Episode 27 - Nutrition to help you through Perimenopause & Menopause - Part 2 with Angie Clark

Nutrition to help you through Perimenopause & Menopause - Part 2 with Angie Clark

Welcome back to part 2 of the discussion with our resident female athlete nutrition expert Angelique Clark. In part two,  we deep dive into menopause.

What is menopause and how is it different to perimenopause?

What should we be doing nutritionally at this time of our lives?

Is the Meno pot a real thing? What can we do to minimise increased belly fat?

And if you’re not in this phase of your life yet, what can you do to set yourself up for later on in life?

Enjoy!

Triathlon Nutrition Academy Podcast

Show Notes

Connect with Angie: www.angeliqueclark.com.au

Connect with me here:

To learn more about the Triathlon Nutrition Academy, head to www.dietitianapproved.com/academy

To work with me 1 on 1: www.dietitianapproved.com/services

See behind the scenes action on Instagram: www.instagram.com/dietitian.approved

Follow along on Facebook: www.facebook.com/DietitianApproved

Enjoying the podcast?

Let me know what you loved about it and what you learnt by tagging me @dietitian.approved on Instagram!

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcast!

Are you subscribed to the podcast?

If not, today's the day! I'm sharing practical, evidence-based nutrition advice to help you nail your nutrition and I don't want you to miss an episode.  Click here to subscribe in iTunes!

Now if you’re feeling extra warm and fuzzy, I would be so grateful if you left me a review over on iTunes, too. Those reviews help other people find my podcast and quality nutrition advice. Plus they add a little sparkle to my day. 

CLICK HERE to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favourite part of the podcast is.

You're awesome! Thank you!

Review TRIATHLON NUTRITION ACADEMY PODCAST

Episode Transcription

Episode 27 - Nutrition to help you through Perimenopause & Menopause - Part 2 with Angie Clark

Taryn Richardson  00:00
We're back this week with part two of the conversation with Advanced Sports Dietitian and my beautiful friend, Angie Clark. If you haven't listened to part one yet on perimenopause, I definitely suggest going back and giving that a quick listen first, just to give you a bit of context about where we started the conversation. Today we're diving straight into nutrition to support you through menopause. So let's get straight into it.

Taryn Richardson  00:28
Welcome to the Triathlon Nutrition Academy podcast, the show designed to serve you up evidence-based sports nutrition advice from the experts. Hi, I'm your host Taryn, Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Advanced Sports Dietitian, and founder of Dietitian Approved. Listen as I break down the latest evidence to give you practical, easy to digest strategies to train hard, recover faster and perform at your best. You have so much potential, and I want to help you unlock that with the power of nutrition. Let's get into it.

Taryn Richardson  01:04
Okay, so let's shift gears into menopause and how is that different from perimenopause?

Angie Clarke  01:11
So, menopause is literally defined as the 12 month anniversary of your last period. So whilst perimenopause is describing the time, those 5 to 10 years leading into menopause itself, menopause happens around about the average age of about 55 for a woman. And this literally denotes flat line in terms of estrogen and progesterone. So they're going to be at their lowest rate. At this moment in time, you now don't have a period, so a regular menstrual period has ended and you're celebrating the 12 month anniversary of your last period, after which we are then classified as postmenopausal.

Angie Clarke  01:48
So menopause in itself is literally just describing one point in time, it is literally that 12 month anniversary of your last bleed. And then after which we hit into post-menopause. So whilst a lot of those symptoms that I mentioned, can be related to the time just before menopause, menopause, we usually start to see a baselining or flattening out of those symptoms.

Angie Clarke  02:06
And then we enter the next phase of our life, which is obviously not going to be a reproductive phase anymore, we definitely don't have the ability to produce children or to have children because of course, our reproductive hormones are completely flatlined.

