The transition to menopause doesn’t have to be miserable! With natural remedies for menopausal symptoms, lifestyle and diet tips, you are free to celebrate this next stage of your life!
Menopause...hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, memory issues...is this what ALL women have to look forward to?
Despite what you hear about in the litany of articles and websites, menopause can actually be a time of profound beauty, satisfaction and celebration. How is this possible? With key steps you can take to prepare your body and mind for this incredible time that is part of our journey as women.
First, let’s take a look at what menopause really is.
Around the age of 40, women (in the Western cultures) may begin to notice the first signs of peri-menopause, the transition into menopause. This is when your hormone levels of estrogen, progesterone and the androgens start to change.1 During peri-menopause, women begin to notice symptoms like irregular periods and mood swings, which can last between 5 – 13 years.2
As our ovaries produce less and less estrogen and progesterone and your levels of testosterone drop too, you eventually enter what we call, “menopause”. Quite simply, this means the end of menstruation. But there’s so much more to menopause and this is where YOU have the opportunity to make this transition a celebration.
There are a wide range of menopause symptoms, most of which feel uncomfortable and frustrating for women.
Menopause symptoms can include:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Decreased energy and ambition
- Depression or mood swings
- Mental confusion
- Urinary incontinence
- Recurrent urinary tract infections
- Increased susceptibility to vaginal infections
Research has recently found that women who experience the most severe symptoms during menopause, have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease.3
This connection could be due to the reduced beneficial effects of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone that are available to cells.
But aside from the “gloom and doom belief” that often surrounds the transition to menopause, let’s take a moment to look at what’s really happening in our journey as women.
As women, we have natural stages in our lives, each with their own beautiful gifts. When we move into young adulthood, today’s “modern” woman is concerned with starting a career, finding a partner and for many, giving birth to new life and raising children. During this time, we are busy with the energy of creation. Our youthful energy spurs this creative energy to flow.
Because of the “cycle of life” our bodies are designed to alter its energy as the years go by. We all must move from the energy of creation to the energy of reflection. In this time of reflection, our bodies begin to slow down…not in a way that is “less than,” but in a way that is powerful in its stillness.
Our lives tend to be more settled and if we truly look, we find that we have this time to become more still and begin to listen.
From this stillness, a whole new type of energy arises. This is the energy of inspiration. It comes from inside. It not only shifts us, but it shifts those around us. What’s happening here is the potential for tapping into a deeper wisdom. If we honor the time of menopause, we can actually create the time to listen from within.
You and your body want to now experience life in a different way at this stage of your life. This is where, instead of “efforting,” you can begin to create from this place of stillness. It is what’s often referred to as manifesting by drawing upon “inner wisdom to create”, rather than creating with force.
So, menopause is a wonderful, much-deserved time when a woman can focus on her owns needs, nourishing and rebalancing herself, physically and emotionally.
Solutions for a Smooth Transition into Menopause
As you move into menopause and celebrate time to focus on YOU, this does NOT mean you have to lose your life force energy! Indeed not! This is the perfect time to focus on restoring your prenatal, constitutional physical energy while maturing and enriching your soul and spirit. (To mature means to ripen and who doesn’t love the sweetness and beauty of a ripened fruit?)
According to traditional Chinese medicine’s view on energy, we humans are born with a certain amount of “jing”, otherwise known as life force energy or prenatal jing. This is the finite, inherited energy that comes from your parents at conception and from the time you spent inside your mother’s womb). In this day and age your “jing” is usually depleted throughout your super-busy childbearing years due to stress, career building, and not enough balance in your life.
When a woman reaches the peri-menopause stage and if her prenatal jing has been depleted throughout her life then symptoms will manifest that we have come to accept as normal. In actual fact, they are not! They do not have to be a part of your life...
So the question every woman should asking herself as she approaches this stage in her life is, how can I replenish my prenatal, constitutional jing? ( I do have a book coming out in ’09 that will delve more fully into the secrets of how to do this, called The Baby Boomer Diet.)
