photo credit: Kristy Kaliope Photography

I recently brought a bottle of my anti-stress tea to a friend.  She posted it to facebook and several asked for the recipe and so I wanted to share it with you too.

I talk to my clients all the time about stress and “creating a cradle” for those times when external stressors are high.  Some ways to create your cradle is to find time to nurture yourself – we  can do this by practicing some deep breathing, getting a massage, taking an Epson salt bath (my favorite) or taking a walk in nature.  We can also support our cradle by eating nourishing foods, taking extra supplements or super foods or by drinking a healing elixir.

My favorite support right now is this herbal tea elixir which leads me to my story….

I have been dealing with ups and downs in my energy department for the past year.  It wasn’t until after I completed my half ironman last August that I really started to feel less energy, enthusiasm and resilience.  If I had one more “extra” thing come up, I couldn’t handle it.   My normal 5 mile maintenance run felt hard and I found myself taking more and more walking breaks.   I also started to gain some weight in my belly area (despite good nutrition and exercise routine).  I was very moody around my period (my poor husband).  If you know me, I am a pretty even keeled person.  I don’t have a high and low switch.  Some might dismiss these changes as just getting older (I’m almost 46), but I knew something was off and the increased belly fat lead me to believe it was hormonal.

My Symptoms:

  • Increased weight for no reason – mostly belly fat
  • Fatigue
  • Salt Cravings
  • Leg cramps
  • Low resilience
  • Lightheaded upon standing
  • Yeast infections (never had them ever!)/ nail infection
  • Dry skin
  • poor concentration/brain fog
  • knee pain

It wasn’t until I had written down all my ailments over the past that I realized that a lot was going on.  I shouldn’t feel this way as “healthy” as I was.  So, I took a cortisol salivary test and it revealed that I had Phase 2 Adrenal Fatigue.  My adrenals were fried.  And guess what, adrenal health is the first domino in the hormonal cascade!   No wonder I was moody!


Phase 1: Acute, non-recurring stress is the mildest form of stress. This is the phase where one suffers from stress for a short time, but is not incapacitated by it.  In this phase most people don’t even realize they are there.  They may not have symptoms at all or they may have lots of go, go, go energy – and sometimes may feel a little wired and a little tired, yet still functioning normally.  Cortisol is high in stage 1.

Phase 2: Acute, recurring and poor recovery. In this phase a person will experience stress that is more acute. It is recurrent and they’ll likely experience extended recovery time in relation to all stressors. Sleep can become affected and they may feel anxious. This is a good time to evaluate cortisol levels. The adrenal bank account has been overdrawn and they are not longer able to produce cortisol in sufficient amount hence fatigue sets in.

Phase 3: Chronic, prominent symptoms and poor recovery This phase will result in chronic and more pronounced symptoms with poor recovery time. You may see unusual sleep patterns, sleep apnea and excessive fatigue. Short-term memory may also be affected.  This is the exhaustion phase where there is barely any cortisol left – it’s flat lined!  I’m so glad I don’t believe in the workout more, eat less mentality because I could have easily slipped into stage 3 which could take up to 1 year to heal fully.  This stage is where things can get serious and can be very debilitating.

So how does a health coach get here?  I asked myself that too as I really do practice what I preach.  As I looked at my functional timeline there has been several combined external and internal triggers that contributed to my adrenal fatigue: my father’s illness, half-ironman training, my own perfectionism and the everyday demands of being a mother & new entrepreneur and wanting to do it all.   My scale tipped.

So that is the short story of the long story.  The good news is that I’m healing my body each and every day by incorporating my cradle which includes extra sleep, blood sugar regulation, anti-inflammatory diet and herbs, avoidance of food sensitivities, supplements, no caffeine, reduced exercise and stress management.

Stress is huge and could very well tip the scales for you too.    We all have stress – it’s part of life.  How are you supporting your body?  Creating your cradle?

For me the positive side of my health journey is that it has introduced me to the world of herbs which totally fascinates me.

 Ashwagandha is one of the herbs I’ve been working with.  I describe it as putting a pillow over those sharp edges that we run into our lives so you’re able to be more resilient (and nice) and you can just roll with the punches a little better.  I needed resilience!  I use it in a tincture form and you can just put it into your water in the morning or in a tea like I do.  It comes in a powder form too which you can add to smoothies.

Spring Dragon Longevity Tea is what I used for the base of my elixir.  It is a blend of herbs which promotes a calming yet invigorating effect.   It is also great for blood sugar regulation which supports the adrenals and keeps your sugar cravings at bay.  Ever notice that when you are stressed, you crave sugar or simple carbs?  Stress, cortisol, blood sugar and cravings are all related!

Or you can use Holy Basil (or Tulsi) Tea which is a herb native to India.  You can find this tea at most health food stores.

Finally the Elixir Recipe!

1 cup of Spring Dragon Tea (each bag makes 3 cups).  I like to brew a big batch at a time and keep it cooled in the fridge.  I use 1 cup as a base for my adrenal herbs and drink it twice a day at breakfast and lunch.   It tastes good!

Ashwagandha: 1 dropper full

As with any herb or superfood, always, always do your research and see if it is right for you especially if you have health conditions or are pregnant.  And listen to your body – if it doesn’t feel right then it’s not for you.  If you try it, let me know!  Play with it – you can drink the tea alone or add some Ashwagandha in your morning lemon water.  Sometimes I’ll add in some lemon juice and a dash of stevia too.

If you try it, let me know how it goes!