Menopause Relief

March 6, 2021

Two nutritionists are sharing their first (and second, third and on!) steps to combat hot flashes, weight gain (especially weight around the middle), sleep issues, anxiety and the list goes on. You can find relief, start with step one – reduce foods containing carbs. Listen in for more steps and the why behind them.

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Transcript:

MELANIE: Good morning listeners; all of you joining us today. And welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. I'm Melanie Beasley and I'm a Registered and Licensed Dietitian and I'm in studio with Kara Carper today. It's been a long time, Kara.

KARA: I know. It's great to see you in person finally.

MELANIE: Yes. And you're a Certified Nutrition Specialist and a Licensed Nutritionist. And today we'll be discussing menopause symptoms and how you can get relief from them.

KARA: Mel, I have an interesting statistic to share with our listeners. I think you already know this statistic. But it's predicted that in the next few years there will be over a billion; yes, I said a billion women experiencing menopause. And that's globally; 12% of the world's population. That's a really high number and they say that's, that’s suspected to happen by the year 2025.

MELANIE: Wow.

KARA: So if you are in perimenopause, if you're in menopause or even if you're post-menopausal, and if you're trying to cope with some of those unpleasant symptoms, just remember you are definitely not alone. And maybe your neighbor is also going through menopause. It could be that you're checking out groceries and the person checking you out is struggling with hot flashes or night sweats. Maybe it's your own medical doctor who's experiencing similar reactions. You know, menopause is experienced by all women across races, across cultures and across economic resources and different jobs and careers.

MELANIE: Across the room. I can remember being in a small group study with a Bible study with a group, and there were three of us going through it at the same time. And, we all had little hair binders on our wrists, so you could throw your hair off and unzip your jacket.

KARA: That’s a telltale sign.

MELANIE: Telltale sign. So if you consider some of the more common symptoms of menopause, such as these hot flashes, sleep problems, weight gain, and mood swings, fatigue, or depression, ask yourself, “Am I experiencing any of these?” I forgot to mention some other symptoms: anxiety, vaginal dryness, dry skin, wrinkles, and decreased libido.

KARA: And a very common complaint we hear from women going through menopause is, “I am gaining weight, especially around my midsection. And I'm exercising more. I'm eating less. But the numbers on the scale just aren't going down.” And so weight gain, especially that weight gain around the midsection; it's a complex condition. There's really not just one answer to that, to that challenge. And later in the show, we’re going to give quite a few nutritional practices to follow that have worked for a lot of folks. But first we're going to dive a little bit deeper into talking about hot flashes and night sweats.

MELANIE: And those go hand in hand with insomnia. So…

KARA: They do.

MELANIE: I mean, when you're that hot, you’re throwing the covers off. You're waking up. But before we move on to discuss possible solutions for hot flashes, for those of you who have gained some weight, I just want to assure you that 70% of women in menopause experience weight gain.

KARA: Right. And so, again, you're not alone. And that's why in the second half of the show, we're going to give a lot of tips for that one.

MELANIE: Yes. And in clinic sometimes when I'm talking to clients, they'll say it was right around menopause. “I just started putting on weight. I don't know what happened to my body.” But let's get back to what you can do about hot flashes. Again, you're not alone because about three-fourths of women in menopause experience hot flashes. And we have actually worked with a few women who have as many as 15 to 20 hot flashes a day. That was me about every 30 minutes.

KARA: Whoa.

MELANIE: Although it was typically one to three hot flashes per day, if you're one of the “lucky ones”. I was definitely the 15 to 20 range and I learned to dress in quickly removable layers; nothing I had to pull over my head. I mean, I did it for 10 years. It was crazy.

KARA: Wow. That sounds, I am not there yet, but that sounds really challenging. Well, so what is the first step for reducing those hot flashes? We have what we call a hot flash prevention plan. And the first step is to reduce foods containing processed carbohydrates. Some people actually refer to these as white carbohydrates. Have you heard that, Mel?

