June 6th, 2017

Sun Care 101: A Parents’ Guide to Sun Safety

It can be time-consuming (and maybe a little annoying) to apply protective sunscreen on you and your family members—especially if these people happen to be squealing kids, just waiting to get outside in the sunshine! We’ve got some great tricks and tips for easy (ish) sun care application that will help keep your family covered. Here’s our guide to sun safety for parents.

Rules for Parents

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May 13th, 2017

How to Naturally Relieve Allergy Symptoms

The seasonal battle against sneezing fits, sinus problems, hay fever, and eyes that itch (so much they feel like they’re on fire) has begun. With so many foes, how can we properly equip ourselves against this onslaught of symptoms? 

While there may not be a secret weapon to vanquish every allergy symptom, there are a number of natural tools and tricks you can keep in your arsenal to help fight your seasonal allergies.

Schedule Any Outdoor Exercise for the Evenings

If you love taking spring time strolls, waiting to do so until after midday may help to lessen your allergy symptoms. Because most trees release their pollen early in the morning, waiting until the proverbial dust settles (and isn’t swirling around in the air you breathe) can make your time outdoors more bearable.

Change Your Clothes When You Come Home

When you come home from work, school, or errands, change into other clothing when you return to your house. Pollen likes to hitchhike on your clothing and stick to it like tiny sea urchins, so toss your outside clothes into the wash to prevent pollen from infiltrating the stronghold of your home.

Use a Neti Pot

If you’ve never used a Neti Pot before, you may be a little bit intimidated by the thought of pouring water up your nose. It’s actually not that uncomfortable (really!). It takes a little getting used to, but once you get the hang of it it’s quite effective, and will become a staple in your allergy-fighting regimen. Rinsing with a saline solution up to twice a day for short periods of time can help to clear out your nasal passages and help to lessen the effects of allergies on your sinuses.

Eat Local Honey

Many an allergy-sufferer claims that eating local honey helps them battle seasonal symptoms. It needs to be local because it will contain a wide sampling of different pollen carried on the bees who made it. By gradually exposing themselves to small amounts of local pollen, many people report it noticeably helping them build up a pollen tolerance and overall decreasing their allergy symptoms.

Purify the Air in Your Home

HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters in your appliances (like vacuum cleaners) can help ensure that allergens are taken out of the air in your home, instead of being stirred up and dispersed when you clean. There are also free-standing HEPA towers that you can put in high-traffic areas that will work to keep the air in your home as clear as possible.

Use Essential Oils

There are many essential oils that can help to support your immune system while it battles allergies. Add them to a homemade all-purpose cleaner, mix with water in a diffuser, or dilute and apply directly to your pulse points. Especially effective against hay fever, some favourites are lavender, eucalyptus, rose, and peppermint.

Put Turmeric on Everything

This vibrant spice, belonging to the ginger family, is about to become your new best friend. Turmeric contains curcumin, which acts as a decongestant and is a natural antihistamine. If you’re not sure what kinds of dishes you can add this superhero of a spice to, try making this golden turmeric tea recipe in under five minutes. It’s also perfect for curries and stir-fry.

Eat Allergy-Fighting Foods

Mother Nature provides many kinds of foods that contain antihistamines, and incorporating as many as you can into your diet can help naturally ward off allergy symptoms. Naturopaths often recommend eating a lot of cruciferous vegetables, onions, garlic, ginger, cayenne, and deep yellow and orange vegetables as often as possible.

. . .

So there you have it: your arsenal of weapons against allergy symptoms. Even though it can feel like a hopeless battle, any of these remedies can help make a difference.



February 28th, 2017

Still On Track With Your New Year’s Resolutions?

It can be discouraging setting your fitness New Year’s Resolutions and not being able to keep them by the time spring arrives. You feel motivated to start but somewhere along the way you lose energy, can’t keep up with your exercise routine and don’t have anyone to hold you accountable.

Here’s 4 ways to stay on a track with your fitness resolutions:

Set realistic goals

At the start, you’re motivated to make your health a priority but tend to overexert yourself. You’re willing to implement a new meal plan and exercise 4 times a week. Eating well and exercising multiple times a week are both realistic lifestyle changes, however, when you begin, it’s important to stay realistic.

Tip: Look at your current schedule and plan 1-2 fitness activities for the week. Once you feel comfortable and consistent with those days, add another class. This will allow you to ease into a new routine and make sustainable positive changes.

Find an activity that you enjoy

Doing an exercise routine that feels like a chore, limits your ability to achieve your goal. Exercise comes in many forms and can even include activities such as gardening, playing with your kids or going for a walk.

Tip: Brainstorm a list of activities that get you moving and you enjoy, or think you might enjoy, and schedule them in your calendar.

Find the right support

Not only should you set realistic goals and enjoy what you do, you should find the right support group or partner that will hold you accountable throughout the year. Kevin O’Connor, a competitive road runner and coach, relies on his support team to get through the rainy cooler months in Vancouver, BC. “Training through the colder months, I think it’s very important to find a group. If you can’t find a group then try and find a training partner so you know that when it’s cold, wet and miserable, someone’s going to be there and you’re accountable.”

