Monday, March 9, 2009

Organizing grooming tools/dollar store craft/book review


I wasn't sure whether to post this on my main project home economics blog or here where I am specifically writing about health and beauty. Anyhow, I had fun making a Sephora inspired makeup/grooming tool brush holder on a dollar store budget. Check it out.

On the subject of health, I just finished reading a book from the library called, "This is not your Mother's Menopause," by Trisha Posner. The subtitle is, "One Woman's Natural Journey through Change."

"This is not your Mother's Menopause" was written in the early 2,000's. Given that the information about aging, peri-menopause, menopause, and health is changing rapidly during this decade, I am sure some of the information is out of date by now. In fact, some of the remedies that were promoted when she wrote the book now have question marks attached to their risks/benefits. Vitamin E and black cohosh are two of the supplements she talks about that are not only being discredited as being of help during menopause, but might actually have serious side effects as well. Still, I found the author's approach to the change to have some merit.

Based on my subjective opinion, here are the pros to the book:

1) When the author realized that she was entering menopause on the early side, she set out to educate herself about the health ramifications of taking replacement hormones versus using other means: diet, rest, water, supplements, exercise, etc. This led her into a search for the best ways to navigate menopause, in general. She did a lot of intensive research and made the best, most informed decisions that she could. She kept tweaking her program as she discovered what measures helped her be at her best health and appearance and which ones did not. In today's world, we are lucky to have access to medical information so that we can participate in our own plan for achieving the best health possible. By telling us her story, the author gives us a blueprint for doing this.
2) The author chose to see this as a positive time, rather than as a negative time. She also chose to see menopause as a natural occurrence, rather than as an illness, and I agree. A positive attitude toward aging is essential to handling it well. Her example shows us that menopause does not have to signal the end of our health and happiness. It can, in fact, be the beginning of a new and productive stage of life.
3) From the author's research, we can glean a lot of places to start our own research. I learned a lot from her example about how to look for information we can use.
4) The author was basically healthy to begin with, and, as I mentioned, on the younger side for someone heading into full-blown menopause. Instead of losing ground during months before and the year after menopause, she actually came out with some improvements in her overall health. That is encouraging.
5) The author advises that you do not mimic her personal decisions, but suggests that you do your own research and draw your own conclusions. This is important, I think, on a number of levels. First, not every body and every mind responds to things in the same way. Also, as the medical profession discovers new things, your decisions about what to do and what not to do may change. Also, I believe that you do need to discuss things with your doctor, rather than go it totally on your own. The public often rushes to take the latest touted supplement, only to find out that it is not all it seemed to be at first. The answers are probably not in popping pills and supplements, but in the basics of a healthy diet, exercise, rest, stress relief, and perhaps a good multivitamin. In the end, the decisions are up to you, but a physician can offer you information that you cannot find anywhere else. Also, the physician can monitor your health progress. (While the author disagreed with some of her doctor's advice, she kept checking in with her doctor and letting the doctor measure her levels of health. I think that is wise.) The author chose not to take the replacement hormones suggested by her doctor, but you may decide that is exactly what you need. The point is not to copy the author's program, but to decide what is right for you. I like the fact that she emphasizes this, rather than prescribes a one-answer-fits-all program. There are too many undecided questions about hormones, supplements, and the like to assume that what works for one person will necessarily work for another.
6) The author does not expect to look as she did when she was twenty years of age, but wants to make the most of her current health and appearance. It is healthy to move on into mature standards of health and beauty, rather than trying to hold onto the first budding of youth. There is a wonderful dignity about an older woman whose beautiful soul fully blooms on her face.
7) Women in their youth and women who have already passed menopause can learn something from the author's approach to health, even though she focuses specifically on the period before and right after the cessation of menstruation. After all, the principles of good health -- such as nourishing food, water, exercise, etc. -- are timeless.

Cons:

1) The author states that she likes to process things by being in control -- something that I think every woman can relate to. However, the bottom line is that we simply cannot control everything in our lives. Aging and death are realities on this side of heaven, and we must come to terms with this if we are to maintain a healthy and faithful outlook. In peri-menopause and in menopause, as in everything, I would counsel a constant, prayerful dependence on the Lord. That does not negate the author's encouraging example of doing some research and making informed choices. After all, that is good stewardship of our health, provided that our ultimate hope is in the Lord. However, as we face the real challenges of aging, we must trust that the Lord will work our circumstances for good. If a woman cannot achieve the same robust level of health and physical beauty as the author possesses, she should not feel as if she has failed. Our goal is not to hang on to this present life forever and ever or to be perpetually young on this side of heaven. Perhaps, a better goal would be to do the best we can so that we can serve the Lord and love others with all our best.
2) The author's concepts of a spiritual approach to menopause are a bit vague. That's where I'd turn to the scriptures for real guidance.
3) Some women enter gull-blown menopause a good 10 or more years later than the author did. This may mean that they are further along in the general process of aging when they begin their journey into the change of life. Thus, they may not be able to achieve quite the same results as the author.
4) In trying to improve your health and trying to eliminate all menopause symptoms -- which the author acknowledges can be quite unsettling -- you could become too self-absorbed. Or, rather, I know that I could. I would suggest that if you embark on a process similar to hers that you set limits on your time. Though she did not realize it from the beginning, she was turning her journey into a money-making book. In a sense, her research and experiments in health became her job. However, for most of us, taking care of our health is something that we must fit into already very busy days. We can't become so obsessed with how our bodies are faring that we neglect the most important things in life -- loving God and loving others. Besides, too much focus on this process of aging and menopause could backfire by turning our minds to our aches and ailments, rather than to our blessings. That, in itself, can make us feel worse physically, emotionally, and spiritually. A cheerful heart is good medicine, and I know from my own experiences in selfishness that a truly cheerful heart never springs from self-absorption.
5) It is possible to take too many supplements, and, since I am not a medical professional, I have no way of knowing if the author has crossed that line. She said that she takes twenty vitamin/supplement pills a day, which seems to me to be a bit excessive on the budget and possibly hard on the body. Again, that's where you have to do your own research.

Cons and all, I would recommend that anyone journeying through perimenopause and menopause read this book at least once through just to get the gist of it. I do think it's an encouraging little volume. I'm don't think that I would purchase and keep it, though. I'm glad it's available in our local library in case I ever want to peruse it again.

Good health to you!
Elizabeth

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