In my ongoing pursuit to better manage my own struggles with perimenopause, I’ve been much more focused on seeing how many of my related symptoms can be managed through diet

and lifestyle change. It’s not that I’m opposed to HRT and other pharmaceuticals to manage my symptoms (though admittedly, I have been biased to fear by some of the negative reports associating its use with breast cancer), but I do think it’s primarily my responsibility to at least try to improve my situation by making behavioral and lifestyle changes that provide a strong foundation for my overall well-being.

That’s why recently, I was excited to not only read, but interview nutritional therapist and writer, Jackie Lynch, about her new book, The Happy Menopause: Smart Nutrition to Help You Flourish. I mean, she had me at “The Happy...”, because let’s be real, when it comes to the typical thoughts and conversations we have about menopause, they’re rarely associated with happy.

A Registered Nutritional Therapist since 2010, Jackie is also the founder of the WellWellWell nutrition clinic in London, where she’s been specializing in women’s health and menopause for the past several years. In 2019, she launched The Happy Menopause, a diet and lifestyle podcast, so that she could reach more women with information they could consider – whether as alternatives, or in addition to – a medicalized approach to managing their menopause transition. And this month – well-timed to coincide with World Menopause Month – she hopes to reach even more women, with the publication of a new book inspired by the insights and guidance shared through her clinical work and popular podcast.

The book is written to be a practical guide to managing menopause transition through nutrition and lifestyle modifications. While the guidance Ms. Lynch offers isn’t necessarily new or ground-breaking, I found the book to be not just informational, but easy to understand and more important, useful to me. Like most working women who are managing chaotic households, I don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to reading books, even of the “self-care” sort, so I really appreciated that Ms. Lynch acknowledges pretty early on, that women in midlife are BUSY and that her book doesn’t have to be read sequentially or in its entirety (woohoo, my kind of book). Rather, she’s laid out a “pick-and-mix approach” to help readers easily find the symptoms and corresponding information most relevant to them.

Because I’ve experienced or am currently experiencing several symptoms (i.e., more than three) -- and because I knew I’d be interviewing the author -- I did read the book cover-to-cover and was pretty glad I did. Overall, it was easy to follow and understand, and it was clear how I could pretty easily apply many of the tips and suggestions offered. The information is clearly laid out, with each of the symptom sections following a consistent format, highlighting what the symptom is, why it happens, and how nutrition can help – including which foods to eat and which to avoid.

For each symptom, she also includes callouts for practical lifestyle modifications and recipe suggestions. As I was reading, I found myself thinking that this would be a great book to have handy as I’m writing up my grocery list, or to have around the kitchen as a recipe guide for all of the protein and nutrient-rich snacks and meals I’ll be making.

Balancing your blood sugar is a fundamental premise and recurring theme throughout the book – and if you only read one chapter from start to finish, make sure it’s “Chapter 2: If You Only Do One Thing”. While I had a general sense before reading the book, that too much sugar can exacerbate many of my perimenopausal symptoms, I didn’t really understand the “why” of it, nor did I have a full appreciation for how crucial balancing blood sugar is to our overall health and well-being – both physical and cognitive. So…what’s my primary take away? BALANCE YOUR SUGAR!!!

I definitely recommend this book – particularly for women who are managing multiple symptoms as they navigate their own menopause transition. Personally, as I sit down to write my grocery list for the week, I can already see how it will be a frequent “go to” guide among my growing library of useful resources. Here’s to happy reading, and more to the point…here’s to a happy menopause!

________________________________________________________________________

Jackie’s books are available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and select independent booksellers. She's also the host of the popular podcast, The Happy Menopause. You can follow Jackie on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @WellWellWellUK.




As we head into World Menopause Month, for the second year in a row (having just learned about it last year), I’m reflecting on why it’s important and what it means to me.

You know from my previous blog posts that I’ve been trying a few different things to help ease my perimenopausal symptoms. From seed cycling to intermittent fasting…to a few other things I’ve been meaning to blog about, but haven’t…I’ve been dabbling (flitting, really) among an array of non-pharmaceutical approaches.





Well, now I’m trying daily (sort of) meditation. Not necessarily because I wanted to or because I’m oh so enlightened. Really, it was in direct response to a ‘stage 2 hypertension’ reading that pretty much scared me straight, and validated my concern that the stress-related eye twitch I’d been experiencing the previous two weeks was, indeed, my blood pressure screaming to get my attention. “Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!!!


The realization that I could stroke out at 46 years old if I didn't get control of the situation, spurred me to immediate action, and I began a very diligent, if not earnest, 12-day streak of self-care that included:

  • Practicing Mindfulness - 10-minute guided meditation and deep breathing exercises;

  • Aerobic Exercise - Breaking a sweat by getting my heart rate up through exercise (whether walking the neighborhood in the new 'bob-and-weave, put up your mask' method inspired by COVID, or jumping around my bedroom to aerobics on-demand);

  • Managing Food Intake - Resuming intermittent fasting on a 16:8 cycle drinking 8-12 8oz. bottles of water a day

  • Limiting Alcohol Intake - Reducing daily COVID shot of Tequila (don't judge) to 2x/week

While I've stuck with the intermittent fasting, water intake and limitation of alcohol (REALLY!), I've wavered on the daily meditation and exercise, and have not yet been able to get back on a consistent track. I also started virtual therapy to talk some of this stuff out, because the stress and strain of being a Black woman and mother in America is TAKING ITS TOLL.


