Chocked full of vitamins and nutrients, adding kale - both raw and cooked - to your snacks and meals can provide you with great health benefits! Find out which ones:
Although kale seems like just another trend that people are going crazy over, and looks like any other leafy green in the stores, you shouldn't pass it up! Kale contains multiple vitamins and all the good stuff to keep your body happy and healthy when incorporated into a well-balanced diet.
1. It's good for your bones.
One of the vitamins in kale is vitamin K. Deficiencies of this vitamin, or even just low intakes of it can be linked to a higher risk for bone fracture. According to Medical News Today, when you get enough vitamin K in your diet, it acts as a modifier of bone proteins and helps your bones absorb calcium. You get the most out of this vitamin if you pass on cooking up your kale and consuming it raw, like in a salad or smoothie!
2. It promotes heart health.
Kale contains fibre, potassium and vitamins C and B6 which all are good for your heart health. If you increase the potassium in your diet, while keeping up healthy eating and reducing sodium intake, you can reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases according to Mark Houston, M.D., M.S. The intake of potassium is also super important for lowering blood pressure (almost just as important as reducing sodium consumption)!
3. It helps move you along.
Digestion health is a big benefit of kale. It is full of fibre and water content that both prevent constipation and keep you on track in terms of digestion. The B vitamins in kale also are essential for the release of energy from food, which also helps you keep good digestive health.
Note: Those who's kidneys are not fully functional and have a hard time removing extra potassium from the blood should enjoy high-potassium foods like kale in moderation. Always consult your doctor if you have concerns about adding foods to your diet.
Check out these recipes that feature the leafy green as it's main ingredient:
Your body needs some sugar to function, but Canadians, who consume the equivalent of 26 teaspoons of the sweet stuff every day, are probably overdoing it. We break down what too much sugar does to your body, and how you can cut back.
Good news for those with sweet tooths: Glucose is our main source of fuel, so, yes, we actually do need sugar in our diets. But don't get too excited— they're not all alike.
"All carbohydrate-containing foods, whether candy, pop, fruit, vegetables or grain products, break down into glucose in our bloodstream," says Patricia Chuey, a Vancouver-based registered dietitian. "But our bodies respond differently when we get sugar from nutrient-dense, fibre-rich foods, eaten as part of a balanced meal that contains protein, compared to 'empty' calories from zero-nutrient, fibre-less foods."
Those carb-heavy, low-nutrient foods cause our blood-sugar, or glucose, levels to spike, triggering the release of insulin in response. One of insulin's jobs is to move glucose from the blood to our liver, muscle and fat cells for storage, and when there's more in our bloodstream than what our bodies need for energy, it can end up as stored fat—"even though fat, per se, wasn't consumed," says Chuey. That's partially why excess sugar consumption is linked to fatty liver disease, as well as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Fibre-rich, nutrient-dense foods, on the other hand, break down more slowly, so they don't cause as much of a blood-sugar spike, or the resulting weight gain.
That doesn't mean you have to skip your favourite sweet indulgences entirely. What we know today is that moderation is key—a little sugar won't hurt you.
But, for the most part, Canadians are not consuming a little sugar. According to Statistics Canada, on average, 22 to 26 percent of our total daily caloric intake consists of sugar. Put another way, that's an average of 110 grams, or 26 teaspoons, per day. And it's not just how much; experts are also concerned about where it comes from.
"Whole foods that are sweet, like fruit, can be good sources of vitamins, minerals and fibre, which can contribute to overall health," says Gita Singh, a research assistant professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Boston's Tufts University.
It's added sugar, regardless of the source, that's the problem. You'll find it in processed foods, such as many breads, soups, salad dressings and pasta sauces. And then there's pop, sports drinks and fruit drinks, which experts collectively refer to as sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs). These drinks are among the top causes of obesity and its attendant ailments, which include heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer and other chronic diseases. In fact, Singh coauthored a report published in the medical journal Circulation that estimates SSB consumption is partially responsible for the diabetes-, cancer- and cardiovascular disease–related deaths of 1,600 Canadians each year.