MELANIE: I haven't been, I've heard of the white flour, white sugar.

KARA: White flour, white sugar, because a lot of these processed carbohydrates, the ingredients are going to be, you know, sugar, flour, maybe some corn or potato or rice based ingredients. But if you think about it, they do tend to be white; foods, such as cereal, bagels, bread, muffins, chips, crackers; things like that. So instead of focusing on carbohydrates that are flour and sugar-based, we suggest reducing those and adding in other carbohydrates. And other great carbohydrates that are not going to spike our blood sugar are vegetables.

MELANIE: Yes.

KARA: You know, all kinds of vegetables. So think about what your favorite vegetables are, whether that's spinach in your omelet, some broccoli, peppers, Brussels sprouts; there are so many great choices. And you know, you might have to get creative and figure out how can I prepare vegetables so that they're more appealing or tasty. You know, there's roasting. There's sautéing. There are all kinds of great ways. You can use a nice full fat dip. However you can get those veggies in. That's really going to help with reducing those hot flashes is getting out the processed carbs and adding in the vegetable carbohydrates.

MELANIE: Absolutely. And I am a big believer in at least three cups of cruciferous vegetables a day. So many times I start a smoothie with frozen broccoli and cauliflower florets as my ice in my smoothie.

KARA: That's a great idea. And then you get that kind of frozen consistency.

MELANIE: Yes. I mean, for those of you that are blanching out there, while you're listening, I challenge you to start with just one, put it in there a little trepidatiously and blender it and see what you think.

KARA: Cauliflower is a great place to start too. You know, whether it's frozen, the florets, or I actually put a cup of riced frozen cauliflower into my smoothie and you, I mean that you really can't even taste; maybe put a cup of berries with that.

MELANIE: And you feel a little righteous starting your morning with vegetables. And this may be a big step for you, but would you be willing to give up your morning muffin to have fewer hot flashes? So think about that. Your relief is everything. It may be hard, but it may be well worth it for you if you no longer need to throw off your jacket or step out onto the deck to cool off or plaster yourself to your sliding door. I've done that many a time.

KARA: You know, it, you're right. It's so worth it to take that leap, even if it might be a big step for folks to, to get rid of their muffin and switch to protein and healthy fat and a veggie breakfast, but the benefits are well worth it. And oftentimes when women in menopause eat these processed carbs, what happens is they experience a blood sugar spike. And that's when the hot flashes and night sweats can occur. So here's another example: having something like, you had said the muffin, but maybe it's cereal for breakfast. Within an hour, you likely are going to be having some hot flashes. Maybe this happens in the afternoon and you know, you're hungry and you didn't pack lunch and you, you grab a soda and a small bag of M&M's from the vending machine. And then shortly after you're experiencing more hot flashes. It could be that this occurs after work. You have a long day, whether you're working at home or working going into an office. You come home, you're starving. Instead of like preparing a healthy snack or working on dinner, you have a glass of wine and a few crackers. Next thing you know, you're having hot flashes and night sweats once you lay down and try to go to sleep.

MELANIE: All night long.

KARA: So it's that type of, you know, sugar and carbohydrate, even caffeinated foods and alcohol that can really exacerbate those hot flashes and night sweats. And I do have a client or a story that I'd like to share, but we're going to take our first break here. And you're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. And if you didn't hear the intro, my name is Kara Carper. I'm a Licensed Nutritionist and I'm co-hosting today with Melanie Beasley, who's a dietitian. And our discussion is on “Nutritional Solutions for Menopausal Symptoms”. And we'll be back in just a moment.

BREAK

MELANIE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. You know, when our clients start perimenopause, one of the first symptoms many of our clients have is having sleep problems. Quite often they can fall asleep, but they cannot stay asleep through the night. Sleepless nights are a common sign of perimenopause and menopause, and post-menopause. A nutrition solution that has helped many women is to eat a snack at bedtime. No, not popcorn. That's white too, Kara. But perhaps half of an apple with two tablespoons of peanut butter or half a cup of organic blueberries with heavy cream. So stay tuned because we will share additional sleep solutions. But when we left, you were going to tell us about a story about your mother-in-law.

