HotFlashDaily is about helping you make the best of a very challenging transition.
Because life doesn't pause during menopause.

Category Archives: Be Healthy

Nutrition, weightloss, stress management, exercise, and attitude adjustment resources for women heading towards menopause.
Living better is the overall topic of these posts, one way or another! Just scroll down the page to see what’s been posted.

Chocolate cake with that coffee?

Chocolate cake with that coffee?

Eating chocolate cake as part of a full breakfast can help you lose weight, say scientists. Thanks to The Telegraph for cluing us in on this!

You know we have a “check with your health advisors” disclaimer here, right? Because we’re sharing an article here titled Chocolate Cake Breakfast Could Help You Lose Weight.”  Naturally, even though we’re skeptical, we do love the idea. And if you read the piece, in the Telegraph, the notion is supported by a study, and it actually makes a lot of sense.

“…one of the biggest challenges that people face is keeping weight off in the long-term. Ingesting a higher proportion of our daily calories at breakfast makes sense. It’s not only good for body function but it also alleviates cravings. Highly restrictive diets that forbid desserts and carbohydrates are initially effective but often cause dieters to stray from their food plans as a result of withdrawal-like symptoms. They wind up regaining much of the weight they lost during the diet proper.

Ultimately this shows a diet must be realistic to be adopted as part of a new lifestyle. Curbing cravings is better than deprivation for weight loss success.  said Professor Jakubowicz, Tel Aviv University.

What we want to know is whether or not pumpkin pie is as effective as chocolate cake….

Exercise & Breast Cancer Risk Post-Menopause

Exercise & Breast Cancer Risk Post-Menopause

Easy to judge a smoker as irresponsible for taking that cancer risk- but what about you and exercise?

Oh Canada, 300 minutes of exercise a week? Truly?  “Post menopausal women who are trying to lose weight clearly benefit from doing 300 minutes of exercise per week, compared to getting half as much exercise,” an Alberta study has found. We’re talking about moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise.

Darn it, right? So many studies have been telling us that a twenty minute session is as good as a sixty minute one, so what’s going on?

The key difference seems to be that this study was specifically focused on breast cancer risk.

“Our findings of a dose-response effect of exercise on total fat mass and several other adiposity measures including abdominal fat, especially in obese women, provide a basis for encouraging postmenopausal women to exercise at least 300 minutes/week, which is longer than the minimum recommended for cancer prevention.”

Reading about the study on The University of Calgary’s website, it is interesting to note that fat loss is “an important (though not the only) mediator of this association.” So, if we’re reading this right, that means that 300 minutes is the important number even if you are at your ideal body weight. Meaning, from now on, the goal should be 300 minutes per week.

I don’t know about you, but as I get older, I know more and more people who have been impacted by breast cancer. Women with no family history. And where I’m heading is the reality that I have a responsibility- to myself, to my husband and to my daughter- to do everything I can to be healthy. After years of hearing my mother cough and then, at the end of her life, be tethered to an oxygen tank, I have no problem wondering why anyone in her right mind would choose to smoke a cigarette. But I have never seen myself as the same kind of crazy for the eating and exercise choices that I make. Until now.

Is there really any reason NOT to start exercising or exercising more, if you are physically able?

What is it going to take? No. Seriously, what is it going to take?

Start today. Start where you are. Just get to it.

Note:  Always always seek advice from your health experts. We aim to offer you some targeting that you can discuss with your own experts. (Cause though we like to think we do, we don’t know you or your situation!)

 

How Did We Get So Busy?

How Did We Get So Busy?

It's called menoPAUSE- heck, maybe a "pause" would make it go a lot better!

First here’s an assignment: take a look at your calendar. How much empty space do you have this week—that’s not occupied by work, meetings, scheduled social events, classes, activities, workouts, kids’activities, social events, classes…you get the idea.

If the empty spots on your calendar occur at 2 AM while you’re sleeping, then you’ve probably fallen into the Busy Trap. This, according to New York Times blogger Tim Kreider is a widespread epidemic:

“Almost everyone I know is busy. They feel anxious and guilty when they aren’t either working or doing something to promote their work. They schedule in time with friends the way students with 4.0 G.P.A.’s  make sure to sign up for community service because it looks good on their college applications. I recently wrote a friend to ask if he wanted to do something this week, and he answered that he didn’t have a lot of time but if something was going on to let him know and maybe he could ditch work for a few hours. I wanted to clarify that my question had not been a preliminary heads-up to some future invitation; this was the invitation. But his busyness was like some vast churning noise through which he was shouting out at me, and I gave up trying to shout back over it.”

So if your excuse for not doing the things you love, or not seeing your favorite people is that you are “too busy” you might want to reconsider your perspective. Because the side effect of all this busy-ness is less sleep, more stress, heightened anxiety, and the feeling of being caught up in a whirlwind, never getting a moment to breathe.

And add hot flashes, mood swings, and the other joys of menopause to the mix?

Can you say recipe for disaster?

Now, imagine that you have time to just read a book, stare into space, walk in the rain, window shop, or do anything that you find soul-nourishing. Not because you feel like you have to, but because that’s where the wind takes you in that moment.

Would you feel like you were wasting time? Would you know what to do with yourself? Would you actually be able to enjoy the moment?