Angie Clarke  02:19
But what this does mean is that our estrogen now is at its lowest point. And that has a ramification in a lot of other areas of our body, not just reproductive health. And we also need to be considerate now that we are in this low hormone phase for predominantly another 40 years, thereabouts, 30 to 40 years, we need to be starting to do things a little bit differently when it comes to our nutrition now that we've hit that postmenopausal phase.

Taryn Richardson  02:42
So there's a defined time point for menopause, you can tell when that is the case. Whereas perimenopause, it's, you know, roller coaster shitshow of 5 to 10 to 15 years of hormonal craziness, whereas menopause, we know definitely when we are in menopause.

Angie Clarke  02:58
Yeah, you can get a blood test and clinical value to see that. And that's why I mentioned it was so important for you to maybe get those bloods before you went into perimenopause, so you know exactly where your levels are sitting at generally in terms of what's normal for you. And then once you hit menopause, you will start to see a real lowering of that estrogen and progesterone in your hormonal profile. And then often the FSH and LH will actually skyrocket and soar. So you'll start to see that elevate on a blood test. But the estrogen and progesterone a flatlined.

Angie Clarke  03:27
So we are not necessarily on this roller coaster anymore. Our body's just trying to produce an egg. But your ovaries are saying, I've shut up shop, I'm not doing that and you're not having any more kids, we're done, we're done. We can enter may be living our lives in a little bit more of a different phase, because I feel like most people just look at menopause and go, oh my god, I dread it, I don't want to get there, it signifies I'm old. Hello, you literally still have at least 30 years of your life after you hit menopause. And this is where maybe your kids are off, they're being independent, you know, they've left the nest, it's time that you guys can have a bit of a party, right?

Angie Clarke  04:03
So I look at it as a wonderful phase. And it's just as I said, it's a natural aging progression, everybody's going to go through that unless of course, you've been prematurely pushed into menopause and that can be from a whole host of different reasons. So I'm just talking about the natural aging process of our bodies to go through that and to not have a period anymore, which is for most women actually really great. It's a good convenient way for us to be looking at possibly some other benefits to being in this state.

Angie Clarke  04:30
Now I have to say as well, there are a few things that we noticeably observed when we are menopausal. And once we've got through the roller coaster where it's a little bit unpredictable, we have to be considerate that now that estrogen and progesterone are low, mood and emotional stability and response to stress become a bit more prevalent when we are menopausal. Our cognitive function, specifically in terms of learning and memory, do take a bit of a toll. Our immune system, our appetite and our digestion are also affected. And this is really Interesting.

Angie Clarke  05:00
So we talk about in a sport-related term, sarcopenia, which is the age-related decline in muscle, and that happens past 30, something that's inevitable, we can't stop that from happening. But we can do things to mitigate that change or slow down that process a little bit more as well.

Angie Clarke  05:14
So in combination with a reduction in our muscle, our skeletal muscle, we also need to remember that our smooth involuntary muscle of our gut and digestion also is on a decline. So we might actually not process food as great as we could in our younger years. And that will also affect the digestion or the transit time. So the amount of time our food stays in our gut, as well.

Angie Clarke  05:36
So that becomes particularly important because of course, appetite is definitely affected and the ability of our bodies to digest that, even in relation to the enzymes in our stomach. So our stomach acid and enzymes become really imperative to understand, okay, maybe I'm having some gut issues now, in my menopausal years, what's going on with that, and that could be just purely as a result of now having that lower estrogen and progesterone state.

Angie Clarke  06:01
So of course, then that relates to, if we understand our muscle mass is declining, we of course are going to have an effect on our metabolism in general and our energy levels. Because of that tissue breakdown is accelerated a little bit more now that we've got that lower estrogen state. And of course, our recovery becomes a little bit more important to focus on as well. So we need a longer time in terms of exercise recovery, and our sleep and wake cycles are a little bit different. So our circadian rhythm changes a little bit as we age. I think if anyone's got grandparents, they're like, why are you getting up so early, you don't sleep that much.

