• Nutritious Homemade Milk Alternatives Recipes for Menopause

    Many women in menopause and perimenopause expressed interest in transitioning from dairy to alternative milks, such as rice milk, oat milk, almond milk, soy milk, and others. In part one of this article, you can read about the advantages and disadvantages of consuming dairy and alternative milks during menopause and perimenopause.

    Once you’ve decided to opt for alternative milks, the next question arises: should you buy them from the store or make them yourself? If you’ve chosen to make these alternative milks at home, I have some trusted recipes to share with you.

    Alternative milks recipes

    Homemade alternative milks offer a wide range of options that provide essential nutrients and can help alleviate common menopause symptoms. In this article, we will explore some simple and wholesome recipes specifically tailored to support women during menopause and perimenopause. From creamy almond milk to nourishing oat milk, let’s explore these easy-to-make recipes for your menopausal journey.

    Almond (or any other nut) milk recipe master recipe

    1 cup raw almonds
    3-4 cups water (plus more for soaking)
    Optional: Sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, or dates for added flavor


    1. Soak the almonds overnight: Place the almonds in a bowl and cover them with water. Allow them to soak overnight or for at least 6-8 hours. Soaking helps soften the almonds and aids in the blending process.
    2. Drain and rinse: Drain the soaked almonds and rinse them thoroughly with fresh water.
    3. Blend the almonds: Place the soaked and rinsed almonds in a blender along with 3 cups of fresh water. Blend on high speed for about 2-3 minutes or until you achieve a creamy, smooth consistency. Taste and decide if you want to add more water.
    4. Strain the mixture: Place a nut milk bag, cheesecloth, or fine mesh sieve over a large bowl or jug. Pour the almond mixture into the bag or sieve, and gently squeeze or press to extract the milk. This will separate the almond pulp from the milk. You can use the pulp in recipes or discard it.
    5. Optional: Sweeten to taste: If desired, you can add a sweetener such as honey, maple syrup, or dates to enhance the flavor. Start with a small amount and adjust to your preference. Add them during the blending process.
    6. Store and refrigerate: Transfer the homemade almond milk to a clean container with a lid. Store it in the refrigerator and use within 3-4 days. Be sure to shake or stir the milk before each use, as separation is natural.

    Note: You can adjust the water-to-almond (nuts) ratio to achieve your preferred consistency. Using less water will result in a creamier milk, while using more water will make it lighter (and less calories). Additionally, you can experiment with flavors by adding a pinch of vanilla extract or a dash of cinnamon for extra taste.

    If you want a thicker milk with fewer almonds, you can add oats. Soak the oats overnight and add them during the blending step. Start with ½ cup of oats for 4 cups of water (in addition to almonds). There is no right or wrong ratio here; it can be adjusted to personal preference.

    My preferred sweetener is dates, but the milk also tastes good on its own. Enjoy your homemade almond milk in smoothies, cereals, coffee, or any recipe that calls for milk!

    Note: If you don’t have a powerful blender you may need to soak the nuts for longer or use softer nuts such as cashews, see recipe below.

    Oat milk recipe


    1 cup rolled oats
    3 cups water
    Optional: Sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, or dates for added flavor

    Follow the previous recipe, replacing almonds with rolled oats.

    Cashew nut milk recipe

    If you don’t have a powerful blender, cashews make a great milk in most blenders. They also require less soaking time.


    1 cup raw cashews
    3-4 cups water (plus more for soaking)
    Optional: Sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, or dates for added flavor

    Follow the previous instructions, replacing almonds with cashews.

    alternative milks

    How to make creams

    Follow the same recipes, but start with a 1:1 ratio of water to nuts, and add more water as you reach your desired consistency. These creams are delicious but very rich in calories.

    Nice cream master recipe

    Nice cream is a popular alternative to the real ice cream

    2-3 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced (frozen)
    1-2 tablespoons of your choice of milk (such as almond milk, soy or coconut milk)
    Optional: Flavorings such as vanilla extract, cocoa powder, frozen berries, nuts, or chocolate chips, natural sweeter.  You can make it sweeter if you like, but keep in mind that ripe bananas are naturally very sweet. If you desire additional sweetness, you can add ingredients such as dates, maple syrup, or other sweeteners of your choice 


    1. Start by freezing the sliced and peeled bananas. It’s best to freeze them in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet for a few hours or overnight until they are solid.
    2. Once the bananas are frozen, transfer them to a blender or food processor. Add 1-2 tablespoons of milk to help with the blending process.
    3. Blend the frozen bananas until they start to break down and form a creamy consistency. You may need to scrape down the sides of the blender or processor a few times to ensure everything is well blended.
    4. At this point, you can add any desired flavorings to customize your nice cream. For example, you can add a splash of vanilla extract for a classic flavor, or mix in cocoa powder for a chocolatey twist. You can also add frozen berries, nuts, or chocolate chips for added texture and taste.
    5. Blend the mixture again until everything is well combined and you achieve a smooth and creamy texture.
    6. Once the nice cream reaches your desired consistency, you can serve it immediately as a soft-serve treat. If you prefer a firmer texture, transfer it to a container and place it in the freezer for an additional 1-2 hours to firm up.

    When ready to serve, scoop the nice cream into bowls or cones, and enjoy!

    You can also make ice cream with the normal recipes substituting dairy for alternative milks, but the ice cream tends to be less creamy.

    Feel free to experiment with different flavors and toppings to create your own variations of nice cream. It’s a versatile recipe that can be customized to suit your preferences. Enjoy your homemade nice cream!

    As you see there are a lot of recipes to substitute dairy. When it comes to cheeses the flavor is very different than the real thing, but they taste good, there are many options in the market (some are very expensive).

    I hope you love these recipes as much as I do. I invite you to take a look at my course, BLISS in Menopause, and download your free symptoms tracker. You can also join my Facebook group to stay in the loop and share with a group of positive, encouraging women

  • From Almonds to Wellness: Nut Milk for Menopausal Women

    Are you looking for milk alternatives to eliminate dairy during menopause? Well good news there are some very yummy and nutritious alternatives that you can make at home. In this article we will discuss briefly about the advantages and disadvantages of cow’s milk and alternative milks during menopause, after that I will give some easy recipes to make the alternative milks yourself at home, totally natural and cheaper than the ones you buy in the grocery store. This article is very long so I will divide in three parts: 1 part Which is better cow’s milk or alternative milks. 2 part: Should you go dairy free during menopause 3- Part alternative milk recipes, alternative cream recipe, Nice cream recipe and additional comments.     

    As you know our food takes center stage during menopause. Here is where alternative milks such as almond milk, cashew milk, oats, rice milks and many other come into play. For many women drinking cow’s milk is not healthy, for others is a matter of preference. In any case you can make your own delicious alternative milks at home.

    Advantages and disadvantages of dairy and alternative milks

    As you the movement against consuming cow’s milk or animal’s milk in general is very strong right now. I like to give an objective view of the trade-offs and the benefits of giving up dairy for alternative milks. These benefits are for all dairy products including milk

    Health benefits of dairy

    These benefits are for all dairy products including milk

    • The health benefits of dairy include being a rich source of calcium, essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth, and providing high-quality protein, necessary for tissue repair and immune system support.
    • Dairy products also contain vitamin D, which aids in calcium absorption, and other essential nutrients like potassium, phosphorus, and vitamin B12.
    • Additionally, the protein and fat content in dairy can contribute to satiety and weight management.
    • Fermented dairy products like yogurt and kefir contain probiotics that promote a healthy gut microbiome.

