I was honored to speak with Alison Bladh about women’s health, particularly during menopause, to help demystify the associated affects on weight, brain and heart health, sleep, stress, and other symptoms to empower women to take control of their health.
Alison Bladh is a registered nutritional therapist and beauty therapist living in the wilds of Sweden after falling for the charms of a Viking man!
Alison worked in the health and wellness industry for over 30 years specializing in menopausal women’s health and currently runs an online clinic helping women worldwide manage the negative symptoms of menopause.
Her mission is to support her clients with individualized changes to diet, health, mindset and lifestyle so they can harness their hormones and get their confidence and sparkle back.
Alison supports busy, midlife women who are stressed, depressed, gained weight, and have lost their confidence…because all women, no matter what age, deserve to reclaim their health and feel great. Every woman has the right to feel and look amazing in midlife!
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Before we start the episode, just a quick note about the audio quality of this one. For whatever reason, our connection had a delay, and some artifacts in the audio from our remote recording software, and we cleaned that up as best we could. I think you'll find the conversation both listenable and totally worth the small loss in audio quality. Enjoy the episode Welcome to the Wits & Weights podcast, where we discuss getting strong and healthy with strength training and sustainable nutrition. I'm your host, Philip pape, and in each episode, we examined strategies to help you achieve physical self mastery through a healthy skepticism of the fitness industry, and a commitment to consistent nutrition and training for sustainable results. Welcome to another episode of Wits & Weights. I'm honored to be joined today by Alison blood to talk about women's health, particularly during menopause. We're going to help demystify the associated effects on weight, brain heart health, sleep, stress and other symptoms to empower women to take control of their health. Alison Bladh is a registered nutritional therapist and beauty therapist living in the wilds of Sweden. After falling for the charms of a Viking man. Alison worked in the health and wellness industry for over 30 years specializing in menopausal women's health. She currently runs an online clinic helping women worldwide manage the negative symptoms of menopause. Her mission is to support her clients with individualized changes to diet, health, mindset and lifestyle so they can harness their hormones and get their confidence and sparkle back. Alison supports busy midlife women who are stressed, depressed have gained weight and have lost their confidence. Because all women no matter what age deserve to reclaim their health and feel great. Every woman has the right to feel and look amazing in mid life. Alison, thank you for coming on the show.Alison Bladh:
It's my pleasure, lovely to be on your podcast. Thank you for having me.Philip Pape:
Yeah, and thanks again. I'm really excited to talk to you today. I think the listeners are going to learn a lot and get a lot of value from this topic which is very important for women's health and jumping right into your mission to get women their sparkle back. What was your spark in taking that on? Like who is Alison Bladh? Why this singular but important mission to help women during midlife and menopause?Alison Bladh:
Yeah, we all like a bit of sparkle, don't when some of that when we come into midlife, I think we can lose a bit of that sparkle. But the reason that I'm so interested in in a work with with women for so many years and women's health was, you know, my journey started actually started off as an esthetician. And the reasons behind that was when I was growing up as a teenager, I suffered from very bad skin. So I have acne really, as a teenager, you know, the hormonal acne. And that really fascinated me, you know, why was I getting this so I really started researching and finding ways to improve with fashion lifestyle, I can medications. And then that led me interesting in Perry Manor because that is an area where all of a sudden you can really lip skin problems. And then stick them to ring on the outside on the skin usually needed to work on the inside as well. It really isn't enough just to treat the skin from the outside. And that's when I went back to university and studied nutritional science. So I've worked with my clients now, you know really working on nutrition, lifestyle and mindset to help women thrive through this time in their life. Because, you know, we all and gay gain their spot, uncle and love of life. So that's that's what I do you get your spot with that.Philip Pape:
Yeah, that's that's a great message. I think a lot of women can take heart knowing that there potentially is an approach with lifestyle with mindset with nutrition, before we necessarily have to go other routes and consider medication and so on. Why don't we Why don't we this is a big topic, as we were talking about before we started recording. Why don't we just define first menopause why what it is, why is why it's important, especially with regards to things like hormone production.Alison Bladh:
Yeah, great question. Because even though we hear the word menopause, they're still, you know, even the clients that I work with, we don't there's so many women or men that don't really fully understand what that is, you know, and it isn't just menopause. It's different stages. So if we look at the first, which is called perimenopause, and this on average starts at the age of 45. It can start earlier we're all very visual, but on average, it starts To the this is the stage before. So this is really where our hormones, in particular estrogen and progesterone really start to kind of become unbalanced, they really start to fluctuate, you know, still produce hormones, but they've unbalanced and this is where you can see the classic report or symptoms happening, you know, like hot flashes, weight gain, irritability, mood swings, I always like to say, you know, you've got your estrogen levels, which can be quite high during perimenopause. And this is a bit like the diva hormone. And the progesterone levels can be lower, and they're like the calming best. And so you know, when you reach your levels are high, and you haven't got that calming effect from progesterone, stone, you can get very irritable, and you can just find moody and anxious, and it's to do with the imbalances in hormones. So that's really your parent pools. And that goes on to refer to the relative 51. Again, and then what happens is, when you haven't had a menstrual period, or you haven't had a period of a year, you are then in menopause, which means that we're no longer fertile, you're no longer ovulating, you will still produce produce a small amount of estrogen and progesterone. But, you know, your levels will go down quite, quite considerably. Menopause really is just that phase, when you haven't had a period for a year. And all the time after that you're in post menopause. And that can be you know, the next 3035 years of your life. It's very, it's a, it's a transition early many years, and everybody isn't really, you know, some people go and have no problems. And some women, it can be really, you know, a very difficult time. But post menopause. It's like, it's a new phase of life, really 30 years of, of life where you should be things. So you know, what I would say to that get the support they need, because there's so many things that you can do. So you do five and have a happy, you know, it's like a new beginning and doesn't it?Philip Pape:
Yeah, so I love all of that. First of all, the metaphor about the the Diva and the calming best friend, I think that really resonates in terms of the perimenopause phase. But like you mentioned, menopause, is this exciting new phase of life potentially, for many decades, a significant portion of your life with all these opportunities for health and for just enjoying new things. And of course, why wouldn't you want to then take care of your health during that phase? So why why is there still this stigma, though, attached to menopause?Alison Bladh:
Yeah, it's a great question that I get asked that so many times. And it's, it's, I mean, I can relate when I think of when I was growing up, my grandmother and my mother and all the women at you know, within my family network, they didn't talk about menopause, it was very, very much a taboo subject. It was kind of, no, we don't talk about we just, you know, the very British, you know, stiff upper lip, just get on with it. And I think, you know, it's changing, it's changing, especially, I don't know, you're the welfare state. But in Europe, there's a bit of a menopause revolution going on, here. And women have really started saying, you know, this is enough, we want the sport, they shouldn't ignore attached to it. But I think maybe the stigma comes from the fact that you're not fertile anymore, is that we live in a society gently. As women get older, it's very much based as well, isn't it societies on how we look, you know, in everything, I think it has something to do with this is more of a, you know, an ending of your youth than your fertility. And it's something that maybe women feel that they don't want to talk about it as much. Whereas you know, puberty, that's like a new beginning, isn't it? Which, you know, it's just, it's a totally natural phase, and every single woman will go through it. So it really should be embraced rather than thought of, as, you know, being terrible, and we shouldn't talk about it. But I think a lot of it is to do with women getting older and we don't really want to talk about that. And we don't want to talk about the fact that we're not for sale anymore. And there's a lot there's a lot of negativity around that.Philip Pape:
Yeah, that's I mean, first of all, stating The obvious I can't relate directly with this, but I do, you know, have have a wife. And also I've seen the double standard with what you're talking about because, you know, men tend tend to kind of, I don't wanna say that goes through, but there isn't this major change or different phases in life. Whereas women have this, and hopefully, podcasts like like this, and the ones you're going on talking about this, and especially how women can embrace it right, and take control of their health through that phase and make it this new positive thing in life, I think, you know, go a long way toward this. So hopefully, the world is changing in terms of how we talk about it. So speaking of those changes, during menopause, I imagine that one of the big ones weight gain is is one of the bigger shocks and maybe struggles for a lot of women, which I've seen with clients as well. Why does this seemingly indiscriminate weight gain that comes out of nowhere and some times occur? And what can women do about it?Alison Bladh:
