Since January, CBC has been on the hunt for the Live Right Now Capital of Canada – a community that's totally motivated and supported to makehealthy lifestylechoices. There's still time to nominate your own neighbourhood for the top spot (the winner will be announced April 13) and it's never too late to advocate for fitness and healthy eating. Here's how you can make a difference.
5 ways to get a healthier community 1. Start a community garden or farmer's market to promote locally grown fruits and vegetables.
2. Ditch the charity bake sale for a fundraising dodgeball tournament. "Think outside the box, outside the house and outside the gym," says Dr. Mark Tremblay, director of Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research.
3. Donate fitness DVDs to your local library, or volunteer to coach an after-school sports program. Physical literacy is just as important as reading, according to Active for Life, a national movement that supports sport and physical activity.
4. Initiate a school nutrition program. More than half of high school students don't eat breakfast, and nutrition programs provide the energy they need to learn, according to Breakfast for Learning, which supports school-based nutrition programs in Canada.
5. Campaign for well-lit bike paths and parks to get residents outside and moving. According to ParticipAction, active communities are healthy communities. Has your community got what it takes to be the Live Right Now Capital of Canada? Nominate your town at liverightnow.ca.
This story was originally titled "Health Matters" in the April 2012 issue.
Aside from being an easy snack for the office, yogurt is chocked full of ingredients that help your body run smoothly, no matter what age you are.
Although yogurt has been a staple in the health food world for what seems like an eternity, it has made a comeback in a big way with society's newfound love of greek yogurt. Now, people eat yogurt with a variety of tweaks and alternations to make it their own: with oats and grains sprinkled on top, honey drizzled in, and all and any fruit for added flavour and health benefits.
Whether you eat it plain, low-fat, greek, frozen, from a tube or a bottle, or in your smoothies, yogurt has health benefits beyond what you may think. Read on to find out what the good stuff is that makes up yogurt.
1. The probiotics.
You know yogurt has probiotics because every commercial for yogurt says that, but what does it actually mean? In the simplest of terms, probiotics are good-for-you bacteria. They help in regulating your digestive system and decreasing gas, diarrhea and bloating. Research has even suggested that probiotics can aid in boosting your immune system, weight management and reduce the risk of cancer.
2. The calcium.
Just like all products in the dairy family, yogurt is a great source of calcium, which plays a huge role in many health benefits. Calcium plays a primary role in the development and maintenance of healthy and strong bones and teeth. It is also important for blood clotting, healing wounds and maintaining a normal blood pressure. Some yogurts contain vitamin D, which helps the small intestine absorb calcium to its fullest potential, so finding those yogurts or pairing yogurt with foods high in vitamin D is highly beneficial.
3. The proteins.
Plain yogurt made from whole milk is a highly rich source of protein. The proteins in yogurt can increase the absorption of minerals, promote lower blood pressure and aid in weight loss.
4. The vitamins.
Yogurt made with whole milk contains every single nutrient the human body needs, although the way it is made and ingredients used can alter the levels of the vitamins and nutrients in the yogurt. Yogurt contains vitamin B12, which keeps your nerved and red blood cells healthy and can only be found in foods originating from an animal. Vitamin B2, or riboflavin, is also in yogurt. This helps the body convert carbohydrates into glucose, or 'food into fuel.'
Want to incorporate yogurt into your diet, but don't want to be stuck with buying processed, sugary yogurt cups? Check out Canadian Living's recipes:
Skywalker has depression and anxiety, and believes she should be allowed to bring her cat on board without a carrier. But some say that a mental illness doesn’t require the same considerations as blindness or epilepsy. Others say her needs shouldn’t infringe on the rights of those with allergies. Many more were in her corner, arguing that Air Canada’s refusal is discriminatory.
According to Leslie Jack, a therapy dog coordinator for St. John Ambulance in Ontario, therapy animals can make a real difference to those in distress. Jack takes specially selected and trained dogs to visit with distressed adults and children in hospitals and long-term care facilities, seniors’ residences and even university campuses. “When we visit, it’s a positive distraction,” says Jack, “and within 15 seconds of petting a dog, people’s blood pressure starts to drop, anxiety is lowered and their day is brightened.”
Jack has seen similar results in people with brain injuries, PTSD and children of deployed soldiers. “No matter why it is, it works,” she says. That’s why she’s not surprised that therapy pets are key to easing anxiety around plane travel for some people. “It really is the same type of thing,” says Jack. “If people have anxiety or fear about flying, a therapy pet would be distracting and calming.”