    Disadvantages of dairy Products during menopause and perimenopause

    • The hormones naturally present in dairy could potentially interfere with hormonal balance during menopause, leading to symptoms like hot flashes and mood swings.
    • Digestive issues such as lactose intolerance or decreased lactase production can cause bloating and discomfort.
    • Dairy consumption has also been linked to inflammation, which may exacerbate joint pain and stiffness during menopause.
    • Some individuals may develop allergies or sensitivities to dairy products, and excessive dairy consumption may not necessarily improve bone health.

    Advantages of alternative milks during menopause

    • Alternative milks offer advantages such as being lactose-free, plant-based, and providing a variety of options for different dietary needs and preferences.
    • Store bought milks can be fortified with essential nutrients, making them comparable or to cow’s milk in terms of nutritional value.
    • Perfect for individuals with dairy allergies or sensitivities to enjoy milk-like beverages
    • Moreover, choosing alternative milks can have environmental sustainability benefits.

    Disadvantages of alternative milks during menopause

    • The nutrient content may vary.
    • People with allergies or sensitivities to specific ingredients used in alternative milks need to be cautious.
    • Most store bought alternative milks may contain additives, stabilizers, or sweeteners, so it’s important to read labels and choose options with minimal additives if desired.
    • Availability and cost may be considerations.
    • The taste and texture of alternative milks can differ from cow’s milk, requiring adjustment.
    • Environmental factors related to farming practices, water resources, and packaging need consideration.

    Most popular alternatives milks

    •  Almond milk: Made from ground almonds and water. It has a slightly nutty flavor and a creamy texture.
    • Soy milk: Derived from soybeans, it is rich in protein. It has a mild taste and is used in beverages and cooking.
    • Oat milk: Made from oats and water. It has a creamy texture and a subtle sweetness.
    • Coconut milk: It has a rich and tropical flavor. It is commonly used in Asian and Caribbean cuisines and adds a distinct taste to dishes.
    • Rice milk: Made from milled rice and water. It is a good option for individuals with allergies or intolerances to nuts, soy, or dairy.
    • Cashew milk: Made from ground cashews and water, cashew milk has a creamy consistency and a naturally sweet flavor.

    The most nutritive milks are made from nuts or soy.

    About soy milk in menopause and perimenopause

    Soy milk is rich in plant-based proteins and it is often fortified with essential nutrients. Soy milk also contains phytoestrogens called isoflavones, which are compounds that mimic the effects of estrogen in the body.

    There has been some debate regarding the potential effects of soy and its isoflavones on hormone levels in menopausal women. Some studies suggest that consuming moderate amounts of soy products, including soy milk, may provide benefits such as alleviating menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and supporting cardiovascular health.

    Soy milk during perimenopause is more complex. Some women during this time have what is called estrogen dominance. This condition happens when there are weaker estrogens, normally from environmental toxins circulating in the body. If the person has symptoms of estrogen dominance it is better not to consume soy products.   

    Should you go dairy-free in menopause?

    If you are having menopause symptoms, excess weight, difficulty losing weight, indigestion, gases, skin issues (pimples, hives etc.), you can experiment going dairy free for a week or a month and see how you feel. If you experience relief avoid dairy for a while. After a few months you can return to dairy and observe if the symptoms come back. Of course you can consult with your doctor.

    If you decide to go dairy free make sure you are consuming enough calcium rich food or taking a supplement. 

    There is insufficient evidence to say that all woman benefit from a dairy free lifestyle. However many women consume excess milk products and that will cause problems. The dairy propaganda that every person needs 5 servings of dairy is false. Every person needs the recommended amount of calcium, but milk is not the only source of calcium. That amount of milk products every day can be excessive.

    In general fermented milk such as in the case of some cheeses, kefir and yogurt is a healthier alternative to unfermented milk such as the one people drink and the one contained in ice cream.

    Notice that there is milk in a lot of products. If you decide to go dairy free you will need to read labels and make sure that the product doesn’t contain milk.      

    Should you buy or make alternative milks?

    I prefer to make my own milks as they are more natural and I know what they have. The disadvantage is that your own homemade milk is not fortify with nutrients but you can compensate for this with your own supplements.

    Another disadvantage is that you have to make it so it cannot be practical for some people.
    If you don’t have a powerful blender to have to experiment to get the right texture.

    Now here are some great recipes to make your own milk, cream and plant-based ice cream (called nice cream).

     I invite you to get your free menopause symptoms tracker and join my Facebook group where you can ask questions and find community support. And of course feel free to leave me a comment below

  • How to use guided imagery for menopause and perimenopause?

    Did you know that you can use guided imagery during menopause and perimenopause to alleviate your symptoms and to be happier? Guided imagery can help us relax, promote healing, and manage stress and anxiety which are very common and very painful during this time.  Furthermore, stress and anxiety are the causes of other menopause symptoms.

    Stress, as I keep repeating in my articles and to my clients, is one of our biggest enemies during menopause and perimenopause. Stress causes hormonal imbalances and cellular inflammation. Stress is detrimental at any time, but during perimenopause and menopause when our hormones are already in disarray, stress is even more damaging.

    In addition to lowering stress, guided imagery is also wonderful to heal trauma, to overcome doubt and to discover ourselves, to get in touch with our inner child, and it can help us grow and be the best version of ourselves. These are also important emotional aspects during menopause and perimenopause and they also have an effect on symptoms like hot flashes, insomnia, fatigue, memory fog, and others.

    What is guided imagery?

    Guided imagery is a mind-body technique that has many therapeutic effects. Guided imagery normally uses your imagination to talk to your subconscious and communicate messages that will promote healing.
    Guided imagery has many uses including relaxation, personal growth, trauma healing, to overcome fears, and to heal physical and emotional illnesses.  It is widely used in professional sports to reach higher performance levels and in psychology.   

    Guided imagery involves using your imagination to visualize vivid scenarios in your mind. It is like running a movie in your mind or virtual reality in your mind. As the name indicates, it is guided by a script. Just like movies need a story, guided imagery also needs a story or script.

    Following is the Wikipedia definition of guided imagery.  Let me tell you it’s a mouthful; they didn’t make it easy for everybody to understand, but I already paraphrased it above for you.   “Guided imagery (also known as guided affective imagery, or katathym-imaginative psychotherapy) is a mind-body intervention by which a trained practitioner or teacher helps a participant or patient to evoke and generate mental images that simulate or recreate the sensory perception of sights, sounds, tastes, smells, movements, and images associated with touch, such as texture, temperature, and pressure, as well as imaginative or mental content that the participant or patient experiences as defying conventional sensory categories, and that may precipitate strong emotions or feelings in the absence of the stimuli to which correlating sensory receptors are receptive.”

    Why guided imagery in menopause and perimenopause?

    We kind of covered this above, but let’s discuss it a little bit further.  One of the goals of guided imagery is to create a mental state of peace and calm, which can help reduce stress, anxiety, depression, fear and other symptoms related to menopause. I find that guided imagery is very effective, especially for people who are afraid of menopause and perimenopause or when there are negative thoughts about these natural seasons in our lives.

