Canadian Living: You spent five months looking at Earth from the International Space Station. Did that literal change in perspective alter the way you see the world?
Chris Hadfield: Being able to patiently see the world really changes your perspective. But also, I got to know other continents almost as much as the one I’m from. I got to know parts of Africa that I’d never heard of before, and the outback in Australia, which is so wildly beautiful, otherworldly beautiful. And to see it over and over and over again – it’s like a friend to me. I’ve looked at the lines on its face. I feel a kinship with everywhere and can’t help but feel a kinship with the people. It’s going to be hard to put me anywhere on Earth now where I don’t feel like not only have I been there before but I have a sense of what it’s like and the people there. That’s a deeply personal thing, but at the same time, it’s a perspective I work really hard to share and spread.
CL: In the song you created with the Barenaked Ladies, you sing, “If you could see our nation from the International Space Station, you’d know why I want to get back soon.” What did you most want to return to Canada for?
CH: That’s a long list, from the most simple – a maple-dipped doughnut and black coffee from Tim Hortons – to going to a live Leafs game. But my wife and kids and I have lived out of the country longer than most Canadians, and I would say, interestingly enough, we’ve become more Canadian every year. The thing I really like most is the very essence of Canadian civilization, the things we value, that we care for each other, and the fact that our national principles are peace, order and good government. That’s almost inconceivable in every other country in the world. I have never felt at home anywhere else I’ve lived. But coming out of the airport here, getting onto Highway 401, I feel like I can exhale.
CL: You spent a lot of your time in space engaging Canadians – kids in particular – in your scientific experiments. Why is it important to motivate kids to learn?
CH: I think it’s important to get people motivated to use all of their faculties, to make the most of themselves. It’s the knowledge and know-how and cunning of people that allow us to build a city or allow me to hold a BlackBerry up to my ear. The technology that goes into those things is purely the child of scientific and engineering innovation: People figured out one problem at a time in order to solve something that seemed insurmountable, to make magic. It’s magic what you and I are doing right now [talking on the phone]. And that, to me, is really important to emphasize: the necessity to use the individual capabilities you have, to be able to push back the edges of the unknown in any way you can.
CL: You decided you wanted to be an astronaut at nine years old, when you saw Neil Armstrong land on the moon. But at that point, it was impossible: There was no Canadian Space Agency and there were no Canadian astronauts. What do you say to kids who think their dreams are impossible?
CH: By definition, it was impossible. But the beauty of that particular moment was that you could look up at the moon and say, “Well, up until this afternoon, it was impossible to walk on the moon, but now we’ve done that.” So obviously, impossible is just a stage. But of course, there are some factors and insurmountable obstacles that can keep you from getting exactly where you want to get, no matter how much you try. The resolution I made was to try to become the person I wanted to be: What do I do to turn myself into that astronaut? Who do I talk to? Who are my role models? But I also try to make sure I enjoy it all along. I don’t have only one definition of success.
CL: One of your last tweets from space said: “To some this may look like a sunset. But it’s a new dawn.” Now you’ve announced you’re retiring from the Canadian Space Agency. It’s an ending but also a beginning. What’s that change like for you?
CH: It’s pretty exciting, really. I think it’s healthy to try to build in your life the chance for change and the willingness to accept it. It’s daunting initially. I joined the Air Force when I was 18. So now, after 35 years, it’s a pretty normal time to retire. But it’s still, for me, one giant leap, you know?
My wife and I tried to identify: What are the things that really make us want to get going in the morning? What are the things that give us a sense of purpose? The thing I really like is the opportunity to have a teaching role. The experiences I was allowed to have as an astronaut, especially living and working away from the planet, are just so different and so rich that the opportunity to let people know not just the palpable feeling of it but also the impact of it is something I have enjoyed doing and am looking forward to doing for a while.
Eyeliner used to be applied to enhance a look, but for 2016, it is the look. Subtle or dramatic and thin or thick, liner looks come in every variation you can imagine. We asked makeup artist Grace Lee for her best eyeliner tips and techniques—and how to find your perfect formula.
"I love how eyeliner can transform a person's eye," says Grace Lee, lead makeup artist for Maybelline New York Canada. "You can easily make eyes look bigger, exaggerated or elongated." Having a sense of your eyeshape and picking the best formula for you are the starting points of a freat eyeliner look. here are Lee's suggestions.
YOUR EYE SHAPE
Since you already have a flattering shape (lucky you!) use eyeliner to “follow the shape of your eye,” says Lee. If you want to make your eyes look larger, draw the eyeliner thicker at the centre of your eye, giving the illusion of roundness.
