Skip to content

How To Transition Through Menopause Into Your Desired Life


How To Transition Through Menopause Into Your Desired Life

Felicity Cohen: Hello, I’m Felicity Cohen. I’m so excited to introduce you to my wellness warriors podcast. For over 20 years, I’ve been a passionate advocate for helping thousands of Australians find solutions to treating obesity and health-related complications. Through surgical intervention and holistic managed care.

My podcast is dedicated to all the people past, present, and future who has helped shape my journey and continue to inspire me to work consistently to achieve a healthier Australia in both adults and future generations. I hope you enjoy.

Welcome to my wellness warriors podcast. Angela Counsel. It’s an absolute pleasure to have you here with me today. And thank you so much for joining.

Angela Counsel: And thank you for happy having me, Felicity. I’m really looking forward to this conversation.

Felicity Cohen: So you’ve been in lockdown in Sydney now, and I hate to remind you of that. It’s the worst thing I can start with, but it’s over 10 weeks now, isn’t it?

Angela Counsel: Yeah, I think it’s just going on 10 weeks. I lost count. I was actually really lucky right at the very beginning. I was actually, I was in Queensland, so I did actually get one week break where I was at Scenic Rim, walking around, but then yeah, back to lockdown since. So I did have that a little bit of a retreat, right at the very beginning.

Felicity Cohen: And one of the things that I think is important to highlight about how people are experiencing the challenges at this time, you know, might be in relation to, and it could be hormonal.

It could be those who are dealing with menopause type symptoms and weight regain, and it’s a whole kind of host of contributing factors that may be having a negative impact on how they’re going through or dealing with either perimenopause or menopause.

So today this is your area of expertise. It’s all about menopause.

But actually before we get onto that, I’m actually fascinated about kinesiology as well and what that means. So you’ve been, your professional career has been as a kinesiologist naturopath for a number of years before moving into the space of becoming an expert in the wellness space and looking after women with a vast array of issues relating to menopause.

Tell me a little bit about kinesiology. What does that actually help us to learn and how can it help us get a wellness journey state?

Angela Counsel: Okay. So can kinesiology is a little bit of “woo woo”. It’s basically, it uses muscle testing. So uses muscle testing to connect to the subconscious mind because at a conscious level, we might say something, but our subconscious mind is actually saying something different.

And particularly when you work in the field of weight, you know, and we sit there going, I’m going to eat healthy, I’m going to eat healthy. I’m going to eat healthy, but there’s this little voice that says oh, that looks good. So kinesiology helps us talk to that little voice and it just uses muscle testing.

And really, it’s just the body’s way of telling us when our conscious and subconscious minds are in alignment, we will have a strong muscle. When they not in alignment, we’ll have a weak muscle. So it’s really just telling us that when the subconscious mind doesn’t agree with what we’re saying, we get a weakness in the body.

So that’s a very simple way of explaining it. And I go through and I get people to make statements. And then I muscle test on the statements and gives me an idea of whether or not their subconscious mind is on board with what they consciously want. So that’s a really simple way of explaining it. It’s more of an experience. You do have to experience to really understand it.

Felicity Cohen: Yeah, it’s fascinating. And I think many people don’t actually really understand what kinesiology is all about and what kind of therapeutic approach it takes and, and how it can help as part of a, I guess, a holistic approach to governance.

Angela Counsel: Yeah, it is. And because it’s very much emotional, but it also works on the physical level as well. All physical issues have an emotional component. And sometimes we don’t even understand what that emotional component is. So kinesiology just helps us to get to the emotional side of what’s going on, on a physical level.

So, you know, and yes, it also helps us to clear all these unprocessed emotions and belief systems that we have that we’ve basically grown up with it. Maybe we got as children and we brought it into our adulthood, but we don’t even know it’s there, but it’s there and it’s actually. It’s programming, what’s going on. And we don’t realise that is hidden programs that we all have.

Felicity Cohen: Amazing. So in your practical experience and utilising kinesiology in your practice over the time that you had your private practice, what are some of the most powerful things that you have witnessed or learned about utilising kinesiology as a therapeutic treatment?

Angela Counsel: It is really about the releasing of the emotions. That once we can release the emotions, it’s amazing that people then just start to feel better because they’re in a different energy space. Because you can sit in a space of why always me, everything’s really bad and everything kind of draws you down.

And whilst you might think that the issue is physical, when we actually do a session and clear whatever that hidden emotion is, and we within the form of kinesiology I also use Chinese medicine, the five elements theories, or use crystals. So use a whole pile of modules brought into one and it’s amazing that once someone gets to the end of a session, they go, oh, actually that ache that I had in my neck, it’s gone.

