4 Tips To Take Care of Your Feet in Menopause

 

You may notice that your feet ache and the shoe size you usually wear no longer fits. Feet get longer and wider in menopause, and the tendons and ligaments are less flexible. The padding on the bottom of your feet that cushions your steps, thins out over time causing pain and difficulty walking.

Here are 4 tips to take care of your feet in menopause:

Lose Weight

Extra body weight puts more pressure on the bottom of your foot, and can lead to arthritis, flat feet, a shorter gait, ankle sprains, and pain at the ball of the foot. This pain can make it harder to exercise, and you could gain more weight in the future.

Relaxing Soak

Pamper your tired feet by soaking in Epsom Salt. Epsom salt is a compound mixture of magnesium and sulfate, that is absorbed through the skin. Adding ½ cup to a basin of warm water allows you to relax after a hard day on your feet. As a bonus, use for athlete’s foot, painful gout, and toenail fungus.

Wear Supportive Shoes

Flip-flops offer little support to your feet and without that cushioning, you may develop bunions, and stress fractures. A 2009 study from the Today Show and the University of Miami, came out with the surprising news that a pair of flip flops can harbor more than 18,000 bacteria, including fecal matter.

Ask the shoe salesman to measure your feet to ensure a proper fit. Shoes should have a wide toe-box that doesn’t pinch and cause blisters or bunions. If you wear orthotics, bring them with you when you’re trying on shoes.

Use Dry Brush

A dry brush is most effective right before a shower. Use large circular motions on the tops of the feet to slough off dead skin cells, and encourage healthy skin cell formation, and blood flow.

 

4 Sneaky Ways to Eat More Vegetables

Even Your Picky Eaters Will Be Happy!

We know we should eat more vegetables, but it doesn’t sound very appetizing to eat a plain head of lettuce or chew on 10 broccoli stalks like some rabbit. But what if there was a way to eat your vegetables and enjoy every bite?

Here are 4 sneaky ways to eat more vegetables in menopause:

Make a Smoothie

This is where you can really get creative, and you can blend your favorite vegetables for a healthy start to your day. Spinach and kale are delicious blended with apples or berries, and good sources of iron and essential vitamins.

Soup

Instead of opening a can of soup and dumping it in the pan, make a  vegetable soup from scratch.  Combine veggies such as fresh green beans, carrots and tomatoes with peeled potatoes for a nutritious soup that not only tastes good, but stretches for multiple meals.

Spread

If you’re counting calories, use vegetables instead of mayo in dips. Add pine nuts, fresh basil and garlic to make a creamy pesto dip for crackers or chips.

Dessert

I love dessert and if I can make it healthier, it’s a win-win situation. Brownies are one of my favorites and mixing in a sweet potato, adds additional fiber, potassium, Vitamin C, and beta-carotene.

Who doesn’t love a slice of pumpkin pie with a dollop of whipped cream on top? Pumpkin is a very versatile vegetable and can be made into tasty cookies cakes, and pancakes. As a bonus, it is a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium.

 

 

 

 

Is Menopause Making You Fat?

 

You may have noticed that you’re getting a little thicker around the middle, and since you’re eating and exercising like you have for years, you wonder what is going on.  Fluctuating estrogen levels, may be the reason you are putting on the pounds. Other reasons may be due to the aging process and lifestyle changes.

Is menopause making you fat? Here are some reasons why and what to do about it:

 Eating Too Much

A lot of women aren’t strict with calorie counting, and especially if you have been the same size for many years, it seems like you’re doing everything right. Calorie requirements change as we age, and I find it helpful to use measuring cups to insure I am only eating one serving.

Less Exercise

It’s hard to work up the enthusiasm to take that long hike if your joints are aching so bad you can hardly get out of bed. You don’t always feel like going to the gym, and after work you just want to rest and relax. Make exercise fun and schedule family time to walk, skate, swim, or ski.

Medication

Ironically, medications prescribed for conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and depression, can make you gain weight. This is a real dilemma since you need these life-saving medications, so talk to your doctor about possible alternatives and ask for a referral to see a dietitian.

Underactive Thyroid

Thyroid hormone regulates the rate you burn calories, body temperature, and digestion. Underactive thyroid can sap energy and it is easy to pile on the pounds if all you feel like doing is taking it easy. Fortunately, this is an easy fix and taking prescribed hormone medication may be all it takes to get you back to a more active lifestyle.

4 Benefits of a Gratitude Journal

There's Always Something to Be Thankful For

 

Let’s face it some days just suck, and you feel like digging a hole and crawling in it. A pity party is in order and no one better rain on your parade.

