10 Steps to a Healthy Menopause Journey
Nutrition and Lifestyle are at the Core to Balancing Hormones
What does a healthy menopause journey mean? Why do some women enter their mid-life experiencing hot flashes, depression or anxiety, weight gain, low libido, no energy, interrupted sleep and many other crazy symptoms, while other women barely notice their journey other than they no longer have a period?
We are all individuals and as with everything in life, our experience is unique but a healthy menopause journey is one where we feel good in our bodies, have the energy & desire to enjoy life, and look forward to our mid-life and beyond.
There are a number of natural ways we can navigate this time of our lives. Now, keep in mind, how you’ve lived our life up until now, will have an effect on how quickly (or slowly) you may notice changes. But don’t let that discourage you! One small change can make immense downstream progress. I know this from experience. You can read more about my personal journey here but trust me when I tell you, these steps below can make a big difference in how you handle your unique menopause journey.
Let’s get started!
All body systems rely on clean, fresh water daily. As our hormones fluxuate in mid-life detoxing/eliminating toxins & the excess hormones from our body is a key factor in how we express symptoms.
Aim for 8-10 glasses of clean, filtered water daily. This is the water filter that I use.
Drink one full glass in the morning 30 min before eating.
Tip: Keep a glass at your bedside and drink it as you are waiting for the shower to warm up.
If you don’t like plain water, add berries, cut oranges, or herbs to give your water flavour.
Herbal teas another great option to getting in your daily fluids.
CUT OUT SUGAR, PROCESSED FOODS & ALCOHOL
Eliminating added sugar and processed or packaged foods has a tremendous impact on balancing hormones naturally.
…and your adrenals depend on it. Once menopause hits, the ovaries no longer make the sex hormones (testosterone, progesterone, estrogen) but we still need these important hormones. Our adrenals pick up the slack and take over the production.
Therefore, giving the adrenals the rest they require so they can do what they are meant to do after menopause will impact the severity & frequency of your symptoms.
When your adrenals are healthy and doing their job efficiently, symptoms disappear.
Sugar leads to increased insulin —> diabetes, weight gain and hormone imbalances.
Did you know, one of the most reported triggers for hot flashes is red wine! Start paying attention to when your hot flashes happen. Are you eating sugar, stressed, having a drink or eating spicy food?
Are hot flashes & night sweats keeping you from being your best? Download this free guide to show you how to decrease the heat today!
EAT HIGH-QUALITY PROTEINS
Here’s the thing, keeping your blood sugar stable is not only needed to ensure you don’t get diabetes but imbalanced blood sugar is oftent the culprit in your mood swings, fatigue and depression.
Eat quality protein at each meal. Eggs, fish, lean meat, dairy, or vegetarian alternatives to animal protein, such as beans, tofu or tempeh, nut & seeds (and their butter) are all good choices.
If you are eating animal foods, choose organic, wild and/or grass pasture-raised.
INCREASE INTAKE OF PLANT-BASED FOODS
Include more veggies, beans, nuts & seeds to your meals and snacks.
Plant-based diets are associated with fewer hot flashes.
Diets high in plant-based options are higher in fibre.
Fibre is required to detoxify and remove excess hormones and toxins we ingest daily or take in from the environment.
Watch how good your daily poops become after increasing intake of plant-based foods.
EAT QUALITY FAT
Aim for 2 tbsp fat at every meal from good quality fats.
Coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds, hemp, chia, avocados, cold water fish, flaxseed, grass-fed butter, ghee, olives are all great options.
All cells of the body contain a fatty lipid bilayer and all hormones are made from fats so eating fat is a definite in order to have a healthy menopause journey.
Depression can be alleviated by feeding our brains healthy fats.
Lifestyle is one of the biggest determinants of hot flashes and other menopausal issues.
Aim for 5 hours per week.
Walking (outside in the sun), tai chi, yoga & resistance training are all ideal.
Menopause can bring on joint pain. Movement and eating healthy fats are very important for supple joints and tendons.
Resistance training is important for bone health, but keep in mind that high-intensity exercise may put further strain on the adrenals and may lead to adrenal fatigue.
Aim for 7-9 hours per night. Many women experiences restless nights, insomnia and disrupted sleep as they enter mid-life.
Set & stick to nightly routines. Same time to bed and same time to rise, even on weekends.
Increase intake of melatonin-producing foods (chicken, turkey, cherries, oats, bananas).
Try reading, taking a bath and sleep in a very dark, cool room.
Any stress turns on your sympathetic nervous system, the fight or flight response, and changes the way all hormones are metabolized in the body.
Weight gain during menopause is common and is due to excess cortisol.
Stress hormones cortisol & epinephrine are secreted from the adrenals & secreted before the sex hormones – estrogen, progesterone, & testosterone – also secreted from the adrenals after menopause.
Overworked adrenals (adrenal fatigue) is a factor in many menopausal symptoms.
Do whatever works for you to decrease stress to turn on your parasympathetic nervous system – the ‘rest & restore’ mode.
Do it consistently as a preventative measure not just when you are feeling it.
Meditate, yoga, baths, painting, walk instead of driving, reading, massage, listening to relaxing music, learn to say no, etc
Breathe in and out through your nose to turn on your parasympathetic nervous system. Breathing deeply into the diaphragm begins to break down the stress hormones cortisol & epinephrine.
Breathing through your mouth is a ‘stress response’.
When you are relaxed the levels of DHEA produced by the adrenals are increased.
DHEA is the mother of hormones & is the precursor of all the hormones your body needs. Win! Win!
DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE SUN
Vitamin D is a nutrient as well as a hormone and is generated in the body naturally from sun exposure.
The ‘sunshine vitamin‘ can be found in fatty fish, liver, and egg yolks and in some fortified foods.
3000-5000 IU/day of vitamin D3 – and some of us don’t make vitamin D from sun exposure so may need more.
If you want to have a healthy menopause journey there are key things you can do – and do them before you start noticing symptoms!
- Drink more water
- Avoid sugar, processed/boxed foods and alcohol
- Eat quality protein at every meal and snack
- Eat more plants
- Eat good fats
- Get a better sleep
- Get up and move
- Get outside in the sun
- Decrease stress
If you’re just not sure where to start sign up for a free 30 min Menopause Breakthrough Session. It will be a mini 1:1 session where we can start to dive into ways to help your individual journey.