Angie Clarke  06:33
So you know, these are the types of things just to be aware and mindful of and of course, pain and inflammation as well. So we often see increases in muscle pain reported, arthritis, types of joint pain, specifically. Pelvic pain or flare-ups and any other sort of chronic pain conditions, because we have to remember, everything increases in terms of our risk of, you know, getting older, when we're looking at things such as lifestyle chronic disease states as well.

Angie Clarke  06:56

So yes, remember that this is biological. So I was talking to the biological aspect, but lowering of estrogen in general really does play havoc on our bodies, physically, but also remember as well, it could be biopsychosocial as well. So remember those lifestyle factors that we spoke about as well.

Taryn Richardson  07:12
That's so cool. So Angie, with all that in mind, what can women at this phase of life do nutritionally to support that?

Angie Clarke  07:19
Yeah, look, I think globally, what we need to do is identify that if we are going through this decline in muscle, that we have to be focusing on protein and good quality protein, more of it, and more quickly into our diet. So particularly if you are exercising and in combination with that, we need to be doing resistance training.

Angie Clarke  07:38
So I know that's probably not what all your endurance athletes want to hear at this moment in time. But if you are in this menopausal state, or even like I said, in the perimenopausal state, or prior to that, it's really important to start thinking about what we can do now to lay down more bone and more muscle before that estrogen starts to flatline and get to its lowest point.

Angie Clarke  07:55
So we know estrogen is anabolic, and it does help us lay down more bone mineral density, and of course, more muscle on top of that as well in combination with doing resistance training. So, unfortunately, the long, long, long sessions might actually have to be reconsidered a little bit to be able to allow for putting in resistance training, because we need more stimulus, and we need more protein in order to mitigate the decline in bone and muscle. And that becomes really important because if we think about the fracture rate, the fall rate of elderly women increases quite significantly once we hit that sort of menopausal state. So that's literally when estrogen just goes nope, that's it, I'm done.

Angie Clarke  08:33
So yeah, so protein in general, and in combination with that, high biologically valuable protein. I think we discussed this last time, and I'm sure you've had it covered, but really a protein that supports a good amount of the amino acid, leucine, and that's going to help muscle protein synthesis, the trigger for that and making sure that it's drip-fed in quality amounts over the day. So that's a little bit more important and imperative now, for us to get that really good nitrogen balance is to have a little bit of those proteins drip-fed over the day.

Angie Clarke  09:00
And in particular, I think when we're looking at resistance training or training in general, if we're going to be working our muscles, we are offering a beautiful ability for our body to absorb those nutrients a little bit better. So I would possibly even consider if you try and first thing in the morning and you don't have the ability to have a proper meal just prior to training, or 3 to 4 hours before training, I'd probably consider putting a little bit of protein in pre-training and then chasing that up with a good amount of quality protein post-training.

Angie Clarke  09:26
And, you know, we talk about a window of opportunity being around about that sort of two-hour mark to get those nutrients in there. I feel like for women that are menopausal it needs to happen a bit quicker than that. I'm a little bit more aggressive and I'm saying to them you need to get that in within 30 minutes of finishing training and it needs to be a little bit more.

Angie Clarke  09:43
So you know really looking at the recommended amounts being higher than normal and younger people younger exercising women. So you know, I'd be edging you know at least 0.5 grams per kilogram of body mass and what does that look like in relation to food, that could be you know, eggs and dairy are always a beautiful whole food source of really good HBV or high biologically valuable protein, whacking that in their post-training is really imperative.

Taryn Richardson  10:06
And I love the products at the moment that are providing us with a lot of strained yogurts and milk. So Rokeby Farms breakfast smoothies are a really good one, they have a really, once again, a high amount of calcium in there, but a really good amount of HPV protein. And also in combination with that is like the strained yogurts like, you know, Chobani, YoPros, Siggi's, any of those brands, in particular. I know there's a home brand version of that, Coles does their own really good version. Aldi does a good version, as well as of their high protein yogurts.

Taryn Richardson  10:35
Aldi's version is just YoPro repackaged.