Too much eyeliner on deep-set or hooded eyes is a waste—it will disappear whenever you open your lids. Instead, says Lee, “keep the eyeliner as close to the lash line as possible.” This will create the illusion of full, dark lashes while still looking quite natural.
Think of Zooey Deschanel, Katy Perry and Christina Ricci, whose round eyes all benefit from a flick of liquid liner. You can elongate your look by using liner to extend it outward in a cat-eye shape. When doing a cat eye, start with the flick at the outer corner, then work your way in, along the lash line.
YOUR TOOL KIT
“Keep your eyeliner pencil sharpened and clean for precise application,” says Lee. The good news? Pencil liner is the easiest to master, and it’s great for an everyday look. Left, High:Make Up For Ever Aqua XL Eye Pencil in Matte Black M-10, $25, sephora.ca. Right, Low:Maybelline New York Master Skinny Eyeliner in Refined Charcoal, $12, maybelline.ca.
When it comes to liquid liner, only one thing will ensure perfect application: practice. Try applying strokes to the back of your hand before tackling your eyelid, suggests Lee. Use liquid liner for retro cat-eye looks. Left, High: Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof Eyeliner Pen in Noir Intense, $35, thebay.com. Right, Low: Essence Easy 2 Use Jumbo Eyeliner, $4, shoppersdrugmart.ca.
“Use smaller strokes to connect your liner into one long, precise line,” says Lee. It’s easier than trying to get a perfect line in one swipe. Use gel liner to build dimension and to achieve thicker, more graphic looks. Left, High: Urban Decay Super Saturated Ultra Intense Waterproof Cream Eyeliner in Perversion, $26, urbandecay.ca. Right, Low:L’Oreal Paris Infallible Lacquer Liner 24H in Blackest Black, $13, lorealparis.ca
Draw some attention to your look with bright line flicks. With colour, “sometimes, it’s more about taking it down a notch than amping it up,” says Lee. “Start with a thin layer, then build a more intense hue as needed.” Try blue or green eyeliner this spring for a fresh pop of colour. Left, High: M.A.C. Cosmetics Modern Twist Kajal Liner in New Marine, $19.50, maccosmetics.ca Right, Low: Hard Candy Take Me Out Liner in Yolo, $5, walmart.ca
Here are some scary truths: 70 percent of new Alzheimer's patients in Canada will be women, and we're diagnosed with depression and dementia at twice the rate of men. But new research says there are three simple lifestyle changes we can make right now to keep our brains healthy as we age.
You brush your teeth to prevent tooth decay and check your blood pressure to monitor for signs of heart problems. But are you doing anything to keep your brain in tip-top shape? Because you should be. Brain health, which experts define as a combination of cognitive (memory, attention, thinking) and mental (emotional well-being) fitness, is a major, albeit under-the- radar, health issue for Canadian women.
It's major because as we age, so do our brains. Vascular changes can decrease blood flow; we can lose volume in key areas, including the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex, the regions responsible for learning and memory. Myelin, a fatty material that makes up the protective coating around nerve fibres, starts to deteriorate, causing the brain to slow down. And nerve cells can develop plaques and tangles— structures caused by the buildup of proteins called beta-amyloids that can disrupt the brain's normal function. In some people, these and other signs of normal aging can cause mental health problems, strokes and brain disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer's, and increase the risk of diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
Brain health is an under-the-radar issue because, though women are more likely to experience cognitive decline (thanks to dementia or Alzheimer's) and to suffer from depression, most of the research on these conditions still focuses on men.
Thankfully, studies are showing that straightforward lifestyle changes—exercising regularly and not smoking are at the top of the list—help shore up what researchers call "cognitive reserve," a buffer that "delays the changes or makes your body better equipped to handle those changes," says Lauren Drogos, a brain researcher at the University of Calgary.
In fact, Drogos says there's evidence to show that, in some people, even serious symptoms do not necessarily develop into cognitive impairment. She points to the Nun Study, a famous long-running research project on aging and Alzheimer's that has been tracking 678 nuns from convents across the United States since the mid-1980s. One of the nuns, Sister Mary, died at the age of 101 showing no outward signs of cognitive decline—but when researchers examined her brain, they were shocked to find she had "abundant neurofibrillary tangles and senile plaques, the classic lesions of Alzheimer's disease." Scientists don't know exactly why some people can have severe symptoms, such as plaques and tangles, without experiencing cognitive decline, but, happily, cases like Sister Mary do show that dementia isn't an inevitable part of aging.
