I have been passionate about the anti-aging process for most of my life before the anti-aging term was invented. When I was a little girl my father was already teaching me the importance about health and fitness. I bonded with my dad at a very young age, and in order to spend more quality time with him I decided to pick up jogging. My dad made it clear that if I could keep up with him then I could tag along. That was the beginning of my health and fitness journey. My father had the knowledge, before Dr. Oz and all the other gurus in the health and fitness market today, that potato skins and steamed vegetables held very important nutrients. He also knew that overcooking vegetables and/or meat depletes the nutrients, and wouldn’t benefit the body whatsoever. On the other hand, my mother didn’t share the same passion about health and fitness, and over the years it showed.
Let me explain what I witnessed. My father never drank alcohol, nor did he have a sweet tooth other than for high quality ice cream, which he ate moderately. My mother talked the talk, and we grew up without sweets or soda in our house, yet I found her hidden stash of candy bars by her bedside drawer. When I confronted her about it, she made up a story and the stash disappeared or she found a better hiding place. My mother had a fast metabolism and was a beautiful looking women until she hit early menopause. I didn’t understand at the time why my dad who is three years older wasn’t aging, while my mother was looking old at a younger age. I have since connected it with diet and exercise. My mother was not a fan of joining a gym, but would rather go bike riding, play tennis, swim, or walk. Unfortunately, because she didn’t practice good eating habits and exercise on a regular basis it caught up to her.
The following myths and/or facts are from decades of fighting the aging process myself; I’d like to show how it pays off if you start eating healthy and exercising regularly at a young age; and to give hope to those who are currently going through the menopause stages.
Hot Flashes and Night Sweats
Every menopausal woman is unique and should not be put in the same box. Women who consume organic foods, and use organic products may experience little to no hot flashes and night sweats. It is important to listen to your body after eating certain foods. For instance, when I eat fast food, I become fatique and experience brain fog. I won’t lie, it tastes good at the time, but I regret the consequences. When I eat clean I don't feel bloated, and I stay alert and energized. Menopausal women who are usually in their late forties to mid-fifties may need to consume more vitamin b, d, and probiotics than women who are not at the menopause stages. In my studies, I have found that women who eat green, drink plenty of water, and exercise for at least 30 minutes a day experienced less or no hot flashes and/or night sweats, than women who eat unhealthy and don't exercise regulary.
Eating green doesn’t have to be negative. I thought I had to give up pizza, until I researched that Z pizza offers a vegan pizza with the choice of wheat or gluten free crust. Most local health markets offer vegan cheesecakes and other deserts that I find just as delicious without the guilt. Always check the sugar, and sodium content in everything you eat or drink. You will be surprised to see that the food and drinks that claim to be organic and healthy carry high amounts of sugar and sodium in them. My rule of thumb is, if what you're consuming comes in a bag, box, or can and has too many ingredients that you can't pronounce, then don’t eat or drink it.
Weight Gain and Bloating
Every woman, young or aging, has experienced weight gain and/or bloating. Once a woman experiences a menstrual cycle, she will experience bloating. I’ve managed to maintain the same weight since high school, and during my menstrual cycle I become bloated and gain a few pounds. During my teens I didn't always eat healthy while I was out with my friends, and I experienced terrible cramps during those first years, but when I made the choice in my early twenties to live a healthy lifestyle, the cramps stopped.
I made the choice to live a healthy lifestyle when I met my partner in business. I was amazed at how young she looked while old enough to be my mother. At the time she was experiencing menopause. Her experience was nothing like my mothers; she did not experience all the menopause stigmas as my mother did, and she felt it was because she ate green and exercised daily; where as my mother ate poorly and didn't exercise regularly. I was reminded of what my dad taught me growing up that there's a link between anti aging and eating healthy and exercising daily. I am happy today that I listened to their wisdom.
Early Menopause for Women Who Smoke or Have Never Been Pregnant
This statement is not true for all women. The women I know who finished their menstrual cycle at the age of 42 did not smoke and they all had at least two children. However, their eating and exercise habits were not good. The group of women in question drink at least one alcohol beverage daily, rarely exercise, and consume unhealthy fats and carbs on a regular basis, which leads me to believe that diet and exercise are important.
Low Sex Drive
I also find this statement not to be true for all women. There are too many factors in a woman’s life to claim this statement to be true. Many single menopausal women that I’ve talked to on this subject have a healthy sex life and experience no pain during sex, whereas, married women or women in long term relationships have claimed low sex drive. Do we blame this condition on menopause, or could it be boredom and/or depression? The women who I interviewed that claim low sex drive love their spouse or partner, but have been in the relationship for many years and they let the spark go out.
They claim that there is no romance, they don’t feel sexy, and/or they don’t share anything in common. The single women that went through menopause and have a healthy sex life are dating men who make them laugh, compliment them daily, and make them feel sexy. I am not claiming that all women who are in long term relationships and experience low sex drives are not happy; I am saying that there are too many components to claim this statement to be true. For instance, I am in a long term marriage, I eat healthy and exercise daily, and I have a very healthy sex life. We laugh daily, never say hello or goodbye without a kiss, we dance in our home for no reason, and we exercise together. We also let each other know when we feel we need to talk or spend quality time together. I’ve noticed that couples who go on vacation with other couples, spend more time with their freind than their husband or partner. After the children are grown and out of your house, take the time to get to know your partner again, and find something that you both enjoy doing together.
Most of us learned about bone loss early on in life, whether our parents taught us this through seeing it happen to their parents or we’ve learned it through visiting a physician. Unfortunately, some women, whether they are menopausal or not, may be lactose intolerant, in which they will no longer be able to eat or drink dairy products to consume their daily calcium. Luckily, there are many other foods and beverages that contain even higher levels of calcium than dairy does. Here is a list of food that contain calcium if you don’t want to or can’t eat dairy:
Non Dairy Healthy Foods for Healthy Bones
Salmon, Sardines, White Beans, Dried Figs, Bok Choy, Kale, Almonds, Oranges, Sesame Seeds, Cheerios, Soymilk, Firm Tofu, and Oatmeal.
Dry Skin and Hair
I agree with this statement. Over the years, between the sun, weather conditions, and activities that we all do, a lot of damage can be afflicted onto our skin and hair. This is also why it is so important to eat healthy and exercise regularly. Do not use products on your skin and hair unless they are organic. It is just as important to use products without chemicals on your skin and hair as it is to consume foods without preservatives. I know for some of us, high prices for a healthier lifestyle may be a deterrent, but if you know where to shop, you can find healthy foods and hair and skin products at affordable prices.
Where to Shop for a Healthy Lifestyle if Money’s an Issue
- TJ Maxx and other discount stores have a variety of organic products for your hair and skin.
- Local Farmers Markets have a great selection of organic vegetables and fruits.
- Swap Meets offer organic hair and skin products, as well as sunscreen to protect your skin.
- Amazon has a variety of discounted organic products if you are like me and don’t have the time to physically go shopping.
In conclusion, I have observed for many years that eating healthy and exercise play a big part in the aging process. Listen to your body, and take notice on how you feel when you eat healthy, exercise daily, and use organic products versus eating unhealthy, using products with chemicals, and not exercising regularly. I guarantee you will notice the difference. For the young adults, I urge you to start living a healthy lifestyle if you’re not already; and for those of you who are 45 or older, and/or going through menopause, it’s never too late to change to a healthy lifestyle. Your body and mind will thank you.