Episode 87: Back to the Basics! 10 Simple (and Free) Tips That Can Make a World of Difference for Your Energy, Vitality, Hormone Balance and More

This episode was originally released on June 18, 2020. We had such great feedback on the tips provided that we decided to re-release it. Even if you had previously listened to this episode, it is still useful to listen again to be reminded how powerful simple daily habits can make a world of difference when it comes to your health. (Note: for the month of August, we are re-releasing some “oldies but goodies” – popular previously recorded episodes. We will go back to releasing new episodes in September 2021).

The majority of your health, energy and vitality is determined by the small, consistent habits that you incorporate daily. In this episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni “go back to the basics” and uncover 10 simple (and free!) things you can do to support energy, immunity, hormone balance, mood, digestion, disease prevention and more. Pick 1 or 2 health habits that resonate with you and that are easy to incorporate. Every little bit helps!

In this episode, we cover:

  • Deep breathing
  • Prioritizing sleep
  • Drinking water
  • Practicing Hydrotherapy
  • Adding fresh herbs and spices to your food
  • Eating more veggies
  • Getting in “exercise snacks” throughout the day
  • Connecting to nature
  • Practicing gratitude
  • Being a part of a community
  1. Deep Breathing
    • Dr. Lisa’s favourite technique is Box Breathing aka 4-4-4-4 Breath
    • This technique is simple and easy. You can notice benefits of box breathing even after 1-2 minutes
    • You can practice deep breathing while you are showering, working, walking, watching tv, driving or stressful transitions with your kids, like bedtime
    • It helps to reduce stress, anxiety, possibly blood pressure and cortisol
    • Boosts feeling of well being and ability to be calm and present
    • Dr. Toni’s enjoys repurposing the HypnoBirthing Calm Breath (inhale to count of 4, pause, exhale to count of 6-8) in addition to the HypnoBirthing guided relaxation track available on HypnoBirthing Institute website as a free download
  1. Prioritizing sleep – aim for about 7-8 hours
    • Sleep is essential for mental and emotional health, in addition to proper metabolism and immune system function
    • Give yourself permission to make sleep a priority over other things you could be doing – let yourself sleep!
    • Add in an afternoon nap if you need to (especially if you have little ones still napping) 
  2. Drinking Water 
    • Hydration first thing in morning can make a huge difference in your energy, reduce your frequency of headaches and migraines, improve your digestion function and bowel movements
    • You can increase the quality of your tap water by using a filtration system
    • Adding lemon or other citrus fruit can add in flavour and more benefits for your health: 
  • D-limonene is the essential oil found in the rind of citrus shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant anti-stress and anti-anxiety properties, plus in animal studies shown to reduce triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure, protect against stomach ulcers
  1. Practicing Hydrotherapy aka “water therapy”
  • 30-60 seconds cold water spray at end of your shower
  • Boosts your alertness, energy and mood
  • Helps your skin and hair to have a healthy glow (flattens follicles)
  • Supports your immunity and circulation to our internal organs
  • May support your weight loss with the production of more brown fat that produces heat, increasing your metabolism and temperature
  • Reduces your muscle soreness and can speed up your recovery post-workout
  • Other hydrotherapy options include cold spray on your feet while waiting for shower water to warm up or wet warming socks at the first sign of a cold
  • You can check out the free mini-class online by Wim Hof with focus on breathing, cold showers and power of your mind
  1. Adding spices and fresh herbs to your food
  • Provides extra antioxidants for a quick and easy win for your health 
  • Cinnamon can lower your blood sugar level and reduce inflammation
  • Ginger – supports digestion, good for nausea (even in pregnancy), can reduce pain and inflammation associated with arthritis, migraines and menstrual cramps
    • Add cinnamon, nutmeg and ground ginger to your chia pudding, yogurt, oatmeal or smoothie in the morning
  • Oregano – antibacterial properties, helps prevent against damage to your DNA and cells, plus has nutrients like calcium, vitamin K, manganese, iron, tryptophan
    • Add oregano and thyme to pasta sauces
  • Turmeric-  used to reduce pain and inflammation for menstrual cramps, arthritis, may help to prevent against cancer and dementia
    • Add turmeric powder to hummus, baba ghanouj, scrambled eggs or omelettes with some black pepper and/or a bit of healthy fat)
  • Garlic – antimicrobial properties can help treat and prevent candida, fungus and other infections, support cardiovascular health
    • Enjoy roasted whole and spread on bread or crackers
    • Add garlic, parsley and cilantro to salad dressings with lemon juice, olive oil, coconut aminos, salt and pepper
    • Add dill to homemade coleslaw or salads
    • Add rosemary to barbequed meat to reduce advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and roasted veggies like squash, sweet potato and potatoes
  1. Eating more vegetables
  • Aim for at least 8 servings a day with a rainbow of colours
  • More variety of veggies provides more nutrients
  • Higher fruit and vegetable intake (5 servings or more) is linked to decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, especially:
    • Leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, mustard greens 
    • Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy and kale
  • Also provides more fibre for improved digestion, balanced blood sugar and can help prevent hypertension, diabetes, cancer
  • How can you get more in? Try one new veggie per week
    • Add spinach or greens to smoothies or “green eggs”
    • Switch out a serving of pasta, rice, bread for cauliflower rice, vegetable pasta or konjac noodles/rice
  • Research shows that intake of starchier vegetables like potatoes, corn, and peas were linked with more weight gain
  1. Getting in “exercise snacks” throughout the day
    • Great for switching up your emotional state, maintaining your muscle mass, your cardiovascular and lymphatic health, and spending time with your kids
    • Walking or running, outside or doing stairs or laps inside!
    • Indoor dance party in your living room
    • Set a timer to do some push ups, lunges and/or squats for 1-2 minutes every hour to reduce the amount of time you’re sitting during the day
  1. Connecting to Nature
    • calming, connects me with something bigger than myself and my little problems, simple as being mindful and observing the trees in the yard and the neighbourhood park, grateful to live with large pine trees in front and back yard
    • Aim for at least 20 minutes 2 times a week
    • Studies show getting outside can lower blood pressure and stress hormone levels while boosting mood and memory
    • Induces calm and relaxation by reducing rumination 
    • Can be done alone or with others (while physically distance as necessary)
    • Can include taking a nature walk in a park, forest bathing, sitting in your backyard or balcony, listening to nature sounds, looking at pictures of nature scenes or hugging trees (as they were urged to do in Iceland to help overcome social isolation
    • Doctors are starting to write prescriptions for getting out in nature
  1. Practicing gratitude
    • Research shows that grateful people experience less pain and depression, plus better sleep and self-esteem
    • Can be as simple as feeling thankful for hugs from family, connecting to family and friends online, summer weather, having time to listen to a podcast for new information or getting to drink your coffee or tea while it’s hot!
    • Gratitude practice can include a gratitude journal or mental review in the shower or in bed before sleep