And well, we didn’t even talk about the ache in the neck but it may have been rated 8 out of 10 and how bad it was. But what they’ve done essentially, and this is the essence of everything I do is they brought the stress down. And once you bring the stress down, your body changes because when we’re in a stress situation, on a physiological level, our body actually goes into the stress response, you know, and it can tighten muscles up.

It can speed that heart rate up. It can, it does all of these things. And when we bring that stress down, all of a sudden, the body can bring balance itself. So, you know, there are lots of different situations, but really it’s just, when any time someone gets to the end of a session and they I actually can’t feel that anymore.

It’s not there. And that’s what it tells me that we’ve actually just cleared something.

Felicity Cohen: Very powerful to see someone experienced that level of release at the end of one session.

Angela Counsel: Oh yeah. It’s amazing. And look, it’s not just what it means. We do do it. We do notice a difference at the end of one session, but we do need to keep doing it because there’s deeper and deeper issues.

So rarely will someone get complete healing within one session. It is because there’s always layers upon layers upon layers. So we just go to each of the layers and each time they feel that little bit different. And then the next time we do it, we do it, we feel different. So it just keeps going because there’s always lots to clear, unfortunately. We’re humans and we’ve got a lot of baggage.

Felicity Cohen: So in your private practice, over a 10 year span of working in the space of kinesiology, combined with naturopathy. Tell me a little bit about your naturopathy practice. Obviously it’s utilising nutritional, medical techniques and all sorts of things to treat.

Tell me about your naturopathic journey.

Angela Counsel: So I’ve been a naturopath for nearly 20 years and I’ve been working primarily in the space of women’s health, but I didn’t become a naturopath until, oh no. I was a corporate warrior, you know, I used to be in the corporate world, highly stressed, you know, highly paid.

I was a consultant. But my life was kind of falling apart. And then I decided to take a little bit of a break to just see what else was out in the world, decided to start doing naturopathy. I have had a miscarriage at work. And then once I started studying, I fell pregnant and my oldest son is nearly 20 and I had another child after that too.

So I studied when I was breastfeeding. I was pregnant for five years as I continued to do all my study. And then I was practicing as a naturopath. So in that time I started, when I started I was working with women with babies, then women with young children. I have always been a few years ahead of my clients.

So it’s like once I kind of get through a stage of life, it’s like I’ve got stuff to share. That’s what I’ve done. And because now I work in the menopause space because I am already through menopause. So I’m post-menopausal. And the big thing for me, and even though I had worked in women’s hormones, I helped women have babies, rebalance their hormones, get their cycles, all of that going, I did all of that and I really didn’t understand menopause. When I studied it, I think it was like 15 minutes shoved at the end of a term. And it was not really talked about. So I didn’t understand what menopause was about apart from hot flushes and mood swings. And then I experienced it. So for me, whereas I went through it. And my biggest issues were I had unbelievable body and joint pain, and then the weight started to come on for no reason. And it didn’t matter what I did. I couldn’t lose weight in the past. I would do keto diet, I’d be able to drop the weight. I couldn’t do it anymore. I every time I tried to do a keto diet, all I want to do is eat a whole pot of carbs.

So it wasn’t working for me. And then I started talking to other women and they were having the same issue. So I needed to find answers, but not just from a weight point of view, I was more concerned about how do women live a healthy life once their hormones have started to shift. Because we get told that when you don’t have the hormones anymore, that everything starts to break down.

That your bones break down. That you higher risk of heart disease. We get told that our bodies break down because our hormones are coming down. That’s not actually the truth. And the more I delved into this space and there wasn’t a lot of research at the time. There is now, there’s a lot more research being done and starting to realise exactly what is happening.

And I always believe that the body knows what to do. So, I didn’t think there was any mistake with women going into menopause. So this narrative that your body breaks down didn’t seem right to me because that’s not how the body works. It always brings itself into balance and it adjusts itself.

So that’s kind of how I got to be doing what I’m doing now, sharing the message that it is possible to move through menopause with ease. It is possible to drop kilos as you move through menopause, even though it seems like you can’t. It is possible to not have all these symptoms. And it is possible to do this without having to take a whole pile of pills and potions.

And I work primarily, even though I’m a naturopath, I rarely prescribe anything these days, everything I do is diet and lifestyle. The most I would prescribed for most people is magnesium. At least they have specific issue going on, but when it comes to menopause, I don’t believe we treat menopause. Menopause as a stage of life and women just need to be supported through it and looking at their diet, their lifestyle, their stress.

