Gut Health 101 with Liz Bane

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Hey Tranquility Tribe! This week we’re going straight for the gut - HeHe has enlisted Liz Bane, a wellness concierge and a holistic health coach certified by the Institute of Integrated Nutrition to help us understand this often mentioned yet often misunderstood system in our bodies. Liz is here to share all her best tips and tricks to helping your gut function at its optimal ability!

Gut 101

So what exactly is your gut? Your gut starts at the back of your throat in your esophagus, goes down to your stomach, through  your large and small intestine and out the back where you go to the bathroom. It is the largest organ in your body, second only to your skin! The health of the gut impacts your entire well-being, from your brain to your muscles to your moods. By caring for your gut, you’re caring for your entire body, and this is why it’s so important for a pregnant person to care for their gut! A healthy gut is an essential aspect of making a baby, growing a baby, breastfeeding a baby, or just being yourself!

The gut and the brain are connected through the vagus nerve - if you have a healthy gut, the nerve is sending healthy and positive messages between your brain and your gut. You’ll feel the yearn to exercise, to mediate, to eat some greens, and to get a good night’s sleep. However, if you have a compromised, or commonly referred to as “leaky” gut, you’ll get the opposite of these messages -  you’ll feel stressed and you’ll want to eat potato chips for breakfast and eat a bottle of wine at night after sitting in front of the TV all day.

The Leaky Gut
There are a multitude of warning signs of a leaky gut. You could experience anything from headaches and migraines to asthma and allergies to a multitude of digestive issues - the list goes on and on. A leaky gut could even manifest itself in things as serious as autoimmune disorders and issues concerning mental health. If a leaky gut is sending negative messages to your brain, producing stress and craving carbs, this could severely impact your mood and even result in depressive or anxiety disorders.

What we put on the end of our fork and into our mouths directly impacts our health both today and well into our futures. Our gut lining breaks down through the more junk that we put in our body, and this becomes more and more apparent as we age. A person who chooses to eat fast food and chips and garbage everyday might be fine in their 20s and 30s, but eventually this slow, negative burn in the body that can lead to inflammation and disease.

Tips for a Healthy Gut
Liz suggests four aspects to work on when it comes to improving gut health - environment, antibiotics, stress, and diet. She stresses that while you don’t necessarily have control of the world outside your home, you have full control of the substances you choose to have in your home. It’s so important to look into what you’re putting into your home through your cleaning products, your laundry products, and even your makeup - cleaning these up can make an extreme difference in the health of your body. In terms of antibiotics, Liz stresses that while not all antibiotics are bad and sometimes our bodies really need them, it’s important to use them at as minimal a level as possible. In terms of our stress levels, they have a direct impact on our gut, and Liz suggests that we consider everything we can to help those levels go down. From mediation and yoga to herbal teas and essential oils. Finally, food is something that we put into our bodies everyday that can either heal or harm us, and when it comes to feeding our gut and helping build a health microbiome for our bodies, there’s a lot we can do to help out!

Feeding The Gut
So what can we put into our bodies the can help our guts thrive? Liz says that leafy greens are the number one tool to helping our guts function at their best - feeding your body leafy greens is like feeding soil sun and water. Other gut essentials include bone broth, collagen powder, apple cider vinegar, and fermented items like kombucha. Any type of whole, real foods are not only good for our gut but act as anti-inflammatory boosters for our bodies overall. Vegetables are the best way we can consume real, whole foods!

Supplements are great for helping our guts heal too, particularly probiotics, which can help our bodies digest all the unnatural foods that our society pushes on us today. Omega-3 fatty acids and L-glutamine are also great supplements to consider, but as always, consult with your doctor before starting any new supplement!

Let it Heal!
Our guts can heal themselves very quickly - if only we give them the chance! Liz suggests dedicating even just a week of your life to cutting out sugar and processed foods and replacing them with healthy fats like avocado and nuts and seeds, lean protein, and leafy greens to give your gut the chance to heal. Combine this with increased fluid intake and a probiotic and your gut, brain, and body will be forever thankful!

If you want to connect with Liz, you can find her at her website, You can also email her at or follow her on Instagram at @lizbanelifeinbalance.

Don’t forget to join our private Facebook, The Tranquility Tribe Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe!

"Welcome to the Tranquility Tribe"

Why We Are Addicted to Hormonal Birth Control with Holly Grigg-Spall

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

[This is also an episode on The Tranquility Tribe Podcast on iTunes. Listen here.]

All about Holly

Holly Grill-Spall is the author of the bestselling book Sweetening The Pill: Or How We Got Hooked On Hormonal Birth Control, which began as a blog and is now being developed into a documentary! She’s been featured She’s been featured in publications all over ranging from The Guardian to NPR to the Washington Post to Vogue, and Vice called her “the poster girl for a movement of women abandoning the pill in favor of contraceptives that don't wreak havoc on their body and mind.”
Holly has travelled all over the world leading workshops to empower women to take back their bodies from synthetic birth control. Holly’s passion for the subject came out of her own experience taking Yaz for 10 years, starting at age 17. Holly experienced very serious side effects, including effects on her mental health, leading her down a path of research into everything pill-related.