    Research has shown that guided imagery can be effective in reducing stress, improving sleep, and reducing hot flashes and other symptoms associated with menopause and perimenopause. Guided imagery is also an effective tool for managing stress and anxiety in women who are undergoing other medical treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

    Guided imagery is a low-risk technique that can be easily practiced at home or in a therapeutic setting. People who suffer bipolar should consult an expert before using it

    How to do guided imagery?

    In guided imagery you use a script. The script guides you, and you play it in your mind, you imagine the story with all the details in your mind. The play in your mind has to be vivid, you have to smell, feel the temperature, appreciate textures, it has to be like you are really there in order to be effective.     

    You can do guided imagery by yourself or with someone. You can use your own script or other person’s script. If you use someone else’s script that person can guide you either in person, with audio or video or just with a written script that you will read and try to apply it (kind of memorizing it).

    You can also write your own script or modify someone else’s script.  In order to write guided imagery scripts you need to have some understanding of how the human mind works. The scripts use symbolic objects or situations that may or may not make sense to us, but that make sense to our subconscious.  

    How to do guided imagery for menopause and perimenopause?

    To improve menopause and perimenopause symptoms we can use scripts for healing, relaxation and better sleep or we can use specific scripts for menopause. Usually you will practice one script for a week or longer. You can do it every day or a few times a week, but you will use the same script. You can use the same script for as long as you want to. Try not to mix scripts; when you finish with one you can start with another script.

    The duration of a guided imagery session is from 5 to 20 minutes. You can tailor the duration to the time you can devote to it. You can find a lot of scripts through Google searches and I am giving one of my scripts at the end of this article.  

    Is guided imagery similar to hypnosis?

    Guided imagery and hypnosis are similar in that they both involve using the power of imagination to create a state of deep relaxation and calm. However, there are some differences between the two.

    Guided imagery, as previously stated, is a visualization technique in which a person is guided to imagine scenarios in her mind.  Hypnosis, on the other hand, is a trance-like state in which a person is highly suggestible and open to suggestion. During hypnosis, a person may be guided to imagine scenarios or experiences that can help to alter their thoughts, behaviors, or emotions.

    Both guided imagery and hypnosis are very beneficial during menopause and perimenopause to alleviate symptoms and improving overall well-being. Both guided imagery and hypnosis can be effective in reducing stress and anxiety, releasing hidden emotions, healing trauma, but the approaches may be different. Some people may find guided imagery to be more relaxing and accessible, while others may prefer hypnosis. I think both of them are wonderful, but guided imagery is easier for beginners.

    What can you expect during a guided imagery session?

    Guided imagery is a type of meditation. It is easy to follow and very relaxing. Although it is easier to focus and keep focused in a guided session, the mind can start to wonder, if that does happen, gently try to bring your attention back to the imagination. You can also feel sleepy – that is ok – but try to finish the session. In general, during the session and after the session, you will feel more relaxed and joyful.

    Note: On some occasions, people can also have vivid dreams when doing guided imagery, if this is your case, try to analyze what the dreams are telling you.  

    Guided imagery script for menopause and perimenopause: The menopause garden

    • Try to sit or lie down in a comfortable position, but try to observe good posture.       
    • Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Inhale through your nose and then exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this deep breathing several times, allowing yourself to relax more with each breath.
    • Now, imagine yourself in a peaceful place, surrounded by Nature. It might be a beach, a forest, a mountain, or any place that feels calm and serene to you.
    • Take in the sights, listen to the sounds, smell the aromas of this place, feel the temperature, it is perfect. You are there. Let yourself feel the peace and calmness of this environment. Take a couple of deep breaths as you take in the beauty and peace that surrounds you.
    • Now you see a path in front of you. Walk on this path, breath and relax as you walk. See beautiful flowers and scenery. You feel safe here and you like being here. Keep walking on the path.  
    • Now you see a door. You feel safe, the place is breathtakingly beautiful and calm. Slowly approach the door, take a deep breath as you reach out and turn the handle, you feel safe and happy.
    • Open the door and step through the door.
    • As you step through the door a warm and comforting light comes to welcome you. The light makes you feel happy and safe.  You feel welcome and happy. As you walk, the light surrounds you and fills you.   
    • Take a moment to reflect on your body, and imagine that each cell and organ is receiving the warm and comforting light. Feel the light calming and healing every cell of your body. You feel strong, empowered and happy.
    • Imagine that you open your arms and take more of the light and hug yourself with the light. You feel joyful and light.   
    • You continue walking and you see a river. You walk to the river. The river flows calmly and peacefully. Notice the water, the peace and the ease of the water just flowing.     
    • Suddenly you see a small boat painted in your favorite color.
    • You step into the boat, and allow yourself to be carried by the flow of the peaceful river.
    • As you float down the river, imagine yourself feeling peaceful, calm, happy, healthy and confident. The water is calm and it is very nice to be there.  
    • The boat stops at a beautiful garden. Smell the flowers; you are safe and happy.
    • You get out of the boat. You can stay a few minutes in this garden and smell different flowers and admire their colors and beauty. You feel happy here.  
    • When you’re ready, take a deep breath, and slowly open your eyes. Remember the peaceful and calm feeling that you experienced during this journey.

    Repeat this meditation three or more times a week, for a week or longer.


    • The first path symbolizes your life path, the normal path that we all take.
      This door symbolizes the beginning of your journey through menopause or perimenopause.
    • The light represents your inner strength and wisdom, and it will guide and protect you as you navigate through menopause. Your body knows menopause is normal and it is looking for balance. 
    • The river symbolizes the journey of menopause, and it flows towards its destination, which is health and balance.
    • This garden symbolizes the completion of your journey through menopause, and it represents the growth, wisdom, resilience, strength and beauty that you will gain along the way.

    Have you tried guided imagery? Tell in the comments how was your experience.

  • What are the early symptoms of menopause and perimenopause

    With so much talk about “the change,” many woman are wondering what are the early symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. This is a loaded question because there are a lot of potential symptoms, but those symptoms could also be symptoms of something else. We will take a look at the most common early symptoms of menopause and perimenopause and some of the less common ones.

    How to eliminate menopause brain fog

    As you know menopause marks the end of a woman’s reproductive time and is a natural biological process. Menopause is not an illness and nothing to be afraid of. Menopause typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, but can occur earlier or later.

    Perimenopause is the time prior to menopause when the estrogen levels start to fluctuate more drastically than before. Menopause is only one day, the one year anniversary of no periods. After that day women are postmenopausal.     


    I have noticed that many people keep saying that perimenopause can start in the early thirties. This could be the case, but we have to be careful about thinking that some changes in our health and body are the result of perimenopause; those changes can be an indication of other health problems. Many issues attributed to perimenopause or early menopause symptoms can simply be thyroid imbalances, or instance or nutritional deficiencies. We cannot discard other health conditions.  

    Early symptoms of menopause and perimenopause

    Irregular periods
    This is the most obvious early symptom of perimenopause and menopause for most women. Menstrual cycles become less predictable and eventually stop. They can be shorter, longer, heavier or lighter, and they may come at less predictable times. Menstrual cycles can be one month very heavy and the next month you may even wonder if that was a cycle.

