they sprout, or you can wait until they develop little sprouts in a day or two.
  • Give them a final rinse and put in a bowl. Refrigerate what you don’t use—they’ll last up to two weeks.
  • Add some chopped cucumber.
  • Add some chopped red onion.
  • Add 1 tsp of olive oil and 2-3 tsp. of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, to taste.
  • Add a light sprinkling of good salt to taste and mix well.

sprouted lentil saladYou can tell I’m making this up as I go along, can’t you? : )

Try adding avocado, celery, tomato, green pepper, herbs, green onion, cabbage, beet, greens, carrot, apple, green (brown) lentils—your only limit is your sense of adventure!

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