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How to Eat, When to Eat and What to Eat in Perimenopause and Beyond.

Updated: Mar 6

"When diet is right, medicine is of no need; when diet is wrong, medicine is of no use." -Ayurvedic Proverb 

This week we're finishing up the series on digestive health and the five great elements. In the past three weeks, I've been presenting the Ayurvedic guidelines around how and when to eat. And as I've been saying, these principles take precedence over what we eat because they support digestive function. The simple guidelines below will support digestive function so you'll get even more goodness from what you eat:

  • Eat slowly and with attention to your food

  • Eat until satisfied rather than uncomfortably full

  • Eat at regular times

  • Wait to eat until the previous meal has been digested

  • Eat the biggest meal at mid day (brunch or lunch) when digestion is strongest.

  • Fast between supper and your first meal the previous day.

Now we can get into the details of WHAT to eat. This is where we get into working with water and earth elements, which correlate with the substance of food itself. Remember, "right diet" is an individual matter, and it changes as the seasons change and as we move through different stages of life. The variety of diets out there, from vegetarian, to paleo, to keto to Vegan to Mediteranean....all work for some people some times. So exactly what to eat is very personal, and from an Ayurvedic point of view, depends on the state of your digestion and your unique body type (An Ayurveda practitioner can guide you in those details). Still there are some important basics we can practice in terms of what to eat.

  • Eat whole unprocessed foods: beans, legumes, grains, root and above ground vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Add to those smaller quantities of animal products that you consume, and you have the foundation of a good diet.

  • Eat a variety of whole foods, freshly prepared, with sufficient oil. Sip liquids with meals, but hydrate mostly between meals. The whole foods we ate growing up, or that our grandmother's ate are often foods that work well for us, foods we've adapted to digest well.

  • Eat a variety of seasonal plants: Research into the microbiome shows that we can strengthen ours by consuming 30 different plants in a week (Remember that plants include grains, beans, legumes, seeds and nuts). Most of us would benefit by adding more variety of plants to our diets especially if you're an omnivore.

All vegetables serve as prebiotics for the friendly bacteria in our gut. Focusing on a wide variety of seasonal plants each week, and including a small amount of ferments with our meals, is an effective way of feeding many kinds of good bacteria, and strengthening our microbiome. Using a probiotic supplement occasionally is not a bad idea, but regularly eating a variety of plants is a better strategy long term in keeping the gut happy.

Ask yourself:

  • Do you need to refine how and when you eat? If so, which practice needs your attention?

  • Do you need more refinement on what to eat? If so, what's a first step for you?o

Anytime is a good time to work with these principles, but especially during transitions. Perimenopause is an important transition in a woman's life, and a very good time to improve or refine your diet to support hormonal balance as the body's needs change. I went from a vegetarian diet to eating some animal protein during this phase, and it was so helpful. Every woman's needs are different. If what you're currently doing is no longer working, or you need some fresh input, reach out to me for a complimentary discovery session.




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