Osteoarthritis (OA), also known as degenerative joint disease, occurs when bone-cushioning cartilage, which acts as a shock absorber and allows joints to move smoothly, wears down. It's most common in hands, feet, knees, hips and the lower back.
How will osteoarthritis affect me? You may feel stiff, less flexible and unable to move as much or for as long. Simple movements and activities once taken for granted – walking up stairs, getting in and out of bed, opening a jar – become more painful and difficult to perform. How did I develop this condition? "Although with aging there is some natural degeneration of the cartilage, there are some people who seem to be at a greater risk [for OA]," says Dr. Joanne Homik, chair of the Medical Advisory Committee of the Arthritis Society and rheumatologist at the University of Alberta. Contributing risk factors include regular physical labour, genetics, previous joint injuries and weight. Is there anything I can do about it? Although there's no known cure and the condition is irreversible, OA tends to progress slowly, says Dr. Cy Frank, former president of the Canadian Orthopaedic Association and a professor at the University of Calgary. You can manage the symptoms in the following ways.
• Keep physical stress to a minimum and alter exercise regimens that are causing pain and swelling. As a general rule, less impact is better.
• Use a warm heating pad or bath to relieve stiffness and muscle spasms, or a cold pack to reduce pain and swelling. Topical creams and gels may deliver short-term pain relief.
• Your doctor may recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as acetylsalicylic acid and ibuprofen.
• Lose weight. Dropping 10 pounds can reduce the force on the knee by 30 to 60 pounds with each step.
• Look into orthotic devices such as a cane or a fitted brace, as well as assistive devices, such as a raised toilet seat in the bathroom or hand rails wherever support is needed.
Will I need surgery? Surgery is a last resort, says Homik. The most common types of surgery include minor arthroscopy, where debris is cleaned out and the cartilage repaired, and major joint replacement.
Before recommending surgery, your doctor will likely explore prescription NSAIDs and painkillers, and complementary approaches such as acupuncture and massage. Your doctor may also refer you to a physiotherapist or occupational therapist for help with muscle strengthening, coordination and balance.
Do you have osteoarthritis? You're not alone. According to the Arthritis Society, some three million Canadians have the disease. To find arthritis selfmanagement programs, call the Arthritis Society at 1-800-321-1433, or visit arthritis.ca.
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.
I absolutely love pine nuts. Always have, always will. They're super buttery and rich-tasting, fill the kitchen with a sweet nutty aroma as they toast away and add great flavour to both sweet and savoury recipes. The only caveat?
They're expensive! They're usually about twice as much as walnuts or almonds in the grocery store.
So why are they so expensive? •
They're labour-intensive to harvest: Pine nuts, which are actually not nuts but seeds, are the
edible seeds harvested from pine cones. The seeds are nestled in the pine cones and have to be removed from between the scales of the cones which makes them
time-consuming to extract. This labour intensive process explains part of its high cost. •
There are shortages of the crop: Continuous harsh weather conditions, deforestation and climate change has taken its toll on global forests. This, in turn, is creating shortages of the crop.
Why are they still worth purchasing? •
Because they're incredibly delicious! I like to think of pine nuts as a
luxury product, like I do certain types of expensive cheeses or cured meats. I enjoy them that much more when I do have them but don't consider them an everyday purchase item. • They're
irreplaceable in some recipes: if you want to make
a classic Italian pesto or
Italian pignoli cookies, for example, you'll really have to use pine nuts to get that authentic taste. • They have a
high energy content, contain heart-healthy alpha-linolenic acid, and are a good source of protein. • You can
freeze them so they don't go to waste if you don't need them all right away. Because of their high fat content, pine nuts do go rancid quite fast when left in your pantry. To freeze them,
store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 9 months. You can add them straight from the freezer to your skillet or oven to
How to substitute pine nuts: Pine nuts can be replaced by a variety of nuts in most recipes. The end-result won't taste exactly the same, but you'll end up with a tasty variation nonetheless. For something like pesto, for example, you can substitute pine nuts for an oily nut like
walnuts or almonds. The same goes most recipes, just experiment with different kinds of nuts to see what tastes the best to you.
Photography by Jennifer Bartoli
Keep those toes nice and warm this winter with this super simple knit.
