If you've been in the dating game for any amount of time, you probably already know your "type." Most people do have a type -- a certain kind of person they are generally attracted to. You may not even realize just what it is that entices you about someone -- it could be his appearance, his personality or perhaps even his profession -- but time and time again you find yourself with mates who are very similar.
If this sounds like you and you're ready for a change on the dating front, sex therapist and couples counsellor Teesha Morgan has some tips on how to mix it up. She offers four reasons to date against type.
1. To get yourself out of a rut "Most people, in general, have a type," says Morgan. But is this specific type of person working for you so far?
"If you're looking for a long-term relationship, ask yourself how that dating pattern is working for you," says Morgan. If it's not having positive results in your life it might be time to face the fact that you're choosing the wrong type of person and to try to open yourself up to people who you wouldn't normally be interested in. At the very least you could strike up a new friendship.
2. To gain a new perspective "Dating outside your type is good because it can help you learn and grow as a person" says Morgan.
For example, if you tend to stay away from artistic types because you fear they're not stable enough for a relationship you just might be missing out on something special.
"They might show you a different world," explains Morgan. "By dating against type you can gain wisdom. It's a positive growing experience."
3. To gain new experiences Are you wary of testing the waters with a new type of person? Or perhaps you're just not attracted to people outside of your designated type? So how do you get your head around the idea of meeting someone new?
"Ask yourself: When was the last time I did something for the first time?" suggests Morgan. "Life is all about experience. Get out of your box. You may love it, you may hate it, but that's what living is all about -- taking risks and learning through experience."
"It's like trying a new food -- what's the harm? You can put it in your mouth and it might confirm you don't like it, but at least you tried it," she explains. Worst-case scenario? You wasted some time.
4. To become aware of how your type manifests itself Are you drawn to specific personality traits? "Think about your last relationship and analyze what those traits were that first attracted you to the person. If you realize the qualities you are being drawn to aren't making you a better person, make an effort to change that," Morgan insists. "Tell yourself: I'm going to date someone that doesn't have these qualities. Make a conscious effort to do it."
"There are many reasons people have a type," explains Morgan. "It may be qualities we are lacking in ourselves so we are seeking them out in a partner."
Be conscious of how other personality types complement you or hold you back, and use this new-found wisdom in your next relationship.
Never make a laundry mistake again with these helpful tips.
1. Not turning clothes inside out
Garments age faster when they rub against rougher fabrics of other items in the load. And clothes are not just dirty on the outside. "Sweat and the accumulation of dead skin cells means the inside of jeans can be as filthy, or filthier, than the outside," says Mary Begovic Johnson, P&G fabric care principal scientist.
2. Overloading the washer
The size of today's front-loading machines is deceiving—it only looks like there's room for two dozen towels. Don't fill the washer to capacity, since clothes need room to move to allow water and detergent to reach the fabrics to clean them. If the water gets too dirty, the dirt will simply be redeposited onto garments, making them appear grey and dingy, says Begovic Johnson.
3. Using the wrong amount of detergent
Use the recommended amount of detergent for the size of your load. If you use too much, your clothes may come out with a sudsy residue. Use too little and you'll have clothes that aren't completely clean. Single-load detergent packs can make measuring easier. Extra-large or heavily soiled loads may require two packs. Own a high-efficiency machine? Be sure to choose a low-sudsing detergent.
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.
Listeria, Salmonella and E. coli are behind many food recalls in Canada. Here's what to do if you've eaten contaminated food, what symptoms to expect and how to protect yourself in the future.
Food contamination alerts seem to be happening more frequently than ever—recalls from Listeria in chocolate milk, Salmonella in tea and E. coli in pork products have all been in the headlines. But how dangerous are these contaminated foods? And what should you do if you've already eaten them? We asked Jeffrey Farber, director of the Canadian Research Institute in Food Safety and professor in the Department of Food Science at the University of Guelph, to answer our biggest questions about the fallout from eating foods containing some of the most common contaminants: Listeria, E. coli and Salmonella.
What should you do if you think you've had contaminated food?
Farber says to start by double-bagging and throwing it out, or returning it to wherever you brought it. If you're in a high-risk group (i.e., you're young, elderly, immunocompromised or pregnant) and you're experiencing symptoms, call your doctor right away. For everyone else, Farber says recovery is all about replacing lost fluids, keeping yourself nourished and tending to any aches and pains that develop when you're sick. The illness will typically go away on its own. If you are experiencing more serious symptoms (think: blood in the stool, neurological symptoms or a high fever that lasts a few days) or symptoms that persist for a prolonged time (think: diarrhea that lasts more than three to five days), go see your doctor. In most cases involving E. coli and Salmonella, your doctor won't prescribe any antibiotics, but if you've developed listeriosis from contact with Listeria, you'll likely be prescribed antibiotics.
What are the symptoms?
If you come into contact with Salmonella, you may develop salmonellosis, which mainly affects your gut, says Farber. "Symptoms include the sudden onset or diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting." These symptoms will usually appear within one to three days.
"For E. coli, the symptoms can vary from person to person," Farber explains. However,
some of the most common side effects are severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and a low fever (usually less than 38.5ËšC/101ËšF). The incubation period for E. coli is one to 10 days, but most people see symptoms within three to four days. One strain of E. coli (known as E. coli O157:H7) can lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) in about five to 10 percent of patients. The symptoms of HUS vary—some people experience seizures or strokes, while some need blood transfusions and kidney dialysis—and though it's rare, it can be fatal.