Angie Clarke  10:38
100%. Tips and tricks of a Sports Dietitian and for a lot less cost. So yeah, so that's really, really cool. And you know, I mentioned calcium a lot. And I'm going to tell you why. Because I think as a nutrient, calcium in particular, what happens is once that estrogen flat lines, it becomes really important for not losing calcium from our bones when our body isn't provided enough through our diet. And that's increasing our risk of once again, those falls and fractures, if we are looking at that long term effect of functionality over time.

Angie Clarke  11:08
So actually, our calcium needs go up in menopausal years. So whilst it is around about 1000 milligrams, you want to be having a day, it increases to 1200 to 1300 milligrams a day for menopausal women. So that becomes super important as an indicator that our bone metabolism needs a little bit more from a dietary perspective because that estrogen is low. So more high-quality protein in combination with that the calcium is really, really important to whack in there as well,

Taryn Richardson  11:33
There's so many things to unpack there, Angie. I'm going to take you back to the first thing you said and I want to highlight it because you said that menopausal women in particular need to be doing resistance training to minimize that decline in muscle loss as we get older. But every triathlete should be doing strength, particularly if you're in this phase of life. And we will get somebody that's a resistance expert on the podcast to talk about it.

Taryn Richardson  11:56
But triathletes just don't do strength, like they've got to swim, they've got to ride, they've got to run, there's a lot of training in the week, and they feel like fitting strength in is just, you know, a chore, it's one extra thing. But I encourage you to stop and listen to Angie for a second. And if you're, you know, 30 plus, it's a decline.

Angie Clarke  12:17
Yeah, definitely over 35.

Taryn Richardson  12:21
It's rough getting old because both of us are in our 30s window. Not quite 40 yet, but you know, it's already starting to decline. So I really encourage you to try and put some resistance training into your program, not only for strength gains and making sure we're minimizing our muscle loss as we get older, but you're going to be a better athlete if you do it. And yeah, you're going to turn up sore the first time or first few times you do it. But once you've done it for a bit, you're no longer really sore and it's, it's going to make you run faster and ride harder if you can do that strength training in your weeks.

Taryn Richardson  12:56
Absolutely. And I think that's a really great point and thank you for going back and highlighting it. Because it's the foundation really that you're going to be using to pull from to do all your endurance-based activity. And I might add as well, you know, as we age, we need to start looking at the quality of that session rather than just the quantity of those exercise sessions. And I am not a triathlon coach, I have to say that, but unfortunately, we also do need to talk to our coaches about trying to map out what the best possible training week looks like for us.

Angie Clarke  13:26
And in particular, if you are in that menopausal phase, I mentioned recovery, you know, you need more recovery. So you might actually need longer between those sessions to be able to bounce back and do more. And I think that is the highlight, that is the key.

Angie Clarke  13:41
So in combination with resistance training, we're also looking at things such as high-intensity interval training. So even if you can factor that into your tempo, or your pace work sessions, and doing a little bit more of that, because that provides a little bit more resistance. Running is probably a little bit more so than the cycling aspect. But definitely looking at how we can utilise our exercise to help with other things.

Angie Clarke  14:01
And that is a really great point, it's going to lead me into reducing the risk of that belly fat gain. So remember what we said about lowering of estrogen. And you know, women report this about 20 to 40% of women in their menopausal years, report an increase in visceral abdominal tissue. It is a real thing. It is definitely there, it's physiological, you're not just crazy because you can't fit your jeans anymore, it's definitely a thing.

Angie Clarke  14:23
So how can we help that? Because of course, if we have too much body fat around our organs, our visceral tissue, then we are likely going to increase our resistance to insulin. And that, unfortunately, when we're trying to put all those carbohydrates in there to support those really long sessions, our body might actually struggle with that. And so, if we're not utilizing a lot of that glucose effectively, as I mentioned because our body's not digesting food as best as it could do. Now, we add on top of that the risk of insulin resistance and this is where we see a lot of that belly fat gain happen and our bodies change as that estrogen starts to lower.