As Kreider writes,

“Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.”

In short, life is too short to be busy. And if you are one of those super busy people, you might want to dial it down a bit, slow down, chew your food at least 20 times and enjoy the ride.

Dastardly Dragon Breath

Dastardly Dragon Breath

WebMD suggests looking and smelling your dentist floss after you use it. YUCK! I guess if this renders you unconscious or worse, you’ll know there’s a problem.

Since menopause have you noticed that your breath now requires prescription strength Tic Tacs?

In previous blogs, I’ve mentioned how menopause transforms us into severely dehydrated beings deprived of any moisture due to hormonal changes. Therefore, we’re blessed with dry skin, dry eyes, and dry lady bits. But let’s not forget one more blessing: dry mouth which can lead to oral odor. Yippee! Does the fun ever stop on this road to menopausal madness?

Maybe you don’t think this article applies to you. Hate to pop your bubble, but here’s the harsh truth. You may have breath that could peel paint and not even know it. This is a critical time when you must depend on the honesty and kindness of friends and family to let you know that your breath is capable of killing the dog. Good luck with that. Let’s face facts; your loved ones are not going to risk a menopausal meltdown by telling you.

So how do you know if you have dragon breath? Here are five tip-offs:

  1. You win every argument with hubby or the kids in two seconds flat.
  2. You sing to your grandbaby and he or she starts crying.
  3. When you lean over to whisper something in your best friend’s ear, she politely insists that she already knows what you’re going to say.
  4. Your dentist recommends rinsing with industrial strength ammonia.
  5. When you yawn, your teeth duck.

Okay, just one more funny joke I happened to see on the Internet:

“You know you have bad breath when the pastor prays for everybody in church and instructs you not to say amen.”

Joking aside, how do you really know if you have delightful dragon breath? WebMD suggests looking and smelling your dentist floss after you use it. YUCK! I guess if this renders you unconscious or worse, you’ll know there’s a problem.

Sorry girls, there’s just no way to get poetic about stinky mouth. “Halitosis” and other common terms just don’t seem to cut it. But don’t lose hope. There are ways to prevent this embarrassing problem:

  • Once again, gug-a-lug water, my menopausal madams. As I mentioned in a previous article, drinking lots of water is also good for that pesky menopausal bloating problem and it will help with dragon breath as well.
  • Chewing sugarless gum or sucking sugarless candy can also stimulate the production of saliva, which helps wash away food particles, bacteria, and keeps your mouth moist.
  • Practice good oral hygiene and see your dentist regularly.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Rule out other contributing factors such as diet, medications, and dental problems.

None of those sound like fun. To conquer bad breath, the ancient Greeks reputedly used home remedies like rinsing with white wine. Now, there’s a solution I could get into.

Squeeze to Prevent PeeSneeze…

Squeeze to Prevent PeeSneeze…

Do your Kegels, ladies!

Kegels. If you’re doing them regularly, congratulations! You’re in a very exclusive club.

If you don’t know what they are, then you are probably peeing a little bit every time you sneeze.

If you do know what they are, but just aren’t doing them…you’re like most of us, and you could use a little bit of motivation, encouragement, and reminders.

So tell me, Allie, what is a Kegel?

For those of you who haven’t yet been enlightened, Kegel exercises (so named for its inventor, Arnold Kegel), target your pelvic floor muscles.

Pelvic muscles become weaker through the process of pregnancy and childbirth, and hormone changes during menopause. Weak pelvic floor muscles can lead to incontinence, and even uterine prolapse.

Strengthening your pelvic floor also leads to improved sexual function (if you’re in the mood at all anymore).

Doctors recommend that all women do Kegels to keep their pelvic floor muscles in good shape and prevent the pee-sneeze dilemma (and worse) that can happen as we age.

How do I do Kegels?

Find the muscles that you use to stop the flow of urine and tighten them as much as possible, hold for a few seconds, and release. Do sets of 10 or so whenever you remember.

I found THIS FANTASTIC SONG that had me rolling on the floor laughing, and reminded me to do my Kegels.

I don’t know if I would make it my ring tone though.

Top 5 Best Times to Do Kegels

5.  Driving to work, or when stuck in traffic

4.  During a boring business meeting (no one will ever have to know).

3.  Any time you are waiting in line.

2.  During commercials while watching TV.

And, drumroll, the best time to do Kegels (or at least the most fun), is…

1.  While having sex. Your partner will thank you.

It doesn’t matter when or where you decide to do them, just be sure that you do your Kegels, ladies!

 

What You Can Do Right Now to Help Hot Flashes

What You Can Do Right Now to Help Hot Flashes

“In the midst of a hot flash, rather than thinking ‘oh no, here we go again!’...think ‘it’s OK; I am there for you in this moment of suffering,”...

Would you believe that you can relieve your hot flashes with the power of your mind? (Cue sci-fi music here). A new study from Australia has shown that women who are more forgiving of themselves and show themselves compassion can actually have an easier time with hot flashes.

The leader of the study explains why in an interview to Reuters:

“It isn’t just the physiology of a hot flash that can be stressful. It is also the thoughts, feelings and interpretations that surround the experience,” said Lydia Brown. She led the study at the University of Melbourne in Australia, where she is a doctoral candidate in psychology.

