CHOCOLATE CONTAINS THEOBROMINE, which means “food of the gods.” Dr. McKay feels this name is appropriate, due to the mood-improving and metabolism-enhancing effects of good dark chocolate. She recommends only the darkest of chocolate, 72% or higher, due to the destructive roller-coaster ride induced by too much sugar. Sweet creamy milk chocolate is an entirely different experience than intense dark luxurious Belgian chocolate or even dark-roasted gritty cocoa powder. The most intense chocolate experience is cacao nibs (now available in bulk at Food Front Cooperative Grocery!) – like chewing on a twig and getting a happy energized feeling throughout the body before the rich primal taste of chocolate arrives and then lingers.
The downside to chocolate of any description is that same energized feeling, which is actually a marker for adrenal stimulation. Coffee, black tea, yerba mate, chocolate, guarana, green tea, white tea, over-the-counter decongestants, and many other popular substances all act as adrenal gland stimulants. In light of the fact that we are a nation of adrenal-fatigued people who tend to ask too much of our bodies and typically don’t recover from stress as quickly or as well as we should, doesn’t it make more sense to be kind to our adrenal glands, instead of jolting them with stimulants?
Dr. McKay finds that addressing adrenal gland fatigue (or outright adrenal gland exhaustion) is a rewarding aspect of medical practice. This condition is common, although it is dismissed by mainstream medicine. It responds beautifully to natural approaches, but several modalities must be used at once — there is no silver bullet or single pill.
Dr. McKay’s favorite book on this topic is Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome, by James Wilson, ND, DC, PhD. Having recovered from her own adrenal fatigue twice (once from medical school, once from cancer treatment), Dr. McKay has great insight and empathy on the subject.