KARA: I was. So Cheryl, if you're listening, well, I did get permission. First of all, I don't, I don't use personal names unless I've run it by the person in advance. But you know, my mother-in-law is in menopause and she, you know, there, because of hormone-based cancer, there's a lot of things that she can't take. So she does struggle with hot flashes and night sweats. But she's definitely noticed that there are just certain triggers that will make them worse, whether it's during the day, but even more specifically at night with those night sweats. And it could just be as simple as half a glass of wine, you know, the more wine, probably the worse they would be. But it can just be a small amount of alcohol, especially in…

MELANIE: I hear that in clinic so much.

KARA: Yes. That does seem to be a really big trigger for people. Also coffee she had mentioned, because if you think about it, these are both things that would make the blood sugar kind of go up and down. And it's the up and down blood sugars really that make these hot flashes and night sweats worse.

MELANIE: Yeah, absolutely.

KARA: So just, yeah, avoiding things like that. I know she's got a few other things as well that are triggers, but those were some of the big ones. So, so listeners, if you are, you know, a coffee drinker, wine drinker, it's really worth it to reduce that; maybe even completely cut it out if you're struggling with hot flashes and night sweats.

MELANIE: Or if you're like me, I just went to decaf.

KARA: Right. Yeah. That's a great option too; or just, you know, an herbal tea; anything that's not going to have that caffeine.

MELANIE: That spikes that blood sugar. I would, yeah. I'd have my coffee every morning I remember, and just immediately: hot flash. I used to carry an ice pack in the pocket of my robe in the morning to slap on my neck. So now you know what not to eat, but what should you eat to avoid those night sweats? My favorite night time snack is a half a cup of organic blueberries with a half an avocado that I cut into cubes. I like the cold blueberries and I balance them with the avocado, which is a really wonderful, healthy fat. So some of my clients cut a green apple in half and then slice that into thin slices and top it with some organic cream cheese and a little sprinkle of cinnamon. Yum! It's so delicious and more importantly, it balances your blood sugar through the night.

KARA: That does sound delicious. I haven't tried that combination. Now, let's just specify what kind of cream cheese. We're talking a full fat, right?

MELANIE: A full fat.

KARA: Not a low fat or not a fat-free cream cheese.

MELANIE: Absolutely.

KARA: Because it's the healthy fat and all those examples that you gave, those great bedtime snacks, that will help to balance out and stabilize that blood sugar to prevent the blood sugar spikes and crashes that caused those night sweats.

MELANIE: So some of our listeners that can't tolerate dairy, which is also me, so what I do a lot of times is I will “blend-orize” a can of full fat coconut milk. And I put either almond extract or vanilla extract in it. I sweeten it with stevia, put it in the refrigerator and it stays blended and it doesn't separate. And that makes a wonderful dip for those apple slices as well.

KARA: That sounds great. Is it almost like a whipping cream consistency, but dairy free?

MELANIE: But dairy free.

KARA: That's a great suggestion. Well, we know that a number of our clients control their hot flashes and night sweats simply by cutting out some of these processed carbohydrates and also things, cutting out things like the high sugar coffee drink or the nightly glass of wine. And so that, of course that is our first recommendation is really to just focus on what are your food choices? What are your beverage choices? And making some of those changes is often time, that's what's going to reduce the flashes and night sweats without taking any more steps. But there are some women who need to take additional steps. And so we suggest using natural progesterone cream. Natural progesterone cream helps reduce the frequency and the, you know, the number of hot flashes and the severity of hot flashes for many women.

MELANIE: It can be very calming and also help with sleep. So it's, it works all the way around with sleep. It works with hot flashes and it's very calming. So…

KARA: Right. It is a calming hormone.

