My Menopause Story

My Menopause Story

At 34, I had a rough birth with my twin boys.  That’s me in the photo.  It’s taken just after putting up the Christmas tree so I know I had another 3 weeks and a kidney infection before I gave birth to them on January 5th 2003.  They weighed 6.7 and 6.3 lbs – that’s a lot of baby for a 5-foot woman to carry.  So when they were delivered via emergency C-section at 40 weeks after 2 days labour, I had nothing else to give.

My body didn’t even have the energy to contract my uterus so I haemorrhaged and almost died. Yes I saw the white light and someone had a chat with me.  It was an amazing experience and being so knackered I wasn’t sure I wanted to come back.

But back I came to look after my twin boys and run the environmental empowerment organisation I owned,  The company worked with the regeneration of Ballymun, well known for its high levels of unemployment, drug usage and high-rise tower blocks. It could be a dangerous and stressful area of Dublin to work in. I over identified with the success of the projects and worked way too much. I had qualified as a shiatsu practitioner in 2002 but this job was where the money was.

When the twins were 2, I found out my partner was having an affair within the company. I was just too exhausted to carry on. I turned the business into a community development. I left him and my business.

That’s when my Peri-Menopause symptoms started. I would get so dizzy I thought I was going to black out.  The first one happened on a busy motor way which triggered panic attacks leaving me feeling anxious all the time. My sleep pattern was disrupted and I was so exhausted I would forget my children’s names. I felt so isolated and alone, I often thought I wasn’t going to make it. My whole body hurt. I was only 5ft tall and weighed 14 stone because I comfort ate all the wrong food.

Luckily I had my background of Chinese Medicine and Shiatsu to guide me.  I started to improve my diet following Traditional Chinese Medicine Guidelines.  I began to practice a Chi Gong and receive regular shiatsu. I started with baby steps, little by little. I’m 55 now with no panic attacks, and no anxiety. I sleep well, and can remember what I walked into a room for. My skin is glowing and I have no grey hairs. Keeping the weight off can be tricky but I know what to do when the pounds start climbing on and if I have the odd bad nights sleep I know which points to press, which foods to eat and which Chi Gong exercises to do to ensure that things come back to balance naturally. My life is good, I have a sense of purpose, I wake up feeling rested, and I am happy.

The problem for me is that I was suffering Adrenal exhaustion. My kidneys, had nothing left in the tank to balance my hormones naturally, which meant I was either on overdrive with my heart bouncing out of my chest or too exhausted to move of the sofa.  For you it might be your liver making you feel bloated or gaining weight around your middle or your spleen out of balance, craving sweet food to give you energy but with a brain fog to see nothing clearly.

There are no two people the same / there are no two menopause is the same / there are not two solutions the same.

Which is why I created Chi Flow with Jo Intermittent fasting programme.

  • A fasting schedule that increases gently and slowly – not eating from 8pm to 8am – could you do that?
  • 30 min Daily Qi Gong exercises working on the Spleen and Liver (recordings also sent daily)
  • Daily Live Check in – for Q&A and support
  • Daily nutrition advice and recipes
  • Free access to Live Boost metabolism Talk
  • Join me LIVE in my kitchen for easy simple healthy recipes including Castor oil pack to clear a fatty liver
  • Closed Facebook group for sharing and support

We are often told we need to endure or just wait for the menopause to pass, but that can take years.

Don’t regret getting older – this is your time to shine.

So if you are

  • The queen of stripping: taking off layer after layer, with skill and speed when a hot flush hits?
  • Too exhausted to do anything, but when your head hits the pillow, you find it impossible to sleep?
  • A supplement junkie, trying everything to thicken hair, reduce hot flushes, help you sleep, stop your joint pain but nothing works long term?
  • Too nervous to go out because anxiety and heart palpitations appear out of nowhere?
  • Slowly gaining weight around your middle but your arms and legs are staying skinny?