Angie Clarke  14:56
So this is really imperative for women to be in this state and say, look, what can I do from a sports exercise perspective, that's also going to help me to reduce the belly fat gain. Because I know a lot of women complain about it and not something that they really want to be noticeably observing. And they want to be changing that a little bit in terms of not getting to the point where they're in their menopausal years. And we call this well, I don't call it that, but in the culture of menopause, they call it the 'menopot', so it's this midsection. I know it's so detrimental and I think it's what women are worried about, right? Even though it has nothing to do with performance.

Angie Clarke  15:30
But if you can do these sorts of things that can really help to clear that blood glucose out by doing the short, sharp, higher intensity, higher heart rate activity, and having more rest and recovery in between that, we know from a physiology perspective, that actually helps to reduce belly fat gain. So doing these types of things is really important.

Angie Clarke  15:46
And I also will say, on the note of increasing protein, the longer your sessions go, the more you have to start thinking about putting essential amino acids into those sessions. So I'm talking about 3 hour long sessions plus, you should be not just focusing on carbohydrates, which we know is, of course, important for your performance as the time goes and as the longer, the session gets, however, what are you doing that your protein intake?

Angie Clarke  16:12
You know, so looking at this, and this is where I'm not a huge fan of that supplementation, but when you're exercising, there's not a lot of blood flow going into your gut, you know, it's all going to your working muscles. You're not going to likely go and sit and chomp on a piece of chicken in mid-ride, right? Like, it's not going to happen. So this is where supplementation can be of benefit and I've used it. And there's some really cool stuff now that's happening with creatine supplementation, particularly for women.

Angie Clarke  16:38
There's not a lot of research that's been done, A, in women in general, B, in menopausal women and C, inactive menopausal women. So now we're starting to go hang on a minute, we shouldn't be researching these wonderful, wonderful women, because you are going to be doing the things that's going to stop you from that age-related process or decline as rapidly as what it would. And of course, we need to focus on you guys and what we can do to support you.

Angie Clarke  17:02
So there was a 2021 paper that came out, so you know, hot off the press, that's looking at creatine supplementation in women's health from a lifespan perspective. And to date, of course, we understand that the evidence of creatine use has actually been lacking in females, even though females exhibit 70 to 80%, lower endogenous creatine stores than males. Like, that blew my mind. I was like, already we're a step behind, right? So we know this. And now we're like, well, why haven't we looked at what creatine can do as a supplement and like I said, creatine and essential amino acids.

Angie Clarke  17:35
So looking at these types of things that are going to help to reduce the decline in muscle, it's almost risk-free, like you know, I mean, there's, there's a risk in anything, but it's really low level when we're looking at the supplementation of creatine, and the use across the board when we're looking at reducing muscle decline, so skeletal muscle decline.

Angie Clarke  17:52
But not only that, so they have said that it's not just helpful in women in their menopausal years to reduce the decline in muscle, but can also help cognitive function because of the level of creatine in the brain. So it actually helps us reduce that brain fog, and also our ability to lay down more memory and just to be more alert. Like, that is bloody awesome.

Angie Clarke  18:14
So I don't know if you want to talk about exactly how much that is, because this paper did suggest that anywhere sort of about 0.3 grams per kilogram per day, in combination with resistance training, because that's where I went down in terms of that avenue, sorry, gone off on a tangent. But I think it was really important because those favourable effects on bone and muscle are really quite significant that can play a huge, huge part in improving that cognition, restoring brain energy and also just making sure that we're stopping and slowing down that age-related process.

Taryn Richardson  18:43
So watch this space, hey.

Angie Clarke  18:44
Absolutely, yeah. And I know we've talked about, you know, the stuff that we can add as well, but maybe there's one thing that you don't need to consider too much of is, iron intake reduces in your menopausal years because you're not bleeding now. So you don't have that period. So that's maybe one thing that you don't need to be so concerned about. I know it's definitely a factor in regularly menstruating women. So our iron needs at 18mg a day actually reduce menopause and it goes down to 8mg a day. So maybe less focus on that more on the other stuff that we can be doing.