During a hot flash or any other unpleasant event, thoughts can easily begin to spiral downward. Yet, “If a woman can treat herself with tenderness and friendliness in the moment of suffering from a hot flash, the negative whirlwind cannot get a foothold.”

How do we practice self-compassion? Many of us cannot imagine a day without finding something about ourselves to criticize or get down about.

Here’s an easy suggestion from the study’s authors:

“In the midst of a hot flash, rather than thinking ‘oh no, here we go again!’ a self-compassionate alternative would be to think ‘it’s ok; I am there for you in this moment of suffering,” said Brown.

Another key facet of self-compassion is mindfulness, which involves being aware of what one is experiencing in the present moment in a way that doesn’t peg a given emotion, sensation or event as good or bad.

“With curiosity and a non-judgmental attitude, a woman could notice the changing sensations that make up a hot flash,” Brown said.

“When the experience is broken down to its constituents through mindfulness, it becomes less overwhelming, and so has less power to interfere with daily life,” she said.

Probably the most well-known mindfulness practitioner is Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, which aims to help you cope with stress, depression, and daily life through greater awareness, meditation, and being in the present moment.

Tthere’s a powerful lesson here—not just for helping hot flashes, but a way to live life in general.

How many of us are guilty of overthinking things, worrying, analyzing, and blaming ourselves?

If we could all look at stressful things in our lives objectively, learn how to take a step back, we would be better able to deal with them.

So the next time you’re running late, you get bad news, or that wave of heat and sweat begins to prickle your skin, take a moment to be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself. Tell yourself that everything is going to be okay. Take a step back and breathe. It’s going to be okay. You are doing great! You ARE great.

Sherry’s Strawberry Pie to Cool a Hot Flash Day

Sherry’s Strawberry Pie to Cool a Hot Flash Day

Light & refreshing, best of all- you won't hate yourself for eating it! 

It’s the beginning of strawberry season where I live.  I’ve never had better strawberries than those grown on a local farm.  They spoil me for supermarket strawberries, no matter how perfect those might look.  The taste just can’t be matched to one grown from a private farm and just picked.

Fresh strawberries are delicious eaten plain.  If my kids are in the car when I pick up a quart, they are almost gone before we pull into our driveway only a mile away.   Actually, I don’t need my kids around to make them disappear.

Strawberries are really healthy, full of vitamin C.  But most desserts featuring strawberries are decidedly unhealthy, like the ever-popular strawberry shortcakes, with the butter- and cream-laden biscuits, used to sandwich the fruit, with dollops of whipped cream plopped on top. They taste divine, but how many of those can you eat and still live with yourself?  Let’s face it.  Even women who were lucky enough never to have to watch their weight in the past will find themselves counting every calorie once they reach a certain age, in the battle to keep their hips at bay.

The following is a recipe that can be made as is, or made lighter with some simple substitutions.  I don’t usually use gelatin in my recipes.  I’m a bit of a purist and a food snob.  But it just works here.  It’s light, refreshing, and delicious. And you won’t hate yourself after you eat it.

Strawberry Pie

1 8-inch baked pie shell
1 cup boiling water
1 3-oz. package strawberry gelatin (can use sugar-free)
16 oz. frozen FRESH sliced strawberries

Slice 16 ounces of FRESH strawberries and put them in the freezer until completely frozen.

Bake the pie shell according to the manufacturer’s directions.
When the strawberries are completely frozen, pour the gelatin into a medium-sized bowl.  Pour the cup of boiling water over the gelatin; stir to dissolve.
Add the strawberries.  Stir to break the berries apart.  Chill the filling in the refrigerator until mixture is partially set; then pour into baked pie shell.
Chill your strawberry pie in the refrigerator until completely set. 

Serve with your favorite topping.  Tastes best with fresh whipped cream, but you can use light whipped cream or non-dairy whipped topping and it’ll still be a crowd-pleaser.

Love to see pictures if you make the pie, I tell people it’s fool-proof and pretty- love to know how it works out for you!

Serenity Now: Meditation for Menopause

Try it, and you may be the next person to start raving about how meditation changed her life.

We all know that meditation is good for us.

Right up there with rotating our tires, flossing our teeth three times a day, and Kegels: things that we know we should be doing, but don’t always manage to do consistently.

(Challenge: do 20 Kegels while you are reading this. Yes, you! Right now!)

Every so often, I come across another article about the benefits of meditation: for stress, insomnia, weight loss, headaches, and more.

It makes sense. Take one deep breath, and then exhale. Notice that you feel a lot more relaxed. It is safe to say that doing that on a regular basis will have many health benefits.

Yes, that’s right: meditation isn’t just “relaxing.” It’s beneficial for heart health and longevity as well.

Josh Trutt, MD, an expert from PhysioAge Medical Group in NYC, says:

“When we relax, our heart rate slows down. But when we meditate, the interval between each beat of our heart changes and becomes smoother. That interval between each beat is called Heart Rate Variability (or HRV), and smoothing it out is what lets those Yogi masters live longer–in fact in 2010 the American Journal of Cardiology reported that maintaining a healthy HRV as we age actually predicts longevity!”