    Weight gain
    Yes, it is a lovely symptom (add sarcastic smile). Some women eat the same way, workout the same way and without adding more calories or lowering physical activity, the weight keeps climbing. As the hormones decrease further, the shape of the body can change to a larger tummy. Metabolic changes are a result of hormonal fluctuation or high stress levels. This is stubborn weight and in many cases what worked before to manage the weight doesn’t work anymore.  A few lucky women have the reverse of this and they lose weight and keep it off.       

    Mood swings
    Hormonal changes during menopause and perimenopause can lead to mood swings, irritability, and depression. Many women get very emotional and cry without a reason. It is a time of higher sensitivity.  

    Vaginal dryness
    During perimenopause and menopause the body has fluctuating and decreasing estrogen levels. This can lead to vaginal dryness and discomfort during intercourse. Many women use over the counter products such as vaginal moisturizers and lubricants. Low-dose vaginal estrogen can help relieve vaginal dryness and discomfort and they tend to be very safe in the vagina, because the vagina is like Vegas, what happens there stays there; that estrogen cream only affects the vagina.

    Hot flashes
    A hot flash is a sudden feeling of heat that spreads over the body and is often accompanied by sweating and a rapid heartbeat. This is one of the more clear symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. It is a feared symptom because it can present itself at very inappropriate moments, for example, during a work meeting.   

    Night sweats
    They are similar to hot flashes, but they are always at night and they bring a lot of sweat. Night sweats can cause drenching sweat and discomfort while sleeping. In extreme cases some women have to change sheets in the middle of the night.

    Sleep disturbances
    Hot flashes and night sweats can cause sleep disturbances and lead to fatigue and reduced energy levels. Many women cannot sleep through the night or have difficulty sleeping.    

    Reduced libido
    A decrease in estrogen levels can also lead to a reduction in sexual desire.

    Cognitive and mental changes
    Some women may experience memory problems, difficulty concentrating, and other mental changes during menopause. Sometimes this is the result of lack of good or sufficient sleep other times it is the result of hormonal imbalance.  

    Less energy and fatigue
    This can be the result of lack of sleep or low estrogen but sometimes it also has other causes such too much stress, loss of muscle mass, and poor diet.    

    It’s important to note that most women can manage these symptoms with lifestyle changes and/or hormone replacement therapy. My program BLISS in Menopause teaches you how to manage and lower the symptoms in a natural and easy way. 

    The first step to manage the symptoms is to track them and identify triggers. I invite you to download my free tracker; it has instruction on how to use it.   

    Get your free menopause symptoms tracker
  • Working out at 50, dos and don’ts

    You want to work out and you are in your 50s or 60s!!! Wonderful. Let’s talk about the dos and don’ts, what works and what doesn’t. Working out in your fifties, as everything else in life, has dos and don’ts. Generally, people will say working out after 50, but I find that this is too general. A 50 year old woman or man is very different than an 80 year old person, their work out programs are very different. The definition after 50 is already changing and it will continue to change because it is putting all people after 50 in the same bucket and that doesn’t work out (pun intended).

    Working out after 50 Dos

    Do work out in your 50s and beyond

    This is the most important thing we can say. Working out or being active is imperative for our wellbeing, physical, mental as well as emotional. Working out in our 50s is not about looking good, that is a side effect, but is about physical and mental health.

    Do check with your doctor

    If you take medications for high blood pressure, you are diabetic or you have any other medical condition, you have to check with your doctor. As a personal trainer I ask for medical clearance if the client takes medicines. Some medicines affect the way you will respond to exercise. For example, some high blood pressure medicines are diuretics and that means that if the person sweats a lot, he or she needs to drink more water than someone who doesn’t take this type of meds or there could be dehydration and/or loss of electrolytes.

    Do disclose your illnesses to the trainer

    If you are going to work out with a personal trainer or in a gym, do disclose your medical history. This will help the trainer or the gym to advise you in what to do and/or what to avoid. Normally the gyms have orientation sessions and this information will be very valuable to help you develop the best workout program for you, to maximize results and to avoid injuries and unnecessary risks.

    Do go slow

    As we age our bodies take longer time to recover and the risks of injury are higher. We ladies in our 50s and beyond need more time to develop stamina, muscle strength, flexibility and balance. We need more time to rest between workouts and we need more time to increase weights and number of repetitions. In cardio, we need to start with less time and less intensity. In yoga, Pilates, Barre and similar modalities, we need to start with less stretching. It is safer and more pleasant to start slow and progress slow. Slowly but surely is the way to go.

    Do listen to your body

    You are the expert on your body. Your body will tell you if you are doing too much. It is good to push yourself, but never to the point of injury. Let me repeat “go slow,” push yourself only a little bit at the time. You can reach similar levels of a 20 years old, but it will take longer and it will take more effort, and for many people it is possible, not for all.

    Do stay committed to your work out

    If you stay committed and work out 3 or more times a week you will see results. It is better to do shorter workouts frequently than longer workouts once a week.

    Do vary your workouts

    Our body is amazing and it adapts very easily to the exercises. When this happens, it starts to use less calories. In order to burn more calories and avoid injury you need to vary the workouts regularly.

    Do warm up

    When working out after 50 we need a lot warm up time (or at least 5 minutes). In particular when we are starting to work out after a period without workouts. Warming up prepares your muscles, your nerves and your mind; it helps to avoid injury and to do the exercises in a better form.

    Do cool down

    Cooling down is also important. It helps the body slowly lower the heart palpitations, the muscles don’t have to stop at once and your mind can calm down. Don’t skip this step.

    working out after 50 tips

    Working out at 50 don’ts

    Don’t stop working out

    When it comes to working out, consistency is the most important thing. If you stay committed you will see results. Put the work out time in your schedule and try to stick to it. If you don’t like working out then read the next tip.

    Don’t do boring or too difficult workouts

    There are a zillion ways to work out, try different workout programs to find the one that is best for you.

    Don’t do only cardio

    Cardio is great for your heart and to burn calories, but we also need strength training, flexibility and balance. Try to include all of them in your workouts. You don’t need to do all of them in the same workout, but try to have a program that includes all of them at least once a week. Strength training is recommended at least 2 times a week and it can be combined with cardio, flexibility and balance.

    Don’t take too much risk

    Working out in your 50s is for most people different than working out in your 20s. As time passes we become more vulnerable to injury and it takes longer to heal. Besides that we can have conditions such as weaker bones and not be aware of it. For these and other reasons we need to start slow and avoid exercises that include a lot of jumping, too much stretching, lifting heavy weights, etc. Jumping in general is something to think about, few people after 50 respond well to it. The stretching levels and the weights lifted can be developed, but it will take time for most 50 year olds.

    Don’t do too little

    If you do a work out and you feel like taking a light walk, you probably are not working hard enough. Some of the so called exercises for people over 50 in reality are for seniors, over 50 is just the name. YOU define YOU, don’t let anybody put labels on what you can and cannot do. Start slow, start at your level, listen to your body and continue adding variety and difficulty to your workout. You want to always challenge the body a little. If you do too little you risk quitting the program because you won’t see the results you want.
    There are great programs that anybody can follow. They don’t have to be specially directed to 50 year olds.

