Monthly Archives: June 2011

6-Week Menopause Makeover Challenge

July 5th we begin the next Menopause Makeover challenge!

It’s FREE for SIX WEEKS!  This challenge we are focusing on EXERCISE.

We will address:

  • What type of exercise is best for you
  • When to do it
  • How long to do it
  • How many days a week to do it
  • What excuses come up to sabotage your goals
  • How to overcome a busy schedule
  • Our attitude towards exercise
  • Making time to exercise

We will continue to honor the Menopause Makeover food pyramid SIX days a week.

Start getting ready TODAY!

  • Read Chapter 3: Feeding the new you, how food can set you free.
  • Read Chapter 4: Exercise it off.
  • Find your target heart rate (THR). You can do the formula on page 73 or click here for a THR calculator.
  • Take the quiz on page 76.
  • Do the one-mile walk fitness test. You will use the result as a tool to track your progress.
  • Figure out your favorite excuse on page 80, and think of a solution to overcome it.
  • Make a planner to record your food intake and exercise. FREE downloads here.

Why am I focusing on an EXERCISE challenge? I have discovered that women are busy taking care of everything in life, we don’t HAVE time to exercise, don’t MAKE time, and would rather control our food intake than put on our sneakers and break a sweat.

Why is this challenge important?

  • Exercise is as important as healthy eating habits!
  • You will have more flexibility in your food planning if you exercise.
  • You will FEEL better because all those feel good hormones kick in when you work out.
  • You can improve your heart and bone health.
  • Improves digestion
  • Reduces stress.
  • Regulates blood sugar.
  • Strengthens your joints.
  • Lowers your blood pressure.
  • Builds muscles! Muscles burn calories!
  • Improves your self-esteem.
  • Is an instant facial – sweat cleans your pores better and faster than a facial!
  • Lowers your risk of type 2 Diabetes.

Click here to buy “The Menopause Makeover” and join this six week challenge today!

Click here to register for this PRIVATE forum.  Once you register, email your Community ID name to:

After I receive your forum name, I will then email you with the PRIVATE link so you can join our incredible community! EASY!

Think about HOW exercise can benefit your life. Visualize a healthy, vibrate, tone, strong YOU.

July 5th is the beginning of a new way of life that celebrates YOU, your time and your body!  NO MORE EXCUSES!

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Posted in fitness

How to Sleep Through Menopause

By Staness Jonekos

Co-author of The Menopause Makeover

We have all had sleepless nights, but for millions of post-menopausal women it happens 61 percent of the time, affecting their quality of life and their relationships. I, too, suffered from insomnia, thanks to irritating night sweats provoked by fluctuating hormones. Being sleepless through menopause made me irritable and fatigued daily. I had difficulty concentrating and it created tension with my husband because I was cranky and impatient.

There are two types of insomnia. According to the National Institutes of Health, primary insomnia is its own disorder. A number of life changes can trigger primary insomnia, including long-lasting stress and emotional upset. Primary insomnia generally occurs for periods of at least one month.

Secondary insomnia is a symptom or side effect of some other problem, and is the most common type. Most menopause-related sleeplessness is secondary insomnia.

What causes secondary insomnia?

• Certain medical conditions: sleep apnea, arthritis, chronic pain, headaches, asthma, overactive thyroid, hot flashes, heartburn, sleep disorders (restless leg syndrome, sleep-related breathing problems)
• Medicines: asthma medicines, allergy and cold medicines, beta blockers
• Substances: caffeine, stimulants, tobacco, alcohol

Being a busy woman, daily exhaustion is normal. Throw in menopausal aging and it was no surprise that I was staring at the ceiling nightly trying to fall and stay asleep.

Karen Giblin, Founder of Red Hot Mamas North America, recently conducted a sleep survey with Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Giblin says, “Of the 900 sleep survey participates who suffer from insomnia, 79 percent of menopausal women have trouble staying asleep, and 63 percent struggle just trying to fall to sleep.”

