Episode 140: Optimize Your Vacation or Short Staycation to Fully Recharge and Avoid Burnout

In this episode, Dr. Lisa walks through the benefits of using a vacation departure plan and vacation optimizer plan. Do you ever feel like you need a vacation after coming home from vacation? Being intentional around your holidays can make your time away more enjoyable, plus you get to avoid the stress and burnout that can happen before and after vacation time! You need and deserve time off, so listen in to make it work for you to fill your cup and feel re-energized.

In today’s episode, we cover:

  • What is included in a vacation departure plan
    • Wrapping up work tasks
      • Do it, defer it or delegate it
    • Automated vacation responder for email
    • Tech detox plan
  • What is included in a vacation optimizer plan – the fun part!
    • 3 words to describe your ideal vacation
    • Rest vs. activity
    • Relationships
    • Where to eat
    • Nurturing your mind and heart
  • Find the 5-4-3-2-1 mindfulness meditation with Amy Fowler at Episode 96
  • Find Michael Hyatt’s Vacation Optimizer at: https://landing.michaelhyatt.com/vacation-optimizer 

Today’s Mama Must-Have:

Dr. Lisa loves her Kitchen Aid food processor for making coleslaw, salad dressings with ginger, smoothies, energy balls, coconut milk ice cream and one-bowl crepes. 

What’s Else is Happening?

Dr. Toni’s next HypnoBirthing session for expecting parents looking to decrease fear and anxiety to support their natural instincts around labour and birth is happening this fall. Join her at https://www.hypnobirthingcalgary.com/register

Join Dr. Lisa’s new Meetup group Wild Woman Adventures Toronto if you want to get out in nature, connect with other women and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Activities include: sunrise/sunset SUP, tree-top trekking, a new moon workshop and more!

Dr. Lisa’s Wild Collective in Fall 2022: get on the waitlist: wildcollectivetoronto.com

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.

You can also support us by visiting our Patreon page.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Disclaimer: The information provided is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed health care practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed health care professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.

Episode 138: Top 5 Reasons Why You and Your Kids Need Iron

In this episode, Dr. Toni discusses why it’s so important for perimenopausal mamas and their kids to get enough iron. Iron deficiency is the most common micronutrient deficiency worldwide and is crucial for optimal energy, mental health, sleep and brain function. 

What is the Difference Between Iron Deficiency and Anemia?

Iron deficiency is a broad term and refers to low iron stores that do not meet the body’s iron requirements, regardless of whether anemia is present or not.

Iron deficiency anemia is when hemoglobin levels fall below the laboratory reference range. 

Iron deficiency without anemia is when iron storage falls below ideal levels, but anemia is not present. 

What are the Top 5 Reasons Why Iron is so Important?

  1. Reduce fatigue and increase energy
  • Iron helps move oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body and helps your muscles store and use oxygen
  1. Reduce heavy periods 
  •  low iron can impact your clotting and be a factor in your heavy periods, creating a vicious cycle
  1. Mental Health 
  • Being anemic can increase your risk of a mental health diagnosis and can increase your risk of experiencing an anxiety disorder, depression, psychotic disorders
  • Taking iron supplements if you’re anemic can reduce your risk of developing psychiatric disorders
  • Taking iron supplements of iron if you’re not anemic can decrease the risk of future mental health diagnoses
  • Anemic mothers were less responsive and had negative feelings towards their children than non-anemic mothers 
  • Low hemoglobin is associated with postpartum depression
  • Low ferritin is linked with more severe depressive and anxiety symptoms
  1. Brain and cognitive performance
  • Iron deficiency (with and without anemia) has been connected to poor cognitive performance in adolescents
  • Low maternal iron intake at the time of conception is associated with a greater risk of autism in the offspring 
  • Low iron intake during the second trimester has been shown to increase the risk of schizophrenia in the offspring by 30%
  • Infants born with low serum ferritin have been shown to have poorer recognition memory, poorer school performance, difficulty with planning and attention and a higher risk of cognitive and socio-emotional problems including anxiety and depression into young adulthood
  1. Sleep and restless legs
  • Being anemic can increase your risk of a mental health diagnosis and can increase your risk of experiencing a sleep disorder
  • Taking iron supplements if you’re anemic can reduce your risk of developing a sleep disorder
  • Restless Leg Syndrome is associated with low iron levels

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Iron Deficiency?

  • Pale skin
  • Fatigue
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Slowed growth and development
  • Poor appetite
  • Abnormally rapid breathing
  • Behavioral problems
  • Frequent infections
  • Unusual cravings for substances like ice, dirt, paint or starch

How can you Test your Iron Status?

Blood work can test for levels of:

  • hemoglobin (as part of the Complete Blood Count)
  • circulating iron and transferrin saturation – needs to be above 20%
  • ferritin (iron stores) – needs to be above 35

You can still be iron deficient if your levels of the above fall within the lab’s reference ranges!

How can you prevent iron deficiency in yourself and your kids?

