January 21, 2010

New Year - New You

Hello ladies - welcome to 2010! 2009 came to a fast end - new job and lots of holiday hosting kept me hopping!

If weight control is one of your goals for the new year, you might want to check out a special on Cinch Inch Loss plan. I love the plan, and am committed to losing 25 lbs in honor of my 25th wedding anniversary in June. The plan is a meal replacement shake - lots of soy protein which is awesome for PMS, perimenopause, menopause, heart health, skin health AND retaining muscle.

If you puchase 3 months of Ultra Cinch, you get a month free! It's a great deal, and a great incentive to stay on track. Here's a link to details on the special: CINCH Special You must begin autoship by March 31 to qualify for a free month.

Here's a link to the Cinch website with fun information on the plan - lose the fat, keep the muscle!

If you're interested in receiving rebates, consider joining as a Gold Ambassador. You can earn rebates on the products you use, you don't have to sell to others, unless you're interested in earning a lot of money!

Happy New Year!

November 5, 2009

10 Natural Perimenopause Solutions - Recap

Here’s a quick recap of 10 natural solutions covered. Refer back to the posting on each solution for more information. This list is my top 10 solutions to keep you looking and feeling your best as you journey through perimenopause.

1. Consult your medical professional annually.
2. Exercise.
3. Eat a healthy, nutritious diet.
4. Soy protein.
5. Stress Management.
6. Omega 3 fatty acids.
7. Natural Supplements.
8. A good night’s sleep.
9. Hot Flash relief.
10. Natural Skin Care.

Now that mom’s feeling better, we can take a look at our hormonal teens!

November 4, 2009

#10 Caring for you Skin

Aging is a natural part of life. It can be hard to see our skin showing signs of aging – dullness, uneven pigmentation, dryness and wrinkles. Taking proper care of our skin, from the inside and out, can help keep skin healthy. Premature aging of our skin is related to free radicals. Free radicals are produced when sunlight hits the skin, and toxins in our environment like cigarette smoke and air pollutants. The result for our skin is a loss of elastin and collagen. When collagen breaks down, our skin wrinkles and sags. Our skin is a reflection of the health of our insides, so what we put in our bodies is as important as how we care for the exterior skin.

Our bodies have a defense system to combat free radicals. Antioxidants, like vitamins C & E, prevent damage by free radicals by attaching to them, preventing them from damaging our tissue and cells. Our bodies are overwhelmed by free radical damage, known as oxidative stress. Hundreds of research studies suggest that we can keep oxidative stress to a minimum by ingesting antioxidants, avoiding environmental toxins, and maintaining emotional equilibrium.

External Skin Care Tips:
  • Cleanse skin regularly, and don’t forget the neck. Look for a product that is PH balanced. Be sure to remove makeup nightly.
  • Close pores after cleansing. Use a toner or cool water to close pores.
  • Renew skin. Use an exfoliant to remove dead skin cells, and apply a topical antioxidant (vitamin C & E are particularly helpful in repairing free radical skin damage). Avoid products with alcohol, or harsh chemical ingredients. Look for natural products free of parabens, phthalates, SLS, 1,4 dioxane or propylene glycol.
  • Sunscreen. Use a sunscreen everyday on your face, neck and hands. Many anti-aging skin moisturizers contain SPF 15, making it simple to protect your face and neck from further sun damage.
  • Moisturize. Keeping moisture in your skin cells keeps them plumped up and healthy.

Internal Skin Care Tips:

  • Fiber. Make sure you’re getting enough fiber. Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of fiber and anti-oxidants. Eating ¼ cup ground flaxseed each day provides 11 grams of fiber, and skin beautifying omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Fish. Salmon, sardines and swordfish are rich in omega-3 fats which help build healthy cell membrane throughout the body.
  • Soy. 100 – 160 mg of soy isoflavones daily can improve skin tone, hair and nails. Soy’s phytoestrogen strengthens collagen everywhere in the body.
  • Skin Aiding Supplements. Antioxidants are particularly important for your skin (coenzyme Q10, Vitamin C, Vitamin E).

Here’s to a beautiful you – inside and out!

November 2, 2009

#9 Hot Flash Cool Down

Not every women travelling towards menopause will experience hot flashes, but if you’re experiencing hot flashes, you know how uncomfortable they can be. Hot flashes are triggered by falling estrogen and rising FSH levels.

