Foods and Herbs to Avoid for Adrenal Support : The Renegade Health Show Episode #619

Friday Jul 23 | BY |
| Comments (46)

Lots of questions to go over today…

In this episode, I answer questions about foods and herbs for adrenal support as well as what to avoid. I also answer questions on body fat measurements, coca leaves and addiction, why we had a raw chocolate recipe on the show and more.

Take a look…

Your question of the day: What do you eat more than you should? What do you think about my thoughts on cacao?

Click here, scroll down to the bottom of the page and leave your comments now!

Be sure to join the new Renegade Health Community here:

Live Awesome!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Sheryl says:

    I personally believe that any stimulant is not good for the body or mind. Especially Cocao. It has been proven by many it is a drug and not a health food. I personally think it should be remove from this movement so people don’t think we are just a bunch of drugies.

  2. Muriel says:

    I eat raw cacao every day, l tablespoon of cacao nibs. I grind the nibs with almonds or brazil nuts in my coffee grinder. I then add this to my hot oatmeal in the morning and just absolutely love it. I guess i am possible addicted to cacao, i would like to know what others are experiencing with raw cacao. I know that Kevin does not recommend it at all. Other health advocates swear it is a superfood. What is the truth and should i stop my daily dose which is so much enjoy.??

  3. Diana says:

    I consume way too much honey. I put it in my green tea as a “booster” to start my day and as a result I rarely eat breakfast. I normally drink three green teas a day with lots of honey.. My family, for generations, have been honey farmers and I fear it has to be in my genetics to love the golden goodness.

    When I first went vegan I was a raw vegan for 6 months and cut out honey for A YEAR. I then decided I loved it and simply couldn’t resist anymore. Can too much honey have a negative effect on the body and what are these effects?

  4. Kurt says:

    Sometimes I probably eat too many nuts and seeds. Perhaps I need to, since I’m probably a Vata type, or whatever that means. Gabriel Cousens spoke about that in a more recent video, but was still vague about metabolic typing. Do protein types need to eat more nuts and seeds and cut down on fruits and greens or what? I want to know once and for all.

  5. Patty says:

    I consume a tablespoon of cacao every morning in my smoothie (for the past year) I like the taste and don’t consider this a drug. I believe some things affect people differently.
    So far – no problem.

  6. Jolie says:

    Kevin you said you might have chocolate rather than cacao. Is there a preference regarding how the chocolate is processed?

  7. Kristine says:

    In my raw journey chocolate/cacao has been my regular ‘treat’. I agree with your reminder, NOT to do it too much. Yikes, it will be hard at first 🙂

  8. The most important thing to keep in mind here about cacao is TIMING and DOSAGE! It should not be used as a staple food item; it is a condiment which can be beneficial to health, just as fermented foods are beneficial condiments. There is much research to back up the fact that chocolate, like wine, prevents cardiovascular disease and strokes. Here is one such study: I eat a small amount of cacao once or twice a month, and I notice a heightened mood and boost of energy when I eat it. Of course, I always advise my patients to avoid any food that causes headaches, tiredness, insomnia, or other ill effects. Also just as with wine, no one should be consuming an entire meal of cacao, nor should they be eating it in the middle of the night! Practice moderation and don’t eat at night, and if a tablespoon of cacao a day helps you to feel happy and healthy (and if your routine labwork all looks good and in optimal range), then keep doing what you’re doing!

  9. My biggest problem food is sugar, Sugar, SUGAR!!! I have gone off it cold turkey (for 3 weeks now) and so far I am sticking to my guns. The addiction seemed to be broken at the outset, because I started out with a one week water fast, whick cleared a lot of things.

    I like chocolate – I used to think that I was addicted to it, but when I switched to unsweetened chocolate or raw cacao, I didn’t like it so much – and the druglike effects were more evident to me. Things like agitation, euphoria, and insomnia. I was uncomfortable with that and quit using it easily. It was the sugar that I really wanted and the sugar habit was HARD to break. Now, I am not using either – except in a few fruits, but I mostly stick to non sweet fruit like lemons, limes, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc.

    Since I have type 2 diabetes, I am hoping that this change will help relieve the disease.