MELANIE: Very calming hormone. In Dr. Christiane Northrup's book, The Wisdom of Menopause, she recommends using natural progesterone for controlling hot flashes. Natural progesterone has been used for over 70 years with no negative side effects and no increased risk of cancer that has been reported. So a brand of natural progesterone cream that we have found to be very effective is called Pro-gest. The recommended dosage is a fourth of a teaspoon applied to an area of thin skin on your body. So you can apply the progesterone cream to the inner part of your arm, your wrists, or over your thyroid area, on your neck, inner thigh, tummy. And it's a very effective transdermal delivery. Progesterone is the calming hormone and it helps with sleep, supports libido and it's safe.

KARA: Right. And the, the amounts in that Pro-gest; it's not a high dose. I mean, that's a very, it's a considered like a very small dose.

MELANIE: And I believe it's made from natural yams.

KARA: Yes, yes.

MELANIE: So it's, it's not like a bioidentical, it's, you know, it's simply a natural product.

KARA: It's different than, you know, something called progestin, which is the synthetic form. That that would be the one that would be found in birth control and hormone replacement therapies. So it's very different than that. And so here's a very big plus for using natural progesterone cream. Because vaginal dryness is another super common symptom in menopause, and when progesterone cream is applied to any area of thin skin on the body, it can help with that dryness. And another upside to using natural progesterone cream, you don't have to be in menopause to benefit from it. And it can help younger women when they're having menstrual cramps or PMS or mood swings; anything related to the menstrual cycle. It can also be helpful for those experiencing postpartum depression. And of course there are other nutritional solutions if someone's experiencing PMS or postpartum depression, but progesterone cream is a really great place to start. And I shared with Mel prior to the show that I have a daughter who's nine, and I was experiencing postpartum depression. And it was my first and only child. So I don't really think I understood what was happening. You know, when you're in the midst of that, you often don't realize what you're experiencing. But it was a few days after I gave birth. And I was speaking with Dar, the owner of Nutritional Weight and Wellness, on the phone. And I started bawling.

MELANIE: That depression is so debilitating.

KARA: Oh my goodness. I couldn't even have a conversation. And she picked right up on it. She said, “Are you using, do you have any natural progesterone cream?” And I said, no. Well, she had the front desk ship some to my house. I started using it right away. And honestly it was, it changed everything almost immediately.

MELANIE: She's so great.

KARA: So I was so incredibly grateful for that.

MELANIE: And how long did you stay on that?

KARA: You know, I think I just, I finished up that tube and I, I think I got another one and then things had balanced out within a couple of months.

MELANIE: That's a fantastic story. I love that story. So Kara, we started talking about vaginal dryness. So vaginal dryness, which is, you know, the other areas of the body are dry. You're going to, it's going to really show in the vaginal area. And beneficial, natural fat is what hydrates that tissue. And back in the day, when many of us were on a low fat diet thinking it would help us lose weight, we robbed ourselves of natural fat that our entire body needs. And we're no longer able to hydrate the tissue in our eyes, our hair. Our skin gets brittle. Our nails get brittle. So we've got more wrinkles and more and more women complained of that vaginal dryness.

KARA: All right, well, we're going to take a quick break here. And you're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. And a sleep solution I've personally found to be very helpful is supplementing with 400 milligrams of Magnesium Glycinate at bedtime. And Magnesium Glycinate is, it's a very calming mineral that helps to relax your muscles. So we're going to talk more about Magnesium Glycinate when we come back from break and we will let you know what sail we are having on magnesium at our office. We’ll be right back.

BREAK

MELANIE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. I have another sleep tip for women in perimenopause or menopause. At this time in women's lives, they often become deficient in the hormone, progesterone because they no longer ovulate. Adding a small amount of progesterone cream transdermally at bedtime restores that progesterone level in women, and they're able to sleep through the night. So we recommend the brand, Pro-gest. I think you mentioned that earlier, Kara. Because it has, it's been proven to be very effective and safe. So questions about Pro-gest or if you would like to order Pro-gest, call (651) 699-3438, or you can go to weightandwellness.com to read all about it. You can also order Pro-gest online and have it shipped to you. So…

KARA: Yeah, that's such a great option to be able to just go to the Weight and Wellness website. I think you click on products or something like that.