The fact that SSBs are a leading source of excess sugar in our diets is galling but encouraging. That's because the solution is straightforward: Stop, or at least cut back on, drinking them.
Chuey says you can further reduce the added sugar in your diet by avoiding convenience foods that list sugar (or maltose, corn syrup, cane sugar or honey) among the first three ingredients; swap your caramel macchiato for a latte; and top plain yogurt with fresh fruit. The less sugar you consume, the less you'll end up craving.
But when you do indulge, go all in. "Apply the pleasure maximization principle," says Chuey. "Make it really worth it! Not in terms of quantity, but the kind of quality that will really satisfy." So skip the soda fountain. But those homemade cookies? Enjoy!
YOUR BODY ON SUGAR
There are lots of table sugar subs on the market, but how do they stack up, health-wise?
Stevia: Zero calories per teaspoon
Stevia is a zero-calorie, fructosefree option.
Date sugar: 11 calories per teaspoon
Date sugar contains all the fibre and nutrients found in the dried fruit.
Coconut sugar: 15 calories per teaspoon
Made from the sap of coconut-tree flowers, coconut sugar has the same calorie count as table sugar, but it's lower on the glycemic index.
Agave nectar: 15 calories per teaspoon
Agave nectar is about 1 1/2 times sweeter than refined sugar, so you can use less. But it's high in fructose (hello, blood-sugar spikes!).
Image courtesy of Americo Original Image by: Image courtesy of Americo Original
Make a statement this season by knitting your own beautiful handbag with this free and simple pattern. There are endless combinations of colour and leather to personalize your perfect bag!
A knit bag is the perfect accessory—unique, practical, and stylish. The Salta Bag’s design begins with a simple rectangle that is folded and seamed to create a classic tote. The simplicity of the style and the thickness of the yarn make this pattern perfect for the beginner who wants to create a beautiful knit accessory on the first try.
The beauty of this bag is in the texture of the chunky yarn and its contrast to the smoothness of the leather handle. We chose to make the bag in Merino Copito, a 100% merino wool, thick-and-thin, roving-style yarn that makes for a light tote you can take anywhere. The leather handle adds style and practicality, while the artisanal quality guarantees your bag will look beautiful for years to come.
To ensure that the bag is sturdy, we used a felting technique that creates a dense fabric. When felting your bag, remember to do it in stages so you don’t end up accidentally felting it too much and losing the texture of the yarn. To sew on the handle, use a darning needle and sport or fingering weight yarn in a matching or contrasting colour.
Adding a liner to your bag is optional—the fabric becomes dense enough that the contents of your bag will stay inside. If you wish to add a liner, a simple trick is to use an old pillow case cut to size and sewed in place by hand after your bag has been felted.
- 5 Skeins Americo Merino Copito (100% Wool) 100 g / 43 yards (40 m)
- 12mm (US 17) size straight and 24-inch (60 cm) circular needles
- Darning Needle
- 1 Cannes Handle Set—(contains 2 leather/nylon pieces)
- Small amount of sport/fingering weight yarn (for sewing the leather)
Note about the yarn: Merino Copito is available through Americo Original online and in store. You can substitute any bulky weight 100% wool yarn from your stash. If substituting yarn, make sure to use 100% wool. Plant based and synthetic fibres will not felt.
Note about the leather: Americo leather accessories are available exclusively through Americo Original online and in select yarn stores. Americo leather accessories are designed and made in Toronto out of genuine, vegetable-tanned leather. All leather pieces are pre-punched for an easy, fool-proof application. You can choose between many different styles of leather, whatever suits your preferences! Alternatively, you could be creative and use any trimmings or ribbon—or recycle the handles from an old bag.
|Length||20 inches (50 cm)||16 inches (40 cm)|
|Width||22 inches (55 cm)||18 inches (45 cm)|
6.5 stitches = 4 inches in pattern with 12 mm (US 17) size needles or size needed to achieve gauge
With 12 mm (US 17) size straight needles cast on 35 stitches. Knit every row for 20 inches (50 cm). Cast off.