  10. Melina says:

    In the past I experimented with having raw cacao more regularly (about 1-2 times a week). I, too, did not do so well with it. I got jittery and anxious… I don’t have it any more. It was helpful to hear your experience with it when you shared it in the past. Keep up the good work!

  11. Bob says:

    Kevin, you are right on with your thoughts on cacao. Marketing hype exists in the health food world as much as in the junk food world. Raw cacao appears to be be a good thing until one looks at the whole picture. Even though cacao has some good minerals and antioxidants, the negative aspects far outweigh the positive. Cacao will cause the capillaries in the kidneys to constrict or shrink, which will hinder the flushing of toxins, which will cause the kidneys to swell.

  12. Micele says:

    Where can we find this Dr. Williams, to inguire about vaccines before a trip? I must have missed the show that had his info!Thanks!

  13. Ineke says:

    At the moment I may be eating a bit more bread then I should. It is wholesome though from the health food store (sourdough spelt bread). There are times I can totally let go of it but I grew up with the smell of freshly baked bread almost every day and that is a hard one to let go off. As long as I make sure that I get the nutrition and fiber from other sources(IE leafy greens etc.) I don’t see a reason not to eat it. On our vacation we passed a couple of days in Durango and yes we went to the Turtle creek refuge. My husband did some wild foraging with them one evening and guess where my daughter and I went….to Jean Pierre’s French bakery on Main Street in Durango. Best baker in the area!! I definitely got my croissant fix for at least 6 months. Since the summer is here I also eat a bit more Italian gelato than I should but that will pass once the summer is gone and then I won’t touch it until next year. Since living in Colorado I do miss Europe more than I used to so this is probably the reason why I gravitate from time to time to “old world” foods

  14. Ineke says:

    Forgot to mention BTW hat even the people from Turtle Creek LOVE Jean Pierre’s bakery!!

  15. Thomas says:

    For a lot of good info on adrenal glands and their care, see:

    I think there are different “strengths” of organic raw cacao. I had a pound of one kind (Michele’s of Canada) that I added to smoothies one tablespoon at a time. I was fine with that. When I could no longer find that brand, I bought some Navitas cacao. I couldn’t handle the “speed” effect. I don’t see how you could have eaten 4 or 5 tablespoons at one time Kevin … you must have been flying!

  16. P.S. I tried to join your community forum, but I cannot.

    If I try to sign up, I get a message saying that my email address is taken (probably because I am logged in here).

    If I try to log in using my facebook account, it takes me in dreadful circles – I click on the log in button and the facebook log in comes up again. So I do the facebook log in again and when I click on the log in button, the facebook log in comes up again – over and over and over.

    If I try to log directly into this site, I get a message that I am not a member and so I have to create an account.

    When I try to create an account I get a message saying that my email address is already taken (probably because I am logged in here).

    The site is asking me to create a new account using another email that is not already taken. The problem is that the email I am entering is mine, and is the one I am already registered with. If I try to log in I get a message saying that I am not a member and that I need to create an account. If I try to create an account, I get a message saying that there is already an account associated with my email address and that I need to use a different email address (I don’t have another one). If I try to log in using Facebook, it takes me in circles that lead nowhere. And on and on and on and on and…..

    Anyway, you can see the downward spiral. Please help me! ARRGH! 😉

  17. Caleb says:

    Glad I found this post. I’ve been starting to think I have adrenal issues. I will have to go check out the previous post on adrenal support now.

    I used to drink raw chocolate cacao smoothies a few times a week, but since learning about some of the negative effects I have cut it back to once or twice a week. I can’t really saw that I have noticed a difference though. But I do believe moderation of anything is key. I have even recently cut back my intake of fruits that are high in sugar.

    I do notice the stimulating effects of cacao, but strangely I never really noticed them until I found out it was a stimulant. I don’t belive there is a magic number either about how often you should or shouldn’t have it. Just listen to your body, it will tell you.

    The only problem with that is you sometimes don’t know for sure what food may be causing you problems.

  18. Anne says:

    I have raw cacao nibs maybe 2-3 times per week (one TBS) in my morning breakfast before going for a run. I kind of think it’s better than Carob but waiting for more info on that.