Keep your tootsies toasty with a cozy pair of hand-knitted socks that are sure to be the favourite pair in your drawer. This easy (and free!) pattern is knit in Fine Tweed Yarn, which is made up of a mix of superfine alpaca, soft merino wool and viscose for warm and soft sock.
Knitting Tips: The Anthony Socks are an intermediate level pattern, and a great first foray into knitting socks. You'll have lots of practice picking up stitches, purling and knitting in the round on double pointed needles. Don't be intimidated by the heel, it isn't as hard as you think. By the time you finish the first sock, you'll be tackling the second with confidence and excitement.
Materials: - 1 skein (Women's size S, M, L), 2 skeins ( Men's S, M, L) of Americo Fine Tweed (25% Superfine alpaca / 55% Merino Wool/ 20% Viscose) 100g / 465 yards (425 m) - 2.5 mm (US 1) set of 4 or 5 Double-pointed NeedlesNOTE: if you prefer a denser fabric, you can use 2.25 mm needles. Socks will be slightly smaller, but not significantly - Yarn needle or crochet hook - Stitch holder
Note about the yarn:Americo Fine Tweed is available through Americo Original online and at select yarn stores. You can substitute for other fingering weight yarns in your stash. Remember that you will need 1 skein for women's size S, M, L and 2 skeins for men's S, M, L.
Gauge: 36 stitches and 44 rows = 4 inches (10 cm) in stocking stitch using 2.5 mm (US 1) size needles or size needed to achieve gauge.
Abbreviations and Terminology: K, k: knit P, p: purl Rib: Rib (bed), ribbing – a pattern stitch – has vertical columns of knit and purl stitches, side by side, with elastic properties. Examples: (K1, P1) aka 1 x 1 ribbing; (K2, P2) aka 2 x 2 ribbing etc. k2t (slant to R): Knit 2 together - Insert the needle into the front of the 2 knit stitches from left to right. Draw the yarn through to the front knitwise, and drop both stitches from the needle. p2t (slant to R):Purl 2 together - Insert the R needle into the front of the next 2 stitches, from R to L. Draw yarn through both stitches purlwise and drop these stitches from the needle. ssk (slant to L): Slip-Slip-Knit - Slip 2 stitches knit wise onto the R needle. Insert L needle into the front of both slipped stitches and draw yarn through to the front. Drop both stitches from the needle. DPN(s): double pointed needle(s) - A needle with points at both ends; used in sets of used singly or in sets or 4 or 5, for knitting in the round; also used for working narrow pieces of knitting, or for cable patterns Grafting: Hold the needles parallel with the purl sides facing each other and the needle tips pointing in the same direction. Thread a tapestry needle with a tail of yarn long enough to get across the entire row of stitches that are being grafted. Before you begin grafting you need to do two actions to set up for the technique one time only. First: Insert the tapestry needle into the first stitch on the needle closest to you as if to purl it and pull the yarn through leaving the stitch on the needle. Second: Insert the needle into the first stitch on the back needle as if to knit the stitch. Leave the stitch on the needle and pull your yarn through. Now you are ready to follow the 4-step technique called grafting: Step 1: Insert the tapestry needle into the first stitch on the front needle knitwise, and slip the stitch off the needle. Step 2: Insert the needle into the next stitch on the front needle purlwise and leave it on the needle. Pull the length of yarn through gently. Step 3: Insert needle into the first stitch on the back needle purlwise, and slip it off the end of the needle. Step 4: Insert the tapestry needle into the next stitch on the back needle knitwise and leave it on the needle. Pull the length of yarn through gently. Repeat these four steps for a few inches / cm. End at the end of your steps so you know where to start up again. Use a crochet hook to adjust the tension of the yarn you have been weaving through the stitches to match your gauge. Continue to end. Tip: I find an easy way to remember what I am doing after the initial set up row is to say over and over: Knit 1 slip it off, purl 1 leave it on, purl 1-slip it off, knit 1 leave it on. Eventually you just remember what you are doing.
Finished Foot Circumference: Woman's S, Woman's M, Women's L, Man's S, Man's M, Man's L 7.5 8* 8.5 9 9.5 10 inches 19 20.5 21.5 23 24 25.5 cm
Instructions: Leg: Using a 2.5 mm (US 1) size needles, cast on 68(72, 76, 80, 84, 88). For a stretchy cast on, we used the Twisted German Cast on for our sample. Instructions for it can be found here. Alternatively, you can use a long tail cast on using a needle one size larger for the cast on only. Arrange stitches as evenly as possible on 3 DPN's. Place marker and join, being careful not to twist the stitches.
