Episode 93: Essential Oils 101 with Barbara Rempel

In this episode, Dr. Toni talks with holistic nutrition professional and author Barbara Rempel about the basics you need to know about using essential oils for the health of you and your family. The use of highly concentrated plant extracts or aromatherapy has been around for hundreds of years and the interest in the therapeutic effects of essential oils is growing. Listen in to learn more.

A responsibility to improve lives through natural lifestyles nudged Barbara to leave her 18 year career in IT and follow her passion of “all things natural”, which led her to attain her certification as a Holistic Nutrition Professional in 2005. As director of a residential Health Retreat she saw noticeable evidence of improving attendees’ health in a matter of 5-14 days with simple detoxification protocols based on nutrition. On the behest of her clients asking “How do YOU eat?” she co-authored the book “Cleansing With Food”

When she started adding dōTERRA essential oils to her recommendations, her clients raved about their results. From there, Barbara found the easiest way to empower people to be in control of their own healthy lifestyles was to provide a “Ditch and Switch” education. Now she is a holistic health educator specializing in dōTERRA essential oils with a tribe of at least 4000.

In this episode, we cover:

  • The importance of quality and laboratory testing of essential oils, given the lack of regulation in the industry
    • For example, dōTERRA brand lavender is recognized as pharmaceutical grade due to less than 2% difference in active ingredients from batch to batch
  • The 3 main methods of essential oil use:
    • Aromatic or inhalation
    • Topical, applied on the skin neat or diluted with carrier oil 
    • Internal
  • How to reduce the impact of sun sensitivity that can increase with some essential oils
  • Some of the benefits of essential oils demonstrated in scientific research
    • The aromatic use of rosemary for supporting memory
    • The aromatic use of lemon for increasing dopamine levels, which can positively impact energy and mood
    • Lavender oil used in aromatherapy massage on pregnant women reduced stress hormone cortisol levels and increased immune function by raising secretory immunoglobulin A (IgA) levels
    • Components of essential oils have been shown to be absorbed systemically be inhalation and topical application, and can cross the blood brain barrier 

Connect with Barbara and learn more at linktr.ee/blrempel and healthyoilz.com 

You can also sign up for her newsletter at healthyoilz.com/lets-connect

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Barbara is a big fan of having a good essential oil reference book like Modern Essentials and a box of essential oils to use

Dr. Toni loves to use the dōTERRA Breathe stick to apply the essential oil blend containing eucalyptus and peppermint. 

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Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

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 83: Why You Need More Magnesium: It’s Not Just for Sleep or Tight Muscles

In today’s episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni discuss what you need to know about magnesium. Magnesium is one of our favourite nutritional supplements because of its role in hormone balance, aging and mood. Are you experiencing symptoms of low magnesium? Find out why you might need to have more magnesium in your life!

Why is magnesium so important?

  • Involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in your body
  • Found in your bones, cardiovascular system, nervous system and in every cell in your body – less than 1% of magnesium in your body found in your blood
  • Acts as a natural muscle relaxant
  • Calms your nervous system
  • Plays an important role for your energy production
  • Influences GABA for relaxation and melatonin for sleep
  • Influences your love and bonding hormone oxytocin
  • Supports your liver detoxification pathways to promote breakdown and elimination of excess estrogen, which is linked with breast tenderness, fibroids, heavy periods, endometriosis symptoms (see Episode 21 for more info)
  • Important for your thyroid function – research links magnesium levels with thyroid health (see Episode 42 for more info)
  • Low magnesium levels are linked with high oxidative stress and low grade inflammation associated with signs of aging like cognitive decline, wrinkles, etc.
  • Important modulator of your receptors in the brain like NMDA receptors which are involved in memory function and depression
  • Can protect you against calcium deposits in your soft tissue like calcium oxalate kidney stones or calcifications in your arteries
  • Supports your utilization of vitamin D
  • Helps insulin work to control your blood sugar

What are symptoms of low magnesium?

