menopause diet blog

Time for a Change

Day 23 and 24: Diet Wobbles

The last couple of days have been a bit tricky as we went to a party yesterday evening and today we went out for lunch to a burger joint! Plus the fridge is empty and I didn’t really plan the meals for the weekend. As a consequence I have had a couple of wobbly days – not disastrous but not great.

Also this week my weight loss was non existent and seemed to fluctuate by a pound or so on different days which was disappointing as overall the week has been pretty good foodwise. Perhaps portions are still to big?

Interesting lesson learned is that the moment I take my eye off the ball and don’t plan meals I revert to nibbling high sugar rubbish. Starting the day with a half empty fridge and no idea what my meals and snacks for the day are going to be is a recipe for disaster.

Still many of the diet books and websites I have looked at advocate a ‘cheat day’ where you can eat what you like. Therefore I will consider this a cheat weekend and get back on track tomorrow!

Food Diary Day 23

Breakfast: Banana, Menopause Muesli – see  Breakfast Recipe page

Lunch: Ready made nut and quinoa salad with extras of avocado, tomato and grilled haloumi cheese. I was very bloated after this for some reason.

Dinner: Party nibbles of chilli con carne, nachos, nuts, chicken tagine & creme brulee… all mini portions.

Drink & Snacks: Herbal tea, sparkling water (party drink as I was driving!), miso soup

Food Diary Day 24:

Breakfast: Menopause Muesli – see Breakfast recipe page

Lunch: Chicken Caesar salad

Dinner: Mini wholemeal pitta, hummus, 2 slices multi seed toast and honey

Drinks & Snacks: Herbal Tea, J2O juice drink, oat and apricot bar, mini bar dark chocolate, 2 apricots, choc ice

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Day 22: Stone Soup Cookbook

I want to recommend and online cookbook I came across called The Stone Soup. Brainchild of Jules Clancy, her focus is on recipes that are simple, quick, delicious and healthy and can often be made with store cupboard ingredients. There are always lots of alternatives given within a recipe if you don’t have all the ingredients or don’t like one of the ingredients so they are very flexible.

Here’s what you WILL find on StoneSoup

Quick, easy to follow recipes that are hard to mess up.
New ideas for ways to use commonplace ingredients.
Inspiration to get out of your cooking rut and make tasty, simple meals.
Fresh, healthy ideas using real whole food.
Variations to suit your dietary requirements or if you’re missing ingredients.
Encouragement to try new (simple) things.
A unique approach to take the stress out of coming up with good food at the last minute.

There is a FREE downloadable eCookbook available if you sign up for updates and there are further books to buy in print or downloadable format… such as:

stone soup cookbook

  • The Tired and Hungry Cooks Companion (I have this one)
  • The 2 Minute Meal Plan
  • 5 Ingredients, 10 Minutes
  • Love your Waistline, Love Your Food
  • 30 Dinners in 30 Days

Food Diary Day 22

Breakfast: Mashed Banana and Tahini on multiseed toast – see Breakfast recipe page

Lunch: Various Sushi at Yo Sushi!

Dinner: Prawn, vegetable and egg noodle stir fry

Snacks & Drinks: Herbal tea, Oat and Apricot bar, 1 profiterole, 2 squares dark chocolate, fresh cherries

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Day 21: Best Beachwear Cheat

Most of us have a bit of our body we like the least. For me it’s my legs, specifically my upper thighs, and they are the bit of my body that I am most self conscious about. So what to do on the beach? Of course sarongs are always handy and are a great cover up for legs when strolling round the pol or wandering along the beach, but sarongs are not practical for swimming or water parks!

Last year I had the brainwave of buying some long surfer shorts for girls.

girl surfer shorts girl surfer shorts girl surfer shorts

Modern, cool, funky and flattering – I love them. Team them with a bikini top or, for more cover up, a tankini. Animal, Roxy, Quiksilver, Billabong O’Neill all have great surfers shorts for girls.

Food Diary Day 21

Breakfast: Menopause Meusli with berries – see Breakfast Recipe page

Lunch: Chicken and butternut squash soup with mini pittas and hummus – variation on recipe on Lunch Recipe page

Dinner: Open sandwich on multiseed bread with hummus, avocado, beetroot, olives and sesame seeds – see Lunch Recipe page

open sandwich

Drinks & Snacks: Herbal tea, slice of menopause cake (see Snack recipe page) with tahini spread, slice of cheese rolled with parma ham and olives

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Day 20: Lentils for cheats

One of my secret ingredients are these pouches of cooked lentils.

lentil pouch


They are quick and easy to use and taste delicious. Here’s what you can do with them:

Add them to soups

Have them on the side with any fish (especially salmon and trout)

Add to casseroles or stews

Mix with left over rice and cooked vegetables

Just heat them on their own with multi-grain toast or pitta for a really quick and healthy lunch

Use cold straight from the pouch in a salad

Mix with roasted butternut squash and crumble feta cheese over the top

Mix with cooked sausages or grilled chicken

Remember lentils are a good source of phytoestrogen – good for the menopause  – they are low in fat, high in fibre and a good source of protein and iron.

