Menopause and Raw Foods

Nov. 19, 2013

Menopause Can Be a Challenge

In 2000, at age 38, for the first time in my life, I started experiencing some strange health concerns.

We had recently moved to a 20-acre piece of property we purchased in Central Oregon and were drinking the local, city water while waiting to put in our own well. Shortly thereafter I began suffering from muscle weakness in both of my arms and dizziness that became nearly debilitating…especially whenever moving from a horizontal to a vertical position, or when rolling over in bed at night. Kind of like an ear infection would affect your equilibrium.  It didn’t take long for me to figure out that it might have something to do with the water I was drinking (strange that no one else in the family had these symptoms, though…) I quickly started purchasing 2.5-gallon dispenser jugs of purified water to consume, and the pain got better almost immediately. But the dizziness persisted. It wasn’t nearly as bad as it had been before changing to the purified water…but it still clung to me, off and on, for several years afterward.

Life Events Led Me to Raw Foods

In late 2006 my younger cousin, Floyd, who was 40 at the time, was diagnosed with a brain tumor the size of a softball. This had a significant impact on me, both emotionally and psychologically. I desperately wanted to find a way to help him beat that illness. Combined with the fact that my father had suffered a double heart attack, several years earlier, at age 60, and was experiencing a gradual, but progressive, decline in his health, I was motivated to begin research on ways to heal the body through diet and nutrition.

This is when I found the Raw Food lifestyle. And without going into all of the history surrounding that (I’ve already written about that experience in detail on my other blog: http://tracyjprez.wordpress.com) I will say that over the next couple of years I followed that lifestyle with quite a bit of personal success. But it caused a significant challenge with my family, who did not embrace the idea of eating mostly raw foods. This resulted in a fractured home life when it came to meals and food consumption. So, in early 2008 I gradually began eating more and more cooked foods.

Menopause Symptoms Made Me Return to Cooked Foods

During this same time frame, I began noticing that my body was starting to experience some definite hormonal shifts. I wasn’t FEELING any different, but my monthly cycle was becoming sporadic, so I knew that something was changing. I hadn’t really experienced much weight loss on raw foods during my first attempt following a high-raw diet. But most of my strange symptoms went away, and I really LIKED the lifestyle.  However, due to the situation with my family and other factors, I was led back to eating mostly cooked food again. By January 2009 my weight was at an all-time high of 193 and I was feeling awful about myself. I’m tall, 5 feet 8 inches, so I can carry more weight than most women without looking especially overweight. But no matter how you stack it, 193 is about 50 pounds more than I should weigh in order to be healthy. By this time most of our children were grown and off, living on their own. So, I was in a better position to take a serious shot at Raw Foods again. And this time I did succeed in losing some significant weight! Between March and July, I lost about 35 pounds and was feeling much lighter and happier! I was energized and felt more enthusiastic about life, in general, and this way of eating than ever before!

I Launched Eighty Percent Raw Online Magazine

In November of 2009, I launched my online magazine, Eighty Percent Raw, fully convinced of the benefits of this lifestyle. I’ve written all about that experience on my other blog: http://tracyjprez.wordpress.com. So, I will skip writing about that here, again. But I want to get to the point of this post…

And that is this – looking back on all of the upheaval and fluctuation in my weight and health, with the symptoms that have come and gone in the process…I really think almost all of this can be attributed, primarily,  to the hormonal changes my body had been going through. And I don’t think enough serious consideration, or discussion, is given to what havoc is wreaked in a woman’s body, nor for how LONG, throughout the whole menopause adjustment period. This isn’t like some short-term “condition” or illness that we go through and then get over in a couple of months. At least not in my experience. And if you are anything like me, you’ve tried all kinds of things to try to force your body to cooperate with you to “fix” the problem. Well, guess what? Apparently, the body wins. OMG! LOL!

Here is Where I am Today

I am returning to a high-raw foods lifestyle, once again. Debilitating joint pain in my knees is no longer a problem. This discomfort always resurfaced whenever I went back to a high-raw or high-carb diet in the recent past. But, again, this appears to be related more to hormones and menopause, not to diet, as I previously believed. My general health is better than it’s been in quite a long time now. But I still struggle with the weight.

Eating mostly raw foods is the one “diet” or lifestyle that helped me lose weight and KEEP IT OFF _without even trying_ for nearly two years. That is saying something, for me!

Insights I’ve Gained

Here are some things I’ve learned about my body, where weight loss and diet are concerned –

1. I can’t eat starches and lose weight (ie; cooked grains, legumes, potatoes, etc.)

2. I have to watch my fat intake. I can’t eat a lot of nuts, seeds, avocados, oils, etc., and lose weight. Though I was eating lots of nuts, seeds, coconut, olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, and olives with no problem prior to going through menopause, so I am going to be watching this.

3. I’m not sure if I need to be careful about concentrated sweets like dried fruit, agave nectar (not currently used), pure maple syrup, honey, etc. So I will also be watching these. Also, I don’t know if I need to be cautious about high-sugar, high-starch fruits like banana, mango, papaya, etc. But I have my suspicions, so I’m also keeping a close watch on what happens with these. *I _have_ noticed that I break out and get swelling and cracking around my lips when I consume a lot of raw pineapple or watermelon lately… so I seem to have some weird food intolerance that I haven’t experienced before.

Tell Me About Your Menopause Experience

I would LOVE to have an open dialogue with other women who have had challenges going through menopause, especially where weight gain and hormonal symptoms are concerned. And I would especially enjoy hearing from those who have overcome these symptoms following a high-raw foods diet & lifestyle!

Until next time…

Tracy