The Pill’s History - Not a Pretty Past

The pill came into the lives of American women in the 1960s, but not before it was tested on vulnerable populations such as those in mental institutions and women of color in developing countries, typically without consent. Synthetic hormones were actually commonly tested on men in the asylums, so the effects on women were relatively less known. After 10 years of being on the market, women who were on the pill began to report strokes, blood clots and even severe depression. These side effects prompted Senate hearings, although it was only male doctors who were testifying rather than women who were the ones experiencing the effects, resulting in feminist protests.

Now more than 50 years later, pervasive marketing has led women take the pill in ways that people would have never dreamed of in the 60’s - they start in their teens and take it through menopause for reasons ranging from PMS to acne to endometritis. The pill has become doctors’ cure-all for anything that goes wrong with women’s health.

The Truth about Hormones

While Holly’s book mostly focuses on the avoiding pregnancy aspect of the pill, she realizes that women are prescribed it for a variety of other reasons, most notably hormonal imbalance problems. However, the pill can’t “fix” these issues per say, as it doesn’t regulate your hormones but rather it suppresses and replaces your own hormones with synthetic ones. Not only are these biologically very different from your own hormones but they also act very differently from your own - you have a steady stream of consistent hormones rather than the rise and fall of your body’s. This is far from what women are typically told in terms of the pill being a productive fix to things. 

Additionally, women really aren’t made aware of all the different side effects that these synthetic hormones can bring about. HeHe herself has experienced mood and anxiety problems because of the pill. Holly’s research has shown that the pill can cause everything from social anxiety and panic attacks to obsessive compulsive tendencies and a lack of motivation and excitement known as anhedonia. 

Are providers in the dark too?

Holly says it’s hard to say. Oral contraceptives came out decades ago and at the time were celebrated as liberation and freedom for women from their biology. They are so widely accepted that it’s literally known as “the pill”! The truth is that there’s unfortunately just not a lot of concentration on women’s health issues in the medical education world, and that combined with the positive storied history of the pill makes it easy to prescribe without hesitation. 

The Pill and Pregnancy

Women are told that once they go off the pill, their period will return quickly along with their fertility - unfortunately, that’s not the case for all women. Holly suggests that you should come off the pill as early as a year before you want to get pregnant - this will let you see if you have an issue that your birth control was masking such as a hormonal imbalance or PCOS and give you time to take care of that before trying to get pregnant.

What are the alternatives?

Holly says that it’s important for you to evaluate why you’re on the pill on the first place. Most women take it to prevent pregnancy along with something else, like dealing with acne, mood swings or cramps, so you have to investigate alternatives to whatever the pill is providing for you. Holly suggests giving yourself a six month break from the pill to see how you feel, while of course covering your bases when it comes to preventing pregnancy through condom use and natural spermicides. Some other alternatives include fertility awareness methods like tracking temperature changes, diaphragms and the copper IUD (although there are side effects that come along with that too).

Of course, if you’re comfortable with how your body has interacted with the pill so far and have educated yourself about possible issues you may face in the future, by all means stay on it - just be aware of your other options!

If you’d like to connect with Holly, you can find all the ways to reach her at her website, Her book is available wherever your favorite books are sold!

Don’t forget to join our private Facebook, The Tranquility Tribe Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe!

"Welcome to the Tranquility Tribe"

10 Apps Every New Parent Needs

Thursday, April 4, 2019

{ Snag your seat in our FREE TRAINING to master your mindset for birth without the fear and anxiety! }

10 Apps Every New Parent Needs

Apps make life easier. That is a no-brainer. Wanna lose weight? There's an app for that. Wanna find a hot date? There's an app for that! Wanna order food so you don't have to leave your lulu's and the couch? No problem, there's an app for that. There's even an app that you see a doctor when you're sick and you never have to leave home! Now, THAT is concierge service and I'm here for that.

While I can't move in with every Tranquility by HeHe family, although that would be fun, I can offer you a list of apps that I use in my daily life as a Maternity Concierge and recommend these to every single one of our clients. These apps will get your more sleep, help you support your child's development, and carve out a bit of self-care time for yourself! I wouldn't dare live without these apps and you shouldn't either!

Baby Connect: $4.99, “Best $5 you will spend.” This app tracks bottles, breastfeeding, diapers, types of types, sleep, plus foods and solids when you get there! It also has messaging between caretakers if you have more than one person who care for your babe or if you just don’t love texting with the nanny.

White Noise: free, I personally use this app and I love it because it gets so loud. Do be careful with how loud you play white noise, but in large rooms a louder sound can be helpful. The pro to this app is that is drains the battery fast so it requires your phone/iPod/iPad to be near an outlet to be plugged in.

Sanity + Self: free, Self-care time, BINGO! I love this app because it is aimed at women. There are meditations which are nice because they are short and sweet or there are series if you are looking for a deep meditation. There’s even an entire community on there. I haven’t explored it yet, but it looked very inviting!

