Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. ~ Hippocrates

Adaptogen – a type of healing plant that helps balance, restore and protect the body. 

One of my favorite things to say is “Food is medicine”. I can’t recall exactly when or from where I picked this up… But I know it was from my training at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Probably had something to do with this:  

I am the first person to reiterate the fact that every cell in your body is made up of the food or “food-like substances” you eat. Why do I bring this to your attention? Because your health, well-being, glowing skin, healthy weight…All. Of. It. Is completely within your hands. You have the power and ability to transform your health & wellbeing. This is why I stress the importance of eating REAL food. Food that is as close to it’s source, Mother Nature, as it can be.

We all know that stress wreaks havoc on our bodies (& our minds). When our bodies experience stress they release a hormone called cortisol. When elevated levels of cortisol are present in our bodies over extended periods of time this leads to chronic stress and affects every part of our bodies. So probably already knew this. But did you know that cortisol is also known as the “aging hormone”?? I didn’t! So in addition to dealing with adrenal fatigue, weight gain, potential thyroid issues etc, cortisol makes one age faster?? Whoah! No, thank you! 

Cue – adaptogens! They’ve been used for thousands of years, all over the world, to support our bodies when encountering stress. Our new besties! Well, not so new, but still our besties. A gift from Mother Nature which can work together with real, nutrient dense foods to support and protect our bodies. 

When it comes to adaptogens, there are a lot of them. & I do mean A LOT! When it comes to starting, or continuing, one’s journey of health & wellbeing it can be overwhelming. So starting with a few things is essential. & always remember, to pay attention to how your body *feels*.

For healthy skin/hair &nails:

  1. Pearl powder – a great source of aminos to support in nourishing hair, skin and nails.
  2. Chaga – loaded with antioxidants that help fight free-radicals for healthy skin.
  3. Cordyceps – a powerful antioxidant, increases your antioxidant levels and reduces inflammation. Also, good for adrenal fatigue.

For energy:

  1. Asian/American Ginseng – boosts energy levels.
  2. Maca – a multi-faceted adaptogen that maintains healthy energy levels.

For balanced hormones:

  1. Schisandra – helps fight adrenal fatigue.
  2. Ashwaganda – supports in boosting a sluggish thyroid and balances cortisol levels.

For mood support:

  1. Mucuna Pruriens – contains L-Dopa, an amino acid, that is a precursor to L-Dopamine, which is essential for the body and healthy brain function. 
  2. Rhodiola – aids in balancing hormones, supporting healthy brain function & fat-metabolism to name a few of its benefits. 

For focus & concentration:

  1. Holy Basil (Tulsi) – has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties aiding in improving cognitive function and lowering stress hormones.  
  2. Lion’s Mane – contains Nerve Growth Factors (NGFs) which can help regenerate and protect brain tissue. 

For boosting your sex-drive:

  1. Shilajit – an Ayurvedic herb that balances sex hormones and boosts libido.
  2. He Shou Wu – a powerful antioxidant used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It serves to support improved immunity, stamina, protect the liver and cardiovascular system to name a few. 

I listed these in categories to make it easier for you to narrow your search but many of these adaptogens perform similar functions and some blends may even have synergistic properties when combined. You can add these to your coffee, tea, juice or smoothie. 

Below are a few ways I like to incorporate these powerful herbs and mushrooms into my daily routine! Keep in mind your needs will vary depending on the day, time of the month, etc – so please feel free to listen to your body and adapt as needed.

Brain-boosting Coffee

8-10 oz Organic brewed coffee

1 Tbsp Raw Coconut oil

½ Tbsp Organic Ghee

½ tsp Organic Maca

½ tsp Mucuna Pruriens

½ tsp Lion’s Mane

Stevia or raw honey* (desired amount) 

Place ingredients in blender and blend well. Serve. **Only add raw honey to liquids that are a drinkable temperature** 

Beauty Matcha Tea

8-10 oz hot water

1 Tbsp Raw Coconut oil

½ tsp Organic Matcha Green Tea powder

½ tsp Pearl Powder

½ tsp Rhodiola 

½ tsp Schisandra 

Stevia or raw honey* (as needed)

Add ingredients to blender and blend well. **See note on raw honey above**

Anti-Aging Smoothie

12-16 oz purified water

½ c Organic Strawberries

½ c Organic Blueberries

½ c Organic Mangos

1 Tbsp Raw Coconut Oil 

½ tsp Pearl

½ tsp Ashwaganda

½ tsp Schisandra 

½ tsp He Shou Wu

Stevia or Raw Honey *if needed

Add ingredients to blender and blend to desired consistency.

Aurea Lara, Radiance Health & Wellness, Health Coaching, Corporate Wellness, Reiki, Massage Therapy

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