By Lissa Coffey
Are you experiencing signs of menopause? Occasional hot flashes, mood swings and problems sleeping?
While there are all manner of modern pharmaceutical interventions, there is a gentler and more natural way to address these issues.
According to Maharishi Ayurveda, menopause is not a disease; it is a natural progression from childbearing years. If this is true, what causes such uncomfortable symptoms?
Accumulated toxins can prevent your body from adjusting to hormonal changes of midlife. The key to a comfortable, easy transition is to cleanse the body of impurities that build up before and during menopause.
It is these toxins that lead to uncomfortable and often more serious consequences, such as loss of bone density that most women accept as a normal part of menopause.
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Tips for Staying in Balance During Menopause
- Develop good nutritional habits and exercise regularly.
- Eat foods that are easy to digest. Enjoy variety and choose fresh, organic foods. Include foods that are high in calcium, such as soyfoods and leafy greens.
- Eat largest meal at noon, when digestion is at its peak.
- Gradually eliminate caffeine. Drink Raja's Cup, an antioxidant coffee substitute, instead.
- Indulge in any activity you love.
- Avoid leftovers and packaged foods with preservatives.
- Give yourself a daily warm oil massage (abhyanga) to calm and balance your emotions and to help flush away toxins.
- Go to bed by 10 p.m. This is the body's natural purification period, between 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Midlife for Women I helps support your body when you need it most, both before and during menopause. Taken in advance, it prepares your body by promoting metabolism and elimination.
This helps address hot flashes and mood swings when hormonal activity drops. Taken during menopause, it also promotes healthy body tissue, supports bone health and weight balance.
If you are prone to Pitta-based problems, such as hot flashes or excessive irritability, follow a Pitta-pacifying diet. Avoid spicy foods, such as chilies, cayenne and black mustard seed.
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Avoid salty and sour foods, such as yogurt (unless diluted and sweetened in lassi) and ketchup, mustard, and other salad dressings and condiments made with vinegar.
Favor foods that are bitter, astringent and sweet, as these are cooling to Pitta dosha. Bitter and astringent foods include most vegetables. Sweet foods include rice, milk and cream, sweet lassi and wheat products.
Fruits such as pears and plums also pacify Pitta dosha. Cook with Pitta-reducing spices, such as cinnamon, coriander, cardamom, fennel and small amounts of cumin seed.
For Vata-related symptoms such as memory loss or vaginal dryness, you'll want to work at bringing Vata dosha back into balance.
For this, you'll want to eat foods that are cooked, warm and unctuous (meaning that they have a small amount of good fats such as olive oil). Eat foods that are sweet, sour and salty, as this balances Vata dosha.
Apana Vata, which governs the genito-urinary tract, elimination and menstruation, is key to attend to when preparing for menopause. Drink plenty of warm water throughout the day.
Eat plenty of cooked, leafy greens, as this helps elimination and is also a good source of calcium. For both Pitta and Vata imbalances, a breakfast of cooked apples, prunes and figs is a good way to start the day, as it balances doshas and cleanses digestion.
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It is important to keep digestion strong and free of ama. Avoid eating foods that are packaged, processed, frozen, canned or leftover. Eat organic foods that are cooked fresh each day.
The bulk of your diet should consist of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and legumes. This type of light, nourishing diet will aid digestion and avoid build-up of ama. Avoid heavy foods such as meat, cheese, yogurt and frozen desserts like ice cream, especially at night.
Lissa Coffey is a relationship expert and author of "What's Your Dharma? Discover the Vedic Way to Your Life's Purpose." Take the dharma quiz http://www.whatsyourdharma.com
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