Chef Ellen


Ready, Set, Go! The Menopause Journey

Is menopause confusing you?

How might one navigate menopause when I do not understand its true meaning?

How do we navigate peri-menopause/menopause?

What’s the starting point? Are we there yet? Needless to say, this is certainly a trip. Ready, set, go! Wait, this trip could start years before my last period? What’s my estimated time of arrival?! Huh? There should be a class on this.
Are you tired of waving your hand in front of your face to cool off, knowing that this motion will not stop the heat-filled sensation flushing throughout your entire body? Grab your jacket again; here comes the chill. How about changing your pj’s throughout the night? Painful sex? Dry skin? Sniff, sniff.
Menopause, peri-menopause, postmenopausal symptoms, what they mean, and what you can do to alleviate the madness is information that is vital to most women over the age of forty. OR, should we be more mindful at an earlier age?
“We look at it all like a curse, and why wouldn’t we? No one seems to want to be around us unless, of course, we joke and make fun of ourselves sweating in 45-degree weather. The truth of the matter is that when we experience a decline in estrogen, symptoms such as mood swings, night sweats, vaginal atrophy, headaches, irregular periods, the end of periods, and our reproductive years hit us hard. We are faced with a new unchartered phase of our lives. This trip is different for all of us ladies, so hold on tight, here we go….”
Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers. Our endocrine system and hormones regulate and control mood, hunger, growth, sugar levels, reproduction, and puberty. Our hormonal balance is affected by internal and external disruptors. The right foods play such an essential role in regulating hormones, but external endocrine disruptors that mimic estrogen range from plastics, canned foods, shampoos, creams, make-up, and air fresheners, to name a few.

In a nutshell, and in a perfect world, the transition would be as follows. Normal fluctuations would be mean estrogen levels would start to decline as we age. Irregular periods and less responsive egg development would be the beginning of peri-menopause. Shifting into menopause means our estrogen and progesterone levels continue to decline and, our ovaries stop releasing an egg once a month. When menstruation stops for twelve consecutive months, you are there. You would be considered post-menopausal immediately after your periods have ceased for more than a year.

The imbalance of hormones does not allow women to normally transition, pain-free as we should. Polycystic ovarian syndrome, painful periods, endometriosis, and infertility are on the rise in younger women. Could these “common symptoms” be a precursor to a not-so-healthy transition to menopause? Could these endocrine disruptors throw us into early-onset peri-menopause and open the door to premature osteoporosis, depression, auto-immune, heart disease, and cancers?
Changing your diet if it lacks fresh organic produce (whenever possible) is a game-changer and the first step in preventative care. Taking that awareness to a new level includes looking around at external factors. Start by eliminating toxic chemicals from your everyday environment: additives, preservatives, buy chemical-free cosmetics, cleaning products, bug sprays, and store you food in glass instead of plastics.
Is your mind at peace? Are you constantly on the go, excessively exercising, trying to rid your body of those extra pounds? At times the body interprets excessive exercise as stress. This constant survival mode we grow accustomed to most likely involves multi-tasking, chronic tension, and too much activity. This flight or flight mode affects the function of our thyroids, our immune responses, metabolism, and reproductive system.

How do we alleviate these peri, post, and often debilitating symptoms associated with what should be so typical a passage in every women’s life? The food is important, but at times it’s not about the food. We do want to supercharge our diets with better options, but a little TLC goes a long way at times. Hydration is always important at any age. Focus on feeling your best, not beating yourself up for growing older. You are not shriveling up. Embrace the beauty within and shine on the outside because you are beautiful, strong, and sexier than ever. You cannot stop the aging process, but you can find your balance. To help detox the body naturally without starvation and crazy diets, seek the help of a professional that wants you to eat real food, explore the elimination of inflammatory foods, and cleanse the body of impurities with infrared sauna, facials, massage and a good nights sleep.

Lifestyle modifications and a journey that leaves you feeling centered most days is the goal. What works for your friend may not be working for you, and that’s okay. We are all unique and must not be defined by the trending diets of the moment. Make it peaceful and more favorable for you. Exercise is essential, but anything excessive could backfire on those precious hormones. Get a massage, a facial, call a friend, consume good mood foods, and discard the processed garbage. Focus on happy moments and breathe. When you get there, you get there. Enjoy the ride, be in control and in the know.