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Cheers to 100: Reflecting on the Top 5 Missing Ingredients in Midlife

midlife health midlife nutrition midlife women

Celebrate with me as we toast to the 100th episode of the Midlife Feast! As you know, on every episode of the podcast, I ask my guests what they think the missing ingredient in midlife is. After revisiting the answers in 100 episodes, I want to share with you the top five insights that have reshaped our understanding of midlife and menopause. 


As we clink glasses to this journey, I’m celebrating all the incredible guests who have come to share their wisdom and experience, collectively reminding us this is not our mother’s menopause. No one has to navigate this season alone anymore. What’s more, is that we’ve discovered that with the right information, resources, and a trusted community, we have the chance to thrive in this season, not just survive. 

But most of all, I am celebrating the fact that you, the listeners have made this such a special community. Thank you for being such loyal listeners, for your regular feedback, and for sharing the show with more of your friends in midlife. 

Looking forward, I invite you to continue feasting on all that midlife has in store with more episodes full of vulnerable and empowering discussions!

๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰ Celebrate and SAVE 10% on an annual membership in the Midlife Feast Community using the code MISSINGINGREDIENT at checkout here โฌ‡๏ธ


Jenn Salib Huber: 0:00
Hi and welcome to the Midlife Feast, the podcast for women who are hungry for more in this season of life. I'm your host, Dr Jenn Salib-Huber. I'm an intuitive eating dietitian and naturopathic doctor and I help women manage menopause without dieting and food rules. Come to my table, listen and learn from me trusted guest experts in women's health and interviews with women just like you. Each episode brings to the table juicy conversations designed to help you feast on midlife. And if you're looking for more information about menopause, nutrition and intuitive eating, check out the Midlife Feast community, my monthly membership that combines my no-nonsense approach that you all love to nutrition with community, so that you can learn from me and others who can relate to the cheers and challenges of midlife.

Hey, everyone, welcome to this one hundredth episode of the Midlife Feast. I am humbled, amazed and shocked all of it because I could not have believed and trust me when I say this I could not have believed a hundred episodes ago that we would be here, and I spent a lot of time probably too much time, because we're actually recording this episode like the week before it comes out but I spent too much time trying to figure out how I wanted to commemorate this, because it felt really special, really big in a way that I didn't want to just slap a number on it and call it one hundred. So, with the help of Deanna, my podcast editor, we came up with this idea to mark this occasion by kind of doing a summary of the answers that you have all heard many times to the question what do you think is the missing ingredient in midlife. So that's what we did. We combed through all the answers, all the episodes, and I spent too much time reading them over because it was like a walk down memory lane, really, because this podcast started in October of 2021, which is crazy. So I loved kind of listening and reading, but I really loved trying to come up with what I thought were five summaries, I guess, of the answer to that question. So let's start diving in. So number five and some of these are a combination some of them are the exact word but some of them are like a concept. So number five, which will surprise no one is we need knowledge and open conversations. So knowledge is pretty obvious, because one of the reasons why I started this podcast and why menopause is having a moment is because we need to get the word out, we need to be talking about it more. One of my favorite episodes about this was with Amanda Thieb, where we were both sharing our experience a decade ago of needing to be our own fact finders, of needing to educate ourselves, of needing to really dig deep to find the kind of information and knowledge that would help us to kind of not just get through perimenopause but feel like we get to the other side with the right information. So we had lots of experts on. We had Dr Kelly Casperson, we've had Dr Jordan Robertson, we've had Dr Fnula Barton, dr Anise Mukherjee, dr Leah Sump We've had so many experts in midlife and menopause share their knowledge and I'm extremely grateful to each and every one of them and every time that we've had a knowledge expert on. These are the episodes where someone says I had no idea I learned so much, I feel so much more prepared, which is amazing and exactly why we do that.

But the other piece is these open conversations and so the story sessions, which are people in some stage of midlife not necessarily in chronological midlife, because you know, we've had somebody talking about going into premature ovarian insufficiency at, I think, 28. So we had Jen's story, but all of the story sessions are having open conversations about what's changed and how and what it has done to our relationships with ourselves, with our bodies, you know, with other people. But having these open conversations was absolutely one of the things that I wanted to make a priority, because so many of us have just felt alone. You know, I hear this all the time. I'm sure you see it all the time too People saying I just feel like no one gets it, I don't feel like anybody understands, and especially if you're in a different age or stage than your friends and peers, you may really feel like you're alone. I was 37 when I went into perimenopause.

