The All-Day Energy Diet by Yuri Elkaim

All-day-energy-dietThe All-Day Energy Diet

by Yuri Elkaim

Yuri Elkaim discusses many principles to achieving optimal health and energy in his upcoming book The All-Day Energy Diet
Adrenal Depleters

Whether you’re worrying about paying your bills, consistently engaging in insanely intense workouts, drinking coffee or energy drinks, or throwing back a few sugary treats every day, you’re “stressing” your adrenals. Because of that, they respond the same way they did 10,000 years ago when our ancestors were hunting that bison. One of the challenges today is that while the human body evolves linearly, technology increases exponentially (according to Moore’s law). Thus, we have the same biology we did hundreds of thousands of years ago, which isn’t necessarily best suited for handling the increasingly rapid, nonstop stresses of the modern world.
So, collectively, here’s how the aforementioned stressors negatively affect your adrenals (and by default drain your energy over time):

  • Excessive stimulation and stress cause your adrenals to release adrenaline and cortisol—two catabolic hormones, which break down your energy reserves for immediate use. Remember, your body thinks it’s in a state where it needs to fight or flee—so it needs that readily available energy. Cortisol, when chronically elevated in your bloodstream, is a detrimental hormone, leading to quick glycogen (stored carbohydrates) depletion, a rise in blood sugar, and eventually weight gain (especially abdominal weight gain). And even when it’s less present (adrenal fatigue), epinephrine picks up the slack, yielding the same problems.
  • Adrenaline (epinephrine) has similar energy-depleting effects. Initially, however, it gives you that feeling often described as a “natural high” or “caffeine rush,” because it temporarily increases your heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure, and carbohydrate breakdown into blood sugar. Within a few minutes you feel alive and ready to take on the world. But that quick surge in energy is soon followed by a debilitating crash in which your body does its best to recover from the stressful situation, whether it’s your morning coffee or a near fender bender on your way to work. Can you remember the last time you felt that crash? It probably wasn’t too long ago.
  • With respect to hormones, balance is key. We don’t want excessively elevated levels (that is, acute stress), nor do we want excessively low levels (chronic stress, leading to adrenal fatigue).
  • If you ever feel exhausted after an argument, a bout of physical exercise, a stressful day at work, or a few hours after your morning coffee, then you can be sure that your adrenals are crying out for help. Everything you feel is a message from your body. In this case, your adrenals are asking for some sorely needed rest and relaxation. They don’t want more stimulation, and they certainly don’t want to keep up with your intense workout regimen. They simply can’t.

How to Test Your Adrenals

The gold standard for testing the health of your adrenals is the adrenal salivary hormone test. This test requires four saliva samples to be taken at specific times throughout the day (upon waking, lunch, midafternoon, and before bed) to evaluate your total cortisol level, cortisol (or circadian) rhythm, and DHEA (a precursor to most sex hormones). This is because normal cortisol rhythm during the day features high cortisol upon waking and lowering levels through the rest of the day until bed. Basically, cortisol rises and falls with the sun and is inversely related to the sleep-inducing neurotransmitter melatonin (which does the opposite).

You can get this test done for about $200 at a naturopathic clinic near you or even online through Metametrix Clinical Laboratory ( and Diagnos-Techs (

Aside from lab testing, there are two very simple adrenal tests you can do at no cost right in the comfort of your own home. These will give you a good indication of whether or not your adrenals are working properly.

The first test is called the pupillary light reflex test. Here’s how to do it:
Stand in front of a mirror in a dark room.
Take a flashlight and shine the light into one eye at a 45-degree angle from the side.
Watch your pupil for 30 seconds.

When in the dark, your pupil should naturally dilate to allow more light to enter. When you shine the light, it should instinctively contract. The duration of the contraction can give you an indication of adrenal function.


Here’s what your findings could represent:

  • Pupil Constriction
  • Possible Meaning
  • Stays constricted for more than 20 seconds
  • Healthy adrenal function
  • Pulses after ten seconds
  • Decent adrenal function
  • Pulses after five seconds
  • Poor adrenal function
  • Immediate pulsation and dilation
  • Adrenal exhaustion

If negative responses are observed, additional testing is warranted, and I recommend you perform the orthostatic hypotension test. This test does require a blood-pressure cuff, which might not be accessible to you. Nonetheless, I’ll share a shortcut with you at the end. Here’s how to do it:

Lie down and relax for five minutes, then record your blood pressure. Make note of the systolic pressure (the top number).
Stand up and take your blood pressure again.

If your systolic pressure remains the same or if it decreases, that usually implies that your adrenals aren’t functioning properly. When you stand, epinephrine should be secreted to increase your blood pressure. This helps prevent gravity from pulling blood away from your brain. If your blood pressure drops upon standing, this indicates that epinephrine isn’t present to do its job, and that’s because your adrenal glands are too tired to work properly. Make sense?

Now for that shortcut I promised you, as you probably don’t have a blood-pressure cuff at home. (Don’t worry; I don’t either.) The easiest way to perform this test is to simply go from lying down to standing and notice how you feel. Do you feel light-headed or dizzy? Maybe even like blacking out? If so, these are indicators that your blood pressure has dropped.

Yuri Elkaim is a registered holistic nutritionist and renowned fitness expert. For more than 13 years, his honest and inspiring messages have helped more than 500,000 people worldwide enjoy more energy, lose weight, get in great shape, eat healthier, and have a much better understanding of their health. A former pro soccer player who later acted as the strength and conditioning and nutrition coach for seven seasons at the University of Toronto, Yuri is now on a mission to transform the lives of more than 10 million people by 2018 and would love for you to be one of them. Learn more about his upcoming book at

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