  • Low energy
  • Low mood, anxiety, panic (see Episode 81 for more info)
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Menstrual cramps, PMS, hormonal imbalances (see Episode 21 for more info)
  • Blood sugar imbalances (see Episode 45 for more info)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Sleep issues (see Episode 73 for more info)

Low magnesium has also been shown to worsen:

  • Hypertension and cardiovascular disease
    • A Harvard study of over 70,000 people found that those with the highest magnesium intake had the healthiest blood pressure numbers
    • studies showed a dose-dependent reduction of blood pressure with magnesium supplementation
    • A University of Minnesota study showed that the risk for hypertension was 70% lower in women with adequate or high magnesium levels
  • Migraines (see Episode 20 for more info)
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Osteoporosis

You are more at risk for magnesium insufficiency if you experience:

  • Gastrointestinal diseases like Crohn’s, Celiac, etc.
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Alcohol dependence or alcoholism
  • Reduced magnesium absorption and increased excretion as we age (oops, that’s everyone!)

Your levels of magnesium are depleted by:

  • Sugar – 1 molecule of sugar uses 30-40 molecules of magnesium
  • Insulin resistance
  • Medications like:
    • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), antacids
    • Birth Control Pill
    • Diuretics
    • Antibiotics
  • Stress
  • Low stomach acid – can’t absorb minerals
  • Caffeine, alcohol due to their diuretic effect 

Severe magnesium deficiency is called hypomagnesemia, resulting in anorexia, nausea, vomiting, lethargy, weakness, personality change, tetany (eg. hyperreflexia), tremor and muscle fasciculations.

Laboratory Testing to Consider to Measure Magnesium:

  • RBC (red blood cell) magnesium

How can you get more magnesium in?

  • Foods
    • Pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, almonds, cashews, spinach, black beans, edamame
    • Dark chocolate – 70% or higher
    • Leafy green vegetables
    • Avocado, bananas
  • Epsom salts bath – magnesium sulfate
    • 1-2 cups in bath and soak for at least 20 minutes for absorption of magnesium through your skin
  • Topical gels, lotions, sprays
  • Liquid, capsules, powder
  • Intravenous (IV) nutrient therapy – bypasses digestive system

How do you know if you’re getting too much magnesium?

  • Loose stools/diarrhea
  • Watch blood pressure if taking blood pressure medication, could help to reduce dose of medication
  • very large doses of magnesium-containing laxatives and antacids (typically providing more than 5,000 mg/day magnesium) have been associated with magnesium toxicity

Tolerable Upper Intake Levels for Supplemental Magnesium:

Source: Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies

Age Male Female Pregnant Lactating

Birth to 12 months None established

1–3 years 65 mg 65 mg

4–8 years 110 mg 110 mg

9–18 years 350 mg 350 mg 350 mg 350 mg

19+ years 350 mg 350 mg 350 mg 350 mg

What are the different types of magnesium?

  • Chloride and Sulfate – often used in intravenous (IV) solutions
  • Oxide – 90% not absorbed, used as a laxative in small amounts
    • Form of magnesium most commonly reported to cause diarrhea, along with magnesium carbonate, chloride and gluconate
  • Citrate – often used for migraines, PMS, constipation – gentle osmotic laxative – often dosed up to 600mg per day
  • Malate – shown to be more bioavailable than oxide, sulfate and citrate in rats
    • Studies show reduced pain and tenderness in patients with fibromyalgia with oral supplementation for 8 weeks and 6 months
  • Bisglycinate/glycinate – elemental magnesium chelated to amino acid glycine
    • Allows for larger amounts to be absorbed more quickly and retained by your body
    • Shown to reduce pain from menstrual cramps and leg cramps in pregnant women
    • Can be more relaxing, often recommended before bed
  • L-threonate – Magtein: patented form of magnesium developed by scientists from MIT & Stanford U with metabolite of vitamin C
    • developed and clinically proven to pass through the blood-brain barrier versus other forms of magnesium
      • People with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease have lower levels of magnesium in cerebrospinal fluid
    • evaluated in a series of cognitive tests for executive function, attention, working and episodic memory and episodic memory, with significant improvement at 6 and 12 weeks
    • shown to reduce the effects of aging by 9 years
    • increases the synaptic density, which can decline with aging
    • has shown improvement in brain circulation and cognitive testing in a small sample of people taking the supplement for 12 weeks
    • more research currently for treating chemotherapy-induced memory deficits and cognitive impairment, anxiety, sleep, mood and other conditions of again

Today’s Mama Must-Have:

Dr. Lisa loves her Hella Hydrating Serum from Joyous Health with rosehip oil and hyaluronic acid, as well as her favourite brands of dark chocolate – Zazubean 80% or Giddy Yoyo.

Dr. Toni is a big fan of Epsom gel, as well as using her neti pot with saline and xylitol for reducing extra irritation from wildfire smoke.