Angie Clarke  19:11
And yeah, a lot of gut health, I think is the other important issue that I'd probably like to discuss is relative to that insulin resistance. Maybe the quality of our carbohydrates needs to be really looked at choosing the high fibre quality carbohydrates. Remembering as well, our digestion is not as fantastic, so we want to be making sure we're maximising our grains, but also the diversity of our grains.

Angie Clarke  19:33
So having things in there supporting and making sure that we're doing that in relation to our activity levels. So if you do find that you are reducing your activity levels in the aging process, we don't want you to, but if that is happening, then make sure that you're talking to your Sports Dietitian about your overall diet in general.

Angie Clarke  19:50
Because that's of course, overarching the belly fat gain is a mismatch of energy balance, but that's you know, like I said, it has so many nuances and factors that we need to consider in general. So talking to your Sports Dietitian is a wonderful idea about how to then, you know, manipulate your total energy budget as well, of course, over that timeframe. So yeah, that's definitely something I think is really important.

Taryn Richardson  20:11
There's lots of really good practical strategies there. So in this phase of life menopause, we need to look at things like protein intake, and where that fits in around training. In terms of recovery for triathletes, like I know, we've got this window of opportunity that is, you know, we're recovering for 24 to 48 hours, but with triathletes, they don't have 24 to 48 hours of rest and recovery. So that might be something that does need to change in your training program here.

Taryn Richardson  20:38
And I also find, the older we get the more long course we go. Like I know that's very generalist, but you've built a big aerobic diesel engine in your 30s and 40s and once we hit that, like midlife crisis time and want to do an Ironman, most women go long and want to tick that box. So potentially flipping that thinking and thinking about going shorter in this phase of life to help with that belly fat. What did you call it?

Angie Clarke  21:03
The menopot, Yep. I don't make these words up, this is just culturally. You know, and this is the other thing, the attitude around that, absolutely. You know, like I said, what's the intention behind wanting to do a long course triathlon, instead of doing something a bit shorter distance? It's to reduce the menopot, Like, you know, let's talk about that, there's better ways to do that.

Taryn Richardson  21:23
And maximise the time that you spent training too, right. Go hard or go home, do really short, sharp, high-intensity stuff. And sometimes, like a lot of triathletes think the more they train, the fitter they'll be or the leaner they'll be. But often, eating more and training less is the way to get that ideal body composition for a triathlete. And people kind of doesn't think about that until you pointed it out.

Angie Clarke  21:45
Absolutely, yeah. There's so many factors there, yeah. And that's why it's so individual to talk to, you know, that person, which is why, you know, the benefit of seeing a Sports Dietitian is really to unpack that, and to get to the crust of what it is that they're trying to achieve. Because, you know, I'm all for encouraging activity, but not at the expense of, I'm just doing it to lose weight. Like that's just the wrong intention for me, you know, and having those beautiful, rich discussions about the attitudes around that, it's not your doom or bloom.

Angie Clarke  22:12
Like, this could be the time that you thrive and I think as well, a lot of menopausal women might have a little bit more time than women in their younger years. It's a luxury to be able to go out and train for three hours compared to a really busy, hectic lifestyle if you've got young kids or you know, career demands and all the rest of it in your younger years.

Taryn Richardson  22:29
Thank you, Angie. So protein is important and particularly during long rides. I've done an episode on riding nutrition, where we talk about protein during rides. So creatine could be something that you implement there. You could stop for a milky coffee if you've got the time. There's some really good muesli bars that have protein in them now too, like the Tasti and Carman's protein muesli bars. There's some options there as well to make sure that you're just not eating away at your muscle, you're training to get fitter and get faster. And we want to do that resistance stuff to stop the muscle decline but we do need to make sure we've got those building blocks in our diet to support that.