MELANIE: It’s wonderful.

KARA: Yeah. It's so simple. So more on sleep: before break, I had started talking about how Magnesium Glycinate… It's really specifically that glycinate form that is most beneficial for sleep because the glycinate form helps to relax muscles. It also can help your brain to utilize your calming neurotransmitters or your brain chemicals, your happy calming brain chemicals, and that helps sleep through the night. So here is the good news about magnesium. All of our magnesium supplements are 15% off during the month of March. So, if you are having trouble sleeping, now is the time to stock up on that. And like Mel just said, you can do that by going to our website, weightandwellness.com, click on, I guess you click on vitamins or you could call our office: (651) 699-3438. And we can help you out with that order.

MELANIE: It changed my life: magnesium. I had horrible leg cramps; horrible.

KARA: Oh yeah. That's another one. Anything constricted, right, whether it's headaches, migraines, restless legs syndrome, muscle cramps; anything tight and constricted, magnesium will help.

MELANIE: A good absorbable form.

KARA: Exactly.

MELANIE: That doesn’t cause diarrhea; glycinate.

KARA: Right.

MELANIE: Yes.

KARA: So now let's talk, let's kind of jump back into healthy fats and oils. And we, if we were going to use fats and oils, you know, we always suggest the healthy, the original version and not the manufactured version. So the oils to avoid are going to be soybean, canola, any type of a margarine, because those oils and fats, they really lack the ability to heal and hydrate tissues. So consequently, women will experience things like dry eyes, dry, brittle hair and skin, more wrinkles, and increased vaginal dryness as well. So how do you un-dry the all that dryness? Well, traditionally people did not experience like all of this dryness during menopause. They were consuming, and this is like back before the low fat era. The average amount of fat consumed was 42% of calories coming from healthy, natural fats.

MELANIE: 42%.

KARA: That’s 42%. That is not a low fat diet.

MELANIE: No.

KARA: It's not a high-fat diet either. That is very reasonable. And those healthy fats that people were consuming were butter, olive oil, coconut oil, maybe some nut butters; could be peanut butter, almond butter.

MELANIE: Sun butter is my favorite.

KARA: Sun butter for those who have a nut sensitivity or for kids going to school. They can't bring peanut products. We use a lot of sunflower butter in our house. Avocados are wonderful. And so if you were to avoid all of those manufactured fats, like the soybean and the margarines, and just switch to these natural fats, and if you had about six, seven tablespoons per day, within a couple of months, you're going to notice changes, improvements to your skin, your hair, all of your tissues. You know, probably dry eye would go away. And so just by, I always call it giving the body an oil change. And I can't take credit for that. That was an article at Nutritional Weight and Wellness.

MELANIE: We’re lubricating our body.

KARA: Giving your body an oil change.

MELANIE: Keeping everything healthy and hydrated. And, just to note, you know, this is a whole other radio show, but it does not raise your bad cholesterol. So, you know, people feel so anxious when they hear that. So let me reassure you. It doesn't raise it your bad cholesterol.

KARA: Good reminder.

MELANIE: Yep. So in addition to cookie with natural fats, adding some essential fatty acids by taking supplements, such as GLA, which is gamma linoleic acid, and vitamin E can reduce or eliminate dryness. We usually recommend four softgels of GLA and 400 international units of vitamin E. There's an E Complex-1:1, which is a great brand that I use. And then when adding these supplements to their daily routine, most women see remarkable improvement in all the areas of dryness and especially vaginal dryness.