Dr. Toni’s next HypnoBirthing info session for expecting parents looking to trust their instincts and their body during labour and birth is happening Aug 31st. Join her at https://www.hypnobirthingcalgary.com/register

Dr. Lisa’s Wild Collective begins again in Fall 2021: 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.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

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 77: Dealing With Your Kids’ Feelings Using Gentle Mindful Parenting with Amen Kaur

In this episode, Dr. Toni is joined by author and mindful parenting advocate Amen Kaur to discuss how mindfulness practices can help our kids to decrease anxiety and develop emotional regulation and intelligence. Parenting can be hard and being a kid can be hard, especially during a pandemic. Having tools to manage anxiety in both ourselves and our kids are essential, now more than ever.

Amen Kaur has a BA in psychology and is a certified mindfulness facilitator, as well as an author and mindful parenting advocate. After several years of continued meditation, mindfulness, and self-healing practices, Amen was inspired by her son to write her book Dealing With My Feelings: An Essential Guide to a Child’s Well-Being and Prosperity during the 2020 pandemic period and co-founded POM Life Products, a brand focused on creating products serving Peace Of Mind. She is passionate about cultivating emotional intelligence and is committed to unlearning harmful generational patterns, while continuously working on healing so the next generation can do even better. 

In today’s episode, we cover:

  • How her personal experience with bullying lead Amen to her healing journey with meditation and mindfulness
  • The impact of the pandemic and the inspiration Amen experienced to compile resources for helping kids to manage emotions
  • The importance of being able to name your emotions, as well as having tools to help your kids manage their emotions
  • How mindfulness exercises can be used to help reduce anxiety and bring your child back to the present, instead of worrying about the past or the future
  • The importance of modeling self-compassion and emotional regulation to your kids
  • How mindfulness practices can help highly sensitive and empathetic kids become aware of the emotions of others and help them distinguish between the feelings of others and themselves
  • The importance of engaging your senses to shift your focus to the present and reduce anxiety
  • The ability to rewire your thinking and behaviour, no matter what your experience was growing up with your parents and family of origin 
  • How to deal with family members questioning your parenting style, especially when using gentle mindful parenting techniques

You can find Amen’s book at https://www.amenkaurbooks.com/ and connect with her on Instagram @mindfulgentlemama and by email at info@amenkaurbooks.com

Today’s Mama Must Have: 

Dr. Toni loves books that help foster her child’s emotional well-being like Amen Kaur’s book Dealing With My Feelings, which includes a number of actions kids can take to manage their emtions and meditations to practice together as a family.

Dr. Toni’s next HypnoBirthing info session for expecting parents looking to decrease fear and anxiety around labour and birth is happening on June 21. Join her at https://www.hypnobirthingcalgary.com/register

Dr. Lisa’s Wild Collective in Fall 2021: 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.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Episode 73: Why Can’t I Sleep?

In this episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni provide some updated info you need to know about sleep, especially if your sleep has been impacted by perimenopause and the pandemic. Want to stop gaining weight and craving carbs and sugar? Want more energy and better moods? Want to lower your risk of cancer, dementia and diabetes? Don’t wait to sleep when you’re dead!

Did you know?

2/3 of people in developed nations fail to sleep at least 8 hours a night!

Why do you need to get a good night’s sleep?

Research shows that the less sleep you get, the shorter your life.

You can’t make up for a poor night’s sleep by sleeping more the next night. 

As you age, your sleep can be more fragile and sensitive than when you’re younger.

Insufficient or poor sleep can:

  • Double your risk of cardiovascular disease
    • 24% increase in heart attacks after lose an hour with daylight savings time change in spring 
  • Make otherwise healthy people appear prediabetic on blood tests (even just after a few nights of poor sleep)
  • Contribute to weight gain
    • crave more simple carbs and sugar
    • insulin increases, can lead to insulin resistance
    • it takes 40% longer to regulate your blood sugar after a high carb meal
    • lowers leptin and increases ghrelin, impacting your appetite
    • 4-5 hours of sleep a night can increase daily calorie intake by 300 and contribute to gaining an extra 10-15 pounds over a year
  • Reduce your cognition or ability to think and problem solve
  • Put your body in fight or flight mode
    • cortisol increases which can make it more difficult to sleep, can become a vicious cycle due to overactivity of stress response pathway in brain
  • Double your risk of getting cancer when you get less than 6 hours sleep a night
  • Make you more likely to catch viruses such as the common cold
  • Cause your amygdala to be more activated, so you are more emotionally reactive
  • Reduce the work of your glymphatic system to clear out amyloid plaques and prevent dementia
    • even after 1 night of 4 hours sleep, more amyloid plaque in your brain is possible
  • Cause more accidents from drowsy driving than drugs and alcohol
    • Less than 5 hours sleep makes you 3 times more likely to crash your car

What can you do if your sleep is interrupted?

