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.