October: Menopause Awareness Month
by Marianne Andrews
Did you know that we spend a third of our lives in menopause? That’s a whole lot of life to embrace! And I mean embrace, because there are many joys of getting older; more self acceptance, more self awareness and the freedoms that come from having grown up kids. But for many, peri-menopause and menopause become a time of anxiety, unwelcome emotional fluctuations, weight gain and a lack of temperature control, to name just a few of the symptoms. You can feel out of control and at the limit of your endurance.
But hang fire! Before you reach for the HRT, which is one way of trying to tackle things, just bear in mind that changes to our diet and lifestyle can really be beneficial. They help to control the symptoms of menopause, and they also help you take care and prepare yourself for the next, and possibly, most important third of your life.
As a nutritional therapist I specialise in this area, and so here are some of my tips for helping you to combat the symptoms of menopause:
Take a good look at your what you eat: You know that you used to be able to eat toast when you wanted, pick at the office birthday cake now and again, and dip a biscuit into your coffee. And then, when needed, you’d simply crash diet for a few days and that tyre would magically disappear. To learn that your body is now less sensitive to insulin, which means that it cannot burn off carbs like it used to is, for many, enough to send you crying into the biscuit tin. Make sure that what you are eating contains the right sort of carbs, that is, those that burn off slowly and keep you full up for longer. Ditching the fluffy white stuff, the oh-so-easy pasta and the sugar laden junk stuff is a step in the right direction.
Protein! Nothing keeps you full up like protein. Make sure that you include it at every meal time. I’m not talking deep fried or processed, but quality eggs, chicken, oily fish, lentils, chickpeas, nuts & seeds. Believe me when I say that this is the stuff to fire up your brain at lunch time, and keep you from the biscuit tin all afternoon.
Stop being fat phobic! For years we’ve been told that fat is the enemy, but as a nation that has embraced low fat foods, we’ve done nothing but get fatter. Now is certainly not the time to exclude the right fats from your diet. By the right fats I mean those found in nuts, seeds (especially flaxseeds), avocadoes, eggs and oily fish. We need those fats. They help us to make hormones, protect our joints and our skin, as well as keeping our weight stable.
Think about toxins. We’re exposed to thousands of toxins daily. These range from car fumes to those from cleaning products. We can even include skin care and make up in this list. All of those chemicals that cross the skin barrier then have to be detoxed by your liver. And if your liver is busy detoxing all of these, then it has precious little resources left over for sorting out your old hormones or burning fat. Look out for products that are free of parabens, sodium lauryl/laureth sulphate and urea.
These are just a few of a myriad of things that can help you to feel more like yourself in the next phase of your life. We are all different, and finding what works for you is where I can help you. As a Nutritional Therapist I specialise in helping mid-lifers get themselves back on track. Why not book in for a Free Better Health Chat now and take steps to make sure that this phase is the best time of your life.