I am Sabrina Zeif, The Menopause Chef! Food and Menopause Expert! Ask Me Anything!

The_Menopause_ChefThe_Menopause_Chef Posts: 18 Menopause Expert

Sabrina Zeif, The Menopause Chef, Joins us on the 27th of February at 7pm to answer questions from our Community

Ask Your Questions Below Now!

Sabrina is changing the face of women’s health awareness, with a new approach to nutritional and lifestyle advice, education and community support for menopause. Born in Trinidad and having lived all over the world, Sabrina’s diverse background sparked her love for flavourful, international food and has cultivated a deep understanding around how food can change your lifestyle.

Having worked professionally in the healthcare industry for 25 years before setting up her own culinary business, Sabrina pairs her knowledge of food and medicine to help women with lifestyle choices, by raising awareness on how this can affect the menopause.

Speaking on various menopausal topics such as peri-menopause, how food and nutrition can help those tackling the menopause and approaching the menopause with a spirit of resilience, Sabrina shares her insights and practical advice to women of all ages on recognising and living with the menopause! She joins the Community to answer your questions about food, nutrition and cooking for the menopause!

Sabrina Zeif, The Menopause Chef, Joins us on the 27th of February at 7pm to answer questions from our Community

Ask Your Questions Below Now!

Tagged:

Comments

  • KazKaz Posts: 461 mod

    Hello Sabrina!

    Welcome to our forum. I'm SO excited to see what you can teach us. Like Menopausal Masterchef! ☺️

    Is there one simple change we could introduce to our diets that would start to help us with our menopause symptoms?

    I'm a busy Mum, and I want to help myself, but I don't want to start cooking separate meals for me and the rest of the family. Do you have ideas that I can incorporate into family meals that are quick, economical, nutritious and tasty for all of us?

    Thanks! 🍎🥗🍒🌶

  • Sol1Sol1 Posts: 3

    Hello my name is Sorrel . I have bowel adhesions and am not aloud to eat nuts seeds skins oats etc . What else can I snack o besides fruit . I only have ti look at chocolate and I put wait on . Thank you

  • NicNic Posts: 4

    Are there any specific foods I can add to my diet to help with hot flushes?

    Thank you


    Nic

  • Julie20Julie20 Posts: 139 mod

    Hi Sabrina

    great to see you onboard. I'm desperately trying to lose weight for my sons wedding in June but it doesn't matter what I do I don't seem to lose anything, since being menopausal, what tips would you be able to give to help. I work 12 hour days so it has to be food that I can take to work and warm up easily, I'm fed up of bowls of salad and vegetables and need new but easy recipes and ideas.

    thanks

    Julie

  • HotstuffdebHotstuffdeb Posts: 1

    Hi Sabrina, what one supplement could I add to my diet to help with night sweats ? Many thanks Deb x

  • StellaStella Posts: 1

    Hi Sabrina, would be grateful if you might elaborate on which foods can improve thyroid function if you have problems in that area? I've had a partial thyroid for over 10 years and want to inform myself more about which foods would help improve things in this respect.

  • KittiferKittifer Posts: 3

    Hi Sabrina

    I would be really grateful if you could point me in the right direction re which foods I should be aiming to eat primarily to ease my menopausal symptoms. I’m 47 and unable to take HRT, because of a high risk family history of breast cancer. I feel very low in mood, with brain fog, headaches, insomnia, hot flushes and weight gain. I have cut out all alcohol and red meat and take a vitamin D supplement. I’m struggling to get on the right path and would be so grateful for your advice.

    many thanks

    Sally

  • GrannyGranny Posts: 1

    Hi Sabrina, it’s great to be able to access your wealth of knowledge. My husband has Parkinson’s disease and we try to follow a Ketogenic diet as this was advised to help him with his PD symptoms. Is the avoidance of carbs recommended for ladies to help reduce menopausal hot flushes, mood swings etc?

    Thanks

  • Reislevi18Reislevi18 Posts: 1

    Hi Sabrina,

    There is all this talk about Soya versus Dairy. Why is soya getting so much attention? is diary really so bad for a person? I am a huge cheese lover and this really concerns me.

    Many thanks

    Nats X

  • jmcp53jmcp53 Posts: 1

    I’m going through the menopause this 3years I have very bad hot flushes at night time and not sleeping at night either.

  • hessomhessom Posts: 112 Community Admin

    Hey everyone! Sabrina - @The_Menopause_Chef is now live and setting up! She'll be with us for the next 30 minutes so please keep your questions coming in!