And as we manage all of that, they, everything just calms down for them.

Felicity Cohen: So before you went into becoming a naturopath and kinesiologist, you had this high-powered corporate lifestyle that delayed your first pregnancy. And I think your first pregnancy was around about age 36?

Angela Counsel: No, 40.

Felicity Cohen: Oh, 40. Wow.

Angela Counsel: I supposed when I had my first, and 43 when I had my second.

Felicity Cohen: Do you think that having children later, which is very common these days more and more often, do you think it delays or changes the way you actually experience menopause when you get there?

Angela Counsel: Well, for me, and at the time I didn’t realise it because most people don’t realise that for menopause, that stage of perimenopause, which is the time before menopause. Menopause is really just like a line in the sand.

So when you haven’t had a period for 12 months, basically that’s menopause, after that in post-menopause, before that you’re in perimenopause. So menopause is just a transition. I call it a transition, but that menopausal transition can have, can start 10 to years before you actually have your final period.

So for me, because I came from being pregnant, breastfeeding, being pregnant, breastfeeding. At the time, I was under the influence of pregnancy and breastfeeding hormones. But as I came out of that, I was tired. I was run down, but I just thought it was cause I had two young children. Now looking back, I realise it’s more than likely because those hormones.

That like the transition of the hormonal journey had already started on the downward trend. Now because my period was regular, it wasn’t even in my frame of reference that anything could be going on and it didn’t really hit me until I got to about 54. And then all of a sudden, everything just seemed to fall apart.

And that’s when I realised that this was menopause for me. And I was almost at the end of having my periods, then it wasn’t regular. But that time between my last child finishing breastfeeding, and then which was probably 7 or years I was in perimenopause. But I didn’t know it because I just thought I was a mum, an older mum who was tired, who was trying to run a business and bring up two children at the same time.

And I just thought that was just life. And that’s it. Women think that it’s just life.

Felicity Cohen: I think that’s so true. And so many of us actually just think that and believe that and try and just have this attitude of, you know, you’ve got to just put up with it and soldier on kind of attitude that we built.

Did you consult with a doctor at the time that you were experiencing those menopause symptoms yourself? And were you ever prescribed anything that you thought, hm, I don’t know if I want to take this journey?

Angela Counsel: No, I’m not into doctors that much. I listen to my body. And yes, I took things for me. So there were herbs that I was taking, this nutrient supplements that I was taking. And I did work with other health professionals, just not doctors. So I have an acupuncturist. I have a massage therapist. So, you know, I do a chiropractor. So I work with other health professionals. Unfortunately, yeah, I won’t go any further on that, but yeah, I work with other health professionals.

Felicity Cohen: I love it. It’s a great idea that we can look at there are alternatives that you don’t have to go on antidepressants or HRT. And you talk a lot about that in your body of work.

You also talk about meno-belly being real, something that people experience. And it’s something that, yes. people put up with it. They get stuck and they think, what am I going to do about it? And it becomes quite a desperate stage of panic. Tell me a little bit about why, how, meno-belly, is it real?

Angela Counsel: Oh it’s real. Just ask any woman. That’s not real for a hundred percent of women, but the majority of women experienced meno-belly.

And anyone who doesn’t know what we’re talking about, meno-belly is that weight that sits around your waist that seems to come on out of nowhere because you haven’t changed what you’re eating. You haven’t changed your exercise. Nothing’s really changed, but all of a sudden this weight’s coming on and nothing you do will shift it.

It’s just really, really hard. And it does tend to sit around the belly can also sit around the hips and the thighs. When we look at where the weight sits, it gives us an idea of what’s going on with the body. So weight that’s sitting around the belly is very often associated with high stress or high cortisol levels or insulin resistance. So both of those are impacted by your reproductive hormones. So as your oestrogen levels come down, we women naturally go into an insulin resistance state, particularly if they have a tendency towards that over the years due to their diet, their lifestyle. So, you know, not eating the right food, drinking too much alcohol, too much stress pushes you naturally into insulin resistance.

But as your hormones shift, you will go straight into insulin resistance. And if we don’t address that, that is going to get worse because insulin resistance, as you know, is the precursor to diabetes. So we do really need to start looking at what’s going on with insulin resistance and we also need to be considering what’s happening with stress, the cortisol levels.

Because cortisol also puts the weight on around the belly. If you’re holding a lot of weight around the hips and thighs that’s tends to be more of a thyroid issue. Once again, as we move through menopause, thyroid can get more sluggish, stress impacts that insulin resistance, impacts that. So everything kind of works together, but we only ever talk about oestrogen levels dropping and some women know, or the progesterone drops too, but the reproductive hormones on their own and not the only cause of this.