We’ve already addressed the addition of soy to cool the heat (see solution #4). Here are a few other solutions to consider:

  • Food triggers: certain foods can trigger hot flashes. Try eliminating spicy foods, chocolate, caffeine and alcohol to see if they are impacting your temperature. Reducing sugar and refined carbohydrates can also be helpful.

  • Vigorous exercise for 30 minutes 3 times/week has been shown to reduce hot flashes.

  • Relaxation and meditation can help minimize hot flashes.

  • Herbs, including black cohosh, dong quai, and licorice root have been used for centuries and are very effective at preventing hot flashes when taken regularly.

  • Dress in layers and natural fibers for greater comfort if a hot flash strikes unexpectedly!

October 31, 2009

#8 A Good Night's Sleep

Insomnia is an issue for many women during perimenopause. Insomnia caused by hot flashes will resolve with hot flash treatment (see solution #9). Anxiety is another source of insomnia. Sleep disturbances are magnified by the fact that, like teenagers, we suddenly require greater amounts of sleep due to the transitions taking place in our bodies.

Here are some tips for a better night’s sleep:
  • Don’t go to bed on a full stomach. A healthy snack before bedtime can be helpful. The snack should be high in protein and low in carbohydrates – fresh fruit, cheese, lean meat, cottage cheese.
  • Antioxidants, Magnesium and Calcium supplements once or twice a day can also support refreshing sleep. Too little magnesium is common, and can cause you to wake up repeatedly during the night.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Sleep in the dark, cover mirrors in your bedroom, remove the TV.
  • Develop and adhere to a going to bed ritual. Sleep the same time on weekends as weekdays. Change into your jammies and complete bedtime hygiene ½ hour before bedtime to signal your body it’s time to wind down.
  • Be your own editor: don’t read, watch or discuss anything disturbing just before bedtime.
  • Get the ‘gerbil wheel’ out of your head! When you have trouble turning your brain off from the worries of the day, things said, things undone or the to do list for tomorrow – start with a few deep breaths and a prayer. Another way to tame the brain is to write down everything that is bothering you. You’ll have a fresh perspective to tackle the list in the morning.
  • If you’re still having trouble sleeping, get out of bed and take a natural sleep aid, like valerian root to help re-establish good sleep patterns.

Now I lay me down to sleep . . . good night!

October 29, 2009

#7 Natural Supplements

The use of natural food supplements (a.k.a vitamins) is a massive topic with hundreds of books and articles offering help for frazzled hormones – but sorting through it all can frazzle your nerves! Many women assume that if they eat a nutritious diet, they have no need for supplements. The fact is that most of us do not eat the recommended 5 – 9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, and it’s difficult to eat a variety of fresh foods year round. Also, our food simply isn’t as nutritious as it used to be due to soil depletion, chemical fertilizers, early harvesting and over-processing. The rising rate of diet related diseases indicates that we are a malnourished nation. There are some common recommendations I’ll cover to help keep you healthy and hopefully happy on the hormonal rollercoaster.

Here are common complaints stemming from lack of nutrition:

· No pep
· Aches and Pains
· Headaches
· Difficulty sleeping
· Constipation
· Infections
· Splitting fingernails
· Dull thin hair
· Backaches
· Leg cramps
· Depression
· Desire for sweets
· Bruise easily
· Nervousness
· Illnesses: colds, flu, allergies
· Diseases: cancer, stroke, heart disease, diabetes

Sounds like the laundry list for peri-menopause!

Choosing an effective supplement program can be overwhelming. You must choose your supplements carefully, because many ‘drug store variety’ supplements are ineffective. If you’ve tried vitamins before without results, consider the quality of the products you purchase. Basically, there are 3 types of supplements available:
  1. Synthetic – made from petroleum, man-made compounds, no enzymes, poor absorption, questionable additives (color, preservatives). These are your typical drug store variety vitamin.
  2. Natural – isolates some nutrients, but only needs to be 15% natural to be labeled ‘Natural’ according to FDA requirement. Heat processing often destroys enzymes, and they may include harsh binders and fillers. Some include artificial colors or flavors that are known toxins – check the label carefully.
  3. Whole Food – made from the highest quality raw ingredients, enzymes are preserved through careful processing, no harmful ingredients, include synergistic ingredients. Look for double-blind, placebo controlled, clinical studies on the actual product (not marketing studies or studies on the ‘ingredients found in Brand X’). This is the best way to know the product you are purchasing is proven to work.

