Live long with these tips. Image by: Calaimage/ Paul Bradbury
Bad health habits are literally taking years off your life, according to a new Canadian study. But we have strategies for curbing the worst offenders.
We have bad news and good news. First, the bad: whether it’s being a couch potato, smoking, letting one glass of Chardonnay turn into the whole bottle, or indulging in a giant bowl of chips and dip, our most beloved vices are killing us. Or rather, they’re drastically reducing our life expectancy, says a new study recently published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS Medicine. It found that smoking, eating junk food, vegging out and drinking can actually slash almost six years off the life expectancy of both men and women.
The study, authored by Dr. Doug Manuel, a senior scientist at The Ottawa Hospital and professor at the University of Ottawa, focused on the worst habits, which contributed to nearly half of all deaths reported in Canada. Using a predictive algorithm Manuel and his team created, population health surveys at the individual level were examined to learn just how dangerous these vices can be. The findings were dramatic—“smoking, by itself, was associated with 32% to 39% of the difference in life expectancy across social groups,” the study says.
But that’s where the good news comes in: though their impact can’t be understated, you can combat unhealthy habits—or at least tame them. Here are the 4 guilty pleasures that are worst for your health, and what you can do to curb them.
While only about 20 per cent of Canada’s total population smokes, it is still the reigning health hazard for Canadians. When lighting up again, remember that the overall loss of life expectancy is an estimated 2.8 years. Coming up with a smoking cessation plan can help you butt out.
2. Eating Junk Food
A poor diet can shave off 1.2 years of your life, so we think it’s safe to say that giving into your sweet tooth at every craving is not a good call. To head off that 3pm junk food craving, don’t skip meals, and keep healthier snack options on-hand.
3. Physical Inactivity
With all the hours you put in at the office, it can be hard to find the opportunity and motivation to head to the gym. But yoga, Pilates, running or even going on 15-minute walks will add an extra 2.6 years onto your life. The solution? Changing your perspective.
4. Consuming Alcohol
Drinking has the least impact of these four vices—drinking contributed to a two-week decrease in life expectancy, but we know heavy drinking impacts your health in other ways. That’s why it’s important to drink with restraint.
Our best cooking tips for making dough and so much more!
When prepping grains (think quinoa, bulgur or rice), enhance their flavour with tea rather than the usual broth or water. Cook with your favourite brew: I prefer a full-bodied tea, such as smoky lapsang souchong, fragrant Earl Grey or aromatic chai, but you can also choose a milder green tea or herbal blend. Before adding the liquid to grains, steep black teas for three to five minutes, green for two to three minutes, and herbal for five to seven minutes—tisanes don't become bitter, so they can take a longer brewing time.
Here's a foolproof way to remove a lingering garlic scent from your hands: Rub your fingers against a stainless-steel object, like your kitchen sink or a spoon, then rinse under cool water. Garlic is packed with sulphur molecules (that's what gives it a lovely taste and a not-so-lovely smell), which scientists say can form a chemical bond with stainless steel.
Out of vanilla? Head to your liquor cabinet—Kahlúa makes the perfect replacement.
Save your parmesan rinds! Store them in the freezer (they'll keep for months), then drop them into simmering soups or sauces for an amazing flavour boost.
The next time you're making dough, instead of using a pastry blender or the two-knife method to cut in cold butter, try grating it over the flour mixture, then tossing to coat. The butter will be more evenly distributed in the flour mixture, resulting in a light, flaky crust.
Tools of the trade
Three must-have items for a well-stocked kitchen.
1. Y-peeler: The wide grip makes peeling easy, plus the blade creates perfect Parmesan shavings and vegetable ribbons.
2. Large canning jar: This kitchen MacGyver doubles as a cocktail shaker and storage for dry goods. It's also a great place to keep fresh herbs—stand your mint or basil leaves in about two inches of water and change the water daily.
3. Kitchen scissors: This gadget is a huge time-saver when it comes to chopping herbs, segmenting a whole chicken or trimming veggies.
This reversible cowl will keep you super warm on those cold, winter days.
The Whistler Cowl is a stunning accessory that looks beautiful on everyone. The cowl has a cabled stitch pattern and is completely reversible. It is knit in Mezcla de Lujo yarn – a luxurious worsted weight yarn made of 70% merino wool and 30% cashmere. This cowl was originally created as a gift, and it is an extra-special way to show someone you care.
The Whistler Cowl is of intermediate difficulty, and it is a great opportunity to learn a new stitch pattern. The reversible cable stitch is created by alternating knit and purl stitches (as you do to create the rib stitch) and then crossing the stitches over one another (as you do to create one-sided cable stitches). While you may find the stitch pattern tricky at first, the remarkable results are more than worth the effort.