KARA: And we had promised at the beginning of the show that we would talk about weight gain during menopause, and we would give some solutions. So let's, let's switch over to that topic. It is true that about 65 to 70% of women do experience weight gain during menopause. Research found that when women stop ovulating, excuse me, my goodness, ovulating, they burn 300 calories less per day. So think about that. In a couple of weeks, it's possible to have a weight gain of two pounds. So perhaps that means at menopause, we need to be choosing foods that are high in nutrients. You know, we need nutrient dense foods. We don't need those empty calorie type foods, because our bodies just, they cannot tolerate the high sugar, the bad fats. And what happens is when we're eating the high sugar, high carbohydrate bad fat foods, our insulin will increase pretty rapidly in the bloodstream. Insulin is a fat storing hormone. So how do we make that into a practical solution for people? Well, that would mean instead of having a bagel for breakfast, we are going to choose a more natural form of carbohydrate, some sort of a vegetable and a dip, perhaps.

KARA: Instead of coffee with cream, we are going to switch over to a nice sparkling water with a slice of lemon. So those are just some kind of swaps.

MELANIE: Over that glass of wine.

KARA: Yeah.

MELANIE: Because if you put, you know, you put some sort of bubbly, you know, a bubbly drink as far as it's no sugar. There's so many out there now; in your wine glass and throw a few frozen raspberries in there, or slices of strawberry, it's going to help you transition from your usual glass of wine. So let's talk about that wine. You may be asking, “What's wrong with a little glass of wine?” Well, if you drink two glasses of wine on Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday night, you can easily gain 10 to 11 pounds each year. And sometimes we don't even think about what we're drinking. We're only thinking about what we're eating. So in three years, you've gained 30 pounds all around the middle because you engage the insulin response. Remember, insulin is a hormone that is called our fat storage hormone.

KARA: Well, and here's another fact, that according to the American Institute for Cancer Research, drinking two glasses of wine per night can increase that risk of breast cancer by 50%.

MELANIE: 50%.

KARA: And I know we've done radio shows in the past specifically on alcohol and heart disease and cancer. So, it’s very significant.

MELANIE: It is very significant. Many times when I get someone just to drop the wine habit, their mood improves, their sleep improves, their weight begins to drop and their overall feeling of their body and their energy really has helped them. So I challenge people just try two weeks without wine and then watch and see how your body responds.

KARA: Yeah.

MELANIE: It's a really good way to find out what, what it’s doing to you. But definitely that middle, that body fat is a big indicator around the middle that you're triggering insulin from the high sugar. So wine converts rapidly to sugar. Beer converts rapidly to sugar. So it's not just the wine.

KARA: Right. I know we talk about wine, but there are a lot of forms of alcohol that will do the same thing.

MELANIE: So here's another interesting study result reported in the Journal of American Medical Association. And this study found that alcohol in the bloodstream can slow down fat metabolism by more than 30%. And this may be not something that you want to hear, but drinking alcohol leads to weight gain. Think of it this way: that little glass of wine can slow your metabolism by 30%.

KARA: Wow. And you know, why that's happening is because our liver is so focused on metabolizing the alcohol. It considers that a high priority situation. So there's no fat burning going on because the liver is responsible for metabolizing fat as well. So it sort of puts that process on hold to prioritize metabolizing the alcohol through the liver.

MELANIE: And over time that fat in a waiting line, outside the liver can lead to fatty liver, which I'm seeing so much more in clinic now.

KARA: Yes, yes. We're seeing that. And sometimes it's because of alcohol use. Sometimes it's, this is a whole other radio show. You know, sometimes it's from high sugar and high fructose corn syrup.

MELANIE: Combination of, of any of those really to the fat, the liver being completely stressed, trying to do all the roles it's supposed to do.

KARA: Yes. The liver is very important. It has a lot of jobs. Well, we're coming up on our break already and you're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Now it might surprise you to hear that Nutritional Weight and Wellness, a small family nutrition counseling service in Minnesota; we actually have clients from all over New York, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, California. These clients all have a desire to learn how to eat better so they can experience better health. The pandemic has opened up our life-changing information and counseling skills to clients throughout the United States. We even have clients from other countries. So it's a great time to take advantage of this expertise and learn this life-changing information either via Zoom or by phone. So you can call (651) 699-3438. We will gladly answer your questions. And if you want to check out your options online, you can go to our website, weightandwellness.com.

