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Menopause – A New Beginning!

Late last year, I attended a yoga workshop focusing on the menopause, run by Barefoot Yoga. I am afraid that I have reached “that age!”. I have been reading up on the perimenopause and menopause over the past year or so and have tried to take note of ideas and have adapted my diet and lifestyle accordingly. Hopefully those of you who read this article may pick up some useful advice and tips.

Exercise

I started learning yoga a few years ago to help with anxiety and panic attacks – I also tried meditating at the same time – with mixed results! I am hopeless at class mediations and find my mind wandering with what’s for dinner that night etc! However I have found the Calm app works for me. What with working from home and looking after a family, moody teenager, a senior cat and 3 rescue chickens, I just didn’t seem to find the time to meditate successfully. The calm app provides a daily calm meditation lasting 10 mins, which is ideal for those of us with limited time in the day. I still struggle with meditation after wind down yoga classes to be honest With yoga, I used to go for the fast energetic class, but now approaching 50, I’ve gone back to Hatha and I like the gentle flow classes and and yin relaxing style. I like the flexibility my body gets from yoga. I know it is doing me good and for that 1 hour, I can clear my headspace and not think about work, family and home etc.

I also love going walking. I don’t live in the country but there is an abundance of parks in Birmingham and it is just nice to get out and about in nature and fresh air. Sometimes, when time is limited, I just walk around the roads where I live and use my Calm meditation walking app. Mindfulness walking really helps to clear my head and relax. You can choose how little or how long you wish to walk for or whether you would like a guided meditation or not. It’svery flexibile.

Also, again after researching and talking to friends, I have started with resistance classes. All of the menopause books will tell you that weight resistance training is great for your body during the menopause years. Strength training exercises help to build bone and muscle strength, burn body fat and increase your metabolism. It is basically all about the oestrogen! During perimenopause and menopause, a woman’s oestrogen levels decline and weight training can help to maintain a good muscular system plus get rid of the excess weight that has seemed to form around my middle! Most gyms will offer personal trainer advice and classes. To be honest, there’s a wealth of online stuff out there. The one I particularly like is the “Live Yourself Youhg” channel on Youtube.

Diet

Until I met my husband 15 years ago, I was a vegetarian who ate fish (the term pescatarian didn’t exist back then! I started eating meat again, but for the past couple of years, I’ve completely gone off it and now have come full circle and am a pescatarian. I did used to eat chicken until last summer, then we became the owner of 3 glorious rescue chickens and I haven’t been able to touch chicken since!

Reading about diets favourable to the menopause is very interesting. It seems to be a mediterranean diet is recommended – good for me with all that fish! There is alot of emphasis on breakfast too and the importance of eating a healthy balanced meal to regulate your blood sugar. Protein is the key – its a good job we have chickens who lay 3 eggs a day! I eat an egg most days, sometimes a simple omelette for lunch or with an avocado on toasted bread for extra protein and good fats. I love reading about nutrition and diet. I wish i could have been a nutritionalist – however i need a science degree to become an approved nutritionalist. So i just have to satisfy myself by writing about it! More diet and healthy eating tips on my next blog!

I try to eat lots of fibre anyway as I have always had trouble with constipation. It has been wholemeal bread, wholemeal pasta and rice for years in our house. I’ve also been trying to eat more pulses too, as they are so good for you. Home made hummus here we come! Basically, its about keeping blood sugar levels constant, so unfortunaetly very little biscuits, cake and refined carbs. Try as I may, i do need a biscuit occasionally and I console myself with 80% dark chocolate is not that bad for you. I do love cake however, but as I have a nut allergy, I generally make my own and have started using wholemeal flour as a substitute for white. Courgette cake is my speciality! Don’t knock it until you try it!

I have also started to eat more yoghurt, especially plain greek yoghurt. I was eating plain yoghurt with summer berries after dinner with a sprinkling of flaxseed for added fibre, however apparently greek yoghurt provides more protein.

Homemade soup is a great lunch meal as it uses to any left over veg plus I add lots of lentils to my soup for extra protein. I have also started buying the Merchant Gourmet resealable packs – great to add to a pasta sauce. Their cookbook is really good and there’s some simple and more importantly quick recipes in there.

Caffeine and alcohol are both no-no’s. I don’t drink coffee, apart from the odd decaff now and again. However I do like green tea, which i didn’t realise contains as much caffeine as black tea. However it is supposed to be a good anti-oxidant, so I still have at least one cup a day. Talking of teas, I have switched to Yogi teas. Their women’s energy and the Inner harmony teas are lovely and I would definitely recommend them. There are lots of different varieties of herbal teas on the market, but I find the Yogi ones the best. You can buy Yogi teas from lots of health food shops and delis, however there are some that are hard to get hold of. Ethical Superstore usually has a wide range available online.

As for alcohol, cutting down may be a problem for some people, however since I had my son, my capacity for holding down a drink has vanished! One glass of wine occasssionally is all I can manage and I can’t see the point of cutting that small pleasure out.

Vitamins and Supplements

I have always taken multi vitamins and fish oil tablets as I used to be pescatarian and after a few years of eating meat, have now come back full circle and am once again a pescatarian. Plus I have a nut allergy so on the whole, I find taking multi vitamins will benefit me and my body. Since my anxiety I have also been taking magnesium supplements from Higher Nature

They come in an effervescent form. After swapping stories with other women on the yoga workshop, I have also started taking probiotic supplements. I did some research on the benefits of probiotics and I’ve gone with Higher Nature again and am taking their probiotic digestion supplements. Some of their products are in a few health food shops, however I buy mine online.

In conclusion, every woman is different and will experience different menopausal symptoms or maybe no symptoms at all! I just hope that someone reading this will take something from it and try some of my suggestions. There’s so much information out there about menopause, its sometimes difficult to know where to start. I hope that this blog helps!

Next time – healthy eating and nutrition for the menopause.

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