In this episode, we discuss why we crave sugar and how it impacts your health negatively in more ways than you might realize. We also uncover some effective behavioural and replacement hacks to get those cravings under control (and possibly quit sugar!).
What’s the big deal about sugar?
Your sugar intake is likely much higher than the sugar intake of your ancestors – the average American intake of sugar (mostly from fruit and veggies) in the late 1800s and early 1900s was 15 grams a day. Now the average adult intake is 55 grams a day and 73 grams a day for adolescents.
Not long ago, Type 2 Diabetes used to be called Adult Onset Diabetes. They had to change the name because more and more kids were developing diabetes that wasn’t typical juvenile diabetes (now known as Type 1 Diabetes).
In a study of 154 countries, scientists found that adding 150 calories a day to the diet barely raised the risk of diabetes in the population, but if those 150 calories came from regular soda, the risk of diabetes went up by 700 percent.
In this episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni cover:
What exactly is sugar
How to find out how much added sugar is in your food
How much sugar is healthy for you
The impact of sugar on your health
Strategies to change your sugar habits
2 categories of sugar:
Naturally occurring sugar: found in food, eg. fruit, milk, almonds!
Fibre, protein and fat also found in that food will slow down release of sugar into bloodstream for better blood sugar balance
Nutrients needed to process sugar already included
Added sugar: sugar added to processed foods eg. pop, baked goods, yogurt, salad dressings, salsa and other sauces
What is sugar?
Sucrose – table sugar from sugar cane or beets
Fructose, glucose, lactose and anything ending with -ose
Honey, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, agave nectar, evaporated cane juice
High fructose corn syrup AKA glucose-fructose
Sugar can impact your immune system function:
1 tsp of sugar decreases certain kinds of immune function by 50%, recent research shows it’s even more important when you’re fighting off a bacterial infection, like urinary tract infection or strep throat.
Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF) can be carcinogenic and drive the cancerous process; recent research is looking at low carb ketogenic diet to treat cancer
High fructose corn syrup is known to cause bloating and gas!
How do you know how much sugar is in your food?
You can read the Nutrition Facts label of all processed food
Look at serving size first –
Check protein and fat grams
Check carbohydrate and sugar grams
Subtract fibre grams from carbohydrate grams for net carbohydrate amount
Compare labels, read ingredients lists and choose one that has less or no added sugar. Avoid products that have a type of sugar listed in the first 3 ingredients.
The American Heart Association recommends that women get no more than 6 tsp per day (1 tsp equals 4 grams).
Sugar can increase your risk of:
Increased blood pressure
Alzheimer’s and dementia (which is being called “Type 3 diabetes of the brain”)
Hormonal imbalances such as PCOS
Anxiety and mood swings
Your brain is wired for sugar! The more you eat, the more you want. We have evolved to seek out sugar for survival, but we have access to an abundance of sugar now. It’s important to hack into your evolutionary instinct to reach for sugary foods by looking at your behaviours around sugar.
How do you use sugary foods?
Routine, automatic or mindless intake
Instead, drink a glass of water or tea
As a reward
Instead, try a non-food reward like reading a book, watching a movie or TV show, calling a friend
Instead, look for root cause for low energy and address it – check out Episode 18
Tips to Change Your Sugar Habits:
Set a timer to distract yourself with another activity if you have a sugar craving
Drink a glass or water
Brush your teeth and floss after dinner to prevent late night snacking
Drink something bitter or acidic like lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to cleanse your palate
Eat or drink something healthy that is naturally sweet, like rooibos tea or an apple with almond or hazelnut butter
In today’s episode, Dr. Lisa talks with personal fitness trainer Erin Billowits about how to stay active even when you’re not feeling motivated. Erin shares ways to sneak exercise into your day (for example, while you wait for the kettle to boil!) and how to stretch while on a Zoom call. She also talks about ways to help keep your kids active while most extra-curricular activities and sports are on hold.
By starting Vintage Fitness in 2005, Erin has created a team of professionals who work with people over 50 to motivate and train them in a way that is challenging, effective and safe.
In this episode, we cover:
The common mistake women make of focusing too much on cardio and not enough on weight training
The importance of variety and mixing it up with physical activity so your body doesn’t get too good at any one movement
Why crunches aren’t the best idea to work your abs and core
How motivation doesn’t just fall into your lap – you need to make the appointment, even if it’s to start small
The importance of having a goal and connecting to the reason why you are doing any exercise
How the benefits of exercise aren’t just limited to managing your weight and include improvements in your:
Mood and mental health
Strength and posture
Why the worse thing you can do if you have joint pain is to rest instead of continuing appropriate movement
The importance of scheduling a wellness hour for yourself every day
Different tips on how to sneak in exercise into your day by pairing certain activities with your usual routine while in the kitchen, brushing your teeth or working at your desk
How to keep your kids active as a way of life
How strength training is the key when you reach perimenopause, as well as watching what you are eating
Do you need help with your motivation to exercise?