Angie Clarke  23:04
Yeah, absolutely. I think you just gave everyone permission to have a coffee mid-ride didn't you? And I think that's awesome.

Taryn Richardson  23:09
And that's fine. It depends what sort of session it is, right? If it's a performance session where you're trying to do intervals and go do hill repeats, probably don't stop for a coffee. But if it's a long, slow social ride, then hey, why not. Bit of caffeine, bit of protein, bit of carbohydrate, bit of fluid, electrolytes, ticking all the boxes really.

Angie Clarke  23:22
I just love it. It's a whole food, definitely.

Taryn Richardson  23:32
Coffee is life, Angie, coffee is life. Okay, so some of those things, just to recap, we've got protein, calcium, definitely omega-3s, and our iron requirements go down at this age. And then potentially thinking about some creatine, but definitely talk with your Sports Dietitian around that to get some evidence-based guidelines for if it's right for you how much to have, etc, etc. And if you are taking a supplement like that, and you are competing, then you want to make sure that it's a third party batch tested product too. But that's something you can cover off with your Sports Dietitian, rather than just trying to wing it yourself with that one.

Taryn Richardson  24:06
And I'm glad you covered the tummy fat thing to Angie because it's a real thing. And it's one of the biggest things that people talk about and want to know how to prevent. And you might need to go back and listen to this, again, around changing the type of training that you're doing to do that, rather than just smashing yourself and going long, that may not be getting you the results that you want in that space.

Angie Clarke  24:29
Yeah, we definitely want to have a look at you know, feeding the long sessions for sure. But then in general, have a look at that overall energy budget outside of that, and then getting those quality carbohydrates that are high fibre, more protein, as we mentioned in your diet and drip-feeding that over the course of the day so that can counteract that possible risk of insulin resistance in that situation. It's not for everyone, but I think it's definitely some underlying factors that we would need to just be mindful of when we're talking the things that we can do day to day.

Taryn Richardson  24:56
So is there anything else nutritionally that women need to be aware of in this phase of life? We've covered a lot, is there anything else that they need to focus on?

Angie Clarke  25:04

Maybe the only thing, like we've covered a lot of calcium and where we can find calcium in our diet and why that goes up. But also in combination with that, I think calcium and vitamin D kind of go hand in hand. So the thing to mention with that is that we see a lot of vitamin D deficiency in a lot of elderly populations. And you know, as you guys are active and probably outdoor active, it's probably not something that you consider. But if you do cover up a lot, if you're training in early hours in the morning, you probably might not be getting enough of that sunlight exposure to be able to produce some vitamin D in our bodies.

Angie Clarke  25:34
So that would probably be the only thing because your vitamin D needs to go up. So vitamin D containing foods, not a lot around, I believe egg yolks, fortified dairy, and some baked mushrooms might be a really good thing to boost your vitamin D. And then of course talking to your Dietitian about that in relation to the supplementation of that as well. And just getting a good full panel blood work, you know, so it's always nice to be able to have a clinical value before you make any decisions in relation to supplementation. So food first approaches all the time, but yeah, maybe looking at where your vitamin D status is at because that's actually really huge for aging people.

Taryn Richardson  26:07
So, Angie, for a female that isn't perimenopausal or menopausal, they're not quite at that phase of life yet, is there anything that they can do to set themselves up for later on when they're going through that phase?

Angie Clarke  26:19
This is such a great question because it's exactly what led me into looking into this and in combination with just listening to my women that were in the perimenopausal, menopausal years of their life. And I had seen these clients, as you know, athletes well before they hit that stage, and then within you know, 5 to 10 years, they're coming in and going, this stuff ain't working anymore. Like what am I doing with my nutrition that's not working? And I think that's a really interesting point because I've even noticed, you know, and I'm 38 now.

Angie Clarke  26:46
So I've even started to be a little bit more aware of what I can do, to put me in a great position so that I'm not hopefully experiencing such an increase in those symptoms that we just mentioned. And I think going back to the things that we've already discussed like that quality protein, make sure that's in there. We've talked about resistance training, and having that in your day to day training plan is really, really interesting or week to week training plan.