Fold the bag in half from cast-on edge to cast-off edge and sew the side seams. Along the bag opening, pick up and purl 48 stitches with 12 mm (US 17) 24-inch (60 cm) circular needles. Purl 6 inches (15 cm). Cast off.
Put piece in top-loading washing machine. You do not need to add soap or detergent. Using a low water level, run a cold cycle for 15 minutes. Put in a pair of jeans (in non-interfering colour) for extra agitation. After one cycle, check for size. Repeat as necessary. Run through the rinse and dry spin cycle. Lay felted piece onto a dry towel, away from direct heat or sunlight. Shape piece to correct measurements. Allow to dry thoroughly. Do not use a clothes dryer.
If an edge ripples, baste a thread through the edge and gather in. Remove the thread after the felting is dry.
Note: All washing machines will felt at different rates. It is always best to try felting a small swatch just to see how your machine will work. If it does not felt enough try putting it through twice. Front loaders are not generally appropriate for felting, as the cycle cannot be interrupted once started.
Sew the 2 leather/nylon handles in place on either side of the bag. The top of the Cannes leather piece will be approximately 1/2 inch from the top of the bag and centred while the bag is laying flat. Sew in loose ends.
You have spent a lot of time and care completing these items through their knitting and felting stages. A little thought to its aftercare will ensure that you will have these beautiful felted items for many years to come.
After you have subjected your item to the felting process, you may think that it has gone through the most vigorous and tortured wash that yarn could ever endure. Now you assume that you can throw that felted item into the hot wash cycle along with your sheets. Do not do it! Treat your newly felted item with caution and care in order to avoid further distortion or shrinkage.
Felted handmade items can always be improved with brushing if desired.
Even a slight pressing will give a smoother appearance to felted fabric. Always press lightly using a steam iron and a damp cloth. Never press down on the fabric but hold the iron just above the fabric.
Americo Original is a Canadian yarn company and online knitting shop that features a high-end selection of yarns, textiles, custom knitwear patterns and accessories. Only natural fibers, produced especially for us in the Andean highlands of South America are offered, including luxurious wools, llama, alpaca, organic and premium cottons, linen, silk and cashmere. Americo's one-of-a kind runway pieces and classic styles for the hand knitter are created in our design lab. Americo is based in Toronto, Canada and ships internationally from their online store: americo.ca/shop.
Follow Americo Orignal Inc. on Facebook, Instagram @americooriginal and Pinterest for daily knitting inspiration.
Hair advice that professionals swear by Image by: Bubmle & Bumble
It pays to talk to the pros if you're looking to step up your hair routine. Here's some of the best advice we've received recently from top hairstylists.
"The biggest mistake women make is using the incorrect hair-care products for their hair style, which can leave mid-lengths and ends looking dry. A professional consultation will [determine] what hair-care regimen is best."
"Make sure you're rinsing your hair correctly. That means spending between two and three minutes in the shower rinsing both your shampoo and your conditioner. Contrary to popular belief, warm water isbetter for rinsing products. Then, finish with a 60-second cool rinse to add shine."
"Hair needs all the help it can get. It needs added moisture, emollients, supportive structures. Treat your hair like you do your skin."
"The tendency to want what we cannot have is universal, but a cut will sit better, last longer and be so much easier to maintain if you work with your hair type instead of fighting against it. With a cut that's customized, getting ready is so much simpler—and prettier."
"People with really fine hair and lack of density should consider colouring their hair because they're going to benefit by swelling the hair fibre. If your hair is not damaged, you should consider double process, or single process with your own colour. When you damage the cuticle, you're going to lose some lipids, and that may be good for someone with fine hair looking for volume. Once the hair cuticle is lifted, the hair fibre can look nearly double in size."