And since women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with many of these problems, the more we consider brain health when making our day-to-day lifestyle decisions, the better. (Bonus: These changes also benefit your heart and help prevent other diseases, including Type 2 diabetes and cancer.) So here's what you can do to take care of your brain.
This is your brain on exercise If you had to pick just one lifestyle change to make in the name of brain health, experts agree exercise tops the list—especially for women.
We consider neuroplasticity, the brain's capacity to form new neural connections, an exciting part of a child's development, but we now know our brains can continue to grow, repair and improve as adults, too. Physical activity is a well-researched trigger. Not only can working out bolster our day-to-day functioning and alertness but it also appears to help us repair brain damage. Plus, it slows down aging and the onset of age-related brain diseases.
Working up a sweat and pumping up your heart rate can lead to a healthier vascular system in the brain, which decreases blood pressure and oxidative stress (when your body's antioxidants can't fight off free radicals), and increases antioxidant activity, according to Marc Poulin, an Alzheimer's researcher and professor of physiology at the University of Calgary. Vigorous exercise also floods the bloodstream with a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which readies the body for repair and heightens the brain's ability to learn and form new memories. Plus, hitting the gym helps the brain repair myelin; a lack of the nerve fibre–protecting substance is a factor in developing multiple sclerosis.
Exercising can also restore crucial brain volume. Research has shown that the hippocampus— home to memory, learning and emotion—starts shrinking after age 55 by about one to two percent a year, but just one year of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise done three days a week can increase its size by two percent.
And while most of the research is about the benefits of getting in your cardio, Dr. Teresa Liu-Ambrose, an associate professor and Canada research chair at The University of British Columbia and the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, says strength training is also effective, as it can enhance brain performance and function by 11 to 17 percent. "Women live longer [than men], and age itself is the greatest risk factor for dementia," she says. "But the good news is when we look at the benefit of aerobic exercise on cognition in older adults, women seem to benefit more."
The takeaway: You can reap the rewards from even a 15-minute walk. Of course, the longer you exercise, the better, especially if you get your sweat on and your heart rate up. If you want to tick a few other brain health tips off your list, consider joining a team sport. It blends physical, social and cognitive skills, and "can also add pleasure and meaning to our lives," says Dr. Nasreen Khatri, a registered clinical psychologist, gerontologist and neuroscientist at the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences in Toronto.
If you have an office job and find you're sedentary most of the day, take a few minutes every hour or so to get up and move around. Research also suggests switching to a standup desk may improve your brain function.
Did you know? Taking care of a loved one—most often a spouse in your later years—can be a risk factor for developing depression and, eventually, dementia . But research out of the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences in Toronto found, for the first time, that cognitive behavioural therapy, a form of talk therapy, can improve both mood and cognition.
This is your brain on sleep After a good night's sleep, you feel alert and ready to tackle the day. But that's not just because your brain has been resting. It has also been busy filing away memories and taking out the trash, so to speak, thanks to the glymphatic system, which washes the brain of waste materials. For example, a protein called betaamyloid, which is known to play a role in the development of Alzheimer's, acts as a neurotoxin when it builds up, killing neural cells in the brain. But a good sleep removes excess beta-amyloid and other waste materials, says Dr. Liu-Ambrose.
Because one of the common symptoms of Alzheimer's is disrupted sleep, it's unclear whether a lack of shut-eye should be considered part of the progression of the disease or a risk factor on its own, due to the buildup of beta-amyloids.
Nevertheless, poor sleep hastens your brain's aging process—much like sitting in the sun sans SPF speeds up your skin's aging process. And disturbed sleeping has been linked to all aspects of brain health, including an increased risk of depression and a decline in cognitive functions such as memory and reasoning. In one U.K. study out of University College London Medical School, middle-aged women who reported a drop in the average number of hours they slept had lower scores on cognitive tests involving reasoning and vocabulary.
What's more, our central clocks—a.k.a. our circadian rhythms—can drift from the patterns of our childhood, making it hard to get that much-needed rest. "As we age, our central clock is less sensitive to stimuli like light, food and physical activity," says Dr. Liu-Ambrose; this change makes it harder to fall, and stay, asleep. We can also become more vulnerable to stress and anxiety, which further disrupt those rhythms.
One way to combat these fluctuations is to try what seasoned travellers do for jet-lag recovery: Get exposure to real daylight and eat your meals on time to nudge your brain into a routine. And don't use bright screens at night, especially before bed, because they mimic sunlight and tell our circadian system that it's day, not night—and, therefore, not time to sleep. Those who need more help might consider light therapies that have been developed to treat seasonal affective disorder, says Dr. Liu-Ambrose.