  • The_Menopause_ChefThe_Menopause_Chef Posts: 18 Menopause Expert
    edited February 27

    Hi @Kaz ,

    I totally understand as a busy Mom you are time-pressed however there are simple changes or additions you can make to your everyday family diet to ease your menopause symptoms.

    Think of eating for menopause as a guide to a lifetime of healthy eating. First of all, take stock of what you and your family are eating. How much sugar, processed and ready-made foods make up part of your diet? Ditching processed foods will contribute to the overall health of your entire family. Fresh, wholesome food should make up your diet. 

    If you are having porridge or cereal in the morning add flax seeds, pumpkin seed and chia seeds. They're good sources of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, fibre and minerals. Flax seeds are rich in phytoestrogens. For a cooked breakfast have an omelette omit the toast, load it up with spinach, tomatoes, onions etc.

    Add legumes such as chickpeas, edamame beans, lentils, black beans to your weekly diet as they are all full of fibre, helps to reduce cholesterol, decrease blood sugar levels and increase healthy gut bacteria.

    Snacks such as fresh fruit, rice cakes with nut butter, hummus and crudites and nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans, brazil, cashews and seeds such as pumpkin, sunflower, hemp and sesame seeds - good sources of essential fatty acids). You'll save on calories and gain energy, boosting protein and hormone-balancing phytoestrogens.

    Spices such as cumin, coriander, paprika, oregano and fresh herbs will add flavour and increase metabolism

    I've given lots of suggestions here! There's lots you can try and I hope this helps!

  • The_Menopause_ChefThe_Menopause_Chef Posts: 18 Menopause Expert
    edited February 27

    Hi Sorrel,

    Sorry to hear about your bowel adhesions.

    How about fruit and vegetable juices without the pulp? Make smoothies with yogurt and fruit juice or low fibre fruit and vegetables. Pureed vegetable soups and nutritious and low in fibre as diluted in broth.

    Have you tried dark chocolate that is greater than 70% cacao? You don't have to give up chocolate. Just a few squares will keep you satisfied.

    Hope this helps!

    Sabrina

  • The_Menopause_ChefThe_Menopause_Chef Posts: 18 Menopause Expert
    edited February 27

    Hi Nic,

    Phytoestrogen rich foods have been shown to reduce menopause symptoms. An interesting fact to note: Women in certain traditional cultures scuh as Japan who eat a diet rich in plant foods have fewer menopausal symptoms than Western women. Some good sources of phytoestrogens: soy milk, soy beans, tofu, tempeh, soy nuts, beans, lentils, chick peas, mung beans, red clover, flax seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, green and yellow vegetables. Have you tried any of these? Eating 2 tbsp flax seeds per day will give you a great Omega 3 boost as well as phytoestrogen kick. 

    It's essential to remember that diet and lifestyle choices impact menopausal symptoms dramatically.

    Let me know how you get on with these suggestions.

    Sabrina

  • The_Menopause_ChefThe_Menopause_Chef Posts: 18 Menopause Expert
    edited February 27

    Hi Julie,

    I hear you as I am also trying to get into top shape for my daughter's wedding. Working 12 hour says can be tough. Are you at a desk or on your feet all day? To lose weight you should be incorporating at least 30 minutes of exercise 3 x per week. Weight bearing exercise helps to build or maintain muscle.

    What's your stress level like? High stress will prevent nutrients from being absorbed properly. How about trying some delicious smoothies which will keep you full and are low in calories. https://www.themenopausechef.com/recipe/spinach-celery-smoothie/

    Are you having a decent breakfast? Do not be tempted to skip breakfast. Wholewheat or gluten free wraps with vegetables and chicken or quinoa salads loaded with vegetables make a filling lunch. As a snack fruits such as berries and a selection of nuts and seeds.

    Have you ever tried rice paper wraps. They are fresh spring rolls loaded with vegetables and can be made the night before.

    Just a few suggestions to get you going. Most of all : destress and get exercise. You can use an app to track what you eat to keep the calories in check.

    Best of luck with the wedding.

    Sabrina

  • KazKaz Posts: 461 mod

    Thank you Sabrina! These are brilliant ideas. I’ve completely overhauled our eating habits over the last six weeks, and I can absolutely add some of these suggestions to our food without too much effort. Almost a stone gone already so this is a brilliant incentive to keep going when I can already feel the difference the changes are making! Your avocado houmous recipe from the website is amazing!!! 😊

  • The_Menopause_ChefThe_Menopause_Chef Posts: 18 Menopause Expert

    Hi Debs,

    Night sweats can be symptoms of peri-menopause and menopause however you've not mentioned your age or are you having other symptoms. Your doctor can order a blood test to check your levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and estrogen. During menopause, your FSH levels increase and your estrogen levels decrease.