Yes, I have certainly had my share, but even in the midst of chaos, there is always something to be thankful for. Here are 4 benefits of a gratitude journal:

More Positive Attitude

Writing down what you’re grateful for puts your life into perspective, and you’ll realize that you have more than your share of blessings. Don’t forget about the bad things that seemed hopeless at that time, but you made it through, and emerged stronger with a more positive attitude.

Better Health

Writing down your feelings in a gratitude journal helps alleviate stress. You feel better so you’re more inclined to take care of yourself. As a bonus, you’ll sleep better without all that worry weighing you down.

Stronger Friendships

No one wants to be around a negative Nellie, and people want to be around those that are strong, confident, and in charge of their life.  Your current friendships will be stronger, and you’ll soon find yourself making new friends.

Find Joy in Small Things

It seems like we are often waiting for big things to happen in our lives. You may not win the lotto, get that big promotion, or vacation in Cancun. However, you can find joy in small things such as a beautiful bed of roses, a walk at sunset, or the smile on a baby’s face.

What are you grateful for?

Lighten Up Comfort Foods in Menopause

Who doesn’t like to dig in to that favorite comfort food after a hard day at school or the office? Meat loaf with mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, or pizza piping hot from the oven can make even the worst day seem better.

Unfortunately, these foods you love so much are also very high in calories and can derail all the hard work you’ve done to lose weight. But what if there was a way to have your comfort food and still stay on track? Here are 4 lighter versions of favorite comfort foods:

Meatloaf

Meatloaf is right up there on my list of favorite comfort foods. The traditional way of preparing meatloaf with pork, veal, or ground beef is too high in sodium and fat. Instead why not use turkey? This turkey meatloaf calls for oats instead of crackers, and you can make a tasty topping from Worcestershire and ketchup.

Mashed Potatoes

My husband loves mashed potatoes with any cut of meat, but all that tasty butter is not doing his waistline any favors.  Chicken broth adds flavor without breaking the calorie bank.

Pizza

Just the mention of pizza makes my mouth water. I like it simple with just pepperoni and maybe a little extra cheese. Thankfully, I also like vegetables and ordering pizza with a thinner crust and more veggies lets me satisfy my craving and I can feel good about it.

Macaroni and Cheese

Oh yes, that cheesy bowl of goodness hits the spot and you can lighten it up and it still tastes great. Use whole wheat bread crumbs, low-fat milk and cheese, and choose whole grain noodles to make it even healthier.

 

3 Ways to Prepare for a Colonoscopy in Menopause

Once you reach the age of 50, your doctor will recommend you undergo a colonoscopy. If you have a family history of colon cancer or polyps, you may need to be tested at 45.

A colonoscopy allows your doctor to look inside the large intestine with a flexible tube as you lay on your side. If polyps are found, they can be cut out and tested to see if they are benign or malignant.

Most people dread the prep day more than the procedure, so here are 3 ways to prepare for a colonoscopy in menopause:

Ask Questions

Once you schedule your appointment, a nurse usually calls and goes over your list of medications. Some like aspirin may be stopped a week ahead of time, and on the day of the colonoscopy, essential meds can be taken with just a sip of water.

You’ll follow a clear liquid diet for 1-2 days before, so don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand something.

Follow Prep Day Instructions

Of course, it’s a given that you would rather have a date night with your husband instead of chained to the toilet, but remember it is only one night, and you’re being proactive about your health.

You have to drink that big bottle full of solution to clean your insides out and it doesn’t’ taste like a root beer float. Down each cup with sips of apple juice or 7-UP to cut the nasty taste.

Don’t be tempted to pour the last bit of solution down the drain, because if the doctor can’t see clearly inside, you’ll have to do a repeat performance.

Plan Something Fun

Plan to do something fun after the procedure. This will give you something to occupy your mind while you are waiting for your appointment to begin.

 

4 Tips to Enjoy a Diet Cheat Day in Menopause

 

 

Wouldn’t it be nice if scientists discovered that eating unlimited chocolate helps you lose weight,  look younger, and have unlimited energy? Oh yes.

Now, back to reality. Due to a slower metabolism in menopause, most of us have to watch what we eat and change our diet to more fresh food and less junk.  But sometimes fruit and veggies just don’t cut it, and you long to indulge in some of your old favorites.

Here are 4 tips to enjoy a diet cheat day in menopause:

Make a Plan

When you’re planning a diet cheat day, think of your favorite foods that you don’t usually eat. Are you craving bread hot from the oven, a nice cocktail with an umbrella, or a piece of your favorite dessert? Decide which option seems the tastiest and save the others for another splurge day.