Work k2, p2 ribbing until piece measures 3 inches (7.5 cm). Now work in stocking stitch, until piece measures 8 inches (20.5 cm), or desired length, from the beginning.
Heel: Knit across 17(18, 19, 20, 21, 22) stitches. Turn work, and purl across 34(36, 38, 40, 42, 44) stitches. These are the heel stitches.
Place the remaining 34(36, 38, 40, 42, 44) stitches on a spare needle or stitch holder to be worked later (called Instep stitches ).
Heel Flap (using the Eye of Partridge stitch pattern) Work back and forth on the heel stitches as follows: Row1: (RS) *Slip 1 purlwise with yarn in back (wyib), k1: rep from *. Row 2:(WS) Slip 1 purlwise with yarn in front (wyif), purl to end. Rep Rows 1 and 2 until the following number of rows have been worked 34(36, 38, 40, 42, 44)
There will be 17(18, 19, 20, 21, 22) chain selvedge stitches on both edges of your work.
Turn Heel: Row 1 (RS): Knit across, 19(20, 21, 22, 23, 24) stitches, ssk, k1, turn work. Row 2 (WS): Slip 1 purlwise, purl 5, p2t, p1, turn. Row 3 (RS): Slip 1 purlwise, knit to 1 stitch before gap, ssk (1 stitch from each side of gap), k1, turn. Row 4(WS): Slip 1 purlwise, purl to 1 stitch before gap, p2tog (1 stitch from each side of gap), p1, turn.
Repeat Rows 3 and 4 until all heel stitches have been worked, ending with a WS row.
There will remain 20(20, 22, 22, 24, 24) stitches.
Heel Gusset: Knit across all heel stitches and, with same dpn (needle 1), pick up and knit: 17(18, 19, 20, 21, 22) stitches, along the selvedge edge of heel flap: with another dpn, (needle 2) work across the held instep stitches; with another dpn (needle 3), pick up and knit: 17(18, 19, 20, 21, 22) stitches along the other side of the heel, and knit across half of the heel stitches. Total stitches: 88(92, 98, 102, 108, 112) stitches.
The round now begins at the Centre Back Heel:
Round 1: Knit to the last 3 stitches on needle 1, K2tog, k1; knit across all instep stitches on needle 2; at beginning of needle 3, k1, ssk, knit to end - 2 gusset stitches have been decreased.
Round 2: Knit.
Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 until there remain: 68(72, 76, 80, 84, 88) stitches.
Foot: Work even in stocking stitch until piece measures from the back of heel: 6.5(7.5, 8, 8, 8.5, 9) inches [ 16.5, (19, 20.5, 20.5, 21.5, 23) cm ]OR about 1.75(2, 2, 2.25, 2.25, 2.5) inches [4.5(5, 5, 5.5, 5,5) cm ] less than desired total foot length.
Toe: Round 1: Needle 1- knit to last 3 stitches, k2t, k1; Needle 2- k1, ssk, knit to last 3 stitches, k2t, k1; Needle 3- k1, ssk, knit to end (4 toe stitches decreased). Round 2: Knit.
Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 until there remain: 32(36, 40, 40, 44, 44) stitches.
Repeat Round 1 only until there remain 12 stitches for all sizes.
Knit the stitches from Needle 1 onto Needle 3. There will now be 6 stitches on each of the two needles. Cut yarn leaving an 18 inch (46cm) tail. Graft the two sides of the toe together.
Finishing: Sew in all loose ends.
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.
How to care for you skin Covering the beauty beat and having bad skin is like being a hairstylist with mall bangs or a personal trainer that's seriously out of shape. It's a hard sell.
As a teenager, I dealt with the typical lumps and bumps of hormonal acne. Now I've been out of high school for over a decade, but my skin still hasn't graduated from good ol' acne. My friends and I describe the condition as "wracne": â€¨a Frankenstein-like hybrid of wrinkles and acne. What's a girl (or should I say, woman) to do? Teen-targeted pimple fighters are drying and exacerbate my fine lines, but rich anti-aging creams throw a pimple party on my face – and everyone's invited.
