Advice Worth Repeating, Q&A and Life Updates

Child: Welcome to my Mommy’s podcast.

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Katie: Hello, and welcome to the 600th episode of the Wellness Mama Podcast. I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com. And I’m gonna do this episode a little bit differently by going through some of the most recurring advice from the past 599 guests of this podcast, with some advice worth repeating, as well as common most recommended pieces of advice of supplements, of books, etc. I’ll also be fielding some questions and answers that were submitted by you guys on social media, as well as giving some life updates, curriculum updates, and just general things that I’m experimenting with right now. So, this one may not be as long as some episodes, but hopefully, it will have a good five-minute summary of impactful advice from past episodes. And I’m also doing something new in which I’m going to be going entirely off the cuff pretty much without even an outline, just from memory based on these past 100 episodes.
So, we will see it will be a little bit more spontaneous than my personality typically is, and potentially also a little bit more vulnerable, depending on how much of the life updates I get into. But first and foremost, I wanted to start off just with some immense gratitude to you if you’re listening to this, for being with me on this journey that first began for me with podcasting in 2014. I definitely don’t take it lightly, that I get to talk to so many incredible fascinating guests and share these conversations with you guys each week, twice a week. And I’m really grateful to you for being part of this community and making this podcast possible. And I’m especially grateful to all of you listening because, as I’ve said so many times on this podcast before, I really do believe that women and moms are such an incredible force for good in this world. And that when we can help improve and change things for moms, we create ripples that change families and society. And it’s so encouraging and exciting to me how many of you guys are invested in your own health and in your family’s health and in improving things for future generations. I find it crazy to think that I have now recorded over 36,000 minutes on this podcast.
And I’ve gotten to talk to so many incredible moms, researchers, doctors, experts, and people I really admire. I’ve learned so much from this podcast, and I hope that you’ve been able to as well. I also think back to in the years since this podcast launch, I have had my 6th baby since then, who’s now 6 years old, I moved to a new state, I’ve lost over 80 pounds, I released a lot of emotional trauma, which I’ve talked about a decent amount. And I’ve had some major life transitions the past few years that I haven’t talked about quite as much. It has been a whirlwind for sure to say the least. And like I said, I’m just so grateful to you for being here, to all the incredible guests who have shared their wisdom and their expertise. And in these last 100 episodes, especially since I did the 500th episode, my life has changed so much. And I feel like this podcast has been a great anchor point and focus for me as my personal life was a little tumultuous at times. It would certainly be impossible to summarize over 100 hours of podcast in just one recap episode. But there are certainly some common emerging topics and advice that appeared again and again, that I think are worth repeating.
And so, like I said, I’m gonna go through some of these without a lot of detailed explanation or sourcing because the guests did a lot of that in the individual episodes. And when I remember the episodes, specifically, I will mention an episode number so that you can go back and listen if you want more detail. But I wanna just share some of the common action steps and most impactful things that really stood out to me. So that if you are looking to implement things, in 80-20, which I’ve talked about a lot on here before, you have some jumping-in points.
Certainly, 1 of the recurring themes of the past 100 episodes and even before that, that seems to be building more and more across society and in other podcasts I hear as well, is the focus on inner work, and sort of doing the work internally. And I’ve had some amazing guests on. A couple that come to mind. I had Joe Dispenza. I believe he was episode 502, as well as Terry Real, which I think was also 501. And they both talked about how emotions directly affect and impact our physical health, and how letting go and not resisting emotions that don’t serve us can be one of the most important things we do actually, even for our physical health.
Joe Dispenza told his incredible story of recovering from a very severe back injury without surgery that he was told was gonna be needed and how this led to his now life’s work and what he does to help so many other people and he gives some really practical tools in that episode for that. I also really loved the episode with Mark Wolynn, who wrote the book “It Didn’t Start with You” which delves into the topic of generational trauma, and this was a new area for me. I really enjoyed that book and I’ve recommended it and gifted it quite a few times since then. But he talks about how there’s actually research showing that we can inherit emotions, patterns, and trauma from past generations. And more importantly, he talks about how we can let go of these and repattern and sort of break the cycle for future generations.
But there’s a really fascinating study he talks about that I hope I can explain without butchering it, but the idea was, they looked at mice, because as you would imagine, multigenerational studies on humans take a lot of time, and they haven’t had time to complete those yet. But when looking at mice models, they would give a scent…I believe it was a cherry blossom scent along with an electric shock in one generation of mice, and then the next generation of mice…so those mice as children, they would not do that. And then I believe it was the third generation.
So, the grandchildren of the mice that actually received the shock, when they smelled cherry blossom scent, having never been shocked or smelled it, they had, like, a fear response. And so, they have really looked into how potentially these things can be passed on epigenetically, actually, through our DNA, and for our understanding, now, at least for a few generations. So, I think this is an emerging area that’s really, really fascinating. But I found the exercises in his book, specifically, really helpful. And I think there’s so much more societal awareness, perhaps after the last couple of years of increased stress about doing this inner work, and releasing trauma, even if it’s…I’ve made the distinction before, you know, big T versus little T trauma. But many guests on this podcast have talked about how there’s actually two things at play. There’s the actual experience of trauma. And then more importantly, there’s actually our interpretation of the experience.
And so, something that seems insignificant, potentially, from the outside to a child and experience could actually be interpreted as a very traumatic experience, and internalized. And similarly, but differently, like, someone may have what we would think from the outside is a very big T serious trauma, but depending on how they react to, interpret and integrate that, they might not have lasting trauma from that. So, a lot of focus on our own actions and responses and being able to curate those.