Thankfully, one of my best friends was seven or eight years older than I was, so she was also in it, so we were going through it together. But if it wasn't for her, I didn't really have anyone else in my life. I mean, most of my friends were some just having their first baby. So this knowledge and open conversations emerged as a theme to the answer to that question so many times and you know I can't remember where I've read this before, but I think it really rings true that you know, data is just these points of information, but until we have experiences that connect them, they don't become knowledge, and so there's a lot of information online. There's a lot of data, but hearing from experts and hearing from others who have walked the same path either before, during or after where you are now is really where knowledge comes in. So I loved, loved, loved that this came up.

Jenn Messina: 6:10
I really think it's knowledge, to be honest, Like I think, knowledge about our bodies, knowledge about what to expect, what is quote unquote normal. I feel like there's so much misinformation out there and it's there's so much like demonizing of midlife Is it something to fear? And this and that, Like you know. But I think the more that you learn about it, the less scary it is. So, even if you're not in midlife, learning about it in advance so that you know what to expect.

Dr. Alex Verge: 6:42
I think I'll say information, which is sort of a boring one in a way. But, circling back to one of my opening statements around, a lot of people want to know more about how their health works and they're willing to meet people halfway or more. And when they don't have the information to better understand what's going on, it's harder to make decisions and it's harder to find your path through to what and how you want to do things, and it also can be scary that information is so powerful in so many ways.

Jenn Salib Huber: 7:25
Number four is also another one that I loved self-trust and learning to listen and trust your own voice. My favorite quote was from Dr Maria Luque on this and she said because if we learn to trust ourselves and I'm just paraphrasing but if we learn to trust ourselves, they can't sell us something. She dared all of us to look inside and say I've been around the block, I know my body, I know myself more than anyone, and learn to trust that. This is such a big theme that comes up in every conversation about intuitive eating as well. We're all born intuitive eaters. We all know how to eat. Anyone who's been around a baby knows that you can't convince a baby to eat if they're not hungry and you can't convince them that they're full if they're still hungry. We still have that ability to connect to those hunger and fullness cues, but we have to trust ourselves. I'm telling people all the time you already know how to eat, you need, or you already know what to eat, but you need to trust yourself that you also know how. Self-trust and believing that we have the ability to trust ourselves and navigate this midlife and beyond experience is definitely a missing ingredient, in my opinion.

Lisa: 8:55
I think listening to yourself from the inside as opposed to you know, there's so much, whether it's social media, whether it's on the internet, there's just so much coming at you all the time about what you should be and how you should be living. I would say, really take some time away and think about what you want, in addition to completely changing the way I thought about food and body size and what was most important, we left a life that my husband and I and my sons left, a life that most people would say aren't you really happy? Like a big house on the suburbs, kids in private school, big corporate jobs. We left all that behind and made that change at 47. And I think you know if you just listen to yourself, as opposed to all those external rules.

Dr. Maria Luque: 9:48
It is self-trust. Oh, we are losing in our own bodies. We're being told to not trust ourselves. We're being sold not to trust ourselves because if we trust ourselves they can't sell us. That's something that doesn't make any sense. So I really dare women to look inside and say I've been around this block 25, 50 years. I know more about myself than anybody. So trust that you know when something doesn't sound right. Trust that you are right, because you are, and that is a big missing ingredient. Just give yourself more credit.

Jenn Salib Huber: 10:35
So number three is fun, literally. So number three was fun and creativity, and this came up so many times and in different ways. So there were some obvious stories around creativity and guess that? We had Meryl Cook talking about creativity not too long ago. Kate Codrington was talking about how fun is the missing ingredient and how she has so much fun when she gets together with people in midlife. We even just had Dr Alex the other day saying that we need more fun and I think the fun and creativity are missing for some practical reasons at this stage of life. We talk so much about the sandwich generation and many of us still have kids at home and many of us are working and sometimes at the busiest time in our career, and it sometimes feels, I think, that those things are luxuries.