I was not alone! Most of us blame night sweats for insomnia, but I was surprised to find out that many menopausal insomniacs don’t suffer from night sweats at all. So what’s keeping us up at night?

Empty nest syndrome, caring for aging parents, relationship changes, career adjustments and mid-life stress, bundled together with hormones in flux is a recipe for sleepless nights. Progesterone is our sleep-promoting hormone, so a decrease in this hormone contributes to a night of tossing and turning. Declining estrogen can make you more susceptible to stress, fueling this sleepless potion.

I suffered from several of the sleep depriving offenders. It took just one severe night sweat to start the cycle of thrashing around, changing my PJs and laying in bed awake, waiting for a repeat performance.

Insomnia during menopause clearly can affect the quality of your life. Women suffering from insomnia live with daily fatigue and irritability, and that can contribute to intimacy issues with her partner.

Giblin says, “62 percent of women ages 40 to 65 said they have not talked to their healthcare provider about insomnia.”

I was one of them, because I never considered insomnia an actual symptom worth discussing with my clinician.

A former menopausal insomniac herself, Giblin continues, “Sleeplessness during menopause can compromise your health, both physically and mentally. People who get too little sleep develop poor health and higher percentages of chronic diseases.”

Indeed, insomnia can increase your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and problems with your immune system. Getting proper sleep is important to your health!

Let’s not forget the recent studies last year that found a lack of sleep contributes to weight gain. When you are sleep-deprived, your metabolism does not function properly. Sleep is also necessary for the nervous system to function properly.

Sleeping tips during menopause

• Create a sleep schedule, and follow it each night
• Do not go to bed until you are tired
• Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol right before bed
• Enjoy decaf tea
• Do not watch the news right before going to bed
• Do not watch TV in bed
• Take a soothing bath or shower before bedtime
• Your bedroom should be a sleeping sanctuary and a place for lovemaking
• Avoid daytime naps
• Clear your mind before you get under the covers
• Make sure your room is dark
• Keep your bedroom cool to prevent night sweats, keep a fan nearby
• Wear cotton pajamas, and have an extra pair handy
• Exercise daily. Vigorous exercise should be done during the morning or afternoon.
• Yoga may help promote good sleep
• Try aromatherapy for relaxation
• Own a comfortable bed
• Wear socks to bed to help control core body temperature

We are all different and require different amounts of sleep to feel rested during the day. The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) says, “Most adults require 6 to 9 hours of sleep each night.” I was lucky to get 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night – what’s a menopausal gal to do?

Talk to your healthcare provider about insomnia

• Keep a sleep diary
• Track a typical night
• Document what keeps you up at night.
• How long did it take for you to fall asleep?
• How long did you sleep in total?
• How did you feel the next day?
• Talk to your partner and see if he/she has noticed any differences in your sleeping habits.
• Discuss any lifestyle changes you’ve made to improve your sleep.
• Ask if menopause is affecting your sleep
• Are there any current medications that could be contributing to your insomnia
• What lifestyle changes do you need to make to get better sleep
• Are you experiencing more stress?
• Discuss a strategy to manage your insomnia

When lifestyle changes fail NAMS recommends consulting a clinician to rule out sleep disorders or breathing problems.

Dr. Wendy Klein, co-author of The Menopause Makeover, says, “It is best to tailor therapy for menopausal insomnia to the needs of the individual woman. Generally, combining medical and non-medical therapies is better than either one alone.”

Supplements such as botanical valerian have been found to improve sleep after two weeks of use. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits before taking over-the-counter products to treat insomnia. If depression is contributing to your sleep problems, your healthcare provider may prescribe an antidepressant or other prescription medications.

For some women, prescription sleep medications can help bring relief. The National Institutes of Health states: some medications are meant for short-term use, while others are meant for longer use. Side effects can occur, so talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using medicines to treat insomnia.

Getting a good night’s rest during menopause benefits your health, both physically and emotionally, and can contribute to a smoother transition.