Pick a Special Occasion

What better time to take a diet cheat day than when you’re going to a wedding, a party, or BBQ? The trick is not to hang around the food table. Fill your plate and go mingle with the crowd. It’s fun to catch up with old friends and you might even make some new ones.

Portion Control

Take small portions. If you’re going to be tempted to devour the whole bread basket, cut yourself a small slice and have the waiter take it away. Remember all the hard work you put in to lose weight and you don’t want to wipe that out by overindulging.

Don’t Feel Guilty

It’s easy to beat yourself up when you binge, but keep it in perspective. This was a temporary detour and you will get back on track tomorrow.

 

5 Tips to Ease the Pain of Plantar Fasciitis in Menopause

 

Do you feel stabbing pain in your heel when you get out of bed? You may have plantar fasciitis. There is a thick band of tissue across the bottom of the foot called the plantar fascia, where the heel bone and toes connect.  If you strain the fascia, it becomes inflamed, and can also be painful when you stand too much, or get up from a sitting position.

You don’t have to suffer in silence. Here are 5 tips to ease the pain of plantar fasciitis in menopause:

Lose Weight

Excess weight strains the plantar fascia, so if you are overweight, adopt a healthier diet that drops the pounds without making you feel like you are starving to death. Eat more fruits and veggies, and exercise at least 30 minutes a day.

Wear a Night Splint

Your doctor may want you to wear a night splint, which allows those inflamed areas to get a good stretch while you sleep.

Pain Medication

Over the counter pain medication such as ibuprofen will help ease the pain and reduce inflammation.  

Physical Therapy

Thankfully, most employers have a health plan that pays for physical therapy.  You’ll learn how to stretch the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon, which will strengthen the lower leg muscles.

 Wear Supportive Shoes

High heels may be fashionable, but for plantar fasciitis, buy a low to moderate heel with a good arch support. If you need more support to reduce pain, your doctor may prescribe orthotics. These fit inside your shoe and come in different varieties. Some come pre-formed or you may get measured for a custom orthotic that conforms to your foot.

3 Ways to Dress Up Oatmeal In Menopause

Oatmeal is one of those foods you either love or hate. It’s not the most appetizing food to look at and is basically just a plain bowl of mush that has little taste. One of the pluses is that it only has 150 calories per half cup, and is a good source of fiber and potassium.

Fortunately, there are healthier options to dress up oatmeal and even the picky eaters in your family may ask for seconds. Here are 3 ways to dress up oatmeal:

Add Fresh Fruit

This is my personal favorite and I don’t feel like I have started my day right without eating a bowl of oatmeal with raisins and bananas. Mix a little milk in, a teaspoon of brown sugar, and you’re good to go. Blueberries are a nutrition powerhouse, and combined with strawberries are another popular oatmeal topping.

Bake

I am all for bumping up nutrition and fiber in menopause, but you have to be part woodchuck to chew your way through some of the commercial fiber bars. This version has a softer texture and the addition of eggs and peanut butter add protein. For a sweeter taste, sprinkle with chocolate chips.

Incorporate in Other Foods

Bump up the nutrition in meatloaf by using oatmeal instead of cracker crumbs. Add ¼ cup of oatmeal to your favorite smoothie recipe. Blend until smooth. The starch of the oatmeal gives the smoothie extra body and substance.

Who doesn’t love hot bread fresh from the oven? Use your favorite bread recipe and add  oatmeal. Try this maple version for a bread that is both nutritious and delicious.

3 Tips To Deal With Itchy Skin in Menopause

 

I was asked by a reader to provide more information about itching skin in menopause, so I have also added more tips.

When a woman approaches menopause, estrogen levels fluctuate and no longer provide healthy moisture to the skin. Dry skin may be found on any part of the body including the nails and genitals. Here are three tips to deal with itchy skin in menopause.

Use Sunscreen

Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher.  It takes about an ounce of sunscreen to cover all parts of the skin that are exposed to the sun. On overcast days, you still need to use sunscreen as 70-80% of Ultra Violet Rays penetrate through the clouds.

Exercise

It turns out that exercise does more than just help you lose weight and keep your bones and heart healthy. Vigorous exercise allows more nutrients and oxygen to permeate the skin, which produces more skin-softening collagen. As a bonus, who doesn’t love that rush of feel-good endorphins after an exercise session?

Rule Out Other Causes

Dry itchy skin may not be caused by menopause so it is important to see your doctor to rule out other causes. An underactive thyroid can result in rough, dry skin.  Other causes of itching may be diabetes, skin cancer, medication side effects, or vitamin deficiencies.