    For foods eat 2 tbsp flaxseeds each day. Add to salads, smoothies, cereals.They are rich in phytoestrogens. So are pomegranate seeds juice them (don’t buy ready-made juices, they get oxidized and lose their potency), add to salads, serve with some nut or seed butter as an afternoon snack .Make a fruit pie or crumble or cobbler ( include other fruit).

    Check out this articel: https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopauseflashes/menopause-symptoms-and-treatments/natural-remedies-for-hot-flashes

    One supplement that is available : Promensil which is red clover has some scientific research behind it.

    Hope you find this information helpful.

    Sabrina

  • The_Menopause_ChefThe_Menopause_Chef Posts: 18 Menopause Expert

    Hi Stella,

    Many women have thyroid issues during menopause. The thyroid needs the following nutrients for optimal functioning. Make sure you are getting a good selection on a regular basis.

    Iodine: fish, eggs, seaweed.

    Zinc: meat, shellfish, whole grains, some nuts.

    Vitamin E: Olive oil, nuts, seeds.

    Vitamin A: eggs, oily fish, yellow and orange vegetables.

    Vitamin B2: eggs, rice.

    Vitamin B3 : meat, fsih, eggs, avocado.

    Vitamin B6: poultry, fish, wholegrains, vegetables, pulses.

    Vitamin C:peppers ,broccoli, berries. Selenium: brazil nuts, fish, meat, eggs.

    Vitamin D: get our into the sunlight, small amount available in oily fish, egg yolks. Liver, mushrooms. 

    As you can see you have lots of healthy options. Happy eating!

    Sabrina

  • The_Menopause_ChefThe_Menopause_Chef Posts: 18 Menopause Expert
    edited February 27

    Hi Sally,

    Diet and lifestyle choice dramatically impact menopausal symptoms. How active are you? How much exercise are you getting? A minimum of 30 minutes 3-4 times a week is recommended.

    Stress also greatly impacts menopausal symptoms. Most women work on the premise that they can handle unlimited stress however add in the stresses of daily life, stressful jobs , teenage children, ageing parents and suddenly menopause symptoms can exacerbate. Stress reduction is paramount during the menopausal transition. 5-10 minutes of daily mindfulness meditation/ breathing exercises can proivde enormous benefits. Apps such as Headspace, Calm, Insight Timer are all free meditation apps.

    Centre your diet around plant based whole foods. Incorporate complex carbohydrates such as beans, root vegetables, oats and whole grains) and plant based fats such as nuts, flax seeds, pumpkins, sesame seeds, chia seeds, avocado, olive oil and coconut oil are essential for good hormonal health. Eat a rainbow of vegetables to include leafy greens and dark coloured berries.

    Diversity is the key to a healthy gut microbiome and good hormonal and emotional health. I am a big fan of flavouring foods with fresh herbs and spices which are rich in anti-oxidants and helps speed up your metabolsim.

    You've alreayd cut out the alcohol though I beleive in the 80/20 rule so don't deprive yourself of a glass of wine. A menopause diet should not be one of deprivation but one of nourishment.

    Other foods to avoid would be refined and processed carbohydrates and junk food such as white bread, refined sugar, baked goods, take- aways etc. 

    Healthy fats such as coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds ( flax seeds, pumpkins seeds, sesame seeds,chia seeds) and oil fish ( mackerel, salmon, sardines, herring, pilchards, trout) are essential for a smooth menopause transition. They are needed for hormone production, absorption of fat soluble vitamins A,E,C,D and keeping blood sugar stable keeping you feeling full and not hungry.

    Keep hydrated. Are you drinking 1-8-2 litres of fluid a day? Most women struggle with drinking enough. I keep a bottle of water at my desk or in the car and continuously fill up my cup with herbal teas - peppermint, lemon giner, tumeric. Pukka teas are excellent.

    Here's a blog which I wrote on the effect of diet on your hormones.

    https://www.themenopausechef.com/the-effect-of-diet-on-your-hormones/

    I do hope all this information helps.

