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 136: The Benefits of Taking Cold Showers and Plunges with Lisa Kricfalusi

In this episode, Dr. Lisa chats with Lisa Kricfalusi, of Stay Unbounded, about the benefits of cold water exposure. Did you know that you can use cold water to help boost your mood, immune function and metabolism? Dr. Lisa has been taking daily cold showers for over 1.5 years now and has definitely noticed an improvement in her focus, stress resiliency, outlook, immunity and body composition. Find out why there is almost nothing better you can do in two minutes that is more beneficial for your body than a cold water plunge!

Lisa Kricfalusi’s obsession with water and health started as a young girl swimming in lakes and pools in Ontario, Canada. Her affinity for water only started to grow as she began training nationally at ten years old. This led to an eleven year national swim career in synchronized swimming and traditional racing, eventually coaching provincially as well as nationally. Lisa graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor degree in Kinesiology and Health Science, then became a yoga instructor, breathwork facilitator, hydro therapist, and cold exposure therapist. Since graduating, Lisa has worked with organizations such as the Pan American Games, Red Bull Canada, Republic Live, Canadian Sport Institute of Ontario, Boys & Girls Club, Canadian Physical Literacy Boards and RBC Sports Committee. 

Lisa has been practicing cold exposure since she was a little girl, inspired by spending summers with her family in Finland. She has since developed a unique approach to cold exposure involving intention setting, breathwork, and a progressional practice ending on gratitude. Inspiring cold exposure communities everywhere, Lisa has made it her life’s purpose to dedicate herself to this work making this method available and accessible.

In today’s episode, we cover:

  • The benefits of cold water therapy and why shivering is good for you
    • Hormetic challenge
    • Mood elevation
    • Regulates inflammation
    • Increases immune function and metabolism
  • How to start your cold water therapy with cold water showers
  • The importance of defining your why or purpose behind cold plunging
  • How to use breathing and sound or music to practice your cold water therapy
  • The latest research showing what length of time required for you to get results
  • Who shouldn’t be doing cold water therapy
  • The importance of ending with hot water before bed and not practicing cold water therapy within 3 hours before bed

You can connect with Lisa on Instagram and Facebook @stayunbounded or email info@stayunbounded.com

Today’s Mama Must-Have:

Dr. Lisa is a big fan of this online vacation planner.

Lisa likes using a positive reward system of stickers to encourage good habits. 

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!

Get your ticket for Dr. Lisa’s 5-Day Virtual Cold Shower Challenge HERE! Starts Aug 8th and kicks off with a workshop held by Lisa Kricfalusi of Stay Unbounded!

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 135 – How Trauma May Be Impacting Your Parenting (and Your Life) with Jinelle Watson – Part 2

In part 2 of a 2 part episode series, Dr. Toni continues a conversation on the impact of trauma on parenting with social worker Jinelle Watson. They discuss triggers for experiencing trauma responses, automatic reactions that can impact parenting, and how guilt, shame and judgment can follow. Listen in to learn what therapy can look like and how you can take the first steps towards shifting your parenting and trauma responses.  

Jinelle Watson is a registered social worker who holds a Masters in Social Work with a clinical designation in Calgary, Alberta. She has been working in the field of mental health for over 8 years. During her pregnancy, she developed a passion for understanding the impacts of pregnancy and postpartum on gestational and non gestational parents and their families. With her daughter being born in 2020 she has developed a special level of empathy for life with a new baby during a global pandemic. Prior to the birth of her daughter in 2020, Jinelle specialized in sexual trauma therapy and she has built on this experience by completing her perinatal mental health certification. 

Jinelle’s approach to therapy comes from an anti-oppressive, and person-centered lens. She is experienced in supporting individuals and families through areas including but not limited to depression, anxiety, big T and little t trauma, PTSD, addictions, grief and loss, sexuality, gender identity, self-image and self-worth. Jinelle primarily uses techniques from Mindfulness Based Therapy, Sensor Motor based Psychotherapy, Art based therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, and Feminist Therapy.