Then I had multiple guests that talked about this through the lens of parenting and how learning these things as adults, how we can hopefully give our children a better foundation for dealing with emotions and difficult situations. I think this is a really important emerging topic as well. A lot of them have given practical tips for not taking away or diminishing our kids’ emotions. Like, one that stood out to me was when kids are upset about something, rather than saying like, “It’s okay. Don’t cry,” giving them the language to name the emotion, to understand it, to not resist it. And also, to still give them the understanding that while emotions are natural and okay and it’s wonderful to feel any emotion, we’re still responsible for our actions, no matter what emotion we are feeling.
Also, relative to this, guests like Paul Austin, Tucker Max, and some others talked about the emerging research around psychedelics and substances like MDMA in assisted psychotherapy. And the really incredible results that we’re seeing in some people. These are substances that are now in clinical trials and seem to be on track to be approved by the FDA relatively soon. But the data is really staggering. People with treatment-resistant, severe PTSD…so these are people who have tried the other existing treatment methods available, and not seen results, were put through some of these sessions of assisted psychotherapy which…the great thing about these is these are not something like antidepressants where you’re taking them every day over the long-term. These are acute interventions with a psychotherapist, and I believe it was upwards of 60%, potentially even higher than that had resolution of their PTSD.
So, they went from severe PTSD to not even registering as a diagnosis of PTSD. So, this is really, really groundbreaking. And I think we’re going to see, hopefully, more and more of this in a clinical setting, and hopefully, more availability for people right now. There’s a lot of testing on soldiers who have been through war-related trauma, and in survivors of assault. But I hope that we will see this become more widely available to the general public on a bigger scale as it gets legalized.
I believe it was episode 513 that guest Tanner Wallace talked about attachment wounds and childhood trauma. And what stood out to me in this is if you’ve ever been in an emotional conflict or an encounter with someone, and it seemed like there wasn’t logic there and it was highly emotionally charged…I know I’ve had that experience and felt like I was almost talking to a younger version of them. But she talked about how when we have attachment wounds or childhood trauma, often the person in us that shows up in an argument is that inner child’s age and she walks us through how to sort of repattern that and do that work on healing with our inner child so that we don’t show up in relationships and in disagreements at that age, but also how we can give our kids a better vocabulary for processing emotions, for ourselves a better vocabulary for processing emotions. And she explained specifically, I thought this was fascinating, why these issues often show up when we enter a relationship, or when we get comfortable in a relationship, and how doing the inner work around this can help break the cycle for our own kids. We also talked about the difference between the traumatic event and our interpretation of it, which I mentioned a minute ago, but she explained, is often the actual source of the trauma, and not the event itself. But our interpretation of it.
Another guest in this area that I really liked her approach was Susan David, and I believe that she was episode 537. She went deep on the topic of emotional agility. And she gave tools for cultivating this, and I love her example of this. We talked about how it’s so important to be careful of our inner language and the things we say, and especially anything that comes after the words “I am”, has so much power. So instead of saying, “I am sad,” we could say, “I am feeling sadness.” And she gave a great metaphor for this, that when we say something like, “I am sad,” if we think of ourselves as…the metaphor being the sky, and the emotions being the clouds, when we say, “I am sad,” we’re sort of becoming the clouds. But if we can reframe to becoming the sky, and we say, “I am feeling sad,” that is just now an emotion, a cloud that can pass and come and go and is a natural part of life but we aren’t identified with that emotion. She gave a lot of other really, really great tips as well. That was a fascinating episode. And she gave some great parenting tools in that one as well.
And then more recently, I had Frank Elaridi on, I believe that was episode 582, to talk about the emotion code. This was one of the questions I got on Instagram is if I’ve ever tried the emotion code. I actually did try it live during this episode, if you went to listen and hear he was very accurate, almost eerily so with all of the ages of different emotions that I had experienced, and that were still stuck.
And the theory with the emotion code is that these big emotions…like, in an optimal scenario, emotions get processed and pass through us. But if certain big emotions might get sort of stuck within us…and so he was sort of testing for this, and clearing stuck emotions. And like I said, he did a live demonstration of this and called out specific ages that I was when these different emotions happened, and what the emotions were. And I wrote them all down. And looking back, it was really uncanny how accurate it was. So, it’s one that I think more delves into the realm of the woo, for people who aren’t as familiar with it. But it was extremely accurate for me, like I said, almost eerily so. And since then, I’ve actually heard from quite a few of you guys who tried it after that episode and experienced fascinating results as well. There are lots of practitioners who do the emotion code. There’s also a book that you can just get on Amazon or anywhere books are sold that explains the process, and you can do some of that work at home.
And then there are practitioners you can find to help really go deep on that. But I think all of these things point to, like I said, an increase focused on doing that inner work, which I’m really excited to see. I think this is something that seems more new to our current time right now and to our generation, maybe something that was not as much of a focus for past generations. I think hopefully, this work, especially for those of us who do it as parents, and as moms could have a really big lasting impact on our kids.
And then another topic, an area where there were a lot of recurring recommendations is the general category of health, which makes sense since health and wellness is a large focus of this podcast. But so many experts come on and we get to get really nuanced and detailed on specific aspects of health. And well, I love personally getting to go into the really sciency ones. It also seems like more and more the pattern emerges of the simple foundational and free things that we can all do that improve health. And the great thing about these is that, like I said, most of them are inexpensive or free. And doing these things will also make anything else we’re doing that is more nuanced intervention more effective.
So, these are the ones I’ve talked about on here, a lot of get these dialed in before you’re spending lots of money on supplements, or treatments, or biohacking, or any of these more advanced things because if you get these dialed in, even if you end up needing the other things, they’re gonna work better. And so just to recap from memory, some of those things, certainly the most recommended advice was meditation and gratitude practice when it comes to actual physical health, but also all areas of health. This was mentioned by at least a third of guests, probably close to half as something that’s most impactful to their life. And there’s so many differences in how they do this. I don’t think there is in any way a one-size-fits-all when it comes to this. But some suggestions that they had were using things like guided meditation apps if you have trouble getting into a meditative space on your own. Joe Dispenza actually has a lot of meditations himself that you can find on YouTube and on his website. There’s also now lots of apps related specific to meditation. And many guests and high performers and achievers mentioned having a gratitude journal or a morning gratitude practice, or an evening gratitude practice as being very impactful to them.
