February 25th, 2016

The 12 Best and Worst Foods to Eat When You’re Sick

Cold and flu season is upon us again. Need help finding the foods and drinks that’ll speed your recovery and get you back on your feet? We take care of that.

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The 5 Best Foods For Fighting a Cold

popsicles

Popsicles help you take in fluids—important—and help numb down a sore throat.

Doing battle with a cold means taking in plenty of fluids and as many phlegm-fighting foods as you can. Here are some of the best choices.

  1. Popsicles  The name of the game is hydration. While you’re usually better to eat your fruit than drink it, popsicles provide convenient relief  when you’re sore and congested. Buy the ones made from 100-percent whole fruit—or, better yet, make your own.
  2. Broth-based soups At Vancouver’s popular Solly’s Deli, chicken soup’s nom de guerre is “Jewish penicillin.” Small wonder: Chicken contains an amino acid called cysteine, which thins mucus in the lungs. And hot broth fights throat inflammation and keeps nasal passages moist.
  3. Citrus fruits While vitamin C isn’t a magic bullet, it aids in reducing the length and strength of colds. An added benefit: lemons and limes, oranges and grapefruits contain flavonoids, which improve immune system function.
  4. Hot tea Take advantage of the natural anti-bacterial properties of tea. We’re fond of a green tea or hot water with  lemon—besides soothing the throat, they keep you hydrated when you’re down for the count.
  5. Spicy foods Hot foods can make our noses run and our eyes water, which is why they’re effective decongestants. Eating chili peppers, wasabi, and horseradish—not all at once!—can light a fire under the body’s natural clearing-out process.

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The 3 Best Foods For a Stomach Flu

bananas

Bland and dense with nutrients, bananas are a boon to the sick.

  1. Bananas Sweating, vomiting, or diarrhea visit the stricken, and all deplete your stores of potassium. Bananas replace it. They’re easy to digest, and replenish lost electrolytes.
  2. Ginger Ginger is a great help in preventing and soothing nausea. Ginger tea or ginger ale—served flat to avoid bubble trouble (i.e., carbonation discomfort)—will keep you hydrated and on an even keel.
  3. Dry toast, crackers Plain, unsalted, or lightly salted crackers and toast are simple, bland foods that go easy on the stomach, promoting digestion and recovery when a flu has you in its grips.

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The 4 Worst Foods for a Stomach Flu

pickled-jalapenos

Pickled jalapenos—yikes. Avoid the acid and spice until you’re feeling better..

  1. Acidic & spicy foods While spicy foods are great decongestants, they can be hard on the stomach. Same goes for fruit from the citrus family, which can irritate sensitive stomachs. See “bananas,” above.
  2. Sweet snacks Sugary foods can suppress the immune system and cause inflammation. Though it’s tempting to treat yourself when you’re feeling low, leave the milkshake or chocolate sundae until you’re feeling better.
  3. Fatty foods Don’t make your gut do double duty. Forgo the burgers and fries in favour of foods that are easier to digest, like simple carbohydrates and proteins.
  4. Dairy products Whether dairy causes greater congestion or simply mimics the sensation is open to debate. Perhaps, though, the point is moot. If the feeling thicker mucus bothers you, it can’t hurt to avoid milk products while you’re sick.

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January 18th, 2016

LD Picks: What You Need to Know About Colds and Flu

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not too late to get your flu shot – there’s still time to benefit from the vaccine and help prevent the spread of the flu. Here is some super-important information about the flu that you need to know.

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How to Know If It’s the Flu

cold-flu

First are two important facts: 1) Flu symptoms can appear 1–4 days after becoming infected. 2) You can infect others for 5–7 days after onset of symptoms.

Symptoms include

  • Fever of 38 C or higher that starts suddenly
  • A dry cough that can last for weeks
  • Headache
  • An aching body, especially in the lower back and legs
  • Feeling very weak and tired

Other symptoms can include

  • Chills
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Some people may have nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea

READ MORE



December 30th, 2015

What Time Should My Child Go to Bed? A Sleep Guide for Canadian Parents

Exactly how much sleep should your kids be getting? Check our handy chart below.

If this four-year old girl went to bed at 20:30 and rose at 07:00, did her growing mind and body get enough sleep? Afraid not. Check out our guide below.

In Canada, the shortening days are upon us. In the six months between the longest and shortest days of the year, Torontonians, Vancouverites, and Edmontonians lose six and a half, eight, and nine and a half hours of sunlight, respectively.