One is, I see that with a lot of my clients as well, the main, some one of the main reasons that they come to me, but it's just, it kind of just creeps up, isn't it, even if you're eating the same, and they've got the same lifestyle, you know, where you didn't put weight on, you know, all of a sudden just feel especially common for menopausal women to put weight on around the middle area, you know, we go from more of a pear shape to an apple. And it's, you know, there's so many things going on. So, you know, when we look at research, we still don't fully understand why this happened. But certainly different parts of the weight gain. One of the big players in this is stress is actually virtually impossible to lose weight, if you're suffering from chronic stress poems, called Zol, in particular, is what we call a store hormone. So if you're calm, stressed, you will find it very difficult way. So working on stress management is key for weight gain. But another thing that we have to remember is that you can't blame everything on the MediCal, the natural process of aging, you know, we tend to less active as we get older, which can or may lead to weight gain. Any we can't even have to think of portion control. And I'd love to, but you really can't get away with eating what you ate when you're in your 20s and 30s, when you're 50. So you read, which a lot of people don't really think about, they carry on eating the same amount of food, which leads to weight gain. And then there's another you know, estrogen is a major metabolic hormone. So when I go into perimenopause, there's so many metabolic shifts that are happening in the body that may lead to weight gain. And one of those is insulin resistance. When we talk about blood sugar balance in the body, you know, when we eat carbohydrates, pacifically refined, you know, the processed foods that really shoots our blood sugar levels up very quick. And what the body does to counteract that it produces a hormone called insulin. And insulin really is the nice way to describe it's kind of like the key that opens the cells in to the set of be utilized for energy. But what happens when we have decline in estrogen is that we don't become a sensitive to the the insulin, kind of like saying that the key doesn't work anymore. And we can find that we have high blood sugar level up good for weight gain, instant Lin format again. So if you if you've got levels, such as you to lose weight, it's really again, we're working on less refined, sugary, sugary foods, and other area for hunger hormone, leptin, and when we, again, can put is it's the hormone that makes us hungry, right, allows you to eat. So if you're producing more of the hormone, then you're going to have more of an appetite and you're going to be wanting to eat more. So in effect, leptin, which is our satiety hormone, and the satiety hormone is the one that when you eat and tells you to stop eating, so it's countless all this become alerts and it's the multitude of many things that you know, make us put weight on it in this time period. and also thyroid health. A lot of women, when we come into this time of ours have the thyroid is like the engine of the book and isn't worth looking at optimally can lead to weight gain some some of those symptoms of high, the thyroid gland is weight gain. So there's so many things you could actually do a whole podcast on on just on menopausal weight.Philip Pape:
Yeah, I love that. Alison , I know, I know, there's a little bit of delay here. So I'm not sure how major it is on your end. But I want to unpack a lot of that. Because what's in what resonated with me is, a lot of times we talk about dieting, or even taking menopause out of the equation, we talk about dieting and metabolic adaptation, a lot of the same hormones come into play, right, they get downregulated, cortisol goes up, reproductive hormones go down, you talked about the appetite, hormones, leptin and ghrelin. And I want the listener to understand that what you're saying is women in menopause just because of this physiological change, you know, biological changes in our body are also undergoing these things that they didn't have to deal with 510 15 years earlier. And the awareness of this is where you start to then you know, unpack and make changes. So talks about cortisol. Usually, people say that's the stress hormone, but I like how you also refer to its ability to help to help you store fat when it goes up. And sometimes people and they take an inventory of their day to day life, it's not really even about the food and all their activity, it's that they're so stressed that they're preventing themselves from proper fat loss, you know, and it may be getting sleep, and maybe something like that. So I think these are important because they they're, they're factual things about how our bodies work, that if you understand them, you can then go the next step, which is where I think you come in, right? Where you're, you know, your mission in helping women change their lifestyle, change the nutrition, how can someone start to then modify their lifestyle based on all these changes to manage the negative symptoms? Yeah, soAlison Bladh:
when when, if the whole they need to look at the nutrition, you need to look at lifestyle, and you also need to look at mindset. And there are some things that you can do to really help manage weight. And I know you mentioned sleep there, which I haven't gone to that yet. But that is really key for weight management, amongst other things, but I think the main things that that we want, we think about nutrition is that we really want to eat more of an anti inflammatory diet. Because when inflamed, it's very difficult for all the process to function as they should. And estrogen has an anti inflammatory effect. So when that goes down, you know, it causes inflammation. And when we're trying to lose weight, trying to really rebalance the body, we want to think about eating and the inflammatory foods. And a very, or style of eating is more of a what we call the Mediterranean style diet, which is, you know, you're eating lovely, fresh proteins don't in the Mediterranean style diet, they don't eat much red meat, a little amount of red meat, but a lot of nuts and seeds, all the ones for olive oil, olives, buttered ghee, and they're really, you know, getting the majority of your carbohydrates from fruit and vegetables and whole grains that they don't there's very little sugar and processed foods in a Mediterranean style diet. And you know, they've seen it always in research, you will always say that the Mediterranean style diet really comes up as the best style of eating, for weight loss and for overall health. And when pacifically for weight loss, we really tried to focus on reduce reducing carbohydrates and really getting a car behind rate adjustable balls or cruciferous vegetables. For example, when you're looking at the plate that you would eat from you would you would have a boat team and then you would have some Health's and then you have your carbohydrates from vegetables since to really reduce the amount of energy that you're taking into your body and eating foods as well which are very important for menopausal women to help detox re individual and it's absolutely not about going on a diet or restrict addiction. It's really it's a lightness is change, you know, giving someone the tools that they can eat in this way for the rest of their life, because it's not something that you can just do for a couple of weeks. It is it's a lifestyle change. So has to be less sick, that people can volunteer and delicious.Philip Pape:
Yeah, no, I, I totally agree with everything you said. Normally, I don't use named diets. But yet the Mediterranean style diet is one of the few maybe two or three on the planet that is highly compatible. I agree with what you're saying. And anti inflammatory diet. It's mostly unprocessed foods, delicious foods that you can incorporate. And then most of your, like you said, most of your grains from fibrous foods, which also help with other things like hunger and digestion, etc. But then have the added benefit of being caught, you know, nutrient dense, so low calorie for a lot of bet a lot of bang for your buck. So excellent anti inflammatory diet. Now, would you recommend an elimination diet to get there in terms of making it sustainable? Or, like, what are the baby steps or what are the steps you take clients through, so that they go from what they're eating today, which could be vastly different from that, to where they should end up.Alison Bladh:
So when I work with when I work with clients, I work very individually. You know, we work together and really focusing on their goals, because everyone has a different, you know, many different goals, the majority of women come to see me, they're normally overwhelmed, they're very stressed, they're tired all the time, you know, they just need someone to help them and give them that energy back. So what I always work on first, so food, to nourish and nurture the body. So this is really important, because we need to make sure we're getting all the correct vitamins and minerals. So really nurturing and nourishing the body and hydrating the body. And also working with that person in a way that it will suit them. Because we all have different life styles, we all have different, you know, things going on in our lives. So So really looking at what they're each thing and, you know, taking out certain things putting in certain things. I wouldn't in question, I wouldn't do an elimination diet unless a particular reason that that person needed it. I mean, if if there's any sign of maybe allergies, or, you know, problems with gluten, or lactose excetera, then yes, I would. But it's very individual, it's not something for everybody.Philip Pape:
Hey, this is Philip Pape. And if you feel like you've put in effort to improve your health and fitness, but aren't getting results, I invite you to apply for a one on one coaching to make real progress and get the body you desire. We'll work together to figure out what's missing. So you can look better, perform better and feel better, just go to wits & weights.com/coaching, to learn about my program and apply today. Now back to the episode.Alison Bladh:
Firstly signature and hydrate and then we move on to, you know, elimination if needed. So what I like to do is to eliminate and then repair and then reboot. So really looking and when when we talk about elimination or removing thing isn't necessarily always nutrition. It can also be, you know, lifestyle habits that are beneficial for your health. So it's really looking at everything together and really moving those things, maybe reading them with something else, and then really rebooting everything and it can get in the body better, but homeostasis. Another key area of my work is stress. So I sit down and we do a stress audit. Because I think really, especially when you come into perimenopause, just to be honest with yourself and the majority of people when we're living you know, in this age, we're all stressed or some degree majority of people so I'm so stressed, I'm so busy. But you really have to sit down and be honest with yourself and look at things that you could maybe manage differently. So you have time for yourself to reduce, because as we were saying earlier, it is so detrimental to help suffering from chronic stress because of bones. You know what happens in the body. So really looking at what is going on stress wise and coming up with ideas for that for the client. That work for them could be something as simple as deep breathing exercises. You know if you're if you're sat at your back and you're suddenly starting to feel anxious, anxiety big sent to menopause. Amazing. Just take some really three or four deep breaths it completely resets body, it's actually virtually impossible to be stressed when you're breathing deeply. So something as simple as that, if you could do if you, if you like yoga, if you like meditation, great, but the majority of people I work with don't have the time to spend, you know, doing meditation or yoga every day. But I mean, that is a fantastic way to manage stress, and really just find it, you know, just for five minutes, going for a walk, getting banned, no, just looking out the window tapes and little things if you do them every day, you know, really, really mount up and help help to relieve stress. And I think with management, it's admitting that you're stressed, and admitting that you need to do something about it, rather than just, you know, carrying on and on until ill, or you become so stress, you have to look at it and look after yourself. So stress audit, and then I missed that, you know, how we can make this time in our lives with a more poor mindset. I also look at testing and in, in my programs as well, again, that is very individual, and it would depend on the client. You know, we could do functional testing, to test for example, moans, we can do all tests, we can look at the microbiome, the gut bacteria, to really testing is wonderful, because you can really get to the bottom and you can really see, you know, what is going on in the different systems of the body. And then it did supplementation for any deficiencies or, you know, things that that we work with. I work with clients for life, because it is very individual, but my main aim is to result you know, you tell me the goals that you've got, that is what I'm trying to achieve, you know, get it get your result.Philip Pape:
Yeah, thank thanks, Alysa, for going through all of those, like the hierarchy of priorities, where you know, we first focus on the big things like sleep and stress, and then maybe collect more data with the testing. And finally, things like supplementation going back, going back to stress for a second. I like that you acknowledge the fact that people don't want to unnecessarily add more stress to their life trying to manage stress, right? It's like, oh, now you're telling me to do yoga, you're telling me to do this other thing, and I already don't have enough time. So go ahead and work on breathwork. And every time I talked to a guest who taught who mentioned breathwork, immediately, I want to do it myself in the moment and realize how much it relaxes your you because of the parasympathetic state it is right. So these are these are excellent tips. And of course, having a coach like like you, Alison would would help someone because they can individually kind of step back, get that extra that third party perspective on those little things that can make a big difference. So why don't we get into then some specific symptoms that I think we wanted to cover? You told me what you want to go over here, but I was thinking bone health is a big concern for women with the prevalence of osteopenia, osteoporosis, you know, the general frailty as we age which can lead to injury and hospitalization for polypharmacy reduced function, so many things. I think people don't even think how important that is. We talk a lot about strength training on this podcast is one way to improve that, but what's your advice for bone health?Alison Bladh:
Yeah, that is so crucial affiliate bone health, and it's kind of the thing, because you don't really, you know, if you get if you if your bone, if you're losing bone density, it's nothing that you really, really feel like there's kind of this silent thing that can happen to you, and your downfall. Fortunately, if you fall over when you're older, if you're suffering osteoporosis, or, you know, you've lost bone density, you know, you can break something. And, you know, it's very, very, you can see in studies that the density of bone in women when they lose the estrogen and progesterone goes down quite considerably. So it's something that you really have to think of and be quite active, nutritionally wise and lifestyle and 100% behind you on strength training, because that gives such fantastic results for strengthening bones. So what I say well, my menopausal ladies is you have to do strength training. There's no that that is a must to keep your your bones and muscles, you know, strong and active. So that is a really key thing. I mean, I'm not a personal trainer, but that is what I would recommend that they go to professional advice on how they should be training. As far as it comes when it comes to nutrition, you need to think about calcium rich foods. The thing that we need, well, there's many things but the Pacific like vitamins and minerals that we need for bone health is calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K, magnesium is crucial as well. So you really have to make sure that you've got a diet rich in these rich vitamins and minerals, because vitamin D, vitamin K and calcium, they all kind of worked together to improve bone density. So, you know, we all think of calcium, don't we, which of course is important, but calcium on its own, you know, it cannot actually be at all. So you really have to be careful, you're going to take calcium supplements that you can buy the vitamin D and Vitamin K, I mean, the majority of very good supplements in supplements actually have these other nutrients combined in the supplement. Very much a believer in food first, you know, try and get your nutrients from food if possible. You know, when you think of calcium, you think of dairy milk, your green leafy vegetables, a lot of nuts have calcium in Vitamin D is at the it's actually quite difficult to get enough vitamin D through food. Because there aren't that many food sources of vitamin D, we produce vitamin D from sunlight as well. So it's very important that in the summer months that we go outside and expose our bodies to some because the body produces D through sunlight. But vitamin D probably one of the only supplements that you're one of the only victims I would recommend and supplementing because it's so difficult to get the amount that we need you know, in high enough doses through there is vitamin D in like oily fish eggs, but it's I know it's meant to bitumen D has been talked about so much through the pandemic as well because the effects that it has on the immune system. It's a crucial crucial vitamin for many many things but killer bone health and I know in Europe and into Kingdom it's actually a vitamin supplement the government you know the health authorities recommend that people take as a supplements high risk surgeon if you don't go out died very much if you're really if you live in a darker climb because it's so crucial for so many different things in body so that's your your bone health. Also stressing you know, keeping act and avoid again and you know, I think every single day when we talk about health, avoiding sugary foods, processed foods, fizzy drinks, because they really let the they strip your bones that they're not good. They can actually have a negative effect your bones especially all the really sugar laden drink avoiding your bet and really getting your back from whole nutritious foods.Philip Pape:
Excellent answer that question I think again you raised awareness of how the menopause itself and the changes in hormones especially the estrogen compounds that affect for women, right it compounds the lack of bone density and increases the need for all of these factors. You mentioned strength training and calcium rich foods and potentially supplementation which are all excellent things and reminds me in New England here you know it's getting cold and dark and you know get as much sunlight as I can but maybe the vitamin D supplementation needs to be looked at so what about some some other things that are I'm not gonna say they're less important than bones are important for individuals but hair and skin for example. I know you mentioned in your your story how that I think you came into this from from from a skin perspective right Healthy Skin How can women improve that during menopause?Alison Bladh:
Yeah, skin it again, it's it's a huge subject under hair as well. Again, you know, estrogen is so it we have estrogen receptors all over our body, that when estrogen levels start to dip, it affects every system of the body cluding up our skin. They start noticing on your skin like pigmentation. You can get sensitive skin you can get dry skin. You can actually develop acne, you know as you come into perimenopause because of the hormonal imbalances but it all it all goes back down to really you know eating anti inflammatory diet more than Mediterranean style diet. Making sure that you're hydrating enough, you know enough water and then we know we talked about skin there there are meat treatments that you can do that can help the skin because also the decline in estrogen, but you've got aging process as well, because the collagen in the skin as we get older declines quite considerably. And