It’s it is the cortisol. It is the insulin. It is the thyroid and they all interact with each other. It’s like this big spiders where nothing works on its own. And when we, when we kind of understand that it is natural for hormones to drop, and we do want them to drop because we no longer producing eggs every month, we know won’t go ovulating every month.

We don’t need to prepare a uterus every month for pregnancy. We don’t need that high level of hormones anymore. So we do actually want it to drop, but we also need to be considering what else is going on and how all the other hormones are interacting with each other, because that’s what causes the meno-belly.

That’s what causes the hot flashes, the sleep issues. All of that is it’s all caused by stress, insulin, thyroid as well as the reproductive hormones.

Felicity Cohen: Okay. Yeah, absolutely. And it’s very important to understand for many people that abdominal fat or, you know, the meno-belly that you refer to you, it can be a precursor or an indicator for potential risk factors, the cardiovascular health as well.

And you know, definitely, you know, when we’re concerned about all of the metabolic type disease indicators that are linked together, it is really important to be aware of reducing those potential risk factors. Because any of those conditions that are associated with being even a little bit of, you know, excess weight, they’re going to get progressively worse. So the more we can work on reducing them and finding better solutions, better options to prevention is always better than cure. I guess, if people are starting to experience all of those things in that perimenopausal phase, it would be great to start looking at, you know, what are the preventative measures that people can take before it gets worse first of all before we find it’s a big problem.

Angela Counsel: Yeah, because many women see menopause as like the beginning of the end. In fact, menopause is a window of opportunity. We actually have a window of opportunity at this time of life. Because our hormones shift and hormones are chemical messages that tell the body what to do.

Our body is changing. You know, they used to always call menopause that change. Well, that’s not far from the truth because our body is changing. It’s changing the way it’s functioning because we no longer have the high level of reproductive hormones and the way the reproductive hormones interact with other hormones and other parts of the body’s changing.

So rather than trying to get the body back that you had when you were 20 or 30, it’s like, well, okay, what do I want for the next half of our life? Because if we think, well, women come into this time of life around their late 40s, early 50s, we’ve got at least 40 odd years to go 50, depending on how long you think you’re going to live.

It’s like, so what do we want the next half of our life to be like, and we kind of have this open window and it’s not open for very long because once you’re through menopause and you’re about 5 years through menopause, it is very hard to change anything because your hormones have resettled at the lower rate, they’re not really going to change.

The body’s kind of gone into a new normal. So you’ve got this window whereby you can say, well, what can I do differently to create my health for the next half of my life? And that is looking at the food you’re eating, the way you’re moving. And it’s more than likely not the same way that you did things in the past because your body is now different.

And understanding, yes, you’re higher risk of insulin resistance because you don’t have particular hormones. You’re higher risk of having metabolic thyroid issues, stress, all of that are all impacting. But we can control that and we can bring that under control if we get in there and we start making changes at the right time.

Felicity Cohen: Amazing. Some of the things that you talk about avoiding, I think there’s five specific categories when we’re looking at diet and other things that can influence us. Obviously the toxic elements that we’d like to get rid of. So using plastics, but then red meat, dairy, grains. And I think there’s one other that you talk about as needing to eliminate.

Angela Counsel: Oh, they will be both it’s sugar and alcohol because all of those foods are highly inflammatory. Now, one of them, a very common symptom that women complain about, and this was my symptom as well, is joint and body pain.

And this is actually a relatively new symptom for women. And it’s because now the life we live, we’re more active. And, you know, if we go back a couple of generations when women kind of got to the 50s or so things were slowing down for them. They were grandmothers. I mean, I can remember looking at my grandmother when I was five.

My grandmother was probably only 50, but she was always so old. She looked old and you know, she was a grandmother. But when now a 50 year old woman is vibrant and is vital, but they are experiencing this pain. And when I started to experience it, I didn’t click that it had anything to do with menopause. And I was just, all I was doing was trying to take a whole pile of inflammatories until I realised.

Even though I had a relatively healthy diet, there were some things in my diet that were actually still causing inflammation. And oestrogen is a natural anti-inflammatory. So as your oestrogen levels come down, any underlying inflammation that’s there starts to come out and this is the pain. Now for me, the big and the big issue for a majority of women, I’m really sorry to say this, is alcohol.