If you spend any amount of time on social media following issues important to women, you already know that we’re showered with motivational and reassuring self-care memes, .gifs and influencer quotes…Every. Single. Day. And while I appreciate all of the empowerment championing and validating that’s being put out in these posts (honestly, my iPhone is filled with them), I’ve come to realize that “self-care” and loving oneself properly is tough work. Especially if you have inclinations that lean toward self-indulgence, and deeply resent the deprivation of gluttony and bad habits that discipline and mature boundaries represent.

But I suppose that’s where the reality of adulting (I am middle-aged, after all), and a healthy dose of self-awareness kick in... What do I expect to change if I don’t make -- but more importantly – commit, to the effort? Even so, when I think about what self-care means to me and the healthy longevity I envision for myself, I become a bit overwhelmed, because it’s A LOT.

Self-care means:

  • Stretching EVERYDAY

  • Seed Cycling EVERYDAY

  • 10-minute Meditation EVERYDAY

  • Taking a Multi-vitamin EVERYDAY

  • Intermittent fasting EVERYDAY (which means black coffee EVERYDAY)

  • Exercising EVERYDAY

  • Limiting my sugar intake EVERYDAY

  • Eating a balanced diet EVERYDAY (a cheat day here and there to be expected, of course)

  • Always making sure that I'm as attentive to my mental and emotional well-being as I am my physical health.

And so it goes, my reluctant realization that self-care isn’t a series of nice and healthy things to try every once in a while, it’s in fact, a lifestyle. I know it can be done...and I know a lot of women who have the personal wherewithal to take this 'lifestyle change challenge' head-on. But I prefer to eat my elephant one bite at a time and have decided to recognize World Menopause Month as an opportunity to commit to a plan of self-care that pushes me beyond my comfort zone (even on really bad days), but doesn’t set me up for failure.


So, what are my personal goals for World Menopause Month???

  • Meditate for 31 consecutive days

  • Recommit to seed cycling (the acne and chin whiskers have come back with a vengeance)

  • Continue with intermittent fasting (16:8 makes the body feel great!)

  • Aerobic exercise five days a week

  • Keep a daily log to hold myself accountable

  • Stick with virtual therapy until...

Last, but not least, “Fall down seven times, get up eight."


However YOU define self-care for yourself, do it with all the encouragement, loving kindness and support that the memes are meant to inspire. - XOXO







Like most of us going through perimenopause (or The Long Hot Summer as I like to call it), one of the things I’ve found most frustrating about my experience, is the lack of readily available, relevant information. While it’s been encouraging to see the rise of ‘Femtech’ drive a greater focus and investment in women’s reproductive health, I’m still left wanting more. That’s why I was excited to learn about the inaugural launch of the FemAging 2020 HealthTech Report, which focuses on the health needs of women 40 – 65 years old, and those serving them through unprecedented research and product innovations.

Published just last month, the report also highlights how COVID-19 has compounded the stress and anxiety of women navigating perimenopause and post-menopause. According to the report, “60% of women ages 40+ are concerned about COVID-19’s impact on their short- and long-term stress and anxiety levels. But there are few FemAging Tech solutions focused on behavioral health and wellness.”

Spearheaded by Denise Pines, founder of WisePause and president of the California State Medical Board, the report includes representative insights on the particular needs of women of color – African American, Hispanic and Asian – and the disappointing lack of resources available to these groups.


MMM: I love that you state that “women’s health is not just about fertility”. Why did you think it was important to do this type of report?

DP: We produced this report for two reasons. First, we want to bring older women’s health and wellness needs into the light. This is why we commissioned the FemAging Index, a uniquely nationally representative survey of 1,000 U.S. women ages 40 – 65 that will be repeated annually. Significantly, the FemAging Index takes a look at what older women of color want, a generally overlooked population in innovation research, investment and development.

Second, we want to accelerate and improve innovations targeted toward older women. This is why we are introducing a new industry sector with this report: FemAging Tech. This sector features innovations such as clothing, nutritional products, wearables, sensors, diagnostics, devices, pharmaceuticals and digital applications developed specifically for women ages 40+.

MMM: Who do you think will benefit most from the insights captured in FemAging Tech 2020?

DP: The rise of the FemTech sector is a positive thing, but as you alluded to in your previous question, to date, fertility and parenthood innovations have received more than $2.9 billion in investment. In contrast, solutions assessed that are targeted toward older women – including those entering perimenopause and menopause – have received an estimated $445 million, with the majority of funding going to pharmaceutical and device innovations. What makes this investment gap startling is the population size is almost equal in numbers.

The global population of women 40+ is growing daily, and an estimated 1.1 billion women will be of perimenopausal age by 2025. These women have tremendous economic and social power. It’s time to put their needs front and center.

MMM: What’s next for you in your crusade to democratize menopause for the masses?

DP: Well, FemAging 2020 is only the beginning! We plan to conduct representative surveys annually and update our list of individuals and companies making strides in the FemAging Tech sector. Of course, each year we hope to add even more innovators to our current list of 20.

I’m also excited to host the second annual WisePause Lifestyle Summit this September. Originally this was an in-person live event – due to the physical distancing measures, we’re taking it virtual hoping to reach even more women by streaming. You can learn more about some of the great programming we have planned and check for regular updates at www.wisepausetour.com.

You can download a PDF copy of FemAging 2020 here.



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