Tip: Sign up for a weekly fitness group or pair up with a friend. Exercising with a group or friend will be more enjoyable and you can keep track of each other’s progress.

Supplement with the right joint health product

Increasing your physical activity may leave you feeling too sore to continue and increase your chances of giving up on your goals all together. Your recovery process is an important part of your fitness routine and should not be avoided. Stretching, hydrating, eating a balanced diet and supplementing with the right joint health product, allows you to regain your energy and support your joint health and mobility.

“As a running athlete, I find SierraSil Joint Formula14 and Pain Relief Topical Spray enables my recovery from the same hard workouts that I ran 17 years ago when I was at my peak. Taking SierraSil products has assisted greatly in my training with confidence after hard workouts and now I’m running almost as well as I was in 1994 and 1996.” – Kevin O’Connor

SierraSil, a clay-mineral that aids in easing joint and muscle aches, reduces delayed onset muscle soreness and calms inflammation. SierraSil has allowed many to get back to their regular physical activities without experiencing chronic pain and stiffness.

Tip: Pick up a bottle of Joint Formula14 at your nearest London Drugs to help you ease into your fitness routine.

For more advice on joint health products such as SierraSil, speak to a London Drugs pharmacist today.



February 22nd, 2017

Living a healthy lifestyle

When it comes to trying to convince people to be more active to lower their health risks, one of the most frustrating things for doctors is that the people who tend to listen to this advice most are usually those people who are already somewhat active, not those who are most sedentary.

But the studies show over and over and over again that the biggest gains from making a bit of a positive adjustment in activity level actually come to those who are the least active to start with.

For example, in a huge study which was published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, researchers set out to examine the effect that genes confer on heart health and whether or not living a healthy lifestyle could offset any negative contribution to life expectancy from inheriting “bad” genes.

And their happy conclusion is that yes, healthy living can indeed offset “bad” genes.

More encouragingly, perhaps, even if you inherited a higher risk of heart disease from your ungenerous parents, you don’t have to do all that much in terms of trying to live a healthy lifestyle to counter the effect of those genes.

In this study, the researchers concluded that even a small upward tick in healthy living – some exercise but not necessarily 5 times a week and not necessarily very vigorous workouts, eating some veggies and fruit but not necessarily 10 servings a day, maintaining a decent body weight even in the mild overweight category – significantly lowered the risk of dying from heart disease that “bad” genes confer.

Or to put this in the words of the study’s authors, “the biggest protective effect by far (on life expectancy in this study) came from going from a terrible lifestyle to one that was moderately good.”

In other words, the people who are likely to gain the most benefit are those who manage to finally get off the couch, even if it’s only to walk around the block to start, not those who go from jogging a half-hour a day to running faster and longer.

So the great news is that genes are not destiny.

The bad (sort of) news is that you do have to do something about it, however.



November 21st, 2016

How You Can Help Build Dementia-Friendly Communities

This holiday season, the Alzheimer Society of BC is asking all British Columbians to join them in building communities that are more welcoming, compassionate and inclusive for people living with dementia. 

The Society works with local governments, professional groups and the general public to assist Canadian communities in becoming truly dementia-friendly. In this video from the society we hear from Jim Mann, a person living with dementia, who offers insight into the daily struggles of living with the disease – and how members of the community can help.

As proud sponsors of the Alzheimer Society of BC, we encourage you to get educated about the disease. With 560,000 Canadians living with dementia, and 1.1 million Canadians impacted either directly or indirectly, it’s important to recognize that those living with dementia deserve understanding, compassion, and support.

Please join the Alzheimer Society of BC in building Dementia-Friendly Communities across British Columbia. For more information about how you can join the movement to build more Dementia-Friendly Communities, please contact Heather Cowie at 604-742-4941 or dementiafriendlybc@alzheimerbc.org.



October 6th, 2016

8 Clever Hacks for Your Kitchen Appliances

There’s no time like the present to dust off that waffle iron you received as a wedding gift two years ago. The same applies to the slow cooker only brought out for potlucks, and the popcorn machine you can’t reach at the back of the cupboard. When it comes to kitchen appliances, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination. Coffee makers and dishwashers are capable of doing much more than what it claims on their packaging. The following hacks take everyday kitchen appliances (and a few kitchen tools!) from one-dimensional to multi-faceted.

Cheese Grater

kitchen cooking hacks

We all know how frustrating it can be trying to butter a fluffy piece of toast with a cold slab of butter. Not only can a cheese grater solve all your butter problems, but it can also double as a vegetable slicer, spice grinder, and chocolate shaver. Find more grater hacks here.

READ MORE



March 25th, 2016

LD Picks: The Best Articles We Read This Week

Nobody has time to read the whole Internet, so our editors have summarized the best of it for you. Read on for smart advice on personal emails, the perils of ‘parachuting,’ pancake science, and more—our favourite articles of the week.