Live longer, you say? Fantastic!

But the million-dollar question is: Will it help with my hot flashes?

Well, since many menopause symptoms are triggered or aggravated by stress, and meditation reduces stress, it’s safe to say YES, you will see some relief from menopause symptoms.

Meditation practitioners say that daily meditation helps balance the body’s energies and promotes all-around healing and well-being.

I did a little hunting and found this great 4 minute meditation that I really enjoy:

4 Minute Meditation to Ease Menopause Symptoms

 And then I discovered an amazing resource that everyone should check out right now.

It’s called the Mindvalley Academy and they have FREE online lessons in meditation, relationships, the mind-body connection, health, self-improvement, and more.

Mindvalley is an AMAZING resource and they make it easy to get started. But, don’t let me limit you, there are other resources, and if you have ones you like, share them in the comments, please!

I’ve been meditating for about a week now and I am definitely sleeping better and feel much more relaxed.

Try it, and you may be the next person to start raving about how meditation changed her life.

Now I’m off to get my tires rotated.

[Editor’s Note:  You don’t have to be dressed perfectly, and in a perfect location- say, by the beach, with your hair flowing. You can meditate right now, as you are. But that wouldn’t be a fun picture at all, so I used this one. Anyway, we can PRETEND to be at the beach, in our lululemon togs, maybe that might be inspiring…smiling.]

Popeye Burgers

Popeye Burgers

These Spinach Burgers are moist and flavorful. And they are so easy you have time for a nap!

Menopause is tiring.  Whether you’re in the thick of it or approaching it, you may not be sleeping as well as you once did.  Angst and anger is exhausting, too.  Add all the normal stuff we juggle every day, like jobs, kids, household maintenance, and cooking, and it can be hard to fit in a nap.

Napping has saved me from ending my days prematurely and taking to my bed at 6:00 in the evening.  Some days are busier than others, so I may get only 30 minutes.  Other days, I’ve managed to talk myself more successfully into letting the laundry wait one more day, and I’ve been known to set my alarm for 2 hours.

Obviously, when you are napping, it does cut into the time you’d be taking to accomplish something.  Laundry can wait.  Feeding your family can’t.  But you can cut the time it takes to accomplish this and still cook something delicious and nutritious.

I get that Spinach Burgers may not be to everyone’s taste, but for those of you with finicky eaters, it takes no time to craft a turkey burger or hamburger as a substitute.  Or throw some chicken tenders into the toaster oven.  Serve a salad on the side, substitute fresh fruit for a vegetable, and you’ve got dinner.

These Spinach Burgers are moist and flavorful.  You can dress them up with cheese, sautéed onions and mushrooms, or just eat them plain with lettuce and tomato.  Forgo the bun if you wish.  They’re delicious.

SPINACH BURGERS

1 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

½ onion, chopped

½ cup chopped walnuts, or pine nuts

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

½ cup bread crumbs

2 eggs (can use 3 eggs whites as a substitute)

salt and pepper to taste

dash of nutmeg, if desired

Mix all ingredients and form into patties.  Fry in a small amount of olive or canola oil until lightly browned on each side.  Makes 4 generous patties. 

Be brave, try them, you’re going to like them!

With Exercise- A little Means A LOT!

With Exercise- A little Means A LOT!

Good news! You don't have to do an extreme boot camp.

With the changes of menopause, the cravings, the stubborn fat, you-know-the-rest-of-the-story, you would assume that the only serious solution is “get thee on a treadmill and FAST.”

Women assume that they have to join a gym and work out 5 days a week in order to see any results. And let’s face it, who but the most motivated of us will actually follow through on that?

Hear ye, hear ye, meno-gals: Even a brisk walk once in a while will do you a LOT of good.

Research shows that a moderate exercise activity such as walking or tennis reduces women’s stroke risk by up to 20%.  If I knew that playing tennis was going to help lower my stroke risk, I would have sucked it up and put on those short tennis skirts years ago.

Menopausal women taking hormone replacement therapy have a 30% higher stroke risk, so adding in this exercise will help cancel out that risk.

This article from Science Daily sums up the findings:

Postmenopausal women taking menopausal hormone therapy had more than a 30 percent higher risk of stroke than women who never used menopausal hormone therapy. After the women stopped taking hormones, their risk began to diminish.

“The effects of physical activity and hormone therapy appear immediate and the benefits of physical activity are consistent in premenopausal and postmenopausal women,” Wang said. Therefore, Wang recommends that women incorporate some type of physical activity into their daily routine. “You don’t have to do an extreme boot camp. The types of activities we’re talking about are accessible to most of the population.” Power walking and recreational tennis, for example, do not necessarily require special memberships to gyms.

When it comes to exercise, we all know we have to “just do it”. But instead of setting yourself an impossible goal, aim the bar a little bit lower and know that you are still getting lots of benefits.

Make it a priority to go for a walk every day. Get a dog so that you’ll have to walk him or he’ll poop in the house. Grab your partner, a friend or even your kid and take an evening walk to catch up on the day. Not only will you feel healthier and have more energy, but you’ll be reducing your health risks at the same time. That’s what I call a win-win.

