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Stephanie and Dr. Elana recap the episode with Ali Miller, registered dietitian and author of the Anti-Anxiety Diet. They share examples of simple meals to support your mental health, their take on reducing caffeine, and how to optimize a vegan/vegetarian diet to support mental health. They also share how their approach to anxiety differs from Ali’s and offer additional supplement recommendations.
We’d like to say a special thank you to May’s Podcast Partner: Coconu, an organic coconut-based lubricant. Get 15% off your order on their website with the code WHOLEMAMAS.
Stephanie Greunke 0:03
I usually like people to think about breakfast first. So how can you pick a breakfast that feels really good in your body, because if you can start your day feeling really good in your body and with your choices, the likelihood that you’re going to choose a healthier lunch and dinner is much higher. Welcome back to the Whole Mamas podcast. We’re here to give you tools, resources and evidence-based information so you can make the best decisions for yourself and your family. Whether you’re trying to conceive or navigating life with a toddler or a teenager, we’ve got you covered. I’m Stephanie Greunke, registered dietitian and Program Director for Whole30’s Whole Mamas Club. I’m also the co-creator of Whole30’s pregnancy program.
Elana Roumell 0:43
And I’m Dr. Elana Roumell, pediatric naturopathic doctor and creator of Med School for Moms, an online resource where I teach moms how to safely be a doctor mom.
Stephanie Greunke 0:54
We are so excited to recap the episode we did with Ali Miller about her Anti-anxiety Diet. And before we begin, we want to thank our podcast partner Coconu, which is a high quality organic coconut oil and coconut water-based lubricant. Now, when you’re experiencing anxiety or stress, sex is probably the last thing on your mind. Not only that, but when women are stressed they tend to take longer than men to warm up. And when you’re trying to sneak in a quickie because you only have 10 minutes before your baby wakes up or you just want to get it done, you may find that you need more lubrication to help you out and heck, even if you’re not feeling rushed. The hormonal changes that take place in the postpartum period can cause more vaginal dryness and demand more support down there. So switching from mom to partner mode isn’t always easy, but Coconu can help with this. With Coconu you feel confident that you’re using a product that meets our picky mama standards. And it’s free of parabens, glycerin, and harsh chemicals. without compromising the quality of the function. You can choose their coconut oil-based product if you want a thicker and longer lasting product that’s also great on your skin. So those times that you do have more time to warm up, you can also try it as a massage oil. Or you can safely use their water-based product with condoms and silicone based products. And it’s great if you prefer a smoother feel than a thicker oil. And I love that Coconu is all about giving back. They’re a certified B Corporation, and they give back 10% of all their sales to support ovarian cancer research. What do you love about them Elana?
Elana Roumell 2:35
Steph, I just love that we get to be so real about this product and with our audience because your whole point about having quickies and have sex is just so different. As a mom, it’s just it’s so real. I have to say I’m not that thrilled about that. I don’t I don’t really love these quickies but Coconu is so important for them. And I know specifically when I was nursing Aviva, I really needed that extra lubrication. It’s just my hormones were all high, my prolactin was high, my estrogen was low, so I wasn’t able to produce the natural lubrication that I usually do after nursing. So a product like this is just so essential for us mamas and I’m just I’m so glad we could be so real with our audience that these are products that we use and that we fully support. We hope that moms can check it out themselves just so that they could have some relief during those times of those quickies. Now if you’re interested in trying out Coconu, head over to their website at coconu.com and use code WHOLEMAMAS for 15% off.
Alright, so let’s go ahead into our nourish yourself segment. Stephanie, what are you doing today or maybe tomorrow or sometime this week to nourish yourself?
Stephanie Greunke 3:52
So I have a very busy week planned at the time of this interview. I have three interviews today. And then I have a really exciting interview tomorrow that I’ll share more details about my Instagram feed. So I’m a little bit stressed, not gonna lie. And one of the things that I do when I’m stressed is a bad habit, but I pick at my nails. And this is something that I’ve been doing ever since I was a little kid, I would bite my fingernails. And then Elana and I were talking about how my mom actually got this like, I don’t know what it was, it was like a clear nail polish but it tasted awful. And so I stopped biting my nails but I still pick at them. And I noticed during times where I have a lot on my plate, I pick up my nails and so my nails are kind of rough right now. And so I’m gonna go get a manicure today to kind of ease my nerves indulge a little bit and have my hands not be looking so awful.
Elana Roumell 4:50
So I honestly did not know about this about this about you. We’ve been such good friends for so many years, maybe I just don’t really care to look at people’s nails.
Stephanie Greunke 5:00
I mean, I’m not too bad. They’re not awful, except for when I’m really stressed. So I’ve been in a good place when I’ve been around you.