Think Dirty: This is an app that you can scan health, beauty and some wellness products and see how “green” or healthy it is supposed to be. An alternative to this, and some say is a much more honest company, is EWG’s Healthy Living App. Both apps have flaws, so I suggest downloading both and using both as one resource.

Kinedu: $9/month, This app is amazing! It gives parents developmentally appropriate play activities to do at home with their little ones. The activities are for birth to 2 years old!

Lactmed: free, You can enter medications and it will tell you whether it is breastfeeding friendly or not. The only con to this app is that not all medications are listed, but this is a downfall to every app.

Talk Space: free to start, $49/month to continue. This is an amazing options for two reasons. One, it uses technology to match you with someone who is a perfect match and it is done right in the palm of your hand. Anywhere. One downfall is that Talkspace does not accept insurance. However, you can use your FSA for this. Skeptical? Here is an in-depth, honest review of the app.

Podcast: free, I love a certain podcast for new and expecting parents! There is so much knowledge in the podcast world. There are podcast specifically about infertility, pregnancy, preparing for birth, postpartum, motherhood, and parenting your children. There are so many styles and approach out there that you are bound to find your tribe!

Audible: $15/month, another way you can combat the loneliness that is often brought on by having a new baby is to fill your time with e-books. Hearing the books be read stimulates your brain in a similar way to being with someone else. There are so many books out there. If you want to listen about the period of life you’re in, go for it. I encourage you to listen to books of interest so you actually listen. This is supposed to be a slice of self-care, not background noise in your day. If you found yourself reading so many educational and informational books during pregnancy, take the postpartum time to indulge in books that are purely pleasure!

A photo app: There are so many of these and I dislike all of them, but I see the importance of having photos online. Personally I have used google photo, Tiny Beans, and Shutterfly.

Apps are a great way to simplify your life and ease the transition to parenthood. Kiddos don't come with instructions, but now they come with apps and that's the next best thing!

If you liked knowing apps that will make your life easier, you will LOVE this list of Top 10 Baby Gear Items that will be a total game-changer in your parenting journey!

Don’t forget to join our private Facebook, The Tranquility Tribe Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe!

"Welcome to the Tranquility Tribe"

Do You have a Hormone Imbalance?

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Do You have a Hormone Imbalance?

Hormone Imbalances come in all different shapes, sizes, colours. From acne to heavy periods, from stubborn weight gain to light or no periods, your hormonal imbalance could look completely different from Sally’s down the street.

Now, you’re probably asking yourself, “what the heck is a hormonal imbalance?” I’m so glad you asked! Hormonal Imbalance is a term thrown around a lot in the wellness world, but it’s not defined or explained very often. Hormonal Imbalance simply means the ratio of hormones in your body (i.e. estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone) is out of balance. Ideally, in the first half of your menstrual cycle Estrogen should be dominant, then as you get into the second half of your cycle progesterone takes over and rises. This seesaw should happen every month (or 21-33 days) but what a lot of women struggle with is progesterone not taking over in the second half of their cycles. That’s when you’ll see signs of a hormonal imbalance or Estrogen Dominance, which simply means estrogen is dominant for the duration of your cycle, not letting progesterone have its 15 minutes of fame.

What does estrogen dominance look like and feel like?

- Acne, especially on the chin and around the jawline
- PMS or premenstrual syndrome AKA bloating, mood swings, back aches, cramps, headaches
- Breast tenderness
- Low sex drive
- Hair loss
- Stubborn weight gain or inability to lose weight
- Inability to get pregnant or maintain a healthy pregnancy
- Abnormal periods, heavy periods are more often associated with high estrogen whereas light periods are often associated with low estrogen levels

Conventionally when we go to the doctor with symptoms of a hormonal imbalance, they give us a band-aid solution, like the birth control pill, acne medication, or a little pat on the back of the hand, saying “you’re fine.” These are not long-term solutions and will only make your imbalance worse.

What can you do to naturally balance your hormones?

1. Eat more Fibre! Estrogen is removed via stool, so if your bowels aren’t working, estrogen is going to continue circulating in the body.
2. Focus on consuming whole foods, limit processed foods, and aim for lots of veggies! Cruciferous veggies like kale, cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli are amazing at helping the liver detox excess hormones!
3. Use clean home and personal care products. Head here ( for the low-down on ingredients to avoid when shopping for new products!
4. Limit stress. This includes external stress like work but also includes internal stress like food sensitivities and even working out. Listen to your body! Its okay to rest, especially during your period or ovulation.
5. Try Seed Cycling!

If you are interested in joining our tribe to support you on your journey of mastering your mindset, trying to conceive, planning for your birth or taking control of your health, please email us at

To get a taste of the magic, don’t forget to join our private Facebook, The Tranquility Tribe  and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe!

"Welcome to the Tranquility Tribe"

This was a guest blog written by Elizabeth Raybould, a Holistic Wellness Practitioner and Founder of Fuel Goodness, who helps women balance their hormones and navigate menstruation. 

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