Menopausal Madness & the Working Woman

I always wondered why women would take Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) especially when all the news linking it to the development of cancers started arising (see link below). That is until changing my bed linen became a daily occurrence and the slightly strange moods morphed into feelings of being overwhelmed or disengaged and unmotivated, we won’t even discuss the bizarre feelings of anxiety! I have always prided myself on being a strong woman that will always step up to the plate when needed. I am the person who makes the hard decisions. I’m the person the family calls on for answering questions like “should we turn off the life support”. Serious. That’s me. I’m the Aunty people call when there is a problem that needs a person who can act sensibly and responsibly under pressure. Not to mention being the super-organised one at work who just rolls up her sleeves and gets on with it. Now I find myself with eye leakage at cute puppy and kitten memes. As I dragged my jumper off for the nth time yesterday, I wondered how professional me would be coping.

Currently I have the luxury of working from home and videoing in for meetings. During my last face to face meeting I was only having slightly warm flushes of an evening. Now the most recent ones are noticeable. So, how does the professional woman manage, in a room full of clients, peers and subordinates to not rip off her shirt and madly fan herself with the most recent financial report? How do you deal with brain fog? What are the alternatives to HRT? Because, I have to say that a couple of days ago if I was working in a corporate environment I would have considered it.

When I went to the TCM Dr she commented that “I’ve caught it early”. This means in terms of treatment my menopausal symptoms will respond better. I now have 15 little black ball shaped pills to take twice a day and acupuncture once a week till I get some balance back. Given I am a holistic health coach myself, I understand that unlike harsh Western medicine, I will not see immediate results. I am also a firm believer in not trying multiple therapies at once, so I am not trying any essential oil or homeopathic treatments; as yet. But I can assure you that at 3am, with zero sleep and another flaming hot wave sweeping through my body I could easily set aside my do no harm principals and eat the heart of a frog, or drink the urine of the endangered long-eared bat! And, and this is an important AND, I am NOT having severe symptoms, not only am I in the early stages, my  plant-based (mostly organic) eating habits mean that I am less exposed to hormones and chemicals in the food chain.

I have been doing a bit of research. By this I mean I activated the female friendship tree and got some tips. I have heard that I should wear waterproof makeup that allows you to sweat, no ladylike glow here, or where no makeup at all, or get your eyebrows and eyelashes tinted (something I already did until my recent accidental conversion to plant-based eating). Put a bundle of tissues in each armpit and leave your jacket on during meetings. Keep a diary to see if you can time the flushes and only schedule meetings when you think you won’t have one (can you imagine what that notation would like it in your diary? 9am Meeting with CFO, 9.45am Hot flush …). Drink as much water as possible. Avoid eating foods that cause your body to smell when it is sweating. In fact, try and avoid altogether because apparently you can just get smelly. Oh, and one last one, always wear at least a panty liner, because minor incontinence is also on the cards. Menopause Australia list 34 symptoms of menopause and peri-menopause. If you weren’t depressed at the thought of menopause, read the list, I promise you will be at least sad and apprehensive. On the upside, you will be informed and better able to manage and make tough decisions.

On a professional note, I recommend being open, whilst you don’t have to discuss each and every symptom, which would also be tactless, you can do what I do, drag out my trusty fan and fan myself. I say nothing unless someone looks at me questioningly, at which point I simply say “that time of life” and move on. You will also be surprised at how accommodating men of your age group and older are. It appears that as we get older there are less and less social taboos. I had a man at the airport the other night regaling me with stories about his wife’s flushes and how he often ended up on the couch!

On a further professional note, it is worth your while to be familiar with these symptoms as we all manage or work with a diversely aged population. To date I have worked with: women going through IVF and men whose partners were; colleagues with children and with children facing difficulties; women going through “the change”; and people my age and older dealing with becoming grandparents (sometimes very unexpectedly) and often at the same time becoming the carer for an elderly parent. All these outside engagements can affect performance. To keep employees productive we need to be understanding and able to provide a flexible and harmonious workplace. Who knows, it might be you who needs a special consideration one day!

After my meditation retreat I will be recommencing my martial arts training. I am hoping that meditation and the discipline of martial arts will assist me in regaining and retaining my focus and sharp thinking.

Some further reading on menopause…

Menopause Centre Australia: http://menopausecentre.com.au/menopause-symptoms-index

Cancer Research UK http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/hormones-and-cancer/hrt-and-cancer

A little happy note from me…

I wish that all of you whose meanderings in the Red Dust have brought you to the menopausal stage of your journey are able to embrace it as the next big adventure. I personally am looking forward to seeing how the way I view and respond to the world changes. And while I probably can’t dance like I used to (in fact, after my nieces 21st recently, I know I can’t), there is always a dance to be found! So I will continue wandering my Red Dust Way and hope I can bring you some wisdom from my menopausal journey.

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The mind-stomach connection

This article expresses so much of what I have believed for a long long time. It is interesting to note that, in some cultures, the stomach also used to be the love muscle, not the heart. I have been sticking to a very good health protocol and ignoring my bodies signals. I.e., demands for a certain combination of foods. So engrossed was I in completing this protocol to the letter, especially as I had received and enjoyed so many benefits, like being candida balanced, that I didn’t listen until I came down with a head cold. Now I am looking at my fridge, garden and pantry and listening to what my gut is telling me to eat. I mean really listening! And the result, I am functioning, yes, I am sleeping longer than normal, but I am managing the heavy workload at this end of the academic trimester.