It’s never too early and it’s never too late to make changes so you can be more confident, less anxious, get fitter and stronger, find your purpose, say goodbye to self limiting beliefs and negative emotions.


Your best life experiences are still to come

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”

Lao Tzu – Chinese Medicine Philosopher.

At the end of the month I will be giving a FREE fasting and the menopause Qi Gong class – to receive the live link and the recording sent to your email – simply CLICK HERE or enter your email into the form below.

Fancy a FREE Qi Gong class at the end of the month?


Foods For an Overheated Menopause

Foods For an Overheated Menopause

Yin deficiency means that the body is lacking in the moistening fluids that relax the body.

In times of extreme stress the body can generate severe amounts of heat which burn off yin fluids. Plus, stress and fear produce adrenaline and cortisol which contract the kidneys meaning further depletion of yin fluids.

Blood is one of the manifestations of yin within the body therefore any severe blood loss caused by accidents, operations or heavy menstruation, especially during menopause, will lead to a yin deficiency.

So choose food that nourishes the kidneys, fluids and mineral balance within our body such as Seaweeds, Spiriulina and Chlorella. Wheatgrass and other Chlorophyll rich foods will build healthy blood and therefore boost Yin.  For a full list see my books where you will each organ broken down into flavour, function, emotion and season in Chinese medicine.

Avoid stimulants such as fizzy drinks and coffee and look at how you are cooking. Are you using cooking methods such as baking and steaming which support Yin or are you deep frying and microwaving? The latter two will weaken the Yin, blood and body.

Whilst it is great to have foods that promote Yin cooling fluids to counteract the Yang heat and dryness, it is important to have a practice that promotes Yin in the body such as Qi Gong or Yin Yoga. At an emotional level it is good to know how to switch off and let the universe be in control for a while.

Quite often, as women we run a busy house or have a busy job and we are used to being in control and multi tasking.  If this is you it could mean that by the time you get to menopause, peri-menopause and beyond there is no Yin left in the tank to cool the body and support the natural process of ageing. Every Yang action needs to originate from the still Yin point within us. So take time to let go of control and receive the magic that is possible if we practice the art of allowing.

Find a practice or a time in your day to connect with that deep part of ourselves that can be nourished by rest and breath – this is Yin.

For the whole month of March we will be focusing on breath and movement for Menopause and beyond.  Why not receive the free mini ebook with a recipe, acupoint and recipe or join me for the free class at the end of February.

From a Western Medicine point of view, oats are high in magnesium and help to calm the body and build sexual energy. They contain a nervine alkaloid called Avinine which, on a long-term basis, works to restore the nervous system.

Oats are a popular breakfast food and this recipe is perfect for a weekend brunch. It’s rich and sweet yet still full of soluble fibres to help remove cholesterol from the large intestine. In addition, oats are a great source of manganese, selenium, vitamin B1 and magnesium. They regulate hormones and the spontaneous sweating associated with fluctuating hormones.

Mixing the oats with pecans, which are full of pyridoxine (vitamin B6), further increases the usage of amino acids found in plant protein available
in oats. In terms of Chinese Medicine this means pecans transform nutritional essence, which feed the kidneys, into usable energy. In this way, they reduce nervous tension and overproduction of hormones; balancing the Yin & Yang


Baked Porridge

  • 200g rolled oats
  • 60g walnut or pecan pieces
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 475ml almond milk/goats milk or any plant based milk of choice
  • 1 large egg
  • 60g unsalted melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 60ml maple syrup
  • 2 or 3 ripe bananas
  • 200g mixed berries

Method:Butter a 20cm square (or anything similar) baking dish, chop the banana into medallions and line the base, cover with half of the berries. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and the wet ingredients in a jug. Cover the fruits in the baking dish with the oat mixture and the remaining fruits sprinkle on top. Pour the milk mixture slowly over the oats and fruits and pop it in the preheated oven at 190 degrees for 45 minutes. It is both breakfast and dessert.


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