Natural Hormone Replacement Therapies (HRT alternatives) are available to today’s woman that may be helpful in relieving symptoms of menopause, but you don’t have to go down that route. And before you do or IF you do, please realize that diet and lifestyle changes must come first because HRT may be unnecessary or needed in lesser amounts. Body Ecology suggests a more fundamental approach to helping you prepare your body for the menopausal years and beyond.
Remember the Principle of Uniqueness...every woman is unique...YOU ARE UNIQUE...and there is no “one size fits all” remedy for resolving your menopausal symptoms. There are many basic ways or fundamentals, however, for taking care of yourself that will benefit you through your transition and beyond. They will keep you looking an feeling years younger than the calendar birthdays you’ve celebrated.
Here are 12 natural lifestyle and diet tips to help replenish your jing energy:
- Take supertonic herbs – I often reflect on how the Creator had the wisdom to seed our amazing planet with restorative plants. Seek them out, because there are many scattered all over Earth and are Nature’s most concentrated source of nutrition. You will find them used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine, Chinese medicine and Tibetan medicine. They were a vital part of the culture of our American Indians and the Indians in South America, especially in the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. Eleuthero is used in both China and Siberia (and was once called Siberian Ginseng).Tribulus, Rhodiola and Sea Buckthorn are also well respected Siberian herbs. Here are a few of my favorite supertonic herbs: Ashwagandha, Shilajit and Shatavari ( Ayruvedic), He Shou Wu, Dong Quai, Reishi ( Chinese), Maca (Andes) and Muira Puama, Catuaba, and Suma(Rainforest).
- Learn to handle stress using herbs and supplements - It is even more important to learn to deal with stress when we are reaching our menopause years because we do not have the reserve to acclimate to it like we did in our youth. And we baby boomers do experience circumstances in our lives (like death of our parents and financial concerns) that simply don’t disappear. For times like these it can be highly beneficial to take stress-reducing herbs and supplements. Some of my favorites are Holy Basil (aka Tulsi), GABA (relaxing) and 5HTP (uplifting and creates serotonin).And the super tonic herbs mentioned above are also called adaptogens because they help your body adapt to the stress and replenish your energy stores. To find out more about adaptogens read Adaptogens: How To Eliminate Stress With These Amazing Natural Health Secrets
- Think positive and repeat positive affirmations- Step into the world of positive thinking and life changing affirmations by going online to Hay House Radio.You can listen any time of the day to many fascinating programs. Hosts include Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer, Bruce Lipton, Sylvia Browne, Caroline Myss and Caroline Sutherland to name just a few. You might also want to register for Dr. Christiane Northrup’s workshop on October 21, 2008 on The Secret Pleasures of Menopause: How to Enjoy Them Now. This special presentation will air at 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm PDT. Pre-show: 3:45 pm - 4:00 pm PDT. Login beginning at: 3:30 on.
- Essential oils are stress busters and hormone balancers too - Studies have shown that Fennel may heighten low libido. Fennel has been used for thousands of years for its toning effects on the female reproductive system. It contains a constituent that is similar to estrogen, which aids in regulating the menstrual cycle, minimizing PMS and menopausal symptoms. Fennel also helps sustain muscle tone and elasticity of the skin. Dab a few drops of Myrrh right over your thyroid to enhance its health.
- Heal your emotional world- We all know that there is a mind/body connection and negative thoughts will definitely deplete your life-force energy. Use this time of reflection to heal unresolved issues from the past. You will find that as your mind and body are relieved of sabotaging thoughts and behaviors negative symptoms simply vanish. We recommend techniques like Darren Weissman’s LifeLine Technique to help you delve into your subconscious mind and eliminate any old “lies” within your subconscious that keep you from creating the life you truly desire.
- Cut out sugar and other acid-forming foods and drinks – Sugar depletes your prenatal jing, leeches minerals from your blood, bones and cells, cause acidosis and conditions like osteoporosis, cancer and candida. Sugar will accelerate the ageing process and steal the life force from you, not what you need when you are trying to avoid menopausal symptoms. Try Lakanto and Stevia instead. Wine, alcohol, chocolate, coffee, bread, pasta, animal proteins and nuts and seeds are all acidic foods. Smoking accelerates aging and brings about an earlier menopause while wine and alcohol do as well because they are very dehydrating.
