Have you ever been to the Doctor with a niggling health complaint only to be told
“You’re a mum, it’s normal to be tired!”
“It’s common to get moody and anxious before your period, it’s just part of being a woman”
“Just take panadol for those weekly headaches”
“Your a mum now, you can’t expect to have the same body you had before kids”
As mums we are told that these niggling health complaints are just something we have to put up with but they are our bodies way of communicating with us. They make us uncomfortable to get our attention. To make us aware that our body is out of whack but we are told to soldier on, suffer in silence, ignore what our bodies are telling us.
Before long a slight imbalance in our bodies turns into a more serious health concern if it is not addressed.
The afternoon fatigue turns into hypothyroidism
The bloating turns into an inflammatory bowel disease
The headaches become a serious hormonal condition
If only we had listened to those niggling symptoms and made changes to our diet and lifestyle to correct them.
Many of these niggling symptoms can be nipped in the bud by making changes to what you put into your mouth and how you live your life.
I know from my experience working with hundreds of mums in my naturopathic clinic that these niggling symptoms can disappear simply by changing what you eat and how you live!
Here are four of those common health complaints that can often be fixed by some simple changes to your diet
I was shocked to hear from a client recently that her specialist had told her that her digestive discomfort and bloating had nothing to do with what she was eating! I mean how could your digestive system NOT be affected by the food you eat. To me, it’s a no brainer! Bloating can be caused by different foods for different people. It is a common symptom of food intolerance or it can be a sign that the digestive processes are inefficient, often due to an imbalance in good and bad bacteria in the gut.
Focus on building up the good bacteria in your gut by eating foods high in beneficial bacteria such as yoghurt and fermented vegetables. Lighten the load on your digestive system by reducing gluten containing foods and increasing insoluble fibre in fresh vegetables, salads and fruits. Foods containing FODMAPS can be problematic for some people that experience bloating so the FODMAP diet is worth a try.
Premenstrual symptoms can be physical – breast tenderness, acne, sugar cravings and fluid retention, or emotional – tension, irritability, mood swings and depression. All of these symptoms are caused by changes in a woman’s hormones, which become worse when we are oestrogen dominant. Oestrogen dominance is a hormonal imbalance where our oestrogen levels are too high in relation to our progesterone levels.
Sugar encourages oestrogen production within our bodies which exacerbates P.M.S but Avoiding sugar is harder than it sounds as it is in almost everything found on the supermarket shelves. Eating more ‘Real Food’ straight from plants and animals as close to its natural state as possible is one of the best ways to avoid sugar in your diet. Make your own sweet treats such as bliss balls or paleo muffins so you can use healthier sugar alternatives. Remember that starchy carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, rice and cereals break down to sugar in the body too.
If we start to think of our bodies as a machine (the most important machine we will ever own) and food as our fuel we can begin to see where we go wrong with the food we eat. Filling our bodies with cheap, processed, packaged food is never going to allow our bodies to function well. Our energy levels are affected by many organs and systems of our bodies – our mitochondria within all of our cells, our thyroid and adrenal glands, our liver and digestive systems. All of these organs and systems of our bodies rely on nutrients from the foods we eat to do their jobs.
Much of the western food we eat these days is nutrient poor and calorie rich which leads to fatigue and weight problems. Think of every mouthful as a source of nutrients to fuel your body. Eat more foods that are nutrient rich such as salads, vegetables, eggs, nuts, fish and meat. Superfoods are great sources of nutrition as well, think chia seeds, coconut oil, goji berries, cacao powder and leafy greens – sounds like a great recipe for a green smoothie to me!
There are many causes of headaches but often a change in diet can really help. Some of the most common causes of headaches are dehydration, hormonal imbalance, stress, nutrient deficiencies and muscle tension. When we are under stress our bodies require more of the mineral magnesium. Our bodies also excrete more magnesium when we are under stress leading to a magnesium deficiency which can have an impact on our hormonal imbalance and cause muscle tension.
Magnesium supplementation is one of the first things to try if you are experiencing headaches. Magnesium can be found in foods – leafy greens, quinoa, brown rice, nuts, seeds and cacao powder. However in Australia our soils are depleted in magnesium so our foods are lacking it too. Magnesium supplementation (preferably powder form) is the best way to ensure adequate magnesium levels.
Blood sugar balance is an important consideration in headaches too To keep your blood sugar levels stable eat small meals every 3-4 hours, avoid sugars and refined carbohydrates found in cakes, biscuits, white bread, rice & pasta, most crackers, soft drinks and sweets. Eat protein with every meal in the form of fish, eggs, chicken, lean red meat, nuts and seeds. If you crave sugar or starchy foods, feel shaky, agitated, or dizzy when hungry you may have a problem with blood sugar balance.
As you can see many of the health issues we experience as women have simple fixes that can be found in the food we eat or don’t eat.
If you want to know how you can overcome niggling health symptoms and incorporate more Real food in your diet sign up to my Free 3 part Masterclass where I will teach you the 3 essential health hacks for busy mums
How to eat more Real food when you are time poor
The 3 food mistakes that are making you tired and
My number 1 Real food secret to boost your health