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Menopause diets can be used to avoid menopause weight gain. A diet for menopause can help you in many ways.
Menopause is a time of many health changes. Now may be an easier time than ever to start a menopause diet.
I've always been fairly healthy, at least according to mainstream American standards. I was involved in sports in high school and college, I have no chronic disease except thyroiditis. No allergies or asthma or anything like that. I don't drink or smoke and I have spent many of my adult years exercising. I had a very healthy son (my first and only child) at 42, a completely natural birth with no complications. I take no medications (not even cold medicine or aspirin) except for thyroid medication.
And then I hit menopause, the time of many firsts. First migraine headaches. First time I've ever had any insomnia. First high cholesterol, high blood sugar and high blood pressure. My blood pressure never varied from 120/80 until now, when it jumped from 140 to 185 in a matter of months. I've always struggled with my weight, now all I have to do is think about gaining weight to have it happen. I've always been able to eat pretty much anything with no digestive issues, now the slightest transgression from my new menopause diet causes indigestion and bloating. Menopause diets can address all of these issues.
Now may be an easier time than ever to create new healthy habits with menopause diets
After several years of trying to maintain my old eating habits, I finally decided it's better to change and feel better, even if you have to admit that you're not as young as you used to be. You can either accommodate or be miserable, and quite possibly die younger than you'd like.
On the bright side, however, is the fact that motivational factors have never been higher. Once you get over resisting the changes your body is making, nightly reflux is a great motivator for reducing carbohydrate intake. Or giving up wheat and pasta products (two things that now have a negative impact on my digestion). Take advantage of this time to incorporate the principles of menopause diets into your routine.
A Menopause Diet for your New Body
While there are issues that come up now, really they were there all along, it's just that when you're younger your body has better adaptive ability. At middle age the daily dietary abuses start to take their toll.
Health problems that come up now range from indigestion and other digestive problems to concerns about osteoporosis, heart disease and cancer. And everybody's favorite, the weight gain that happens during this transition, along with low thyroid, adrenal burnout and Syndrome X or diabetes.
As it turns out, there was a dentist who made some discoveries about food and health back in the 1930s and 1940s. Putting his discoveries into practice in menopause diets will help you address many health issues.
His name was Dr. Weston Price and he became curious about the causes of cavities, crooked teeth and gum disease, and wondered if there were any people who had perfect teeth – free from cavities, small jaws and crooked teeth, and gum disease.
For several years he traveled around the world seeking people free of dental decay and disease. Dr Price found and studied fourteen different groups of people around the world who had perfect teeth. Their perfect teeth were accompanied by robust health.
He attributed this to the food they ate; they were still eating their native diets. He observed children who had adopted some of the Western diet's foods, namely white flour and sugar products, and their tooth decay was almost immediate. I will never forget my amazement when I saw the many pictures in his book of people with absolutely perfect jaws and teeth. Picture after picture...I had no idea that people could have such perfect teeth, in fact we were designed to have them!
These diets had several things in common: they were high in minerals, including calcium and phosphorus, necessary for strong bones. They were also high in fat-soluble nutrients, discovered to be necessary for mineral absorption.
These were vitamins A, D and K2. When he analyzed the foods in these diets, he found that they contained four times more water-soluble vitamins and at least ten times more vitamins A and D than the American diet at the time...and it's probably much worse now.
Animal fats from cows, chickens and other animals that eat green grass from pasture and spend time in the sun are the only sources of these necessary nutrients. Cows and chickens eating grains and soy foods and locked up without sunlight do not contain these nutrients.
Foods to Eat
Foods highest in Vitamins A, D and K2 are, whole milk products, including butter and cream; organ meats such as liver from pastured animals, eggs from pastured chickens or other fowl, fed on insects; shellfish, fish eggs, wild oily fish like salmon and sardines.
Cod liver oil contains vitamins A, D and essential fatty acids EPA and DHA. Be sure to find one that has been tested for heavy metal content.
Also include coconut oil. It is high in lauric acid, which is antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal. Coconut oil has been sustaining healthy people around the world, free from heart disease for many generations.
Healthy fats, such as those mentioned above, are also necessary for building cell membranes, hormones and prostaglandins. Saturated fats supply quick energy, help utilize essential fatty acids and enhance immune function.
Organic produce. It has higher amounts of nutrients, and you will avoid the pesticides. See The Organic Center for scientific studies.
Raw whole milk and cream, raw cheese, butter and other whole, organic dairy products. Pasteurizing destroys the enzymes needed to digest milk. Removing the fat content removes the nutrients required for mineral absorption.
Foods to Avoid
Soy, unless it's fermented. Soy milk, soybeans, soybean oil and tofu are all unfermented. Unfermented soy blocks mineral absorption and disrupts protein digestion. Be especially aware of isolated soy compounds, which can be found in just about everything now, including your vitamins. Fermented soy products include: miso, tempeh, soy sauce.
Refined and hydrogenated vegetable oils (canola, corn, cottonseed, safflower, and soy). Hydrogenation is the source of trans fats, and these vegetable oils become rancid very easily (before you even buy them). Consuming them creates free radicals in your body, and can interfere with thousands of cellular processes.
“Energy” and other “Health” drinks. These are simply intense combinations of some form of sugar and caffeine, or guarana, which is herbal caffeine, maybe with a splash of something that would be healthy if you got the right amount (like ginseng), which you almost never will in these drinks. They are a source of empty calories and excess stimulation for your poor, tired out adrenal glands, which will thank you profusely for not drinking them. I often pick up new ones in the store to see if they have come out with a healthy energy drink, but I'm always disappointed upon reading the ingredients. You will also want to avoid other stimulants such as coffee, caffeinated tea and chocolate. Instead, try some Kombucha tea. It is available in some markets and health food stores now. It is very good for your digestion, and tasty too!
Additives MSG and aspartame have been found to have numerous dangerous effects in many people, including seizures, headaches and much more. The word “hydrolyzed” means it has MSG in it. Many hundreds of products contain MSG.
Summary of a Healthy Menopause Diet
Following these guidelines will help you accomplish your goals for healthy menopause nutrition:
Eating nutrient-dense foods will help eliminate cravings and avoid weight gain. Metabolism slows as you age, so you need to be sure everything you are eating is nutrient-dense.
Eat good fats, avoid bad fats to increase energy, support hormone production, and reduce degenerative disease.
Use Lacto-fermented foods for digestive health
Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria are beneficial bacteria that live in your gut. They help you absorb nutrients, reduce free radicals, and prevent intestinal infections. They also manufacture some B vitamins and protect the walls of the intestine.
Bifidobacteria are affected by the foods you eat. Antibiotics will kill off some of these bacteria. They also need certain substances from the diet in order to thrive. These substances are called fructooligosaccharides, or FOS for short. These are found in onions, asparagus and bananas.
Traditional diets include many recipes for lacto-fermented foods and beverages. The processes used to produce these foods keep them from spoiling as well as being beneficial for the gut and digestion. This is a more holistic way to get your probiotics. The best sources are to make your own yogurt or sauerkraut. There are detailed instructions in several books, mentioned below.
For more information, see menopause and digestion.
Menopause Diets that include these principles will help you avoid weight gain, eliminate digestive issues, balance your hormones, nourish your adrenal and thyroid glands, and more.
Cowan, Thomas, MD., The Fourfold Path to Healing
Enig, Mary, PhD., Fallon, Sally, Eat Fat, Lose Fat
Fallon, Sally; Connelly, Pat; Enig, Mary, PhD., Nourishing Traditions
Katz, Sandor Ellix, Wild Fermentation
Price, Weston A, DDS., Nutrition and Physical Degeneration