And this is something I tried to do. I don’t remember every single day, but most days with my kids is either in the morning at breakfast or at night before bed, we talk about things that we’re grateful for. And I try to personally also mention some things that are lessons or that I wasn’t grateful for just because they were easy and fun. But because I learned something and hopefully give them a foundation and a reframing of being able to learn from hard things, and find the silver linings and the benefits even when things are hard.
Definitely the top recommended supplement across all of these episodes is magnesium. And I’ve talked about this one, of course, as well. I think I first wrote blog posts about this in 2010, maybe. And it’s something I’ve been taking on and off for a long time. I did personally actually learn from Dr. Ted Achacoso, who was another podcast guest, and also concierge doctor to a lot of politicians and high-level people, that I am an inverse modulator which means while most people can take magnesium for sleep, if I take magnesium, or GABA, or anything involving CBD or cannabis at night, I will be awake all night. And that’s because I’m inversely modulating that, which was very helpful to understand because I got to stop thinking something was wrong with me and just understand my biochemistry a little bit better.
But most people do great taking magnesium at night. And I have done a lot of experimentation with different forms of magnesium. Now I take a broad-spectrum magnesium. I’ll link to the ones I take in the show notes. There’s two that I’ve been experimenting with. And I often take those at breakfast, though. Like I said, most people will benefit from taking them at night.
I especially enjoyed I believe it was episode 564 with Chris Kresser. And I followed his work for over a decade. I think he’s one of the really grounded research-backed voices in health and wellness. And for a long time, he talked about trying to get as much nutrients as possible from just food and not supplementation. And I agree with that, I think foundationally you can’t out-supplement a poor diet. I think a really nutrient-dense diet is key. And I’ve talked about focusing on nutrient density and nutrient availability of food over calories or macros. In his episode, he talked about how we now live in a time when it is almost impossible to get enough nutrients just from food. So, supplementation can and often is necessary. And he mentioned magnesium as well as one of the most important ones to supplement with. Because as I’ve said before, magnesium is used for upwards of 300, some sources even say 600 reactions in the body.
So, without it, a lot of things are not gonna function optimally. I think of it as a sort of a garden hose analogy without magnesium. We get a lot of kinks in the garden hose. So, things are just not flowing correctly within the body. And magnesium is also one that’s difficult to overdose on. Because for one, it’s a laxative. So, if you start getting too much, your body’s gonna let you know. And it’s not stored in fatty tissue. So, your body typically we’ll just excrete extra. Obviously, you don’t wanna take an extreme amount of it. But it’s a great baseline supplement that I take and that my kids take. And that seems to be very commonly recommended among guests as well.
I had a lot of guests talking about mitochondrial health. And I think this is gonna be an emerging area of research and an important topic of conversation because it seems like we’re seeing a decline in mitochondrial health across the population. Dr. Kalish, I believe that was episode 506, talked about mitochondrial health and the link to longevity. And he also gave some practical tips for improving mitochondrial health and also kind of getting an idea of how yours is doing. Things like muscle mass and grip strength, which I’ve talked about before as well, having a grip strength tester which is inexpensive, and you can get on Amazon, but that’s a really strong correlator to longevity.
And so, it’s something I pay attention to with grip strength and trying to improve that over time because that’s showing how your nervous system is doing, your muscle mass. And it really is correlated, more of your grip strength is correlated to lower risk of all-cause mortality and lower risk of death. And I also use this as a tool with athletic training is if my grip strength is down in a given day, it’s an indicator that my recovery is down that day. So, I will typically not go super hard that day till my nervous system has recovered.
I also really enjoyed the episode, I believe it was 590 with Dr. Andy Galpin, who talked about the connection between this as well, like, the muscle mass, longevity connection, and how those who have the least muscle mass are often the weakest and often die the fastest. And we know this very clearly in the data that the more lean muscle mass we can maintain as we age, that this correlates with longer lifespan, also stronger bones, falls, and breaks of bones are one of the leading causes of death past a certain age. And the more muscle we have around that, typically the stronger our bones are and the more resilient we’re gonna be to things like falls.
He further went on to explain…and that one that was really fascinating one, the reason that strength outweighs even cardiovascular fitness, even smoking, and other risk factors for predicting lifespan. Another one I’ll touch on more in a minute is loneliness, and how relationships are also, now they’re finding, becoming more important than smoking or obesity as risk factors. So, you don’t wanna have too much loneliness. And I think after the last couple of years, focusing on relationships is important for all of us.
There is also an emerging theme of caloric restriction for longevity. And I think this is an important one to touch on, too. A lot of guests have mentioned this. But the original data seemed to be, like, well, we just eat fewer calories. We’ll live longer. And this is true in mouse models. But it’s also a little bit more nuanced than that. And I think the nuance is really important to understand. Because typically, we don’t wanna just think about lifespan, we wanna think about health span and quality of life. And most people aren’t super happy when they’re restricting calories at every meal every day.
And so, I’ve had guests like Dr. Satchin Panda, in 538, who talk about ways to time food and cycle food to get much of the same benefit of this caloric restriction without having to restrict every single day. And so, I really loved his work. Satchin Panda was a… I had a fangirl moment with him. I’ve admired his work for a long time. And in that episode, which was 538, we went deep on time-restricted eating, which is just eating in a shorter window. So, you’re not focusing on eating less food, per se, you’re just focusing on eating during a certain time window, which typically has the effect of reducing calories slightly, but you don’t feel as deprived because you’re eating more usually at each meal within that time. But he has done so much research on the timing of food and light and sleep and how that all comes into play.