Airlines, too, are starting to recognize the value of therapy pets in comforting passengers. But that doesn’t mean that you can simply board a plane, expecting to keep your cat or dog in your lap. While rules and regulations around flying with service and therapy pets vary, the following guidelines are a good place to start your de-stressed travel plans.
1. Make it official
Get a letter from your care provider stating that you have a diagnosed mental health issue and that you need to travel with a support animal. Ensure the letter is on letterhead and your care provider includes his or her official credentials. The letter should also be dated less than a year from your travel dates.
2. Do your research
Does your voyage include connecting flights on different airlines? Ensure both allow therapy animals. Ditto for destinations: animals are not allowed on flights to or from Bridgetown, Barbados, for example. Plus, sometimes different rules apply for domestic versus international flights.
3. Check the guidelines
Just because one airline says it’s OK for you to keep your support cat on your lap during the flight doesn’t mean that another airline will—and some airlines will only allow dogs. West Jet, for example, allows support animals but needs at least seven days’ notice on package vacations. Some airlines, meanwhile, require animals to be on harnesses at all times, while others will only allow pets in carriers.
Once you’ve done all the groundwork and have found a route that allows you to travel with your support animal, remember to feed him or her about four hours before you take off—it’s easier on travelling animals not to have a full stomach. Then sit back with your furry friend, relax and enjoy the flight.
We polled family doctors from across the country, and they laid down the law on eight things they wish we'd do—or stop doing.
According to our panel of general practitioners, Canadians aren't always doing what they should to make the most of doctor visits—and skipping out on these crucial tactics could lead to a delay in diagnosing serious conditions. Here's what our experts say you should add to your patient checklist.
1. Stop feeling shy
Many of us hesitate to talk to our physicians about sensitive issues (think substance abuse or sexual health—or even gender identity). But honesty and openness are important, both for fostering a good doctor-patient relationship and for ensuring that you get the best care, says Dr. Laura Pripstein, medical director of the Sherbourne Health Centre in Toronto and a staff physician on the family health team. That's why it's OK to try out a doc before committing. Dr. Pripstein recommends booking an initial visit to see if your potential doctor is a good fit. "You want to see if this person seems like someone you can talk to, someone you feel comfortable with," she says. And if you don't think your doctor understands or respects your concerns, don't be afraid to find someone new. "If you feel you can't ask questions that might be embarrassing, you don't have the right provider," says Dr. Pripstein.
2. Don't come to your appointments unprepared
Get the most out of your time—and your doc's—by arriving at your appointment with a clear plan for what you want to discuss, says Dr. David Ross, an associate professor of family medicine at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. "It's good to have patients think about their problems from when the issue began, then look at it chronologically to the present," says Dr. Ross. Making a prioritized point-form list in advance helps ensure that you don't forget anything or mix up the order of events, he says. Then, work with your doctor to address the most serious issues first.
3. Choose your family doc over the walk-in clinic whenever you can
Yes, a clinic is convenient, but what we gain in easy access, we lose in familiarity. "I think it's really valuable if people can connect with a family physician who they'll be able to see long term, rather than just looking for the quickest way to access care," says Dr. Maurianne Reade, a physician with the Manitoulin Central Family Health Team in Mindemoya and M'Chigeeng First Nation, Ont. A family doctor will know your medical history and will keep it in mind when suggesting treatment—so, for example, if you've recently taken several courses of antibiotics for a UTI, your physician will likely look for a different course of action if you come in with another infection. According to the most recent statistics, about 4.5 million Canadians don't have a regular family doctor. If that's you, contact your provincial College of Physicians and Surgeons, or check to see if your region has an online registry (Ontario has Health Care Connect, while Quebec launched a web-based family doctor finder last year). "It's important to know that we doctors are privileged to share in your stories and to help you through difficult times," says Dr. Reade.
4. Share what's happening in your life
There's a reason your doctor wants to know where you're working, if you're dating and how the kids are—and it's not just because she likes you. (Though she does, we're sure.) Physicians need a picture of their patients' lives beyond their specific health symptoms and conditions, especially when they're first getting to know you, says Dr. Stephen Wetmore, the family medicine chair at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University in London, Ont. "Doctors need to know these things to understand how your lifestyle and habits may be influencing your health," he says. So when you're talking about your exercise habits, your health history and whether you smoke, drink or use drugs, mention your employment status, family obligations and intimate relationships, too, says Dr. Wetmore.
