In this episode, Dr. Toni talks with filmmaker Kate McKenzie about her inspiring documentary film, “The Secret Marathon”, which shares the story of the brave women of Afghanistan who are risking it all for the freedom to run in the Marathon of Afghanistan, the first co-gender athletic event in Afghanistan. If you care about freedom, gender equality and the ability of girls and women to participate in sports everywhere, you need to know this story.
Kate McKenzie is a published author and speaker, as well as the director and founder of Worldviews Productions, a digital media production company specializing in stories of hope and innovation through a constructive journalism approach. Her most recent project is the feature length documentary film The Secret Marathon, which won the Audience Choice Award for best documentary at the Edmonton International Film Festival. The film has also inspired The Secret 3K, an annual run/walk in multiple cities across Canada and around the world to promote gender equality and safe and inclusive spaces.
In this episode, we discuss:
How movement is medicine for Kate to support her mental health
The assaults and threats that women in Afghanistan can face by running outside and the obstacles they face to train for the Marathon of Afghanistan
The complications and risks involved in traveling to Afghanistan
Cultural sensitivity and the distinction of making a film with the people of Afghanistan, instead of making a film about the people of Afghanistan
The secrecy needed in filming to prevent endangering the marathon and its participants
The challenging elevation of the Marathon of Afghanistan race course, which was Kate’s first marathon
The steps taken to ensure the safety of the women running the marathon who were featured in the film
The beauty and new story of Afghanistan being created by the people of Afghanistan
How the pandemic brought more challenges and opportunities to have people view and discuss the film
How everyone can participate in The Secret 3K to support the Marathon of Afghanistan and the girls and women of Afghanistan, as well as show their solidarity and celebrate the right to be free to run everywhere
Encore film screenings of the virtual gala for The Secret Marathon are happening on February 27 and March 6, 2021
In today’s episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni discuss why you need cholesterol, if lowering it really does benefit your heart health, the negative effects of statins, and important risk factors you need to investigate and address for your cardiovascular health.
Why is your heart health important?
February is Heart Month in Canada and the United States
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, responsible for about 1 in every 5 female deaths.
A woman dies of heart disease in Canada every 20 minutes. Retrospective research shows that early signs of an impending heart attack were missed in 78% of women. Two-thirds of heart disease research focuses on men.
Women’s heart disease tends to appear in the smaller blood vessels of the heart rather than the major coronary arteries. This means that symptoms might not fit the classic textbook picture of heart disease. Women are more likely to experience chest discomfort (rather than a crushing pain), shortness of breath, fatigue, indigestion or nausea, back or neck pain.
Angiograms are not effective at diagnosing disease in the smaller blood vessels and stress tests are less sensitive for women.
Women’s hearts are impacted by pregnancy, menopause and hormonal changes throughout their lives.
What causes heart disease? It might surprise you to find out that it’s not as simple as the idea that cholesterol is bad and low cholesterol is a good thing.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is in all of your cells and on your cell membranes to help maintain fluidity of the cell and cell communication
You have different types of cholesterol eg. HDL (high density lipoprotein), LDL (low density lipoprotein), VLDL (very low density lipoprotein)
85% of cholesterol is made by your liver
Why do you need cholesterol?
Allows the arteries and veins to withstand the pressure of the blood flowing through them and heals them after we have any injury.
Most of your hormones are made from cholesterol including your sex hormones. Without enough cholesterol you could see issues with your hormone balance.
Vitamin D is made from cholesterol and sunlight in your skin, and is important for the health of your bones and immune system.
Bile is made from cholesterol and is needed for absorption of fat and fat-soluble vitamins (like vitamin D, E, K and A).
Cholesterol in your cells helps your immune system fight off infections. LDL binds and deactivates bacterial toxins that can cause damage to your cells.
Cholesterol levels in the blood have been found to increase post-surgery, which can aid in the healing process.
About 25% of all cholesterol is taken by your brain. The connections between your brain cells are dependent on cholesterol and you would have no learning or memory without cholesterol.
Cholesterol can cause damage to your cardiovascular system when there is a lot of inflammation and oxidative stress that causes your cholesterol to be oxidized and more “sticky”, leading to atherosclerosis or plaque build-up in your blood vessels.
It’s important to look at the environment that your cholesterol is in, instead of just treating a single blood marker.
Research suggests that 50% of people who have heart attack or stroke have normal cholesterol levels!
What can cause high cholesterol?
High levels of sugar binds with proteins in your blood and makes them “sticky” and attaches to your blood vessel walls starting atherosclerosis
Low thyroid function or hypothyroidism
Nutritional deficiencies, such as B vitamin, vitamin C or magnesium
Trauma including surgery
Toxic chemicals, heavy metals, pollution
Abnormal intestinal microorganisms causing damage to your gut lining
Hyperinsulinemia or high levels of insulin in your blood, also known as insulin resistance
Medications like thiazide diuretics, beta blockers, certain steroids
Does it make sense to take a statin medication to lower your cholesterol level?