Elana Roumell 5:06
But you know what a great thing to have that as like your sign. Like, if you look down on your fingers, and you just see they’re just rough, you could just say, ‘Okay, what do I need that I’m not getting?’ Because clearly my anxiety is, you know, creeping up. So I actually think that’s a neat thing for you to know and to observe.
Stephanie Greunke 5:21
Yeah, absolutely. And it’s not like getting my nails done reduces my anxiety. But it’s like nice to like have that time for myself and kind of shift gears into being taken care of. And then I don’t pick at them. If I paid for manicure, I’m not going to pick at them. Just kind of helps me stop that habit.
Elana Roumell 5:38
That’s so fun. I wish I was closer to you so we could go together. That’s so fun.
Stephanie Greunke 5:42
Yeah, what about you?
Elana Roumell 5:44
Something I wanted to share, it’s so neat. So at this time, you know, I’ve only like briefly shared a little bit about Med School for Moms, my new online resource program for you mamas on the show. But something that’s just been so nourishing to me is I’m in this stage right now where I’ve got these beta testers helping me review all of my content to give me feedback. So I can essentially incorporate all their content to ensure that what I’m delivering is a true value, I mean that my word is so important to me, I really want to make a huge difference for moms. And so why I’m mentioning this during the nourish yourself segment is that I’ve essentially hand selected five moms to be in this like inner circle. And I like I just love women, it’s so nourishing to me to work so closely with these moms, and to really hear like what matters to them, and to really get their feedback. And there’s something so fulfilling about these intimate discussions we have. And I mean, obviously the reviewing like my heart and souls work, you know, I mean, I’ve like poured my heart into this. And it’s so neat. I’m very open to feedback, whether it’s positive feedback, or negative feedback, I look at this all as just a way for me to improve. So all feedback to me is awesome, back and I welcome it. And just having these five women like in my corner, is just it’s truly nourishing To me, it helps me to feel confident about what I’m doing in the world. And it helps me to really know that I’m making a difference. And I just feel so blessed that I’ve had these five women, you know, around me. And so this is just so cool. So anyway, that’s kind of been a really fun, nourishing experience for me these last few weeks. And it’s going to actually continue until when I’m really ready to launch in summer 2019. So I’m just I’m so excited. It’s just been really fun.
Stephanie Greunke 7:33
I’m excited for you too. And I think you’re right, there is this really strong bond that we have as moms and sometimes it can be perceived as we all are out to get each other and there is these mom wars. But I think for the most part, we really do understand each other where we do understand that motherhood is challenging, and we all have that in common. We all have different struggles, and we want to support each other. And man, like you ask advice from a mom, and you will get so much feedback and so much pouring of love and support. And, you know, just finding that tribe, finding that community that really works for you. And staying away from some of those more toxic relationships is so important. But I think more often than not like we really do love on each other. And we want to support each other. And I love that you’re bringing that community together.
Elana Roumell 8:23
Yeah, you know, I was thinking like, ‘I don’t even need to do this beta group, I’ve got all the content, everything is ready to launch it.’ And I was like, ‘No, I don’t care if it’s going to take me another month or two. Like, I want these moms feedback. And I need the honest feedback.’ That’s kind of why I did like such an extensive screening of who these five moms were going to be like, I didn’t want the nice moms who would just tell me everything is perfect. You know? Yeah, like I wanted the authentic feedback. So I can make the improvements that are needed. Because, you know, I have blind spots, you know, I created something I thought was going to be great. But just like Steph and I, our audience knows we’re very different in many ways. And we’re very similar in many ways. I want to be able to reach all moms of all different types. And so yeah, collaborating as women, it’s so fun. And it’s so helpful for that for the end outcome. So it’s just really so fulfilling. It’s been definitely one of my favorite parts of creating this program by far at this point.
Stephanie Greunke 9:18
Oh, I love it. Yeah. Well, let’s talk about Ali’s episode, because she is such a valuable resource. And she offers so much incredible information and analogies that help us understand more scientific concepts like the blood-brain barrier, and how inflammation can make our brain become like jello for neurotransmitters, not allowing them to function efficiently or just easier for that communication to happen. And, you know, being in a mom community, like we were just talking about can help reduce some of that anxiety as well.
So Ali mentioned within the interview that she has a six R approach, which I think is really funny, because I have this four R approach that I talked about when it comes to postpartum health, particularly mental health. And this is something that I created a while ago that includes many of these considerations, which I can kind of link to the articles in the show notes. But basically, the concepts are very similar. And that when it comes to postpartum mental health, we want to look at inflammation, gut health, replenishing loss nutrients, and then working on blood sugar regulation. And you know, you’ve been working on your baby, I’ve also been working on my baby, which is the postpartum program, and that’s going to be incorporated in that program. So in this interview, you talked about that six R approach. And what I really appreciated from the conversation is that you highlighted that the anti-anxiety diet isn’t just about removing pro-inflammatory foods, right, but also about adding in nourishing anti-inflammatory foods and also balancing meals. This is something that you and I do all the time with our ingredient meals and our meal, perhaps all the time. And so because some of these concepts that six R formula, or the four R formula, can be really overwhelming to moms, I wanted to take it back a few steps and share a few ways. A few examples of how we implement these components is reducing inflammation, adding an anti-inflammatory foods and balancing meals in a day to day life. So do you mind kind of sharing how you combine these components into your daily life by offering three meals that you eat following these principles?