    A personal note about over 50

    I got my personal training certification when I was in my 50s, so I was pretty upset when they described what they called “special populations,” among them children, pregnant women and people after 50. Yep, it doesn’t matter if we are 50 or 100 we are all the same for personal training purposes. This is, of course, absurd. Even if we divide it by decades, some people in their 70s are fitter than some 20 year olds.

    Don’t get frustrated

    There are variations for all exercises. A new routine is always challenging. If you cannot do an exercise, try to modify it, it is OK. If a class is too long make it shorter, don’t force yourself. Remember, listen to your body. You will improve and you will find your sweet spot when working out. Your workout program has to work for you, not the other way around.

    Don’t rush

    Focus and control. Be mindful of every exercise. This way you will get better results and avoid injury. Better results because you will focus on the muscles you are trying to work.
    When we don’t pay attention to the exercises, many times we do the exercise wrong and we put too much pressure on other muscles. An example of this is crunches, if we don’t focus on using the abdominal muscles we end up using the lower back. The lower back is very sensitive to injury. If we do squats and don’t focus we can overextend the knees causing damage to the cartilage and lots of pain. If we do some triceps (back of the upper arm) we can end up working the biceps (front of the upper arm) this will result in muscle imbalance. Besides, strong triceps improve, avoid, or correct the famous batwings in the upper arms.

    Don’t do challenges designed for younger people

    A lot of challenges, some of them on Instagram, are badly designed, they are not good at any age and terrible for people who don’t exercise frequently. For example, push up challenges. Usually they start with a few pushups a day and keeping adding every day. The people who participate in these challenges keep pushing themselves, but they don’t do the exercises properly. This can lead to injuries, unnecessary pains and not so good results.

    If you cannot do the regular push-ups, you can start with modifications such as wall push-ups, counter push-ups, sofa push-ups, knee push-ups and finally graduate to the regular push-ups which require a lot of upper body and core strength. If you are doing on of those challenges and are just starting to workout you will hit a wall and may injure yourself. It is better to start where you are and build up from there. I have a push-up challenge for people starting to work out (at any age). If you just follow a challenge there are other risks such as lack of warm up and lack of cool down.

    Don’t buy in the hype

    If you are in my age bracket or close to it, you have seen many workout fads. Just like diets, there are also workup fads. It is OK to try them and follow them if you like them, but you don’t have to follow them. The traditional ways of working out work, you don’t need special equipment, more videos, etc.

    Don’t think you need a lot of time and money

    You can start in your house with YouTube videos or lower price apps. You don’t need to spend a lot of money. Time? Well, if you don’t have 30 minutes do as little as 20, but it’s better to do something than nothing.
    Do you need a gym? If time and/or money are scarce you can work out at home. I work out at home most of the time, because it is more time effective for me.

    Do you need a personal trainer? It is very nice to have guidance, but you don’t necessarily need one. Especially if you don’t have special needs. Remember there are trainers at different prices.
    Do you need the Peloton? It is a great machine, but you don’t need to spend that kind of money if you don’t have it or want to spend it. It is nice to have a cardio machine at home, but they also come in all price ranges. I think a treadmill is better than a bike because you get a more complete workout.

    In the beginning is better to avoid long term costly commitments.

    Don’t follow “no pain no gain”

    When working out there will be some pain in the beginning, but you don’t have to be in pain all the time. You may experience strong pain if you are working out too much, too hard or wrong. It is better to do a lighter workout than to quit because the pain is too much. For a workout to be effective, it doesn’t need to be painful.

    Have fun

    If you don’t like working out (most of us don’t) try to make it more fun, even if in the beginning you have to lie to yourself and tell yourself that you like to work out. Fake and fake it until you make it, it works when working out.

    Working out is too important for our health. Even if we don’t like it, we have to do it. So if we can convince ourselves that is not so bad that will help.

    For some motivation this is what the spectacular Jane Seymour (born in 1951) said in a recent interview:

    “I try to get my heartbeat up with fast walking at least three times a week.” “I also work out with a trainer and I’ll do about 20 minutes on a stationary bicycle, the spin bicycle, but not spinning like crazy. I do my own form of it, usually with weights, as well. So I try to do the upper body at the same time as the lower body. And then I do Pilates and Gyrotonics, which I swear by.”

    “So, things that are really good for my particular body, like the bridge and plank, I can do anywhere in any hotel room or anywhere at any time. I don’t need to go to the gym to do the things that are actually really good for my body. And having been a dancer, you have an understanding of form. So when you work out, I think you are very careful about having good form. Whereas some people just throw themselves in the gym. If you don’t have proper form, you can injure yourself.”

    If you need further inspiration check out this 80+ lady on Tiktok

    There are many more dos and don’ts but this article is already long, so we will leave it here. If you have questions or want to share a story please leave it in the comments. And let me ask you, what type of exercises are your favorites?

  • Herbs and supplements to increase libido after menopause naturally

    How to increase your libido during menopause naturally? Are there any herbs or supplements? These are common questions. Menopause and perimenopause bring a lot of changes to the body and one of them is low libido. Lower libido during perimenopause and menopause is in part the result of hormonal imbalance and there are supplements and herbs that can help.

    How to increase your libido during menopause naturally

    One of the ways to increase libido during menopause and perimenopause is to use aphrodisiacs, another is to work on its causes and mindset. Our intimate life is not only physical it is also emotional. Ideally if you are experiencing low libido, you should work on all these aspects.

    Supplements and Herbs to increase libido in menopause and perimenopause

    In this article I am bringing you some of the most promising aphrodisiacs from nature. Herbs and supplements to increase libido for women during the time of perimenopause and menopause. As you know, aphrodisiacs (from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of sexuality, beauty and love) are substances that stimulate sexual desire. All forms of natural medicine have these substances and there can be a lot of myth around them; the ones I present you here are those with scientific research behind them.

    1- Horny Goat Weed (Epimedium)

    This is a Chinese medicine herb. Another name it Goat Sex Herb. Both men and women can use it. It increases testosterone, blood flow, and helps balance hormones.

    2- Avena Sativa (Wild Oats)

    Just as the prior herb, this one is also use by breeders to help boost animal fertility. Avena Sativa is also used to help combat the effects of stress.

    3- Brazilian Catuaba Bark

    This plant comes from the Amazon rainforest. They use it to increase libido in men and women. They also use Catuaba to treat obesity and memory problems.

    4- Maca Root

    Maca has an effect on hormones. In Peru, it is a popular food as it is a cruciferous vegetable related to broccoli and kale. There are some small studies that suggests that it can increase libido, boost energy and endurance, increase fertility, and it may lower some menopause and perimenopause symptoms.

    How to increase your libido during menopause naturally with supplements and herbs.

    5- Mucuna Pruriens Extract

    In Ayurveda we use this plant in many remedies. It helps reduce stress and anxiety, improves focus, among many other benefits. It may also boost libido and orgasms. One of its common names is velvet bean.

    6- Red Ginseng

    Among the many benefits of red ginseng is to increase libido. The reason it helps is that it increases blood circulation in the body, including the genitals.

    7- Fenugreek

    This seed has many benefits including increasing testosterone in men and women. The research indicates that men who take this herb see an increase in libido and in erections. In women, we need more research, but lower testosterone levels is one of the causes of low libido in perimenopause and menopause. You can buy the seeds in an Indian store, in India they use them as a condiment, or you can buy supplements.

