Ayurveda and menopause – healthy lifestyle, embrace the transition

Dear audience,

I recently talked to a friend who just entered menopause and discussing her issues made me look deeper into the matter from an Ayurvedic point of view since as to everything in life this wonderful medicine created over thousands of years of experience will have its particular explanation for this important phase in a woman’s life as well and that – as always in Ayurveda – in a very natural, connected way.

Menopause has always something that hits woman end of their 40s, beginning 50s. There is though a respectably high number of women, who enter that transition phase already in their 30s or beginning 40s. No scientific 100% concrete explanation has been found so far for the fact that some women arrive at the end of their ovarian reserve that early.

Anyway, sooner or later it will concern all of us and I suppose if we prepare ourselves well and take care about our bodies during the transition we should not be facing any bigger problems. 

Menopause 1

The decrease of estrogen levels in a woman’s body bring along challenges like hot flushes, anxiety, depression, hair loss, loss of bone mass etc. None of this has to occur, but it can. Yoga and meditation in combination with a cleansing of the body, a healthy diet and natural herbal remedies help to get you through these years in the best possible way, easing many of those discomforts.

Menopause is the transition from Pitta to Vata in a woman’s life. If you already suffer from Vata imbalances you should follow a Vata pacifying diet, which is recommend though for every woman facing menopause. The body has to be well-nourished with a special regard to essential fat in order to combat Vata’s dryness.

Vata is balanced by a diet of freshly cooked whole foods that are soft or mushy in texture, rich in protein and fat (oily), seasoned with a variety of warming spices (favour sweet, sour and salty), and served warm or hot. These foods calm Vata by lubricating and nourishing the tissues, preserving moisture, and maintaining warmth, all while supporting proper digestion and elimination. A warm breakfast with eggs or boiled cereals with dates and figs and nuts make a fantastic, powerful start of the day. Lunch should be your main meal, look at pulses, wholegrain pasta or rice, enriched with vegetables. Think avocado, fatty fish, buttermilk, cheese… Dinner should be small, but warming and hearty. A carrot soup with some added spice, sweet potatoes  – let your fantasy move. All meals should be eaten in a calm environment, enjoying your food and the nourishment that it brings you.

Regular exercise is crucial, it prevents the loss of bone density and excessive weight-gain that can occur in these years and keep your cardiovascular system healthy. Add weight-bearing exercise to strengthen the skeletal system. Yoga and meditation calm your mind and eliminate uncomfortable menopausal symptoms. At the same time yoga is important for maintaining a flexible body and strong bones.

There are some herbs, which can help you through the time: Shatavari (which anyway is THE herb for any woman) as well as Vidari are the two most beneficial herbs. They contain phytoestrogens and thus help to balance the deficiencies in your changing body. Brahmi and Purnavara more work on the psychological side, calming the mind. These herbs strengthen your body and balance its functions.

Most important thing is to not see menopause as an illness at whatever age it may occur, but to enjoy your wisdom, your beautiful body and your self-conscience. Maybe you like this quote of Florence King, I do:

 

“A woman must wait for her ovaries to die before she can get her rightful personality back. Post-menstrual is the same as pre-menstrual; I am once again what I was before the age of twelve: a female human being who knows that a month has thirty day, not twenty-five, and who can spend every one of them free of the shackles of that defect of body and mind known as femininity.” (Florence King)

Healthy life – glutenfree nutrition

Good morning to my readers!

This morning I want to write about gluten. It is in everyone’s mouth – haha, small joke – since there is an increasing number of people who suffer from gluten intolerance – which once again is one of our modern times “illnesses”, caused not only by our malnutrition, but also in a great part by the horribly modified agriculture and food we are eating. Intolerances can be eliminated through a special dieting method.

In the meantime so, I would like to take a quick look into the matter. Gluten is a substance composed by proteins of the prolamine and gluteline group and are found in most grains. To be more precise, gluten is created when the grains are getting wet and processed. This allows a dough to become elastic.

Grains 1What is so unhealthy about gluten? The problem is that gluten increases the permeability of the intestine and can create inflammations since it interacts with the lymphatic system. In case of a gluten intolerance the intestinal mucus reacts with inflammation to the consumption of regular grain products. Researchers – and I agree – assume that an intestine, which is optimally maintained with a respective good amount of healthy bacteria will never have any problem with gluten. Symptoms vary, depending on the level of intolerance. Some people just feel “uneasy” after the consumption of grain products, others have to vomit, feel pain, get diarrhea or worse reactions of the immune system.

What do I do if I show symptoms? If your symptoms are severe, go and see a doctor, if possible a Homeopath or Naturopath. You may get the advice to eliminate grain products completely. There are though methods seldomly considered through which gluten can be decomposed nearly completely. Preparation methods like soaking, germination or fermentation eliminate the contained anti-nutriants and toxins. There is nothing basically wrong with grain, but there is a long story behind it, which would lead too far to explain it here, but if you are interested in the history of grain have a look here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbBURnqYVzw. Grain does not equal grain, there is a lot you have to learn about it. Fact is that in our modern times we tend too eat far too many grain products and overload ourselves with carbohydrates in general. We can do with much less. The so praised minerals and vitamins that are supposedly be found in grain are found in much higher quantities in fruits, vegetables, nuts and meat. 

Be attentive! It is not only the grain in its physical form that you put on your plate in form of a pancake or a piece of bread. There are many many products, which contain amounts of grain, even where you had never guessed! So be aware, be conscious, think about what you eat and why you eat it. Reduce the amount of carbohydrates and fill the vacuum with fresh fruits and vegetables from organic agriculture. Eat local and seasonal.

Now here in Italy for example you get violet savoy – wonderful looking and super tasty – and all kinds of cabbages, which are extremely nutritious. Pair it with pulses and there you have your fibre. No need for pasta or bread.

If you eat animal products only buy high quality ones. It does pay off. And just think about the taste…it does make such a difference.

Avoid sugar, grain and low quality plant fat (c0rn oil for example, even soya oil is not so unproblematic). Check your consumption of dairy products – reduce it if neccessary.

There is a wide range of recipes if you want to eat gluten free. Just go to your local book shop, they will have what you need.

Get inventive, “play” with your food! There are so many possibilities…oven roasted vegetables with Balsamico cream, Sicilian caponata, vegetarian dishes with organic eggs, smoked fish with vegetables, grated cauliflower can be used to make a dough, sweet potatoes are extremely nutritious and offer all possibilities from soups to chips, eat avocados…and and and. And it is not always very time consuming to prepare some healthy, grain free food.

Have a look at this wonderful recipe for Whole Grain Gluten Free Bread Rolls: http://www.gluten-free-vegan-girl.com/2013/09/whole-grain-gluten-free-bread-rolls.html.

 

CLGF_Gluten-FreeKitchen