Elana Roumell 11:30
Of course, you know, I love sharing my meals, obviously, I’m like such a big fan of my meal preps, but I actually cook my meals in these like categories because I care about these balanced meals and I know how I feel if I’m missing something, or if I’m also eating something pro-inflammatory. I feel it and I don’t like it. So I really stick to this and it’s easy for me because I honestly love it. So here’s some three meals that was so easy for me to come up with because it’s I like it is all the time. So here’s some just examples. The other morning, I mixed my sauerkraut with chipotle lime mayo, that’s the one Primal Kitchen has, it is such a good taste. Even my daughter Aviva loves it. So you literally just take a scoop of the mayo, stick it in some of the sauerkraut mix it up, I eat that with either a soft boiled egg, and like a baked yam or you can also wrap that in turkey slices and make like these little turkey tacos and I’d like to add some avocado to it. And the reason why I kind of give this – these are just ingredients. I’m not cooking anything, I mean maybe I soft boiled eggs, my meal prep Monday, but it’s so easy to bake. And oftentimes I do this for breakfast. It’s delicious. It’s filling, it feels well balanced. I’m getting great gut health from my sauerkraut, I’m getting great fats from the avocado mayor, the avocado, I’m creating good complex carbohydrates and nutrient dense carbohydrates from the yam and great vitamin C. I mean, there’s just so many great qualities in here. And this totally wins over a bagel and cream cheese any day, which would be more of like a conventional type of breakfast. Those pro-inflammatory type of ingredients just doesn’t work for me to start my day, I need a good amount of protein and I need a good amount of fat to start my day. So this was great. And then I’ve mentioned this before, and I shared this a lot on Instagram is really my sardine casserole. I’m so glad I decided to share this I thought people would think I was crazy but I’m get so many messages saying how much they love it and their family and I’m like so happy about it. So if you haven’t seen that already, I don’t use the regular wheat noodles that could be pro-inflammatory. Instead, I use only rice or noodles or even Banza noodles, which is a garbanza bean-based type of flour for the noodles. I use sardines instead of tuna, or I do half and half sardines and tuna as my as my fish base. I use avocado mayo instead of the regular, you know, hydrogenated fats or vegetable oil mayos and I use coconut milk instead of cream. And I mix everything up. I use that with some frozen peas. And it’s just so delicious and such a great balanced, low inflammatory meal. And it’s just so nourishing with those omega three rich, healthy fats from the fish and healthy oils from the avocado oil and the coconut oil. So it’s just it’s so filling and so nourishing. So those are some of my quick ingredient meals that I put together pretty regularly. What about you Steph? What do you like to do?
Stephanie Greunke 11:30
Well, I still need to try that sardine casserole. I never tried it.
Elana Roumell 14:31
I love it. And I literally I was almost like embarrassed sharing that. But I was like whatever, I’m sharing everything else that I’m doing on meal prep Monday. And I’m actually getting such great feedback. I’m like, ‘Oh my god, I’m so happy. We’re not the only ones!’ because I thought maybe we were a little bit weird that we liked it.
Stephanie Greunke 14:44
No, I think it’s a less intimidating way to add them into your routine. Some people don’t want to look at them in the the shape that they are and how they come in. And so way you blend it with a really healthy fat, and with something that is more hyper palatable like an noodle, the barrier to entry is lower. So I love that. And we do very similar breakfast over here. But I don’t like spicy at all, so thechipotle mayo doesn’t work for us, but we just do the regular mayo. But yeah, sauerkraut, eggs, mayo, and we even do a little bit of ketchup, my kids just go wild over that. They love it. I’m so happy, I don’t mind a little bit of sugar and the ketchup, because I know that they’ll eat it. And I know they’re getting so many beneficial nutrients with that. So as far as my meals go, we eat very similarly.