Erin is offering you a free virtual training session!
All you have to do is visit go to the VINTAGE FITNESS WEBSITE to request a session online, or you can call or text her to set it up at 416-951-7978
You can follow and connect with Erin and Vintage Fitness on Facebook.
Here is a video on how to sneak exercise into your day while in the kitchen.
Here is another video on how to get exercise in using your stairs.
Here is a short video on how to stretch while working at your desk.
Today’s Mama Must Have:
Erin’s must-have is Zoom yoga classes, with the added benefits of having a shared experience, mindfulness and feedback from the instructor.
Dr. Lisa relies on her daily 1-hour walk to get all of the benefits of movement.
In today’s episode, Dr. Toni talks with Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support Centre founder Aditi Loveridge about how to support each other around pregnancy and infant loss. The more we can talk about our experience, the less isolation and stigma we all feel when dealing with pregnancy and infant loss.
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. 1 in 4 women will experience a miscarriage or pregnancy loss. Both women and their partners can feel unsupported and alone in their loss since both pregnancy and infant loss is not a common topic of conversation.
Aditi Loveridge is a certified coach and grief recovery specialist, mindfulness meditation teacher and owner of pregnancylosshealing.com. She has been nominated for the Women of Inspiration Award from the Universal Women’s Network for her work in filling the gap to support those who are experiencing the complex journey after pregnancy and infant loss.
In this episode, we cover:
The impact of your language: miscarriage versus pregnancy loss
How pregnancy and infant loss can be a isolating journey especially during a pandemic
The importance of receiving permission to grieve and discuss your loss
How we can start to acknowledge the loss of those you know
The phrases that can minimize your experience
The importance of feeling the heavy and uncomfortable emotions around loss instead of toxic positivity or going straight to silver linings
The impact of culture, race, sexual orientation, gender identity and socio-economic status on pregnancy and infant loss
How it’s possible to grieve a loss individually and as a family while parenting your living children
“Grieving is innately a selfish time and it needs to be.”
You can connect with Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support Centre online for virtual support. Anyone in Canada or the US can text or call their Pregnancy Loss Support Line at 1-888-910-1551 for 100% confidential bereavement peer support.
Today’s Mama Must Have:
Dr. Toni is a big fan of fabric hats, like her dark denim cap and collection of berets, that are easy to throw in a bag and great to stay cool or warm in summer and fall. Who needs to have the time to get your hair done when you can just wear a hat?
Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni are together again! They discuss signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism, how to properly diagnose imbalances, how to eat to support thyroid health and how we approach assessment and treatment as Naturopathic Doctors. Dr. Lisa also shares her own experience with low thyroid function and how she manages it.
One in eight women will develop thyroid disease at some point in their life and women are 5-8 times more likely than men to experience thyroid issues.
As Dr. Lisa shared previously in Episode 3, she realized that her thyroid wasn’t functioning properly after giving birth to her son. It is common for women to discover thyroid issues in the postpartum period. Proper blood work, addressing stress and taking dessicated thyroid were crucial for Dr. Lisa to feel her best.
Why is your thyroid so important?
Your thyroid gland regulates your temperature, energy production and metabolism. When your thyroid is under functioning, it is called hypothyroidism. High thyroid function is called hyperthyroidism.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
Fatigue and exhaustion
Unexplained weight gain
Increased sensitivity to cold and temperature changes
Dry skin and thinning hair
Cravings for sugar and carbohydrates
Muscle weakness, aches, tenderness and stiffness
Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
Heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods
Depression and anxiety
as many as 15% of women on antidepressants have an undetected thyroid problem as the cause of their depression
Brain fog, poor memory and concentration
Studies of women in their 60s have shown that low thyroid function can cause dementia-like symptoms and treatment can improve cognitive function and have a protective effect on the brain
Increased risk of heart attack, cardiac arrhythmias and congestive heart failure due to the regulatory control of the thyroid on heart rate and rhythm
Fertility issues, increased risk of miscarriage and preterm birth
Increased risk of prenatal and postpartum depression
Why do so many women have thyroid issues?
