So, here are the confessions of a nutritional therapist… I drank too much, smoked like a chimney and didn’t eat a vegetable until I was 27.
Was I struck down with the plague for not taking more care of the only body I had to live in? Yes, I believe I was… it was called ‘Early Menopause’. I had a full hysterectomy age 39, and if I’d known then what I know now I definitely would have made some very different choices.
For seven years prior to the hysterectomy physically, mentally and emotionally I’d been a complete wreck. Fatigue, mood swings, anxiety, panic attacks, heavy bleeding at any time, anywhere, severe abdominal pains, no libido… and the list could go on.
I was scared! Scared enough to embark upon an amazing journey to learn about how to heal body and mind and immerse myself in the intricacies of food and hormones.
I really believe that by applying some simple principals for nutrition and lifestyle you could transition more effortlessly through these years, keeping you in control of both your weight and health.
Not doing so at this time leads to a greater potential of chronic disease in the post-menopause years, such as obesity, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis, heart disease, Alzheimers and diabetes.
Here are my top four tips:
Hydration: As a general statement, everyone should be drinking two litres of water per day. Please remember to drink from non-BPA containers as the plastic bottles you often buy water in may contain xenoestrogens to further disrupt your dancing hormones.
Other hydrating drinks include herb teas, juices and smoothies; dehydrating liquids are tea, coffee, alcohol, (sorry girls!) so reducing these would help.
If you need further encouragement to drink more water, being hydrated helps balance the stress hormone cortisol; think brain fog when this hormone is high. Lower cortisol levels support progesterone helping you sleep and feel less anxious. It also encourages weight loss so a triple bonus.
Simply drink more water for many more fabulous benefits.
Fats: Here I’m talking about Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fats which you may well have heard of? These are referred to as ‘essential fatty acids’ as our body can’t manufacture them itself.
Why else are they so essential? Well they’re needed to maintain the integrity of every one of your 75 trillion cell membranes. With healthy cell membranes comes the ability for nutrients to pass over the cell wall effortlessly to do their job and also remove toxic by-products efficiently. Think energy boost here.
Essentials fats are also the good fats that nurture the myelin sheaths in the central nervous system, Your brain is 80% water and 20% good fats. Increase both of these and watch that brain fog lift while you retain the responses of a cat.
Most importantly these fats are the raw ingredients required to create hormone harmony.
They’re found in oily fish, e.g. salmon, fresh mackerel, trout and tuna, as well as avocados, nuts and seeds. They’re also available in supplement form in flax, hemp, fish and krill oil.
Diet: When you’re hydrated and have a happy cell membrane, ensure you have a clean diet, mostly from the produce nature provides and without too much animal protein. Then you’re nutritionally on your way to managing and nurturing your hormones throughout these chaotic years.
Lifestyle: Firstly, I would encourage you to do anything and everything you can to reduce your stress. Learn how to breathe properly, chill out, find time to put yourself first without feeling guilty and schedule exercise into your diary. Exercise doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive. Walking briskly in the fresh air for three half-hour sessions a week supports healthy bones and happy hormones. It also makes you feel good about yourself too!
Finally, please do take time to listen to your body; it’s really smart. If your body is unhappy, or unbalanced, it will let you know by presenting physical or emotional symptoms, begging you to take heed and take action.
The good news is that by making the above the foundation stones in my life I’ve managed to emerge beyond menopause in one piece… and feeling Absolutely Fabulous darling!