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Psychic shock/trauma, cortisol/adrenaline, & diet  This thread currently has 3,904 views. Print Print Thread
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Peppermint Twist
Thursday, December 27, 2007, 5:41pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Kyosha Nim
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I had just been back on track for, what, about a week, when there was a knock on my door Christmas Eve and what ensued was something traumatic, horrible and awful.  Even though it is over now, my psyche and my physical body both don't seem to get that yet, there is a lag time in "bouncing back", and my diet has gone out the window again, with big-time stress eating.  But "stress" doesn't adequately describe it, it was major shock, horror, trauma, grief (don't worry, it was all an awful, awful case of mistaken identity and everyone I love is fine), and even though it is okay now, I just completely have gone off the deep end.

I think when you receive a psychic shock and your body mobilizes with cortisol, adrenaline, or both, you don't just "get over it", even if it turns out that things are okay.

All those fight-or-flight hormones pour into your system and there they are.  Combine that with the accessibility of all this "festive" holiday food around, and Twist here is completely off the rails again, and very dismayed about it.

I'm wondering if we could get a discussion going on the advanced nutritional concept of:  what to do, dietwise, when hit with a very psychically traumatic event.  Because you are going to have not only powerful hormones telling you to eat "comfort foods" such as refined carbs, sugars, fats, salt, etc., but you are also going to--if you have ever had even the slightest psychological coping mechanism of using food for comfort--have a psychological comfort eating factor kick in, and then like I said if you are surrounded by sugar and starch, it isn't going to be pretty.

Are there specific foods, exercises or other coping strategies that you guys can suggest to do when you unexpectedly (and usually a traumatic event is unexpected) find yourself coping with some sort of emergency, shock, trauma type of event?  The things I have thought of, not that I've done them, are as follows:

1.  First line of defense:  high compliance and a focus on BENEFICIALS (although this is hard to do in this situation, precisely because the cortisol and/or adrenaline are going to influence you to choose badly, like starch, sugar, high-fat, high sodium, etc.), especially those with brain-chemistry balancing, mood-enhancing and energy-bestowing effects, such as omega 3's.  What specific foods would you guys suggest?

2.  Exercise (this I did try to do a little of on Christmas Day, dog in tow, and it was lovely, as the weather here in Florida was STELLAR on Christmas).

3.  Pray.  Prayer helps me.  If you are not a prayer, try meditation or simply deep relaxation techniques, such as yoga's relaxation pose/asana.

4.  Consider supplements to help.  This is where I hope to generate some particularly interesting discussion.  I was thinking of supplements like CoQ10 for me, which I take anyway, and for other types, supplements like fish oil capsules.

5.  Sleep.  It is very hard for me to sleep when I'm shaken up, but it is important to lie there and give it the old college try, yes?

So, what specific foods, supplements and other coping strategies do any of y'all have to suggest for when one is hit with a major traumatic event?  Luckily, in this case, it all turned out to be okay for me, but your psyche and your body have a big lag time, turns out, before they "bounce back" from a horrific trauma, even if everything is now OKAY.  Tell that to all the stress hormones cursing through my veins.  Once your brain "releases the hounds!", i.e., adrenaline, cortisol et al., how do you counteract that?  How do you "work it off" in a healthy way, versus going haywire on diet?

I find that hormones are such powerful suckers, in many cases it is virtually impossible to "fight them".  But I'd like to think that if one is aware of what is happening, the old "knowledge is power" thing would have to kick in and one could at least do SOMETHING to mitigate the situation.

Thoughts?  Musings?  Anecdotes?  Advice?  Cute graphics?  I'm up for anything!



"If you are on one of Dr. D's diets and it isn't joyful, you aren't doing it right." - moi

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Peppermint Twist  -  Thursday, December 27, 2007, 6:15pm
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Lloyd
Thursday, December 27, 2007, 5:52pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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I think I have no idea what you are trying to do with this.  
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Peppermint Twist
Thursday, December 27, 2007, 6:11pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Quoted from Lloyd
I think I have no idea what you are trying to do with this.  

I'm not sure what is unclear to you.  As I stated pointedly and clearly (or so I thought *lol*!) in my post, I'm trying to generate a thread in which people suggest and discuss specific foods, exercise, supplements and other coping strategies for mitigating the impact on diet compliance of the powerful stress hormones that one's brain releases into one's system at the onset of a traumatic event, since if they are left unchecked/unmitigated, those hormones will wreck havoc with staying compliant on your diet.


