Let’s face it - we’re all stressed out. From the perceived threats of work deadlines and family responsibilities to polluted air and less-than-healthy foods, our bodies and minds take a beating in the modern world. For most of us, our bodies are in an almost permanent state of fight-or-flight, or the sympathetic nervous system, where our ancient biology is preparing the body to run from the lion, even if the real stressor is just a work meeting. This pulls resources away from things like digestion and healing from the wear and tear of daily life.
Meditation and mindfulness can go a long way toward helping your body and mind cope with stress. But when you feel like you need a little extra help, adaptogens can be a great option for helping to bring your body back into balance.
Adaptogens help our bodies manage stress. Best used as “maintenance medicine” they will help your body restore balance when used regularly. If you’re feeling run down and depleted, they can help increase your energy levels. If you’re feeling wired and frazzled, they can help calm you down. When you’ve returned to rest-and-digest mode (the parasympathetic nervous system), your body can put its energy toward relaxing and repairing itself.
Some common examples of adaptogens include ginseng, ashwagandha, rhodiola, maca, holy basil, pearl, licorice, and mushrooms like reishi, cordyceps, and chaga. Each has its own individualized characteristics that may persuade you to choose one over the other depending on your own unique need.
You’ll find reishi featured this week in our Reishi Mushroom Stroganoff. Reishi in particular is known for its ability to help you relax, improve sleep, and support the immune system.
Be sure to place on order for our Ginger Spice Pound Cake with Sunshine Milk next week which features ashwagandha. An Ayurvedic favorite, ashwagandha is calming and helps reduce cortisol levels. Traditionally it’s used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and chronic fatigue, and can be helpful for autoimmune conditions.
Artificial energy boosts like caffeine and sugar (or worse, soda and energy drinks) backfire in the long term, so if you’re looking for a more holistic approach you may want to explore incorporating adaptogens into your routine. Remember you should always consult your doctor or work with a qualified herbalist if starting a therapeutic adaptogen regimen.
Sarah Hebbel-Stone - Head of Client Services, Certified Culinary Nutrition Expert, and Health Coach at Provenance Meals
With her focus on holistic health and a passion for cooking, Sarah is our resident health counselor on staff and assists our chefs and nutritionists in developing our weekly menu. In addition to being a yoga instructor and wellness coach extraordinaire, she also manages our customer service and concierge team for clients with special requests and custom needs on their wellness journey.