    Having back on the sweeter fruits I used to eat (like Bananas) I find myself eating a lot of sour foods (berries, as well as the apple cider vinegar and lemon juice I use often in my salads). I’m wondering if this is not too much sour for me in light of the ayurvedic principles. Did an online test recently and came up as Pitta (7), Kapha (3) Vata (2). So mostly. I need to do more reading on this I guess.

  19. Henrik says:

    I rarely eat cacao or chocolate, simply because I feel very ill if I overdo it.
    I’m not sure what I think of it though. My gut feeling says that its not something to eat on a regular basis, and its nutritional properties have certainly been over hyped.
    But I won’t say that it’s “bad” just because I personally have bad reactions to it.

  20. Henrik says:

    Ineke: Bread is one of the most addictive foods out there. I understand very well how hard it is to give up.
    But when you have been off it for a few months and then eat it again you will realize how “bad” it really is. For me, that was enough to never want to eat it again.
    And after reading up on what gluten does to the intestines.. well.. I simply don’t want to do that to myself.

  21. Louise says:

    Like you Kevin I experienced the same thing with cacao but what took you one year to discover took me one month. Too much cacao shut down my kidneys and when that happens you know all your other organs are going crazy…..
    My adrenals were probably worse than yours…. so I take chocolate, the odd coffee in increments…….once in awhile.

    Would love to learn more about Dr. Williams too. I have been to Africa and did not take any vaccines……..and would never take anything of that nature……their are other alternatives.


  22. Sophia says:

    Thanks Thomas about the good info about the adrenal glands!

  23. Lorien says:

    I eat a small amout of cacao daily, 1/2 T. in my lemon drink each morning & a T. of nibs that I soak overnight in chia seeds and goji berries. I’ve been doing this for about 9 months now with no problems. I am aware of the raging debate over cacao and feel each person needs to learn to listen to their own body and respond accordingly.

    When it comes to “Superfoods”, I take a few in small amounts everyday. I eat very simply. No fancy raw food dishes, just my super lemon drink in the mornings with my chia/fruit blend, a few salads with some seeds in one and a few nuts in one three x a week & a few pieces of fruit. I also take a few whole food suppliments. I feel good and I’ve lost 80 lbs sense the first of the year. I plan on spending a week at Tree of life within the next six months and will have my blood work done then so I’m know where I’m at.

    I have not given up coffee. I adore it. I have let it go for months on end at times but I just love everything about it. I expect I’ll still be having my morning cup when I’m 1092. Time will tell, I once thought I’d never give up smoking or eat sprouts……

  24. FeralKevin says:

    I think many people benefit from regular cacao use. Many do not.

  25. Celena says:

    I totally agree with you Kevin. Cacao is a once in a while treat. I myself have a really hard time with cacao. I get a headache, and very jittery and speedy almost instantly. Especially the pure, raw form. I agree its a powerful, highly nutritious superfood, however, it is also a very concentrated food. Not a very natural way to be ingesting whole food.
    Thanks for confirming what my body was already trying to tell me.

  26. Mia says:

    This is some good information. Nice video.

  27. paul says:

    I love cacao. It makes me feel good and tastes great when I mix it with coconut oil, raw honey and raw almond butter. I have some almost every day and usually its about 1 or 2
    tsp. Its a very powerful antioxidant.

    I’m very sensitive to stimulants. 2 fingers of coffee and I’m flying all day. That’s not the case with cacao, though. Maybe because I don’t eat large amounts of it.

    Hey Kev, isn’t David Wolfe still touting its benefits? I think he’s been eating it almost every day for years. I’m curious about your thoughts on that.

    Thanks guys!

  28. Michael says:

    Right now I have a tummy ache after a cacao yumpot. Other times I feel fine. I love green smoothies and salad more than anything, but that’s not all I want to eat. I agree wholeheartedly that we need to tread more lightly and less perfectly in our raw food world. The poster that mentions a movement that cacao must be banished from shows the kind of attitude that is quite extreme. Sometimes I purposely take in something cooked when I feel that I’m being too rigid in my ways. It frees me up to be the raw foodie I want to be, more enjoyably. Victoria Boutenko has a good post describing why she never says she’s 100% raw, even if she is, that could also apply to saying you’re not 100% cacao free, etc.

