If you’ve read anything about menopause symptoms such as hot flashes or headaches, you’ve probably read something about sugar. With Halloween (and all the sugar-laden holidays) fast approaching, let’s talk sugar and strategy.

Does sugar really affect my hormones & hot flashes?

Sadly, (and annoyingly) it can

A study in support

Before we ghost head-first into strategy, I wanted to share a study conducted by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which followed 6,000 women over a 9-year period. During the course of the study, menopause symptoms (specifically hot flashes and night sweats) and food habits were tracked, and researchers noted a connection between what women eat and the symptoms they experience. 

The short story here is, many of those in the study who ate high-fat and high-sugar diets experienced higher rates of reported hot flashes. Those women who ate more of a Mediterranean diet (including veggies, lean meats, olive oil, even red wine!) had lower incidence of reported hot flashes. 

That’s great and everything, but Halloween is next week!

If you’ve adopted All Hallow’s Eve as one of your top 3 favorite holidays, and you’re suffering regularly with these darn symptoms, there are creative things you can do to help yourself steer clear of sugar leading up to, going through, and then after Halloween.

A few ideas:

  • Make a concerted effort to minimize sugar intake. No need to do any extra suffering if you enjoy Halloween and some of the sweets that go along with the day and night. Plan to enjoy a favorite or two. Make sure they are your favorites and absolutely enjoy them. Don’t second guess yourself. Indulge in the FAV-O-RITE… and skip the mediocre sweets altogether.

  • Speaking of mediocre: Perhaps you’d consider choosing & purchasing candies you don’t love to give to trick-or-treaters who come a’knockin’. Pick up the treats you could pour into a bowl and then walk past and not be tempted by multiple times in a night.

  • Don’t go sugar-free if you suspect you’ll later feel deprived and then face-plant into a bowl of fun-size candy bars. There’s actually no fun involved, and it’s a no-win scenario for your body’s blood sugar. Don’t play the torture card. Halloween is supposed to be fun.

  • If trick-or-treating and having candy in the house is a trigger… you can opt-out completely. Go see a movie, visit a friend, take yourself to a gorgeous dinner, or out for a long walk to a favorite place. Do something else, out of the ordinary, and definitely out of the house. Treat yourself! 

What else could you be eating during the week?

A short checklist of possible options to consume, along with your favorite sweet.

  • Get water in your body. After all, with all the heat dissipation from your body in night sweats and during hot flashes, there’s got to be a need for more water. Turns out, taking more water in can, indeed, ease menopause symptoms.
  • Are you on track with your supplements? Many women, including me, forget to take them and don’t see the full benefit that regular intake can yield. Can you say “magnesium glycinate”? (which can help women in the rage realm of menopause or perimenopause.)
  • Plan the un-candy, unprocessed foods you will enjoy: the proteins, veggies, good fats, and fruits during the whole week. Is there a prepared salad or side dish you love but don’t get very often from your co-op or farmer's market? Get a pint or a quart and enjoy the Hall(oween) out of it.

Real, whole food is an excellent way to help your body regulate your blood sugar. This is not about perfection, this is about taking good care, enjoying the week, and suffering less.

What else is going on?

Here are a few other activities that can help you focus on something other than the candy bowl near the front door.

  • Concentrate on a costume: Transform your cravings into creativity and put a costume together for yourself or any littles you may have around you.
  • Plan a project: You could take on a fun activity… scan Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook for a fun Halloween (or another holiday) decoration you can create for your own home.
  • Not crafty? No problem… How about coloring? It’s soothing, there are hundreds of different book options or even printables to choose from (including some that include swear-words), and pens or crayons aren’t going to break your bank.

Some other activity, any other activity, can draw you in, help you concentrate on something other than sugar, which may lessen the frequency or intensity of menopause symptoms. Hang on to this post… the rest of the holiday season is fast approaching.

What else might be of help for Halloween and the sweet season to follow? Treat us all with your ideas or suggestions in our community forums!

Wendy Sloneker

Writer Wendy Sloneker is equal parts dot-connector, writer, author, and coffee drinker. She believes we are a creative species and are wired for stories that hold facts, ideas, insights, and adaptable suggestions. Stories are launchpads for real life and living. Connect with Wendy about knitting, farmer's markets, and animals of all kinds.