From running into roving packs of Canadians, meeting the people who’ve helped the athletes we admire get to where they are and seeing the real Rio, here are the absolute best parts of our trip to the Olympics.
Yesterday was my last day in Rio, and I was so sad to leave. It has been amazing watching the best athletes in the world compete with one another—and more importantly, have fun (ahem, Andre De Grasse and Usain Bolt, whose 200m final last night was pretty amazing), break records and do more than they thought they could. But just being in Rio has been so wonderful, too. Before I left, I heard a lot of comments about potential dangers and how to stay safe and, though I was pretty sure my usual travel precautions would be more than enough, it was hard not to be a little bit nervous. But as it turns out, I didn’t need to be worried at all—the city was clean and felt very safe, the locals were friendly (and so patient with my atrocious Portuguese!). I had a great time. In fact, here’s what I liked best:
1. Being part of Team Canada
I loved walking around with my Canadian gear on; whenever a volunteer at one of the venues saw our group, they’d start chanting “Ca-na-da! Ca-na-da!” Running into other groups of Canadians cheering in the stands, or even just walking down the street, meant an instant connection with complete strangers. And getting to check out Canada Olympic House (pictured, above), a Canuck clubhouse for the friends and family of our Olympians, was actually a little trippy. The work of Toronto design firm Yabu Pushelberg, it felt like a cottage transplanted to Rio—Muskoka chairs, a red and white palette and even faux grass and strings of Edison bulbs gave a distinctly Canadian vibe.
2. Seeing some famous, and not-so-famous sights
The first non-Olympic thing I asked to do was see Christ the Redeemer, as I’ve maybe mentioned before? And that was definitely cool. As was checking out Ipanema Beach (as in, “The Girl From…”), and the famous mosaic steps in Lapa (above).
But our guide, Felipe, also showed us some amazing, off the beaten path attractions, like an old mansion that leads to its own private forest; apparently, it’s up for sale. Anyone have $6 million to spare?
Rio’s also a city with amazing street art. We drove through Santa Teresa, a gorgeous neighbourhood close to Rio's downtown core, and every street was packed with gorgeous colonial architecture—which was often covered in graffiti. Even if you don’t love this very modern art, the juxtaposition of past and present was striking.
3. Meeting our Olympians, and their families and friends
I felt very lucky to hang out with Olympians Rose MacLennan and Brianne Theisen-Eaton, to watch Mark Oldershaw compete (pictured, above) alongside his wife, Annamay (a former Olympian herself), baby daughter, Josephine, and mom, Connie Lee, and to hang out with Andre De Grasse’s mom, Beverley, and other family and friends several times over the past few days. It can be easy to forget the massive support system that our athletes have, from loved ones to coaches, doctors and therapists. But there are tons of people who help our athletes make it to the Olympics, and excel once they’re there—and they’re pretty inspiring, too.
Classic, healthy and savoury muffin recipes to bake fresh or made in advance and frozen.
Whip up a dozen moist muffins on a leisurely Sunday morning. Or better yet, set out the muffin recipe ingredients the night before and let the first person up bake a batch for everyone. Most of these muffin recipes can be made in advance and frozen.
Before you start baking your favourite muffins, take a few tips from The Canadian Living Test Kitchen about muffin recipe dos and don'ts in this article: Muffin know how.
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.
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. Add it to salads. Sliced or chopped rotisserie chicken is perfect for bulking up a
lunch or dinner salad. SImply toss it with your favourite salad ingredients, making sure to generously drizzle the dressing over the chicken to prevent it from drying out.
2. Make it the star of a sandwich. Transform slices of leftover chicken into a tasty lunch sandwich by adding a few simple pantry ingredients. Try it paired with tomatoes,
sun-dried tomato pesto and Swiss cheese.
3. Stir it into soups. Rotisserie chicken makes a fantastic addition to so many different kinds of soup. It’s also a fantastic way to breathe new life into dry white meat; the broth from the soup will help add flavour and tenderize it.
4. Toss it with pasta. Shredded chicken is a quick and tasty way to add protein to everyday pasta dishes. Add it to your sauce in the last minutes of cooking and simply heat it through.
Photography by Jeff Coulson