BREAK

MELANIE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. While I was chatting with a client yesterday, she told me this. She said, “I was doing so well with my healthy eating. And then for some reason, I started to binge and I found myself going through the fast food lane.” I thought for a minute and said, well, what do you think happened? And she said, “I just got tired of cooking.” I, I totally get it. Don't we all get that cooking fatigue? And many of us are just a little tired of cooking. But if we want our health, cooking our meals is the solution, unless you are unable to hire, you know, if you're able to hire a top notch chef to come into your kitchen, that's great. But I suggest the next best thing. Take some cooking classes from Marianne, our culinary nutrition educator, and she'll inspire you to cook again. The cooking classes are all listed on our website, weightandwellness.com. Just click on the nutrition classes in the month of March. And Marianne will teach you Instant Pot Basics in April, and she'll show you how to make Easy Weekday Lunches. So call (651) 699-3438 or go online to weightandwellness.com and sign up.

KARA: And people really do struggle with lunches. Don't they?

MELANIE: Yes.

KARA: I mean, I think, you know, breakfast, it's like you can switch to eggs and…

MELANIE: Once you remove that sandwich. It’s hard for people.

KARA: I know. What do I do? So that would be fantastic for, you know, people to get more ideas for easy weekday lunches. So we, before break, we were talking about weight gain during menopause. And just to kind of recap, one thing that can really slow down metabolism, unknowingly usually, is it's those refined oils, those damaged fats. So of course, you know, people know when they're eating French fries, chips, crackers, donuts, cake, and cookies, that that is not going to help with weight loss. But unfortunately, I don't think people realize that it's not just the sugar and the high flour content in those foods that can be creating weight gain. It's also the damaged oils, such as soybean oil, cotton seed, corn oil, even canola oil. So and it's really, I call it a double whammy, having like a high flour, high sugar food that also has vegetable oils and unhealthy fats. That is just kind of a recipe for weight gain and slow metabolism.

MELANIE: And it, it affects everything in the body. I remember reading that it takes nine months from you eat, from the time you eat one of these factory fats to clear your system; nine months.

KARA: Well, your body doesn't know how to break it down and metabolize it because it's not a natural oil. It's not natural like olive oil, butter, coconut oil.

MELANIE: Doesn't recognize it as food.

KARA: Yeah.

MELANIE: So a great number of our clients have actually benefited from the pandemic because many of our clients have lost weight. They have fewer aches and pains and better mental health and energy due to the fact that they are not eating out at restaurants, but instead they are cooking at home using the natural oils like butter, ghee, coconut oil, avocado oil, and even bacon grease; yum. They are losing weight, but even more importantly, they're feeling good and their family is feeling good.

KARA: And you know, it's really not difficult to swap out those processed oils and start incorporating the real healthy oils. And like you said, they, they do taste so much better. I mean, just adding butter to things or ghee was another great thing, or clarified butter. But the bacon grease, you know, we, I don't have bacon every day, but I do buy nitrate-free, try to get a good quality bacon without preservatives. And we definitely make that on the weekends, but I always save that bacon grease. And I cook my eggs in it during the week.

MELANIE: I love to roast my vegetables in it.

KARA: Yeah. I mean, things just tastes so much better. But sadly, all, if you know, most, if not all fast food restaurants are using these bad fats; the corn oils, the cottonseed, the soybean, even in salad dressings. So if you have a salad dressing and you just flip over the bottle, look at the label, whether it's a bottle or even a little packet that comes with like a fast food salad, you will see that it has soybean oil. It likely has high fructose corn syrup. So again, it's the high sugar, bad fat combination.

MELANIE: The double whammy.

