Going through peri-menopause and menopause can be frustrating, depressing and causing lots of stress and anxiety. We feel that what we used to do to manage our bodyweight is no longer working and lbs/kg are added on despite our focus on food and exercise. The sad truth is that with hormonal changes, muscle loss, among other changes in our bodies we can no longer eat what we used to eat without adding weight. We need to change our exercise routines and learn new ways to mange our body through nutritious food. There are many medications out there offering a quick-fix to our menopause symptoms: however, can we reduce and manage our symptoms through lifestyle changes? I think so.
I’m working through a few lifestyle changes myself to see how I can mange my symptoms without having to take medication. One of the lifestyle changes I’m committed to making is to eat more veggies. I’m making a focused effort to always include veggies in my meals. One of the strategies I learned from Maya Adams, Professor at Stanford University (see her inspiring video here: http://justcookforkids.com/) was to START with PLANNING the VEGGIES for your MEAL then add protein and carbs that may go with it. Totally reverse of how I’m used to cooking and planning my meals. I’m willing to try anything to manage my menopause symptoms without having to take medication. I’m aiming to add 2-4 cups of veggies per day. Eating more fresh vegetables will help with menopause symptoms in a variety of ways:
Plant-based food that have Isoflavones (plant estrogen) may reduce hot flashes and night sweats.
More veggies may decrease daily caloric intake helping to manage weight gain. Veggies are low in calories and high in vitamins and fiber. They keep us full longer and we can eat A LOT OF IT for a small amount of calories (see example picture below).
More leafy greens will pump up calcium intake helping to reduce the risk for osteoporosis! Aim for 1200 mg per day.
Eating more fresh vegetables and reduce intake of processed food will reduce sugar intake. With less sugar in the diet the blood sugar will not spike reducing mood and energy fluctuations.
More fiber, which we get from veggies, will keep us full longer. Aim for 21g per day.
Planning for more veggies in our meals we will benefit us in many ways: less hot flashes, less moodiness, less night sweats, less calories, less weight gain, more calcium absorption (i.e., reduce risk for osteoporosis). Make sure to stock your fridge with veggies that are easy to snack on (e.g., baby carrots, snap peas, sweet tomatoes). Buy veggies that you can cut up and have ready to grab in the fridge (peppers, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower). Being prepared will take you a long way to being successful in changing your habits. Ready to try adding some veggies to your life? Here are a few ways you can add vegetables to your day.
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