What Are Adaptogens? | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
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What Are Adaptogens? 

One potential path to feeling blissed out

Adaptogens are easy to add to your diet. Put them in smoothies, soups, stews, coffee, milk and even pancakes. - LISA SIPE
  • Lisa Sipe
  • Adaptogens are easy to add to your diet. Put them in smoothies, soups, stews, coffee, milk and even pancakes.

Plants don't have the ability to move. If their environment or conditions are bad, they either adapt or die. The European Medicines Agency says, "adaptogenic substances are stated to have the capacity to normalize body functions and strengthen systems compromised by stress. They are reported to have a protective effect on health against a wide variety of environmental assaults and emotional conditions."

What does that have to do with you? The makeup of the herbs and plants that allow them to adapt to the stressors in their environment can help us in ours, too.

I'd heard of adaptogens from Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow's lifestyle brand, known to promote overpriced products that may not be scientifically valid. To be fair though, Goop promoted avocado toast—and I can wholeheartedly support that—but I was immediately wary of adaptogens. They sounded like a nutritional buzzword created to sell products to rich women who do yoga and follow a raw, vegan diet.

  • Lisa Sipe

Blissful Smoothie

  • Almond Milk
  • Coconut Yogurt
  • Peaches
  • Bananas
  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • 1 tsp Moon Juice Spirit Dust
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Quick Oats
  • Coconut Flakes
  • Peanut Butter
  • Moon Juice Spirit Dust

According to the EMA, "The general purpose of adaptogens is the reduction of stress reactions in the alarm phase, thereby avoiding the exhaustion stage and providing a certain protection against stress. In addition to their various properties, adaptogens are thought to rebuild strength of the body after stress or fatigue." A few culinary plants and herbs considered adaptogens are maca root, reishi and chago mushrooms, Asian ginseng, the perennial flower rhodiola and licorice root.

You can find reishi and chaga at Whole Foods and Natural Grocers, but one of the brands at the forefront of adaptogens is Moon Juice, touted as having the ability to optimize your beauty, brain, sex, power, spirit and dreams. I was intrigued. The only place in Central Oregon that sells Moon Juice is Wren & Wild, the clean beauty bar and aerial yoga studio.

Owner Mandy Butera hooked me up. Butera was attracted to adaptogens because she was interested in "wellness from the inside out." When she turned 50 some of her family medical history came into play. Her dad died at that age and high blood pressure ran in her family. When Butera's blood pressure went up, she started taking medication, but said, "the medication gave me pain." She decided to make a lifestyle change, eating healthier, getting more exercise and adding adaptogens to her diet. Those changes allowed her to get off of her medication. Butera says, "I'm not advocating that people should just go off their medication but I encourage them to look into their own health and find options that help facilitate their own well-being. I took responsibility for my health and if I can, I try to help others."

  • Lisa Sipe

Sweet & Salty Wild Balls

  • Dark Chocolate
  • Quick Oats
  • Coconut Flakes
  • Peanut Butter
  • Moon Juice Spirit Dust
Chocolate Covered Blissful Strawberries

Melt dark chocolate and stir in any variety of Moon Juice. Dip strawberries in chocolate and allow them to cool.

Adding adaptogens to your diet is pretty easy. Butera adds powdered Moon Juice to smoothies, soups, stews, coffee, milk and even pancakes. She made me a peach, banana, strawberry and spinach smoothie with Moon Juice Spirit Dust, an adaptogenic blend geared toward relaxation. The smoothie was liquid sweet sunshine in a glass. I had no idea it was laced with anything mood-enhancing. Butera also made me a healthy dessert of chocolate covered strawberries and a smart snack she called sweet and salty wild balls. Both treats were yummy and included adaptogens. She called what I was eating functional foods, meaning they have potentially positive effects beyond basic nutrition. Still, I wanted to cry when she told me milk chocolate was not a functional food.

Before I met Butera my mind was racing about the interview and how I was going to wrap up my work so I could go camping. By the end of our meeting I was feeling really chill. It reminded me of the calm of a CBD oil, without the drowsiness.

I decided to test whether this was a one-time experience—maybe one influenced by Butera telling me how good I was going to feel. For the next two weeks I'm adding a teaspoon of Moon Juice Power Dust to my diet to see if I feel more energized and less stressed. I'll report back in the Little Bites section to share the results of my experiment.

Wren & Wild
910 NW Harriman St., Bend

About The Author

Lisa Sipe

Food Writer | The Source Weekly
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