And in that one, we talked about the suprachiasmatic nucleus, and how this basically tiny gland the size of a pinhead controls so much of our circadian biology. And he talked about how to sort of hack this to our advantage, using things like food timing, and light, and how this ties into blood pressure, glucose regulation, and cholesterol which are all interrelated to some of the leading causes of death, especially heart disease. And so, my takeaway from his work, you can listen to the episode for a lot more detail, is that I personally try to eat in somewhere between an 11 to 13-hour window, which is a little bit short for women. Sometimes I’ll go as low as eight. Other times I’ll also go up to more of a 14-hour window. But the research in this is fascinating. Guys can get away with a shorter window than women can. But eating in that more narrow window typically over time improves things like insulin levels, glucose levels, sleep, reduced weight, and body fat without other changes. And there’s a lot of study happening here as related to diabetes and obesity and some other things as well.
Like I mentioned a minute ago, loneliness comes in as one of the biggest risk factors for death. Outranking actually, right now, smoking and obesity as risk factors. And the importance of community and relationships was definitely a recurring theme over these past 100 episodes. And I know it’s a difficult one, especially in a world after the last couple of years where there was much more isolation. And now that we live in a more technological world, where a lot of relationships happens on and through technology. But this is a recurring theme for many, many of these guests, is the importance of having strong relationships and community. And many of them echo the advice to be the initiator of these relationships and building community if no one else is doing it. And this is something I’ve been focused on in the last couple of years in my own life, and especially also helping really encourage my kids to do but the takeaway being that nurturing relationships, especially the few closest relationships we have, is actually one of the most important things we can do for health and one of the commonalities in Blue Zones is actually their strength of community.
In episode 540 Stephen Cabral talked about sauna being one of the closest things we have to a silver bullet, and I’ve also talked about sauna quite a bit before. But as a recap, sauna is essentially an exercise mimetic which means we get many of the same benefits from sauna that we do from exercise, other than some of the, like, muscle benefits and the impact benefits of something like walking or running. But the stats are really staggering. So, sauna use helps reduce all-cause mortality, especially If we use sauna 4 to 7 times a week for at least 19 minutes is the minimum effective dose. But when people did this, the finished study looked at this in men. It reduced all-cause mortality, substantially reduced stroke risk, heart disease risk, obesity. It’s really something that we can, if you have the ability to integrate, that gives a lot of benefits and is a hormetic stress. So, while your body may experience some stress in the sauna, typically it leads to less stress overall. I personally try to get in the sauna four to seven times a week. It doesn’t always happen. And I try to time it in the afternoon when possible, so I have time to cool back down before bedtime. But especially a couple of years ago, during lockdown, I spent a lot of time in the sauna and was in it daily and saw, like, really great improvements in my lab levels, my blood pressure, etc.
So, if sauna is within your availability, I think it’s a really helpful one. And I will link in the show notes to some of the ones I found that can be set up pretty easily in your home that are less expensive. I know saunas can be quite pricey, and I have actually several ranging from the least expensive to the outdoor barrel sauna. But according to all the studies, and the guests who have talked about this, the main mechanism of sauna benefit is the actual heat. So, while infrared is great, in the studies the heat is the actual mechanism, so you wanna make sure it’s getting hot enough. So, there’s an infrared one I’ll recommend that uses near-infrared that heats up very quickly that I think is great. And then also the more traditional finish one that I have outside. I’ll link to both of those.
Another theme that I heard from a lot of guests about was the importance of protein. And this was from guests like Dr. Gabrielle Lyon, Ari Whitten, who I believe was 558. And this is something I’ve also experimented with lately. You might have heard me talk about. I’m usually getting right now 130 to 150 grams of protein a day and taking amino acid supplements like Kion aminos, for the specific amino acids, specifically leucine, which Dr. Gabrielle Lyon, in her episode explained why this is so important.
But I love that this is an emerging topic, especially for women. Because I think often women…especially at least this was true for me, we’re under-eating protein for a very long time. And I actually had to go through a process of reverse dieting, and sort of refeeding protein to get my muscle back and to get into a better state of health. And now it’s something I cycle, whereas…where most days, I’m getting a pretty decent amount of protein, some days, I will eat a lot less, especially if I’m not working out. But I think this can be a very valuable tool. And also, because protein is perhaps the most satiating macronutrient. I think for women, if you just focus on getting enough protein, often that you are satisfied or full and don’t want to turn towards more processed foods so that the willpower side gets easier.
And also, there’s something called the Thermic Effect of Protein, where ingesting protein, actually, your body’s going to use more energy to break down and burn that protein. So, it’s kind of increasing muscle, but net neutral as far as calories to the body if you’re concerned about calories at all. But it’s something that I found helpful just to focus on a positive metric of getting enough protein versus a deprivation metric of trying not to eat too much food.
And similar to this, Justin Nault in Episode 557 talked about this more in-depth, which I recommend this episode, especially if you struggle with weight loss at all. He talked about how many women are actually under-eating, and how chronic dieting is causing metabolic damage. And so, he walks us through the process of losing weight by eating more. And also, by really focusing on food quality. And this is something I’ve been doing over the last year or so like I said, sort of a reverse dieting protocol, where I have been intentionally increasing my calories while working out and sort of refeeding to train my metabolism to actually want and need more food and more nutrients.
And so, I’m eating more than I have in my adult life probably, and continuing to get leaner and stronger. So, it’s been an interesting experiment that I will keep you posted on. I’m doing some pretty intense weight training right now and I’ve been paying a lot of attention to the nutrients I’m consuming, and even my macros with the intent of actually making sure I’m eating enough. So that’s been a little bit of a shift for me.
