Our food choices have an impact on how we feel every day. As we approach menopause foods can have an impact on the symptoms we experience. There is no specific list of foods that can be provided because each person is affected differently.
The most reliable way to determine which foods may be causing your symptoms is to do an elimination diet.
An elimination diet is when you take away foods that you may be sensitive to. Eliminating toxic foods slowly from your diet can be done anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months. Simply remove it from your cooking routine and know that usually there is a healthy replacement. Notice if you feel less bloated, less gas, better bowel movements, or have more energy.
There are two major food groups that tend to be culprits in menopause symptoms: dairy and gluten.
When you prepare to eliminate dairy from your diet it is important to know there are some hidden sources of dairy as well. The following list includes all the things to avoid:
Milk, cream, half and half
Yogurt or kefir
Creamy salad dressings, sauces, and soups
Cottage cheese and cream cheese
Many baked goods like muffins, scones, and cookies
Restaurant dishes such as meatloaf, scrambled eggs, doughnuts, pancakes, and mashed potatoes.
Make sure you are reading the ingredient labels of foods. Some items that can be good replacements are coconut foods, malt vinegar, and all nut butters or milks.
Gluten is another major culprit in many menopause symptoms. When you are looking for gluten free products it is important to realize that gluten is in more items than just wheat. This list can point you to some items to start removing from your diet.
Kashi (multi-grain blend)
The items you will want to look for as replacements include rice, amaranth, quinoa, and oats to name a few.
Keeping a journal can be an important part of an elimination diet. Keep track of what you are eating and how you feel. By noting the symptoms, you have or don’t have can help you better understand how the foods are affecting you.
Upon completing an elimination diet, you can add one food item at a time back into your diet and observe whether your old toxic symptoms return. Watch for rashes, stomach pain, fatigue, painful joints, bloating or a change in bowel habits. As you are adding in foods make sure you are doing this as a 3-4 day rotational diet so you can assess what foods your body can tolerate. For example, you may have potatoes on Monday, but not again until Friday.
This may seem difficult at first but give it time. Remember that sometimes the food you crave is a food you are sensitive too. Remember a healthy lifestyle habit will change your taste buds, increase your palate sensitivity, which ultimately promotes mindful food choices and consumption. Every small step you take will lead to living your ideal life!