But I just wanted to share a little bit different. I do I’ve been doing a low sugar smoothie the last couple of weeks actually, especially heading into the summer, I think it’s just really great. If it’s hotter out, the smoothies work much better than in the winter. And so I use smoothies as an opportunity to add as much nutrition as possible in the most convenient packages possible, which is a smoothie. So I will do like a plant based protein powder or collagen powder as my protein base. And then I will do like a coconut milk or a cashew milk or almond milk. As the liquid, I will do berries, oftentimes wild blueberries because that has by far out of all the berries, blueberries are the most antioxidant rich. I will do leafy greens, so I usually do spinach here. And then I’ll add a healthy fat like MCT oil, that really lights my brain up in the morning. And it is really satisfying, it keeps me full. Also do some fiber like chia seeds, or I’ll do a probiotic powder. And so as you can see, this is very different than what you’ll see for most smoothies. This one’s lower sugar, I usually only do half cup of blueberries. And so it’s packed with protein, fiber fat, and then that touch of sweetness from the berries. And this really does last me a couple of hours. I’ve had smoothies before with a different recipe and they’ll only last me like an hour. So this is really been working for me because when I can go off and go on my day, and I’ve already had a ton of nutrients at breakfast.
And then for lunch, I usually keep this really easy and quick, I’ll do a raw leafy green salad here. And I like to make sure I’m taking a break in the middle of the day to sit down and have a lunch. And I do have the privilege of doing this because I work at home. And I do have daycare. So I know it’s harder, it was really hard for me to do this when I had a new baby. But now I am able to do it. And this is when I will do fish or canned salmon or sardines and oysters, just because I like to make sure I get them in during the week. And my husband is really picky about fish like cooked fish. And so I don’t often get to make that as much as I would like to at night. So I do that with the boys on the weekends we have our fish, or I’ll make different meals at night because my husband don’t really eat fish very often. So I like to do that at lunch. And then I also eat the veggies that I know my kids don’t like as much at lunch here. So I’ll do like bell peppers and mushrooms and purple lettuce, they can’t stand purple lettuce. If I offer them purple lettuce at dinner, like radicchio, they will not eat the salad. So I do things that I know that they don’t like at this meal. And then for dinner, oftentimes I just do ground beef and cook vegetables and then I will do like a sweet potato or some kind of starch on the side with key. And so very similar to you on other ingredient based meals. I don’t take a whole lot of time. But the components in there are so nutrient dense and anti inflammatory stuff.
Elana Roumell 18:38
It just like makes me giggle a little bit because I don’t know if our audience from I don’t know remembers us talking about this, but we used to live together. That’s actually how we met. Yeah. And that’s when I think we like fell in love with each other because we’re like, oh my god, we eat so similarly, you know, like, for lunches, we both had our salads and sardines. And for dinner, we would do the same thing or the breakfast and it was just, I don’t think I ever met someone who ate what we ate. So similarly too, we just kind of hit it off. And it was so fun to see that because I think for some that may seem kind of weird, but to be honest, man, I just I feel so good in life. And I know you do, too, that it’s just something that it’s not even hard. It’s something that I look forward to, I love my salads for lunches. I love cooking what I do, because and I just know it makes me feel so good. So anyway, it’s just fun to hear what you’re eating still, because even though we’re not living in the same home, it’s nice to see that we’re still up to this and also feeding our family that.
Stephanie Greunke 19:32
Oh, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I think it is one of the things you and Ali talked about on the episode too, where when you’re used to eating a certain way, you really notice when you go you eat a restaurant meal that you know really isn’t what you’re used to, you feel it a lot more than if you are you’re constantly eating foods that are more inflammatory for your body. And so I think that’s what we’ve come to with years of practice and figuring out what works for us is, we just know that we feel better. So if your meal plan does not look like this at all, we don’t want you to feel shamed for that. It’s starting small wherever you can. And I usually like people to think about breakfast for so how can you pick a breakfast that feels really good in your body, because if you can start your day feeling really good in your body, and with your choices, the likelihood that you’re going to choose a healthier lunch and dinner is much higher.
Elana Roumell 20:21
I totally agree with that. Well, there was also something else Ali mentioned, she mentioned a lot of stuff is a great interview, but she said, you know for anyone with anxiety, the first two things she will pull from their diet is coffee and sugar. And I just wanted to know if you agree with that or not. And really what your stances just on coffee in general, when you say pull coffee, is it like 100%? Zero coffee? Or are you okay with like one cup or you know, everyone has their own opinions, and I think so many of our listeners probably drink it, I just wanted to see what your thoughts were on it.
