I had no negative menopausal symptoms other than an occasional migraine and the women I’ve helped for the past twenty years also fared pretty well, so let me tell you how we did it and you can dip into the suggestions offered hereunder.
Research statistics tell us that women in Japan don’t suffer with hot flushes, and this is put down to the fact they consume up to 17 servings of fruit and veg a day. You might be thinking that’s a difficult task, but I have been doing it easily for many years – through juicing. For example one pound of carrots is equal to one large glass of carrot juice, providing 5 servings with just that one drink. Another glass of beetroot juice equals another 5 servings. Add another glass of tomato, celery, spinach or other veg juice and you’ve made it to 15 servings. Eat a piece of fruit, include veggies with your lunch/dinner and you have cracked your goal. As an alternative to juicing you could make homemade vegetable soups twice a week and not only will your body thank you, you’ll have the bonus of fabulous flawless skin. (Note: If you choose to use ready made cartons of veg juice, add a really good squeeze of fresh lemon to liven up vitamin content).
I am not going to get too technically involved explaining this, but meat is dead when it enters your body. This means it isn’t ‘metabolically active’ in the same way fruits and vegetables are. Some of the phytochemicals contained in fruits and veg are also phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens mimic estrogen in the body, replacing it when your levels are low – which is when your body reacts by bringing you out in a hot flush. Plant estrogens are also found in soy – which may help to reduce menopause symptoms so consider including edamame, tofu and soy milk in your health plan. Think about the above, look at ways to include them every day and your hot flushes will lessen as the weeks roll by.
The vast majority of women put on weight during menopause, which means you have to eat 200 – 300 calories less a day to counteract hormone imbalance weight gain. Combine this change with daily exercise – even if that’s simply walking more. Walk 10,000 steps a day and you’ll burn up 3000 calories a week. Whoa! We’re on our way.
Spicy foods, caffeine and stressful situations. Be aware of what triggers a bad mood or emotional outburst. Were you drinking alcohol, eating ‘sugar’ foods, junk food or smoking? When you feel like punching someone on the nose, remove yourself from the room and do a deep breathing exercise for 3 minutes to stop you having a hissy fit.
VITAMIN SUPPLEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS.
Vitamin D and Calcium are MUSTS to improve mood and hormone function. B Complex is vital to balance mood. Try to get through your menopause without B Complex and your brain’s energy source will deplete and likely result in depression, irritability and anxiety. Also eat foods rich in Vitamin D, Vitamin B and Calcium. If you are not sure what these are, Google for more info.
My favourite menopause supplements are Amberen and Black Kahoosh. Results from some of my clients have been phenomenal. However, please note that if you suffer with hypertension, these supplements are not suitable.
My favourite herb recommendation is Chasteberry (Vitex Agnus Castus)
Grown in warm regions of the Mediterranean, chasteberry helps to correct hormone imbalance by increasing the number of progesterone hormones in the body. Thus it is often used as an herbal supplement for women experiencing the symptoms of progesterone deficiency: loss of libido, mood swings, night sweats and hot flushes.
Dress in layers so you can take a layer (or two) off if you find yourself in a heated, stuffy room. Carry a fan with you wherever you go and sleep with a fan on at night. During menopause your body is like an overheated radiator. Think of ways to keep it cool. Rub ice cubes on your wrists and neck or soak your feet in a bowl of cold water. Make ice-lollies from ready packed pineapple or apricot juice (I found these to be the sweetest) to suck on when your temperature starts to rise.
One of the effects during/after menopause is vaginal dryness so use a lubricant. Don’t feel like having full on sex? That’s your priority but think of ways to keep lovemaking alive during this period.
Another fact associated with the menopause is that our libido drops but this isn’t only relevant to women. Whilst men do not go through a well-defined period known as menopause, doctors refer to their issue as ‘androgen (testosterone) decline in the aging male’. Here is my very favourite herb to treat the problem in both women and men.
If you’ve never heard of ‘Horny Goat Weed’ (gotta laugh at the name) this is a genuine sex enhancer and time tested aphrodisiac that increases libido in men and women and improves erectile function in men. Known also as Epimedium or Yin Yang Huo, horny goat weed leaves were purportedly the food of the yin yang, a mythical animal which achieved multiple sexual climaxes a day. This legend points to the reputed sexual potency of horny goat weed, its honored place in traditional Chinese medicine and the fact it’s been used for over 2000 years. The leaves of the plant contain a variety of flavonoids, polysaccharides, sterols and an alkaloid called magnaflorine. One of the flavonoids, icariin, is believed to restore sexual fire, boost erectile function, allay fatigue, and alleviate menopausal discomfort.
And back to you ladies. You might not be able to avoid mood swings and hot flushes completely but something that really helps is to take up a new hobby. What speaks to your soul that you haven’t got around to? What can you do to bring more joy and laughter into your life? Understand that the menopause period in our lives represents a form of death. No longer useful to mother nature, our wombs no longer fertile, a sadness we do not fully comprehend creeps into our being. Follow my suggestions as closely as you can, see this period as a rebirth and you will not only sail through your menopause but come out stronger, healthier and more beautiful.
Stay blessed xx
Stella Ralfini is an international life coach, beauty guru and award winning author