Though common, these afternoon “crashes” aren’t normal. Instead, they are a sign your adrenal glands are fatigued and your blood sugar is unstable, going too low for your brain and body to function optimally.
How To Survive An Afternoon Energy Crash
1. Eat a high protein and fiber breakfast
Protein and fiber are the two most important macronutrients that help to keep our blood sugar stable and provide us with all day energy.
Here are a few examples that are protein and fiber rich:
Turkey or chicken sausage with sautéed veggies (use healthy fats like coconut or olive oil) and a side of berries
Protein shake made with protein powder, leafy greens, berries and avocado or nut butter
Eggs with added egg whites and baked sweet potato
2. Don’t make a bad situation worse
The first thing most people reach for is a quick fix – caffeine, chocolate, an energy drink, or something sugary, however, it’s only making a bad situation worse. These may perk you up for a while, but they cause more extreme blood sugar spikes and drops again later in the day. When this happens on a regular basis (several times a day for most people), you can further deplete your adrenal glands and lead to exhaustion. Blood sugar imbalances also create a perpetual cycle of craving and bingeing.
3. Go easy on high carb/starch foods and added sugars
Eating high-carb/starch foods (such as white rice, bread, wraps, pasta, etc.) and treats with added sugars (muffins, scones, cookies, cakes, granola bars, energy balls, etc.) without protein and fiber is akin to doing #2 above.
Always eat a bit of protein and fiber when you have something sweet or starchy to slow down the absorption of sugar and prevent a blood sugar spike.
A good rule to follow is to keep added sugars to less than 25 grams per day – it is harder than you think!
4. Eat smarter in the face of an energy crash
Some of us won’t be able to turn things around overnight, especially if the causes of their adrenal fatigue aren’t being fully addressed. If you find yourself slipping, do whatever it takes to stop yourself from reaching for stimulants and sugar. Instead, grab something that is high in protein, and balance with some healthy fats and carbs. This will prevent the crash that follows a sugar and caffeine binge. Be prepared by having a healthy snack ready to go for the afternoon.
Here are a few examples:
A boiled egg with carrots, peppers and some rice crackers
A palm sized serving of nuts with berries
A low sugar protein bar
Plus, make sure to drink two glasses of water (dehydration is an energy and adrenal drainer)!
Try following these guidelines over the next week and see how your afternoon energy responds!
Dr Chelsea Gronick is a Naturopathic Doctor with a practice in Kelowna. She has an expertise in helping women with thyroid and hormone issues, weight loss resistance, and adrenal fatigue. www.drchelseagronick.com