It’s no surprise that sleep is another very much reoccurring topic, also under the category of health but worth talking about as its own point. I think I’ve said before, but I am yet to have a guest on this podcast that says sleep is not important. This is actually one of the few areas that I feel like every expert when asked agrees on is that sleep is absolutely key for health and that without enough high-quality sleep, it is almost impossible to optimize these other areas of health. And so, there’s a lot of recurring sleep tips. I think there is personalization here just like there is in any area of health, but there are some general guidelines that seem to be universally applicable. I’ve had guests like Dr. Michael Breus, who is called America’s Sleep Doctor, and Mollie Eastman, who was episode 551. And her platform, she talks about sleep being a skill and a lot of others…and they had commonalities in their recommendations for sleep tips.
So, I will share some of their sleep hygiene tips now. The first one being to keep our rooms completely dark at night as much as possible. For me, this is through things like blackout curtains and making sure there are no artificial light sources. So light and temperature are big variables that we can control when it comes to sleep. And the light ones pretty easy as like I said, just make sure, no artificial sources of light. Temperature is a little bit more complex. We know there’s a great range for optimal sleep that seems to be in the mid to high 60s. And you want to ideally keep your sleep environment in that range. Now for many of us keeping the sleep environment in that range, if that means keeping your whole house in that range, that’s pretty energy intensive. So, a tip here is to use a device like a ChiliPad, or an OOLER or I believe their new one is called the DockPro to control sleep temperature. And this is cooling your bed versus cooling the whole room so that you’re keeping your temperature down without using as much energy of having to cool your whole house. And for me, this has been a game changer. It’s now something that when I travel, I really miss my cool sleep environment. And I find I feel much warmer when I don’t have that. I will say the new DockPro is so efficient at this that I’ve had to raise the temperature a little bit because it can actually get too cold. But I’ve been working that number back down.
Another thing that was a common recommendation when it comes to sleep quality and hygiene is to as much as possible, keep a consistent sleep schedule, and try not to deviate even on the weekends which I know is tough, but as well as, like, wakeup time. So, it’s not very fun advice. But I know firsthand, from my own life when I wake up with the sun or as close as possible to the sun and I do it consistently every day, my sleep quality definitely improves as well as my energy during the day. But I very much understand the appeal of getting to sleep in on the weekends if it’s possible.
Another piece of advice almost every expert recommended and that I’ve mentioned many times is getting morning sunlight as soon as possible after waking up by going outside, not through a window, not indoor light. But outside because even on a cloudy day, the intensity of that light outside is so much more so than inside. And you really only need depending on how bright it is between 5 and 15 minutes in this early morning light. But this is a really important signaling mechanism that is going to help over time improve the cortisol melatonin response. And that morning light sets the clock for circadian rhythm and for your melatonin production at night.
So, this is a completely free thing, I highly recommend doing with your kids, because it tends to sort of set their clock for bedtime at night. And it’s really helpful for bedtime. And for hormones as well. And even as adults, I think this is one of the more impactful things we can do for our sleep. I already mentioned magnesium but this was an often-recommended supplement for sleep. And like I said, most people benefit from taking it before bed. There will be a small percentage of people who are like me who are inverse modulators who need to take it in the morning. You will know if this is you because if you do it at night, you will have trouble sleeping. So that’s one sort of symptom base, you’ll just know after taking it if you are that or not.
Another one that was recommended was to take Berberine before bed. And there was an interesting study. The one I take is called BerbElite, which I will also link in the show notes. But there was a study that showed that this was more effective than valium for sleep and the theory being that it helps keep glucose and insulin levels stable throughout the night. And often dips or spikes in glucose can be a cause of wake-ups.
Related to that tip. Many guests recommended stopping eating at least a few hours before bedtime to give the body time to digest so that we can get more deep sleep. And I have certainly noticed this firsthand if I eat too close to bedtime. My deep sleep on my Oura Ring is definitely reduced. And if I stop eating three or four hours before bedtime, that’s when I tend to get the most deep sleep. Recently I’ve even started being able to get four-plus hours of deep sleep by using some of these tips.
Another one related to sleep somewhat is hydrating early in the morning. A lot of experts mentioned that we lose a decent amount of water volume at night just through exhaling and that rehydrating first thing in the morning before food, before coffee is really, really helpful. So, one way I do this is keep a quart-size mason jar of water that I put electrolytes and silica in right next to my bed. And when I wake up, I will drink that whole jug of water before I go shower or make coffee or go outside to rehydrate from that loss during sleep.
Also, related to the morning sunlight tip, a lot of experts also recommended getting midday sunlight, even just a couple minutes of bright midday sun as another signaling point for circadian biology. And then, relative to indoor light, there are some tips here as well. So, we know we need to get outdoor light daily as much as possible. But inside we probably heard about avoiding blue light at night. But one thing that several people recommended and that I’ve been experimenting with in my home is to have sort of two levels of light in my home. So, the overhead lights in the ceiling have more broad-spectrum daylight type bulbs. And this simulates the daytime brightness coming from overhead and the overhead part is important. And then I have lamps and light fixtures that are lower, more like eye level or below that have sort of amber bulbs, no blue light, less intensity, dimmer. And these are, as I said, all more eye level or below. And there’s some interesting data about how that bright light is supposed to come from overhead, was it the nighttime light…not just needs to be less intense but needs to not come from overhead as well.
And so, I find it easiest to have this set up with a timer so that around sunset, the light intensity in your home switches, from the bright overhead to that more mellow, calming light at eye level. And I find this makes a big difference for kids and sleep as well when I really dial this in our home.