Stephanie Greunke 20:53
Yeah, no, I loved how you kind of balance out the conversation to with your perspective. And so I’ll kind of add mine here. And I agree that we want to be mindful about caffeine and sugar. But when I work with clients, I usually work with more of a motivational interviewing style approach. So when I work with somebody, I talked to them about their caffeine usage, I say, ‘Are you drinking caffeine? What does that look like?’ And sometimes they will decide for themselves that it’s something that they want to pull, they already know that it’s something that they probably should limit, if they have anxiety, it will make them feel better. They’ve heard it from multiple different sources. And maybe this last time that when we’re getting together, they feel ready to do it to finally pull the trigger and remove caffeine in some way or another. Others when I bring up caffeine, their first impulse is like, ‘Please don’t pull it!’, right. And so with somebody like that, what I want to do is work on an approach where we can systematically reduce the amount of caffeine in their diet at a rate that feels reasonable for them, so that we can make it sustainable. Because if you are to say, ‘You can’t have caffine, that is going to trigger your anxiety,’ for a lot of people that’s going to trigger anxiety, pulling that from them. And so meeting people where they are in the middle, and seeing where they’re at seeing how comfortable they are with pulling back and focusing on some more of the big rocks, like looking at their meals, if they’re drinking multiple cups of coffee a day. Yeah, that’s where I say, ‘Okay, how can we start reducing it maybe one cup at a time, half cup at a time swapping it with tea, or matcha,’ or these kind of things. But I feel like avoiding or demonizing one specific thing is often not the right approach for somebody who is navigating anxiety. And what I find is that women that are navigating anxiety, they don’t want to feel any more anxiety. And so if you can kind of get down to their level and and talk to them about the fact that this is really going to help and helping them make that connection from with what they’re consuming, as far as liquids and how they’re feeling in their bodies. If you can kind of meet them in the middle with that and find an approach that works for both of you, that gets to the ultimate goal of reducing the caffeine or the sugar. That is a really great approach.
Elana Roumell 23:10
Great, I really appreciate you talking about that. Because I also really wanted to give some grace to some of the moms. And you know, again, all of us react differently. I shared on the episode that if even if I touch a little bit of coffee, I’m just crazy. So I just I’m a crazy, but man, I get a lot of work done. For me. So matcha actually is awesome. I love it, it’s great. So you know, everyone just has to kind of see where they’re at. And I think there are some that can tolerate more than others. So it’s a very individual approach. And yes, of course, if you’re having excessive anxiety, it’s one thing to definitely experiment to see if that is a trigger for you in a culprit. Absolutely.
Stephanie Greunke 23:49
It’s also something where when I’m working with clients, I don’t like to suggest things that I personally wouldn’t do or haven’t done.And I have pulled back on the coffee. But, I still really like my coffee, and I can get away with doing decaf and all of that. But I just really like to make it a decision where they’re coming to it from a place where they’re ready. And they understand and they can do it a little bit more gradually.
Elana Roumell 24:18
Well, and that will incorporate long term change. You know, I love your approach very much.
Stephanie Greunke 24:24
Now, Ali mentioned her approaches, we talked about reducing inflammation and regulating blood sugar and regulating the gut health and all of those things. And I’m sure many of the ways that you work with those navigating anxiety are pretty similar, but what are what are some of the differences in how you approach anxiety than what Ali mentioned.
Elana Roumell 24:46
So yes, I mean, I love Ali’s approach. And there’s no question I do that with either my adult patients or even my kiddo patients. But you know, the only thing I would say that differs is just that I personally love the now therapy called homeopathy. And it’s just something that I’m well trained in that I have decades of experience with. I just have found in clinical practice that it has just helped a tremendous number of my patients that it would be hard for me not to practice without it. So I just look at it as like another tool. And when it comes to anxiety and depression, I just find it to be some of the quickest acting of my medicines, while I’m still focusing, of course on gut health and brain health and such. So I mean, that would probably be the only thing that really kind of differs between me and Ali. But I love her approach and I definitely absolutely agree that we have to look at food as our medicine as the forefront. I mean, I wouldn’t even be able to get anywhere the same response. Even with the right homeopathic remedy, if if someone was just eating an exorbitant amount of pro-inflammatory foods, or even anxiety-provoking foods, like way too much sugar away too much coffee. So while there’s definitely not like a magic pill out there, we still definitely need to focus on gut health and food medicine. And once we clear all that stuff up as well, we can also throw in some other fun tools like homeopathy, and I just I adore doing that with my patients. I hope that answers your question, because I love that you know me. So Steph I was curious, though, because we talked a lot about like vegetarian diets, I didn’t actually plan on sharing my story or thinking that we were going to talk about that. But I was just kind of curious how you support those who are experiencing anxiety, but are on a vegetarian or vegan diet and may not be eating animal proteins?