I am also only needing the lightest of interventions in terms of controlling the sneezing. I believe the body sneezes for a reason so I am using my Himalyan Rock Salt inhaler to support my sinuses, gargling in salt water three times a day for my throat, and having lots n lots of healthy veggies. If I do have to venture out near other people I am using a natural “old-fashioned” rememdy, some eucalyptus oil in a steam inhaler, and a dab of eucalyptus oil on my shirt collars to stop the sneezing, or HAR-PA-CHOOOOING!! I also have an old school stainless steel inhaler that carries a cloth soaked in camphor and eucalyptus oils. I also add a dab of lavendar oil onto each side of my throat. I find it lifts my mood and helps me to be pleasant. (Please note, I am not an aromatherapist and am only learning about essential oils in a broader scheme, there may be much better solutions available, I am just using the die hards I learnt from my granddad).

The overall combination is that I am quite comfortably shaking off a mild cold as opposed to a year ago when I would have been bedridden and suffering for days and using all sorts of nasty over the counter remedies to get myself back to work before I was physically fit to do so. Not to mention the damage of suppressing coughs and sneezes and leaving all the dead pathogens in my body for my already toxic body to clean out. Yuk!

PS, my normally healthy as a horse partner has come down like a bag of bricks. He is insisting on eating crap, like a frozen, microwave reheated meat pie, and strangely enough … He Is Not Getting Better! As the only nutrition coach in the house I am pulling rank and making a beautiful vegan organic stock and using that as a base for a warming minestrone until he gets better. Maybe, just maybe, he will listen to his body more and learn to ignore his cravings. 🙂

For those of you heading into winter, stay warm, stay healthy, and eat well. For my Northern Hemisphere followers, embrace Spring! Walk barefoot on the grass, dance in the sun, breathe breathe breathe fresh air, and eat a high raw organic plant based diet to see you sailing through Spring, Summer and Autumn (Fall) and have you prepared, and strong, for a healthy Winter.

**LoveAndLight**

http://psychologyofeating.com/the-brain-in-the-belly/

There is NO magic pill!!

My recent red dust wanderings have seen me lose about 20 kilos in weight. I didn’t starve myself and I didn’t exercise like an olympic athlete. In fact, the most I would do in the beginning was a gentle 20 minutes on a mini-trampoline in front of the TV. I do none now but I walk more often and am more active generally so I manage about 5000 steps a day. So many people have commented on how well I look and want to know my “secret”. They are so disappointed when I tell them. Most are  expecting some gimmicky magic diet pill that allows them to keep eating the same and behaving the same. So here’s the bald truth. I chose to follow a plant-based eating lifestyle. That’s it!

I confess to being an accidental vegan. I wasn’t motivated by the wholesale abuse of animal rights, nor was I inspired as to this being an appropriate lifestyle for my spiritual beliefs. Rather, I had become so ill that I could barely keep anything other than soy/almond milk or vegetables down. Despite the nausea I didn’t lose any weight. So I decided to step up and commit to taking charge of my health. I decided to practice being vegan for six months and see what would happen. A friend of mine put me in touch with a great vegan program as I was nervous I would end up malnourished and hungry. Never been healthier, happier or fuller. When I was on the formal program I struggled some days to eat the allocated food. And, yes I did a juice fast. Ten fabulous days. Four litres of the most beautiful tasting organic juices (except the cabbage juice!) plus a fabulous detox drink every day. I’m planning a 60 day fast for September.

Did I have detox symptoms you ask? Well there’s the kicker. I had a guaranteed way to relive the symptoms … organic coffee enemas. Yes! You heard correctly, coffee enemas. I was shocked at first too but quickly mastered the art. Well, there were a few accidents along the way, but I kept my sense of humour. You need to when you are placing a hose connected to a litre of coffee to a place where the sun doesn’t shine.

I became so happy with my lifestyle that I have thrown in my career as an Analyst and am studying to be a Health and Nutrition coach and learning some other healing techniques along the way.

If you are thinking of making some changes I strongly urge you to follow a plan or get some good vegan cooking books from the library or the bookstore. One I love in particular is Oh! She Glows! A great cookbook, filled with scrumptious recipes that turn out exactly as they should. Each recipe comes with a great allergen guide as well.

Some pointers about my plant-based eating lifestyle, no animal products at all, this includes dairy and eggs, no gluten, no peanuts, and wherever possible, I choose organic produce. There are some vegetables that are so laden in pesticides, let alone genetically modified that I won’t eat at all. We are lucky here in Australia but if you can, buy organic. I also don’t drink alcohol, but there are organic wines and beers on the market now and the key to all things is moderation.

Lastly, some people find that making gentler changes works for them. I’m an all or nothing kind of person, but I do think that you can make small changes like changing your portions. Rather than committing to a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, commit to ahealthier you and your family. Make meat the smallest portion on your plate and coloured vegetables the largest portion. Try scrambled eggs on a bed of spinach instead of three pieces of toast and cut out the bacon. Try a couple of vegetarian dishes each week. Who knows, you might like them. And, simplest of all, grab and apple instead of the chips.

A couple of blogs you might enjoy.

http://ohsheglows.com/

http://rawganicvegan.com/

Happy meanderings my fellow Red Dust Wanderers

My favourite vegan salad

I have only been vegan for half a year and I am loving it. The food is so tasty and filling that I never miss my old SAD ways of eating. The added loss of 17 kilos is also a nice bonus.  So I wanted to share one of my favourite recipes I discovered on my recent vegan wanderings. Have a wonderful day and for those celebrating Easter, I hope you have a great family day with lots of fun for the kids.

http://rawganicvegan.com/vegan-caesar-salad-maple-garlic-roasted-chickpeas/