Episode 100: Perimenopause: Lessons Learned and Highlights from the First 100 Episodes

Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni are celebrating the 100th episode of the Perimenopausal Mamas Podcast! Listen in for our top highlights from the first 100 episodes and find out what we learned about sex, loving our bodies, intermittent fasting, having thriving relationships, preventing toddler tantrum and kiddo meltdowns and embracing our monthly rhythms. 

We launched Jan 2020 before the pandemic and kept going! We were inspired to stay connected with and support you all, our listeners through this unprecedented time in history. We also love chatting together and diving deep into topics in our episodes together and with guests. It really fills up our cups and educates us on how to be better moms and Naturopathic Doctors. We are so grateful for all you listeners! 

We appreciate all of you and your support! We now have a new way for you to support us and this podcast so we can keep going for another 100+ episodes. We would love for you to visit Patreon and support us with $5/month or with $20/month – which gives you access to our live monthly webinar with Q & A 


Some lessons over the past 10 episodes:

  1. Consistency is key
  2. Let go of expectations and get it done, even if it’s not perfect
  3. Teamwork makes the dream work!
  4. Ask for help

Episode 72: Hard Habits to Break

  • If you have trouble sticking to habits, listen in for tips on making successful change

Episode 59: Menstrual Cycle Awareness and Cyclical Living

  • There are times to work hard and times to rest – your energy and output ebbs and flows
  • Optimize your peak performance throughout the month and tap into your natural rhythms and cycles
  • Before period or new moon – better suited for analytical work
  • Ovulating or full moon – more magnetic, better suited for networking, socializing, promoting self

Episode 23: Let’s Talk About Sex with Dr. Trina Read 

  • Research shows that sexual desire is similar to happiness. For most women, in order to feel sexual desire, you need to be triggered. You can learn positive triggers around sex and negative triggers around sex. You need to set up your positive triggers for sex.
  • In situations with great change, it’s important to connect with your partner and look for ways to be together, so that you don’t drift apart. Being proactive and finding pockets of time to be close with your partner helps your relationship, as well as feeling more powerful yourself.
  • Your body can only produce either cortisol (your stress hormone) or testosterone (your sex drive hormone). If you’re producing cortisol, you can’t produce testosterone.

You can back into the groove and bring your body back to a place where you feel more centred and sensual by:

  • Taking a bath
  • Listening to your favourite music
  • Giving yourself some me time alone (perhaps in your bedroom with a vibrator)
  • Just making up your mind to connect with your partner and scheduling it in (even if it feels forced at first)

Episode 17 and Episode 82 – Relationship Seasons with psychotherapist Allison Villa 

  • How to support your relationship so you’re not just surviving, but working proactively to thrive
  1. Coping – when an external factor takes up the majority of your time and energy, eg. having a baby, starting a new job, loss of family member, pandemic, moving or renovation
  • Express how you feel 
  • Ask for what you need
  • Don’t assume – be curious about your partner
  • Carve out 5 minutes a day to check in with your partner during a high energy time in your day – keep talking!
  • Recognize that it’s less about the doing and more about being and acknowledging
  1. Coasting – when you have come out the the Coping season and reintegrate as a couple, a bit of a danger zone if you’re not putting the time and energy into your relationship eg. empty nest syndrome
  • Carve out 5 minutes a day to check in with your partner – no talking about work, kids or the house!
  • Support each other’s self-care time
  1. Connected – when schedule for self-care is set and you are getting clear on your family and relationship vision
  • Dream big!
  • Ask: 
    • What is your community?
    • What are your values?
    • Do you want to travel?
    • What is your spiritual vision?
    • Could you do things a different way?
  1. Confident – when you know what vision you are working towards
  • Be more curious about your intimacy vision – intellectual, spiritual, emotional, physical, sexual

Episode 34 – Pelvic floor fitness with personal trainer Amy Cooper

  • It’s important not to avoid any changes you experience with your pelvic health, especially after having kids
  • The Rule of 3 P’s for pelvic health that are red flags you need to watch for:
    • Changes in peeing, pooping or passing gas
    • Changes in pain, especially with sex
    • Changes in pressure

If you want to understand what you’re seeing when you dare to take a look: Haley Shevener’s Privates Investigator blog 

Episode 36 – Holistic Pelvic Care with Dr. Kate Hadfield

  • How important is it to recover and heal from trauma so you can reclaim your pelvic area for power and creativity, not just for sexuality

Inspired by Larisa Makuch, guest of Episode 51 and 99, Dr. Lisa has continued going alcohol-free since March and it has been a game-changer for self-care over the past 8 months:

  • Less anxiety and better mood overall
  • Less blood sugar dips -the “gotta eat now/hangry” response
  • Looking at other ways to unwind, celebrate, welcome the weekend

Episode 91 – Body Confidence with Kayla Marie

  • Start with body neutrality – see yourself as more than your appearance or looks
  • How body neutrality and self acceptance is a great place to start on the journey to self love and confidence
  • Make a daily habit that fosters body neutrality or body confidence
    • Look in mirror before shower- in your own eyes, zone in on a spot that you are neutral about or like
    • Focus on what your body does for you
    • Can put in gratitude journal