Stephanie Greunke 26:30
Yeah, no, I love that you balance out the talk with the reminder that we all thrive on different types of diets and that you shared your personal experience, because I think that just brings to light the fact that we really need to customize food as medicine and meet people where they’re at. And, you know, as providers is not our place necessarily to say you can’t be on that diet, or you shouldn’t be on that diet, but to help educate them about what may be missing in their diet if they are choosing to eliminate certain food groups. And then at that point, figure out if diet or supplementation is the best route, you know, there are some things that we can compromise on and, but some things we do need to have the proper supplement to thrive and then again, retesting later down the road. So with vegetarians and vegans, I often recommend we do some testing to shore up any nutritional deficiencies that may be out there and to see where they’re at, even if they’re feeling great. And this is especially true if they’re breastfeeding, because we know that maternal nutrients are required to make sure that breast milk has the right amount of nutrition and, for example, B12 is huge here and iodine and DHA and EPA and choline. Those are really important to make sure that mom is getting enough of so that her breast milk is rich in these things. So I often see if they’re willing to incorporate foods like eggs, or fish or even full fat dairy, so that you can get some of that bio-available food based source of nutrients that are essential for brain health. If they’re not willing to budge, if they don’t want to include any animal proteins whatsoever, then it’s it’s always important, but it’s especially important to make sure that multivitamin supplement is being used one with active B vitamins one with iron, zinc, B12, choline and some of these nutrients that they may be missing out on if they’re not eating animal based foods. Now if they’re not willing to eat eggs, we want to look at choline and we want to make sure that it is in the supplement that they’re taking the multivitamin supplement and maybe even adding on an additional supplement because that is really going to support their brain health, it’s really going to help with anxiety. And they’re going to be deficient if they’re not eating animal based foods. Then for other types of things that we talked about with vegetarians, we want to look at how they are sourcing their their products in specifically things like whole grains and beans and legumes, we want to make sure that they are organic. If possible, we want to think about soaking and sprouting them to reduce that fighting acid that may be binding to things like iron and zinc and calcium and magnesium. So we want to make sure that if they are choosing these foods that they’re getting the most out of them.
Elana Roumell 29:20
I love it, you did a great job summarizing that Thank you. And I do think because if you’re nursing, or you just had a baby, your nutrient stores are more depleted in this stage of life than others. And so it’s actually even more important that we focus on nutrient depletion during this time. And it happens to all of us is just the natural way that our bodies process this and it’s all perfect and it’s just important that we’re really mindful of these added nutrients. And I think there is absolutely ways you can do that being a vegetarian or vegan. It’s going to just take a lot of mindfulness on the type of foods, how you’re preparing the foods and quantity of those foods and the regularity of those. And so just getting that optimal education and potentially working with the trained professional would be just great.
Stephanie Greunke 30:07
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it can be done. You just want to be a little bit more thoughtful and systematic with it. And there are people out there that can help. So let’s talk about supplements. We talked about the ones for vegans and vegetarians that may be helpful. But as far as anxiety specifically, Ali mentioned ones like medicinal mushrooms, for example. Reishi and cordyceps, she also mentioned l theanine which you can get either in supplement form or and things like matcha. And then she talked about magnesium specifically in the form of magnesium glycinate. So do you use any other types of supplements, in addition to food to support those going through anxiety?
Elana Roumell 30:46
Great. So you know, Steph there are so many again, we could do a whole show just on listing out all the different supplements. I do like the ones that are highly recommended. I also, of course, use homeopathy, I just mentioned that. But another nutrient that I don’t think is actually very popular, but I use it a lot clinically, it’s called phosphorylated serine. This really is a great nutrient to help bring down cortisol and I find that a lot of moms that I work with who are experiencing anxiety, tend to have it simply because they’re not sleeping well. And their cortisol is imbalanced. So because we’re waking up in the middle of night to feed this is not abnormal, our cortisol rhythm is off, our cortisol supposed to be high in the morning and low at night. But because we’re being you know, forced to wake up from sleep, then our cortisol is actually artificially being elevated so that we could be awake enough to nurse and then trying to go back to sleep. I just hear so many times mom saying, you know, they’re such light sleepers, they can’t go back to sleep as easily. And this is simply because cortisol is too high in the body. Again, no fault of anyone’s This is the natural process of motherhood. But I really love this very safe and effective nutrient called phosphorylated serine. I personally use a brand that’s called Seriphos that I know is safe in moms. And so this is something that I like to use, specifically in this time. And I know there are so many more Steph, you may be able to share some of the things that you also like to use, but I wanted to highlight that one specifically.
Stephanie Greunke 32:14
Yeah. And you know, along with getting interrupted sleep, one thing that I know I did with my first that I realized I couldn’t do with my second if I wanted to get back to sleep, was using phones in the middle of the night. And so if you know you’re waking up to nurse, it might be tempting to pop on your cell phone and look at Instagram or look at purchase something on Amazon that you need like a sleep book. But that that really is going to interfere with the melatonin production and might keep you up. So I know it’s tempting to do but as much as you can try to stay off that phone while you’re nursing.
I like to customize supplements too. So I want to I don’t want to give too much. But a couple of things that across the board, I really like to look at are including things like chamomile, a chamomile tea, especially at night can be really calming and soothing and get us in the mood. It can be like a nice nightcap and part of our bedtime ritual. Just like you, I remember when I was younger, we would have a cup of warm milk before we went to bed. And that just kind of sends a signal to our brand that it’s time to go to bed. And this is what we’re going to do. And so if we can have something soothing and warm, I can have chamomile tea, which really can help wind us down, that can be really beneficial.