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Amazone I.
Thursday, December 27, 2007, 6:14pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Peppylein.... I guess that all is about merely to feel *overwhelmed* I get it into this....infj's sometimes can rise up crisis coz of feeling likewise....may I ask you to get done a complete hormonal check
and btw...perhaps l'phenylalanine & l'carnitine would do the trick in getting the feeling of satiety.....and with the second we get the fatcells burnt at the same time, phenylalanine is a great depressionskiller as well  ok for especially O's anddddd....nada mas....till now ...


MIfHI K-174
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jayneeo
Thursday, December 27, 2007, 6:15pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Just one word: Rhodiola. First line of defense. Next: tyrosine. there're more, I'm sure.....how bout those roasted pumpkin seeds.....?(so good you could overdo them, but what the hey?)
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Peppermint Twist
Thursday, December 27, 2007, 6:19pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Kyosha Nim
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Quoted from Amazone I.
Peppylein.... I guess that all is about merely to feel *overwhelmed* I get it into this....infj's sometimes can rise up crisis coz of feeling likewise....may I ask you to get done a complete hormonal check
and btw...perhaps l'phenylalanine & l'carnitine would do the trick in getting the feeling of satiety.....and with the second we get the fatcells burnt at the same time, phenylalanine is a great depressionskiller as well  ok for especially O's anddddd....nada mas....till now ...

I don't know why people don't seem to understand the topic of my thread here.  I thought it was very clear.  Hmmmm.  Oh well.  Anyway, this is not about dealing with ongoing hormone imbalance(s), depression, or anything like that.  This thread is about counteracting, via diet, supplements and exercise, an influx of cortisol and/or adrenaline due to a specific, traumatic event.  It is very tricky because those hormones are going to make you want to do the opposite of what you need to do, and eat all wrong, which is what has happened in my case.  However, I do find that even though I've been knocked off track as far as diet due to a traumatic event that occurred on Christmas Eve, I am able to consciously tell myself to exercise, so at least if I do that, hopefully, I'll be working the stress hormones out of my body, which is key.

I'm hoping folks can suggest and discuss specific foods and supplements that work for them in such situations, because I thought it would be a very interesting topic from a BTD perspective, and one that hasn't been discussed much in the past, to my knowledge.  Isa, your suggestions are great for what they are for, but it isn't the topic of this thread, as the topic isn't ongoing hormonal balance/imbalance issues, it is about diet and exercise coping strategies for traumatic events that infuse one's bod with adrenaline and/or cortisol.

Put another way that hopefully will be clearer:  How do you flush out those two stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol), when you have a huge/massive unexpected influx of them into your system due to your brain releasing them in response to a crisis/emergency-type situation?


"If you are on one of Dr. D's diets and it isn't joyful, you aren't doing it right." - moi

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Peppermint Twist  -  Thursday, December 27, 2007, 6:33pm
Peppermint Twist  -  Thursday, December 27, 2007, 6:30pm
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Peppermint Twist
Thursday, December 27, 2007, 6:36pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Quoted from jayneeo
Just one word: Rhodiola. First line of defense. Next: tyrosine. there're more, I'm sure.....how bout those roasted pumpkin seeds.....?(so good you could overdo them, but what the hey?)

Okay, now, are you talking about eating the above to counteract adrenaline and cortisol, in other words, stress hormones that the body involuntarily infuses your system with in response to an emergency or trauma/crisis of some sort unfolding?  If so, carry on!  I just have to ask because Lloyd said he didn't understand the topic and then Isa responded but it didn't have to do with the topic, so now I just want to make sure that you are responding to what I think you are responding to, namely the correct topic!




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Lloyd
Thursday, December 27, 2007, 6:43pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Quoted from Peppermint Twist

How do you flush out those two stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol), when you have a huge/massive unexpected influx of them into your system due to your brain releasing them in response to a crisis/emergency-type situation?


I don't understand why you did not make this the first part of your original post, rather than burying it several posts down. The original post seems to be a mix of Sky Saw, Little Fishes and Eat Right 4 Your Type.

PS I think exercise is useful.
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Rodney
Thursday, December 27, 2007, 7:15pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Would the fix your looking for be different for each individual?
It seems your first post answers some of your own questions. I for one when I get stressed from what ever reason, I go to my special place and relax.
Special place = evening {dark quiet}, hot tub room, sit in hot tub, soothing music, incense and a glass of wine sometimes and let my mind go.
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gulfcoastguy
Thursday, December 27, 2007, 7:28pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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If it was a false alarm or nothing that I can take immediate action to rectify, I will probably find a quiet place and do some breathing exercises  that I learned in martial arts and yoga. I will follow that up with a yoga class or other exercise, I will definitely pet the dog for a while and talk to her about it and if possible take her for a long scenic walk. I won't reach for coffee, alcohol, doughnus, or drugs. I know they don't help. Some good music with meaningfull lyrics  doesn't hurt. Chronic stress is different in someways.
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Peppermint Twist
Thursday, December 27, 2007, 7:47pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Quoted from Lloyd
I don't understand why you did not make this the first part of your original post, rather than burying it several posts down.