  29. Taylor says:

    I eat too many berries! Especially during these seasons! I fear that I may inadvertently become more of a fruitarian than vegetarian! =O

  30. Rae says:

    Last night I was watching videos with David Wolfe, Nick Good, and David Wilcock that were made at Wolfe’s farm in Kauaii called Noniland. Wolfe is growing his own cacao trees there and says that cacao is the richest source of magnesium and is wonderful for counteracting excess calcification. I don’t know what to think, but David Wolfe does seem to be in excellent health, and of course he is a brilliant and thorough researcher. Also, even though Victoria Boutenko disapproves of chocolate, her kids’ latest book, Fresh, contains recipes that use cacao. Maybe it’s both very beneficial and harmful at the same time, or maybe it’s more a matter of any one person’s biochemistry.

  31. Nick says:

    A-bout, say, chocolate use, I end up eating a little chocolate, or more than a little, almost every day, and I feel fine. I doubt with little help from the chocolate I know myself to have, at times, or many times, way overeaten, ab-used. Health is a funny thing. Once overt illness is out of the way…uh, I guess there’s still our individual, maybe constitutional vulnerabilities, or just looongstanding old issues which become our physical or physiological “weaknesses”. But we get used to, inured to, these states, as a baseline against which we measure our pain. For some reason I keep loosely quoting Beatles lyrics–only right here tho. Eh, if we only knew how healthy we can be, that maybe the sky is the limit, i, for one, certainly don’t know. If we considered that atop of basic health is a near, or relatively limitless potentialities thru self-cultivation–well hey, we out in the wild (commercialism despoiled) west here might just develop actual culture. Hmmm, huh?

  32. john says:

    The Medical Cartel is run by the death people and they LOVE it ,hey Kevin. I am inclined to to agree with you on Cacao. I tend to have more carbohydrates and need to take less .

  33. Joann says:

    I’ve read a lot of info on Cacao. I was never a chocolate addict; always preferred Carob (still do). I use a very small amount of cacao – lika a tablespoon in a smoothie. Or a small amount in a raw cookie/candy. Those who have a problem limiting the amount they eat seem to get the most stimulating effects.

  34. Cindy says:

    Chocolate tastes so good & while it may have slight benefits, I don’t think it’s good every day. It’s a weakness & addiction for me. If I manage to stop eating it, I can go weeks or months without having it. But then I’ll decide to have one little piece & think I’ll be able to stop again right away, but it just kicks off another binge that truly takes strong willpower to get off again. Although, maybe it’s the sugar I have the problem with.

    Two things I read about chocolate are that the tannins it contains prevent absorption of minerals, & it uses more minerals to digest itself than it provides. This could be why a lot of people don’t feel good when eating it, especially if they’re already mineral deficient. Maybe people like David Wolfe, who are highly mineralized, can get by eating it every day. Someone else said they were curious about your thoughts on that, & so am I.

  35. Lilith says:

    I have so many thougths on cacao, that I would LOVE to hear your opinion about, Kevin, since you are always so well read and thorough! 🙂
    I have learned that the aztec’s in fact roasted their cacao. Since they are the original users, one might wonder: WHY did they roast it? Could it be they found that the raw cacao is more toxic than the roasted one?
    I have even read that the women only eat the cacao fruit MEAT, not the beans! The (roasted) beans was only for the men – and then ONLY in cermony!! NOT an everyday treat!

    I should not eat cacao, since I have already weak adrenals, and lots of problems with adrenals/thyroid/burnout etc. and I sense the cacao is not at all god for me. I normally stay away from it, but now, because of a lot of external stress, I have reverted back to cacao again… just to get by. :-/
    I try to limit it, though…

    Since I went raw I have only eaten “raw” cacao, so I can’t really compare if the effect would be the same on roasted cacao?
    Maybe it would be better for me, concidering the circumstances, to eat roasted cacao instead of the raw?

    Also, about the claimed blessings of cacao: Since I am so raw and eat so much greens and big jar of green juice every day, I don’t think the extra antioxidants from the RAW cacao really would be that essential for someone like me. What do you think? All this rave about the antioxidants and minerals of raw cacao don’t should not really matter for someone being totally green and raw?