Episode 97 – Vitamin D for Enhancing Immunity, Supporting Mood, Reducing Inflammation and So Much More

  • Could a vitamin D deficiency be affecting your mood, headaches, muscle tension and pain like Dr. Toni? Get your blood levels tested with your naturopathic doctor!
  • Mind-blowing research on vitamin D supporting the epithelial cells in the vagina to reduce postmenopausal vaginal atrophy – a vitamin D suppository reduced vaginal dryness and pain in 2 months

Episode 58 – Vaccine optimization with Dr. Taylor Bean

  • The importance of having an individualized approach to supporting your immune health relating to vaccines and nutrition

Episode 10 

  • Intermittent fasting: why 16 hours of fasting didn’t work for Dr. Lisa
    • Pushed back breakfast time and her appetite wasn’t too high when she did eat at first
    • Eventually it was hard to stop eating when she had my afternoon snack and it felt like she couldn’t get enough food
    • Her TSH increased and her thyroid function slowed down a bit
    • Thyroid function improved when fast for 12-14 hours overnight
    • Less overeating in the afternoon
    • Still great focus, concentration and energy, plus sleep is better too!
  • Episode Love Led Nourishment
  • Episode Intuitive Eating with Kids

Episode Gut Health

  • A balanced microbiome and extra gut healing nutrients can help with weight and metabolism

Episode 60 with Tia Slightham 

  • Preventing meltdowns and tantrums with Golden Time
    • Set aside 10 minutes 1-2 times per day – connect, drop everything else, let them be in charge, be present

Episode 57 with Penny Kendall Reed

  • How your individual genetics impacts your weight, liver detoxification for hormone balance, levels of inflammation, ability to managing mood and stress

Today’s Mama Must-Have: 

Dr. Lisa loves Chaiwala Rooibos Masala Chai tea to simmer with almond or macadamia milk for a warm, sweet drink without a lot of sugar

Dr. Toni is a big fan of mushroom coffee with lion’s mane by Four Sigmatic for a little extra boost

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 97: Why You Need Vitamin D For Enhancing Immunity, Supporting Mood, Reducing Inflammation and So Much More!

In this episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni are back together again, discussing: how to test for vitamin D; what an optimal level is; how to enhance absorption, and all the health benefits it has on the body and mind. Vitamin D isn’t just needed for bone health; could low vitamin D be the cause of your aches, pains and low mood?

Vitamin D deficiency is still underdiagnosed, under prevented and under treated in between 60-90% of the worldwide population. In Canada 59% of population are vitamin D deficient (below 75 nmol/L). 

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and is best absorbed as a supplement when taken with food. 

What increases your risk of experiencing vitamin D deficiency?

  • Dark skin
  • Obesity
  • Older age
  • Malabsorption
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (due to malabsorption and inflammation)
  • Sunlight overprotection and/or deprivation
  • Chronic use of prednisone and other anti-inflammatory steroid derivatives, anticonvulsant medications (due to upregulation of liver detoxification, promoting excretion of vitamin D and metabolites)

Why should you care about vitamin D?

Vitamin D plays many roles in the body! It’s not just for bone density, which can decrease as estrogen decreases in perimenopause and menopause.

Vitamin D is known as a pro-hormone synthesized in the skin and activated in the liver and kidneys. Cholesterol is its precursor.

Why do you need vitamin D in your body?

  • Reduces cellular growth
  • Improves cell differentiation
  • Regulates and controls genes
  • Reduces inflammation, risk of cancer, autoimmunity
  • Reduces muscle aches/pain, fibromyalgia
  • Improves mood (and energy)
  • Enhances bone health

“The most common manifestations of vitamin D deficiency in adults is:



Chronic Pain”

  • Alex Vasquez (vitamin D monograph available at academia.edu)

Low vitamin D status or deficiency can manifest as:

  • Bone and muscle pain 
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Infections/dysbiosis
  • Frequent falls and cognitive impairment
  • Statin intolerance and myalgia
  • Preterm birth 

How does vitamin D support your vagina?

Research shows that vitamin D supports the proliferation of vaginal epithelium in postmenopausal vaginal atrophy. After using a suppository with 1000IU vitamin D over 8 weeks, vaginal pH decreased, while vaginal dryness and pain significantly reduced.

You can think about your skin and mucous membranes (including epithelial cells and immune cells) are like bricks in a wall, with tight junction proteins acting like mortar and weather proofing or waterproofing provided by antimicrobial peptides, as well as lysozyme and secretory IgA, on surfaces. 

Mucous membranes are present in your mouth, digestive tract, genitourinary tract and respiratory tract. Strengthening your exterior barrier defenses prevents infection.

Research shows that people with low vitamin D levels are 27-55% more likely to get an upper respiratory tract infection. Higher doses of vitamin D are more protective, improves lung function and decreases inflammation. 