  • Serve iron-rich foods – after beginning your baby on solids 
  • Don’t overdo milk
  • Enhancing absorption – with foods rich in acid like vitamin C (ascorbic acid), such as citrus fruits, cantaloupe, strawberries, bell pepper, tomatoes and dark green vegetables, or apple cider vinegar.
  • Consider iron supplementation – unfortunately, an iron-rich diet does not provide enough iron to correct iron deficiency or anemia
Food Source:Iron content (in mg Fe) per 100 g
Animal sources (bioavailability about 20%)
Liver (pork or veal)18
Dry beef9.8
Shells8.0
Egg yolk5.5
Beef fillet2.3
Trout2.0
Chicken0.7
Plant sources (bioavailability about 5%)
Wheat bran16.0
Sesame seeds14.6
Soy beans9.7
Lentils8.0
White beans7.0
Dried apricots5.2
Spinach (limited due to oxalate content)2.7
Whole grain bread2.4
Green beans1.0

Source: SPOG Pediatric Hematology Working Group

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Toni is a big fan of aloe gel to soothe the skin.

What’s Else is Happening?

Dr. Toni’s next HypnoBirthing session for expecting parents looking to decrease fear and anxiety to support their natural instincts around labour and birth is happening this fall. Join her at https://www.hypnobirthingcalgary.com/register

Join Dr. Lisa’s new Meetup group Wild Woman Adventures Toronto if you want to get out in nature, connect with other women and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Activities include: sunrise/sunset SUP, tree-top trekking, a new moon workshop and more!

Dr. Lisa’s Wild Collective in Fall 2022: get on the waitlist: wildcollectivetoronto.com

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.

You can also support us by visiting our Patreon page.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Disclaimer: The information provided is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed health care practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed health care professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.

Episode 122: What is Perimenopause?

In this replay from December 2021, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni discuss all things perimenopause…what it is, what’s happening and how to test for it. Not sure if you’re in perimenopause or what is happening with your hormones? Experiencing hot flashes, irregular periods, mood swings and insomnia? Listen in!

What is the difference between menopause and perimenopause?

Menopause is when you have not had a menstrual period for 12 months.

Perimenopause is the transition period before you reach menopause and can last for 4 years, 8 years or longer. 

What is happening with your hormones in perimenopause?

Perimenopausal symptoms, as well as your hormones, can be unpredictable and might fluctuate throughout perimenopause:

  • You may get PMS symptoms some months, not others
  • You may get other menopausal symptoms some months and not others
  • Changes that can happen around perimenopause and menopause includes bone loss and osteoporosis, shifts in weight and metabolism, brain and mood changes
  • The most common symptoms you may experience include:
    • Insomnia
      • 30-60% of women experience in perimenopause
      • Research show correlations between plastic exposure and body care products and self-report insomnia (testing urinary phthalate levels – Hatcher 2020)
    • Fatigue
      • See more info about fatigue:
    • Depression and Anxiety
      • Up to 40% of women face depression or mood changes in perimenopause
    • Hot flashes
      • You can experience one of four patterns of hot flashes
        • Early onset, late onset, high frequency, low frequency
      • See more info about hot flashes: Episode 32
    • Irregular menstrual cycles and heavy bleeding

Your body’s normally predictable hormone cycle that happens over the month changes during perimenopause:

  • You might not ovulate every month or you might ovulate early
  • You have changes in your menstrual cycle length of 7 days or more (shorter or longer cycles) then have longer cycles and more skipped periods until you reach menopause 
  • Your estrogen levels can go up and down more than usual
  • Your progesterone levels tend to decrease overall
  • Your FSH level may elevate or fluctuate
  • Your stress hormone cortisol and thyroid hormones can be impacted 

Does every woman experience the transition from perimenopause to menopause the same way?

No!

You can have one of 4 different patterns of estrogen and 3 different patterns FSH levels, as well as different combinations of other symptoms at different stages of perimenopause. 

How can you tell if you are ovulating?

  • Monitor your basal body temperature (BBT)
  • Check your cervical fluid and cervical position

Perimenopausal Journal to track your symptoms and your menstrual cycle: https://www.cemcor.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/Daily_Perimenopause_Diary_with_treatments.pdf

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Lisa is a big fan of this paleo crepe recipe that Stuart also loves:

Dr. Toni loves seeing Frankie play with simple wooden blocks and hand-me-down Lego blocks

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!

You can also support us by visiting our Patreon page.

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Disclaimer: The information provided in this presentation is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed health care practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed health care professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.

Episode 88: Exhausted, Gaining Weight and Forgetful – Is it Your Thyroid? (previously released as Episode 42)

We refer to this past episode from October 8, 2020 so often that we decided to re-release it! Is your thyroid the reason you are exhausted, depressed, constipated, forgetful and gaining weight? We 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.

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?

Possible Causes of Your Thyroid Issue Include:

  • 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
      • inhibits your conversion of the inactive form of thyroid hormone T4, to the active form T3
  • Gut issues
    • Leaky gut (also known as intestinal hyperpermeability) and imbalances in your gut microbiome have both been shown to impact hormone imbalances and fluctuations, like 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
    • 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 5 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.perimenopausalmamas.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!