Angie Clarke  27:11
And then just knowing that these things can happen, and it's okay if they don't happen to you, but just to be aware of them. Having a discussion with your mum, or maybe some elderly people or in your family or like relationships in your family that you could have a chat to in relation to women that have gone through perimenopause and menopause. That's going to give you a bit of an insight into possibly what you might expect.

Angie Clarke  27:35
We know a lot of these factors could be genetic. So if what your mum experienced is anything to go by, possibly you might be going to be experiencing the same sorts of things. But it's just opening up that wonderful conversation. I think this is really important for women to do in general, I think it's a subject that has been taboo, particularly in the sporting realm. I don't think a lot of women, A, want to talk about their menstrual cycle, they'd rather forget about it and, B, we're not even considering menopause or perimenopause at that moment in time of our lives as well.

Angie Clarke  27:59
But having that discussion, opening up the floor is a beautiful way just to, A, get to know your family a little bit better, but get to know maybe some insights about what's going to come or what's ahead. And always just have a chat with your practitioner, you know, if you notice that something that's not going right, or something that's changed, that's just a flag and a sign to say don't leave it too late. Go and check it out, go and investigate a little bit more.

Angie Clarke  28:23
And just be mindful that there's some things that we can do nutritionally to support you to ease you through into that transition too. so yeah. And that also helps with the cultural aspect of not thinking it's the worst point in your life to get to and not, you know, ignore it. It's definitely something that we want to be able to cruise into, change the narrative, change the culture around that because it could actually be the best time of your life.

Taryn Richardson  28:44
That's great advice, Angie. Well, thank you so much for joining me again. I'm so grateful for you sharing your knowledge in this space, and really trying to spread evidence-based nutrition in a very noisy world because there's a lot going on at the moment. And female athlete nutrition is just exploding, which is amazing, it's what we need. It's what we needed 20 years ago, but you've really got your finger at the pulse of the latest evidence and where to direct people on the food side of things, too. Like a lot of people don't have that knowledge of food and the evidence and you've kind of combined those to fast track everyone's success in that space. So thank you.

Angie Clarke  29:19
You're absolutely welcome. I think the more we understand about our body, the more we can appreciate how bloody intelligent it is. And so if we can just embrace that change, I think we'd all be sitting at a wonderful position in order to you know, improve our lives from a functionality perspective, but also nutritionally supporting everything that we want to do activity-wise too.

Taryn Richardson  29:38
So if people want to find out more about Angie, and all the cool nutritional things you do, where can they find you?

Angie Clarke  29:44
Yeah, awesome. You can follow me on Instagram at angeliqueclarke_nutrition. You can jump on to my website and pop your details in there. You can contact me there if you are looking at anything to do with one on one consulting. I run a 'Nutrition to Soar' coaching program and I also have some exciting news around about an online group women's program that is happening in the new year. So just pop your details into my website and you can stay in tune with all those things that are happening.

Taryn Richardson  30:12
Awesome. Thank you so much for joining me, Angie. And we'd really love to know what you thought of this episode, so leave a review on Apple podcasts if you can, and that will help other people find quality nutrition advice from professionals in this space too.

Taryn Richardson  25:16
Thanks for joining me for this episode of the Triathlon Nutrition Academy podcast. I would love to hear from you. If you have any questions or want to share with me what you've learned. Email me at [email protected]. You could also spread the word by leaving me a review and taking a screenshot of you listening to the show. Don't forget to tag me on social media at @dietitian.approved so I can give you a shout out too. If you want to learn more about what we do, head to dietitianapproved.com. And if you want to learn more about the Triathlon Nutrition Academy program, head to www.dietitianapproved.com/academy. Thanks for joining me and I look forward to helping you smash it in the fourth leg - nutrition!

Looking for a community of like-minded 'athletes'?

Join our Dietitian Approved Crew Facebook Group

JOIN US!