If the most important “lifestyle pillar” to feel good each day is the amount and type of sleep you get the night before, the second most important must be what you eat, drink, and choose to partake in nutritionally. For lack of a better term I’m calling it INTERNAL NOURISHMENT. I didn’t come up with it, I read a chapter about this in Radical Beauty (the same book my GGS – Glowing Green Smoothie comes from, which is old, so look for it secondhand 😉) and I liked the sound of it. And so, I’m making it the number 2 pillar of my own #feelgoodplan. A plan that has me notating the touchpoints in my lifestyle that keep me feeling light, energised and on an even keel while I navigate these mid life years and beyond.
But first, my DISCLAIMER: I am by no means medically trained. And I would always recommend you visit your GP or specialist before embarking on any nutritional or supplemental changes. I visit mine regularly, and did back in July. I had a physical including my full bloodwork done. I actually do this every year as a preventative. (Although I’m going back early November to follow up on my Calcium and Iron – both of which I was instructed to take as supplements 😉). That said, this makes my #feelgoodplan purely personal, and I’m simply writing down what I have done and am doing to feel better, during perimenopause.
We all know that what we eat effects us physically. It shows in our ability of sleep, our energy levels, how our skin and hair looks and how our clothes fit. But what I’m really interested in is how it affects my mood. The Gut-Mind Connection. And what I have discovered is that when I pay particular attention to that connection, it tells me when what I eat makes me feel good and when I feel blah ! So thanks to this plan of mine, I’m finally writing down what I find works for me. Let’s call it (thanks to Sheri Salata from the no longer podcast The Sheri and Nancy Show – which I sorely miss!) creating a ”feel good recipe” for my own life. And as I run through mine, please think about your own….
I am a vegetarian. Eating animals isn’t my thing. I am not a Vegan but eating plants makes me feel great! Especially the home grown organic type (thanks Dad 🙏🏻). I get the connection between man and the earth, the care and time involved in the planting and growing, and looking at it this way, instantly makes me feel good! (Bring on my move to a small cottage by the sea with kitchen garden 😉) So it’s what I go with! But in perimenopause, I’m aware that increasing my phytoestrogens (plant oestrogen) intake can only benefit my own hormonal loss during this stage, so I try to include these as often as I can. My faves being tofu, soy milk, quinoa, LSA, and chickpeas. Which means for brunch, which I usually eat mid to late morning, (after my walk) in addition to my usual three veggies and eggs, I’ll add seeds and nuts in some form. This is by far my favourite meal of the day….probably because its when I’m most hungry. While TRE (time restricted eating) or IF (intermittent fasting) is something I try to do, I’m not extreme and find an 8am to 7pm eating window works for me naturally.
I then usually have a smoothie (the GGS – with an added nutritional benefit of a GLOW supplement) and a protein ball or slice mid afternoon ( please see Emma Bardwell’s recipes below). As I am a recovering sugar addict, the choc on top was my idea 😂, but it is 70% dark – I find the Lindt Smooth Blend the best. Eating these curb my desire for the over processed alternatives that I occasionally when tired or stressed.
In fact, I’ve let go of a lot of processed foods over the last 5 years and my mind and body thank me for it everyday. I love this quote from Amelia Freer’s “Cook. Nourish. Glow.” It’s an older book, so again you could probably find it secondhand.
And then dinner is usually early, focusing again on plants and oestrogen rich foods. My kids laugh at me saying eating at 5 or 6pm is for oldies 😂 little do they realise its a perimenopausal superpower! In fact WHEN you eat is just as important, perhaps even more so, than WHAT you eat. Its all about circadian rhythm and I can’t recommend Dr Satchin Panda’s book on this subject enough! My main aim in navigating this second half of my life is to eat less and lighter as it’s my belief it will age me well 😊
Another perimenopausal superpower is to cut down on alcohol and caffeine. Which, fortunately doesn’t affect me, as I haven’t had either for years. No alcohol for nearly 19 years or coffee for almost 11 or is it 12… 🦸🏼♀️ But what I really need to focus on is my water intake. It’s so easy for me to forget this simple feel good tip. So I’ve reintroduced an old habit and am now starting my day with hot water and lemon. It hydrates me first thing, aids my digestion (I don’t have any reflux issues) and extends my IF until my first cup of tea (low caffeine with soy milk). Water and tea, thats pretty much me 😉
Which brings me to supplements. Something that should be taken with expert advice. And often hours apart from each other and sometimes with or without food to increase their absorption. There is a mine field of info out there, and there are side effects to all, so I’m not going to go into everything I take or in what dose. However, I did mention in my last blog that I found Evening Primrose Oil beneficial to relieving my night sweats. And since they have gone away for the moment, I’ve stopped taking them. (EPO, I’ve read, can thin the blood, should not be taken two weeks before a general anaesthetic and should not be taken by people with seizure disorders – which reinforces the importance of taking it under supervision). The other supplement I mentioned taking was a powder that I add to my GGS. It’s called GLOW. It was recommended to me by a friend who had noticed an improvement in her hair (among other things) while on it. And since my hair is definitely thinning thanks to perimenopause, I bought some. I’m currently taking it every second day until I see my Doctor next month. So watch this space…
And that ladies, pretty much sums up my own “internal nourishment” plan . Do I follow this perfectly? No 😬and everyday? No 😬 but I try, I’m only human and often fall off, however, it’s just so great knowing what I can do to get back to feeling fab again. If the only thing you get from this is to look at your own lifestyle and think of ways you can improve it to ”feel good” that’s fantastic! Because that’s what I’m all about.