Here is a basic supplement plan to ease perimenopausal symptoms and support optimal health:

  • Multi-vitamin: A good multivitamin is foundational for a good supplement program. Look for a multi with all 23 essential vitamins and minerals. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of nutrients was established to prevent deficiency related diseases, like scurvy and rickets. The RDA may be less than what your body needs for optimal health.

Additional nutrients to consider:

  • Vitamin B: a supplement containing all 8 B vitamins promotes energy, heart health, and DNA synthesis. Food sources of vitamin B include whole grains, leafy green vegetables and fish.
  • Vitamin D: numerous clinical studies point to the importance of vitamin D. Vitamin D is crucial for healthy bones, immunity, heart, brain, weight management and more. Most Americans are deficient in this vital nutrient. Many experts are recommending 1,000 – 2,000 IU/day. Food sources include salmon, eggs and fortified dairy and soy products. Your multi-vitamin and calcium supplements should contain vitamin D.
  • Vitamins C and E: these important antioxidants support cell health throughout the body.
  • Minerals: zinc, magnesium, calcium and iron are minerals that support women’s health, but most women are deficient. Zinc (15 – 50 milligrams/day): helps to lower estrogen and increase progesterone levels, build strong bones, and keep your immune system strong to ward off viruses. Zinc can also improve memory and attention span. Magnesium (200 – 1,000 milligrams/day): 80 % of Americans do not get enough magnesium resulting in nervousness, anxiety, irritability, muscle cramps, memory loss, depression and many other perimenopausal symptoms. Magnesium is also critical to calcium absorption for bone health.

As I mentioned, choosing natural supplements can be overwhelming, but, choosing carefully and committing to a long term supplement program can make a huge impact on your long term health. A recent clinical study conducted by University of California Berkeley determined the impact of multiple supplements on long term health. The Landmark Study showed that long-term multiple supplement users had markedly better health than single supplement users and non-supplement users. Check out the study to see the benefits of long term, high quality supplement use: The Landmark Study. Not only will your long term health benefit, but you can minimize or alleviate many unpleasant menopausal symptoms naturally.

  • I have found the simplest way to commit to a program with multiple supplements is with a daily vita-strip containing all the nutrients I need, including omega-3s and probiotics. The increase in energy and clarity was dramatic when I began taking a convenient vita-strip daily. I find it simpler to take a once daily strip of all nutrients combines, and it is also more economical than purchasing each nutrient separately.

Important Note: Consult with your physician before starting a supplement program, especially if you are currently taking prescription medication. Do not take mega-doses of any vitamin, mineral or herb unless you are under a doctor’s care. For additional details on nutritional supplements for perimenopause, I recommend The Wisdom of Menopause by Christiane Northrop, M.D.

October 26, 2009

#6 Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Many recent studies confirm that supplementing with Omega-3 fatty acids reduce symptoms of depression and frequency of hot flashes. Research also shows that women with a high intake of Omega-3s have a 50% less chance of developing breast cancer – DHA is a natural anti-inflammatory that stops cellular transformation and kills off tumor cells.

A deficiency in of omega-3s, which is quite common, can result in fatigue, dry skin, cracked nails, thin and breakable hair, constipation, immune system malfunction, aching joints, depression, arthritis, and hormone imbalances.

There are 7 naturally occurring omega-3 fatty acids. Two important omega-3s for women in perimenopause are EPA (benefits heart and joints) and DHA (critical for brain function). Fatty fish is the best food source of DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids. Another omega-3 fatty acid is ALA. ALA has not been shown to help with depression or hot flashes, but does have heart healthy effects (as well as allergies, autoimmune issues, and eczema). ALA is found in canola oil, flax seed/oil and soy.

Omega-3 supplements provide a safe, consistent and convenient consumption of this important nutrient. Look for a fish oil supplement that contains all 7 fatty acids and has been distilled to concentrate the natural benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, while removing harmful compounds such as mercury and lead that are found in many types of fish.

The health benefits of Omega-3s are bountiful and clinically proven. Make sure your diet contains this powerful nutrient to keep your brain and heart healthy and strong, and the hot flashes to a dull roar!