Episode 45: How Sweet It Is: Why We Are Wired for Sugar (And What to Do About It)

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:

  1. 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
  2. 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
  • Concentrated 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.

Do you dare to know how much sugar is in a grande Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte?

How much sugar is healthy?

The World Health Organization recommendations for adults:

  • Less than 10% of total energy intake from free sugars, or 50 grams or less if you consume 2000 calories daily
  • Ideally less than 5% of total energy intake for additional health benefits
    • 2000 calories/day: 100 calories = 25 grams = about 6 tsp

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:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Obesity
  • Fatty liver
  • Inflammation
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Dental decay
  • Alzheimer’s and dementia (which is being called “Type 3 diabetes of the brain”)
  • Acne
  • Hormonal imbalances such as PCOS
  • Anxiety and mood swings
  • Early aging

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?

  1. Routine, automatic or mindless intake
    • Instead, drink a glass of water or tea
  2. As a reward
    • Instead, try a non-food reward like reading a book, watching a movie or TV show, calling a friend
  3. For energy
    • 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

Get on our SUGAR-FREE DETOX WAITLIST to be the first to hear when we launch our next Free 5-Day Sugar-Free Reset Challenge!

Today’s Mams Must Haves

Dr. Toni is a big fan of documentary films for entertaining education around topics like sugar and recommends Fed Up Movie and That Sugar Film for more info and motivation to kick the sugar habit.

Dr. Lisa recommends this chocolate avocado pudding recipe as a healthy treat without added sugar.

Thank you for joining us today! 

Connect with us at our website www.stephanies48.sg-host.com, on Facebook and on Instagram. We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5-star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Episode 44: Movement and Motivation with Personal Trainer Erin Billowits

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
    • Bone health
    • Strength and posture
    • Sleep
  • 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.

Thank you for joining us today! 

Connect with us at our website www.stephanies48.sg-host.com, on Facebook and on Instagram. We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5-star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Episode 43: Pregnancy and Infant Loss with Aditi Loveridge

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?

Thank you for joining us today! 

Connect with us at our website www.stephanies48.sg-host.com, on Facebook and on Instagram. We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5-star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Episode 42: Exhausted, Gaining Weight and Forgetful? Is it Your Thyroid?

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
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin and thinning hair
  • Puffy face
  • 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
  • High cholesterol
  • 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
  • Infections
  • Stress
    • 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
  • Gut issues
    • 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
  • Autoimmunity
    • 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?

Blood work: 

Full thyroid panel: TSH, free T4 and T3, thyroid peroxidase antibodies, thyroglobulin antibodies, reverse T3

Vitamin D, iron

Celiac screen 

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!

Thank you for joining us today! 

Connect with us at our website www.stephanies48.sg-host.com, on Facebook and on Instagram. We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5-star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Episode 41: Pelvic Health Physiotherapy with Kirstyn Richards for Incontinence and Pain: You Don’t Have to Suffer!

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. 

Thank you for joining us today! 

Connect with us at our website www.stephanies48.sg-host.com, on Facebook and on Instagram. We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5-star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!