If you have children, you’ll know that a 9:00 p.m. bedtime, more than reasonable during the summer, means putting a kid down some five hours after the winter sun. Is he getting enough sleep? Who knows? When many Canadian parents factor in the back-to-school routines of dinner, bath, and storytime (and later, after-school activities, homework, and team sports), it’s hard to imagine getting kids to bed much before nine o’clock. READ MORE



September 16th, 2015

9 Fantastic Gadgets That Will Ramp Up Your Health & Fitness

  1. Fitbit
Best Health Gadgets - Fitbit With its surge in popularity over the last year, there’s no avoiding the usefulness of the Fitbit. From the Zip, which tracks your steps, calories, and distance, to the Apple Watch-like Surge, there’s a Fitbit for everyone. The happy medium seems to be the slim and lightweight Flex, which is affordable and functional – it’s even got the sleep tracking capability.
  1. Fitbit Aria
Best Health Gadgets - Fitbit Aria Fitbit’s smart scale tracks your weight, body fat percentage, and BMI, and connects to your Fitbit data through the free Fitbit app for iOS and Android. The Aria is available in both black and white for the design-focused fitness buff.
  1. Taylor Smart Scale
Best Health Gadgets - Taylor Smart Scale The second option for a smart scale is the Taylor Smart Scale. It’s extremely accurate, and connects to your smartphone through Bluetooth to track your weight. It even allows you to set goals and track progress within the scale’s user interface. Or, you can connect the data with our next suggestion.
  1. My Fitness Pal
Best Health Gadgets - My Fitness Pal The app that tracks your eating habits and calorie intake also serves as an aggregator of data. It can sync with both your Fitbit and your Taylor Smart Scale to create a cohesive summary of your fitness goals and progress. Accessible from both your smartphone and your desktop computer, My Fitness Pal is easy-to-use and effective in helping you track data and get fit.
  1. Jabra Sport Plus Headphones
Best Health Gadgets - Jabras Earphones Once you step up your cardio (gotta put that Fitbit to work!), it might be worth upgrading those old Walkman headphones. The Jabra Sport Plus model is wireless, so there’s no concern about tangled cords. For tunes, you can listen to iTunes or Spotify through Bluetooth from your smartphone, or if you don’t feel like hauling any extra weight along, the headphones can connect to FM radio.
  1. Quitbit
Best Health Gadgets - Quitbit If you still haven’t been able to kick the habit, new technology will soon be available to help you out. The Quitbit lighter tracks your cigarettes to help you better understand your habit. The accompanying smartphone app allows you to view your smoking trends and cigarette spending, and lets you share with friends (in case peer pressure helps your efforts!). You can even limit your cigarettes by pre-setting your smoke times ­­– the Quitbit will only allow you to light up at the scheduled time.
  1. Smartmat
Best Health Gadgets - Smart mat The Smartmat is the world’s first intelligent yoga mat – or, it will be. Though the exciting new product isn’t available for purchase yet, it is in final stages. Funded through Indiegogo, the mat is intended to teach the user yoga. An accompanying app guides the user through yoga classes, and the responsive mat gives the user verbal instructions on how to improve their form. Namaste, technology.
  1. QardioArm Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor
Best Health Gadgets If you’re kicking up your cardio, it’s worth investing in a blood pressure monitor. The QardioArm is compact, easy to use, and dependable. Nothing should stop you from living life to its fullest.
  1. Netatmo Weather Station
Best Health Gadgets - Netatmo Weather Station The Netatmo allows you to view info about your home’s condition, right on your smartphone. It will tell you what to expect in terms of temperature, humidity, indoor air quality, noise pollution, and monitors CO2. When the air quality deteriorates it chooses the right time for you to ventilate your home or room. Plus, you can personalize the settings to keep you comfortable.


September 14th, 2015

How to Boost Brainpower and Increase Productivity

Don’t we all wish we could have 10 more hours in a day? That’s impossible, of course, but by boosting your brainpower, you can increase your productivity, which will create the illusion of more time. While there exist quick fixes for sharpening your brain (like eating antioxidant-filled blueberries or going for a run to score some endorphins), these three tips work best as habits to develop and maintain over time.

Get the sleep you need

Reducing caffeine will improve your sleep and mental capability

Cutting caffeine can greatly improve your quality of sleep.

Getting your minimum six hours isn’t even the most important aspect of sleep – what’s really important is getting high quality sleep. Try a sleep-tracking app like Sleepbot or a Fitbit to track your REM cycles. You can also use such apps to set an adjustable alarm that will wake you when your sleep is lightest to increase the quality of your sleep.

You can also unplug before bed to improve your sleep quality. The blue light found on tablets, smartphones, and eReaders actually signals your body to wake up, right before going to bed. Try reading a paper book before bed instead.

Lastly, cutting caffeine (at least in the afternoons, if you can’t live without your morning cuppa) will better the quality of your sleep, among other benefits. Still need a three o’clock pick-me-up? Try an iced herbal tea to give you a boost without the buzz.

Stimulate your brain

Socialization is actually good for your mental health

Socializing is actually good for you – it stimulates your brain. Party on!

Abandon your GPS and calculator in favour of using a map or doing calculations in your head. You can also sign up for a daily-word email to increase your vocabulary. Exercising your brain can also be accomplished by playing Scrabble (or Words with Friends!) instead of just talking or texting. Interestingly, socialization is also hugely beneficial to your brain. By inviting friends over, you  reduce your chances of dementia. What better excuse is there to open a bottle of wine?