Environmental exposure to different chemicals, xenoestrogens and heavy metals
Certain medications including birth control pill
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
Iodine, selenium, vitamin D, zinc, iron, vitamin A
Low calorie diets
High cortisol levels due to chronic stress reduces thyroid hormone production and inhibits your conversion of the inactive form of thyroid hormone, free T4, to the active form, free T3
Leaky gut (also known as intestinal hyperpermeability) and imbalances in your gut microbiome have both been shown to Hormone imbalances and fluctuations, for example when you are postpartum or in perimenopause
Environmental toxins, chronic stress, nutritional insufficiencies, leaky gut, food intolerances and having chronic inflammation are all factors that can contribute to autoimmune disease, where your immune system is triggered to produce antibodies that can attack your thyroid, which is what is happening when you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
How do you properly test your thyroid function and the underlying causes of thyroid issues?
Full thyroid panel: TSH, free T4 and T3, thyroid peroxidase antibodies, thyroglobulin antibodies, reverse T3
Vitamin D, iron
Gluten and other food sensitivity
Saliva and urine testing for hormones including cortisol, estrogen, progesterone
Urine testing for heavy metal exposure (eg. cadmium, mercury)
Temperature checks every 3 hours during the day to see if your body is using your thyroid hormones properly
What can you do about an underfunctioning thyroid?
Avoid raw goitrogenic foods – soy and Brassica family veggies like broccoli and cauliflower
Increase your intake of thyroid supporting foods
Seaweed like dulse for iodine, brazil nuts for selenium, pumpkin seeds and oysters for zinc
Reduce toxin exposure
Replace nutrient deficiencies
Consider adrenal and stress support
Address your throat chakra – speaking your truth, asking for help
Herbal support with ashwagandha, kelp, bladderwrack, Coleus forskohlii
Thyroid hormone replacement with Synthroid or Dessicated thyroid
Take in the morning, on an empty stomach, away from caffeine
Why would you consider dessicated thyroid?
If you’re on monotherapy like Synthroid (T4), you still night suffer from anxiety and depression even if your TSH levels are normal
T4 may not be enough to restore your T3 levels in your blood and target tissues
It contains all four natural thyroid hormones – T4, T3, T2, T1, plus iodine, thyroglobulin
Today’s Mama Must Have:
Dr. Toni loves having a healthy and easy recipe like Egg Muffins from Amanda Naturally that the whole family will eat for breakfast or a snack. Check out Episode 3 for more tips for healthy food habits from Amanda.
Dr. Lisa knows that Dessicated Thyroid is an absolute must have for her!
In today’s episode, Dr. Toni talks with physiotherapist Kirstyn Richards about what women need to know about their pelvic health to help heal from labour, C-sections and more. Pelvic health is not just about doing your Kegels! Treatments can support those suffering from painful intercourse, prolapse, diastasis recti, stress incontinence and bowel issues. Listen to find out when it is time to see a pelvic floor physiotherapist.
Kirstyn Richards is a new mom and pelvic health physiotherapist practicing in Calgary at Moss Postpartum House who focuses on helping women thrive during their pregnancy, prepping them for birth and aiding in their postpartum recovery. Kirstyn received her Masters of Physiotherapy from the University of Alberta after working in the field of orthopedics, pediatrics and chronic pain.
In this episode, we cover:
What to expect from a pelvic floor physiotherapy visit
How a pelvic floor physiotherapist tailors your individual treatment so you can get your muscles working while you’re doing your regular daily activities
The difference between going to a doctor and a pelvic floor physiotherapist for pelvic issues
The importance of breath and relaxation for your pelvic health, especially if you experience pelvic pain
How tight muscles can actually cause weakness and pain in your pelvic area, as well as symptoms like leaking urine or bowel control, especially when you cough, laugh or sneeze
How you can visualize the muscles in your pelvic floor
Why women who have had C-sections could also benefit from pelvic floor physiotherapy
A simple way to check how well your core can manage the pressure on your pelvic floor
You can find Kirstyn’s virtual pelvic health resources through the Moss Postpartum House online class calendar and virtual classroom and check out her own personal postpartum journey on Instagram @kirstynrichardspt
Today’s Mama Must Have:
Kirstyn loves using an exercise ball to sit on for working on posture and increasing movement even while you’re working on a desk…plus often recommends the use of a vibrator to support pelvic floor muscles.
Dr. Toni is a big fan of Tussiflorin herbal cough syrup to help reduce the kind of cough that can linger after the common cold and is relieved that her little one thinks it tastes yummy. Also, check out Episode 39 where Dr. Toni talks to Dr. Paul Anderson about immune support.