5. Be a better googler
Doctors know you do it (hello, late-night web searches), but they would prefer you to ask about good sources of information, rather than going rogue online. They also want you to be honest about your fears if you've read something particularly upsetting. Physicians can't address your concerns or point you in the right direction if they don't know what your fingertips have been up to. "The thing we want our patients to do is ask us for the most reliable Canadian websites to go to as resources," says Dr. Heather Waters, an assistant professor of family medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton.
6. Don't think your symptoms are "no big deal"
If you've noticed you are having more headaches than usual or are sleeping more or are eating less, you might not think to tell your doctor—but you should. There's no set of rules for determining which symptoms are worthy of investigation or discussion, says Dr. Wetmore, but make a note to mention anything that is new or has changed since your last appointment. "You should bring up things like sudden weight loss or fatigue that seems excessive," he says. "It could be a sign of a larger problem, or the cause of a developing problem." Evenif it doesn't end up being serious, seeing your doctor will help ease any anxiety you might be feeling, and that's worth the visit, too.
7. Talk about what you're taking
Tell your physician about any herbal medications and alternative treatments you take, says Dr. Mel Borins, a University of Toronto associate professor and author of A Doctor's Guide to Alternative Medicine: What Works, What Doesn't, and Why. It's important for patients to share what's working for them and for doctors to be open-minded about therapies outside their own practice or traditions, he says. This is also a concern when it comes to conventional meds, especially if you're pregnant; there are only 23 medications specifically approved for use during pregnancy— yes, out of every available drug—which can leave women feeling anxious about taking prescription or over-the-counter drugs when they're expecting, says Dr. Robyn MacQuarrie, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Bridgewater, N.S. But don't stop taking your meds as soon as your pregnancy test comes back positive. "It's really important to talk to your doctor instead of stopping cold turkey," says Dr. MacQuarrie. Physicians can help you determine the risks and benefits of using different drugs, and they can let you know when the effects of not taking a medication while pregnant may be worse than taking it— which is the case with some antidepressants.
8. Avoid diagnosing yourself
You know doctors don't like it when you come in prepared with a diagnosis you've made thanks to the aforementioned Dr. Google. But do you know why? It's not because they think you're encroaching on their territory! Rather, they worry that a serious medical problem might get missed or you'll cause yourself unnecessary anxiety over something not serious. That's because not everyone has the most common symptoms of a particular condition. Plus, men, women and different ethnicities can have varying symptoms for the same problem. For instance, Dr. Reade's community has a large proportion of people with diabetes, which can affect the warning signs of cardiac disease, a major killer in Canada. Instead of the usual pain or pressure on the left side of the chest or arm, men and women with diabetes may instead have spells of profuse sweating with weakness. And, of course, women who don't have diabetes can have differing symptoms, too; sometimes, a heart attack can feel like acid reflux or come with sudden nausea, vomiting and lightheadedness. So always tell your physician if your symptoms are surprising or strange—like a headache that feels different than usual, for example. And if you're worried about a specific diagnosis, be sure to bring that up, too.
While every Canadian faces his or her own unique set of health hurdles, there are a number of ailments that have become pervasive in Canada. Though medicine has advanced over the years, our modern lifestyles have introduced a new set of health challenges. Here are some of the top health problems that Canadians face today.
1. Honey-Caramel Apple Bundt Cake (Pictured above) Be sure to use in-season apples that are firm, sweet and somewhat tart. The cake alone is dairy-free. If you're making this for a kosher meal or for someone with a dairy intolerance, drizzle the cake with warmed honey rather than the honey caramel sauce.
2.Double-Chocolate Zucchini Bundt Cake A double dose of chocolate gives this cake its rich flavour. Greasing your pan with butter and then dusting with flour is a foolproof way to ensure your cake comes out easily.
3.Pumpkin Pecan Bundt Cake This yummy pumpkin Bundt cake features flavourful pumpkin. Give it a try at your next dinner party.
9.Maple-Glazed Doughnut Bundt Cake (pictured above) This moist cake tastes like a blend of two of our country's most-loved doughnut flavours: sour cream and maple-glazed.
10.Hot Fudge Banana Bundt Cake Flavourful swirls of chocolate in the middle of a classic favourite that's baked then bathed ia a warm fudgy sauce guarantee its irresistible popularity for Hanukkah or any other special occasion.