In today’s episode, we cover:

  • Potential triggers for a trauma response
    • Including specific pitch, tone, level of sound, possibly created by one or more of your kids
    • Interactions with your own parents, especially if they are part of your support network as a parent
    • Social media and mainstream media
  • How your instincts and automatic default reactions can create different feelings, including shame, guilt and judgment
  • How you can use rupture and repair to shift how you parent 
  • The importance of giving yourself permission to make mistakes in parenting
  • How to find the right mental health professional for you 
  • The importance of safety and stabilization, in addition to processing and healing, in trauma work
  • The importance of not forcing therapy on yourself or your kids if they are not ready
  • How you get to decide your growth or gain from working on your trauma responses
  • The importance of being curious about your behaviour, thoughts, body sensations without judgment or analysis
  • How curiosity towards yourself can be the first step to increasing your window of tolerance
  • The importance of boundaries and saying no

You can connect with Jinelle at https://www.jinellecounselling.com/ for a free consultation or Moss Postpartum House on Instagram @moss_postpartum_house

Today’s Mama Must-Have:

Dr. Toni is a big fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race and their quote at the end of each episode: “If you can’t love yourself how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?”

Jinelle finds building community to experience love and support from others essential. 

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 134: How Trauma May Be Impacting Your Parenting (and Your Life) with Jinelle Watson – Part 1

In part 1 of a 2 part episode series, Dr. Toni discusses the impact of trauma on parenting with social worker Jinelle Watson. They review how both big T and little t trauma can create different stress responses, and how the pandemic, hormone fluctuations and different aspects of parenting (hello, sleep deprivation!) can lower your window of tolerance. Whether you know you are experiencing the impact of trauma or are not sure, this episode is a must listen!

Jinelle Watson is a registered social worker who holds a Masters in Social Work with a clinical designation. She has been working in the field of mental health for over 8 years. During her pregnancy, she developed a passion for understanding the impacts of pregnancy and postpartum on gestational and non gestational parents and their families. With her daughter being born in 2020 she has developed a special level of empathy for life with a new baby during a global pandemic. Prior to the birth of her daughter in 2020, Jinelle specialized in sexual trauma therapy and she has built on this experience by completing her perinatal mental health certification. 

Jinelle’s approach to therapy comes from an anti-oppressive, and person-centered lens. She is experienced in supporting individuals and families through areas including but not limited to depression, anxiety, big T and little t trauma, PTSD, addictions, grief and loss, sexuality, gender identity, self-image and self-worth. Jinelle primarily uses techniques from Mindfulness Based Therapy, Sensor Motor based Psychotherapy, Art based therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, and Feminist Therapy.

In today’s episode, we cover:

  • What is little t and big T trauma
  • How little t trauma can impact you to a greater extent than big T trauma
  • The pros and cons of getting a diagnosis of PTSD
  • What it can look like to get counselling to address your trauma
  • How your personality can impact you might experience trauma 
  • What is the window of tolerance and how parenting, hormone fluctuations, sleep deprivation and the pandemic lowers your window
  • The different trauma responses you could experience, how you don’t anyways get to choose what you experience and how those responses are helpful
  • Why you can’t prevent trauma experiences and how helicopter parenting negatively impacts your kids
  • How to you can reduce how your kids experience trauma with communication
    • For more info on conversations with your kids about sex, see Episode 98

You can connect with Jinelle at https://www.jinellecounselling.com/ for a free consultation or Moss Postpartum on Instagram @moss_postpartum_house

Today’s Mama Must-Have:

Jinelle likes the Instagram account @kids.eat.in.color to support her kid’s nutrition.

Dr. Toni is a big fan of the grief-focused podcasts Healing with David Kessler and Here After with Megan Devine.

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 133: Is It Hot in Here?! What You Need To Know About Hot Flashes

In this re-released episode from 2020, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni are talking about a hot topic: hot flashes! Whether you call it a hot flash or hot flush, they can be an annoying and uncomfortable symptom that you may start to experience in perimenopause. We discuss: what hot flashes are and why they happen; the potential causes and triggers for your hot flashes and night sweats; and what you can do about them so you don’t have to suffer.

According to research, anywhere from 35%–50% of perimenopausal women suffer sudden waves of body heat with sweating and flushing that last 5–10 minutes.

What is a hot flash?

A hot flash or vasomotor flush can vary from feeling slightly warm to more like a fire from the inside out. They can come on rapidly and last anywhere from 1-10 minutes. 

