Menopause: Joyous Journey or Walk through Hell?


photo_1526_20060508-1We’ve been thinking about tackling this subject for a while.  It’s a big topic, with plenty of research, opinions, and varied solutions for symptoms.  Our blog is not going to focus on the medical research or THE way to deal with menopausal symptoms, although we will give you some links for further reading and some general nutritional advice from Mary’s experience.

Our focus for this blog is on the experience and on the importance of nutrition, fitness and psychological wellbeing for overall optimum health as you move through menopause.

photo_6074_20080522What makes this subject so interesting to us is that menopause is a unique journey for every woman.  Women may experience some of the same symptoms but how each woman feels about the experience and responds to the symptoms is so different.  What works for one woman may not work for another.  Her support system also influences a woman’s experience with this stage of life.

Then and now

When we were growing up, menopause was something that women whispered about to each other rather than discussed openly.  Doctors were the authoritative source for women and most doctors were men.  What kind of advice did they deliver?  We’re not sure, but hysterectomies were very popular then.  Thankfully we now have choices!

photo_1551_20060510Today, women talk about menopause, blog about it, write books and make a ton of jokes about their menopausal maniac behavior.  We also have more female doctors who can relate to the menopausal experience.  This openness and shared experiences create more than awareness.  They create a comforting sense of community.  We’re not alone in experiencing some of this weird stuff.  Actually, we discover that it’s not so weird after all!  It is a normal, inevitable stage of life for a woman.

Not just a psychological experience

lonely treeWe’ve talked to women who have suffered severe symptoms of menopause and others who have just breezed through the changes.  From our perspective, the important thing to remember is that it is a journey that will take some time.  So, take the long term perspective and do things today to take care of your health that will deliver the healthy fruits of your labor tomorrow.

The biological changes that occur during menopause are very real and research suggests that these changes may make women vulnerable to certain health conditions such as heart disease, osteoporosis, and certain cancers.  The following are links that provide more details on understanding menopause, its symptoms and possible ways to deal with both the symptoms and potential outcomes of the biological changes.

Traditional perspective:

Holistic and Naturopathic perspective:

If you are a woman in peri-menopause or currently in menopause, please do your research and talk to reputable health professionals.  There are choices for dealing with the symptoms.

photo_5592_20080409Above all, to lessen your chances of disease:

  • Eat nutritiously by consuming whole foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains that contain important disease fighting phytochemicals and nutrients.
  • Engage regularly (3 or more days per week) in both cardiovascular and weight bearing exercise.  The former will help strengthen heart and lung capacity to ward off heart disease and the latter promotes bone density to lessen chances of osteoporosis.
  • IMG_3685Exercise can enhance your mood by improving the circulation of oxygen to the brain; it  helps control hormonal imbalances associated with menopause and menstrual problems.
  • Together, nutritious eating and exercise will help you control weight gain often associated with menopause.
  • Engage in quality time for mental health!  Take much needed “me” time doing what makes you feel good.  Ask for support from family and friends when feeling like the menopausal journey is more like a trip to hell than the joyous journey you’d hoped it would be!

Mary’s nutritional advice for menopausal women:

  • Stay hydrated (8 glasses of water per day);
  • Avoid foods that can negatively affect your hormonal levels such as simple carbs, sugar, alcohol, and coffee;
  • Improve hormonal balance by adding these specific foods to your diet:  broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, flaxseed, kale, legumes, nuts and seeds, green tea.

As the above is a small list of general nutritional tips, please contact Mary directly if you want personalized counselling on this issue. (See Mary’s website for further details).

Recipe of the Week:  Chicken Coconut Soup

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About aspireperspirenourish

We are sisters who share a passion for healthy living! Each of us brings different knowledge and skills to this project, some similar experiences and a whole lot of shared passion for mindful, fit and nutritious living. This blog is our way of spreading our knowledge and passion about motivation, fitness and nutrition for everyday living. It is also our forum for finding like-minded people from whom we can learn. To learn more about us, please see our "About" page.
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