Becoming a crone. The Third stage in our lives.
Menopause, the change
Inspired by another hub, this one is more about menopause, but regarding our nutritional needs during the transition. Through each decade of a woman's life, there is a year that is not looked forward to. The signs of age are apparent through the changes in skin, complexion, hair, movement, food tastes, and interests.
Men and women share in the transitions through life. Born to be a divine being, we move into life and learn how to survive. There is no instruction manual to guide us in making our decisions. Trial and error seem to be the primary tool of learning. For instance, a baby learns to walk by holding on to objects or bravely standing and taking that first step. Falling is not fun, but with determination, the child stands once more, and this time takes more than one step.
Women are by nature nurtures and built for bearing children. Though many choose to argue this point, this is a biological nature. Menstruation occurs in pre- to teen years. These early years are called the 'maiden' years. Our time to learn about the feminine, becoming a woman. For many it is a time to learn the domestic tasks that are required in keeping a home, raising children, and marriage. Of course, this is culturally based, since many in America do not have that structure, these lessons are no longer a part of life. Tradition is shaped within the family, and each is different.
The maiden years end when we begin bearing children and developing a lifestyle that will support the rearing of children. The mother years are a time of fun, growth, both for children and for the mother. We learn parenting through raising our children. Rules, values, and morals change when a child enters our lives. The mother years continue to the time of menopause, thus we transition to the crone years.
Generations have honored the crone, the old woman who is wise and shares her lessons and recipes with the mother and maiden. The three-fold path of being a woman is near completion. The maiden years the blood flows out of our bodies, the blood flows with the mother years, stirring our protective and nurturing nature and the crone's blood flows within stirring the wisdom and fires of creativity (Weed, 2002). We are not done creating, nurturing, or sharing in life when we enter this stage of life.
At each stage of our lives nurture, and nature are present. Nature provides our bodies a rhythm unto itself. Until we learn to listen to this rhythm is a mystery and at times an irritation. We move closely with the path of the moon, waning, full light, and waxing only to repeat the cycle. Learning to listen to our bodies is not easy when we have been traumatized. The trauma plays out as part of our menstrual cycle and our pre-menopause years. (More on this later)
Nutrition is as important now as a crone, as it was during our pregnancies. We cannot easily absorb and utilize many of the minerals and fat-soluble vitamins as we use to. Many research studies point to the importance of calcium for bone health (Weed, 2002). Protein, vitamins, and minerals are not easily digested and utilized. Our bodies require a balance, and we are the only ones who can provide it. Following is a few ideas for calcium and protein that your body can use. These formulations are inexpensive and easy to create.
This mineral is listed alone because it is primary to our bones. Herbs, vegetables, egg shells and bones all provide our body the amount necessary. Combine this with 15 minutes of sun daily and you have the perfect combination without spending a lot of money. Sunlight provides our bodies with vitamin D and K. In a form our bodies can easily use.
Did you know that one teaspoon of powdered egg shells provides your body with 400 mg of absorbable calcium? When you make scrambled or fried (yuck) eggs in the morning, save the shells in a freezer bag or container until you have several, store in the freezer. This will depend on how many eggs you use at once. Soak in water overnight to clear the leftover egg white. Use the water on your plants. Lay the shells on a baking sheet and set in a 250 degree oven for about two hours. Check for dryness during that time. When the egg shells are dry, grind to a fine powder. Use the powder in capsule form or mix in your shakes.
You may also hard boil your eggs and soak in apple cider vinegar. The egg shell dissolves into the vinegar. Use a tablespoon daily. :) Yeah, yuck. But, talk about a health elixir for your body.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar comes in a couple of forms, organic and non-organic. Organic apple cider vinegar helps to reduce cholesterol, aids in liver functioning, and clears the blood. More importantly it helps clear your digestive system. You won't feel bloated and heavy after a meal that contains some form of this vinegar.
There are many herbs a crone may use to aid in the transition of menopause. Herbs ease hot flashes and provide nutrients the body can use easily. During our pre-menopause years, the body finds it impossible to absorb calcium from the traditional sources (Weed, 2002). As we age the enzymes, our bodies need, including B-12 required for healthy digestion.
Herbs that contain calcium, many of the B vitamins, enzymes, and proteins include stinging nettles, red clover, oat straw, parsley, dandelion, horsetail, and seaweeds. These are not all the herbs that will benefit our bodies as we transition through this stage of our life.
The best way to use herbs is in a tincture or infusion. Tinctures are made with apple cider vinegar or 100 proof alcohol. The latter is not healthy for your liver, hence the recipes call for apple cider vinegar. Infusions use hot water, please do not boil it if you can help it. Near boiling is acceptable. If you are using ' water, ' is necessary, but let the water set for about 20 minutes before pouring on the herbs.
The nutritional supplement industry is in the trillions. Every type of remedy can be bought from a supplier, chain store, or small market. From energy boosts to cold cures. The ingredients are both healthy and unhealthy. Read the label and get to know the ingredients.
Menopause can be a time of loving fun or a nightmare. It is up to use how we make this transition. A wise woman knows what she puts into her body and on it. The selection is healthy and nourishing, or should be.
Vitamins and minerals need to have a balance. Vitamins C and Bs are water soluble. This means they dissolve in water, passing through the body via liquid. All other vitamins, minerals, and proteins are fat soluble. They are absorbed into the fat cells waiting to be used by the cells. Without the C and B vitamins, fat soluble and minerals collect. Protein is also stored and not used. Hence the balance to our supplementation.
Another important consideration is the process in which your supplements are made. The type of water soluble vitamin is important as well. Two popular forms of vitamins are chelated and a hydrochloride type. Both are a process that makes the vitamin easily absorbed by the cells. Which is better? It depends on the scientist you ask. It will also depend on your body's needs and ability to digest.
A balanced diet is important during these years. Try to decrease red meats (pork is red meat). Look for leaner cuts, grass fed vs corn fed, and organic foods where possible. Vegetables are an important ally during this time of your life. They offer proteins, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients easily taken in by the body.
Digestion is a problem with age because like everything else, our metabolism slows. Enzymes from pineapple are one source which may help you. Remember the apple cider vinegar.
Go easy on the grains, add a bit of apple cider vinegar during cooking time with the other seasonings. However, add the vinegar during the simmer time, not boiling. Grains are a scrubber to the intestines and can cause some damage to the walls of the intestines.
More to know
There is so much we need our aging bodies, minds, and the transition Spiritual growth is sought more at this time of our life. We choose to connect with other women and build a community, sharing in our experiences. The literature recommended in the links below are vetted for authenticity and ease of use.
You can never know to much and it never ends. Our bodies are changing. New wrinkles, gray hair, aches where we never knew we could ache, our genitals and internal organs are changing. There is so much more to know and learn.
May you find this a time of growth, opportunity and freedom. Break free from the chains of belief and develop a new one that is supportive and loving of the woman you have been and are now. Because she is who you will be tomorrow.