I was never a big drinker. I used to have a glass of wine on a Saturday night with dinner and it was half with mineral water, half wine, and I did one or two of them, and that was all I would drink. But that was enough to keep me in constant pain. And finally, one day I was over being in pain and I just went okay.

I’m just going to stop the alcohol 100% and see what happens, my pain went away. I haven’t drunk anything in 3 years. Oh, sorry. Except for when I did the five day hike in Queensland, when we finished, they gave us , we celebrated with a glass of champagne and I thought, I’ll look, you know, I’ve just walked 65 kilometers or something over 5 days.

I’m just going to have half a glass of champagne. Now every night after I’d walked, I was walking 16, 18 kilometers a night. I really wasn’t in pain, but that particular night I could not sleep with the amount of pain I was in. And I know it was because I had half a glass of champagne. It triggered an immediate inflammation response in me.

So I know that alcohol is still something that I can’t drink because it’s too inflammatory for my body. I don’t want to be in pain because I want to be able to get up and leave and move. And walking for me in the bush is like, that’s like my saviour, particularly when I’m locked in my house most of the time.

So for me, giving up that alcohol was the benefits were far outweighed the, well, whatever, the other side of it, the niceness of it.

Felicity Cohen: Yeah, that’s fascinating. Let’s go through some of those other things. I think with sugar, you know, linked to the fact that people may be having poor quality sleep, then they’re looking for the next quick fix. So energy sources might be, I’m going to have high energy densed or sugary type foods, really poor choice. Often combined with too much caffeine. And you know, so there’s lots of elements in the sugar. How do we kind of talk to people about reducing their sugar intake?

Angela Counsel: Well, for me, it’s always when you start to look at your symptoms, so whatever your symptoms are. Now, obviously if it’s okay, just put the weight to the side for the moment. But any other symptoms, if you’re experiencing hot flashes, if you’re experiencing mood swings, start to keep a diary and start to notice what triggers them.

And you will start to notice that certain foods trigger certain things. Caffeine will trigger a hot flush because it puts a load on your adrenal glands and hot flushes occur when basically when the HPA axis, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, goes out of balance that triggers a hot flush.

So when we put load on the adrenal glands, then we’re likely to have a hot flush. That’s what coffee does. When we eat certain foods, we’re stressing the body so it will actually give us pain or it will stop us from sleeping properly. And then when we come to the weight, well, we’ve already spoken about insulin resistance.

So it’s like, if you want to lose the weight, if you want to shift that, we need to bring the insulin down. And the only way we can bring that insulin down. Well, the insulin response down is by changing what goes into our mouth, because the thing that triggers insulin is the stuff we put in our mouth. So if we’re really, really serious about this, we do need to actually start going, well, what could I do differently? Now by adding more fibre into your food, you then actually slow down that insulin response.

So having, you know, so eating a whole piece of fruit is better than having a glass of fruit juice. Because we’ve got the fibres. We want the fibre to slow the insulin response down when we just have juice or we’ve got a sugar water and there’s no fibre in there. So we just need to start to look at what are we eating?

And also from emotional point of view, why are you eating it? Because your body doesn’t need that sugar. If your energy levels are down, there’s a reason for that. It’s because you don’t have the right nutrients going into your body. You’re not fueling your energy cells. Well, you’ve got too much toxins going in there.

So if we start to look at it, your body doesn’t need all this sugar, particularly in the form that it comes to you. So why are you really doing it? And there will be an emotional reason. There’ll be a reason that it’s like, you know, for now at the moment, people are sitting in lockdown going, well, I can do nothing else, but eat.

So I just eat what’s here, so well, don’t buy it because that’s just an excuse. I’ll tell you in lockdown, when we very first went into all of this, when we’re beginning of last year. I lost weight because I didn’t eat that stuff. So it is a choice. And this is where, when I use the kinesiology, it’s like, why are you doing it?

Or just talking to them? And again, well, what are you missing out on? What’s hole is the food filling up? Because it’s filling up a hole. Something is missing, whether or not you don’t have connection. So for women that need lots of connection and all of a sudden they’ve been separated. They will eat to fill that hole. If they don’t have space, some women, you know, all of a sudden you’re at home and everybody else’s at home, so you don’t have your space anymore.

So they eat to fill that hole. So it’s like, what are you really looking for? Because guaranteed your body is not asking you to go and eat that chocolate bar or Mars Bar. But having said that I do eat chocolate nearly every single day. I eat dark chocolate and that’s fine, but it’s only a small piece and that’s my treat after lunch, but it’s like, we’ve got to look at what we’re eating.

