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Sweet Potato Mash for Menopause: Reduce Dryness & Weight Gain

Sweet Potato Mash for Menopause Reduce Dryness & Weight Gain
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Menopause, or “Moonpause” as I like to call it, is an experience of great hormonal change, requiring specific nutrients to support changes in sex hormones.

Two common symptoms of moonpause that women experience are vaginal dryness and weight gain, particularly around the middle.

Moonpausal changes as well as society’s negative imprints of “losing your youth” can cause negative feelings toward this sacred change, which is truly a “Rights of Passage.”

“Like pregnancy and childbirth, menopause is a time of profound transformation—a portal to the best and most powerful years of your life!” ~Christiane Northrup

As Northrup mentions, moonpause is a time where the hormones are changing yet again, and it was honored and viewed by indigenous cultures as a time where the feminine energies aligned for more self-empowerment, and to open a clearer channel to the Divine. Women of moonpause were the wisdom bearers of the Crone archetype, and they brought council to the tribe.

In Western modern society, this rites of passage isn’t always seen as so. As a women’s health and nutrition coach, I help women not only improve their diet to aid in hormone wellness, but also help them release negative connotations around the cycles of womanhood, to truly utilize these changes to maximize their intuitive wisdom, self-trust and become their best selves.

However, things like vaginal dryness and weight gain can feel disempowering, and I would like to share some tips to help alleviate these symptoms so you can truly feel like the goddess you are in your peri-moonpause and moonpausal years.

1.Vaginal Dryness

First we will tackle vaginal dryness. As the shift happens from peri-moonpause into full moonpause (which is when monthly menstruation has been consistently absent for a whole year), the sex hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone will decline.

Estrogen, which was primarily made in the ovaries during the menstrual years, will greatly decrease, and it’s production in the ovaries will switch mainly to the adrenals and fat cells.

Estrogen is a hormone that nourishes and builds the tissues of the vagina and uterus, and with the decrease of it during the moonpause years, can impact moisture retained in this area.

Vaginal dryness can certainly impact sex drive. If sex is painful due to dry friction, this can cause embarrassment and avoidance. (Ladies, please don’t feel ashamed. You are NOT alone in this, and there are natural lubrications you can use, plus many dietary tips such as increase of Vitamin A {try my Sweet Potato Mash recipe below], omega-3 fatty acids, herbs like evening primrose, phytoestrogenic plants like flaxseed that supply natural estrogen from plants, and adrenal supporting foods and herbs).

My Sweet Potato Mash recipe (below) is perfect for the holiday season, and is abundant in Vitamin A for increasing vaginal moisture. It tastes delicious at the dinner table and may make you feel even more delicious in bed! 

2. Weight Gain (including belly weight)

Second, as women start to notice weight gain, especially around the middle, they may ask for tips from the doctor. I have often heard women say they are told to eat less in their later years. However, cutting calories, especially nutrient dense calories, can create stress on the adrenals… and if the adrenals are stressed, this will impact blood sugar levels and block weight loss.

What’s happening here after moonpause, is the decline in estrogen can affect the body’s metabolism of carbohydrates (estrogen is an important hormone for managing blood sugar). Now this isn’t to say to stop eating carbohydrates altogether. In fact, studies show for women who are especially impacted by adrenal fatigue and stress have difficulty cutting out carbs completely on diets like Paleo.

Instead, what we can aim for is cutting out carbs that break down quickly into glucose, like simple carbohydrates. You know… all the easy finger grabbing foods: muffins, pastries, birthday cake, candy, etc.

In the years of the 20’s and possibly the 30’s, it may have been easier to get by eating these types of foods, yet over the life span, these foods can affect blood sugar, as well as consuming moderate amounts of caffeine on a daily basis, which can lead to issues like insulin resistance, food cravings, weight gain and difficulty with weight loss.

So, a great place to start is to examine the diet for all areas sugar might be sneaking in. Just the awareness of this simple task can bring great positive and motivational change.

In my programs I challenge my clients to commit to two days of tracking how many grams or teaspoons of added sugar they consume each day. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 25 grams added daily (6 teaspoons) for women. It’s truly surprising how much sugar sneaks into the daily diet… from your “healthy” bottled turmeric drink with 14 grams, from organic granola with 10 grams per half cup, and salad dressing with 5 grams per 2 tablespoons….we’ve already reached the maximum limit!

Now, sugars like coconut sugar and maple syrup will break down differently than processed sugar, plus they are vitamin rich instead of empty calories. Yet, sugar breaks down to glucose and too much of it will impact blood sugar levels, causing stress and difficulty of weight loss.

If you have a sly nudging that sugar might be sneaking too much into your diet, I highly encourage you to try this two-day challenge. And then message me and let me know how it goes!

So my solution? Enjoy carbohydrates, but gravitate towards complex carbs and carbs coming mostly from vegetables. Root vegetables like sweet potatoes are filling, fibrous, and slightly sweet, pleasing taste buds that prefer the sweeter foods.

My Sweet Potato Mash is a wonderful alternative to traditional white mashed potatoes.

Sweet Potatoes Provide an Abundance of:

  1. Vitamin A: as I mentioned earlier is helpful for increasing vaginal fluids (additionally Vitamin D is helpful as well as staying hydrated).
  2. Vitamin B5: which is great for helping the body regulate cortisol levels if cortisol has been chronically high due to stress or a diet full of caffeine or sugar.
  3. Vitamin B6: helps improve mental sharpness, boosts energy and the mood, as well as naturally helps boost progesterone levels (and also decreases menstrual cramping if you are in still your menstrual years).

So this holiday, choose foods that you know are going to support your hormone wellness, and enjoy this Sweet Potato Mash!

Also, choose to make wholesome desserts like my No-Bake Christmas Tree Cookies with Spirulina Frosting or my Holiday Cranberry Sauce.  Easy Video HERE.


This recipe calls for steamed sweet potatoes. This will make them nice and soft to mash in a bowl. I like to use jewel yams, because they are sweet! I also sometimes use a mix of jewel and garnet yams.

When the potatoes are soft from boiling after 8-10 minutes. I mash them in a bowl with a fork or potato masher with unsweetened almond mylk. Once mashed, I will mix in ghee to make it creamy tasting, honey, herbs and salt.

Once fully mashed and mixed together, I will top with rosemary or thyme leaves, or lime zest, as shown in this photo.

Sources:

Northrup, Christiane, M.D., The Wisdom of Menopause: Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing During the Change. United States: Bantam Books, 2001.

Shannon, Marylin, M. Fertility, Cycles, and Nutrition: Self Care for Improved Cycles and Fertility… Naturally! Cincinatti, OH: The Couple to Couple League International, Inc. 1990.

Sweet Potato Mash

Serves: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

7 cups sweet potatoes, chopped

2/3 cup almond mylk, unsweetened

2 Tablespoons ghee or coconut oil

1 ½ teaspoons local honey

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger spice

¼ teaspoon cloves

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

 

Directions:

  1. Fill the bottom of a steamer with several inches of water and turn on high.
  2. While steam is building up, cut sweet potatoes into small cubes.
  3. Once water comes to a boil, add sweet potatoes, cover and steam for about 8-10 minutes.
  4. Put into a bowl with almond mylk and mash with a potato masher or fork.
  5. Add ghee, honey, and spices.
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