16 May 2023

Cooking your way to a happier menopause

Can menopause cause food allergies or sensitivities? And how can your diet help with menopause symptoms?

Katie invited food coach and menopause expert Meera Bhogal about her own menopause journey and how we can all cook our way to a happier menopause.

Meera spoke about her own experiences of perimenopause and menopause and how she changed her diet to address food intolerances and manage some of her symptoms. She also gave lots of helpful tips for eating out with specific dietary requirements and explained how she came to produce and sell her own products, including bone broth and turmeric mixture.

Listen to the full interview here to hear more about Meera’s menopause journey and how she overhauled her diet to manage her symptoms.

Listen to the full conversation in The Latte Lounge podcast episode above.

Some of the key advice from this episode:

It’s important to remember that you don’t necessarily have to give anything up, but if you do exclude something, it's for the right reasons.

It should be because you’ve identified that it's not making you feel right rather than because the latest food fad suggests you should.

Changing your diet is very much about understanding what works for you as an individual.

menopause cooking, Katie stirring a pot

If you have discovered a food intolerance, here are some tips for eating out:

Because of the way that allergens have to be listed and how the restaurants and the food industry have to work now, you actually have an awful lot of choice.

There are some lovely gluten or dairy-free options; a night out really doesn't have to be riddled with pitfalls. 

If you know where you're going to eat out, look at the menu ahead of time and choose your meal.

That way, when you are there, you're not making a choice in dim lighting with lots of noise after a couple of drinks. 

Phone the restaurant beforehand to tell them that you have an intolerance or an allergy and are coming on this day at this time.

A good restaurant will have you noted, and they will come over and speak to you just to make you feel comfortable and help with your menu.

RELATED: What's the link between allergies, hormones and menopause?

Meera’s time saving tips for cooking healthy, nutritious family meals:

Not every meal has to be Michelin Star standard.

Most meals just need to be something that you can get on the table which is nutritious. 

Planning makes meal preparation easier and more cost-effective.

Plan a meal that each family member particularly likes so that throughout the week, everybody gets something that they want to eat, but you don't cook more than one meal. 

Starting with your protein source. If you eat meat, you might start with chicken. What can you add to that in terms of fibre and carbohydrates?

Think about colour. Add something green and something red that automatically starts to make things look pretty.

Having a simple tomato sauce is great with your chicken; add a bit of quinoa or brown rice and then your vegetables, throwing in herbs and spices.

Herbs and spices can transform any meal really quickly into something delicious.

You don't need to make an awful lot of effort, and they also count towards your 30 different varieties of plants and vegetables throughout the week. 

Use things like ginger paste and garlic paste; you don't need to be sitting there chopping up ginger and garlic.

There's a lot that you can do to make things tasty, nutritious, and really simple. 

You can find lots of simple recipes on Meera’s website.

RELATED: What are the best foods to eat during menopause?

menopause cooking on stove top

For lots of minority communities, menopause and perimenopause and women's health, in general, is still very taboo.

Do you feel like you're making waves in the South Asian community in terms of representation?

I'm shouting about menopause because, within the South Asian community, menopause and women's health are something that is at the bottom of the list.

Not just for the community but for the women themselves and the way we are brought up. 

We bring everyone together. We put food on the table; it doesn't matter at what cost to our health.

And I've seen a lot of suffering, and I see a lot of women having lots of misinformation, lots of myths.

You won't get menopause because you're keeping yourself healthy. Menopause is something that only white women get. Menopause is a disease.

Just the most incredible myths, and this has to stop because every woman is going to go through this, and I really want to get the message out there.

I visit temples, any community space that will have me.

Schools, anywhere at all where I can turn up, and they can see and look at me and think, you look like my mum, or you look like my sister, or you look like me.

It makes a huge difference, and I think representation needs to be taken a lot more seriously.

I love the fact that we've had these documentaries with Davina, and I love that there is more interest.

Without that, we wouldn't be where we are today, but we've also got to take a bit more of a wider, more diverse view and bring in all the different cultures and ethnicities and people that represent them to make sure that we're not leaving anyone behind.

RELATED: Nutrition for good gut health in menopause

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