Note: We used a modified 3 needle bind off technique for the finishing on our sample. If you prefer an easier version, simply cast-on right away with your working yarn and end by seaming the cast on edge to the cast off edge.
Note about the yarn: Mezcla De Lujo is available through Americo Original online and at select yarn stores. You can substitute with Americo’s Superwash Merino, Pluma, Alpaca Worsted, Worsted Merino or with any suitable heavy DK or Worsted weight yarns in your stash.
Measurements: Circumference: 52" (132 cm) x Depth: 8" (20 cm)
22 stitches and rows = 4 inches (10 cm) in pattern using 5.5 mm (US 9) size needles or size needed to achieve gauge.
K, k: Knit
P, p: Purl
//M// Denotes a stitch marker on the needle
RS Right Side of work or right side of fabric
WS Wrong side of work
CN Cable needle
LC Left cross cable; slip stitches to a cable needle and hold in front
RC Right cross cable; slip stitches to a cable needle and hold in back
Reversible Ribbed Cable Stitch Pattern: (multiples of 24)
12-st LC: slip 6 stitches from left needle to a cable needle and hold in FRONT, (k1, p1) 3 times, work sts from cn as follows; (k1, p1) 3 times.
12-st RC: slip 6 stitches from left needle to a cable needle and hold in BACK, (k1, p1) 3 times, work sts from cn as follows; (k1, p1) 3 times
Before you begin:
NOTE: We used a modified 3 needle bind off technique for the finishing on our sample. If you prefer an easier version, simply cast-on right away with your working yarn and end by seaming the cast on edge to the cast off edge.
For the modified 3-needle bind off technique: using a scrap piece of yarn in a contrasting colour and 5.5 mm (US 9) size needles, cast on 72 stitches. Change to your main colour and work to the end but leave your stitches on the needle.
Unpick the provisional scrap yarn from the cast on edge, placing the stitches on a spare needle. Join the cast on edge to the cast off edge using a 3-needle bind off: www.knittinghelp.com/videos/binding-off
Using 5.5 mm (US 9) needles, cast on 72 stitches.
Rows 1-2: *k1, p1; repeat from * to end.
Row 3: *12-st LC, (k1, p1) 6 times; rep from * to end
Rows 4-8: *k1, p1; repeat from * to end.
Row 9: *(k1, p1) 6 times, 12-st RC; rep from * to end
Rows 10-12: *(k1, p1); repeat from * to end of row.
Repeat rows 1-12 for 25 repeats.
Cast off depending on your chosen cast on method. Sew in ends and enjoy your beautiful new cowl!
Americo Original is a Canadian yarn company and online knitting shop with its own line of quality yarns, knitwear patterns and accessories. Americo’s yarns are made exclusively in the Andean highlands of South America, using only natural fibres, including luxurious wool, llama, alpaca, cotton, linen, silk and cashmere. Americo and its in-house design lab are based in Toronto, offering international shipping from its online store: americo.ca/shop.
Photography by Michael Graydon
Sarah Gunn, our home and garden director, shares her picks for the hottest looks you'll want to try in your home in 2017.
1. Wonder wall
The new breed of adhesive wall art (think colourful abstract patterns, gorgeous watercolours and large-scale moody florals) is sophisticated, is super easy to apply and makes a serious design statement.
Blossoms large wall mural, $811, anewalldecor.etsy.com.
2. Shape up
We've seen geometric home accessories in gold and other metallics, but now this silhouette can be found in light fixtures, decor and even furniture in a matte ceramiclike finish. This approach hitches onto the still-hot handcrafted trend and elevates mere home accents to objet-d'art status.
Mine pendant lamp, $389, anthropologie.com.
3. Purple reign
With some major paint companies choosing purple as their paint chip of the year—Benjamin Moore has selected Shadow, a rich amethyst shade, while CIL calls out Antique Violet, a soft greyish lavender—the time has come for this underused hue to hit its stride. While pastels are still holding on, this daring palette reflects a move toward intense, striking paint colours. If purple walls are too dramatic a change, try adding a smaller hit to your home by painting a console table or a desk in this royal hue.
4. Green crush
Following fashion's lead in textile and colour (Pantone has placed two verdant hues, Greenery and Kale, on its Spring 2017 Fashion Color Report), home decor has brought back luxe bottle-green velvet in a big way. While this incarnation calls to mind a posh library or a private club, its sleek lines and brass accents give a modern effect. A jewel tone might feel like a bold choice for such a big piece of furniture, but in an otherwise neutral room, it's a more approachable way to add colour.
Avec apartment sofa with brass legs, $2,199, cb2.com.
5. Swan dive
Move over, owls, foxes and flamingos. We predict that swans will make a graceful appearance as the animal motif of the year. Look for them in everything from fabrics to artwork.