Listeriosis, which results from ingesting the Listeria bacteria, can involve vomiting, nausea, cramps, muscle aches, diarrhea, severe headaches and persistent fevers, all of which should appear one to three days after eating a contaminated food. "In the serious cases, when the infection spreads to the central nervous system, symptoms can include headache, stiff neck, confusion and loss of balance," says Farber. This more serious form can take longer—usually about 21 days—to appear, and it could be followed by serious side-effects like meningoencephalitis (an infection of the brain and its surrounding tissues), which occurs in about 20 percent of patients with severe listeriosis.
How dangerous are these contaminated foods?
Most people will just have a few unpleasant days of illness, but a small percentage of those who eat contaminated foods will experience serious and potentially life-threatening issues that go far beyond tummy troubles, so it's important to heed any warnings and recalls.
Are there any ways to protect yourself from food-borne illness?
Yes! Lots, according to Farber. To begin with, wash your hands before and after handling different foods and clean your tools and countertop to avoid any cross-contamination. Wash fruits and veggies under running water to rinse bacteria away. (Don't submerge them in water, because your sink is likely teaming with bacteria.) "Cooking food to proper temperatures is very important because the heat will kill most bacteria, including Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli," says Farber. He suggests using a thermometer to measure the internal temperature to be sure. And after it's cooked? Refrigerate food at 4°C/39°F as soon as possible—you don't need to let it cool first. "Proper refrigeration keeps most types of bacteria from growing to numbers that can cause illness."
What foods are the worst offenders for harbouring these bacteria?
Farber says it's tough to label the worst offenders because there are so many different foods that have caused outbreaks, but he named a few. "For Listeria, foods most often involved in outbreaks have historically been soft and semi-soft cheeses and ready-to-eat meats. However, lately, fruits and vegetables have been causing illnesses," he says. When it comes to Salmonella, he says chicken, turkey, eggs, sprouts, cantaloupe, tree nuts and peanut butter have all been contaminated. "For E. coli O157, although it was historically only linked to ground beef, we now know that many other foods, such as produce and flour, can be implicated in food-borne outbreaks."
Historian Cheryl Foggo brings the stories of important African-Canadians to life with her books, films and plays
How much do Canadians know about our country’s black history? How many people would admit to knowing little about Viola Desmond before the campaign to choose a woman to appear on the new banknote? Most of us might say our knowledge stops at the Underground Railroad or Nova Scotia’s Black Loyalists. But this country is rich with stories of African-Canadian experiences on the east coast, west coast and everywhere between. While classrooms play catch-up in diversifying history curriculums, learning the names and stories of African-Canadian men and women is a conscious effort that should no longer be set aside.
Cheryl Foggo is a playwright, historian and author who’s committed to making the names and tales of African-Canadian settlers known. Based in Calgary, Foggo actively combs archives and documents recounting the lives of Alberta’s black settlers. One of her projects is a documentary film about the legendary black cowboy John Ware, who was considered a hero in Alberta’s ranching frontier.
We spoke with Foggo about her latest projects, Alberta’s lesser-known African-Canadians and why celebrating Canada’s black history is important not just in February, but year-round.
When did you first become interested in Canada’s black history?
From a young age I was interested in the stories I heard my mother’s family tell when we visited my grandparent’s home in Winnipeg. Although I wouldn’t have defined it as history at that time—it was just my Mom and her siblings and their parents talking about their lives—I found these stories interesting. As I got older, I gradually became aware of a disconnect between the history I was learning in school and what I was hearing from my family. I began to wonder why our stories were absent from the historical record.
Why do you think Canadians don’t know much about our country’s black history?
I think it’s up to Canadians to ask ourselves this question. Even what Canadians do know about the Black Loyalists and the Underground Railroad is limited to a “happy ending” narrative and skewed away from the realities of the struggles black Canadians faced historically.
Western Canada’s black history isn’t widely known or taught. Share the story of one lesser-known African-Canadian and her contribution?
It’s tough to choose, but I’ll pick a woman from Alberta. Violet King, the first black female lawyer in Canada. She was a trailblazer throughout her life and an accomplished classical pianist. She was also the only woman in her graduating class from the faculty of law at the University of Alberta in 1953, the same class as former Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed.
King went on to work for Citizenship and Immigration Canada before becoming the first woman named to a senior management position with the American National YMCA. She also happened to be among the best friends of my mother, Pauline, and her twin sister, Pearl, and a bridesmaid for both.
In your opinion why is knowing more about Canada’s diverse history so important?
A history that is incomplete is damaging. A history that is purposely incomplete is sinister. How can Canadians move into a sustainable future if we can’t acknowledge our past? And how can we acknowledge and reckon with our past if our canonical history is missing pages?
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on a documentary film about the legendary black cowboy John Ware and a collection of articles and essays that will anthologize my writings about Alberta’s black history.
Can you recommend some resources for Canadians who want to learn more about Canada’s black history?
There are many ways to gain more knowledge about this subject. Here are a few places to start:
> The Black Lives Canada Syllabus