You’re ringing in the New Year with some new resolutions, but a lot of us get lost before we’ve even hit the ground running. Where do you start?
London Drugs Pharmacist, Agusha McGrath, stopped by Breakfast Television Calgary, with the 411 on how those popular gadgets some of us got under the tree can actually help reach your goals for 2018.
Catch the full segment here or read some highlights below.
If you plan on setting health goals for 2018, one of the best paths to success is to speak with a trained professional. Pharmacists are the most accessible health care providers in Canada. They can help you create a personalized plan to become a healthier you.
Wearable technology makes working towards, or maintaining a healthy lifestyle easy and fun. Set goals with your pharmacist and ask about what wearable device or monitoring technology is best for you. With the newest advancements, catching a health issue before it’s a major problem, or just being the best version of you, is easier than ever before.
Whether you’re looking for gadget to compliment an already established routine, or you’re just starting out on your journey and need a little assistance, London Drugs has the most popular health tech companions on the market.
Fitbits are some of the most popular devices for fitness tracking. Count your steps, measure calories burnt per workout, monitor your heart rate, and track how well you sleep. These can range from simple step counters to full featured smart watches, all of which are extremely user friendly. Join the Fitbit community and challenge each other, or just keep track of your personal goals.
Need to be reminded to get up and move? The Garmin vivofit will send your automated encouragement, and can monitor different activities, like walking, running, biking swimming, or using elliptical with Move IQ.
A pocket friendly device for monitoring your blood oxygen levels on the go, while maintaining impressive accuracy. Store your data, set alarms, or replay results.
Accuracy meets affordability. Make 2018 your healthiest year yet by testing your blood glucose levels anywhere, anytime. No coding required, an easy high-contrast display, with a light user friendly design.
Whether you’re climbing aboard the resolution train or not, a new year really does come with a fresh start feeling where anything is possible. If that anything for you is to reduce your sugar consumption – no problem, these five tips can help you stick with it.
For any lifestyle change or new habit, it’s all about making small changes. Any sudden, drastic moves to cut out sugar completely are often paired with some intense cravings that can make someone with the strongest of willpower give up altogether. And that’s not what we’re going for, is it?
Incorporate these small steps to help you on your #kicksugar journey even one per week and you’ll be crushing those new year goals in no time:
Boring I know. Drink water? Heard it a million times before. But for real, this is key. Dehydration can cause the body to become sluggish and tired, craving foods it doesn’t even need including high-sugar foods. Keep hydrated by drinking water throughout the day in whichever form you like – on its own, with lemon, herbal tea – you name it, just drink it. Try to get at least 4-6 glasses in a day.
This might seem like a strange one. What the heck does vinegar have to do with reducing sugar? Well let me tell you. Apple cider vinegar has countless benefits, one of them including balancing blood sugar. When blood sugar is unstable, up and down like a rollercoaster, this is when sugar cravings can come in strong and fast. Start with 1 tsp of ACV in ½ cup of water with meals to help balance blood sugar. You can even start with one meal and work up to taking it with all your meals.
You’d have to be living under a rock to not have heard the benefits of beneficial bacteria or ‘probiotics’ for overall and intestinal health (if you’ve been under a rock, please just Google it). The connection to sugar cravings is that the bacteria living in your intestinal tract can dictate the foods you crave. If there is an imbalance of bacteria in gut, sugar cravings can be fierce and steady. Support your intestinal flora balance by consuming fermented foods like raw sauerkraut and unsweetened yogurt and/or supplementing with probiotics.
One of the toughest times to avoid sugary foods is when you’re out and about, haven’t eaten for too long and hunger strikes. Most convenient snacks include a shocking amount of sugar, naturally-occurring or not. Something like keeping a stash of your favourite nuts in your car or desk is great snack to tide you over to a meal. Having low-sugar treats around is also key. Just because you’re reducing sugar, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to treat yourself. SmartSweets Low-Sugar Gummy Bears are a total game changer when you feel like a sweet treat. With 2g or sugar per serving, you can get your sweet fix without falling off the wagon.
I totally get it, been there. Reducing sugar can mean saying ‘see ya later’ to some of your very favourite foods. Which can even be slightly emotional. Instead, think of this as an opportunity to invite different foods into your life rather than saying goodbye to the higher-sugar ones. Adding in more variety and new foods you haven’t tried before can mean new favourite foods. Get creative, hunt for some new exciting recipes and get busy in the kitchen.
Registered Holistic Nutritionist
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
The idea here—supported by a new report from Switzerland— is that North Americans have been on the wrong diet for 50 years. We’ve been avoiding natural, healthy fats—such as those found in red meat, butter and eggs—to disastrous effect.
Though generally condemned, many natural fats found in food have positive impacts on your body, including increased energy, lower rates of diabetes, and weight loss. Read on to discover the full-fat foods that help you lose from the waist by adding to the plate. Your diet will never be the same.
[More at Yahoo Health]
They say in giving, it’s the thought that counts. It’s a sentiment doubly true of health and wellness gifts, which have the potential to rub people the wrong way. “Here’s a present to help improve your current condition!’’ Thinking in advance about the wants and needs of your giftee improves giving accuracy, helping you avoid awkwardness and waste.
