Change of Life, Change of Diet -- Elaine Magee, MPH, RD

WebMD Live Events Transcript; Event Date: Wednesday, June 30, 2004

By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Live Events Transcript

Menopause is a time of big changes in your life. WebMD Weight Loss Clinic's "Recipe Doctor," Elaine Magee, RD, says you should include how and what you eat in those changes. She's written about it in her new book, The Change of Life Diet and Cookbook. In this live event, Elaine shares her tips on cooking, eating, and enjoying yourself on your journey from pre- to post-menopause.

If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.

Welcome back to WebMD Live, Elaine. Please explain the basic premise of The Change of Life Diet and Cookbook.

When some of the studies came out showing the benefits of showing the risks outweigh benefits for many women with hormone replacement therapy, it behooved me to write a book helping women get through this time in their life without hormone replacement therapy (HRT). I wanted women to have some options to HRT. I wanted to have some options to HRT as well.

I had already written a book called Eat Well for Healthy Menopause quite a few years ago, but I wanted this book to focus on the specific symptoms and how to eat your way around them, and I wanted this book to have a sense of humor, because at this point in many women's lives that's what they need. So I literally took the top seven symptoms of menopause and I researched each one individually to come up with some practical food or diet-related steps that women could take to ease that particular symptom.

The other thing we did in the book was I looked at the two things that they could say was definitely beneficial to HRT, which was basically decreasing osteoporosis risk and decreasing colon cancer risk. We know HRT has those benefits for women.

So I looked at those two things as well and helped women reduce their risk through diet and lifestyle changes. So those are the other two chapters of the book besides the seven symptoms. My favorite chapter is "Aphrodisiac for Menopausal Women Only."

I love the chapter "I'm Not Moody -- I'm Cranky All the Time!" I think it's exciting. What I like most about this book is that it's organized by symptom, so that you can literally just turn to the chapters that are your priority at that time. Let's start with "Is It Me, or Is It Hot in Here?"

Are there certain kinds of food that can cut down the hot flashes?

With diet and hot flashes it's a bit of trial and error. Something may work for some women, so either you have to throw them all up in the air and see what helps you.

  • Avoiding spicy foods around your prime hot-flash time can help.
  • Eating smaller-sized meals, because large meals can increase your body temperature.
  • Chewing on ice chips or sipping on some ice-cold, no-calorie beverages at a time when you tend to have hot flashes can help decrease your body temperature.
  • If it's convenient, taking a colder shower before you tend to get hot flashes, or swimming, if that's practical, actually decreases your body temperature for hours afterwards.
  • Try a daily serving or two of a phytoestrogen-rich food, like soymilk, tofu, or edamame.
  • You could try some other phytoestrogen rich foods, like papaya, peas, and beans.
  • Then there's ground flax seed. Flax seed is the most potent food source of the phytoestrogen called lignin. You need it to be ground and a general sort of amount is 1 tablespoon a day.

Now, the foods to lose for hot flashes would be the hot and spicy type foods, foods with caffeine as beverages, and alcohol.

Some recent research suggests that soy, for hot flashes, works better for women who work out and exercise. So that might explain why it works better in some women than others.

Here is one of Elaine's great recipes for dealing with hot flashes and night sweats.

Hot Flash Mochaccino
from The Change of Life Diet and Cookbook
by Elaine Magee, MPH, RD

1/2 cup double-strength decaf coffee, chilled
3/4 cup chocolate soy milk
1 1/2 cup ice cubes
1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds (optional)
1 tablespoon chocolate syrup (optional)

  • Add coffee, chocolate soymilk, ice cubes, and flaxseeds (if desired) into the blender and blend until the mixture has a nice, smooth texture (like a milkshake).
  • Taste the drink. If you would like a stronger chocolate flavor, add a tablespoon of chocolate syrup. Blend the mixture, pour into a tall glass, and enjoy!

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