the collagen is really collagen and elastin is what our body needs, while the skin needs to keep him fresh. Seeing protein is key really good sources of protein for the health and for her health. So really making sure that getting enough protein, that that's something that a lot of women don't do, we don't eat enough protein. And also talking about bone health and muscle skill a health, it's already pre made, still roughly what I aim for a part size of protein with every meal. And when I talk about protein, I mean things like chicken fish, if you don't eat meat, you know all your soy products, nuts, beans, protein is, is also going back to what is great for my weight management because when you eat protein you become you're quite satisfied, you can actually eat a lot of 13. So it fills you up. It's very crucial for skin health and for hair health. And using products on skin that give moisture, you know, an older skin and menopausal skin is lacking hydration, estrogen that the hormone estrogen enables our skin to hold water. So as we become older, we lose the skin lose that that loses the ability to hydrate as well. So you really need to use products that contain a lot, a lot of moisture and sun, of course, you know, if you talk about, you really have to think on exposure, because that really is so detrimental to the skin as far as aging pigmentation. So making sure that when you apply products that you have, if we're talking about the face, if you have a day cream with an SPF in, and what the research is saying is that you should really have an SPF, at least of 30 because they're using you, when you come into your 40s or mid 40s You really see on your skin, what you've done to it in your 20s. So if you were, you know, done worshipper, when your teens and 20s, that that pigmentation and that damage that you did, then it kind of catches up with you in later life and you're suddenly starting pigmentation and you'll see that your skin will age a lot quicker. So get on protection is crucial for the skin. It really is you really see a difference if you if you protect your face from the sun.Philip Pape:
Alison, it's funny all the all of the things you're talking about to improve your hair and skin are also things that are good practice for all the other areas of health that we've been talking about as well. So it's nice that everything kind of comes together in one big package right eating protein. I hear so many times people wanting to go to, I don't know collagen supplements or collagen itself, which is, in my opinion, quite a low quality protein for consumption, versus just getting protein from natural food sources as you suggest. And then the dehydration and avoiding avoiding UV exposure with sunblock, but still going out in the sun to get your Vitamin D right. We have to do a little both are all great. Great tip. So what about Okay, so I know we're getting close on time here. Um, there's we could go into blood sugar, we can go into brain health, heart health. Maybe, maybe instead, can you share a specific example of maybe a client that you worked with? Who had, I guess lost your sparkle, right, as you call it, and the steps or process you might have gone through together to get that back so we can focus on a couple of key areas that you might have worked with a client on?Alison Bladh:
Yeah, sure. I had just under I was for eight months, and she she came to me. She was overwhelmed, very, very tired. She had been sleeping. And she had bloating, you know, the have stomach. You know, she said when she did her stomach just really expanded your clothes feel very tight. And she was in perimenopause. And she was just generally feeling terrible and like, you know, her spa golf had certainly. So her main goals were to work on bloating and to energy levels. So what we did is we looked at her diet to play to see what she was eating and really started putting in a lot of things that would improve her gut health because bloating again is a symptom of perimenopause. And what we found was, we actually did quite a lot of well, and it was really interesting because what there was an imbalance I am in our gut, there's some people dysbiosis, which is the microbiome of the gut bacteria. And we've seen in so many studies now that this is crucial, you know, not only to prevent bloating, but for overall health, the microbiome in our gut bacteria has an effect on everything, even brain health and how we're feeling and mood and everything. So we we really worked on that by introducing probiotic foods. probiotic foods are things like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, all the fermented foods that have live bacteria. And so she started introducing those into a diet, we got rid of all the sugary processing foods, and introduce whole foods in our diet. And once you take away the processed sugary foods, you will start feeling better even if you do something. So after a couple of weeks of eating the whole foods, she felt so much better. But then we really focused on on the gut bacteria with the probiotics. And getting sugar improved her blood sugar balance, so she had much more energy. We worked on asleep by introducing a sleep hygiene routine that works for her. And it was mainly just she had quite a high pressure job. And it was more giving her time to wind