KARA: There it is. And it might just be a small amount in that dressing. But if we're eating foods like this on a daily basis consistently, that is going to lead to more weight gain.

MELANIE: Yeah and inflammation overall. So, sadly many restaurants are using those same bad fats and oils. On a positive note, we're starting to see a turnaround as chefs become educated, and many chefs are going back to traditional fats, such as duck fat, bacon grease, butter, and of course, olive oil. You know, even lard, you have to be careful of where you buy lard now, which is, you know, a natural fat. You have to roll it over and read, what did they put in that lard? A lot of times it's, chemicals are added, hydrogenated oils. So the ingredients label is our friend.

KARA: That's right. I'm glad you mentioned that because, so hydrogenated oils for listeners who may not be familiar with that term, that means trans fats. And those are really the most processed and manufactured fats out there.

MELANIE: Chemically altered.

KARA: So more and more foods I think are eliminating those, but you will still see some peanut butters. I even think I, I'm not going to name brands, but you know, there are quite a few peanut butters that still have partially hydrogenated oils.

MELANIE: Partially is just as bad as full hydrogenated.

KARA: Correct. Yeah. So partially doesn't mean it's just halfway bad. I mean, we want to, we want to switch out and get a good quality nut butter that's just nuts and salt.

MELANIE: So that's good.

KARA: You know, as we, as people are transitioning into perimenopause and menopause, the body, our bodies are just much more likely to be taking these carbohydrates, the flour base, like the bread base carbohydrates, and turning those into body fat much more easily and quickly. So if you are in the age group where you're experiencing perimenopause or menopause, and you have been struggling with weight gain, especially around that midsection, really need to kind of take a look at what high carb foods are you eating on a regular basis? And where can you reduce those and switch up to some vegetable carbohydrates, maybe some fresh or frozen berries are another great way to get in.

MELANIE: Frozen vegetables, you know, you always have on hand; a couple bags of frozen vegetables that you can pull out and use at will because if you run out or they went bad or something, you've got a backup plan in your freezer.

KARA: Yes. And I liked what you said about adding in vegetables, frozen especially, into a smoothie. And that's a great way to get a couple of servings of vegetables.

MELANIE: Yes, and it's real food. So it comes from the farmer's field. It's a naturally occurring product, unlike there is no bread tree cracker bush, Fruit Loop root, right?

KARA: What do you say about you can't pick it or…

MELANIE: I say, if you can't name the plant you pluck it from, or the mother it came from it shouldn't be eaten.

KARA: I love that. We have to say that at every show. Well, I want to leave you with this quote from Christiane Northrup. And she said, “Sugar is the number one hormonal disruptor.” I am sure many of you are thinking, “What does hormone disruptor mean in our bodies?”

MELANIE: So sugar, when we eat sugar leads to more hot flashes. Sugar leads to more mood swings. Sugar leads to sleep problems. Sugar means not feeling comfortable in your skin, and sugar is the number one hormone disruptor.

KARA: That's right. So just to kind of recap our show today, we have been talking about nutritional solutions for menopause. And so just focusing on natural fats, more vegetable carbohydrates versus the high sugar, high flour bread type carbohydrates, really taking a look at beverages, such as caffeinated beverages and alcoholic beverages and cutting those out or reducing those, adding in some Magnesium Glycinate and a natural progesterone cream to help with sleep.

MELANIE: Perfect.

KARA: You know, the hydrating GLA and vitamin E that you discussed for dry tissue. So those are just some of our suggestions.

MELANIE: Changing over to those real fats I think is a great, we always say food first. So see if that, always start with your food and always make sure that the food that you're eating comes from the farmer's field, comes from nature. And that alone is going to work with your overall health. Cruciferous vegetables help with that hormone balance.

KARA: And our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. And it is a simple, but a very powerful message. Eating real food is life changing. Thanks so much for listening everyone. And if you are living in Minnesota, enjoy the heat wave that we're having. Have a great weekend.

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