When it comes to health- and wellness-related gifts, it’s all about the lifestyle and aspirations of your giftee. Is he or she more about jogging or marathons? Swimming lengths or aquasize? Lifting weights using a workout torn from a magazine, or taking classes with a professional trainer?
Knowledge is power, and we’ve got a suite of helpful suggestions. Of these four people, we bet you have at least one on your gift list.
Your bestie Amy practices yoga at home and at the gym, wants to lose weight, and is careful about what she, and everyone else, eats.
A workout mat and a colourful yoga outfit is the perfect gift — the clothes can double as a “run-around-town” outfit for when she’s out with the kids.
A wearable fitness tracker. Mom and Dad are now fluent with their smartphones, and like to assist their exercise with a handful of apps. Take it to the next level with a Fitbit.
In addition to lifting weights with a trainer, your competitive brother Dan does cross-fit, runs a few kilometres each week, and loves his morning protein shakes.
Prepared smoothie and shake mixes. Dan’s probably got strong preferences when it comes to protein powder, so do reconnaissance before you shop. If you’re not sure, Vega makes an excellent protein smoothie for early mornings short of time, or top-ups throughout the day.
Your sister Bella is naturally slim and fit, which is annoying, and she’s considering starting a “10,000 steps a day” program.
Sometimes, you need to recharge. It can be hard to do in a busy life – work, family, kids, friends, hobbies, chores, errands…. So why not get away for a bit? Even a few days is enough time to rest, breathe, and get back at it. We’ve gathered a few therapeutic retreat options that might be just what you need.
If you want to get away for some self-reflection but wilderness isn’t really your thing, this yoga retreat at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is for you. The retreat includes two nights’ luxury accommodation at the hotel, gourmet meals, and a selection of yoga & meditation classes as well as a few nature walks around beautiful Lake Louise. Worried about a retreat being too rigid? The schedule is entirely optional – attendees are free to join activities as they wish (meaning you can sneak away for a mid-afternoon savasana). Namaste.
It’s a commonplace of holidays: the turkey dinner concludes, your eyelids start to droop. You sneak away from the table to pour yourself into a comfortable seat and snooze the snooze of a thousand snoozes (at least until, ahem, the dishes are done).
The yawning doesn’t come over you because you’re lazy or full, although you may be both. Turkey contains an amino acid called L-tryptophan, which produces in the body two chemicals that make you want to get comfortably horizontal: melatonin and serotonin.
Interesting: Turkey, famous for its soporific effect, contains only modest amounts of tryptophan. A handful of other foods contain much higher concentrations of the amino acid. And all are cheaper and easier to prepare than a Christmas turkey.
More importantly, they’re easy to consume before bedtime, and will help you sleep more quickly and restfully. Who needs Ambien when Mother Nature’s on your side?
Sesame seeds are small, but they contain high amounts of tryptophan. Why bother with toast when you could simply throw back a handful, you ask? Bread’s carbohydrates increase your blood sugar, causing your body to produce insulin and, afterwards, the calming chemicals serotonin and melatonin—the ultimate drowsy combination. Sesame is the sleep superstar, but all kinds of seeds—pumpkin, squash, sunflower, in particular—are excellent before bedtime.
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Before bed, a handful of nuts is just what the Sandman ordered. Almonds, pistachios, and cashews (their butters are also excellent, just steer away from the heavily salted or sugared) are very high in tryptophan. Bonus: Nuts also contain magnesium, a mineral that calms your muscles and nerves.
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Fish are dense in tryptophan, in addition to being the best natural source of Omega-3s. Salmon is the champion, so definitely try it out. Whatever your choice, don’t neglect your Omega-3s. Research shows the fatty acids discourage intermittent waking through the night, and can add as much as an hour to your sleep. Small surprise, really: If there’s one thing salmon know about, it’s going the distance.
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Cherries are so efficient at inducing sleep, they might have been manufactured in a lab. Where most soporific foods induce the body to produce melatonin by first introducing tryptophan, cherries leapfrog the first step and give you a straight shot of melatonin. This is rare. (Melatonin is the chemical that most strongly influences your sleep-wake cycles.) One caveat: before stuffing your mouth, make sure you’re not allergic. Treefruit like cherries are difficult on some people’s systems.
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Experts don’t fully agree there is evidence that this age-old home remedy actually works. That’s because, like bananas, milk contains the amino acid L-tryptophan, which turns to 5-HTP and releases serotonin, which relaxes you. Milk is also high in calcium and magnesium, both known to have a relaxing effect. Milk alone may do the trick, but you’ll boost its effectiveness by taking it with a carb-rich oatmeal, granola, or toast.
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If you’re like me, you hear an echo of your grandmother telling you that cheese before bed will give you nightmares. Mozzarella is the exception to the rule. Pound for pound, mozzarella cheese contains twice as much tryptophan as the lean protein. May we suggest a piece of Silver Hill’s Squirrelly Bread with a single slice of tomato, laid over with fresh buffalo mozza or bocconcini, drizzled with balsamic vinegar, a few drops of olive oil, and freshly ground black pepper?
Now you’ve got the tools. Happy sleeping!