Felicity Cohen: The other three things that I seen you talk about red meat, dairy and bread or grain. Gluten. So can you talk me through what happens and why when we get to perimenopausal, menopausal, we should eliminate or reduce drastically those food types?

Angela Counsel: So once again, because they’re all inflammatory. And particularly when we look at dairy and the casein molecule, which is in dairy, it’s the protein and gluten, which is the protein in wheat.

Those two proteins actually look very, very similar. And they’re also very similar to another protein, which is the opioid protein. So, which is why dairy and gluten can be a little bit addictive and it’s hard to give up. It’s very hard. They’re very large molecules and it’s very hard for the body to break them down.

We need specific digestive enzymes to actually break down those particular molecules. As we get older, we don’t actually naturally, we’re not making as much of that enzyme. And that actually starts from the time we’re in our 30s. We actually start to lose some of those natural enzymes. So we can’t break down those large molecules.

So now we’ve got molecules which are now not completely broken down, so they can’t be absorbed. So then they start to irritate the gut wall and this all causes inflammation. So having a small amount is probably not a problem, but I know for women , you know, cheese is always quite a nice thing, cause it goes really nice with the red wine.

But when we eat too much, we’re causing inflammation. So all of this is about how can we bring down inflammation or what is causing inflammation in my body?

Same with red meat. Now, I was always a really big red meat eater. And I’m like, I used to do paleo, keto. That was kind of my way of living.

So full-on for red meat. And if someone had said to me, stop eating red meat, I would have gone, oh my God, you’ve cut my throat. Now I’m not completely vegetarian, but I am very specific as to when I have my animal proteins. I don’t have animal proteins at night. And there’s a reason for that.

Particularly if you’re overweight and you’re struggling to lose weight, animal proteins, trigger an insulin response. We don’t want to trigger this at night time. It’s okay during the daytime, because we’re going to be moving, but if you do this at night, then you’re more likely to be storing more fat, because if you’ve got too much insulin going around, if it doesn’t get taken up, the blood glucose doesn’t get taken up by the cells issue and then converted over to fat and stores around the organs. So we don’t want this process having a night when we can’t actually be using up all that glucose. So I don’t eat much red meat anyway. I tend to eat more chicken, but my animal proteins I have in the middle of the day and I have them with a massive bowl of vegetables as well.

So I kind of keep that balance going there, but at night time, if I eat dinner, it’s plant-based only. So it’s vegetables only. And just by doing that helps to get these insulin resistance under control. Cause this is what we’re trying to do. And for me, I personally intermittent fast, but even in fasting isn’t for everybody.

So I do personalised health and understanding people’s genetics and the epigenetic influences. We then can then determine what the right eating style is for an individual. So for me, intermittent fasting works well, but for other people, there are some people who need to eat five meals a day. I eat two, I have breakfast.

I have lunch, rarely eat dinner. Sometimes I eat dinner. If I do, it’s just a vegetable-based dinner. So that works really well for me. But for other people, they need to be eating smaller meals every couple of hours. But we need to understand the right eating style for each person. And when we can adapt the right eating style for a particular person based on their genetic makeup, then you start to notice that the body starts to rebalance itself. The stress comes down, the inflammation comes down and you start to feel better.

Now there are some people who actually do better on our higher meat diet, but once again, it’s just, we have to be careful we’re not eating too much. It’s the balance between the meat and the vegetables and the reason why I tend to tell people, cause my clients, when they come to me, it’s normally a weight issue.

And cause when I look at their health type, which is their genetic health type, I know that they’re the type, they have the type of body that would do better on less meat as opposed to someone else. So just because I know that the kind of the genetic makeup of my clients, I’ve got a pretty good idea just by looking at their body shape, where they are.

So yeah, so somebody do need to be having meat, others don’t. And I’m not saying everyone has to be vegetarian or vegan or anything like that. It’s just getting the balance and understanding what your goals are. When it comes to health as to how much and when you eat these things, hopefully that makes sense.

Felicity Cohen: Yeah. No, absolutely. How about making sure that we’re still getting adequate protein and calcium from a plant-based diet or from vegetables?

Angela Counsel: Well see, that’s why you can get protein, you can get calcium from vegetables, but you don’t have to be totally a vegetarian. I’m not saying don’t have them.

I just minimize them. And particularly if it is red meat, just be careful of how much you’re eating and also be aware of the source because there’s the quality of meat plays a really big role. So if we, I mean, when I eat my meat that we have comes from a free range butcher. It’s actually called the free range butcher.