- Avoid soy unless it is fermented- Unfermented soy will suppress your thyroid and weaken your adrenals. While soy foods (soymilk, tofu, tofu hot dogs, tofu desserts) have been heavily promoted as having significant therapeutic properties for women, these claims (breast and prostate cancer prevention, reducing cholesterol, prevention and treatment of postmenopausal symptoms and osteoporosis) have not been confirmed in well designed clinical trials. Disturbing data have shown that soy isoflavones particularly tofu, may negatively affect cognitive function in the in older people. However, fermented soy (miso, natto, tempeh) are definitely on the Body Ecology Diet.
- Try acupuncture – Acupuncture is one of the most useful therapies for balancing your hormones and helping replenishing your pre-natal jing. This HRT alternative can work wonders for easing many frustrating symptoms like hot flashes and spaciness. For more, read: Does Acupuncture Work? How, Why and other options you should consider?
Want to put some swing back into your “jing?”
Probiotic-rich Dong Quai is one of Body Ecology’s answers to helping eliminate menopause symptoms, PMS and peri-menopause. A blend of the herb Dong Quai fermented with the best blend of probiotics results in an ideal tonic that boosts your energy and immunity. Drink some Dong Quai today and celebrate all the stages of your life!
- Consider Bio-identical hormones – If you feel that your symptoms are making you miserable then you might want to try these hormones. They are actually made to exactly duplicate those found in our bodies.4 So far they are proving to be a safe and effective HRT alternative. But do go for testing to determine 1) which one is low and 2) how much should you take.At Body Ecology we know that the right nutrients (and colon therapy to cleanse out a lifetime of toxins) can restore your endocrine organs to a more youthful state. Therefore, we recommend you create a solid foundation with a healthy, nourishing diet with fermented foods for three months before you are tested.To me bio-identical hormones are similar to antibiotics in that they seem to be the miraculous answer we all have been praying for. But they have a front and a back side to them as well too. Once your body learns to depend on them if they are no longer available (remember codex is a threat) your organs will suddenly crash. Their crutch will be taken away. I would rather see us look beyond Bio Identical HRT and find ways to authentically restore our endocrine organs to their original youthful condition. And with stem cells on the horizon they may be the answer but the Body Ecology Diet and numerous methods of detoxification are already available.
- Focus on caring for your thyroid and adrenals – It is important to nourish your thyroid and adrenals, as these organs not only provide: pregnenolone, DHEA, progesterone, estrogen and testosterone. You can do this by ensuring you get a good night’s sleep, plenty of minerals, B vitamins, Vitamin C, good fats (butter, ghee, coconut oil, cod liver oil and egg yolks.) These tips for avoiding adrenal fatigue are great natural remedies for menopausal symptoms!
- Have Body Ecology grain-like seeds as your last meal of the day– These healthy grain-like seeds are full of B vitamins and help boost serotonin, creating better moods and a more calm and restful sleep. Women often feel much better shifting away from an animal protein diet to a more vegetarian diet at this stage. But protein is vital. The Body Ecology like seeds do not feed yeast, are alkalizing and are an excellent source of protein.
- Think probiotics and herbs together! - You can replenish your jing by reducing stress and increasing energy with herbs, such as Dong Quai. Dong Quai is an herb used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine. It is known for it's role in balancing female hormones. Try Body Ecology's special probiotic liquid, Dong Quai liquid probiotic, formulated specifically to make this journey we are on as women much smoother! With Dong Quai, your immunity, digestion and energy get the boost they need to keep you feeling your best. I recommend starting with three small juice glasses a day.
To put some swing back into your “jing,” these diet and lifestyle tips can have you celebrating every stage in your journey as a woman!
- Mark Northrup, Christiane, MD., The Perimenopause Transition.
- Women and Cardiovascular Disease. Cleveland Clinic.
- Bioidentical Hormones, http://www.drnorthrup.com/womenshealth/healthcenter/topic_details.php?topic_id=129
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