So I'm on a mission to find clear skin, and my first step is to meet with dermatologist Lisa Kellett of DLK in Toronto to get some answers. Kellett cuts to the chase: "I want you to tell me what you put on your skin from the time you get up in the morning until you go to bed," she says with her pen poised.
Hesitantly, I rattle off the dozens of products I've been trying as of late and, based on her reaction, she's not impressed with my supersize skin-care regimen. Apparently, my anti-aging efforts may be part of the problem. While she admits that acne is the result of a number of factors, she is adamant that 95 percent of what's causing adult acne in her patients is improper skin care. And by that, she doesn't mean we're not cleaning our faces; she's saying that we aging beauties need to lay off the occlusive (ointment-based) creams that can cause clogged pores.
She instructs me to use a nonfoaming gel-based cleanser with small exfoliating beads in the morning and at night, and recommends I apply an acne treatment all over to treat breakouts before they start. She suggests a serum with a one percent retinol concentration to use at night and a serum with a 25 percent or higher vitamin C concentration for morning.
How lifestyle and diet affect acne Besides the glaring errors in my skin-care routine, I wonder if my lifestyle and diet could be causing my bad complexion. So I book an appointment with naturopath Penny Kendall-Reed at Urban Wellness in Toronto to see if she can help me take a holistic approach to my acne issues.
"Acne is often hormonal," says Kendall-Reed. Teenage acne, she explains, is stimulated by an imbalance among estrogen, testosterone and progesterone; it causes sebum (an oily substance) to be released into the skin. But she also sees a lot of acne in women when they have additional hormonal shifts, such as in their late 20s and early 30s, and again in their late 40s and early 50s.
"During those transition years, women often have imbalances between progesterone and testosterone, and a surge in cortisol, the stress hormone, all of which release more sebum into the skin. These imbalances also increase an enzyme called collagenase, which breaks down collagen in the skin, creating the perfect recipe for acne and wrinkles," she explains.
So what can you do to counter the problems caused by cortisol and your other raging hormones? Load up on omega-3s (get 3,000 milligrams a day in capsule form or from foods such as fish, flax, avocados and nuts), zinc (get it in foods such as walnuts), vitamin C (get 1,000 milligrams a day in capsule form or from leafy greens and berries) and hyaluronic acid (take 40 to 80 milligrams a day in capsule form).
And what about the rumour that dairy products cause breakouts? Kendall-Reed doesn't buy it. "It's very individual," she says. "Some people may react to dairy while others react to wheat or other foods."
But there is a common culprit: sugar. Remember that commercial from the early '90s about acne being caused by eating too many chocolate bars? There might be some truth to it. A diet high in sugar does affect the skin by creating advanced glycation end products, which can weaken collagen cells, cause inflammation and exacerbate acne. Kendall-Reed recommends trying an elimination diet while keeping a food diary to see which foods contribute to breakouts.
How to get rid of acne With a new list of eating habits and my supplements in hand, it's time to seek out a skin-care professional to round out my routine. So I head for a facial at The International Dermal Institute in Toronto to get the skinny from skin therapist Amanda Lindsay.
She points out my problem areas (my jawline and chin), which are very common breakout areas for adult acne. (Teen acne usually occurs on the forehead and around the centre of the face.) She recommends cleansing twice at the end of the day, starting with an oil-based (non–mineral oil) cleanser and following with another cleanser â€¨tailored to my skin type. "Oil will attract oil just like water attracts water, so an oil-based cleanser actually helps deep-clean the pores," says Lindsay. She cautions me to be extra gentle when exfoliating, because scrubbing a breakout can lead â€¨to inflammation.
One sneaky acne-causing culprit is bacteria. Lindsay reminds me that I should be washing my makeup brushes once a week (oops, guilty!) and changing my pillowcases frequently. She also suggests I reevaluate the kind of hair products I use, including any heavy-duty conditioners and silicone-laced products that can clog pores.
But her most important tip (and the hardest one to follow) is not to squeeze breakouts. "You can push the infection deeper, and that will cause pigmentation issues that can last for a long time and are hard to treat," says Lindsay.
Now that I've cleared my cupboard of pore-clogging creams, stocked my fridge with skin-clearing foods and gotten a lesson in skin hygiene, a future with a clear complexion is in my sights.