Category Archives: Be Healthy

Nutrition, weightloss, stress management, exercise, and attitude adjustment resources for women heading towards menopause.
Living better is the overall topic of these posts, one way or another! Just scroll down the page to see what’s been posted.

Chocolate cake with that coffee?

Chocolate cake with that coffee?

Eating chocolate cake as part of a full breakfast can help you lose weight, say scientists. Thanks to The Telegraph for cluing us in on this!

You know we have a “check with your health advisors” disclaimer here, right? Because we’re sharing an article here titled Chocolate Cake Breakfast Could Help You Lose Weight.”  Naturally, even though we’re skeptical, we do love the idea. And if you read the piece, in the Telegraph, the notion is supported by a study, and it actually makes a lot of sense.

“…one of the biggest challenges that people face is keeping weight off in the long-term. Ingesting a higher proportion of our daily calories at breakfast makes sense. It’s not only good for body function but it also alleviates cravings. Highly restrictive diets that forbid desserts and carbohydrates are initially effective but often cause dieters to stray from their food plans as a result of withdrawal-like symptoms. They wind up regaining much of the weight they lost during the diet proper.

Ultimately this shows a diet must be realistic to be adopted as part of a new lifestyle. Curbing cravings is better than deprivation for weight loss success.  said Professor Jakubowicz, Tel Aviv University.

What we want to know is whether or not pumpkin pie is as effective as chocolate cake….

Exercise & Breast Cancer Risk Post-Menopause

Exercise & Breast Cancer Risk Post-Menopause

Easy to judge a smoker as irresponsible for taking that cancer risk- but what about you and exercise?

Oh Canada, 300 minutes of exercise a week? Truly?  “Post menopausal women who are trying to lose weight clearly benefit from doing 300 minutes of exercise per week, compared to getting half as much exercise,” an Alberta study has found. We’re talking about moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise.

Darn it, right? So many studies have been telling us that a twenty minute session is as good as a sixty minute one, so what’s going on?

The key difference seems to be that this study was specifically focused on breast cancer risk.

“Our findings of a dose-response effect of exercise on total fat mass and several other adiposity measures including abdominal fat, especially in obese women, provide a basis for encouraging postmenopausal women to exercise at least 300 minutes/week, which is longer than the minimum recommended for cancer prevention.”

Reading about the study on The University of Calgary’s website, it is interesting to note that fat loss is “an important (though not the only) mediator of this association.” So, if we’re reading this right, that means that 300 minutes is the important number even if you are at your ideal body weight. Meaning, from now on, the goal should be 300 minutes per week.

I don’t know about you, but as I get older, I know more and more people who have been impacted by breast cancer. Women with no family history. And where I’m heading is the reality that I have a responsibility- to myself, to my husband and to my daughter- to do everything I can to be healthy. After years of hearing my mother cough and then, at the end of her life, be tethered to an oxygen tank, I have no problem wondering why anyone in her right mind would choose to smoke a cigarette. But I have never seen myself as the same kind of crazy for the eating and exercise choices that I make. Until now.

Is there really any reason NOT to start exercising or exercising more, if you are physically able?

What is it going to take? No. Seriously, what is it going to take?

Start today. Start where you are. Just get to it.

Note:  Always always seek advice from your health experts. We aim to offer you some targeting that you can discuss with your own experts. (Cause though we like to think we do, we don’t know you or your situation!)

 

How Did We Get So Busy?

How Did We Get So Busy?

It's called menoPAUSE- heck, maybe a "pause" would make it go a lot better!

First here’s an assignment: take a look at your calendar. How much empty space do you have this week—that’s not occupied by work, meetings, scheduled social events, classes, activities, workouts, kids’activities, social events, classes…you get the idea.

If the empty spots on your calendar occur at 2 AM while you’re sleeping, then you’ve probably fallen into the Busy Trap. This, according to New York Times blogger Tim Kreider is a widespread epidemic:

“Almost everyone I know is busy. They feel anxious and guilty when they aren’t either working or doing something to promote their work. They schedule in time with friends the way students with 4.0 G.P.A.’s  make sure to sign up for community service because it looks good on their college applications. I recently wrote a friend to ask if he wanted to do something this week, and he answered that he didn’t have a lot of time but if something was going on to let him know and maybe he could ditch work for a few hours. I wanted to clarify that my question had not been a preliminary heads-up to some future invitation; this was the invitation. But his busyness was like some vast churning noise through which he was shouting out at me, and I gave up trying to shout back over it.”

So if your excuse for not doing the things you love, or not seeing your favorite people is that you are “too busy” you might want to reconsider your perspective. Because the side effect of all this busy-ness is less sleep, more stress, heightened anxiety, and the feeling of being caught up in a whirlwind, never getting a moment to breathe.

And add hot flashes, mood swings, and the other joys of menopause to the mix?

Can you say recipe for disaster?

Now, imagine that you have time to just read a book, stare into space, walk in the rain, window shop, or do anything that you find soul-nourishing. Not because you feel like you have to, but because that’s where the wind takes you in that moment.

Would you feel like you were wasting time? Would you know what to do with yourself? Would you actually be able to enjoy the moment?

As Kreider writes,

“Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.”

In short, life is too short to be busy. And if you are one of those super busy people, you might want to dial it down a bit, slow down, chew your food at least 20 times and enjoy the ride.