Another way to stimulate your brain is to do something new. This can be as simple as walking somewhere instead of driving, as intense as trying a new sport. Learning a new language or instrument also positively impacts the brain.

Treat your body right

Meditation benefits mental ability

Thirty minutes of yoga or meditation will increase your daily productivity.

First, kick the habit. Cigarettes have been linked to memory deficits, so the sooner you quit, the better it is for your body and brain.

Exercise regularly, even if it’s just a longer walk to your car. Try parking further from work, or getting off the bus earlier than usual to increase your walking distance. Practicing yoga or meditating also works – just 30 minutes a day contributes greatly to mental capacity.

Eating right also has a big impact. That means loading up on superfoods like blueberries, almonds, dark chocolate, and greens to boost your brain, but also making a habit of staying hydrated and eating clean and balanced meals.

 



August 31st, 2015

4 Must-Dos When the Kids Go Back to School

7_back-to-school

Sandcastle building! Cabin time! Water parks! Backyard barbequing!

Also: Sunburns! Bed sheets full of sand!  Popsicle stains on the floor!  And hours of “are we there yet?”

As much as many parents love summer time fun with the kids, as the season winds down and back to school fast approaches, many moms and dads find themselves looking forward to a little less chaos and a little more Me-time.

If you have started guiltily fantasizing about shipping your little angels back to school, here are four self-care suggestion musts for the fall:

Recall the joy of eating a meal while it's still hot.

Recall the joy of eating a meal while it’s still hot.

Eat: Alone.

Newfound hours of daytime quiet in the home may seem daunting at first, but fill them with those basics of life that are a little less pleasurable (and sometimes nearly impossible!) when the kids are around.  Like eating a meal—even while it’s still hot!

Or go further: use the extra time to enjoy a meal that your kids would never go for.  

Turn on some mealtime music and bring a magazine…and while you’re at it, why not add a little fancy? For example, throw a bottle of Chablis in the fridge to accompany lunch…or, maybe keep that part a secret!

When you feel fabulous, you are going to look it.

When you feel fabulous, you’re going to look it.

Look: Fabulous.

Taking a long lingering shower, blow drying your hair and putting on mascara may seem like a stretch when your seven-year-old is banging down the bathroom door.  

But having the kids out of the house for a few hours means you can take some time for yourself: relax, put on some makeup, get a mani-pedi or perhaps best of all: take a nap—yes, right in the middle of the afternoon.  You deserve it!  (Pro-tip: set an alarm….just in case!)

television, relax, home and happiness concept - smiling young girl sitting on couch with tv remote control at home

Those episodes of The Good Wife aren’t gping to watch themselves.

Walk by a pile of toys…and do nothing.

Sure, there may be a few things you have to get done around the house to restore order. But running around obsessively scrubbing and organizing will likely have you burn out faster than you can say “Charlie Sheen”.  

Instead, cut yourself some slack: start by walking by a pile of toys, pointing and shrugging like you have no idea who left it there or who should pick it up. The kids will be home soon enough; they can put away their mess.

Use the time instead to throw yourself on the couch, turn on the TV, and turn off your compulsion to clean: the grime will wait.

Yoga is all about connecting body and mind; what's your favourite way to make the connection?

Yoga is all about connecting body and mind; what’s your favourite way to make the connection?

Get a full body (and brain) work out.

Getting back into an exercise routine may be the last thing you feel like doing once fall starts, but it doesn’t have to be hard.

In fact, you could simply take a few minutes to limber up with some stretching every day. Or, a 30-day stretching challenge for the whole family may be just the thing to inspire some more vigorous exercising.

While you’re getting the body going, don’t forget about kickstarting your brain as well; you’re not just a pretty face after all!

Whatever you choose to do, just make sure you take some time for you: it has been a long hot summer, and you need your rest—remember, next summer is only eight months away!

 



April 8th, 2015

Fitness Gadgets to get the most out of your fitness

Have you ever needed that extra little bit of motivation, or a reminder to get active? London Drugs tech expert David Levett sat down with anchor Darrell Rumold on CTV Morning Live in Regina to discuss some of the newest products on the market for monitoring fitness.

For someone looking for something simple, yet effective for fitness tracking, FitBit might be the perfect choice. These activity trackers are a very user-friendly option and are best suited for entry-level to average fitness trackers who want something simple. David showed off the FitBit Charge HR model, capable of tracking essential fitness measures like steps taken, calories burned and active minutes. The charge also acts a watch and is able to sync wireless to any laptop or smartphone. FitBit can also monitor one’s sleep. David explained in the newscast how the FitBit would track sleep and then display on an iPad the amount and quality of sleep he had. Starting as low as $70, FitBit provides an affordable option for users who want effective fitness monitoring without complexities.

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