If you haven’t yet heard of the “carnivore diet,” let me introduce you. It’s basically an eating plan on which you eat no plant foods or carbohydrates of any kind. You eat only animal proteins – that’s it.
My version of the carnivore diet is my Carbohydrate Pause, one of the five six-day eating plans featured in my new book MenuPause.
Pausing carbohydrates is a great reset that takes the body back to its nutritional roots. We humans actually evolved as meat-eaters, surviving on meats, wild turkey, and the fats within them, especially during winter.
True, this plan, as well as meat-eating in general, is not for everyone, and I respect that. But if you do enjoy meat, poultry, and fish and need a change, the Carbohydrate Pause is worth a try. It also has a number of benefits if you’re dealing with menopause symptoms and want to resolve them. Take a look.
Balance Certain Hormones
Meat and seafood have a big say in how your hormones work. Primarily, they are useful in boosting testosterone levels. Menopausal women need testosterone to preserve and increase libido, retain muscle mass, and avoid disorders like osteoporosis and depression.
The reason meat raises testosterone is that it contains lots of zinc, which promotes its production in the body.
Eating fish, in particular, is a great way to raise progesterone levels, because it is high in vitamin D, a nutrient that promotes progesterone production.
You have different nutritional needs when you reach menopause; your body is different (and in lots of ways better!) than it was at age 25. One of your most pressing needs right now is more protein. Protein is the youth macronutrient, especially for women! Here’s why:
Protein helps you stay healthy into your later years. In one study of more than 300 elderly participants (average age of 72), women who consumed between 1.75 to 2.65 grams of protein per pound of body weight each day tended to have fewer health problems than women eating less than 1.75 grams. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, you’ll want to eat around 260 grams of protein daily.
Protein makes you strong and functional. In your 30s, your muscle mass begins to gradually fall off; after age 50, this decline speeds up. However, if you eat enough protein and engage in regular resistance training, you can put a stop to this decline and actually increase your lean muscle mass and strength.
Protein strengthens bones. A 2019 study conducted in the Netherlands analyzed four major studies, looking at high versus low protein consumption and bone health in people over age 65. The investigators found that higher protein intakes resulted in a significant decrease in hip
fractures. This is an important and promising finding, because hip fractures are a major cause of death and disability, especially as we get older.
Clear Up Brain Fog
When you start forgetting things mid-sentence, feeling fuzzy in the head, or losing focus, it can feel as if you’re going crazy. But it’s probably the menopause symptom called brain fog.
Fortunately, this assault on our thinking, our concentration, our hormonal balance, and even how we adapt to stress can be overturned with food, particularly protein.
Fish, for example, is high in brain-supportive omega-3 fatty acids. In terms of brain health, omega-3 fats are beneficial in promoting better clarity, mood, and overall thinking. What’s more, they also help improve concentration and the general operation of your brain—good news if you frequently experience brain fog.
Another nutrient in animal protein that helps brain fog is choline, a neurotransmitter that is involved in sleep, muscle control, pain regulation, learning, and memory. Choline is available only from animal foods, most notably eggs and liver.
Then there’s Vitamin B12, another brain-protective nutrient. A deficiency of vitamin B12 has been suggested as a culprit for depressed cognitive function in people who consume only vegetable foods. Guess where you can get B12? Animal protein!
I designed my Carbohydrate Pause to be followed for only six days at a time – which is very doable. Plus, it comes with several delicious recipes too that will make those six days fun and enjoyable. If you’re interested in trying an all-meat diet and pausing carbs for six days, order your copy of Menupause now and start reaping the many benefits of dietary protein.
Groenendijk, I., et al. 2019. “High Versus low Dietary Protein Intake and Bone Health in Older Adults: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal 22: 1101–1112.
Vellas, B. J., et al. 1997. “Changes in Nutritional Status and Patterns of Morbidity among Free-Living Elderly Persons: A 10-Year Longitudinal Study.” Nutrition 13: 515–519.
Anna Cabeca, DO, OBGYN, FACOG, is bestselling author of The Hormone Fix and Keto-Green 16. Dr. Anna is triple-board certified and a fellow of gynecology and obstetrics, integrative medicine, and anti-aging and regenerative medicine. She holds special certifications in functional medicine, sexual health, and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. She lectures frequently on these topics throughout the world to large audiences and is known nationally as The Girlfriend Doctor and is host of The Girlfriend Doctor show. She has personally developed natural products to help women balance hormones and thrive through menopause including the highly acclaimed Julva® cream for the vulva and MightyMaca® Plus, a powerful superfood blend. She now lives in Dallas with her daughters, horses and dogs.