Food and the Menopause
"Yes, you can literally eat your way through the menopause." In research into other cultures, scientists have found that the menopause is not experienced in the same way by all women. Therefore the question arises as to what most differentiates these women from us in the Western world. The answer is our diet. In some cultures, like Japan, women also have one sixth the rate of breast cancer that we have. Studies in the USA have shown that when Japanese women move to the West and adopt a Western diet, they develop a breast cancer rate similar to ours. So it is not a genetic factor particular to Japanese women but something in their diet that distinguishes them.
"People's attitudes to the menopause also vary enormously around the world". In some cultures it is seen as a positive change: freedom from the need for contraception, freedom from the monthly bleed and the arrival of a new status of 'wise woman'. Yet in our society it is usually seen as a time of loss.
"Logic dictates that if we add back these hormones we have a 'cure' surely?" After all, diabetes is the result of a hormone deficiency – when the hormone insulin is not sufficient to maintain normal blood sugar levels – and all that is needed is for insulin to be supplied from outside and the imbalance is corrected. Thus it is suggested that the menopause and diabetes are similar. But diabetes is an illness, the menopause is not. All women are going to go through the menopause, but we are not all going to get diabetes.
"Unfortunately, although the menopause is a natural event, there is a lot of pressure on women to take HRT. This is usually done with an aspect of fear, with the implication that if we don’t take HRT our bones will crumble, our skin will sag, our hair will become dry, we’ll age more quickly, lose our sex drive and suffer from vaginal dryness. It is hard for any woman to resist that kind of pressure.
"But over the years research has shown that there is a negative side to HRT, with numerous studies showing an increased risk of breast cancer. The final nail in the coffin was in the summer of 2002, when a major research programme from the Women’s health Initiative was abandoned..."
Foreword by Women’s Health – 7
Introduction – 8
Food and the menopause – 9
Understanding the role of oestrogen – 10
What you need to eat at the menopause – 13
What you don’t need at the menopause – 31
From the chef – 39
Shopping and cooking tips – 40
Breakfasts and Brunches – 45
Soups, Starters and Snacks – 57
Lunches and Light Meals – 73
Main Courses – 85
Side Dishes – 109
Desserts – 123
Breads, Cakes and Biscuits – 137
Basic Recipes – 149
References – 156
Shopper’s guide – 157
Staying in touch – 157
Index – 158
Acknowledgements – 160