You may get them anywhere from a few times per week to more than 10 times during the day and night. They can be combined with visible flushing with your chest, neck and face turning red, with a little bit or a lot of sweat.

Hot flashes often continue for a year or two after menopause, but in up to 10% of women, they persist for years beyond that. They can disrupt your sleep, which can worsen: fatigue, irritability, anxiety, metabolism, weight control and immune system function.

Why do you get hot flashes?

Although hot flashes have been studied for more than 30 years, no one is absolutely certain why or how they occur. The Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research (CeMCOR) at UBC attributes hot flashes to “estrogen withdrawal”, as their research has found that hot flashes closely resemble an addict’s drug withdrawal due to the hormonal associations and brain effects seen.

Your level of estrogen while in perimenopause is fluctuating and can be unpredictable. When your estrogen level drops from normal to low or high to normal, it can trigger a hot flash in your body.

Estrogen drops can trigger the release of your stress hormone norepinephrine, as well as other stress hormones and brain neurotransmitters. Norepinephrine narrows the range of body temperature where you feel comfortable (also called your thermoneutral zone) so you’re more sensitive to both heat and cold. 

A hot flash is a vasomotor symptom where your blood vessels dilate to release more heat because of the narrowing of your thermoneutral zone.

Causes of hot flashes can include:

  • Blood sugar imbalances that can trigger your stress hormones, resulting in you feeling hot and wired
  • High stress and cortisol levels that can worsen night sweats
  • Inadequate detoxification through your organs of elimination or emunctories. Things that can make your hot flashes worse by negatively affecting your body’s ability to detox include:
    • smoking, constipation, being overweight, not exercising and not sweating (via exercise and sauan usage)
  • Triggers are different for each women. It is useful to keep a hot flash journal, tracking your potential triggers such as:
    • Hot drinks, caffeine, alcohol
    • Sugar, spicy foods, garlic
    • Nightshades like tomatoes, eggplant, peppers
    • Perceived stress or stressful situations

What can you do about your hot flashes?

  • Avoid your known triggers
  • Manage your temperature
    • Turn your thermostat down, put on a fan or A/C 
    • Sleep naked or in loose-fitting breathable cotton
    • Under-dress during the day and wear layers
    • Use a breathable weighted blanket like ZonLi, Chilipad or gel pillow
    • Drink cool or ice water
    • Use an essential oil spray with peppermint, clary sage, geranium
  • Manage your stress
    • Have stress-releasing time EVERY DAY! Be proactive to improve your response to stress
      • Meditation, yoga, deep breathing, singing, humming
  • Get a sweat going during the day with exercise, sauna or a hot bath
  • Eat nutritious food to:
    • Balance blood sugar levels – see Episode 10: What to Eat? Nutrition Tips for Hormone Balance
    • Include liver-detoxifyng and phyto-estrogenic foods
      • Ground flaxseeds (can add to chia pudding, smoothies, cereal, yogurt)
      • Organic fermented soy like miso soup or tempeh
      • Brassica vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts
  • See a Naturopathic Doctor for hormone testing and individualized treatment including:
    • Herbs like maca, vitex, black cohosh, sage, red clover, pueraria (Thai kudzu), hops, milk thistle, dandelion, artichoke
    • Nutrients like berberine, plant sterols, N-acetyl cysteine, magnesium, vitamin E, L-glycine
    • Acupuncture
    • Homeopathy
    • Bio-identical hormone creams
      • Natural progesterone has been shown in recent research to be safe and effective for hot flashes and night sweats, avoiding some of the adverse effects of classic estrogen therapy or synthetic estrogen with synthetic progesterone (progestin)

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Toni has a favourite oat and fruit bar recipe for a quick and easy breakfast or snack that Frankie loves:

Dr. Toni’s Banana and Fruit Breakfast Bars

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1 cup chopped apricots, cranberries, dates and/or prunes
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup milled flax seed
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Mash bananas and combine with fruit and oil. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Spread onto a pan or cookie sheet and flattened with a fork. Bake at 375oF for 10-15 minutes until slightly browned.

Dr. Lisa found a tasty gluten-free beer called Glutenberg to enjoy in moderation on hot summer days.

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.