Right, that fun is a luxury, creativity is a luxury, but what it really does is connects us to ourselves. So having fun is pleasurable. Having fun and being creative, if we can, unlocks parts of our brain, unlocks new pathways, unlocks just the experience of living in our bodies. It's a very in-the-moment experience when you're having fun, and when you're having fun, it's also hard not to be worrying about all the things that our brains are really good at worrying about. But creativity, I think, is something that I definitely want to explore more in the community and in the podcast in the next year, because it really emerges as something that we have more interest in maybe have more time, maybe not, but definitely have more interest in and that the experience of creating is really what is nourishing at this stage of life. What we create and whether or not it's good by someone else's standards kind of doesn't really matter.

Well, it's never matter. It doesn't matter now, because in midlife we have no more Fs to give. But what I love about this theme around it being a missing ingredient is that it acknowledges that it's not just for kids Playing fun and creativity is not just something that we do with young kids. It can really nourish our midlife and beyond. So I love that that came up so often.

Meryl Cook: 12:56
For me, the missing ingredient was joy, and once I started to look for moments of joy, the practice I teach in my workshops is joy doesn't have to be a huge state, but you can look around and say, okay, that gives me joy, Maybe it's a flower or a bird on the harbor when you're walking. And then think about how does your body feel when you feel that moment of joy.

Kate Codrington 13:24
I think it's fun. I mean we've done pleasure already. I would have said pleasure, but I think there is a huge amount of funds to be had in the cracks between all the responsibilities and all the stuff we're doing with and any physical stuff, mental and emotional stuff. Midlife women crack me up.

Jenn Salib Huber: 13:53
Number two will come as a surprise to no one I bet all of you wondered why it's not on this list already and that is self-compassion. So this came up so many different ways, sometimes not just as the word self-compassion, but in what kind of the guests and what we were talking about and I mean obviously Susie Redding, who speaks about self-compassion all the time really expanded our definition of it too, and that rest is self-compassion, and self-compassion the strict definition is treating yourself with the same kindness as you would someone else who is in a similar situation, and I think all of us are really good at giving other people advice.

All of us are really good at telling our friends hey, you've got a lot going on, you should rest, you should take a day off, you should do something fun, you should do something that feels like you're taking care of yourself beyond just going to the spa, which it can include. And so this idea of self-compassion, though, extended beyond just that into conversations around how do we respond in those moments when midlife isn't being so fun? A conversation that comes to mind was one with Erica Berger, where we were talking about pelvic health and all of the not so fun things that can happen with pelvic health, and how can we have some self-compassion in those moments?

And I think that this really extends to any time our health changes, any time that we're experiencing something unexpected, whether it's an injury or whether it is something related to midlife, that, even if it feels like it's quote unquote self-inflicted I think that we need to have self-compassion that most of us are doing the best that we can in the moment with the resources that we have. So if self-compassion isn't on your menu, I highly, highly recommend adding it.

Susie Reading: 15:57
It's. I think it has to be self-compassion. Yeah, it has to be self-compassion, and I think this is another way that we can look at rest. Rest is self-compassion. It is acknowledging our basic human needs, coupled with the motivation to meet that need. That is what rest is, and I think-. Absolutely the important thing to understand is that truly beautiful things come from that place of self-compassion. Yeah, it's a mistake to think that being punitive is the thing that will help us step up and shine. It's not.

Alyssa Van Der Sluys: 16:33
Oh, the missing ingredient in midlife is just just like embracing your authenticity, embracing your body as it is right in this moment, as it is changing, because we're all changing and just not striving for that perfectionism. It's not real. Just be exactly who you are in this moment and brace yourself exactly who you are in this moment.

Jenn Salib Huber: 16:59
And the last one again. I'm sure you guys have all figured this out by now. But with community and not just because it's my favorite it came up time and time again that community around our midlife experiences is missing. There are lots of people who talked about having really strong communities when their kids were younger. If they had kids talking about one story session was talking about that. She missed having those connections around, like play groups, when her babies were young. We often talk about connections around kids' sports, and as your kids get older, that kind of fades out too. I've joked that it still shocks me that most of the time I don't even know my kids' friends' first names, let alone last names or where they live.