So I know that the, the meat has been raised on grass. It’s not grain feed cause that’s another issue. Grain fed beef was this kind of touted as being really good quality beef. It’s not really because they use the grain to fatten the cows up really fast. In essence kind of puts them into an insulin resistance state because they’ve got all this grain does the same thing to cows that does to a human.

And we don’t want to be eating that food because that gives the same message to our body, that this is the way, our body needs to respond. So if you’re eating meat, that’s fine, but probably you don’t need to be eating meat 7 days a week and eating meat at a large amounts and also the quality of the meat.

So grass fed is always better. The omega is a better on a grass fed than a grain fed beef. So it is about the quality and start to mix it up. And so you’ll get plenty of protein. You’ll get plenty of calcium. You’ll get plenty of iron, we don’t need as much iron once we are not bleeding on a regular level, a regular state.

If you’ll bleeding heavily, now this is interesting. Because if you bleed heavily, you can lead to iron deficiency, but iron deficiency can lead to bleeding heavily. It’s kind of like this never ending circle. And it’s like, how do we stop that? And sometimes at that stage you would then have to supplement so you can get the iron levels up. And I also use herbs to stop the heavy bleeding, but that can be an issue for some women as they come through this perimenopausal stage of life. That’s something that sometimes does need to be controlled. We need to stop it because the more they bleed, the less iron they have. And then the less time they have the more they bleed. So it’s like, okay, what don’t we do? We give you some herds to stop that bleeding.

And now it’s just supplementing your iron to get your iron levels back up so that we can kind of get that under control. But then having said that one of the underlying causes of heavy bleeding, particularly in this time of life, is too much dairy consumption because it’s highly inflammatory. And I had one client who was, she was consuming, she was like drinking nearly a liter of milk a day. Every single day. She loves, she was just so addicted to it and she was having cheese and everything. Her bleeding was out of control. And like, should we just couldn’t stop the bleeding? And then when I said, okay, look, you just got to cut back the dairies to start with.

I said, take it out completely. That’s it, take it out completely so that we could get the bleeding under control. And then we just put back a little bit that she had in her tea. I think it was the tea, but we had to really change because it was the inflammation of all of that dairy was actually causing her to bleed more, the more she bled, the worse she felt.

So it’s like, we’ve just got to look at what foods we’re putting in and how that’s impacting our body. So no one needs to be drinking a liter of milk a day, particularly not a 50 year old woman. Because we’re well past being weaned, but that doesn’t mean you can’t put some milk in your cooking or in your coffee or having a bit of cheese that doesn’t really matter.

It’s like keeping that the level to a normal level.

Felicity Cohen: What about stress? Do you think stress levels can bring on early onset menopause or what are the impact does stress have on that ?

Angela Counsel: Stress is the rest of it. It is the single most important thing that we need to be looking at.

Stress causes everything. So, yes, it can bring on early onset menopause. It throws your hormones out of balance. It causes inflammation. It can increase insulin resistance. It is all about stress. We need to get that stress under control. Now stress is quite often. We just think our stress is like the fight we had with our kids or a husband.

Stress is so much more than that. The stress is the food that we eat. Stress is how our body’s able to digest food. If you’ve got an issue with your gut, your gut isn’t working properly. That is stress. If your liver is not detoxing properly, we’ve got all these toxins running to your bodies. That is stress.

If we’re being exposed to all these environmental toxins, that is stress. If we’re busy at work and we’ve got notifications going, Bing, Bing, Bing, Bing, Bing all the time. That is stress. If we’re locked in our houses, because we can’t go out because there’s this mad virus that’s going to kill us all. That is stress. Well, that’s what the news tells us every night anyway.

So that is all stress. And this is one of the reasons why, and they’ve actually done a little bit of research on this, where they found that when everything kind of blew up in the world, the beginning of last year, women’s symptoms that are associated with menopause skyrocketed.

And it was all to do with the stress because all of a sudden we have all this stress, we’ve got the news telling us all this stuff. We’re told to stay home, we can’t see our friends. All of this stress is just like through the roof at the moment. And here in Sydney it’s pretty bad because there’s so much division going on and all this impacts you.

So if I was to say, if there was one single thing that you could do to reverse everything that’s going on with menopause to drop the weight, everything that would be reduce your stress, but reduce it in all areas but that’s almost near impossible. We can’t bring it down to nothing it’s like, so how can we manage that stress?

What can we do? We control what we can control. And that’s the food we eat, what we’re exposing our body to, the way we’re thinking. Whether or not we’re watching mainstream TV, whether or not we’re on social media, block out as much as you can, make the adjustments that you can and then allow the body to find a new balance. It’s new because the body’s always trying to bring yourself into balance. It just wants to keep you alive. That’s its role.And it doesn’t want to give up easily. So it just keeps balancing you. And this is one of the things that spits out this stress hormone to keep everything going, because it doesn’t want you to die. So. Yeah. Stress is it. Deal with your stress of everything.