    Additionally: In a reacent interview with David Wolfe he actually stated that cacao is a STIMULANT and a RECRATIONAL DRUG!!! 🙂

    Would really love to hear your thoughts on the subject! 🙂

  36. Gen says:

    I LOVE fruit and berries and probably eat way too much of it but it is soooo good at this time of year. Actually I think it gives me a good cleansing, kind of a summer detox. Seems to work because blood pressure lowers and I feel better all over than in the long winter months here in the north.

  37. Rhonda says:

    I adore a good, organic dark chocolate piece and a cacao smoothie. Though I can physically feel the stimulant kick it provides me. I have found I cannot have them in the evenings as my mind just won’t stop for me to go to sleep. I feel hyped up and it takes hours for me to wind down from it. Why do I still choose to consume it? From my research, cacao does have the magnesium and iron that women crave and therefore it is also an endorphine upper too. So I will allow it in moderation so as I control it from controlling me. I mean that if we adore something and don’t allow ourselves to have it, we will crave it and possibly cause a binge of sorts when we can allow ourselves a taste to satisfy the craving and perhaps the up feeling and or energy from this product. That is my philosophy and it works for me.

  38. Cindy in Marin says:

    Sugar is my addiction and if there is a sweet dessert in the house someone else has brought home it is hard for me to resist after dinner.

    I love raw cacao and have maybe a tablespoon a few times a week mixed with a little fruit. If I do this at least I won’t have the processed dessert. It makes me feel great and not jittery at all the way coffee used to make me feel. But I am taking heed to what happened to you Kevin!

  39. Some places in Africa will not allow you to enter without proof of a yellow fever vaccine e.g Zanzibar.

  40. If I eat cacao I feel like I am speeding. My heart rate is raised significantly, I feel anxious and get insomnia. To me it seems obvious that it is a very strong drug. I can’t see how anyone could even consider this to be a food. But I haven’t taken any for at least 5 years.

    I have also read many reports of it causing body rashes. I would stay well away from it.

  41. jackie says:

    I eat cacao once in awhile, and have never been bothered by it as long as I don’t eat it in the evenings (can’t eat chocolate or coffee then either, since I may not be able to sleep). I think everyone’s different, and it affects some people more than others.

  42. Kuru says:

    Kevin, so many times you have taken us to the edge of your evil raw cacao experience, but you never tell what actually happened. You say watch out for the signs, but what are they? I searched your site, but the end of the story did not come up. Please share! How indulgent were you? I’m finding that Ecuadorian cacao has a smooth effect and does not produce jitters, at least this batch. Thanks!

  43. Kuru says:

    Oh, just wanted to add that I always mix cacao with almond butter and chapotle and nutmeg. Not only is it outrageously delicious, but these things have a synergistic effect, so everything works at its best. I know that makes a difference. (I also add water and some chia gel and stevia or honey and blend it to a divine texture.)

  44. J Leigh says:

    I learned the hard way how stimulating cocao is to the body. I had a handful of the nibbs added to my smoothie and after I drank it, I had the worst nervous feeling and my heart felt like it was going to leap out of my chest. I also didnt get any sleep that night.

  45. Sara R says:

    Hi Kevin-

    So what do I eat more than I should- raw nuts and seeds and sweets…what can I say I have a sweet tooth but I have managed to control it a bit better by not having as much in the house and taking maca on a daily basis.

    As for cacao- I never was a big chocolate lover til I discovered cacao- I personally have adored the benefits of it- it flushes my system, further lifts my spirits,and makes me energized. The negatives- are indeed it can effect my sleep although I sleep no better without eating it and I have caught myself a bit jittery once of twice after eating it. The key is the right source of it- for example I know a few raw brands- that just make me sick consuming them- the ones that are properly sourced and ecuadorian chocolate- one love, righteously raw, and chocolate conspiracy create no negative response in my body.

  46. Isabel says:

    I eat a little bit of chocolate every single day from October through May (the summer months I substitute it with ice cream, because chocolate melts!). I eat it for the sake of the taste (no addiction, no craving, it probably substitutes my emotional void from my past traumas). Since it’s in small portions, I don’t think it’s damaging, especially since the rest of my food intake is healthy. But you’re entitled to your opinion, Kevin.

    Comments are closed for this post.