“Where your attention goes, your energy flows”

  1. Being part of a community
    • Social isolation and loneliness has a bigger health impact than smoking on your risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease
    • Reduces stress and anxiety
    • Options include:
      • Talking with friends and family over phone, WhatsApp or Zoom
      • Playing games with friends online
      • Online book clubs
      • Online groups like Mom Halo, Mamas and Co, Camp Hoo-ha, Business Networking International (BNI)
      • Volunteering 

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Toni is thankful to have Arnica homeopathic pellets and ointment to safely manage the inevitable falls, bumps and bruises that happen in daily life with a toddler. 

Dr. Lisa finds a real benefit from a gratitude journal and writing down what she’s grateful for in a regular ringed notebook from the dollar store. In the morning, she reflects on, and writes down: what would make today great; three amazing things that happened yesterday; plus people and opportunities that she’s grateful for.

Thank you for joining us today! 

Find the show notes at stephanies48.sg-host.com 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 5: Healthy Food Habits for Your Family – Interview with Amanda Beatty, Holistic Nutritionist and Health Coach

In today’s episode, Dr. Lisa speaks with holistic nutrition and health coach Amanda Beatty about creating healthy food habits for the whole family, how to get picky eaters to try new foods, and the importance of modelling good food habits in the home. In addition to being a mother of two little ones, she is a self-professed science nerd, food aficionado, lover of fitness and embracer of all things natural. 

