HEROES & VILLAINS: the good the bad and the ugly
With the current movie craze for Superheroes showing no sign of abating, we decided to jump on the bandwagon and start a series on the Villains and Heroes of Menopause! There are plenty of candidates for both in all aspects of experiencing a natural menopause, and this week we start with diet; who are the Heroes and the Villains of food?
What you eat during menopause is all important. Because of your body’s hormonal changes, foods you used to eat without a second thought now seem to stick to your tums and bums like glue!
Of course, no food on its own is a villain! It’s just so many of them have been adulterated to make them more appealing i.e. removing fats and adding extra sugar to compensate!
Whatever diet/eating plan you choose to follow, the general rule is to avoid processed foods, and watch out for hidden sugars, and instead choose whole, nutrient-rich minimally processed foods.
Of course, dietary advice can be a bit of a moving target, and needs to be regularly revised based on new research. A classic example would be the advice to eat fish, one of the best sources of protein and a critically important source of high-quality animal-based omega-3 fat. However,environmental pollution with heavy metals and other toxins has become so pervasive with mercury, PCBs and other toxins, that eating nearly any fish now may actually do more harm than good…
Processed foods which contain excess sugar, preservatives, additives, trans-fats, (hydrogenated vegetable and seed oils which are unsaturated fats that have been artificially manipulated into saturated fats i.e.made solid) colourants, harmful chemicals, pesticides, gm foods, many of which are hormone disruptors.
Organic vegetables, meat, eggs, dairy products. Healthy fats such as saturated fats that are found in organic animal products like unpasteurised milk, butter and cheese and fatty meats, plus avocados, raw nuts and coconut oil.
Trust your body
Your body is designed to identify the best foods, but problems arise when it is tricked into craving foods that don’t contain the nutrients promised by their smell and taste. The system does work, however, if you eat real food.
“My advice to people is to eat the most delicious food you can, but buy real foods,” says award-winning journalist and author, Mark Schatzker. ”Don’t be frightened of calories. Don’t be frightened of food … The other thing I’d like to tell people is be aware of your own eating experience … I think there are two different kinds of delicious.
There’s a delicious feeling where you can’t stop eating. This is what happens to me with flavoured potato chips or the like. You have one and you just can’t resist putting your hand back in the bag … These are experiences to be avoided …
“Then there are other foods — dark chocolate and a great tomato are good examples— where the point isn’t to stuff as much into your mouth as fast as you can. The point is to sit in a kind of deep contemplation of this incredible flavour experience. That, to me, is a better kind of food experience to have. I don’t think it’s one that you need to be afraid of. I think it’s one that will give back.
Also, be aware of how you feel after a meal. Try to integrate that into your perception of food. I’ve eaten some pretty low-end fried chicken that had that manic I-can’t-stop-eating [sensation], and an hour later I felt dreadful. If you can remember that feeling, it makes you less inclined to go after that [unhealthy food] again in the future.”
All this might all seem a bit daunting at first, but remember that the most complex tasks can be made easy if you just take one step at a time.
(“The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor,” by Mark Schatzker)