The takeaway: Many researchers consider six to eight hours of sleep a night to be the standard sweet spot, though this can vary by individual. If you're routinely getting less than that and waking often in the night, not feeling refreshed in the morning and experiencing bouts of sleepiness during the day, talk to your doctor about sleep strategies—especially if you're experiencing anxiety or depression. In the short term, napping can reverse some of the effects of poor sleep, including memory loss and increased stress. And you only need a 30-minute catnap to feel the results.
This is your brain on a healthy diet There's no perfect "brain food," but eating a nutritious diet (lots of veggies and fruit, lean meat, fish and healthy fats) is the smartest way to maintain long-term brain function and memory, and to slow the development of brain diseases.
Getting enough of specific nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids is important but not the holy grail. University of Pittsburgh researchers recently found that people who eat broiled or baked fish at least once a week have larger brain volumes in the areas used for memory and cognition, despite varying levels of omega-3 in the fish they ate. Senior researcher James Becker concluded that he and his colleagues were "tapping into a more general set of lifestyle factors that were affecting brain health, of which diet is just one part."
In a 2015 study from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, researchers looked at the broad set of eating habits of more than 900 people over 4 1/2 years and found that those who adhered to a diet high in fish, vegetables, nuts and berries, and low in fat and sugar, slowed down their brains' aging by about 7 1/2 years when compared to those with less-healthy diets. The healthy eaters cut their risk of Alzheimer's by up to 53 percent. And even when those people only adhered to the diet part time, they saw some benefits— an effect that has not been found in other diets, says Drogos.
The researchers dubbed the most promising cluster of these eating habits the MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diet, which blends the longevity-boosting Mediterranean diet and the heart-healthy low-fat DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet that doctors recommend to patients at risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. More studies need to be done on why it works, but in the meantime, there's no downside to eating healthier and ditching the junk.
The takeaway: Add more veggies to your diet. Research shows that older adults who report eating more of this food group perform better in mentally stimulating activities than those who don't.
Did you know? "Menopause brain" is a real thing. As with "pregnancy brain," its more famous counterpart, women approaching menopause really do experience memory problems and brain fog. Researchers think a drop in estrogen levels might be the cause.
Can you train your brain? Does firing up a brain-training app actually help improve your memory and ward off dementia? Sorry to disappoint, but right now, evidence for the benefits of computer-based brain games is weak, says Dr. Teresa Liu-Ambrose, an associate professor and Canada research chair at The University of British Columbia and the Vancouver Coastal HealthResearch Institute. Brain games appear to help you learn to play them better, but research doesn't show that those tasks transfer to other aspects of brain performance. The same goes for crossword puzzles and sudoku, which help your vocabulary and math skills, but nothing more.
How to maintain your mental edge at any age
In your 30s: This is the time to make sure you establish healthy habits—such as getting plenty of exercise and sleep, and eating a good diet—that will affect your brain health throughout your adult years. "When it comes to maintaining brain health, the best time to start is yesterday," says Dr. Nasreen Khatri, a registered clinical psychologist, gerontologist and neuroscientist at the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences in Toronto. If you feel you need a boost at work, consider old-fashioned writing instead of typing on your computer. A study in the journal Psychological Science found that university students who made handwritten notes were better equipped to recall conceptual ideas from their professors' lectures than those who had typed notes on their laptops.
In your 40s and 50s: People in this age group are part of the "sandwich generation," and often face caring for their aging parents on top of dealing with their other work, financial and parenting obligations. So, unsurprisingly, they're super stressed—and this can affect both mental health and day-to-day brain function. Dr. Khatri says it's essential to prioritize and edit out activities and commitments that increase stress without adding value to your productivity or happiness. That's because "maintaining mental health in early and mid life is key to safeguarding cognitive health later on," she says. "Untreated depression in midlife doubles your risk of developing dementia in later life."
In your 60s and beyond: In your senior years, socializing with friends and family, and picking up activities that allow you to connect, such as volunteering, are key to maintaining brain health. And sorry, keeping up with folks on Facebook isn't enough. "Ask yourself: Is social media rounding out my real-life social experiences?" suggests Dr. Khatri. What you need is face-to-face interaction.
