Are you Binge Eating?

Are you Binge Eating?

Treatments for Eating Disorders
Expert’s Name:  Lisa Enslow

Eating disorders – such as anorexia, bulimia or binge eating – are not just for teenagers. The hallmarks of these disorders include extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors surrounding weight and food issues. While the media gives attention to eating disorders in young girls, there are a growing number of mature women suffering from these emotionally and physically destructive behaviors. Regardless of age, it is vital to identify, acknowledge and seek treatment for any kind of disordered eating.

Factors that May Cause Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are not merely preoccupations with food and weight. They are rooted in much deeper emotional issues, and are often the result of the use of food to satisfy emotional needs. Food can represent comfort, love, excitement and many other emotions. Controlling one’s intake of food can represent a sense of control over life when everything else seems out of control. The psychological factors that can contribute to a vulnerability to eating disorders include low self esteem, a lack of control over life, depression, stress or loneliness.

Our cultural norms that place value on people based on their physical appearance are also culprits in the world of eating disorders. Just look at any magazine stand and note the number of headlines that promote weight loss and flat bellies, and imply that if you are anything less than thin you are unworthy. This constant barrage of information about weight loss is particularly difficult if you are a middle-aged woman confronting the fact that you are no longer youthful looking. The vulnerability that women may begin feeling as they get older can be a catalyst for disordered eating that will seemingly help them to be thinner, if not younger.

Heredity also plays a part in eating disorders, with estimates that as much as 50 to 80 percent of eating disorder risk is genetically linked.

Eating Disorders in Older Women

There are three categories of older women with eating disorders: women who have suffered “under the radar” from the eating disorder for years without treatment, women who had an eating disorder when young that has now resurfaced, and women who develop the eating disorder for the first time as a mature adult. As women are the typical manager of food for the family, it is easy for a woman to hide an eating disorder from others. In addition, it is convenient to hide behind the “I’m on a diet” phrase when asked about restricted eating patterns. The denial of an eating disorder will only allow the physical and emotional destruction caused by the disorders to continue.

Physical and Emotional Damage from Eating Disorders

Eating disorders damage almost every system in the body: cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, dental, esophageal, digestive, endocrine and mental.

Especially if the eating disorder is a long term one, these can be life threatening problems.

Additionally, the emotional scars resulting from years of negative body image and disgust with their own bodies are extremely destructive to a woman. Children of women suffering from an eating disorder are also harmed by her behavior and are more likely to suffer from negative self image issues.

Get Help
Treatment for eating disorders is not just for young girls. Many facilities are developing targeted counseling and treatment for older women. If you suffer from any of the eating disorders outlined above, seek treatment immediately. You are not alone and there is help available for you.
Menopause Weight Gain and Liver Health

Menopause Weight Gain and Liver Health

Expert’s Name:  Lisa Enslow

The Liver/Weight Control Connection

The liver has a big job as the body’s purifier. The liver is both the main detoxifying organ and the main fat burning organ in the body. In a perfect (i.e. clean and green) world, the liver is easily able to perform its functions beautifully. However, the world we live in is full of toxins, chemicals and preservatives in the air, water, our physical surroundings, the food we eat and the products we use on our bodies. This toxic burden makes our liver stagnant and unable to function normally. A sluggish liver will allow our body’s toxic load to increase and our metabolic fire gets dampened. There are some easy steps we can take, however, to help decrease the toxic burden on our liver and to strengthen the liver to do its job more efficiently.

Foods to Avoid

Some of the worst liver stressors are sugar, caffeine and Trans fats. The category of sugar also includes high-fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners like aspartame and Splenda. Alcohol is also a liver stressor, as are many over the counter medications (especially acetaminophen). Preservatives and food colorings add to the liver’s workload, as these unnatural ingredients need to be processed by the liver. In general, processed foods include many of the top liver stressing ingredients and should be avoided. Additionally, the pesticides, hormones and antibiotics that are widely used in our food supply are all toxic to our livers. Buying organic produce and selecting meat and dairy that are free of antibiotics and hormones is very helpful in lessening the toxic burden in your body. If you’re diet includes all of the above mentioned foods to avoid, then you are a great candidate for a detoxification program where the goal is to minimize or eliminate these foods from your diet for a period of time. Adding foods to your diet that help strengthen your liver is the next step.

Foods to Enjoy

Nature provides us with many wonderfully detoxifying foods. Garlic and onions are cleansing foods that can be incorporated easily into most recipes. Fresh vegetables that are great detoxifiers include broccoli, cauliflower, broccoli sprouts and artichokes. Leafy green vegetables have chlorophyll, which helps the liver remove environmental toxins. Cilantro has been shown to speed up the pace of excretion of heavy metals from the body, making it an amazing detoxifying agent. All fresh fruit is good for detox as they are full of vitamin C, fiber, and many antioxidants. Green tea has been shown to have Catechin, which speeds up liver activity. In general, the fresher and cleaner your diet the more effective and healthy your liver and metabolism.
Other ways to Detoxify
In addition to cleaning up your diet, you can minimize the toxins in your environment by using chemical free cleaners in your house and by using natural personal care products. Avoid dry cleaning when possible, and when you do dry clean take the plastic bag off your clothing before it comes into your house so the chemicals can be aired out of the clothes. Practicing clean and green habits in your lifestyle and your diet will help your body’s natural healing system and allow your metabolic engine to run more efficiently.
A Diet Plan for Women