Synergistic nutrients for vitamin D include:

  • Magnesium – cofactor in the synthesis of vitamin D from both exposure to sunlight and dietary sources
  • Vitamin K2 supports getting calcium into bones and teeth

Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) produced in skin and consumed in diet, preferred form for supplementation.

Food sources provide low amounts: fatty wild fish like mackerel, herring, sardines, trout, salmon, cod liver oil, egg yolk, milk, soy milk, fortified foods, beef liver, cheese

Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) produced by irradiating fungi and mushrooms, less efficient precursor to biologically active 1, 25 dihydroxyvitamin D (calcitriol), also potentially less effective and more toxic. 

Some examples of research using cod liver oil as a source of vitamin D:

  • study with 10 patients with multiple sclerosis over 2 years, daily supplementation of 1000mg calcium, 600mg magnesium and 5000IU vitamin D (from 20g cod liver oil) reduced number of exacerbations with an absence of adverse effects
  • studies with cod liver oil showed significant reductions of type 1 diabetes, while a study of more than 10,000 infants (less than 1 year of age) and children with 2000IU of vitamin D daily reduced incidence of type 1 diabetes by almost 80%

How do you know if you’re getting enough vitamin D?

Get your blood tested!

Reference ranges for serum 25 (OH) vitamin D3 in adults can vary:


Deficiency: <20 ng/ml (50 nmol/L) 

Insufficiency: 20-40 ng/ml (50-100 nmol/L)

Proposed optimal: 40-65 ng/ml (100-160 nmol/L)

Excess: >80 ng/ml (200 nmol/L)

Proposed updated ranges:

Depletion: <20 ng/ml (50 nmol/L) 

Insufficiency: <32 ng/ml (80 nmol/L) 

Marginal sufficiency: 30-40 ng/ml (75-100 nmol/L)

Sufficiency: 40-50 ng/ml (100-125 nmol/L) 

Proposed optimal physiologic range: 50-90 ng/ml (125-225 nmol/L) – based on levels found in pregnant rural Africans, lifeguards in USA/Isreal, farmers in Puerto Rico

Supraphysiologic: >100 ng/ml (250 nmol/L)

Potentially toxic: >150 ng/ml (325 nmol/L)

Pharmacologic dosing: 200-300 ng/ml (500-750 nmol/L)

What else is vitamin D good for?

Blood Sugar Balance:

  • Low vitamin D associated with insulin resistance and beta cell dysfunction in diabetics and young adults who are apparently healthy
  • Healthy adults with higher vitamin D levels had better insulin sensitivity than those who were vitamin D deficient
  • HIgher vitamin D status related to 60% improvement in insulin sensitivity (vs. 13% by metformin)

Cardiovascular Disease:

-risk of heart attack twice as high for those with vitamin D less than 34 ng/ml (85 nmol/L) than for those with vitamin D status above this level

– patients with congestive heart failure recently found to have markedly lower levels of vitamin D than controls

-vitamin D deficiency as a cause of heart failure has been documented in numerous case reports


It has been demonstrated that blood pressure is higher in the winter than the summer, increase at greater distances from the equator and is affected by skin pigmentation – all consistent with a role of vitamin D in regulating blood pressure

  • When treated with UV light 3x/week for 6 weeks, patients with hypertension increased vitamin D levels by 162% and blood pressure fell significantly
  • 800IU of vitamin D3 for 8 weeks lowered both blood pressure and heart rate


Vitamin D is known to have antidepressant effects by impacting neurotransmitter and neurologic function, as well as inflammation

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – for more info, see Episode ?

-recently, a dose of 100,000IU of vitamin D was found superior to light therapy in the treatment of SAD after one month

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): 

-condition characterized by polycystic ovaries, irregular menstrual cycles, increased hair growth, insulin resistance and obesity – for more info, see Episode ?

-study of 13 women with PCOS showed vitamin D deficiency was highly prevalent and supplementation with 1500mg calcium daily and 50,000IU vitamin D2 weekly normalized menstruation and/or fertility in 9 women with PCOS-related menstrual irregularities within 3 months of treatment

Cancer Prevention and Treatment:

-vitamin D has anti-cancer effects mediated by anti-proliferative and pro-apoptosis mechanisms

-researcher Grant proposed that adequate exposure to UV light and/or supplementation of vitamin D could save more than 23,000 American lives per year from a reduction in cancer mortality alone

-more research needed at higher levels and longer durations

New research shows that physiologic requirement of vitamin D supplementation is 3000-5000IU/day and blood levels plateau only after 3-4 months of daily supplementation. 

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

Dr. Lisa’s Wild Collective begins again in 2022. You can get on the waitlist at wildcollectivetoronto.com

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Lisa is a big fan of board games for lots of family fun, including Despicable Me Minion Game of Life, Mousetrap and Don’t Make Me Laugh. 

Dr. Toni loves her emulsified vitamin D drops by NFH plus vitamin D/K for the whole family.

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.