A lot of experts also mentioned movement as a signaling mechanism for sleep as well. And we know that exercise and movement are important. But this can be something as simple as just walking every day. For me personally, I try to get some walking every day, strength training about four days a week, and then some kind of gentle mobility every day seems to be my sweet spot for seeing the best sleep results. And then another tip that…not as fun but I’ve been experimenting with after several guests mentioned it is waiting about 90 minutes in the morning after waking up, after hydrating and after that morning sunlight before drinking caffeine, and then also not drinking caffeine after about noon. And the reason for this is to sort of tune into the body’s cortisol patterns into…the theory being clear out the residual adenosine in the system. So, if you’re not familiar, adenosine contributes to feelings of sleepiness. And caffeine, one of the reasons it seems to give us energy is actually that it blocks adenosine receptors naturally.
And so, if we give the body time to clear that out, first, the excess adenosine, then the caffeine, and have a little bit more of a stimulating effect without just being sent to directly clear out that sleepiness that’s already there. And this leads to less buildup. So, I find that I’m less jittery and have a better caffeine response when I do this.
But all that just to say sleep is one of the most important things we can dial in for our health. And there’s always room for improvement. I really am a fan of the Oura Ring myself for tracking and I’ve been paying most attention to deep sleep and HRV as metrics there and seen improvements. I’ve been almost completely avoiding alcohol and then really focused on, like I said, nutrient density and hydration, as tools for sleep, as well as all of those light and exercise signaling mechanisms.

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Another area of focus that I wanted to at least briefly touch on is that of education and parenting. I know this isn’t necessarily relevant to every single person listening. But I know many of you are parents, and I think this is perhaps one of the most important topics that we can talk about for the sake of our kids. And I had some really fun ones over these last 100 episodes, especially Matt Beaudreau, who was episode 516. I really love his work, I recommend following him on Instagram. But he and I went deep on some of the weaknesses in modern education, and in creating better models for our kids through hands-on work, whether this be at home education, which many people are turning to now, or just supplemental if your kids are in school, things we can do at home to help really give them an advantage as they enter adult life. I got a lot of questions about my curriculum, which I have many apologies…thank you guys so much for the patience in this. I’ve had, as I mentioned, quite a few big life transitions in the past couple of years that have made it hard to make this a priority other than for my own kids right now.
But I’m realizing the more I work on it and putting it into a format to share with you guys that it is much more of an un-curriculum because it truly is steering away from just recreating the school system at home and the traditional school format, but really going back to that first principles approach of how can we best teach kids and how can kids best learn and it’s becoming more of almost a parenting and mindset course through which we can as families, build our own frameworks for education, that work best for us. But I would really encourage you guys to consider if you haven’t already, what alternative education could look like for your family and your kids because I know it seems overwhelming at first, but I hear from so many families that when they make this choice, find out that not only is it easier, and that it saves time and it reduces so much stress in their household, but they get so much more great quality time with their kids and their kids’ demeanor and personality really seems to bloom in that environment. So, I will be sharing a lot more tools. You guys have asked for this. And I’ll be including more episodes on these topics in the future. As well as I really do hope to get that available to you guys within this next year. Like I said, I’ll do a little bit more live update in a minute. But just my own family has been my focus and priority for the last year or so. And now that things are calming down quite a bit, I have more bandwidth to put toward that.
Also related to the parenting thing, I got a lot of questions related to parenting when I asked about this on Instagram, and I will be sharing a lot more about this in the next 100 episodes as well. I feel like my parenting approach doesn’t directly fit any of the boxes that I’ve seen defined in being just gentle parenting or attachment parenting, etc. But I’ve sort of coined my own term, which I call first principles parenting, which I’ve talked about first principles on this podcast quite a bit. It’s a term used by a lot of people in a lot of books and a lot of other areas. But I haven’t heard anybody else apply it to parenting yet. And what it means is basically whittling down something to the most basic building blocks from which it cannot be further distilled, and then building better systems from there. And like I said, I’ll go deep on this. This deserves many of its own episodes. But for me, the first principles parenting approach looks at what do kids actually need in life, not just in education to be successful, and keeping the core idea that they are autonomous, infinite beings, who have their own autonomy in how they exist in the world. And working within that to help them maintain the things that they already come with, like creativity and curiosity and problem solving and risk tolerance, and persistence, while helping them to learn and build things like good systems for themselves, and self-discipline and self-motivation.
And I think this is a very nuanced conversation. And I will do some more episodes specific to this soon, but excited to share more with you guys within that realm. But this will be an increasing area of focus with a little bit in these last 100 episodes. I’ll be talking a lot more about it in the coming episodes.
And then I will briefly field some of the questions I got on Instagram. There were some recurring ones. A lot of them about my current routine, which you guys, if you followed for a while, you’ve probably seen me through many iterations of daily routine. And so, I’ll share my current one with the caveat that this is obviously very personalized. If anything, this is just sort of a framework, as a starting point for anybody else for experimentation. But that we are each very individual. And I have, through a lot of trial and error, figured out what seems to be working for me right now. And we each have that impetus to be our own primary healthcare provider and figure out our own routine. But a couple other things I already touched on. Right now, my routine centers around first thing in the morning, hydrating with minerals and silica and water, then getting that morning sun, and then maybe 90 minutes later, after waking up, I will do coffee or matcha. Some days I don’t do anything every single day including caffeine. I will often do a protein-rich breakfast around that time as well.
And then often work out in late morning sometime. Right now, I’m experimenting with eating three or four meals a day, each with 40-ish grams of protein, and when possible, within a 10 to 12-hour window just for food timing, and that is a decent amount of protein but I’m in an active muscle building phase. So that may not be appropriate for everybody listening but I do find that consuming adequate protein seems to really, really help.