I like to diffuse lavender essential oil. And that’s something that I do not only for myself, but also for my kids. And so if we are a little bit wound up at night, let’s say we came back from dinner later than usual or we went to a birthday party and we’re back later than usual, I will diffuse some of that to kind of help get us to calm down and to relax and to move into sleep. And that can be beneficial to like if you are at work or if you’re driving to work and you’re just feeling a little bit of that anxiety come on, that can be a really nice way to calm yourself down naturally. I also like things like fish oil for sure we wasn’t mentioned but fish oil is so important that we’re making sure we get enough of either through our diet or supplementation to calm that neuro inflammation in our brain to help us be able to really respond to stress a lot better. And CBD oil, turmeric again as an anti inflammatory, and then adaptogen like ashwagandha are really great, too. So there are a lot of supplemental support options that are out there to help you. Again, we usually try to do food first and then fill in the gaps are we need to have supplements.
Elana Roumell 34:38
And everyone responds differently to different biotics. So that’s why the customization is so nice. I think the key here is that mom, there’s so many options. So right, yes, they’re all safe. During even pregnancy during nursing, more specifically for nursing, that they’re safe, you want to really kind of be as conservative as possible during pregnancy and work with the health practitioner with that. Even nursing, I have some moms who will come in and sometimes will be taking something that I was like, you know, we may not want to have you take that during nursing. So always consult with your doctor about that or just a health professional so that you really know that what you’re giving to yourself and what’s coming out of your breast milk is really optimizing the health of both you and baby.
Now Steph, before we wrap up early, I would kind of end it on this note – keto. And man, we could have had a whole episode on really talking about ketosis and doing a keto diet for anxiety. And it was so interesting, I actually loved her approach how well she customized is that for her clients to write, she makes it very individual within her groups. And I thought it’d be just nice if you wouldn’t mind sharing a little bit about your experience with keto and anxiety since you have such a personal experience with that, if you don’t mind maybe sharing some of the takeaways you had from from our conversation about that?
Stephanie Greunke 35:51
No, I loved the conversation, I felt like you guys really did a good job of balancing each other out and finding a way to approach it that really looked at the individual versus following one specific plan, right. And that can happen sometimes when we’re looking at a diet like keto, you think that there’s one way to do it. And in fact, that’s not the case at all. And especially when it comes to women or women that are pregnant or breastfeeding, you need to customize it. And I really loved what she had to say about that. I did keto, I would say I’m trying to remember how old Leo was I started it. It was between six months in a year, I can’t remember how old exactly he was. But I wanted to make sure that my milk supply was established. And I wanted to do whatever I could to really get a handle on my anxiety. And so I thought what the heck, I’ll try it. And I like to do this as a practitioner from time to time. I remember even in school in my undergrad, we had to try a bunch of different diets just to kind of see what they were like and experience it and understand how they worked in our bodies, how it worked to design a meal plan that looked like it. And so I thought I’d give it a try. And it really did help me – I did notice less anxiety, I did notice that I felt more energy after adjusting to the level of carbohydrates, I did notice more stable moods overall. But I think what can happen is sometimes you know with me, I did it for 12 weeks, and then I probably looking back, I wish I would have stopped it at that time and switch to more just like a lower glycemic index diet to still get the benefits but not stress my body as much as it would be for sustaining ketosis for so long. But I did, I pushed harder past that 12 week period. And I think, you know, it’s hard to say for sure, but I think that did do a little bit of damage to my body. I’ve been working right now to kind of recuperate from some of that, I believe, just because I was in ketosis for more than 12 weeks. And I think a great approach would be to, you know, if you’re interested in doing it, do it for 12 weeks to take into consideration some of the customization that was talked about in the last episode, and consider it for 12 weeks, and then that 12 week really think about if you want to switch to a lower glycemic approach at that time, change it up. But I think it’s good to cycle in and out of it, especially as women instead of say consistently in one diet unless you are navigating a health concern, right? If you are using it therapeutically for a specific health concern, that’s a different story. But if you’re using it to see how it works with your anxiety, or what if you’re doing it for weight loss, or whatever purpose it is, that’d be my advice is just do it for those 12 weeks, and then consider where at at that time.
Elana Roumell 38:42
Hmm, I love that. And thanks for sharing your personal experience. I know you’ve had such great success with it. And then you’ve also noticed that doing it for too long actually had some hard outcomes for you. But I just love how authentically you’re sharing and I just I also love your passion. It’s like you really just want to try everything, right? Because you’re in the field. And we really both we practice what we preach. So I just think it’s great that you’re like fully in so you can really share your experience.