Food Diary Day 20:

Breakfast: Menopause Muesli – see Breakfast recipe page

Lunch: Chicken and sweet potato soup – see Lunch Recipe page

Dinner: Lentil Chile – see Dinner Recipe page

Snacks & Drinks: Herbal tea, fresh cherries, 2 squares dark chocolate

Pretty good day today – I keep thinking about yesterday’s motivation poster – see Day 19 post!

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Day 19: Diet Motivation

In need of a little diet motivation I came across this poster online which hit the mark for me!

diet motivation poster

The first couple of weeks of this diet I was able to ignore any ‘forbidden’ foods lurking in my kitchen cupboard however my willpower has been flagging the last couple of days, so I have asked my kids to hide the sweets and biscuits. Today I am back on track… and here’s the evidence…

Food Diary Day 19:

Breakfast: Mashed Banana and Tahini on Multi seed toast – see Breakfast Recipe page

Lunch: Peppered Mackerel, Hard boiled egg, couscous and salad topped with seeds

Dinner: Chicken and Sweet Potato Soup with 2 slices multi seed toast – see Lunch Recipe page

Snacks & Drinks: 4 squares dark chocolate, oat and apricot cereal bar

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Day 18: Eat your vegetables first!

In my Day 9 post on Portion Control I wrote about filling your plate half full with vegetable and one quarter full with each of carbs and protein.  I am still struggling to do this as it is so ingrained in me to think of the meat and carbs as the ‘main’ part of the meal and the veg as the ‘side’. Plus I am still inclined to load my plate too full as I have this deep seated need to ‘make sure there is enough to eat’ on the plate.

The Japanese have an ancient proverb hara hachi bunme which means: “Stop eating when you are 80% full.” Something else that seems very hard for me to do, especially if there is still food on the plate, because it might (horror of horrors) go to waste!

Eating your vegetables first means that the veggie’s fibre becomes bigger with water in your stomach, making you feel full more quickly. This helps you eat less. Plus, raw vegetables, have a digestive enzyme, which aides in the digestion of proteins, which is a good reason to eat the protein after the veggies.

portion plate

Food Diary Day 18

Breakfast: half a grapefruit, banana

Late morning: Porridge with berries and milled linseed

Dinner: Chicken, Squash & sweet potato soup – variation on chicken soup recipe in Lunch Recipe Page – mini wholemeal pitta bread and hummus

Snacks & Drinks: Herbal tea, slice of menopause cake (see snack recipe page) with tahini, 3 squares dark chocolate

Although it looks like I missed a meal here, the porridge was like an early lunch. I had the menopause cake mid afternoon and it tided me over till dinner.

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Day 17: No ‘hot flashes’ in Japan

It is reported that the Japanese, until recently, did not have a word for hot flashes/hot flushes associated with the menopause. A quick look online reveals that between 7 and 25% of Japanese women report hot flashes/hot flushes as a menopausal symptom. It is thought that diet plays a key role in this.

japanese food

The Japanese diet includes relatively large amounts of fermented soy products such as miso and natto and unfermented soy products like tofu which have isoflavones that act as phytoestrogens to mimic the effects of estrogen. These phytoestrogens – found in most edible beans and not just soy – are thought to offset the steep drop in estrogen levels during menopause and help ease the effects of hot flashes and night sweats. Phytoestrogens may also help prevent heart disease and breast cancer, both of which have lower incidences among Japanese women.

The Japanese diet is also comparatively low in fat, alcohol, sugar, dairy, meat and spicy food which rank amongst the top aggravators of hot flashes as well as mood swings. A fatty diet can also exacerbate weight gain, another common symptom of menopause.

Definitely food for thought there!

Food Diary Day 17:

After the last couple of days of low motivation and, despite relatively healthy food, portions are still to large, I went for a run this morning.

Breakfast: Porridge with berries and ground linseed

Lunch: Coronation Chicken sandwich with tomato, rocket (arugula), avocado and mozzarella salad – not ideal as a bit high in fat but all that was available.

Dinner: Baked butternut squash with brown rice and nuts – see dinner recipes page

baked butternut squash

Snacks & Drinks: Herbal tea, a handful of high sugar, chemical laden kiddies sweets.

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Day 16: Horrors of the Dressing Room

I am having a bit of a wobble the last couple of days – not just physically but mentally!

