Breaking Down a Taboo

Our contributor for all wellness and sustainability matters, Victoria Kruse, brings a topic this month that is not extensively discussed, but it is becoming (finally) more common.

Perimenopause, there, I said it out loud (and I didn’t combust into a hot flush, of course!). This ‘hot topic’, along with menopause, is still something many people don’t even know about yet. It’s still not been widely discussed, even amongst women, let alone among the wider population.

However, there has been an emerging tide of people whispering, even talking in a normal voice about it, and it’s beginning to generate a bit of a buzz in the media as well. In fact, when I was recently on an escalator on the Tube in London, I noticed a poster on the subject. It’s about time!

Perimenopause and menopause, and the many various symptoms that come with them, are something that eventually happen to all women. Maybe to a lesser extent for some, but certainly with a greater and life-altering effect for others. For me, it happened at a much younger age than many. When I first began noticing symptoms such as an inability to sleep, not wanting to have anyone touch me, and unreasonable yet uncontrollable irritation and anger, I initially thought I was going crazy. I was only 40, and when someone said to me, “maybe it’s the perimenopause?” I had two immediate reactions. One was, “how dare you, I am too young for that!” and the other was, “what on earth is perimenopause?”. Of course, I knew what menopause was, but I still had my regular monthly cycle, so I was certain it couldn’t be that.

Nonetheless, I started doing some research and I found it astounding, not least because no one had ever mentioned it to me before, nor had I ever read anything about perimenopause until then. It seems that the beginning of your body’s reduction in creating progesterone can start as early as 40, as it did for me, and this stage can last up to 12 years before the cessation of regular periods. It felt unfair. How could it be that we get this after suffering through monthly cycles for 25-35 years? But after recovering from that thought, I got proactive and my research focused instead on what could be done to reduce the symptoms.

My personal journey saw me working with a naturopath to find an array of vitamins to help balance my system as well as stress reduction techniques and changes in my diet. This included the magic bullet that is ground flaxseed. Studies show that ground flaxseed improves mild menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes and night sweats. While this worked to a certain extent, it wasn’t until I changed my eating lifestyle to keto that I was able to truly come out the other side and feel like I’d regained full control. The good fats and zero sugar helped transform my life and make me feel normal again (whatever ‘normal’ may mean to you).

There are many options now available for women, both natural and pharmaceutical, but I do believe that one of the best things we can do about perimenopause and menopause is to talk about it with other women, find a health coach or, even better, come together at an event such as the one our resort is putting together this month called ‘Pause Retreat’, which offers all these things in one package.

I leave you guys with a sweet, healthy snack containing ground flaxseed.

Flaxseed Peanut Butter Cookies

3/4 cup natural peanut butter (no added sugar or oil)
50g coconut sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp almond milk
50g cassava flour
20g ground flaxseed

Put all the ingredients in one bowl and mix them until smooth. Then form into small balls and flatten until the top is soft. Bake at 170° Celsius for eight minutes.


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