I chose to word my posts as I thought clearest and best.  As far as the forum I chose to place it into after very careful and thoughtful consideration, I felt that it fit best into LR4YT because it is about advanced nutritional/diet and exercise concepts, ideas and applications of the BTD. As is the case with many topics, it could conceivably have fit into more than one forum (in this case, LR4YT or Fit Right, and even conceivably Sky Saw or Another Green World), so I chose the one I felt was made the most sense.  I thought it was a very fresh, interesting topic for LR4YT.  If others think so as well, I welcome their participation in the thread.


"If you are on one of Dr. D's diets and it isn't joyful, you aren't doing it right." - moi

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Peppermint Twist
Thursday, December 27, 2007, 7:57pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Kyosha Nim
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Quoted from Rodney
Would the fix your looking for be different for each individual?

Well, as with most topics we discuss in our community, it would vary by type.  For example, fish oil capsules might make sense for A's but not O's.

I think maybe part of the reason some folks are confusigated about my topic is that I did not elaborate on what happened on Christmas Eve, which is very out of character for me *lol*!  I'm usually an elaborator.  But it just was such a horrifying, upsetting situation, I thought I would spare you all, just for once!  But I guess I at least need to make clear that I'm talking about traumatic events that trigger a massive release of stress hormones into the body.  Not ongoing stress, depression, anxiety, and/or hormone imbalance, but more an event that causes you to psychologically mobilize, such as being told, God forbid, that your child has been gravely injured.  Events that cause you to brace yourself, even to go into shock.  After 9/11, the nation went on a collective carb bender for weeks to months.  This is documented in studies of what flew off supermarket shelves, all things like potato chips, donuts, ice cream, etc.  This is how the body wants to respond.  Our challenge is to figure out how to turn that around, which is no small thing when hormones are involved.


"If you are on one of Dr. D's diets and it isn't joyful, you aren't doing it right." - moi

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Andrea AWsec
Thursday, December 27, 2007, 7:59pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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I think I would have a cookie preferably chocolate.


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"Do not try to satisfy your vanity by teaching a great many things. Awaken people's curiosity. It is enough to open minds; do not overload them." Anatole France

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Peppermint Twist
Thursday, December 27, 2007, 8:00pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Kyosha Nim
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Quoted from Andrea AWsec
I think I would have a cookie preferably chocolate.


Okay, obviously people (with the shining exception of gcg*, bless him!) are either not getting the point of this thread, or not taking it seriously.  Since one of the most frustrated people is a moderator, Lloyd, feel free to delete the entire thread.  I thought it was a great topic.  Guess not.

* edited to add:  And Jayney--sorry for overlooking you, Jayney!!!!


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Victoria
Thursday, December 27, 2007, 8:05pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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The herb Holy Basil (Tulsi) is useful for clearing excessive cortisol.  I'm not sure what the effect would be on adrenaline.  

And this is not BTD related, but a bottle of rescue remedy is the fastest thing I know of to quickly normalize that fight or flight state in a crises (whether real or imagined).



Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are.
Let me not pass you by in quest
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Gumby
Thursday, December 27, 2007, 8:23pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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I totally get what you meant, PT.  I don't have any helpful things to add though, but your initial post was very clear to me.  

For me, once the incident was over (ie the accident victims carted away by medical pros, the bearer of shocking news gone, etc) it would be really important for me to be quiet and alone or with a very trusted soul and allow whatever was bubbling to be released.  To close my eyes and breathe.  Focus on my breath and just allow things to flow.  I have to say that food would be about the last thing on my mind for quite a while...I tend to NOT eat when I am so stressed that I feel ill.

In the aftermath, when I did get hungry, I would honestly be reluctant to eat anything that was not really good for me because I know I am particularly prone to....let's just say GI issues as it covers the gamut...when I am feeling stress.  

Once the whole thing was over and done with, and if it was not an ongoing issue (ie grief etc) I might have to be more cautious about food choices...like you say, focus on beneficials etc.  But I have lots of 'treat' and 'comfort' type foods that are beneficial so I'm usually ok.

Like I said, not particulary helpful...but it is an interesting thing to discuss for sure.


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Peppermint Twist
Thursday, December 27, 2007, 8:24pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Quoted from Victoria
The herb Holy Basil (Tulsi) is useful for clearing excessive cortisol.  I'm not sure what the effect would be on adrenaline.