down before she went to bed because she was sat working virtually until the time she like just went back to bed. So she actually took an hour before she went to sleep to unwind to turn off all devices, maybe read a book or just have a bath, but Epsom salt baths we introduced which are wonderful for anyone's have probably really is fantastic. Because Epsom easier absorbed into the skin and maximum magnesium is such a calming mineral. So if you do that before you go to bed, you really really to help you sleep. So she was sleeping better, she was eating better, we worked on her gut bacteria. She actually lost weight as well, even, that wasn't her main goal. But she was very happy about that. And what was so fantastic with this client was that I still keep in touch with her now is that she's managed to keep all these things in place. So it's become a lifestyle for her that and she feels so much better. And she's really enjoying this new way of eating. It's not it's not restrictive at all, and how she feel so much. It motivates her to carry on with it. So that's what is one client in particular. Yeah,Philip Pape:
that's an amazing story. I'm sure you have many clients stories like that. And for the listener, you know, there's some bigger changes here. But there are some smaller changes that just the little nudge in the right direction, like the sleep hygiene, fantastic example where you're not you're not trying to get her two hours more of sleep, per se. You're just saying look, the blue light and the stress and working right up until you go to bed is just causing the quality of employment. So here's a small change you can make. I like the idea of the bath stew because not only the salt baths, but just having a warm bath actually cools you down is you know, an interesting thing people aren't aware of. Okay, that's these are these are amazing things. Alison, you gave us a ton to think about. I do like to ask one question of all guests before we wrap up. And that is what what one question Did you wish I had asked and what is your answer?Alison Bladh:
Yeah, I think like the positive side, you know, what are the positive sides to men a good talk about, like doom and gloom? Really? Isn't it slow this thing down? Because there are there are actually some positive stuff. So the positive sides to mess are the there's no you don't have any more pain areas, which I'm sure virtually all women will be quite happy about. No more PMS. So no more of that, like mood swings and you know, being angry before your periods. You have no pregnancy worries. So you can have sex without having to worry about getting pregnant. And normally, this isn't always the case, but a lot of women suffer from migraine headaches. But once your hormone levels have really declined and stopped, you know, stop producing, seeing estrogen, your hormone headaches go away. And it's also very impact I'm I think I'm for me. Now. Now I'm going to look after myself and I'm going to do what I wanted. It's, I think it's fantastic to see women when, in this stage of their life, you know, some of them are setting up businesses, they're going off traveling around the world. It's like a sense of freedom. In a way, this is me time, and I'm going to go and do exactly what I want. And you feel that you don't have, you don't have to prove yourself anymore. That kind of worrying about what other people think about you. It has gone, you just do what you want to do, and then feel happier and more confident about that.Philip Pape:
Yeah, that's amazing. So there's both the mindset and the physical positives of this new phase of life or menopause that women can look forward to. And then, of course, take control of their health and lifestyle with many of the things you've talked about today on the show. So last question is, where can listeners learn more about you and your work, Alison?Alison Bladh:
Yeah, I think the best place to come from my website, which is alisonbladh.com. And that's B L A DH. And I'm on all social media platforms. Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok. And that's alisonbladh, you'll find those that I also have on my website has a resources page, which is got lots of free downloads, lots of free with meal plans, and recipe ideas. For example, if you're interested in skin health, there's a recipe book for improving skin. There's lots of different resources there that are free to download, if if any of your listeners are interested.Philip Pape:
Excellent. And I know they will be interested as well. I'm going to go download some of those. And I'm going to make sure to add those links to the show notes so everyone can find you, Alison, it really was a pleasure. I think you're helping so many women up their game with regards to taking control their health during this exciting new phase. It's exciting, positive phase of life, and I'm grateful that you took the time to come on today.Alison Bladh:
Now it's a pleasure. It's been lovely talking to you, Philip. Thank you.Philip Pape:
Thanks for listening to the show. Before you go, I have a quick favor to ask. If you enjoy the podcast, let me know by leaving a five star review in Apple podcasts and telling others about the show. Thanks again for joining me Philip Pape in this episode of Wits & Weights. I'll see you next time and stay strong.