I take supplements often around noon with lunch, and I try to stop eating by about 6:00 p.m. and be in bed by 10:00 when possible. Some other things I do a lot of days are things like sauna, working out most days, definitely movement every day. And then anything beyond that, like supplements, gets varied and cycled quite a bit. I got some questions about if I still do very many long fasts and I’m not doing as many of those right now just because I’m in a muscle-building phase but I do start every year with a 10-day fast so I will do that one in January. But right now, if anything, I’m just doing 24-hour fasts once in a while, sort of a reset for recovery.
I cycle all supplements. The ones I’m personally currently taking are magnesium, amino acids. As I mentioned, I take the Kion brand. I’m taking a supplement called Dissolve-It-All to help with some fascia and scarring that I’m breaking down. And also taking vitamin C, vitamin E, phosphatidylcholine for…I find that one is really beneficial for my focus and my brain.
And then I will cycle for focus and work things like Alpha GPC, Huperzine, ALA, and a few others, but mostly those and then at nighttime, I will sometimes take Reishi. And then I mentioned Berberine, as well. So those are the ones I’m currently cycling. I don’t take all of those every day, I don’t even take any of them every day. Like, I cycle everything. But those are the ones I’m experimenting with.
I got a lot of questions related to weight loss and, like, specifically mine or specifically what can be helpful in losing that last 10 to 15 pounds or for stubborn weight loss. And I have an upcoming episode that hasn’t aired yet with Dr. Molly Maloof that talks about the mitochondrial aspect of this. And I think that’s really important. But for me, what worked was, first of all dealing with the emotional stuff and getting out of sympathetic nervous system dominant all the time. Because if you are in a state of fight or flight, your body is just not going to prioritize resting and digesting and hormone health because it doesn’t think those things are important. And I learned the hard way that I was pretty much in a sympathetic dominant state for a very, very long time. And for me, I had to break that cycle through different types of modalities and therapies like tapping, talk therapy, somatic therapy, hypnosis. I kind of threw everything at the wall.
And that made the biggest difference, I think. I also had to, in that process, learn how to actually listen to my body because I had become so disconnected from my body over that time. And that I had to learn how to sort of tune back in. During that time for me, and during the weight loss phase, counterintuitive to what a lot of advice is, I did a lot of rest, a lot of recovery, and almost no working out. Literally I would walk or gentle movement and that was it. And it was because my body was in that fight or flight state for so long that it was gonna interpret exercise as more stress. And so, I went through a several-month period of rebuilding, and reverse dieting, and sleeping so much, eating enough protein, and trying to send the signals to my body that it was safe. And I think that was a really important phase for me. I think often with weight loss, people wanna jump really hard into the workout side. And I think for one, nutrition is much more key than exercise for just weight loss. I think there are so many benefits to exercise. And we know like I had mentioned earlier that muscle correlates to longevity. And that is important. But if you are in a state of sympathetic dominance all the time and you’re stressed, then jumping into heavy workouts might be counterproductive in the short term.
So, for me, I recommend gentle workouts like just mobility or walking. And then really prioritizing rest, recovery, and food in that early phase. Now that I’ve gotten through that phase, I am in a phase of trying to build more muscle and do some body recomp. And I’m tracking my food actually, to make sure I’m eating enough. My struggle now is not trying to eat less but to, like, continue to get stronger and lose body fat. I’m having to eat more especially protein. And I think this is another big key for women, especially when you’re past that initial recovery phase is many of us have either just undereaten because it’s of convenience or undernourished ourselves, but maybe over-consumed calories or just dieted for so long that our metabolism doesn’t know how to actually act, like, respond appropriately to food anymore. So, I mentioned the episode with Justin Nault, which I recommend you listen to if this is a new concept but, like, reverse dieting, and that we actually wanna train our bodies to be able to handle a bigger volume of food, and the idea of, like, if you think of the metabolism as a furnace, how do you make that fire hotter. It’s not by taking fuel away. It’s by putting fuel on in the right amounts and keeping it burning. And so, I think that can be a really helpful thing for women. And I hope that…it’s exciting to see more women focused on that and the strength-building side and the protein side versus the deprivation side.
And then a little bit more vulnerably I got some questions related to parenting. Somebody asked what do I consider the hardest part about parenting and how to not yell or get frustrated with kids. This is something I wanna do whole dedicated episodes on soon so pay attention for those. But I think often patience can be the hardest part for me personally of parenting especially because I vowed early on that I didn’t want to use the phrase “because I said so”. And I wanted to actually answer my kids’ questions. This was something my parents did, I think really well for me. And it was important to me to do for my kids. But certainly, I get fatigued some days with six kids, and mostly just the younger ones and their endless streams of question. But that does take some patience, as well as that same thing of not yelling or getting frustrated takes a lot of willpower and self-control. And I’ll be the first to admit, I certainly can get frustrated with my kids or with situations involving my kids. And this is something I have done a lot of intentional work around. Because I think it is not a natural thing to never lose our cool or to never lose patience or yell. But it was something that was really, really important for me. And I think that our own emotional regulation is one of the best gifts we can give our kids in this area.
And I would argue actually, the most effective method of parenting, at least that I found in those instances, because when kids have a big emotional response or misbehave, they are feeling big emotions, which in and of itself is not a problem. But I’ve seen examples play out where a child is genuinely struggling with big emotions. And often when they do that, and those emotions bubble out, they’re also looking to ask for help and for example. And these kids will have a big emotional response. Maybe they’re yelling, maybe they’re crying. And they’ll often, I’ve seen this play out in public, get that same emotional response back from a parent, but with the message that they need to calm down. So, the words that they’re getting are that they need to be calm and have emotional regulation, but they might be getting it from an adult, who then…that adult themselves does not have emotional regulation, or they might be getting screamed at to be calmer which for a child’s nervous system is a very confusing message.
