Episode 63: Backed up? How to Deal with Constipation in Mamas and Kids

In this episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni talk about the causes and therapies for constipation in you and your kids. They discuss what is expected or ideal with respect to your bowel movements, the causes of constipation, and some tests and treatments to consider if you or your kids are experiencing constipation.

What is constipation?

Generally considered when you have less than 3 bowel movements a week, or discomfort, even you have a daily bowel movement.

As naturopathic doctors, we consider at least 1 bowel movement daily with a Type 4 rating on the Bristol stool chart to be ideal. You want your stool to sink without mucus, blood or undigested food (with the exception of corn).

What are some causes of constipation?

  • Not enough water
  • Not enough fibre from veggies and fruit
  • Lack of movement and proper circulation
  • Stress, especially in the case of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Travel or another break in your routine
  • High intake of constipating foods: rice, toast, cooked carrots,unripe bananas
  • Hypothyroidism or sluggish thyroid function – see Episode 42 for more info
  • Reduced stomach acid, digestive enzyme and bile flow, often caused by stress and stimulation of sympathetic nervous system response
  • Gut bacterial imbalance
  • Certain medications 
    • Allergy medication
    • NSAIDs like ibuprofen and opioid pain killers like Tylenol 3
  • Nerve damage 
  • Hormone imbalance or PMS – constipation then possibly loose stools when your period comes is a common pattern in Traditional Chinese Medicine called Liver Overacting on Spleen

Harmful effects of constipation can include:

  • Discomfort, bloating, just feeling crappy
  • Reabsorbing toxins and hormones in your circulation
  • Megacolon or the abnormal dilation of the colon
  • Encopresis in kids, which is the uncontrollable leakage of stool

Some medical tests to consider:

  • HCl challenge in adults
  • Thyroid blood test – see Episode 42 for more info
  • Stool testing through specialized labs, like Comprehensive Stool Analysis or GI-MAP
  • Small Intestinal Bowel Overgrowth (SIBO) breath test

Common treatments for constipation include:

Restoralax or Miralax, also known as Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) 3350

  • Adverse effects can include abdominal cramps, diarrhea, bloating, gas, nausea
  • Potential link to development of tremors, tics and obsessive compulsive behaviour
  • Contamination with small amounts of ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol
  • Not meant to be used daily and over the long term
  • The safety and efficacy of Restoralax for use in children under 18 years of age have not been established

Laxative herbs like senna

  • Side effects can include developing a dependence causing further constipation and other digestive disturbance, electrolyte imbalance, darkening of your intestinal tract called melanosis coli, finger clubbing, kidney inflammation

What else can you do about constipation?

You can try one or more of the following:

  • Increase fluid, especially pure water
    • 8 oz (250ml) of water multiplied by age (number of years) up to 2 litres daily
  • Increase fibre:
    • Aim for 19g daily for kids 1-3 years, 25g daily for kids 4-6 years, at least 26 g and up to 31g daily for kids 9-13 years and up to 38g daily for kids over 14 years
    • Beans or legumes – ½ cup = 6 g fibre
    • Broccoli and other cooked veggies – ½ cup = 4 g fibre
    • Apples, pears, berries – ½ cup
    • Prunes or dates – see Episode 45 for more info on sugar balance
    • Ground flaxseed 
    • Chia seed pudding
  • Support stomach acid and digestive enzyme production
    • Bitter foods and herbs like arugula, dandelion root/greens, artichoke, gentian
    • Start your kids young with small amounts!
  • Support gut bacteria with fermented foods or probiotic supplement and prebiotic fibre
  • Magnesium citrate and vitamin C provides osmotic laxative effect
    • Start with small amount and use only to bowel tolerance
  • Support proper anatomical positioning with something like Squatty Potty
  • Slippery elm found in powder, capsules, lozenges and teas, taken away from medications and other supplements
  • Other herbs and homeopathy for relaxation
  • Abdominal massage
    • Clockwise on belly
    • I Love You massage
    • Can use castor oil for extra relief from discomfort
  • Pelvic floor physiotherapy for kids with constipation

Dr. Aviva Romm’s fruit balls.

Dr. Toni’s breakfast bar recipe is on the show notes for Episode 32 on hot flashes.

This Week’s Mama Must Have: 

Dr. Lisa is a big fan of her son’s Lunii storyteller audiobook device for screen-free entertainment.