Dastardly Dragon Breath

Dastardly Dragon Breath

WebMD suggests looking and smelling your dentist floss after you use it. YUCK! I guess if this renders you unconscious or worse, you’ll know there’s a problem.

Since menopause have you noticed that your breath now requires prescription strength Tic Tacs?

In previous blogs, I’ve mentioned how menopause transforms us into severely dehydrated beings deprived of any moisture due to hormonal changes. Therefore, we’re blessed with dry skin, dry eyes, and dry lady bits. But let’s not forget one more blessing: dry mouth which can lead to oral odor. Yippee! Does the fun ever stop on this road to menopausal madness?

Maybe you don’t think this article applies to you. Hate to pop your bubble, but here’s the harsh truth. You may have breath that could peel paint and not even know it. This is a critical time when you must depend on the honesty and kindness of friends and family to let you know that your breath is capable of killing the dog. Good luck with that. Let’s face facts; your loved ones are not going to risk a menopausal meltdown by telling you.

So how do you know if you have dragon breath? Here are five tip-offs:

  1. You win every argument with hubby or the kids in two seconds flat.
  2. You sing to your grandbaby and he or she starts crying.
  3. When you lean over to whisper something in your best friend’s ear, she politely insists that she already knows what you’re going to say.
  4. Your dentist recommends rinsing with industrial strength ammonia.
  5. When you yawn, your teeth duck.

Okay, just one more funny joke I happened to see on the Internet:

“You know you have bad breath when the pastor prays for everybody in church and instructs you not to say amen.”

Joking aside, how do you really know if you have delightful dragon breath? WebMD suggests looking and smelling your dentist floss after you use it. YUCK! I guess if this renders you unconscious or worse, you’ll know there’s a problem.

Sorry girls, there’s just no way to get poetic about stinky mouth. “Halitosis” and other common terms just don’t seem to cut it. But don’t lose hope. There are ways to prevent this embarrassing problem:

  • Once again, gug-a-lug water, my menopausal madams. As I mentioned in a previous article, drinking lots of water is also good for that pesky menopausal bloating problem and it will help with dragon breath as well.
  • Chewing sugarless gum or sucking sugarless candy can also stimulate the production of saliva, which helps wash away food particles, bacteria, and keeps your mouth moist.
  • Practice good oral hygiene and see your dentist regularly.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Rule out other contributing factors such as diet, medications, and dental problems.

None of those sound like fun. To conquer bad breath, the ancient Greeks reputedly used home remedies like rinsing with white wine. Now, there’s a solution I could get into.

Squeeze to Prevent PeeSneeze…

Squeeze to Prevent PeeSneeze…

Do your Kegels, ladies!

Kegels. If you’re doing them regularly, congratulations! You’re in a very exclusive club.

If you don’t know what they are, then you are probably peeing a little bit every time you sneeze.

If you do know what they are, but just aren’t doing them…you’re like most of us, and you could use a little bit of motivation, encouragement, and reminders.

So tell me, Allie, what is a Kegel?

For those of you who haven’t yet been enlightened, Kegel exercises (so named for its inventor, Arnold Kegel), target your pelvic floor muscles.

Pelvic muscles become weaker through the process of pregnancy and childbirth, and hormone changes during menopause. Weak pelvic floor muscles can lead to incontinence, and even uterine prolapse.

Strengthening your pelvic floor also leads to improved sexual function (if you’re in the mood at all anymore).

Doctors recommend that all women do Kegels to keep their pelvic floor muscles in good shape and prevent the pee-sneeze dilemma (and worse) that can happen as we age.

How do I do Kegels?

Find the muscles that you use to stop the flow of urine and tighten them as much as possible, hold for a few seconds, and release. Do sets of 10 or so whenever you remember.

I found THIS FANTASTIC SONG that had me rolling on the floor laughing, and reminded me to do my Kegels.

I don’t know if I would make it my ring tone though.

Top 5 Best Times to Do Kegels

5.  Driving to work, or when stuck in traffic

4.  During a boring business meeting (no one will ever have to know).

3.  Any time you are waiting in line.

2.  During commercials while watching TV.

And, drumroll, the best time to do Kegels (or at least the most fun), is…

1.  While having sex. Your partner will thank you.

It doesn’t matter when or where you decide to do them, just be sure that you do your Kegels, ladies!

 

What You Can Do Right Now to Help Hot Flashes

What You Can Do Right Now to Help Hot Flashes

“In the midst of a hot flash, rather than thinking ‘oh no, here we go again!’...think ‘it’s OK; I am there for you in this moment of suffering,”...

Would you believe that you can relieve your hot flashes with the power of your mind? (Cue sci-fi music here). A new study from Australia has shown that women who are more forgiving of themselves and show themselves compassion can actually have an easier time with hot flashes.

The leader of the study explains why in an interview to Reuters:

“It isn’t just the physiology of a hot flash that can be stressful. It is also the thoughts, feelings and interpretations that surround the experience,” said Lydia Brown. She led the study at the University of Melbourne in Australia, where she is a doctoral candidate in psychology.