It’s important to look at more than your LDL cholesterol level.
You can calculate your Framingham score using this Risk Calculator based on your age, blood pressure, family history and other info to see how much a statin medication or other interventions will impact your risk of cardiovascular events like heart attacks.
44 randomly controlled studies showed lowering LDL cholesterol doesn’t lower events like heart attacks or death.
There is no reduction in death rate if you take statin, even in people high risk of heart disease who have already had a heart attack, median increase in life by taking statin daily for 5 years is 4.2 days
Other info you need to know about statins:
Side effects of statins is under-reported – real world evidence or community studies like US Statin Usage survey of 10,000 people shows that 75% of people prescribed statins will stop within a year, over 60% of people stop because of side effects (often muscle weakness and pain, but can also increased liver enzymes and blood sugar, digestive upset, headaches, reduced memory or rash)
Statins deplete CoQ10, which is an essential nutrient to produce energy in cells
Stopping statin doesn’t increase your risk of death
Statins work in small percentage of people and tends to only benefit if it reduces your level of inflammation
TheNNT.com provides non-biased summaries of research – more people with low risk of heart disease on statin will develop diabetes than will avoid heart attack
Inflammation – High sensitivity C Reactive Protein
Homocysteine – marker for cardiovascular health and B vitamin status
Thyroid panel – TSH, free T4 and T3 – for more info, see Episode 42
Blood sugar – HbA1c, fasting glucose and insulin – for more info, see Episode 45
Food sensitivity testing
Hormone testing including cortisol levels
Naturopathic approach to address cholesterol and cardiovascular health:
Eating foods from the Mediteranean diet – high veggie and healthy fat intake
Quitting smoking can raise HDL cholesterol
Incorporating Omega 3 fatty acids – 2-4 g/day has been shown to decrease triglycerides by 25-30% and can also reduce inflammation
Increasing your fibre intake – 10g psyllium/day has been shown to lower LDL by 7%
Discussing the use of Plant sterols with your health care provider, which can reduce LDL cholesterol by 5-15%
This Week’s Mama Must Have:
Dr. Toni has been using her light box in morning to reduce the winter blues – for more info, see Episode 47
Dr. Lisa has been enjoying Ten Percent Happier Podcast with Dan Harris, especially their 21 day meditation challenge in January – start at episode 309 on fostering self-love and self-compassion. So much good stuff there!
Dr. Lisa is offering her next Wild Collective group in February – join or get on the waitlist for the next online group at wildcollectivetoronto.com
In today’s episode, Dr. Lisa talks with parenting coach Tia Slightham about navigating parenthood during the pandemic. They discuss the importance of responsive parenting (instead of reactive), why your kids are having tantrums and meltdowns (and how to prevent them) and how to learn the skills of parenting instead of feeling like a failure. Parenting can be lonely and exhausting, but with support, the right tools and community, it can be so much easier.
Tia is a mom of two boys and best-selling author of the book, “You’ve Got This Mama, Too”. She is the founder of Tia Slightham Parenting Solutions and The Parenting With Purpose Method, where she works with parents to teach them positive ways to decrease the daily struggles we all encounter as parents. Tia has a Masters degree in Early Childhood Education, is certified in Positive Discipline and has worked with kids and families for over 16 years. She works alongside parents to tailor a plan to solve parenting struggles with positive solutions that are effective, long-lasting and most importantly, will help parents re-connect with their kids.
In this episode, we cover:
The 2 pre-determined jobs of your kids
Pushing boundaries until boundaries are found (getting out of the grey zone into the sweet spot)
The 3 C’s of boundaries, which are commonly used at school or other outside programs, are often not implemented at home. They are needed for your child to thrive.
Concrete, clear, consistent
The importance of a structured routine with age-appropriate charts so your kids can see what to expect during the day
How Positive Discipline differs from discipline using punishment
Training and teaching your kids life lessons with mutual respect instead of causing blame, shame and pain with yelling, time outs, force or power struggles
The importance of using a timer with visual cues to help with transitions and prevent tantrums
In today’s episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni talk about menstrual cycle awareness. Did you know that there are different times of the month that are more suited for you to be productive, be social, do analytical work, do a presentation or to rest? Your energy can fluctuate in relation to the moon cycle and your menstrual cycle. Cyclical living can be used to maximize your productivity, efficiency and success at work and at home throughout the month.
If you don’t have a regular menstrual cycle right now, you can follow the moon’s cycles.
In today’s episode, we cover:
Recent research looking at how the full moon can impact your sleep and menstrual cycle
How the US Women’s soccer team were using menstrual cycle awareness to maximize nutrition, training, rest and recovery, resulting in their second World Cup win
The similarities between moon phases and menstrual cycle phases
How changes in your hormones and moon phases can impact your mood and energy
Don’t know what’s happening with your menstrual cycle and hormones?