A Diet Plan for Women

Diet Help – A Stress Free Plan
Expert’s Name:  Robin Pruitt
 
The Sources of Digestive Stress

It is common to experience digestive problems during menopause, though the causes are not always clear. It may be due to age-related decreases in the production of hydrochloric acid and enzymes. It may be due to gall bladder problems. It may be due to mental/emotional stress caused by lack of sleep and the frustration of dealing with the symptoms of menopause. It may be a combination of these factors. No matter what the cause, one of the best ways to reduce the stress on your body during menopause is to eat a diet that is packed with nutrients yet easy to digest.

We get our energy from the food we eat. Of course, we have to use some of that energy to digest our food. The heavier our diet, the more energy it takes to digest the food, absorb the nutrients and eliminate the waste, and therefore the less energy we have left over to fuel our other activities.

Our culture overemphasizes the requirement for protein, and most Americans eat far more protein than our bodies require. Since our bodies can’t store protein, we must process it all when eaten. Protein is more difficult to digest than carbohydrates or fat, and the process of digesting excess protein that the body cannot use is stressful to the liver, kidneys and immune system. Excess consumption of meat and dairy proteins can result in bone loss as the body taps its own calcium reserves to neutralize the acid conditions of animal protein metabolism.

Not All Carbs are Equal

Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred form of fuel because they’re the easiest to digest.

Of course, simple sugar, or glucose, is a carbohydrate, and in fact the body breaks all food down into glucose to use as fuel for the cells. However, ingesting pure glucose gives the body too much too fast while providing none of the vitamins and nutrients needed to sustain our bodies. All carbohydrates are not created equal, and emphasizing the wrong kind of carbohydrate can have serious implications for our health.

The terms “good carbs” and “bad carbs” are commonly used but rarely explained adequately. Generally, “good carbs” refers to fruits, vegetables, beans and whole-grain products that retain all or most of their original nutrients and fiber. These foods are sometimes described as whole foods, unrefined foods or minimally processed foods. Examples are whole fruits and vegetables, beans, peas, whole grains, brown rice, and raw nuts and seeds.

By contrast, “bad carbs” would include manufactured foods such as white bread, bagels, pasta, hot dog and hamburger buns, cakes, cookies, pastries, crackers, chips and snacks, cold breakfast cereals, sugar, candy, soft drinks and most products that come in a box or a bag. These products are sometimes described as processed or packages foods, and generally most of the nutritional value and fiber have been removed during processing. For that reason they are often referred to as “empty calories.”

The Low-Stress Diet

A diet that emphasizes a wide variety of fresh, whole fruits and vegetables provides the body with “clean-burning fuel” along with an abundance of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and fiber. “Eat the Rainbow”—including a full range of colorful fruits and vegetables—this will ensure that you obtain a full spectrum of nutrients.

Protein needs can be met with a variety of dark leafy greens supplemented by nuts, seeds, beans and other legumes and cooked whole grains. Beans and grains are starchy and more difficult to digest, however. Soaking them for a few hours before cooking can help break down the starch and aid digestion. Still, for digestive ease, beans and grains should take a back seat to fresh fruits and non-starchy veggies. Small quantities of meat and dairy products used more as a garnish than the main course can round out the menu without taxing the digestive system.

You can obtain even more benefit by eating a lot of those fruits and vegetables raw, including in salads and smoothies (blender beverages that retain the fiber; not commercial fruit juice). Higher levels of digestive enzymes improve digestion, but enzymes are very sensitive to heat so cooked foods contain far lower levels of enzymes than raw foods. A diet that includes substantial amounts of raw fruits and vegetables will contain plenty of the enzymes needed for digestion without the need for enzyme supplements. Additionally, the water-soluble vitamins (primarily vitamin C and the B-complex vitamins) are abundant in raw foods but are lost when food is cooked. Valuable phytonutrients and minerals can also be lost during cooking. The higher levels of vitamins, minerals and enzymes in raw food enhance the body’s ability to assimilate nutrients, and the natural fiber content of whole foods helps us feel full without feeling heavy and speeds the elimination of wastes from the body.

And finally, relax while eating! Take time to savor your healthy meals in a peaceful setting. Your digestive system will thank you for it.

Your Gut During Menopause: Bacteria and Your Health

Your Gut During Menopause: Bacteria and Your Health

Improve your intestinal health.Ideally you should have a bowel movement at least one to two times per day. I know this is not my favorite subject either but it is essential in feeling great. An imbalance of intestinal bacteria, stress and food allergies are just a few reasons why we may have issues in this area. Feces are toxins and a backup of toxins can cause bloating, fatigue, nausea, aches, pains, cancer and even illness.

So how can you improve your intestinal health?

1. The biggest thing is, take a good hard look at your current diet. Are there some things that maybe causing diarrhea and constipation?

2. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables to increase your fiber intake.

3. Drink lots of water.

4. Take probiotics and digestive enzymes. And if you’re constipated, take magnesium glycinate before bed.

For more great tips go to http://www.360menopause.com/blog/diet-help