Onion chopping aside, there are few kitchen tasks quite as
annoying as grating cheese. Sure, the reward – ooey, gooey, melted cheese – is well worth it, but the act itself is onerous enough to make me want to go vegan. It's not that the task is overly time-consuming or back-breaking – it's that the cheese (especially softer kinds, like mozzarella) gets all
mushy on the grater, making it almost impossible to shred. At one point, I got so annoyed that I even tried buying the pre-shredded bagged stuff, but as an ardent cheese-lover, let's just say that grabbing a handful of dried-up "cheese" bits from the resealable package was a slightly traumatizing experience. While certainly convenient, the taste and texture just can't compare to freshly grated cheese. So imagine my excitement when I discovered this
little trick for grating cheese mess-free:
freeze it first! To do it right, simply pop your cheese block in the
freezer for about 15 minutes before grating – this hardens it up a bit, making it
slide easily along the holes of your cheese grater without deteriorating into a paste-like mess that's impossible to grate. It works great for mozzarella, cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese. Now, get grating! Put your newfound skill to the test with these
amazing cheese recipes:
Shopping for pet food can be confusing. With so many options—wet, dry, organic, grain-free—how can you be sure what's best for your cat or dog? There's a lot of persuasive marketing of pet food, and that means pet owners can lose sight of what's most important when it comes to feeding their animal companions. "Having the right nutrient profile is most important," says Dr. Adronie Verbrugghe of the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph. That profile, according to the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, a U.S. research organization, includes 38 essential nutrients required for dogs and 40 for cats.
Each pet's dietary needs depends on many factors—including age, breed and medical conditions—and your vet can best advise on proper feeding. But assuming you have a healthy adult cat or dog, here are the five must-have pet-food ingredients.
Why it's important: Protein (and the essential amino acids it brings) is necessary to build, maintain and repair cells, tissues and organs.
What cats need: Look for nutrient-dense whole meat ingredients (meat "byproducts" are lower quality). Organ meat—heart, liver or kidney—is especially beneficial because it's a natural source of many essential vitamins and minerals, including the must-have amino acid taurine (also added to commercial pet food to meet required levels).
What dogs need: Roughly 15 to 30 percent of your dog's diet should be protein, ideally from whole meat, such as chicken, lamb or turkey, instead of byproducts. Pure "meat meal" is also fine; it's a concentrated protein consisting of fat-free, nutrient-dense powdered meat.
Why it's important: Fat helps your pet absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and delivers energy along with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which keep your pet's skin and coat healthy.
What cats need: Essential fatty acids, including linoleic and arachidonic acids, are vital to your cat's overall health and best absorbed from meat-based sources, such as chicken fat.
What dogs need: Fat is your dog's top source of energy, but it shouldn't make up more than about 10 to 15 percent of its diet since too much can lead to obesity. In dog food, fats typically come from pork, poultry or vegetable oils.
Why it's important: Water is vital for both species and usually accounts for 60 to 70 percent of your adult pet's weight. It regulates body temperature, transports oxygen and nutrients throughout the body, aids digestion and flushes the urinary tract. What cats need: Cats generally have low thirst drives and can get what they need through wet food, which is typically between 68 to 78 percent water (compared with an average of 10 percent moisture in kibble). Always have a bowl of fresh water available, as well.
What dogs need: Dog kibble is about five to 10 percent water, while wet food has much more. Dogs will readily drink water, so getting it through food isn't as big a concern. A healthy adult dog needs to consume roughly 30 millilitres of water for every 4 1/2 kilograms (that's about an ounce of water for every 10 pounds) in body weight daily, so keep a bowl of fresh water on the go for your pooch. Vitamins and Minerals
Why they're important: Vitamins and minerals assist with chemical reactions in the body, provide nutrients and help build strong muscles and bones. Pet food that's labelled "complete and balanced" meets the Association of American Feed Control Officials nutritional requirements, so unless your vet says so, there's no need for further supplements. That said, if you're feeding your pet a raw-food or homemade diet, check with your vet or a pet nutritionist to determine if it contains all the essential vitamins and minerals, and supplement accordingly, if needed.
What cats need: Fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, as well as B vitamins niacin and thiamine. Minerals, especially calcium and phosphorus, need to be consumed in specific proportions, which "balanced/complete" food provides correctly.
What dogs need: Vitamins A, D, E and K, along with water-soluble vitamin C and B-complex vitamins. Again, supplements aren't necessary; in fact, too much of certain vitamins or minerals can cause damage. For example, excess vitamin A can damage a dog's blood vessels.
Regardless of which food you buy, its overall nutritional makeup is what's key. Look for the words "complete" or "balanced" on the label and talk to your vet if you have questions. "With good nutrition, you can prevent a lot of diseases later in life," says Dr. Verbrugghe. And that means a longer, healthier life for your furry friend.