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Posted in hormones, homepage

Nancy Cartwright, Voice of Bart Simpson

Some know her as “Mom,” a few lucky ones have known her as “Sweetie,” most know her as “the voice of Bart Simpson,” but I know her as “Nancykins” — my friend!   We went to UCLA in the late 70s.  Although back then you could hear us chatting about boys and dating in Sproul Hall dormitory, we mostly spent the last three decades supporting each other’s dreams and passions.

Nancy Cartwright is an Emmy Award-winning actress portraying the spike-headed underachiever Bart Simpson.  But Nancy is no underachiever!  She also does “The Simpson” voices of Ralph Wiggum, Nelson Muntz, Todd Flanders and various others in the Simpson’s hometown of Springfield.  You may have also heard her voices in the “Rugrats,” “Kim Possible,” and “Richie Rich.”

Nancy is also a star in front of the camera.  After we graduated UCLA, she appeared in the TV movie “Marian Rose White.” She was brilliant, then Nancy appeared  in “Fame,” “Empty Nest,” “Cheers,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “The Twilight Zone – The Movie,” and “Godzilla.”

Nancy’s career soared during her 20s and 30s, but it was in her 40s that I noticed her fulfilling more personal goals.  Nancy supports many non-profit organizations that help children, and was named “Honorary Mayor” of her community for her contributions.  Nancy co-founded Happy House, a non-profit that strives to build better families and is changing lives everyday.

Nancy was doing all of this while maintaining her day job voicing “The Simpsons” — the longest running scripted series in television history.

This voice over artist, actress, and philanthropist is also an author of a hilarious book, “My Life as a Ten-Year-Old Boy.”  She even thanks me for my “zest and eternal optimism.”  Cowabunga!

People always ask me, “Is Nancy’s voice like Bart Simpson?”  NO!  She sounds just like you and me, but there are all these crazy voices that she has developed that live inside her and she pulls them out like I pull out my lip gloss.

I like to describe Nancy as a complete solar system – she has numerous planets successfully circling her shining spirit.  Her incredible ability to simultaneously manage a variety of activities is impressive. She eats healthy, exercises, manages a busy career including her non-profits, and finds time for love and friendships. Nancy is truly an example of living a life in balance!  She is committed to living with integrity while breathing FUN FUN FUN into everything she does!

Nancy is now 50-something, and moving at warp speed – she is unstoppable! She may be the voice of a rebellious young boy, but good-girl Nancy STILL HAS IT and is going strong!

Interview with Nancy Cartwright

Staness: What was your childhood dream? Why?

Nancy: I remember as early as age seven people telling me what an unusual voice I had.  I used to tell jokes and do sound effects and really loved making people laugh.  I found that when I created characters and did sounds, that added to the humor.  By the time I was 16 I had done some community theater and then discovered the speech team at my high school.  Although I wasn’t a debater, I was interested in the individual events, like humorous interpretation and after-dinner speaking—again, I loved making people laugh.  I would tell stories, mostly children’s stories and did very well in the competitions.  Lots of first place trophies.  The judges would tell me that I had a very special voice and that I should do cartoons!  This hadn’t occurred to me.  After all, Kettering, Ohio is not exactly the animation capitol of the world!  It did, however establish a dream: to do voice-overs for animation.

Staness: Who has influenced your life?

Nancy: One of the great pioneers in the industry, Daws Butler, who is most recognized as the voice of Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Quik-Draw McGraw and dozens of other voices.  I got his phone number and called him.  This was when I was 18 years old.  He was to Hanna-Barbera what Mel Blanc was to Warner Brothers.  Daws was not a household name.  He had created so many characters but at that time (50s/60s) voice actors were not getting any screen credit.  His start was with old-time radio.  He worked with some of the greats like Stan Freberg, June Foray, Jay Ward and Bill Scott.  He helped to pave the way for the “up-and-comings” and a whole new generation of voice talent.

Staness: What event changed your life?

