We all need to “reset” our nutrition habits every once in a while. Most often, we may feel like we need to reset after a vacation or the holiday season. Or maybe certain eating behaviors have led to less than ideal nutrition, and you’re seeking a bit of focused structure with your meals again. By the way, this is all very normal, and “resetting” can be a good way to reboot, support your body, and feel your best - especially throughout menopause.
At Gennev, we educate and support our patients on finding a sustainable way of eating that doesn’t focus on restriction. Research shows that weight loss diets can work, but many of the benefits are short-term versus for the long-haul. And they can leave women feeling deprived and frustrated to only gain back the weight they lost (and sometimes more). By approaching instead with a nutrition reset that modifies one focused behavior at a time, we are much more likely to be successful in the long term. And you may find that just a couple days of being intentional with what you are eating can lead to feeling more confident and comfortable in your body. You may also experience less bloating, better energy and even a boost in mood!
Our 4-week Nutrition RESET is about just that - supporting you in feeling more empowered and confident in your own skin. Each week of the Reset has a focused goal. Aim to work on each reset challenge, one day at a time. After one week, that behavior may start to feel more like a habit. But be compassionate with yourself! It takes more than one week to make sustainable changes stick.
As the 4-week Nutrition Reset Challenge evolves from one week to the next, you will be adding one new behavior change, while continuing with - and building upon -the previous week’s focus. By the end of four weeks, you will have four KEY healthy behaviors in place which will support you in feeling your best. Ideally these new nutrition habits will continue on far beyond the 4-week Reset. But if you should stray off track, use this Reset as a way to “steer your ship back on course”. One thing at a time.
First up in the 4-Week Reset Challenge is all about vegetables! We all know we need more vegetables and most of us still don’t get enough. How many do we really need? Health experts recommend at least 3 cups of vegetables per day and this doesn’t change in menopause. However, we suggest that vegetables are even more important as we age to support our heart health, stabilize our blood sugars, regulate our digestion and provide a healthy gut biome, and deliver the antioxidants that eat up free radicals in our bodies and prevent disease.
The simplest way to put this into action is the make “1/2 your plate veggies” concept. This pattern on your plate is often easiest at lunches and dinners (considering the typical American diet), but including vegetables at breakfast are an added bonus, and you should add them whenever you can!
By planning meals around the vegetables, you will naturally prioritize them too. Sometimes these vegetables are mixed into a recipe and sometimes they stand alone on the side. Nevertheless, they are present and doing their job. Here are some sample ways to add vegetables to each of your meals.
Week 2 of the Nutrition RESET is all about adding phytoestrogens to your daily meals. These are plant-based compounds that bind to estrogen receptors and mimic the effects of this hormone in our bodies. Phytoestrogens may be particularly beneficial during menopause, as studies show they may help with hormone balance and reducing hot flashes. However, it’s important to be consistent with eating these foods to experience the potential benefits.
There are three different types of phytoestrogens: isoflavones (found in soy and legumes), lignans (in most vegetables, fruits and whole grains), and finally coumestans (found in some beans). The highest levels of phytoestrogens are found in soy, soy products, and flaxseed.
While the research on consuming phytoestrogens for menopausal relief is still limited, Gennev Dietitians agree that people can glean many other health benefits from eating these foods as they are rich in fiber, protein and antioxidants to support overall health. Give this healthy addition a try, and remember consistency is key!
How to add more phytoestrogens into your diet:
Week 3 of the Nutrition Reset challenges you to take a look at your supplements, and determine which ones you really need, and which ones you can ditch (and start saving some dollars). Think of this as a “supplement audit.”
Supplements are intended only to supplement the diet. A diet rich in vegetables, fruits, protein, healthy fats and fiber may not need additional supplemental nutrients. Many individuals take vitamins to help “fill in the gaps” where the diet is lacking, or to address certain symptoms related to menopause. As women age, their nutritional needs change and certain nutrients may be needed in higher amounts than before. Conversely, women may not need the same supplements they were taking during child-bearing years (folic acid for example) and when menstruating on a regular basis (extra iron for some).
What are the common “gaps” where supplements are needed in midlife? And which vitamins help us to fill those gaps?
There are some key supplements that may be more beneficial during the menopausal transition and to help manage symptoms. Remember, every person is different so every woman in menopause will not require the same dietary supplements. Some common gaps in the diet include:
A Registered Dietitian can help you audit your supplements, and take your personalized supplement plan to the next level. They will consider your diet, lifestyle, current medications and menopause symptoms to provide tailored recommendations specifically to you. They will also help you determine if you’re taking the correct dosage, ensure you are using a safe and reputable brand, and identify if there are any contraindications for using it.
It’s important to remember that supplements are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration as food, not as drugs. This means the FDA does not have the authority to approve the labeling, safety or efficacy of dietary supplements before they are on the market. Therefore, it’s crucial to consult with your health care professionals to ensure safety, potential drug interactions and overall potential effectiveness of the supplement.
Proper nutrition is key to warding off disease as we age. If you need guidance on how to incorporate healthy foods into your diet on a regular basis, consider working with our integrated care team who are experts in supporting women in menopause. They will create your personalized plan that will optimize your nutrition and other lifestyle factors, plus provide the support to create healthy habits for the long-term.
Bookmark this article, and be sure to check back here next week for Week 4 of our 4-week Nutrition Reset Challenge!
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