So the communities that were part of other life stages have grown and we've grown out of them, and so we often find ourselves not having the kind of community that we want and need, but also feeling a little bit lost about. Well, what is it that I wanna? Who do I wanna hang out with for one, and where do I find that? But I think that we need to expand what communities can look like. So one of my missions with this podcast was to create online community that people could hear stories, could hear from me and experts about what midlife was, that experience was, and how we can nourish a better, how we can thrive, how we can feast on midlife.

But one of our recent guests, which was Dr Jody Carrington, talked about how important it is for us to feel seen, how feeling seen is a critical component, and communities allow us in many ways to feel seen. They allow us to feel like we belong when we find the right one right. And so I think that understanding that we need to see other people who are in the same life stage maybe not age, but life stage of midlife or beyond, where we need to see people who are experiencing the same things that we are and also experiencing solutions, feeling better, navigating all of that that's the community piece, right?

So community to me is knowing that I'm not alone, it's having a place to hang out with like-minded people. It's having a place like my go-to for information, you know, like here in living in the Netherlands, you know, I found a great community with other people who are in this kind of temporary or expat life, and so when I need something, I have a question, I have a couple of go-to groups that I can just send a message and I know that I'll find the answer, that is, community, people who get it, that I don't have to explain the backstory.

And so what I often find in the intuitive eating community in the midlife feast is that people have been trying to find a community of people who get what it's like to have been on 20, 30, 40, 50 diets and to still feel like it's not working, to get what it's like to maybe be experiencing those body changes in midlife in a new and different way and I'm not talking about a fun way, but to be able to know that you're not alone, to be able to see that there are others and people who are thriving, is the value of community, so that we can feel seen, but also so that others can see us and we can have a place to just be. So I love that community came up so often and I love that it was a missing ingredient for many people. It was the missing ingredient for me and through this podcast and through the midlife feast community and online, I want to thank all of you for being part of my community, because you absolutely are.

Amanda Mittman: 21:03
The missing ingredient in is community. But I really felt that when I was going through my own tough day and I was like who can I talk to about this? And there was like I was like I'm a provider, Like there's no, like nobody else, and I realized how incredible it is to be in community with others and be able to talk about this. I think that is kind of like the missing sauce and it would be amazing if we could just talk about middle life like it is, not have to fix anything, not have to change our bodies, not have to kind of embark on health diets and things that we have no time and space for and energy for.

Ann Douglass: 21:49
It absolutely is community, and I know that's your favorite thing too, but it's like I feel like it flows through every ounce of my being, because we were never meant to journey through any life stage on our own, and midlife is no exception. It can be more challenging because of all those role, responsibilities and so on, but even just having an ongoing conversation, I'm lucky enough to have three younger sisters who are all midlife women, and so we have a perpetual self sisters chat going all the time. It started in March of 2020 and we rarely miss a day. So I think like you don't necessarily have to be in the same place, but you have to have that heart to heart connection, where I know if any of us had a health crisis would be like okay, we're all hopping in our cars and we're driving across the province and we'll be there for one another because you need to have your people right.

Jenn Salib Huber: 22:45
So I think that what I would like to kind of end on is the idea that you know community and learning to feast on midlife and developing you know, skills for self, compassion and knowledge and fun and creativity. All of these can be parts of what you add in. They can be parts of what you ask for for help or do it yourself, but that there are many of us who are searching for those same missing ingredients and that you don't have to do it alone. So I want to say thank you again. It really has meant the world to me that you guys have been here for 100 episodes and hopefully we'll be here for another hundred, because I'm having way too much fun to ever consider stopping us at this point. And I also have a little gift for all of you that if you would like to feast with me in the midlife feast community, that you can save 10% on an annual feasting membership, with the code missing ingredient and the link to that will be in the show notes. We are actively searching for all of these ingredients in the community and trying to have some fun while we're doing it.

So thanks again and here's to another hundred Thanks for tuning in to this week's episode of the Midlife Feast. For more non diet, health, hormone and general midlife support, click the link in the show notes to learn how you can work and learn from me and if you enjoyed this episode and found it helpful, please consider leaving a review or subscribing, because it helps other women just like you find us and feel supported in midlife.


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