Is the Paleo Diet good for menopause?
I realize starting out with this post there are likely to be many who DISAGREE with what I'm going to say.
I do NOT believe there is one best diet for everyone. Just like everything else, diet needs to be customized to your body.
But there is enough value here, and enough interest in the question of the Paleo diet for menopause, I wanted to share some suggestions for how to go about figuring out what part of Paleo might be helpful for YOU.
For example: I had a student in my online program who came to me because she was having trouble - and I mean trouble losing weight during menopause.
She was so determined to lose the weight she was eating 3 small - very calorie controlled meals - per day, no snacks, and doing a 60 minute high-intensity cardio class 5 days a week.
She figured that would do it for sure - but what happened?
She kept slowly gaining weight.
Seriously. She was like - OK what more could I possibly do??!!
I had her make some changes I knew would help tweak her hormones & brain chemistry to dial up her metabolism.
They included eating more and exercising less. And sure enough, she started steadily dropping pounds.
So the good news-bad news here is that you can lose weight during menopause
- AND it might be easier than you thing (if you're smart about it)
- BUT - the strategies you used for weight loss when you were younger might not work. You might need something new.
And yes - one strategy that is often helpful for many women is eating a diet lower in carbohydrates. So that would be a more paleo-style diet than what you have been eating.
But I can also tell you (from personal experience) that eating a diet too low in carbs or a diet without any grains for too long can seriously backfire in terms of how your brain and mood are feeling.
The really low carb or grain free diets usually feels great at first... Then somewhere around 30-90 days, for many women something will shift and it doesn't feel quite as good anymore. That's when you have to start finding YOUR best level of carbs and grains, which is often higher than a pure paleo or diet, but not as quite as high as a typical - or even a typical "healthy" or typical "healthy vegetarian" diet.
The amount of carbs that's best for your brain, mood, and metabolism has a lot to do with your blood sugar and your individual metabolism and digestive health. There's just no one answer that works across the board.
But low-ER carb? Paleo inspired? Absolutely a good thing for most women once they hit midlife.
So - let's talk about what this means in terms of how you can take advantage of it for your hormones, blood sugar, inflammation levels, and metabolism
The Menopause Diet: What Your Diet Needs To Do For Your Hormones During Menopause
How diet fits into your overall menopause strategy
Some women sail through menopause with little to no discomforts and feel great and look great afterwards. Those women are genetically blessed!
But for the majority of us, our bodies need some extra help to feel well during and after menopause.
After working with women in menopause for over 20 years - here's what I find works:
- The right diet sets the stage in your body for you to feel well through menopause
- Once the stage is set you can get big changes, and big relief using customized herbal remedies or HRT. I find customized herbs are THE most powerful natural, targeted, customized remedy you can use to manage menopause challenges as they arise.
The right diet sets the stage for hormonal balance in menopause by providing:
#1: Hormonal building blocks
It gets harder for your body to continue to make hormones as you pass through menopause and into post-menopause. But it's not impossible! Even when your ovaries slow down your body can use other glands to make female hormones (cool right?)
But it helps to do EVERYTHING possible to make it easier for the body to make those hormones.
One of the ways we can do this is by making sure we're getting lots of hormonal building blocks in our diet.
For instance: Regularly including healthy fats like seeds, avocados, or olive oil is key for giving the body the raw material it needs to make hormones (hormones are made of fat!)
For a full breakdown on the main building blocks to include in your diet grab my free hormone balancing smoothie recipe - it includes all this info in detail - get it at www.danalavoielac.com/smoothie
#2 Detox nutrients
It's not as obvious or talked about as often - but it's as important during menopause to help the body balance hormone levels as it is to maintain hormone levels. And for this the body needs to be able to detoxify hormones and other waste products when needed.
Keeping the detoxification pathways open and the liver functioning well is one of the KEYS to happy hormones during and after menopause.
Vegetables (partly because they include plenty of fiber,) enough water, and menopause-specific superfoods like broccoli sprouts are a great way to get in detox nutrients.
#3 A cool, alkaline environment in the body
Trying to tame hot flashes in a body that is acidic and inflamed is like trying to put out a fire in the desert. It's SO much easier in an alkaline, anti-inflammatory environment.
One of the easiest ways to support this is by including a large enough percentage of vegetables in your diet. Yup. Those 8 - 15 servings a day are more important now than EVER before.
Where the Paleo Diet Fits Into Menopause
It's common for insulin sensitivity to change during menopause - and not in the good way. This means it's easier to experience high or irregular blood sugar. Often the best thing for this is to eat less sugar and less carbohydrates. A Paleo diet can help here because it's sugar free and very low carb.
HOWEVER, I find that many women feel GREAT on a a paleo diet the first month... But by the third month start feeling not so great. It can be because being that low-carb and totally grain free is a great cleanse but not the best long-term strategy.
So while most women in menopause do well on low sugar and low-ish carb diet - the key is finding the level of carbs and grains between full Paleo something more than that that works best for each woman.
I know that if I go too long without eating any grains it affects my mood and ability to reason in a huge way... And that just a little quinoa here and there fixes me right up.
Walk away with this:
If you're struggling with menopause symptoms or weight loss during menopause, consider trying a lower carb, possibly sugar free, paleo-style diet for at least 30 days. I love the Whole 30 diet, because it's Paleo but also removes the most common food allergens.
But don't necessarily stay full Paleo, grain free, or too low carb long term. Want to cut out refined sugar? Go for it (no down side)!
In my experience the majority of women do best with plenty of vegetable carbs AND at least experiment with grains - because often - somewhat limited (but not zero) carbs from grains in the diet feels best in the long run.
What to do now:
Diet is important during menopause - but it's only going to set the stage for feeling great. For many women it's not enough to take them all the way to feeling great.
So put the right diet in place, For help with this grab my smoothie recipe below - it comes with a series of emails on building the best diet for your hormones.
But for the fastest, most complete natural relief from menopause symptoms and signs of aging after menopause...
Consider using a customized herbal remedy. You can learn all about how this works for FREE in my Mini Course - sign up below!
Watch the Herbs for Menopause Mini-Course
Give me 10 minutes, and I'll show you how the hormonal puzzle fits together, so you can handle any menopausal symptom that appears with safe, natural herbal remedies.
Ready to start feeling better? Let me help with these Free Resources
Level 1: Take An Easy First Step
Level 2: Get The Biggest Results
MY HORMONE-BALANCING SMOOTHIE RECIPE & DIET TIPS
SAVE YOUR SEAT IN THE NEXT LIVE MASTERCLASS
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This information is being provided to you for educational and informational purposes only. It is being provided to you to educate you about Chinese medicine in your diet, lifestyle, and supplements and as a self-help tool for your own use. It is not personalized health advice. This information is to be used at your own risk based on your own judgment. For my full Disclaimer, please go to https://danalavoielac.com/disclaimer-2/