    Sabrina

  • The_Menopause_ChefThe_Menopause_Chef Posts: 18 Menopause Expert

    Hi Granny,

    Generally, the ketogenic diet reduces or excludes carbohydrate-containing foods, including breads, breakfast cereals, pasta, rice, quinoa, couscous, starchy vegetables (potato, sweet potato, corn), fruit, and legumes. Instead you are encouraged to consume more high fat foods, such as fatty meats, full-cream dairy, butter, nuts, avocado, olive oil and coconut oil. By drastically cutting out carbohydrate-containing foods, you'll miss out on the nutritional benefits of healthy choices like whole grains, fruit, starchy vegetables, and legumes such as beans, chickpeas and lentils ( phytoestroens 

    Carbohydrates are essential for energy. In fact, carbs are our brain, nervous system, kidney and red blood cells preferred source of energy. These foods also contain essential vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium, vitamin C, folate, potassium and magnesium, as well as dietary fibre. My suggestion to you would be to make sure you are adding in some of the complex carbs found in vegetables, fruits and legumes. Phytoestrogensa are plant based foods which have similiar structure to oestrogen which is declining during menopause. The richest source is found in legumes such as lentils, soya bans and chickpeas as well as flaxseeds. It would be quite easy to add in more vegetables and legumes to the ketogenic diet. Generally speaking the verdict is out on the benefits of the ketogenic diet and menopause. It all depends on how much you restrict your carb intake and the effect it has on your body. Here is another perspective  by Dr Anna Cabeca https://www.nutriliving.com/blog/7-ways-a-keto-diet-is-perfect-for-menopause

    Best of luck. Hope you find this information useful.

    Sabrina

  • The_Menopause_ChefThe_Menopause_Chef Posts: 18 Menopause Expert
    edited February 27

    Hi Nats,

    Soy milk, unlike cow's milk, is naturally low in saturated fat, making it an attractive option. Also, soy milk contains no cholesterol because of its plant-based origins. Dairy milk, in contrast, contains about 20 milligrams of cholesterol per cup.

    Soy milk has long been consumed as a traditional beverage in China, Japan, and other parts of Asia. Some people choose to drink soy milk due to lactose intolerance issues, others drink it for ethical reasons, and others choose soy milk as a healthier option to cow's milk. Soya milk, soya yogurt, tofu, temeh, edamame beans are all soya products and rich in phytoestrogens which are plant based foods which exert a naturally oestrogenic effect. 

    Ok now for the cheese lover issue. I am do believe in moderation and no reason to banish cheese from your diet unless you have been advised, have high cholesterol and trying to lose weight. Feta, goats and mozzarrella are the most nutritious and good source of calcium. Cheese is typically high in saturated fat and calories, so eating too much can pose health problems in addition to weight gain.

    Hope this clarifies your questions.

    Sabrina

  • The_Menopause_ChefThe_Menopause_Chef Posts: 18 Menopause Expert
    edited February 27

    Sorry to hear about your night sweats and sleepless nights. Can you give me an idea of your current life style and what you are doing to cope with menopause symptoms? Have you tried phytoestrogen rich foods. Please see my comments for @Kittifer .

    Night sweats and other menopausal symptoms can be stressful and stress can cause your symptoms to exacerbate. Fluctuating hormones triggers the menopause symptoms however diet and lifestyle choices play a significant role in determining the severity of the symptoms.

    Some suggestions wear loose light night wear, cotton bedding and keep windows open ( if partner allows) or in my case I had a fan on my side of the bed which I turned on and off as needed. A cold glass of water when you are having the night sweats may help. Have you cut down on alcohol and caffeine? Have you noticed any triggers such as a hot drink before bed?

    How active or inactive are you? Make sure you are getting fresh air and exercise each day ideally or at least 3 x per week. Brisk walking 15 minutes at lunch break with do wonders.

    Add phytoestrogen rich foods to your diet such as flax seeds, soya beans, edamame beans. lentils, beans, tofu, soy milk, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, green leafy vegetables ( actually eating a rainbow is ideal for nutrients) and chick peas are just a few suggestions.

    For your insomnia- are they driven by your night sweats or things such as anxiety and stress? Try some relaxation exercises jus before bed. There are many free apps such as Calm and Headspace that you can listen to with headphones to help you get to sleep or back to sleep. Banish the laptop, phone, tablet or any electronic device at least one hour before going to bed. Try some sleepy teas such as camomile.

    I do hope some of these suggestions help. Remember knowledge is power and do not suffer in silence.

    Sabrina

  • hessomhessom Posts: 112 Community Admin

    Hey everyone! We've run out of time now but Sabrina has kindly offered to pop in over the next few days so if you have any questions please feel free to post them and hopefully she'll have some time to help more of our great community!

Sign In or Register to comment.