Powerful Mama Advice from Amanda:

It is not your job to stop your kids’ crying all the time. Crying can be an important release of stress and tool for processing of emotions. You can be a safe space for your children when they need to cry.

When her daughter was 6 months old, Amanda realized that her daughter was a big deep feeler like her mama. Her daughter didn’t sleep well during the night if Amanda acted to stop her daughter’s crying with nursing. Her daughter would be able to sleep peacefully at night when she started helping her daughter to navigate her early emotions by telling her she was safe. Managing her newborn’s crying was easier the second time around!

Mealtime can be difficult for your family! 

Challenges around food can include:

  • Trying new foods
  • Kids unhappy about being taken away from playtime
  • Kids not wanting to sit at the dinner table
  • Not enjoying different flavours and textures

How do you create healthy habits for your family around food?

The earlier, the better! But don’t worry, it’s never too late!

Strategy #1:

Amanda recommends staying focused on the long game, developing habits over weeks, months and years instead of worrying about each meal or each day. Trust your child’s instincts (within reason!) and pay attention to what your child eats over 4 or 5 days, instead of expecting all macronutrients to be balanced in one day or the same volume of food eaten every day.

Leave your child’s unfinished meal plate on the table in case they are hungry and want a snack an hour after they said they were done eating. 

Strategy #2:

While not always possible, try to eat together as a family as often as possible. Also eat the same food, instead of cooking multiple meals for different family members. Adjust the parents’ meal instead of adjusting what your children eat, especially when you are still introducing foods to your little ones. Have your favourite foods or treats when you’re not with your kids or after your kids are in bed. 

Strategy #3:

Avoid using bribes, rewards or punishments around food. As a result, you can prevent your child from associating their goodness with clearing their plate or ignoring their own innate understanding if they are hungry or full. Bribes tend to become less and less successful over time. Watch what words you use. 

Examples: 

  • “First lunch, then popsicle” instead of “If you finish your meal, you get dessert”
  • “It’s not time for cookies” instead of “Cookies aren’t healthy for breakfast”
  • “That’s ok, maybe when you’re older” when your toddler says “I don’t like that”

Strategy #4:

Involve your kids as much as possible in growing their food in a garden or choosing their food at the grocery store or farmers market, especially veggies. Amanda’s daughter got really excited about eating salad after helping to make a yummy salad dressing of honey, frozen strawberries, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Letting her lick a spoonful of honey really helped.

Amanda started her daughter on salad by using her favourite vegetable, cucumber, as a base with diced greens on top. She then gradually added more and more veggies over time. She now eats the exact same salad that Amanda does!

Strategy #5:

What you do is way more important than what you say. You have to model the behaviour you want to see. Amanda and her husband Jon see raising kids as an opportunity to check in on your own habits and your own biases. 

Identify what you want your kids’ health habits to be and what your own health habits are. If you identify as a picky eater or are biased against having veggies as breakfast, you can’t expect your children to not have those same habits and beliefs. Consider repatterning or retraining yourself and your own food habits.

Quick hacks for expanding the horizons of picky eaters:

  • Serve vegetables at every meal
  • Let your kids see you eat vegetables at every meal
  • Create a Share Plate – let your kids pick their favourite food from a large plate of a variety of foods that the whole family eats and add new foods over time (shout out to @holistic_leigh on Instagram for this awesome tip!)

Today’s tip: Visit Amanda’s blog at amandanaturally.com and @amandanaturally on Instagram for recipes and other family food hacks. 

Today’s Mama Must Haves:

Amanda loves a book called, “French Kids Eat Everything” to balance out her scientific, clinical approach to nutrition.

Find the book HERE on Amazon.

Dr. Lisa’s favourite brand of spices is Simply Organic. There’s a lot of great variety of high quality of spices that you can use to get your kids acquainted with different flavours without worrying about pesticide residues.

As an Amazon Associate Dr. Toni earns from qualifying purchases, which helps to keep this podcast up and running! 

Thank you for joining us today! 

Have any comments, suggestions or burning questions? 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!