    Other plants that may increase libido

    There are many other plants that promise to increase libido during perimenopause and menopause. Some of these plants are: tribulus, saffron, gingko biloba, L-citrulline, Yohimbine and Muira Puama. We need more research, but preliminary studies indicate positive results.


    These aphrodisiac herbs and supplements to increase libido during menopause and perimenopause are promising. Most of them don’t have side effects, but it is wise to always check for side effects, especially if you take any medication. Although these plants promise to increase libido during perimenopause and menopause, we need more studies, but they may be worth trying.

    Other considerations

    Besides hormonal imbalance there are many causes of low libido including illnesses, medicines’ side effects, stress and emotional issues. Some depression and anxiety medicines are some of the worst offenders. A positive mindset is as important as having the right hormones. Read How to stop hot flashes naturally

  • 7 Supplements to eliminate brain fog during menopause

    During menopause and perimenopause almost 60% of women report brain fog and memory issues. If you are part of this group don’t worry; there are great foods and supplements to improve or eliminate menopause brain fog.

    eliminate menopause brain fog

    According to a University of Vermont study, brain fog and memory issues may be linked to lower levels of estrogen, especially estradiol. However, the million dollar question is why 40% of post-menopause and perimenopause women don’t experience brain fog and memory issues.              

    Hormonal balance and brain power 

    According to that study, the women who don’t experience these issues may be getting estrogen from other sources. In other words, they have hormonal balance. Hormonal balance is the key to eliminate or lower all perimenopause and menopause symptoms including brain fog and memory problems.    

    Before we jump to the supplements, let’s take a moment to talk about some important factors to keep our brain healthy:

    Exercise to eliminate mental fog

    Physical exercise is one of the brain’s biggest allies, especially when you have menopause or perimenopause mental fog. Exercise brings more oxygen to the brain and it helps it eliminate stress and toxins. You don’t need a full workout program to improve brain function. You only need constant movement, such as walking and a 30 minutes workout three or more times a week. If you work out outdoors, even better.

    Stress reduction

    Stress is one of the worst enemies for your brain and for hormonal balance. Excessive, chronic stress is a big hormonal disruptor and inflammation producer. Also, stress makes you fat and makes your tummy grow. If you can do one thing to balance your hormones and improve brain fog in menopause, try to reduce or manage stress.      

    supplements to eliminate mental or brain fog in menopause and perimenopause


    Sleep is fundamental to our health including mental health. There have been many studies showing the importance of sleep to be more focused, remember more and learn better.  It is very important to sleep enough hours during time of hormonal changes. In many cases, brain fog during menopause and perimenopause is directly related to lack of sleep.

    7 powerful supplements to improve brain fog during menopause and perimenopause

    Natural supplements for the brain are also called nootropics, but we can get some of the active substances by drinking infusions and adding some herbs to our food.   Although just popping a pill won’t solve hormonal imbalance and menopause, mental fog together with small changes in your lifestyle can help you improve brain fog.

    Ginkgo Biloba

    There are many studies pointing that ginkgo biloba helps improve cognitive function. This herb has been used in Chinese medicine for millennia. It helps the brains get more oxygen and eliminate toxins. To see results takes weeks; consult with your doctor if you like to try it.

    Vitamin B

    The vitamin B complex is very important for brain health.  Lower levels of B12 are associated with short term memory problems and lack of concentration as well as depression. Most people who eat animal products have the right levels of B12; vegans and vegetarians can have lower levels. B6 is important to carry oxygen to the brain. B6 is found in salmon and other fish and in some fortified milk products.       


    The most important antioxidants are vitamin C, E, and beta-carotene but there are many more such as: selenium, other carotenoids, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.  They help protect your body’s cells (including brain cells from damage), and help in hormonal production. Fruits and veggies also are very rich in antioxidants. Fruits and veggies are full with important nutrients that can help you combat brain fog in menopause or perimenopause.

    green and black tea to eliminate brain fog

    Green and Black Tea

    These fantastic drinks have an ingredient called L-Theanine that has shown good results to improve concentration and lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. You can take the supplement or try to include more tea, especially green tea in your normal day. Green tea is a wonderful drink for women with hormonal imbalance.

    supplements and food to eliminate menopause brain fog

    Iron for the brain

    Iron is a very important nutrient to provide oxygen to the brain and all cells in the body. The deficiency of iron is linked to lower concentration, lower focused capacity and even diminished intelligence. Next time you go the doctor ask for an iron test. Iron is very common in many foods like read meat, some beans, and some green leaves.  It is important to make sure you have enough iron during the time of menopause and perimenopause.


    Dehydration makes you more likely to suffer brain fog and lack of concentration during menopause and perimenopause. If possible try to consume from ¾ to one gallon of water a day. It is a lot of water, but in the beginning you need a lot of water to see if it will help you. Check out some recipes for infused water.

    Turmeric powder

    Turmeric powder is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is the root of many diseases. You may include turmeric powder in recipes (such as they do in India and other countries), drink golden milk or take supplements.  

  • Reduce stress in menopause with a healthy diet

    During menopause and perimenopause, stress is one of our biggest foes. Stress alters your hormones and contributes to all the other menopausal symptoms including weight gain, hot flashes and emotional volatility. To reduce stress in menopause with healthy foods is easy and efective.

    Reduce stress in menopause with a healthy diet

    As you know stress can also make us fat. There are many reasons for this. When we are stressed out, we tend to eat more and eat not so healthy. Some of the foods that stress makes us eat are sweets, alcohol, big meals, Chinese take-out, fried foods, and fatty foods among others. Wine and cocktails are particularly tempting, and with nachos, even better. Those foods may offer temporary comfort, but they are only contributing to creating more stress later on.

    Stress also affects your gut bacteria. Gut bacteria is critically important for your overall health and your weight. The hormone that produces stress affects the gut bacteria and contributes to weight gain, especially in the abdomen.

    Stress is not only emotional, it is also physical. The foods we eats have an effect on cellular stress levels and also affect our emotional wellbeing. When the body doesn’t get enough nutrients, you will feel less energetic, and you may have less concentration and focus. All of this may lead to more stress and create a vicious cycle. Reducing stress in menopause is important and the right foods can help you.

    Reduce Stress with nutrition

    A nutritionally dense meal can help you feel more energetic and lower your stress and anxiety levels. The best way to fight stress is to eat a delicious, healthy, and balanced diet. This “diet” ideally should include all the different food groups.

    Reduce stress in menopause with a healthy diet

    Eating healthy, menopause-friendly foods such as whole grains, leafy vegetables, and proteins is the best way to make sure that your body gets the optimum levels of nutrients to avoid hormonal imbalance. There are a lot of foods that can help us lower stress. These stress reduction foods will help you to calm your mind and energize your body permanently, instead of providing a temporary lift-me-up.

    Best foods to reduce stress in menopause

    Some of the best foods are:

    Chamomile Tea

    The wonderful chamomile is my herb of preference to calm down. Either using its powerful smell with essential oils or drinking it in tea. Chamomile tea has been used for millennia in many cultures. You can drink a cup of chamomile tea before bed to help you sleep better or during the day when you feel stress creeping on you. The essential oil is also great for the same purposes, the oil is mainly used in skincare products to calm the skin because the smell is not particularly pleasant. Similar herbs are lavender and Melissa (lemon balm).