There is a time and a place for napping for sleep deprived moms. 

A research study by NASA in 1990s showed that even 26 min naps increased alertness by 50% and increased performance on a task by 34%

What is a good night’s sleep?

  • Adults: 7 to 9 hours a night 
    • Total sleep time, not just your time in bed
  • Fall asleep within 20 minutes
  • Wake up zero to several times a night with the ability to fall back asleep easily
  • Wake before alarm
  • Optimal bedtime depends on which chronotype you are
    • 40% of people are morning types or morning larks
    • 30% are evening types or night owls
    • 30% fall somewhere in between

Signs you are not getting enough sleep:

1. After waking up in the morning, could you fall back asleep at 10 or 11 am?

2. Can you function optimally without caffeine before noon?

3. Do you need your alarm to wake up?

What controls sleep?

  • Circadian clock: your inner time-keeper, which is temperature and enzyme dependent
    • Cortisol – regulates metabolism, blood sugar and inflammation
      1. supports memory, salt/water balance, blood pressure, immune response and more
      2. Helps body respond to stress
    • Melatonin – made in pineal gland
      1. Darkness triggers release
      2. Daylight stops release
      3. Supports sleep and detoxification
      4. Promotes bone health and immunity
      5. Antioxidant and potential cancer-protective effects
      6. Can influence reproduction and hormones
  • Adenosine – inhibitory neurotransmitter that inhibits the bodily processes associated with wakefulness
    • Adenosine exerts sleep pressure by accumulating in your bloodstream when you’re awake which makes you sleepy
    • As we sleep, we breakdown adenosine via an enzyme and your brain’s rate of adenosine metabolism determines the quality of your deep sleep
    • Caffeine – from green or black tea, coffee, chocolate, soft drinks – Stimulates you  by blocking adenosine binding to receptors so you can’t fall asleep or get into deep sleep
    • This reduction in adenosine activity leads to increased activity of the neurotransmitters dopamine and glutamate
  • Lowered body temperature
    • Your body temperature must fall by 1 degree C to trigger and support sleep

Sleeping pills:  

  • Act as a sedative, not producing true sleep
  • Doesn’t allow your brain to consolidate memories like regular sleep does
  • Associated with increased cancer risk when you use more than 3 times over one year


  • THC acts as a sedative, not producing true sleep
  • Can create rebound insomnia if you stop
  • Can create dependence and paranoia
  • CBD may help your sleep without negative effects of THC

What can cause you to have a poor sleep?

External causes like:

  • Blue light
  • Sounds and movements from your kids, pets, partners, neighbours
  • Blood sugar issues
  • Stimulants like caffeine
  • Alcohol and certain medications

Internal causes like:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Sleep apnea and snoring
  • Pain
  • Urinary problems
  • Skin rashes or itchy skin
  • Hot flashes

Lab tests and investigations you need to consider:

  • DUTCH for melatonin, cortisol and other hormones
  • Snoring: food sensitivities, allergies
  • Pelvic floor physiotherapy
  • Pain: acupuncture, osteopathy, physiotherapy, etc.
  • Sleep study with medical doctors specially trained in sleep science

How Can You Get a Good Night’s Sleep?