Felicity Cohen: Yeah. Wow. It’s such a huge, big all encompassing part of our lives and definitely more prominent than ever before. I think it’s fabulous that you’re able to empower women to cope, survive, and move forward in such a positive and empowering way through their menopause years.

How do people connect with you to actually engage in one of your programs? How did they do that?

Angela Counsel: So my website is That’s kind of my first point of call or any social media, same name Angela Counsel. On my website, there is you can actually grab a free e-book called the Secret to Getting Rid of Your Meno-Belly, I think it’s called something like that. And that’s where I start to introduce the concept of personalised health and had different people are different. I also do run a regular webinar onthe Secret to Getting Rid of Your Meno-Belly and the information about that in the e-book as well.

And I’m about to run a 5 day understanding menopause workshop, but if anyone kind of follows me anywhere on the socials, I’m in Facebook way too often. I’m on Instagram not quite as often, but probably almost as often. Yeah, you’ll find me. And I’ve got lots of videos out there where I actually talk more about this and I actually will be a lot more visible over on Instagram.

I’m going to be doing a few more videos on Instagram, just to, women need to understand what’s going on. Women need to understand what’s happening with their hormones, because it’s very unfortunate that you get to the age of, you know, late 40s, early 50s, and you don’t understand your hormones, but that’s the way it is.

I mean, I would love that if women understood from the time of 12, exactly, what’s happening to their hormones all the way through, but we’re not educated on this. We don’t know this. Unfortunately, your doctor doesn’t know this in most cases, unless they’ve done additional training. We need to understand our hormones.

And when we understand our hormones, the fear goes, we now can actually understand what’s happening. So we get back in control rather than thinking that the control is everything’s out of control. That you actually do have the ability be in control because you can choose the way you want to live your life.

You don’t need to be, you know, for some women, yes. They might need to take HRT. I think the majority of women, don’t, it just depends on your individual situation. But even if you do, I still see that as a short term thing, whilst you address everything else that’s going on. Because otherwise when you come off the HRT, you’re going to have bigger issues than when you went on it.

That’s one of the things that doctors don’t talk to you about is what happens when we actually stopped taking HRT and that can cause lots of issues because we have a sudden crash in hormones. So it’s like, let’s take this window of opportunity and create the health that we want for the rest of our life, rather than just sitting back and waiting for it to happen.

Because guarantee, if you’re not in control, you’re going to find that your health comes down. This is something we need to work out for the second half of our lives. It doesn’t come as easy as it did in the first half. We need to be conscious about the way we want to live our lives.

Felicity Cohen: Thank you so much, Angela, it’s fascinating.

And it’s a really important subject to really dive into and have more connected conversations with women so that they do know that there are alternative solutions and there’s all sorts of opportunities to live better through this period of life. And so thank you so much for offering such a great insight into this subject.

Angela Counsel: Thank you for having me and allowing me to speak on this topic because we need to be really open about this topic.

Felicity Cohen: A hundred percent and I love that. That’s your passion that you’re empowering others. I have one final question that I like to ask all of my podcast guests. It’s an easy one. What does wellness mean to you, Angela?

Angela Counsel: Wellness means to me to be able to put on my hiking boots, put my backpack on and to wander into the bush by myself and feel confident that I’m safe. I’m strong, I’m flexible. And I can climb over rocks. I can do whatever I want. That to me is wellness. When I can do that, everything is great in my life.

If I couldn’t do that. I don’t know where I’d be, because all I want to do is, I’d actually ran away from home just so that I can walk in the bush. And I do sometimes lately when it’s been really stressful because of everything that’s going on, I just pull my boots on. I’m lucky I live not far from a big national park and I just go for a walk. That’s wellness to me to being able to have the freedom to do that whenever I want.

Thank you so much. Thank you very much for joining me today.

Felicity Cohen: Thanks for having me. It’s been fun.

Thank you for joining the wellness warriors podcast. It’s been a pleasure to have you online with us. If you enjoy the series, please leave your review, subscribe and follow, and we look forward to sharing many more stories with you in the future.

Nutritionist & Dietitian

Meet our team


Chealse Hawk

Nutrion Leader Coach

Isabelle Cole

Nutrion Coach

Joshua Chambers

Nutrion Coach

Laura Barrett

Nutrion Leader Coach