During a hot flash or any other unpleasant event, thoughts can easily begin to spiral downward. Yet, “If a woman can treat herself with tenderness and friendliness in the moment of suffering from a hot flash, the negative whirlwind cannot get a foothold.”

How do we practice self-compassion? Many of us cannot imagine a day without finding something about ourselves to criticize or get down about.

Here’s an easy suggestion from the study’s authors:

“In the midst of a hot flash, rather than thinking ‘oh no, here we go again!’ a self-compassionate alternative would be to think ‘it’s ok; I am there for you in this moment of suffering,” said Brown.

Another key facet of self-compassion is mindfulness, which involves being aware of what one is experiencing in the present moment in a way that doesn’t peg a given emotion, sensation or event as good or bad.

“With curiosity and a non-judgmental attitude, a woman could notice the changing sensations that make up a hot flash,” Brown said.

“When the experience is broken down to its constituents through mindfulness, it becomes less overwhelming, and so has less power to interfere with daily life,” she said.

Probably the most well-known mindfulness practitioner is Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, which aims to help you cope with stress, depression, and daily life through greater awareness, meditation, and being in the present moment.

Tthere’s a powerful lesson here—not just for helping hot flashes, but a way to live life in general.

How many of us are guilty of overthinking things, worrying, analyzing, and blaming ourselves?

If we could all look at stressful things in our lives objectively, learn how to take a step back, we would be better able to deal with them.

So the next time you’re running late, you get bad news, or that wave of heat and sweat begins to prickle your skin, take a moment to be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself. Tell yourself that everything is going to be okay. Take a step back and breathe. It’s going to be okay. You are doing great! You ARE great.

Sherry’s Strawberry Pie to Cool a Hot Flash Day

Sherry’s Strawberry Pie to Cool a Hot Flash Day

Light & refreshing, best of all- you won't hate yourself for eating it! 

It’s the beginning of strawberry season where I live.  I’ve never had better strawberries than those grown on a local farm.  They spoil me for supermarket strawberries, no matter how perfect those might look.  The taste just can’t be matched to one grown from a private farm and just picked.

Fresh strawberries are delicious eaten plain.  If my kids are in the car when I pick up a quart, they are almost gone before we pull into our driveway only a mile away.   Actually, I don’t need my kids around to make them disappear.

Strawberries are really healthy, full of vitamin C.  But most desserts featuring strawberries are decidedly unhealthy, like the ever-popular strawberry shortcakes, with the butter- and cream-laden biscuits, used to sandwich the fruit, with dollops of whipped cream plopped on top. They taste divine, but how many of those can you eat and still live with yourself?  Let’s face it.  Even women who were lucky enough never to have to watch their weight in the past will find themselves counting every calorie once they reach a certain age, in the battle to keep their hips at bay.

The following is a recipe that can be made as is, or made lighter with some simple substitutions.  I don’t usually use gelatin in my recipes.  I’m a bit of a purist and a food snob.  But it just works here.  It’s light, refreshing, and delicious. And you won’t hate yourself after you eat it.

Strawberry Pie

1 8-inch baked pie shell
1 cup boiling water
1 3-oz. package strawberry gelatin (can use sugar-free)
16 oz. frozen FRESH sliced strawberries

Slice 16 ounces of FRESH strawberries and put them in the freezer until completely frozen.

Bake the pie shell according to the manufacturer’s directions.
When the strawberries are completely frozen, pour the gelatin into a medium-sized bowl.  Pour the cup of boiling water over the gelatin; stir to dissolve.
Add the strawberries.  Stir to break the berries apart.  Chill the filling in the refrigerator until mixture is partially set; then pour into baked pie shell.
Chill your strawberry pie in the refrigerator until completely set. 

Serve with your favorite topping.  Tastes best with fresh whipped cream, but you can use light whipped cream or non-dairy whipped topping and it’ll still be a crowd-pleaser.

Love to see pictures if you make the pie, I tell people it’s fool-proof and pretty- love to know how it works out for you!

Serenity Now: Meditation for Menopause

Try it, and you may be the next person to start raving about how meditation changed her life.

We all know that meditation is good for us.

Right up there with rotating our tires, flossing our teeth three times a day, and Kegels: things that we know we should be doing, but don’t always manage to do consistently.

(Challenge: do 20 Kegels while you are reading this. Yes, you! Right now!)

Every so often, I come across another article about the benefits of meditation: for stress, insomnia, weight loss, headaches, and more.

It makes sense. Take one deep breath, and then exhale. Notice that you feel a lot more relaxed. It is safe to say that doing that on a regular basis will have many health benefits.

Yes, that’s right: meditation isn’t just “relaxing.” It’s beneficial for heart health and longevity as well.

Josh Trutt, MD, an expert from PhysioAge Medical Group in NYC, says:

“When we relax, our heart rate slows down. But when we meditate, the interval between each beat of our heart changes and becomes smoother. That interval between each beat is called Heart Rate Variability (or HRV), and smoothing it out is what lets those Yogi masters live longer–in fact in 2010 the American Journal of Cardiology reported that maintaining a healthy HRV as we age actually predicts longevity!”

Live longer, you say? Fantastic!

But the million-dollar question is: Will it help with my hot flashes?