  • Get daylight exposure
  • Exercise earlier in day
  • Balance your blood sugar and limit your sugar intake
  • Limit caffeine intake
    • Half life is about 6 hours and quarter life is about 12 hours, as you get older, you can tolerate less
    • Consider no caffeine after 1pm or for 12 hours before bed
  • Limit alcohol intake
    • Acts as a sedative – not real sleep – dulls down impulse control
    • Fragmented sleep with many short waking intervals more regularly and not deep sleep
    • Not restorative sleep with less time in REM
  • Reduce bladder irritating foods like citrus, spicy foods, carbonated beverages
  • Journal before bed – unload thoughts and “to-dos”
  • Reduce screen exposure
    • One study found even reading on an iPad versus a print book suppressed melatonin levels by 50% and delayed the onset of sleep by many hours.
  • Sleep in a cool, dark room
    • Turn thermostat down to 15-19 C or 60-67 F
  • Try out essential oils like lavender or cedarwood – diffuse or mix in carrier oil and put on bottoms of feet
  • Calming bedtime routine like meditation and a warm bath or shower helps cool you down by creating vasodilation after
  • Cortisol-balancing herbs in tea or supplement form:
    • TEAS: Tulsi, Chamomile, Lavender, lemon balm
    • Magnesium
    • Passionflower
    • GABA
  • Melatonin
    • 0.5 to 3mg is usually enough, while 5-10mg or more can shut down your natural production and produce more side effects like morning grogginess
    • Best used for jet lag from travel or as we age 
  • Progesterone support if needed
  • Consider a sleep divorce – sleep in a separate room from your partner if they snore
  • Don’t lay awake in bed longer than 20min so you don’t associate context of being awake with your bed
  • Seek out a psychologist trained in CBT-I for more personalized support

Sleep tools you can use:

  • Sleep cycle app, Oura ring, Whoop strap
  • Meditation apps like Insight Timer
  • Blue light glasses
  • Ear plugs
  • White noise machine, fan, humidifier, air purifier
  • Red light bulbs and night lights
  • Weighted blanket like Zonli

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Lisa loves putting a tea bag or two of lemon balm or chamomile tea in Stuart’s bath and using Badger sleep balm on the backs of Stuart’s hands and his feet for extra sleep support.

Dr. Toni is a big fan of Cyto-Matrix’s Mag Matrix magnesium liquid for Frankie and Bach Flower Rescue Remedy night spray for the whole family. 

Dr. Toni’s next HypnoBirthing info session for expecting parents looking to trust their instincts and their body during labour and birth is happening in May. Join her at https://www.hypnobirthingcalgary.com/register

Dr. Lisa’s Wild Collective in Fall 2021: 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.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Episode 70: Sound Therapy to Manage Stress and Anxiety with Nicole Manes

In this episode, Dr. Lisa talks with Nicole Manes about how sound therapy can be used to manage stress and mood, improve sleep and digestion, and promote relaxation to support healing and well-being. Tune in to experience the benefits of a sound bath for yourself! 

Nicole is a Certified Sound Therapy Practitioner and is the co-founder of Sound Response Wellness, a company offering online and in-person Sound-Based Stress Reduction™ services. In addition to a long-standing interest in psychology, mindfulness and spirituality, plus over fourteen years as a public relations and marketing communications specialist, Nicole brings years of vocal training, live performance, song writing and in-studio recording experience to her sound therapy practice. She uses a variety of instruments and tools including voice, crystal quartz singing bowls, metal singing bowls, tuning forks, drum and chimes to deliver therapeutic soundscapes that help people reduce stress and increase their overall sense of well-being. 

In today’s episode, we cover:

  • The difference between in person and virtual sound therapy sessions
  • The benefits of sound therapy demonstrated by scientific research:
    • Can help you to anchor yourself in the moment and feel grounded
    • Naturally promotes a state of calm and relaxation of your central nervous system
    • Reduces stress and tension in the body to positively sleep, digestion and symptoms of depression and anxiety
    • Provides the one of the easiest ways to enter a meditative state
    • Help you get in touch with emotions that are hard for you to verbalize and shift your state to regulate your emotional stability
    • Acts like a massage from inside out
    • Increases physical energy levels and promotes a feeling of well-being
    • Can lower blood pressure and physical pain
  • How there is no minimum dose of sound therapy for you to experience benefits
  • The importance of nature sounds for feeling a sense of safety
  • How you can use different sounds at home as healing tools
    • Running or pouring water 
    • Koshi chime 
    • Kalimba
    • Your own voice with humming, singing or sacred vowel sounds
  • How different soundscapes can be used in sound bath depending on the desired effect and complement other health practices
  • Nicole provides a 10 minute sound bath for you to enjoy

You can connect with Nicole on Instagram at: @NicoleManesSoundTherapy on FaceBook and online at www.soundresponsewellness.com

Check out Nicole’s free weekly sound baths on her Nicole Manes Sound Therapy YouTube Channel  

Today’s Mama Must Have: 

Nicole is a big fan of lemon ginger tea and the Essentrics functional movement system Framewrk by Josephine Cuthill

Dr. Lisa relies on the Bands in Town app to find different music events happening online to get her live music fix

Thank you for joining us today!

We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5-star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

Email us or connect with us on  Facebook  and  Instagram.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!