"I will play for gumbo," sings Jimmy Buffett. Theresa-Venus and I can relate to this sentiment. We will beg, plead, and just generally make fools of ourselves over gumbo. And grits, fried green tomatoes, fresh grouper, etouffee, jambalaya, biscuits with red-eye gravy, beignets……..I could go on and on.
Which is why it was a unique challenge to the Girlfriend Guilt diet and exercise program when we went to visit the Gulf Coast and New Orleans last week. I’m happy to say we did extremely well.
We ate EVERYTHING Southern, Creole, and Cajun that our little hearts desired. And we only ate – say it with me – HALF! Yep, heavenly fried green tomatoes and blackened fresh grouper at Tug’s Wharf in Gulfport, Mississippi. (Thank you to the owner and staff, and thank you iPhone for finding us this great place so we didn’t have to eat freeway fast food!)
We sampled Royal Red shrimp in Gulf Shores, Alabama and Pecan-crusted Snapper in Orange Beach, AL artfully prepared by my baby brother. We gratified ourselves with my Mom’s home cooking – she worked out the portion control so that it was truly guilt-free. Gumbo, pecan pie, Paul Prudhomme’s magical lima beans (yep, lima beans as good as the pie – hard to explain unless you’ve eaten them.) When we finally were over the top with spice and roux, we treated ourselves to a Cheeseburger in Paradise at the Margaritaville Cafe. (That’s Theresa hiding behind the menu in the photo.)
We faithfully drank our water and we walked miles of the scenic coastline and the French Quarter. And when we got home, we weighed ourselves and voila – no gain! Except culinary memories that we won’t soon forget.
So the moral of this little story is: we can eat anything we want on the Girlfriend Guilt diet. Just make sure you’re actually vacationing WITH your girlfriend – that way you can keep each other honest. On second thought, it’s really the mutual support that makes this work. Just like Menopause. We may just have to change the name of our Food-Fun-Fitness program to "The Big Easy".
One last message from the menopausal goddesses we talked with in New Orleans: "We are not underwater – we are open and ready for business and can’t wait to see you all here in N’awlins!"
(For more great menopause and midlife tips, info, and commiseration from the Venuses, buy our book "The Big M". Right now, we have a girlfriend’s special going on – buy one at regular price, get the second one for half price to give to a girlfriend! Just click on the book cover on the right of the page or click on the link below.)
When did this natural part of a woman's life become a disease to be dreaded, hated and "cured"? In previous centuries, and in other cultures, menopause is a happy time to be celebrated! A time of freedom, health and maturity. So what happened to us?
According to Dr John Lee in his book, What Your Doctor May Not Tell You about Menopause, our current situation is a result of environmental pollutants, poor nutrition, and a huge advertising campaign by the pharmaceutical companies!! According to Dr Lee, a doctor named Dr Wilson published a paper on menopause in 1964 (which was based on scanty research) expounding the ability to stop menopause by giving women estrogen. The ball was picked up by a journalist named Ann Walsh, then by Newsweek and then we were off and running with a dangerous and ineffective cure for a disease that is not a disease.
The original research was done on a small group of women in Puerto Rico. 20% of the women complained of bad side-effects and 3 women died! In her book, The Menopause Industry: How the Medical Establishment Exploits Women, Dr Paula Doress-Worters states "…assertions promoted a stereotyped view of postmenopausal women as asexual, neurotic, and unattractive. As a result, exogenous estrogen was approved for prescription use without adequate testing and soon became one of the five top-selling prescription drugs."
By 1975 women who were taking Estrogen Replacement Therapy were developing uterine cancer at a rate four to eight times greater than in untreated women!! So why is it so popular that most doctors practically insist that you take it? Profit. Drug companies make millions off of it . The media makes millions advertising it for the pharmaceutical companies, who then jam it down our, and our doctor's, throats.
So, if you don't want ERT, and you are having the very real (in our industrialized society) symptoms of hot flashes, weight gain, mood swings and lack of interest in sex, what can you do?
There are many things that we can choose to do. We can reduce the toxins in our systems by avoiding things that we know are toxic including paint fumes, new carpet fumes, nail polish remover, chlorine, commercially available cleaning products and soaps, pesticides, herbicides, solvents, plastics, etc. We can choose to eat organic foods, not to do our nails, not to put regular soaps on our skin, to wear gloves when we have to use cleaning products on our homes, not to use pesticides in our gardens, not to drink or eat from plastic containers that let off toxins when they are heated, etc. We can choose to eat right and exercise.
The other thing we can do is to educate ourselves about natural progesterone treatment. I am so convinced about natural progesterone treatment and toxin avoidance, and the difference that they can make to our thyroids, our hormones, our weight, our sex drive, our cancer risk, and our lives, that I am supplying Dr Lee's book to you for free! (With any order over $150) I very much believe that every woman should read this startling book!
Educate yourself about the effect toxins have on our bodies and our hormones. Join me in telling others about the risk of Estrogen Replacement Therapy and take the time to read the book for yourself! Your life might depend on it!
I did this when I cam back from France … one of the people in the group lost 85 lbs… YIKES … she did it by not eating grains… fruit good wine good meat good veggies good … chocolate good …no bread or grains… so I started doing the same … so far I lost 18 pounds and haven't felt deprived at all and it has been easy … who knew.. also .your pants get oo long when you loose weight…
I found this so endearing and helpful, especially the bond with your Venus friend or friends. Losing weight can be a good experience when shared with friends. The encouragement shown makes everything easier.
I find if i don`t bend my elbow too much with the fork i do all right.Having fun with friends and being active has it`s rewards for an enriched life.