Dr. Toni loves to have a light, easy read before bed and just read her first Bridgerton book! She highly recommends The Girl with The Make Believe Husband by Julia Quinn.

Dr. Toni’s next HypnoBirthing info session for expecting parents looking for increased calm, confidence and comfort during labour and birth is March 29th. Join her at https://www.hypnobirthingcalgary.com/register

Dr. Lisa’s Wild Mama free virtual 30-minute info session is happening on March 17th – SIGN UP HERE. Program starts on March 24th!  

Email us or connect with us on  Facebook  and  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 54 (Re-Release): Detox for Hormone Balance with Joy McCarthy, Nutritionist and Author

Dr. Lisa chose to re-release this episode since the new year is a time when many people embark on a detox or a healthier start. In this episode, Dr. Lisa talks with Certified Holistic Nutritionist (and best-selling author!) Joy McCarthy about: which foods to eat to support detox; how to “green” your body care products; ways to amp up your salads with powerhouse foods; and how to sneak more vegetables into your child’s diet.

Joy McCarthy is the bestselling author of: Joyous Health, The Joyous Cookbook and Joyous Detox, which was a World Gourmand Cookbook Award recipient. She is also the co-host of the Joyous Health Podcast.

In this episode, we cover:

  • How a food-based 10-day detox can be the easiest way to get started
  • The benefits of focusing on what you can eat instead of what you can’t eat
  • Sources of different chemicals that you may be exposed to throughout the day (and it may shock you!)
  • The benefits of doing a beauty detox, starting with the products that spend a lot of time on your skin, like your moisturizer and foundation
  • Why you should look up the ingredients of your personal care products on the Think Dirty App and Skin Deep Database
  • How to tell if the food you’re eating is putting a burden on your liver
  • The benefits of choosing organic food whenever possible, especially when it comes to the “Dirty Dozen”
  • Why you need more variety and colour on your plate (and why you should be eating kale and arugula!)
  • How lemon, apple cider vinegar and fermented foods can help your gut to support you body’s detoxification process
  • What Joy puts in her salad and how she gets her daughter to eat salads
  • How to fit more veggies in your life and make kid-friendly foods

How to detox on a daily basis:

  • Avoid: additives, preservatives, processed foods, sugar
  • Eat more: vegetables and other plants, especially cruciferous vegetables, citrus, herbs and spices like fennel, cilantro, parsley, mint, turmeric, ginger, garlic

Some delicious Joyous Health Detox Supporting Recipes you can try:

Nourishing Turmeric Golden Soup

Creamy and Dreamy Colourful Kale Salad

Golden Smoothie

Digestive Soothing Green Smoothie

Cauliflower Hummus

Lazy Lady Turmeric Latte

You can find Joy @joyoushealth on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and on Facebook. Shop for her detox tea, detox program, and the Joyous Detox Cookbook on her online store.

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Lisa takes a teaspoon of unpasteurized apple cider vinegar in water before eating to support her digestion.

Joy includes meditation in her daily routine to stay sane and manage anxiety, including the Calm app and Deepak Chopra’s Daily Breath app.

Thank you for joining us today! 

Email us or connect with us on Facebook and 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 everyone!

Episode 51 – Mastering Your Mindset with Larisa Makuch

In today’s episode, Dr. Lisa dives deep with Master Results Coach, Larisa Makuch, about stepping back and looking at how you show up in your life. They discuss actionable ways to live an intentional and joyful life, even during the pandemic. Listen in to: discover ways to foster a positive mindset and gratitude; learn how to be responsive and not reactionary to situations that arise (and to your kids!) and simple ways to live a purpose-filled life.

As a sought-after speaker, educator and author with decades of experience, Larisa is an energetic up level specialist who helps women make an impact in their world and create a powerful, purposeful plan to get there. In addition to being a Masters Results Coach, Larisa holds designations as a Master of Time Line Therapy, a Trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, and the head of the Neuro-Linguistic Programming Institute.

In this conversation, we cover:

  • The importance of focusing on what’s good, even if it’s just starting with one small moment after you’ve started your day on the wrong foot
  • What it means to develop your mindset
  • How you can be more responsive instead of reactionary in challenging situations with your kids at home
  • What you can do to live a purpose-filled and joyful life as a busy mom
  • The importance of finding time to being in quiet by yourself, even if it’s only for 5 minutes, to develop a positive mindset and increase your energy

Get Larisa’s FREE Gratitude Guide: 16 Ways To Amplify Your Gratitude Practice (and feel successful doing it)

You can get in touch with Larisa on Instagram, by visiting her website and/or joining her Unleash Your Opulence Facebook Group.