Now we're getting somewhere!  Thanks, Victoria!
Quoted Text
And this is not BTD related, but a bottle of rescue remedy is the fastest thing I know of to quickly normalize that fight or flight state in a crises (whether real or imagined).

I can assure you that what unfolded on Chistmas Eve was all too real.  As you know, I am not a fan of Bach Flower Remedies.  However, I do thank you for sharing that idea because there are many people who swear by them, especially in a situation like what I'm describing.  So that is a great suggestion to have in the thread.

Actually, I could see trying the Rescue Remedy in a sitch like that.  I mean, it couldn't hurt, right?  It is only a few drops that you use, so the alcohol is negligible, especially in humans (in pets, its more of a question, imho).  So, why not try it?  It is very expensive, though.  It must keep forever, I would think, though, being alcohol-based, so since you only need a few drops per use, it actually comes out more affordable than what it appears.  It's just, again, for me, I doubt the whole theory of homeopathy in the aspect of drastically diluted "essences" of things.  But so many, many people swear by those flower remedies, I will say that.


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Victoria
Thursday, December 27, 2007, 8:32pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Rescue Remedy is very inexpensive when you don't overuse it.  The bottle you buy is the stock bottle, so you could put 3 or 5 drops into a clean 2 oz dropper bottle, fill it with chemical-free water and keep in the fridge.  That is what you use; just a squeeze under the tongue, every few minutes until you (or an animal) calm down.  It can be squeezed into a water bottle also.



Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are.
Let me not pass you by in quest
of some rare and perfect tomorrow.
~Mary Jean Irion
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Peppermint Twist
Thursday, December 27, 2007, 8:36pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Kyosha Nim
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Quoted from Gumby
I totally get what you meant, PT.  I don't have any helpful things to add though, but your initial post was very clear to me.

Thank goodness you said that!     I was starting to wonder, am I going crazy here?
Quoted from Gumby
For me, once the incident was over (ie the accident victims carted away by medical pros, the bearer of shocking news gone, etc) it would be really important for me to be quiet and alone or with a very trusted soul and allow whatever was bubbling to be released.  To close my eyes and breathe.  Focus on my breath and just allow things to flow.  I have to say that food would be about the last thing on my mind for quite a while...I tend to NOT eat when I am so stressed that I feel ill.

Me, too.  That could contribute to the problem, though, if the situation went on for any length of time, as you must take care of yourself to be any use to others.  In my case, the situation was actually pretty quick, but it was so traumatic that it is impossible for me to "switch gears" and just return to normal.  I think exercise is a huge key, as that is pretty much the only thing that will definitely speed/usher the stress hormones out.  They are there for a functional reason, or what would have been functional back when we were all hunter-gatherers:  they brace you and bolster you to cope with a huge stress.  But in our modern society, we usually don't have to run from bears, so we don't "work off" the hormones in response to the situation, they just sit there, wrecking havoc.  I'm with you, you don't want to eat at a time like that, so probably you should honor that instinct, but then again, if it goes on for anything other than a very short time, you HAVE to eat and it should be deeply nourishing, like beneficial soup or fish chowder something.
Quoted Text
In the aftermath, when I did get hungry, I would honestly be reluctant to eat anything that was not really good for me because I know I am particularly prone to....let's just say GI issues as it covers the gamut...when I am feeling stress.

Ah, indeed.  Gotcha.  Well, that then helps to keep you compliant, luckily!  I'm challenged because when I finally would want to eat, it would be something REALLY bad for me at a time like that, if it was what was around...but then again, if I had good stuff around, I hope I would go for it instead, knowing what I know about the importance of the choice.  In my case, the next day was Christmas and I was surrounded by BAAAAD stuff.  The thing is to choose well initially because if you get off track even "momentarily", that can turn into simply being off track.  And it is hard if you find yourself in a hospital waiting room for hours or whatever.  It is like everything in a crisis situation conspires to throw you off your diet and off of taking good care of yourself, just when you most need to!
Quoted Text
Once the whole thing was over and done with, and if it was not an ongoing issue (ie grief etc) I might have to be more cautious about food choices...like you say, focus on beneficials etc.  But I have lots of 'treat' and 'comfort' type foods that are beneficial so I'm usually ok.

That's what was weird about this (among other things), my brain and body were all prepared for grief and launching into grief and then, just like that:  no, it was a horrible, awful mistake.  Well, I can't switch gears just like that.  I think I stripped my psychic and physiological gears!  I need a new transmission.