Stephanie Greunke 39:06
Yeah, no, and I love that you shared yours too, that it just didn’t work for you. Because it was almost more stress inducing, like having that restriction wasn’t good. And I think that’s important to note, too, if you have a history of eating disorder, or something like that stricter, you know, a stricter food approach where you’re eliminating a lot of things may not be the best.
Elana Roumell 39:25
And that’s why it’s so individualized. There’s no right or wrong way. Ultimately, we just want you guys to feel good, right? The goal is to be healthy and to raise healthy families. And, you know, to really just own how you’re cooking and what you’re buying and what you’re we’re feeding our children and what’s working for us. And unfortunately, sometimes that does change sometimes during different stages of life. And during different schedule changes – if it’s summer break, or if kids are at school, or how much time we have if you’re in a full time job, or if you’re in part time, or if you’re stay at home mom, I mean, we have to look at everyone individually. So I just think it’s neat that we have so many options and we love guiding people in that way. And I really truly enjoyed Ali’s approach. I think not only does she just have a really great head on her shoulders far as just educationally, she’s a great teacher. I just I really got so much personally out of the episode. But I think she also really also approaches her different diets and as individualized as ways possible to reach a mass amount of people so I was really impressed with her and her work. So if you haven’t already go ahead and check out some of her stuff on her website. Everything will be included it in the show notes. But was there any other takeaways you had Steph, because I feel like I was able to share everything I wanted to.
Stephanie Greunke 40:41
No, I think it was a really information-packed episode. And I know we both like kind of fought over who got to do this episode because we both we both love her and we love this topic. But you did a great job and I think you really helped highlight some of the key aspects of an anti-anxiety diet so I will leave with that that not to add any more to the story, but I loved it.
Elana Roumell 41:04
Well, thanks for the opportunity. Yeah, she was just great. We love sharing great resources with you mamas. It’s one of our favorite things to do is connect you guys with good other connections. So yeah, it’s really a joy for us.
Stephanie Greunke 41:18
Yeah, and then you know, with that said, if you as a listener, if you know of anybody that would be great to bring on the show, always feel free to let us know. We are open to having guests on talk about a whole range of topics and so don’t ever hesitate to reach out to us on Instagram and let us know who you want to see on the show or maybe yourself on the show.
Thank you so much for hanging out with us today. We hope you enjoyed the episode with us recapping the Anti-Anxiety diet with Ali Miller and you feel more confident in ways that you can manage your anxiety or help somebody else manage their anxiety using food as medicine. Thank you for listening to our episode. And also thank you to our partner, Coconu. Remember to use code WHOLEMAMAS at checkout over at coconu.com to get 15% off your first order. If you enjoyed this episode, please share it with your mama friends. You can either write us an iTunes review, or you can take a screenshot of yourself listening to this episode. Tell us where you’re listening and then post it on your Instagram stories so that we can connect with you and let us know what you enjoyed about this episode. You can find us on wholemamasclub.com/podcast to review show notes, find past episodes and leave comments and questions for future shows. And if you haven’t checked it out already, we also have show transcripts that are available for each episode. So those are really fun too. If you wanted to just skip to a certain section or get us in written form, it’s available there.
Please remember that the views and ideas presented on this podcast are for informational purposes only. All information content and material presented on this podcast is for informational purposes and not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis and or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider. Consult with your qualified physician or healthcare provider before starting any diet supplement regimen or to determine the appropriateness of the information shared on the podcast. If you have any other questions regarding your pregnancy or your prenatal treatment plan, make sure you run those past your provider. Now go on, have a great day, and nourish and nurture yourself and your family.
- Simple ideas for #ingredientmeals to support your mental health
- Our take on eliminating caffeine/sugar
- How our approach to anxiety differs from Ali’s
- How to optimize a vegan/vegetarian diet
- Our supplement recommendations
- Steph’s experience with keto and anxiety
- Ali Miller’s Website
- Ali’s book, The Anti-Anxiety Diet
- Whole Mamas Weekly Pregnany Email Series
- Whole Mamas Pregnancy Program
- Nourish Kids Medicine Kit and Ebook
- Dr. Elana’s Medical Center: Nourish Medical Center
- Dr. Elana’s Med School for Moms
- Follow Steph and Elana on Instagram
- Whole Mamas Podcast Archive
This episode's guest
The Whole Mamas podcast is led by Stephanie Greunke, a registered dietitian, and Dr. Elana Roumell, a naturopathic doctor, both trained in functional medicine and passionate about pregnancy, postpartum, and pediatrics. They invite experts on the show, answer burning questions, highlight key points, and make sure you feel empowered to take action. Find Whole Mamas and the Whole Mamas hosts on Instagram @wholemamasclub, @stephgreunke, @drelanaroumell, and at www.wholemamasclub.com.