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According to a new book—Eat To Defeat Menopause—The Essential Nutrition Guide for a Healthy Midlife, by Karen Gilbin and Mache Seibel, MD—the onset of “the change” can feel like “a raging case of PMS.”
I have to admit, the message struck home when I read: “Your hormones act as though you’re going through puberty, only backward.” (Click here for link (http://www NULL.amazon NULL.com/Eat-Defeat-Menopause-Essential-Midlife/dp/0738215090).)
It never occurred to me that I’d be having tomato-faced hot flashes by the time my daughter was in first grade.
In fact, have your kids anytime after 40 and you could be dancing the Virginia Reel with the red devil by the time Junior is out of pull-ups.
How can you handle the heat in the hormone kitchen, especially on those occasions your kids are performing the preschool rendition of Apocalypse Now?
According to co-author Dr. Mache Seibel (http://www NULL.doctorseibel NULL.com/)—director of the Complicated Menopause Program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School—the cure is culinary.
“Food can play a key role in a woman’s midlife transition,” says Dr. Seibel.
“Our food choices have a major affect on weight and where we carry it, sleep quality, digestion, mood and in symptoms such as hot flashes.”
Although Dr. Seibel admits that women may need further treatment than changes in eating habits, a “menopause-friendly diet” will make other treatments more effective.
Ironically, many of the do’s and don’ts he recommends very closely resemble diets known to enhance a women’s fertility.
Avoid caffeine and limit alcohol—those, along with spicy foods, can trigger hot flashes. Foods that contain plant estrogens or phytoestrogens such as soy and flaxseed can help reduce them.
Complex carbs like whole grains can increase the release of tryptophan, an amino acid that helps the brain manufacture serotonin—the same hormone that many antidepressants increase.
If you’re a later life, new mom and breast-feeding, Dr. Seibel says that what you eat is just as important—foods rich in calcium, healthy fats—like monounsaturates found in olive oil, omega 3’s, or walnuts are the prescription.
Eating protein, fiber and iron are also important, as well as whole grains, lean meats, and dairy.
Easy shortcuts that tempt stressed out midlife mothers such as fast food, processed sugars or quick processed meals tend to decrease overall health and lead to obesity—a risk in midlife women.
Karen Gilbin—co-author and founder of Red Hot Mamas (http://www NULL.redhotmamas NULL.org/), the largest menopause education and management program in North America—is passionate about getting the diet message across to later life women.
“In my mother’s generation, menopause was one of those forbidden topics,” she says.
“Having been thrust into early menopause at 40, I needed to personally work on developing a comprehensive management plan that would address healthier alternatives like good nutrition.”
Gilbin began looking for clues as to what she might be doing to stimulate challenging menopausal symptoms—eating habits seemed an obvious choice.
“I didn’t want to be at the mercy of doctors who would give me medications to quell my symptoms,” she adds.
As she began to address her menopausal symptoms through diet, the seed of a culinary revolution was planted.
“Over the last twenty years—through our Red Hot Mamas Menopause Education Programs (http://www NULL.redhotmamas NULL.org/)—I’ve heard many women’s stories of debilitating physical and emotional experiences.”
“I was driven to write this book because I feel that good dietary habits are a prescription for beginning a health life at menopause.”
Packed with recipes from chefs around the world, it’s hard to believe that Eat To Defeat Menopause (http://www NULL.amazon NULL.com/Eat-Defeat-Menopause-Essential-Midlife/dp/0738215090) could even vaguely resemble a “prescription.”
From “Wild Blueberry Granola French Toast” to “Lobster and Duck Chow Mein”—I’ll be mood-swinging with my fork on over to dinner.
Now, if the book only came with a babysitter, I’d be set up for the evening.
Notes for this blog:
Karen Gilbin is the founder of Red Hot Mamas, the largest menopause education and management program in the United States and Canada. www.redhotmamas.org (http://www NULL.redhotmamas NULL.org/).
Mache Seibel, MD, is the director of the Complicated Menopause Program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and is the founder of HealthRock, a health education program that uses music to make learning a fun experience.
www.DoctorSeibel.com (http://www NULL.doctorseibel NULL.com/)
www.HealthRock.com (http://www NULL.healthrock NULL.com/)
Eat To Defeat Menopause—The Essential Nutrition Guide for a Healthy Midlife, by Karen Gilbin and Mache Seibel, MD is available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Eat-Defeat-Menopause-Essential-Midlife/dp/0738215090 (http://www NULL.amazon NULL.com/Eat-Defeat-Menopause-Essential-Midlife/dp/0738215090)
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