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Don
Thursday, December 27, 2007, 8:37pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Quoted from Peppermint Twist
It's just, again, for me, I doubt the whole theory of homeopathy in the aspect of drastically diluted "essences" of things.  But so many, many people swear by those flower remedies, I will say that.

Understand that it is the energy signature, which water has the ability to store, of the homeopathic remedies that provide the healing effect, not the molecules of any substance.

Also you might want to look at the study of hormesis.



FIFHI; ISTP;
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Peppermint Twist
Thursday, December 27, 2007, 8:46pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Quoted from Don

Understand that it is the energy signature, which water has the ability to store, of the homeopathic remedies that provide the healing effect, not the molecules of any substance.

Good point.  I will consider it and try to keep an open mind in further studying homeopathy.  There are other principles of homeopathy (like "the law of similars") that I readily grok and that ring true to me.  It's just this one I have trouble with.  For example, wouldn't the "energy signature", the unique individual energy, put out by the bottle the water is in affect the water as much as the substance we want?  And what about the energy of the alcohol?  But I do get what you are saying and I will stay open to studying it further before dismissing the concept totally.  Again, it is impressive to me just how many people swear by Rescue Remedy and other flower essences, including many people I greatly respect, such as our own Brighid45.



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Amazone I.
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thatswhy I told ya about that aminoacid ...hmmmm the very first thought was also about Rhodiola but then.....perhaps some lecker brahmi would do the trick as well
I guess here the real problem might be catecholamines ...not anything else ----laaaaa.....  and pr-menopausal issues .... omG...of course it was meant: pr-menopausal.....sorry, sorry Peppy ...


MIfHI K-174

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Whimsical
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Age: 34
Rescue Remedy is fantastic, don't knock it 'til you try it!  

Catechol is also great - contains rhodiola, but also other ingredients specifically to help with O type stress, which is adrenaline based (more so than cortisol).  If I remember correctly from LR4YT (which, BTW, is a great forum to put this in, I think), Os produce lots of catecholamines (epinephrine and norepinephrine), but then have trouble clearing them out.  This is what Catechol is made for.  I have found it effective and it isn't expensive.

Other than those things, meditation can help mentally/emotionally and help to stick to your other suggestions (diet, sleep, etc).  Meditation practice has helped me learn to detach from the stressful situation and quiet the mind when necessary.  


MIFHI E-185
Naturopathic Doctor in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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Lloyd
Thursday, December 27, 2007, 9:52pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

GT1 (Hunter)
Sa Bon Nim
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Quoted from Peppermint Twist

I chose to word my posts as I thought clearest and best.  As far as the forum I chose to place it into after very careful and thoughtful consideration, I felt that it fit best into LR4YT because it is about advanced nutritional/diet and exercise concepts, ideas and applications of the BTD. As is the case with many topics, it could conceivably have fit into more than one forum (in this case, LR4YT or Fit Right, and even conceivably Sky Saw or Another Green World), so I chose the one I felt was made the most sense.  I thought it was a very fresh, interesting topic for LR4YT.  If others think so as well, I welcome their participation in the thread.


I never implied that you did not use consideration in placing the thread, nor that it belonged in one place rather than another. However, participation in the thread will be better if those that read the original post can garner a sense of what you are looking for. To that end, I still wonder why you did not put the statement of yours that I quoted in a prior post at the beginning of your original post (via edit) whereby a number of additional participants could be attracted. The choice is entirely yours, the suggestion is one that I think you might consider more strongly.
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Whimsical
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HUNTER Naturopathic Doctor in Toronto
Kyosha Nim
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Quoted from Peppermint Twist

I'm not sure what is unclear to you.  As I stated pointedly and clearly (or so I thought *lol*!) in my post, I'm trying to generate a thread in which people suggest and discuss specific foods, exercise, supplements and other coping strategies for mitigating the impact on diet compliance of the powerful stress hormones that one's brain releases into one's system at the onset of a traumatic event, since if they are left unchecked/unmitigated, those hormones will wreck havoc with staying compliant on your diet.


And that's what I read in the first post too.  Right there where you said:
Quoted from Peppermint Twist
Are there specific foods, exercises or other coping strategies that you guys can suggest...
  

Your clarification was more specific to flushing adrenaline and cortisol out of the system, but I thought your original thought was to have a discussion about dealing with sudden stress with the goal of maintaining some equilibrium (in diet especially) in the face of craziness.  Interesting topic.  No worries, I think people can follow the evolving thread.


MIFHI E-185
Naturopathic Doctor in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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BTD Forums    Diet and Nutrition    Live Right 4 Your Type  ›  Psychic shock/trauma, cortisol/adrenaline, & diet

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