Q: Dear Dr. Mao,
I am a woman that has just turned forty. Without changing anything in my lifestyle, which includes watching my calorie intake and exercising daily, I have suddenly gained over thirty pounds; I have also been experiencing hot flashes, extreme mood swings, and night sweats. What can I do?
A: Age forty is when all the indiscretions of our youth catch up with us. I suggest that first and foremost you consult your primary physician to make sure the sudden weight gain is not a sign of a more serious condition. I would also check to see if you are peri-menopausal or entering menopause. It is a bit early, but some women experience this earlier than others. You have limited your calories, but you should also eat proper foods.
I recommend the following:
1. Avoid, stress, tension, and emotional turmoil. Also avoid various stimulants, including coffee, smoking, and alcohol.
2. Incorporate more black beans, sesame seeds, soybeans, walnuts, lycii fruits, mulberries, yams, licorice, Chinese black dates, lotus seeds, and chrysanthemum flowers into your diet.
3. Make porridge from black beans with rice, and eat twice daily.
4. Make a tea from chrysanthemum flowers, lycii fruits, and cassia seeds. Drink this three times daily.
5. Make porridge from lotus seeds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and rice.
6. Make a tea from licorice root, Chinese black dates, and wheat. This will help with extreme mood swings and emotional turmoil.
7. Eat five times per day. When you eat, keep the portion to one-third the size of your usual meal. Your last meal should be before 7:00 PM, and you should take a 30-minute walk two hours before going to bed.
I suggest you also consult a TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) doctor. We have many treatment protocols that can help with your symptoms.
You might also like to try the following herbal formulas from the Traditions of Tao: “Enduring Youth”, “Ancient Treasures”, “B-Slim” and “Calm-fort/Sleeping”. Of course, discuss with your physician before beginning any new health regime.