SCD and GAPS Foods for Adrenal Fatigue
***Note: This is completely unscientific and based solely on my own personal experience. I will try to update with more menu plan ideas and recipes
Many people on message boards and mailing lists are asking questions about what foods to eat on SCD/GAPS to help with Adrenal Fatigue. So here I am documenting the foods I found helped my energy levels and some example menu plans. See my first post on Adrenal Fatigue for a brief overview of my symptoms and lifestyle management. I found the book Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Syndrome to be a worthwhile read and explained all aspects of Adrenal Fatigue including lifestyle factors, however a lot of the foods listed did not fit SCD/GAPS. The book Rebuild from Depression was my main motivation for turning to organ meats, oysters, eggs and saturated fats for energy. I may not suffer from depression or postpartum depression, but the same dietary advice applies to adrenal fatigue.
These foods are listed in order of what I found to be best to least helpful for me. Yes I have eaten all these foods and consume most of them pretty regularly. Yes eggs & liver are THE best foods!
One of the absolute best foods for adrenal fatigue. I eat 2-3 per day usually cooked in a way that leaves the yolk runny (soft poached, soft boiled, over-easy). Very important to get eggs from a good source. Look for a local farmer or buy organic, free-range, omega-3 eggs from a health food store. Duck eggs are also very good if you can find them. I get both chicken and duck eggs.
Eat red meat more often than poultry or fish. Eat organ meats as often as possible. Choose fattier cuts and slow-cook them, making sure to eat the fats. Don’t be afraid to try new meats, this will help get some variety into your diet! Always use a bit of sea salt on your meats.
*liver, bone marrow, bone broths, fish eggs (roe), heart, tongue
*lamb, pork (including bacon), beef, bison, elk, goat, venison
*duck, turkey, chicken
*oysters, muscles, scallops, wild salmon, wild fish
Eat lots of saturated fat. I mean lots. If you think you’re eating too much saturated fat, eat about 2 tbsp more per day and then that might be enough. Be careful not to eat too much Omega-6 in the form of vegetable oils and nuts. It is best to cut down on Omega-6 fats than to have to increase Omega-3. You actually do not need that much Omega-3. If you are not able to get grass-fed pastured meats/fats and you eat nuts, then supplement with a small amount of fish oil. Don’t cook with olive oil, just drizzle it over food after cooking it in another fat.
*ghee, butter, coconut oil
Yogurt & Cheese
Some adrenal diet advice says to cut out all dairy even yogurt and cheese. I found them quite helpful although you may want to test out your own tolerance for the SCD yogurt and cheddar cheese by doing an elimination stage and slowly introducing them while checking for symptoms. One very important thing is to always buy organic milk products. If you can find raw milk & cheese that would be best. I currently (as of 2010) use whole pasteurized non-homogenized milk, and raw milk cheddar. I suggest eating dairy products as snacks during the day rather than as breakfast or late night snacks. Eggs and meats are better for stabilizing blood sugars, sodium levels and energy. Always add sea salt to your yogurt!
*24-hour SCD yogurt
*cheddar, monterey jack, swiss cheeses
When I started SCD I actually did not eat much in the way of vegetables as I didn’t seem to tolerate anything fibrous. Don’t worry if you can’t have too much, just eat what you can tolerate. Focus more on fats, broths & organ meats for vitamins and minerals. If on SCD, you may not want to try sauerkraut right away, but I wish I had!
*avocado (raw), sauerkraut
*zucchini, beets, green beans, red peppers, onions, garlic, spinach, kale, collards, chard, arugula, artichoke hearts
*squash, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower,
Fruit & Honey
Be careful with fruit. With adrenal fatigue it’s important to keep blood sugar levels and sodium steady. Eating high-sugar and potassium filled fruit on its own can be problematic. Use honey only if necessary to sweeten yogurt a little bit. Don’t eat dried fruit until you are well.
*blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries
*apples (including applesauce), pears, papayas, pineapple
*bananas, melons, mango, oranges
Nuts and Seeds
Don’t overdo nuts. It’s the #1 mistake people do on SCD. I have done it many times! I also find I do better with properly soaked and dehydrated raw organic nuts.
*almonds, hazelnuts, macademia nuts, pecans
*pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds
If you have a known deficiency found by a blood test or other medical tests, then definitely take a supplement until you reach normal levels.
If you take cod liver oil, fish oil, butter oil, etc, and you are doing ok with them then by all means continue them. Treat these as foods, you do not necessarily need to take them every day nor at the same time every day.
I find when dealing with supplements it’s best to have the help of a naturopath to guide you. I have repeatedly tried many vitamin and mineral supplements that really did nothing but frustrate me in having me try to remember to take them. I have never had any vitamin/mineral/oil/gland supplement help as much as eating liver, eggs, roe, and bone marrow have. Those foods give me energy!
Adrenal Fatigue Menu #1
Breakfast: 2 eggs soft-poached (or any preparation), 1 cup broth, sea salt, pickled beets, sauerkraut
Snack: 1 cup whole milk yogurt, 2 tsp honey, 1/4 cup blueberries
Lunch: Leftover Slow-cooker Basic Lamb Stew, add 1 tbsp butter/ghee after heated
Snack: 2 slices cheese, 1 apple with 1 tbsp almond butter (or applesauce with 1 tbsp butter/ghee), 1/2 cup broth with sea salt
Dinner: Beef Heart, Bacon, Butter and Onions, baked squash with 1 tbsp butter/ghee, sauerkraut
Pre-bed snack: 1 soft-boiled egg, sea salt
Adrenal Fatigue Menu #2 (egg-free)
Breakfast: Meatballs (any ground meat) with 1/4 cup Tzatziki sauce, sauerkraut, Roe on Roasted Golden Beets
Snack: 1/2 avocado, 1/2 cup broth with sea salt
Lunch: Liver Pâté with Cranberries served on thin slices of cheddar cheese, cauliflower mashed potatoes
Snack: 1 cup whole milk yogurt, 2 tsp honey, 1/4 cup raspberries
Dinner: Beef roast with mushroom sauce, asparagus sauteed in coconut oil & garlic
Pre-bed snack: 1/2 cup broth with sea salt; 1 tsp coconut oil mixed with 1 tsp honey