Well, since many menopause symptoms are triggered or aggravated by stress, and meditation reduces stress, it’s safe to say YES, you will see some relief from menopause symptoms.

Meditation practitioners say that daily meditation helps balance the body’s energies and promotes all-around healing and well-being.

I did a little hunting and found this great 4 minute meditation that I really enjoy:

4 Minute Meditation to Ease Menopause Symptoms

 And then I discovered an amazing resource that everyone should check out right now.

It’s called the Mindvalley Academy and they have FREE online lessons in meditation, relationships, the mind-body connection, health, self-improvement, and more.

Mindvalley is an AMAZING resource and they make it easy to get started. But, don’t let me limit you, there are other resources, and if you have ones you like, share them in the comments, please!

I’ve been meditating for about a week now and I am definitely sleeping better and feel much more relaxed.

Try it, and you may be the next person to start raving about how meditation changed her life.

Now I’m off to get my tires rotated.

[Editor’s Note:  You don’t have to be dressed perfectly, and in a perfect location- say, by the beach, with your hair flowing. You can meditate right now, as you are. But that wouldn’t be a fun picture at all, so I used this one. Anyway, we can PRETEND to be at the beach, in our lululemon togs, maybe that might be inspiring…smiling.]

Popeye Burgers

Popeye Burgers

These Spinach Burgers are moist and flavorful. And they are so easy you have time for a nap!

Menopause is tiring.  Whether you’re in the thick of it or approaching it, you may not be sleeping as well as you once did.  Angst and anger is exhausting, too.  Add all the normal stuff we juggle every day, like jobs, kids, household maintenance, and cooking, and it can be hard to fit in a nap.

Napping has saved me from ending my days prematurely and taking to my bed at 6:00 in the evening.  Some days are busier than others, so I may get only 30 minutes.  Other days, I’ve managed to talk myself more successfully into letting the laundry wait one more day, and I’ve been known to set my alarm for 2 hours.

Obviously, when you are napping, it does cut into the time you’d be taking to accomplish something.  Laundry can wait.  Feeding your family can’t.  But you can cut the time it takes to accomplish this and still cook something delicious and nutritious.

I get that Spinach Burgers may not be to everyone’s taste, but for those of you with finicky eaters, it takes no time to craft a turkey burger or hamburger as a substitute.  Or throw some chicken tenders into the toaster oven.  Serve a salad on the side, substitute fresh fruit for a vegetable, and you’ve got dinner.

These Spinach Burgers are moist and flavorful.  You can dress them up with cheese, sautéed onions and mushrooms, or just eat them plain with lettuce and tomato.  Forgo the bun if you wish.  They’re delicious.

SPINACH BURGERS

1 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

½ onion, chopped

½ cup chopped walnuts, or pine nuts

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

½ cup bread crumbs

2 eggs (can use 3 eggs whites as a substitute)

salt and pepper to taste

dash of nutmeg, if desired

Mix all ingredients and form into patties.  Fry in a small amount of olive or canola oil until lightly browned on each side.  Makes 4 generous patties. 

Be brave, try them, you’re going to like them!

With Exercise- A little Means A LOT!

With Exercise- A little Means A LOT!

Good news! You don't have to do an extreme boot camp.

With the changes of menopause, the cravings, the stubborn fat, you-know-the-rest-of-the-story, you would assume that the only serious solution is “get thee on a treadmill and FAST.”

Women assume that they have to join a gym and work out 5 days a week in order to see any results. And let’s face it, who but the most motivated of us will actually follow through on that?

Hear ye, hear ye, meno-gals: Even a brisk walk once in a while will do you a LOT of good.

Research shows that a moderate exercise activity such as walking or tennis reduces women’s stroke risk by up to 20%.  If I knew that playing tennis was going to help lower my stroke risk, I would have sucked it up and put on those short tennis skirts years ago.

Menopausal women taking hormone replacement therapy have a 30% higher stroke risk, so adding in this exercise will help cancel out that risk.

This article from Science Daily sums up the findings:

Postmenopausal women taking menopausal hormone therapy had more than a 30 percent higher risk of stroke than women who never used menopausal hormone therapy. After the women stopped taking hormones, their risk began to diminish.

“The effects of physical activity and hormone therapy appear immediate and the benefits of physical activity are consistent in premenopausal and postmenopausal women,” Wang said. Therefore, Wang recommends that women incorporate some type of physical activity into their daily routine. “You don’t have to do an extreme boot camp. The types of activities we’re talking about are accessible to most of the population.” Power walking and recreational tennis, for example, do not necessarily require special memberships to gyms.

When it comes to exercise, we all know we have to “just do it”. But instead of setting yourself an impossible goal, aim the bar a little bit lower and know that you are still getting lots of benefits.

Make it a priority to go for a walk every day. Get a dog so that you’ll have to walk him or he’ll poop in the house. Grab your partner, a friend or even your kid and take an evening walk to catch up on the day. Not only will you feel healthier and have more energy, but you’ll be reducing your health risks at the same time. That’s what I call a win-win.

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Write for Hot Flash Daily.

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©2016 Hot Flash Daily. All rights reserved.

©2016 Hot Flash Daily. All rights reserved.

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HotFlashDaily.com was created in the spirit of making every day your very best, even when you just don’t feel like it.

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