    You probably knew this already. Chocolate has the power to lift our moods. Chocolate besides being almost seductive is also full of nutrients. When you need something sweet, a small piece of dark chocolate is healthier than most sweets with the exception of fruits. Of course commercial chocolate is loaded with sugar and fats and we can only indulge in moderation.

    There are studies that show that chocolate has flavonols and polyphenols, two very important nutrients. To get more of these nutrients try to pick the darkest chocolate you can. Also look at the label; the fat in the chocolate has to be cocoa butter. Because cocoa butter is expensive, many companies separate the cocoa powder from its natural fat to sell them separately and add an unhealthy, cheaper fat.


    Berries are fabulous fruits. They have great flavor, they are full of nutrients and they are naturally low in sugar. When you want something sweet and decadent, berries can be your fruit of choice. They are an easy snack that will help you to avoid unhealthy choices. You can create a parfait by adding blueberries and some yogurt or make a smoothie.

    Berries have high levels of antioxidants that will help you to have better focus and lower stress.


    The humble oatmeal is one of the most awesome grains in nutrition. Oats are full of fiber that helps to lower the bad cholesterol. The same fiber will keep you feeling full for long time. In addition oatmeal will help you control sugar cravings because it helps to control the sugar levels in the blood. Oatmeal increases the levels of serotonin in the body; this is the feel-good hormone. All of this will contribute to lower stress levels.

    Green Leafy Vegetables

    Full of nutrients and low in calories, green leafy vegetables are the star in the nutrition world. You can have them in smoothies, salads, sautéed, stir fried, curried, and even make chips with them. They are rich in nutrients that will help you balance your hormones, and therefore, your stress.

    Omega 3 fats

    These wonderful fats are very important for cardiovascular and mental health. They help to control micro-inflammation in the body and in the brain. Omega 3 fatty acids are very important during menopause for hormonal balance and they can also help you be more focused, more productive and happier; all of these will result in lower stress. You can reduce stress in menopause with healthy foods such as these great fats.

    Reduce stress in menopause with a healthy diet

    Food rich in omega 3s include salmon, sardines and other cold water fish, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts and other nuts.

    Fermented foods

    As we said before, the gut bacteria is very important for your mental and physical health. During menopause, your bacteria is affected by lower estrogen levels and this aggravates the menopausal symptoms. By eating some fermented foods you are helping replenish your gut bacteria.

    There are many studies linking gut bacteria to depression and mood swings. It is very important to eat fermented foods such as sauerkraut, apple cider vinegar, yogurt, etc..

    Citrus foods

    Citrus fruits are so refreshing and full of vitamins, especially vitamin C. There are some studies indicating that vitamin C can directly help lower stress and anxiety levels and improve your mood.


    Dehydration brings irritability and lethargy. Drinking enough water is very important to lower stress. If you prefer your water with flavor, you can drink infused waters.

    Foods that make stress worse

    The same way that some foods can help you lower stress, there are also some that will increase stress. We already talked about sugar, but there are many more. In general processed foods, especially ultra-processed foods, are really bad for your gut bacteria and subsequently greatly affect hormonal balance. These foods will suck your energy, make you hungry and lower your concentration levels. This happens because your body does not recognize them and they are full of toxins.

    Ultra-processed foods include most commercial cereals, drinks like sodas, some commercial breads, most commercial snacks, some commercial sauces and condiments, etc. You can reduce stress in menopause with healthy foods.

    Too much coffee can also increase anxiety and stress. Alcohol in general is not healthy; if you drink it, try to limit it.

    Eating to lower your stress

    In order to lower your stress you need to eat the right foods at the right time.

    If you eat breakfast try to include complex carbohydrates such as oats and/or protein and some healthy fats. This type of breakfast will fill you up and give your energy. Avoid high sugar and bad fats.

    If you feel like having a snack, try to eat nuts, fruits especially berries and citrus fruits, yogurt or a small piece of chocolate.

    For lunch and dinner avoid too many refined carbs such as commercial breads, too much pasta, noodles etc. You can eat carbs, including pasta and noodles but they should include healthy proteins and vegetables. Try to eat natural foods and try to include vegetables of different colors.

    Try to make your meals delicious. Healthy and stress-reducing foods don’t mean non-tasty foods. I believe that we have to enjoy our food. Food doesn’t only provide nutrients to the body, it also nurtures our souls. You don’t need to eat in a certain way all the time, you can indulge in foods that are not healthy, but try to eat healthy at least 50% of the time. This will help you to reduce stress in menopause and perimenopause.

    Make your meals fun and eat using all your senses. Take your time to eat and enjoy your meals. And last but not least, try to eat at the same time every day. If your body doesn’t get food when it needs, it you will get stressed out.

    I hope this article helps you to plan your meals, reach hormonal balance and a happier menopause.

  • Can Vitamin D help you against Coronavirus

    Can vitamin D help you fight the mighty coronavirus or any other virus? When we made our vision boards, goals and dreams in the beginning of the year we couldn’t have possibly imagined that a microscopic enemy, easily destroyed by soap, will crush them. One nutrient that is being researched as a possible way to help us protect against the virus is vitamin D.

    vitamin d against coronavirus

    Foods rich in vitamin D. Healthy eating

    Vitamin D helps us fight infections, especially respiratory infections. The reason why vitamin D is being mentioned together with coronavirus is that about 50% of people in America lack sufficient vitamin D, especially black and Latino populations. Those populations are the most affected by this virus at this time.

    Can vitamin D help against viral infections?

    Vitamin D has a very important role in our immune system. It helps to reduce inflammation and control immunological response. There are studies that indicate that vitamin D supplements can increase our immune response and protect against respiratory infections, both viral and bacterial.

    Some studies show that low levels of vitamin D are associated with increased susceptibility to infections and other illnesses. There is a correlation between low vitamin D levels and an increased risk of respiratory problems, such as respiratory infections, tuberculosis, asthma, and others. I would like to note that although there is evidence, some scientists are still debating these findings.

    Can vitamin D help us against coronavirus

    For those reasons many scientists believe that vitamin D may help us against coronavirus (covid-19, or SARS-CoV-2) and other viruses. However the coronavirus (Covid-19) is the new kid on the block and there are no conclusive studies at this time.

    Personally I take vitamin D supplements because I don’t get enough from the sun or from food and vitamin D is a very important nutrient and it has a fundamental role in bone formation. Vitamin D is considered a hormone; we will cover some of its most important functions below.

    How to get vitamin D?

    We can get vitamin D from the sun or through food, and of course, there are also supplements.

    A lot of our Vitamin D is synthesized from sunlight. The darker the skin color, the less vitamin D is absorbed by the skin, and therefore, the longer exposure time the person needs. Independent of skin color, those of us in higher latitudes need even longer exposure times to get the right amount of vitamin D and most people don’t get it. Vitamin D is obtained from direct sunlight, the sunrays that help us to get vitamin D do not pass through glass — in other words, we cannot make it by exposing ourselves to sunlight filtered through a window and must go outside directly in the sun. Remember that sun exposure is not sunburn, sunburn causes skin cancer and dark spots, moderate sun exposure is healthy.