And so, I have found that to the degree I can stay calm when my kid is having a big emotional reaction, I can be the grounding force for them. And that often even just on a practical level, if they’re yelling, if I whisper, they will start to regulate down to my volume instead of it escalating if we’re both yelling, and then now there’s more chaos. Certainly, easier said than done. And I’m by no means perfect at this though I really don’t ever yell at my kids. And that doesn’t mean they don’t have boundaries or rules. It just means I don’t find that yelling is an effective way to communicate those. And I’ve worked very hard to regulate that response so that they’re not getting yelling from me.
And then beyond that, we have a lot of conversations about emotions and emotions versus actions. Because I want to give them a good vocabulary in being able to experience and feel their emotions, especially with the number of guests I’ve had on here, who talk about how what we resist, resists and if we sort of resist emotions, we’re actually more likely to hold on to them. And I don’t wanna send them the message that it’s not okay to have emotions, because that was the thing I had to process as an adult.
So, I don’t want to when they’re crying, tell them don’t cry. And I don’t want to when they’re angry, just say it’s okay and minimize what they’re feeling. Often what this looks like when it plays out in our real-life situations are if I have, most often one of the younger ones who’s having a big emotional experience. If we need to, I can remove them from the physical location of whatever that experience is, and try to get them in a one-on-one setting. Often, they just need a hug at first and, like, kind of that nervous system calming. And so, if that’s where they are in the experience, I’ll try to just hold space for that. But then I try to also help them label the emotion and feel it and accept it. And then we talk about the action side. So instead of, like, giving them the word or just telling them it’s okay, don’t be mad, I ask them what they’re feeling. And then I try to really have empathy and truly hear them when they respond. So, they might be saying that they’re angry, or they’re frustrated, or they’re overwhelmed, or they feel ganged up on by their siblings, or whatever it may be, and then give them empathy back. That doesn’t mean I’m approving of whatever action they may have taken because they have that emotion but I want them to understand it’s okay to have emotions.
And then we have the conversation about…and just because it’s perfectly fine to be angry. Anger is an emotion that we all experience. And we talk about what it feels like in their body. But then we talk about…and we can be angry, and still we can’t act out and hit our sister or we can’t, whatever it may be that they did. Because we’re still responsible for our actions, even if we have big emotions.
And I try to model this as well by claiming and talking about my own emotions, not in a way that makes them in any way responsible for those emotions. But if I’m having a rough day, I will often try to just use the language, like, I’m feeling really overwhelmed today. And so, if my tone comes across less patient, I’m really sorry, because that’s where my emotions are right now. And that doesn’t excuse me being short-tempered either. And just to make that part of the conversation so they understand it’s okay to have emotions. It’s also not okay to act unkindly or hurt someone just because we have emotions and I feel like I’ve gotten a pretty good intensive practice of this in the last year, especially.
I have not talked about this publicly very much. But their dad and I are separated and moving forward in the divorce process. And so there have been big emotions to process in our house both for me internally and for them as well. And through that time, the main focus for me with them has been just to show up as much as possible and be present and be a safe space, and realize they may not wanna talk about it all the time. But if they do, I’m there. And that they might have big emotions because of that. And that that’s okay. And I’m still there. And just, I’ve really been prioritizing that time with them.
A great podcast, but just about prioritizing presence with kids was with Amy McCready and positive parenting solutions. I’ve done two of those with her now that you can listen to. But I think that goes a really long way, even just 10 minutes of intentional presence with each kid a day makes a huge difference in our relationship with them.
And then for me, personally, through that big transition, I’m making sure that I have friends and relationships and therapist that I’m working with so that my emotions are not…my kids are not having to carry my emotions. I think in therapy, often many of us get to process things that we carried as a child that we didn’t need to carry yet that weren’t our emotions.
And so, I’m really aware of trying to make sure I have a proper outlet and support system for my emotions so that they don’t have to feel like they’re bearing my emotions, but that I can show up for them during those times as well. I think like I said, this has been a challenging time, but I also see so much good in it for me, for the kids, even for their dad, and I think long term, it actually will be very much a net positive. And we are very much now in an amicable co-parenting place. And I think, you know, based on the statistics, best case scenario for kids is, of course, two happily married parents in the home.
But actually, the next best thing for kids is not two unhappily married parents fighting in the home. It’s actually even two separated parents, who are both happy and whole and working together, and still prioritizing and loving the kids. And so that’s what we’re working very hard to move toward. And I’m very grateful for his help and being an amicable co-parent in this. And also, really grateful for all the lessons that’s been for all of us as a family and all the time it’s given me with my kids in the last year, as I really prioritized that. It’s certainly been a life change to be the more hands-on parent for myself with six kids and having them every night and most days by myself. But I’m really grateful for that time, especially with my oldest turning 16 and realizing how little time I have left with him.
So just for the most part, I’m very much in the space of gratitude about that. But that is why a lot of my bandwidth has been dedicated to that over the last year or so and not to work stuff and why things, like, Unstitute have not been released yet. And I’m really grateful for all of you who have reached out with support or questions or advice related to that, or just hugs and digital encouragement on Instagram. So, I’m very grateful to all of you for that. And like I said in the beginning, and I’ll echo again at the end, I am so grateful to you guys for listening. And for being part of this community. I’m so aware that the Wellness Mama platform is not me anymore. It’s this entire community of amazing moms. And I’m so grateful for all of you for your time. You know, as I say in every episode for your time, and your attention. I think those are truly our most valuable assets. And I don’t take it lightly that you share that with me in this podcast or in reading any of my blog posts or interacting on social media. I’m so, so grateful. Thank you so much for being here for these past 600 episodes. And I hope that you will continue on this journey with me for the next 600. But for whatever time you’re here, I’m just grateful that you are and I’m grateful that you care about your health and your family and that you are a source of positive change in the world. So, thank you, and I hope that you’ll join me again on the next episode of the “Wellness Mama” podcast.

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