Today I was shopping for some clothes for my son. I had no intention of buying anything for myself but I saw some shorts that I thought might be good for me for the summer. Shorts are a bit of a minefield at the best of times but these were black (slimming), lightweight, knee length and looked well cut so I thought I’d try them on.

dressing room humour

I went into a dark, tiny, triangular shaped fitting room with a curtain that barely pulled shut (they really know how to make you feel good about yourself in these stores!) I tried the shorts on – they were ok but didn’t really do me any favours – but I was unable to avoid the horrible truth of my legs in the mirror! I had been feeling pretty good the last 2 weeks. The diet had been going well and because I had been feeling better about myself I had conveniently forgotten about the reality of my body shape under my clothes (see The Stranger in the Mirror). It was a nasty reminder and the weird thing is that instead of making me more determined to stick to the diet, all it made me do was raid the bag of chocolate toffees when I got home. What kind of crazy logic is that?

anyway here is my Food Diary for Day 16:

Breakfast: Porridge with strawberries and linseeds

Lunch: Prawn, asparagus, tomato and green bean stir fry with rice noodles and sesame seeds

prawn stir fry

Dinner: Scallop and mixed vegetable stir fry with sweet chilli sauce

Snacks & Drinks: 6 chocolate toffees, 6 squares dark chocolate, 3 dried apricots, olives and parma ham, herbal tea

Not an unhealthy day but feeling way too full. Tomorrow is another day.

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Day 15: Miso Soup Attempt No.2

Today was weighing day. This week it was a measly half a pound, but still a loss nevertheless! I am feeling heaps healthier that when I started, plus what they say about a healthy diet showing in your skin is true.

After my attempt at homemade miso soup yesterday I had an idea for a quick and easy lunch, but this time using a ready made sachet of Clearspring Organic Miso Soup, rice noodles and leftover stir fried vegetables form last night’s meal.

clearsrpring organic miso soup

So I cooked the noodles, refried the vegetables and added hot water (not boiling as it destroys the miso enzymes) to the sachet in large bowl. Then I added the noodles and vegetables to the soup and it was delicious!

miso soup with noodles and leftover vegetables

So here’s my Food Diary for Day 15:

Breakfast: Menopause Meusli

Lunch: Miso Soup with rice noodles and left over stir fry vegetables – see above

Dinner: Haddock with tomato sauce and olives, asparagus, green beans, courgettes (zucchini), peppers and boiled potatoes (see dinner recipe page), 3 profiteroles (oops)

fish with tomato sauce

Snacks & Drinks: Herbal tea, glass of wine (oops), slice of menopause cake with tahini, fresh cherries, 3 squares dark chocolate

I am still struggling with portion sizes, i.e. giving myself too much… I didn’t eat the potatoes with my supper as the bit of fish was quite big and the amount of veg fills you up – which is testament to the logic of filling your plate half full with vegetables! Plus I was very hungry by supper. I think I should probably make sure I eat more for lunch as I’m trying to be ‘good’ which lasts till about 4pm, then I get too hungry and eat too much for supper and get tempted by things, like profiteroles and a glass of wine!

Plus I was, to be honest, a bit peeved about only losing half a pound this week, despite being, what I thought, was pretty restrained and it obviously wasn’t good enough and I’m a bit worried I don’t have it in me to see this through!

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Day 14: Homemade Miso Soup

Today I tried making Miso Soup which I love when I go to Yo Sushi! There are sachets of miso soup mix that you can add hot water to and voila, a cup of miso soup, but I read about how easy it is to make you own on La Fuji Mama’s blog so I thought I’d give it a go.

Just to recap, the reason I want to eat Miso Soup at home is to try to up my intake of fermented soy, which is a good source of phytoestrogens, an essential part of treating menopause symptoms naturally – you can read more about that on my Day 5 post about Soya and my Day 12 post about phtytoestrogens.

Anyway, La Fuji Mama is right. Making your own miso soup is not difficult but I did find it fiddly and there is lots of different advice online about how much miso to add. I didnt get it right this time and I felt like I could fiddle about for ages trying to get the right proportions, so I think the ready made sachets will have to do for me in the future!

I salvaged my lunch by cooking some vermicelli rice noodles in the broth I had made and added some left over mackerel, cooked lentils and rocket (arugula). The result was a surprisingly nice asian style noodle soup!

So here’s my food diary for Day 14:

I am stil trying to get my head around the idea of filling half my plate with vegetables and thinking of the meat and carbs as ‘sides’. See more on this on my Portion Control post. The cabbage, mushroom and pepper stir fry took care of that nicely. I added soy sauce, sesame seeds, nutmeg, smoked paprika and mirin (japanese rice wine vinegar) – really good and some left over for lunch tomorrow!

Breakast: Menopause Smoothie

Lunch: Miso soup with rice noodles and leftover mackerel and lentils (a strange but surprisingly tasty mix!)

Dinner: Barbecue Chicken escalope, Rice noodles with cabbage, pepper and mushroom stir fry (with soy sauce and sesame seeds)

Cabbage mushroom & Pepper stir fry

Snacks & Drinks: Herbal tea, Menopause Cake spread with tahini, Japanese rice cracker, Jaffa Cake, 3 squares dark chocolate

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