    Vitamin D helps against viruses

    We can also ingest vitamin D. Vitamin D is abundant in cold water fish such as sardines and salmon, and in egg yolks. It is not very common in non-animal sources but it can be found in mushrooms. In addition to that in America we get some vitamin D from fortified foods such as milk, orange juice and cereals. However, that may not be sufficient and we may need a supplement.

    There are also vitamin D supplements. The most common are D2 and D3, the first is from vegetable sources and the other from animal sources. When it comes to amounts in normal times, the recommended doses is 400 to 800 IU. For coronavirus there are no recommendations, however the normal amounts are a good place to start. If your doctor determines that you have a deficiency he may recommend higher amounts.

    Vitamin D is fat soluble, and for that reason, we should not overdo it. What the body doesn’t use gets stored in the fat cells. Excess vitamin D can cause many health complications, but if you take the recommended amounts it is safe.

    Other benefits of vitamin D

    Besides protecting us against viruses, potentially against coronavirus, vitamin D has many important roles. Some of those are:

    • Vitamin D is well known for its role in bone and teeth formation. Without vitamin D we cannot have healthy bones. This is especially important after menopause.
    • Many studies demonstrate that vitamin D supports brain and nervous system function.
    • Low levels of vitamin D are linked to depression
    • According to studies vitamin D may help in regulating the insulin levels, and therefore, help manage diabetes. There are some studies indicating that low levels of vitamin D may increase the risk of type 1 diabetes.
    • It helps to improve cardiovascular health. Some studies suggest that it may help control high blood pressure.
    • Vitamin D may have an epigenetic effect. It may have a role in the genes involved in cancer development. Some small studies link low vitamin D levels to development of breast, ovaries, esophagus, colon, prostate, and other cancers.
    • And something important to know: vitamin D may promote weight loss. Or in other words, lack of vitamin D may promote weight gain.

    So, there are a lot of reasons to make sure we are having the right levels of vitamin D. Let’s hope that vitamin D can help us against coronavirus or covid-19.

    Read about how to stop hot flashes naturally

  • Mindful eating for weight loss

    If you are trying to maintain your weight or lose some weight, mindful eating is very important, especially when we are dealing with hormonal fluctuations in midlife, perimenopause, or menopause.

    Mindful eating for weigh loss in menopause and perimenopause

    Imagine yourself eating a super healthy dish full of nutrients and veggies really, truly, yummy. Sounds awesome, right? Yes, that meal will be amazing. Visualize yourself there, how is the décor, how is the environment, how are you eating (slow, fast)?

    Now add to that a little drama, such as a very noisy environment, you checking messages on social media on your phone, an unpleasant conversation, a lot of soda or wine drinking, worry feelings or just watching TV and not paying attention to the food, just walking around while eating thinking about something else.

    You get the idea. Mindful eating is precisely the contrary of that. And it has many benefits to your physical and mental health.

    What is mindful eating?

    Eating mindfully is enjoying your food and the act of eating. Mindful eating is, in a nutshell, eating with all your senses and at least most of your focused attention. It is paying attention to your food and your body’s reaction to the food and the environment.

    Mindful eating for weigh loss in menopause and perimenopause

    Why is mindful eating important to maintain or lose weight?

    You probably have read that eating in front of the TV makes you fat. The reason is that when we are distracted we don’t pay attention to our body’s reaction and we don’t realize when we get full. In other words, we eat mindlessly.

    Let’s see some of the reasons to eat mindfully if we want to maintain or lose weight during perimenopause and menopause.

    • If you pay attention to your food and enjoy every bite, you will slow down naturally. As you know, the brain is slow to get the message from the stomach “stop eating, I am full.”
    • You will chew your food more. This helps to have better digestion and better nutrient absorption. When we have the nutrients we need, that it helps you to control cravings and avoid illnesses and hormonal imbalance.
    • You will enjoy your food. This will help you to eat less and control cravings
    • You will be in more control over portions
    • You will drink less liquid. When you chew your food, you have more saliva and you need less liquids. Excess liquids interfere with digestion.
    • You will be conscious of the quantities you are eating as well as the foods you are eating.
    • You will be happier. This is enough reason to eat mindfully. Your emotions affect your hormones, this will help you with hormonal balance and better digestion.

    How to eat mindfully for weight loss?

    There are no hard dos and don’ts, the following are only guidelines to eat more mindfully. Eating mindfully is not difficult, but in our culture we have gotten used to eating fast and while doing something else. Here are some tips to eat mindfully.

    1- Sit down at the table to eat

    This is the reason we have dining tables. Hopefully the table and the environment will be clutter free and peaceful. If you make eating a ritual, you will enjoy your food more and eat more mindfully.

    2- Lower the noise

    It is best to eat in relative silence, meaning no TVs, no cell phones, no loud music. If there is conversation, it should be a nice, easy topic. Of course this is not always possible but you can try to minimize what is in your control.

    3- Chew and chew a little more

    We don’t have teeth in our stomach, the more we chew the less the stomach works. In other words, the easier and faster is our digestion. This allows for faster elimination and more nutrient absorption. It also slows us down and we get full with less food.

    4- Don’t drink too much

    We are not talking alcohol, but all liquids. In natural medicine, we believe that drinking large amounts of liquids interferes with digestion.

    5- Enjoy your food

    Try to eat with all your senses. Look at your food, smell it and observe the textures and colors. After that you can put the first bite in your mouth and enjoy it.

    Mindful eating for weigh loss in menopause and perimenopause

    6- Give thanks

    Grace is a beautiful word. Give grace or thanks for your food and for that moment. Read stress and weight

    7- Make it special

    Avoid eating while walking or driving even if you are eating something small. Multitasking is a bad idea in everything. While eating you are going to eat more and not really enjoy your food.

    Avoid eating while watching TV or looking at your cell phone. This is especially difficult for most people, but I least you can try to put more attention on your food. Try to limit your time on the phone and turn off the TV.

    Try to avoid eating in a hurry. It is not always possible but avoid it to the max, for some people this is a habit and it is a habit that makes you anxious and contributes to weight gain.

    8- Avoid guilt

    Many people, especially the ones who count calories or fat grams can feel guilty when eating. Don’t, it doesn’t help, give thanks for your food and eat with gusto. Once you have decided to eat a certain food, just enjoy it or don’t eat it, but don’t overthink it.

    If you feel guilty or you feel that you should be eating better, just plan for better the next time, but enjoy the present.

    9- Be present

    This is the heart of mindful eating. Don’t let your mind wander or get lost in conversation or social media. When eating, your focus is your food and the act of feeding your body.

    Should you try mindful eating?

    It is easy, it is free, and it is effective. It will help you to be healthier, skinnier and happier and it will help you balance your hormones and prevent illnesses. I think it is worth trying it. It is a gift to yourself and one of the highest forms of self-care.

    Can you lose weight with mindful eating?

    Let’s be honest, someone can practice mindful eating and eat large amounts and that will not be helpful, but in general mindful eating helps us eat less. Once we start mindful eating it is easier to pick healthier dishes and control cravings and those are habits that will result in weight loss and help us with hormonal balance.

    Do you eat mindfully?

    Learn more about how to thrive in menopause and recover your body and your health. Read about my program, the same steps I use with private clients: BLISS in Menopause