Like so many women, I received my Osteoporosis diagnosis over the phone and it was a huge shock. It was so much to take in! Being a fitness professional, I felt embarrassed and devastated.
My doctor immediately offered me medication, which I declined because I wanted to do some research first. Sure enough, once I looked into it, I knew that I didn’t want to take medication.
From what I studied, I knew I wanted to take a two-pronged approach to my osteoporosis diagnosis: focusing on exercise and nutrition.
I looked at my alignment so that I could see why the exercise that I had been doing wasn’t working. Then I approached nutrition in a similar way—although my diet was healthy, I was still having digestive troubles. My sister advised me to begin with an elimination diet, which helps you find out which foods you are sensitive to.
Finding out that you are unable to eat certain foods is hard. It’s a big adjustment and can be very disappointing. But when you realise how much better you feel…no more headaches, lethargy, digestive problems…it is so worth it!
So I suggest you start by really getting to know your gut health. Try an elimination diet and then you will be working from a position of strength.
Here are some resources on elimination diets that I found helpful:
I tried a 30-day elimination diet—that was enough for me! I thought the signs were pretty clear. I've eliminated a lot of foods and I've learned to not to miss them. An interesting thing is that there are people who say that for instance they crave sugar. But it’s actually your gut bacteria that crave the sugar. Once your gut bacteria is cleared of sugar, you will no longer crave it. It's not good bacteria, and it uses sugar for its energy. It will die off and it will be cleared when you get rid of the sugar. There are herbs and probiotics you can take to support this process.
So, yes, I still eat fruit! But I've vastly eliminated all the sources of refined sugar. Not to say that I don't have some dark chocolate. In fact, I have a little bit of dark chocolate every day.
After I cleaned up my gut by altering my diet, I decided to start with probiotics.
Rather than going the route of reading all of the various suggestions on probiotics that you can buy, I decided I was going to make my own! I bought bottles and I started making my own kombucha; it's really easy to make. You can find the instructions and the recipes online, and you can even buy a scoby, the little kombucha starter online. I love the recipes and tips on this website. I am not an affiliate, I just like the site.
Then my husband decided to make sauerkraut! It’s also full of probiotics. So, again, it’s super simple, it's just a lot of chopping. Or you can even purchase bags of pre-chopped cabbage. My husband used a darker cabbage and ginger to get just the right flavor.
Now I feel great about what’s going on in my gut!
The next step was to start looking at how to get the nutrients that I need, through diet.
The facebook group Osteoporosis Natural Remedies was a big help with food and supplements.
I highly recommend that you do not take anyone's word for it when it comes to what you should and should not supplement. I made my own decisions based on getting advice, being pointed in a direction, and then reading the research myself. It is only after all that work, that I chose my supplements. For example, I do not take calcium. After reading the most current research, I decided to get my calcium from food. It is interesting to note that a 2019 Harvard Medical School Newsletter outlines why the 1200mg RDa for post menopausal women is likely too high.
If there’s anything I’d like to impart to you, it’s to take your time and do your research. I know the fear is real but you do have time, you do not have to rush.
When you are comfortable with the gut and nutrient side of things, then you may want to think about a fitness approach. Exercising with weights is a recommended and proven natural approach to bone growth promotion that makes sense for many women. Many of us need to address our core strategies before we embark on a progressive loading weightlifting experience. Additionally, many of us are interested in core strength and mobility for the lifestyle benefits they provide.
I’ve developed a system for finding core stability and strength while improving whole body mobility that is not a chore, but a fun journey of discovery. This process lives as a community online in the Short & Sweet with Sarah Membership. We open the membership four times a year. If you’re interested, you can read more about it here!