Menopause and Weight Maintenance
Watching the news the other night on a commercial TV station and I was shocked to see them recommend pre-packaged meals from a supermarket chain as a means to deal with Menopause. Now despite the obvious problems with advertising being presented as a news item, the amazing amount of plastic waste and low nutrient issues with eating pre-cooked and packaged foods on a daily basis, there was no actual evidence showing such meals would do anything to assist menopause. They did however qualify the ‘infotainment’ with suggestions that weight loss would assist the severity of hot flushes, that your metabolism does change and that spicy foods and sugar can aggravate symptoms. I couldn’t agree more and thought some more practical advice could also assist with the many issues that effect menopausal women.
Underpinning the issues is understanding what is occurring in your body and also your body type and tendencies can greatly assist your transition through this difficult time.
The issue of portion control is a good point here. Ever noticed the size of dinner plates in dinner sets made decades ago? They are about half the size and that is a really great way to reduce your portion sizes to reflect changes in metabolism. The simple fact is due to the Yin (blood) no longer shed monthly, we simply don't need as much food intake to replenish it so have a look at some Opportunity shops for some lovely old crockery sets or use bread and butter plates and eat slowly and enjoy each mouthful of food.
The Thyroid gland has a big role in metabolism too, and it also assists in regulating hormones so it is a good idea to its functioning during the pause. Nothing reflects Yin and Yang quite like this ancient gland as it regulates body temperature, fluid regulation digestion. So if your body is more Yin such as holds fluids, tend to feel the cold more than heat, have sluggish digestion and tiredness your diet needs to be more Yang to balance this out. In this case you needs more warming foods such as soups and casseroles, stir fries and backed vegetables cinnamon and ginger, ( not too much chilli however, small amounts are fine) as well and lots of beans. Notice that beans are shaped like kidneys and they do a great job assisting the kidneys to clear excess water so think red kidney beans, black beans, adzuki beans etc will be very beneficial. What not to do is eat lots of raw cold foods such as salads. You will not loose weight as they are too cold and you will just feel tired and damp. Also it’s important to eat seaweed as it also clears fluids and assists in thyroid function so go the Sushi!
If you body is more Yang (or Yin deficient) you will be sensitive to heat, feel flustered often, get flushed cheeks, and find it hard to wind down; then you need to eat more Yin supplementing foods to reduce the Yang (think hot flushes) from rising like the breath of a dragon! Juicy foods are important such as mandarins, oranges, stewed apples and rhubarb. Fish, Tofu and soy milk are very important for you, and cut out red meat, spicy foods (or eat small amounts with good amounts of yoghurt and cucumber), celery avocados and root vegetables. Steamed veggies and soups are still good for you too as they are moistening and nutritious, especially vegetable soups with lentils and tomatoes and bay leaf.
Understanding your body type is vital at this time to allow your body to transition from the reproductive phase of life to the more self productive phase in life. For more information please come and chat to us at Kinglake Chinese Medicine and learn to eat for your body type.
Dr Anglea Palmer