Let’s start with the big question: What the heck is clean eating? Supporters of the clean eating movement will tell you clean eating isn’t a diet – it’s a lifestyle.
According to Clean Eating Magazine, it’s as simple as these guidelines:
1. Eat 5-6 times a day (3 meals and 2-3 small snacks).
2. Choose organic whenever possible (especially meat, eggs, dairy, and the Dirty Dozen).
3. Drink at least 2 L of water a day (and limit alcohol to 1 glass of red wine – for the antioxidants!)
4. Get label savvy – choose foods with just 1-2 ingredients.
5. Avoid processed and refined foods (including white flour, sugar, bread, and pasta).
6. Know your enemies – trans fats, preservatives, artificial colours, and additives.
7. Consume healthy fats.
8. Learn about portion sizes.
9. Reduce your carbon footprint by eating produce that is seasonal and local.
10. Shop with a conscience by choosing humanely raised local meats and ocean-friendly seafood.
11. Slow down and savour – Enjoy every bite!
12. Take it to go – pack a cooler with clean snacks for work or outings.
13. Make it a family affair – food is meant to be shared with the people you love!1
Not a bad philosophy all around!
But what about for menopausal women? Many of the common menopause symptoms can be reduced by changing your eating habits: for example, avoiding spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine can decrease hot flashes. Clean eating habits like drinking lots of water, avoiding additives, reading labels carefully, and limiting alcohol will certainly help if certain foods and drinks are triggering your symptoms.
Stomach complaints like bloating, gas, and constipation are another common issue, since the hormonal changes of menopause may cause your digestion to slow down. If you are suffering from these effects, adopting clean eating habits of eating small meals 5-6 times a day, drinking LOTS of water, avoiding refined foods, and eating slowly may help to prevent these symptoms and make you more comfortable.
And of course, one of the MOST common complaints for menopausal women is weight gain or trouble losing weight. Clean eating isn’t meant to be a weight-loss plan, but many of the clean eating habits will replace existing bad habits that could be sabotaging your weight-loss efforts. Becoming mindful of what and how much you’re putting into your body by reading labels, learning about portion sizes, eating regularly and as a family, and planning ahead to pack snacks and meals instead of grabbing food on the go are all excellent ways to improve your overall diet – and you might find the result is worth a dress size or two!
Sourcing local, organic, and humane foods, replacing processed foods with wholesome, home-cooked recipes and meals on the go with sit-down family affairs can also improve your enjoyment of meals and mealtimes. You might find improvements in your overall mood and relationships with loved ones follows as your whole family builds a new lifestyle around clean eating habits.
- “What is clean eating?” http://www.cleaneatingmag.com/food-health/food-and-health-news/what-is-clean-eating/. Retrieved September 21, 2015.
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