Nancy: By the time I was 20, I packed my bags and transferred from Ohio University (where I was on a scholarship to be on their speech team) to UCLA.  I majored in Theater Arts, but lived for the Sundays where I would catch the #86 bus and ride into Beverly Hills to study with Daws.  He would drive me back to my dorm (Sproul Hall) where I lived with YOU!!!  (Yes, good readers—Staness is a dear friend who I’ve known since our college years—way before either of us ever considered we would be going through menopause) Anyway, having Daws as my mentor catapulted me in the door of the animation industry – a door that wouldn’t have been opened otherwise.  He eventually took me out to Hanna-Barbera and I shook hands with the principal directors and in no time started auditioning there.  (Thank you, Daws!)

Staness: In one word, describe you.

Nancy: Spark plug

Staness: If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?

Nancy: Actually, I feel like I am constantly changing—evolving.  I think that is very important – a very “move forward” viewpoint.  Nothing ever stays the same.  We are either getting a little worse or getting a little better.  I think it is important to know that change is good and the more you seek to take responsibility and also improve yourself and thus your relationship with those around you, the happier you will be.

Staness: What does your life look like in 25 years?

Nancy: Oh heavens to Betsy!  Let’s see…I will definitely be a grandmother!  That’s cool!  I will also be celebrating my 24th anniversary to my own “Mr. Right.”   We will have known each other for 50 years by then!  Ken and I might also be celebrating the 24th anniversary of a camp that we are thinking of creating in Ojai.  There will be four cabins, housing 16 kids, a mess hall, horseback riding, archery, fishing in the stream on the location, campfire rallies, talent shows, awards night, star-gazing, picnicking…all the fun stuff you remember about being a kid.  I will also be very busy creating more personal projects for animation and probably working on-camera or stage again.  Whoo hoo!  (Don’t forget “spark plug.”)

Staness: What has been your favorite job?

Nancy: Without a doubt, “The Simpsons!”  Incredible experience, all 22 years so far!  The people I have met, the challenges I have had to overcome—who knew that we would be doing the voices for all those characters!?  It has been tremendously rewarding in that it doesn’t take a lot of time to for my participation.  And because of the time factor, I have lots of extra time to devote to creating other projects and doing other things I love.

Staness: What do you do for fun?

Nancy: Jet skiing.  Fun, fast and furious.  I also recently found that I am a sculptor.  I always knew that I had an urge to do that, but recently I took a class and ended up not needing any lessons because I already knew what I was doing!  Wild!

Staness: What contributed to your success?

Nancy: Surrounding myself with friends who are ethical; keeping my own integrity; knowing what my purpose is in life and keeping my goals in mind when I choose projects to do.

Staness: What is your “I’ve Still Got It!” moment?

Nancy: When my sweetie looks at me and says, “I can’t believe you are 53 AND YOU ARE SO HOT!!!”  And then he kisses and squeezes me!  Whoo hooo!

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Posted in I’ve Still Got It

Dark Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Strawberries in chocolate Dark Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Healthy dark chocolate has a cocoa content of 60-70 percent or higher. Eating 2 ounces (50 grams) a day of plain chocolate with a minimum content of 60 percent chocolate solids, can be beneficial to health – providing protection against heart disease, high blood pressure, and many other health hazards – as well as providing vitamins, and essential trace elements and nutrients such as iron, calcium and potassium.

A 1-1/2-ounce square of chocolate may have as many cancer-fighting antioxidants as a 5-ounce glass of red wine. And chocolate stimulates the secretion of endorphins, producing a pleasurable sensation.

Don’t feel guilty, enjoy this delicious snack on special occasion, or as desert after a romantic dinner.

4 servings
prep time = 15 minutes

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1 small carton of medium-sized whole strawberries

-Microwave chocolate in a glass bowl, stopping after 30 seconds, then every 10 seconds until almost melted.
-Stir until smooth and glossy.
-Wash strawberries and pat them dry (any moisture from the fruit will spoil the texture of the melted chocolate).
-Dip each strawberry into the melted chocolate, covering the lower half of the strawberry.
-Place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.
-Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Per chocolate strawberry
Calories 48

Protein 0.5 grams
Carbs 6.8 grams
Fat 18 grams
Fiber 1.1 grams

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Posted in recipes, dessert