Today’s Tip:

Larisa found this fun and healthy holiday snack that your kids will love: Banana Snowman Pops Recipe 

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Larisa loves her Muse Headband for her daily meditation practice.

Dr. Lisa is grateful for her husband Pete who has been managing the household during her busy season.

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 37: How to Support Kids (and Parents!) with Anxiety Using Heart Rate Variability and More. Interview with Dr. Debbie Smrz, ND

Dr. Lisa talks with Dr. Debbie Smrz ND about: some physical signs of anxiety to recognize in your kids and yourself; what “mirror” neurons are and how they can impact your mood; how heart rate variability can be used to track your health and optimize it; tools and techniques to manage anxiety; and how she helped her daughter heal from PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections), which was the trigger for her anxiety.

Heart rate variability is a health marker that is being touted as the next big thing to help assess (and guide treatment) stress resilience. And who doesn’t need more stress resilience in general, let alone during a pandemic!

Dr. Debbie is a certified Naturopathic Doctor, hypnotherapist, rugby coach and fitness instructor.  She studied meditation and Buddhism philosophy at the Suan Mokkh Monastery in Chiaya Thailand, German Biological medicine in Giessen Germany and holds annual Mindbody retreats with her mentor and Mother Wendy Schie.   She is an avid lecturer and motivational speaker, created Neuro Health and Fitness, a brain training centre for kids, as well as being the co-founder and director of Naturopathic Living, a large multidisciplinary clinic in Markham, Ontario where she lives with her husband, 2 children and dog.  Her daughter was diagnosed with PANDAs in 2016, so she has experience with mental health as a Naturopathic Doctor and as a mom.

In this episode, we cover:

  • How it’s not always easy to recognize anxiety in your kids and yourself, even while returning to school during a pandemic
  • That the mirror neurons in your child’s brain teaches them how to react to different situations
  • The difference between heart rate and Heart Rate Variability (HRV)
  • How HRV can be used as a way to teach breathing exercises and mindfulness to manage anxiety in your kids
  • The other possible benefits of using HRV to manage stress in adults include improving health outcomes around:
    • Digestion
    • Weight and metabolism
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease
  • Debbie’s personal experience with addressing the root cause of severe anxiety in her daughter by treating her for PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuro-psychiatric Disorder associated with Streptococcal Infection)
  • How neuroinflammation caused by various infections and digestive issues can be involved in mood disorders like anxiety
  • The difference between naming your emotions versus identifying with your emotions

Ways to measure HRV include:


Oura Ring

Elite HRV

Resource recommended by Debbie for tips to manage anxiety in your kids: 

Parenting Your Anxious Child with Mindfulness and Acceptance by Christopher McCurry

You can find Dr. Debbie at Naturopathic Living

Today’s Mama Must Have: 

Dr. Lisa loves her Zonli cooling weighted blanket for an anxiety-free sleep

Thank you for joining us today! 

Email us or connect with us on Facebook and 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 everyone!

Episode 20: Migraines: Not “Just in Your Head”! Getting to the Root Causes

In today’s episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni talk about migraines, something that too many women experience.

It’s not in your head! The pain is real!

In this episode, we cover:

  • Possible causes of your migraines
    • Stress causing magnesium deficiency and muscle tension
    • Structural alignment of neck and tailbone
    • Insomnia
    • Weather or barometric pressure changes (example: Chinook winds in Calgary)
    • Dehydration
    • Blood sugar imbalance
    • Food sensitivities and histamine intolerance, including alcohol, caffeine, cheese, food additives like nitrites
    • Brain inflammation and nerve irritation
    • Hormones: estrogen/progesterone imbalance
  • Dr. Toni’s personal experience growing up with migraines and they are linked with her diagnosis of mitral valve prolapse, a common heart murmur (hint: magnesium!)
  • Current and new conventional treatments for migraines offered by family doctors and specialists
  • The importance of figuring out the factors that are impacting your migraines
  • Natural ways to address your migraines:

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Lisa relies on her home gym, which has simple and inexpensive equipment including an exercise ball, free weights and resistance bands.

Thank you for joining us today! 

Email us or connect with us on Facebook and 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 everyone!