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11 Things A Massage Therapist Knows About You After An Hour

smartphone

Smartphone neck: To your massage therapist, it means you should cut down time spent online.

  1. You love big purses. Your body will be tighter on one side, since you’re likely to weight-bear on a primary leg.   A therapist will detect tight glutes, hamstrings, and quads, as well as an unnatural pelvic tilt.
    [Perhaps you’ve been packing an earthquake prep kit in that ginormous satchel?]
  2. You’re dehydrated. Haven’t drunk your recommended eight glasses of water a day? You’ll feel pain on certain trigger points in your upper back.
    [But wait—could 8 glasses a day be a myth?]
  3. You’re cold all the time. People reflexively hunch their shoulders when they’re cold. It’s common for massage therapists to see additional neck and shoulder stress in the winter months.
    [Perhaps you don’t spend long enough warming up your car. Nope, that’s impossible.]
  4. You have a desk job. It’s not for nothing they call sitting the next public health crisis. Working at a computer weakens the lower back, puts your hips out of alignment, and leads to tight glutes and legs.
    [Forget good posture—this is way more important at work.]
  5. You sleep on your stomach. The parachuting position puts stress on the neck, leading to abnormal tightness.
    [These 6 surprising foods help you sleep all night long—in any position.]
  6. You’re constipated. Much easier to detect than you might think. The dead giveaway is an abdomen that’s firm to the touch.
    [Not sure what to suggest… Bran Buds?]
  7. You have a long commute. Hours spent behind the wheel promotes a posture of leaning forward. You can tell a frequent driver by his hunched shoulders.
    [Apparently, the more you burp, the worse you drive, says Dr. Art Hister.]
  8. You’re hurt. Acute injuries radiate heat and inflammation. An experienced massage therapist can distinguish between chronic injuries (muscles feel tight, dehydrated) and repetitive motion injuries (tendons and muscles feel wiry, like guitar strings).
    [Pain sucks. We’ve got a host of services—from pharmacy to health library—to help you through it.]
  9. You’re on your smartphone too much. Chronic texters will find it unusually painful when a massage therapist rubs their shoulders. The cause? The downward position of your head as you look at the screen.
    [That said, we, ahem, have some excellent deals on smartphones.]
  10. You’re a runner. Hips and lower back are tight to the touch, foot arches are tense.
    [Two words: Icy Hot. Dr. Scholls. Okay, four.]
  11. Your allergies are flaring up. Hay fever got you on the ropes? Tissue around your eyes, forehead, cheeks, and jaw will feel tender and inflamed. Lymph nodes, too, in the chest, neck, and underarms.
    [We’ve got more allergy remedies than you can blast a sneeze at.]

* * *

5 Things You Should NEVER Do in the Shower

Janet Leigh, in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960).

You’ll never look at an innocent shower the same way again. (Janet Leigh, in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, 1960.)

Believe it or not, your safety is on the line every time you hop in and steam up the bathroom. To avoid embarrassment, injury, or worse, the experts at Prevention say you should stay away from…

  1. Showering during an electrical storm: Think about it—water conducts electricity. If lightning hit a power line or the ground it can come up your pipes. (Even at a distance from your home, the jolt can be significant.) Activities to avoid in a thunderstorm: showers, baths, dishwashing by hand, playing hard-wired video games or computers, and talking on hard-wired phones.
  2. Using an old showerhead: Over time, potentially dangerous bacteria accrete in the nooks and crannies, providing microbes. Even worse, modern showerheads can aerosolize water particles, allowing bad bacteria deep into your airways. Use a rain-type showerhead or remove it altogether and go with a single stream of water.
  3. Showering without a mat: In North America in 2011, more than 250,000 accidental injuries occurred in the bathroom or shower—20 percent due to slipping. Put non-slip strips or a mat in your tub and consider adding grab bars inside and outside the shower to reduce falls.
  4. Overusing your loofah: They’re great for removing off dead skin, but loofahs can become loaded with germs. Wash yours once a week. Either soak it in diluted vinegar, or run it through the dishwasher.
  5. Showering before bed: An evening shower is a delightful thing, but don’t hop in within two hours of bedtime. The temperature change messes with your body’s natural triggers for restful sleep.

[More at Prevention]

* * *

The Science Behind Making the Perfect Pancake

pancake

Impress your family with a nugget of trivia: That delicious pancake aroma comes from a reaction named for the French chemist Louis-Camille Maillard.

Everyone loves pancakes. But it takes more than luck to work out how much batter you need or how to ensure the perfect flip. Here’s a great recipe, along with secret scientific underpinnings that contribute to perfect pancakes. Good luck!

THE RECIPE

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
  • 1-1/3 cups milk
  • butter for frying

THE SCIENCE

  1. Cooking is chemistry: Flour supplies protein and starch, both of which make simple sugar molecules join in chains. Much of flour’s protein comes from gluten. When you mix flour with milk and eggs, its gluten molecules get more flexible and can bind. The mixing causes carbon dioxide gas from the air to be trapped within these networks, which causes the pancake to rise.
  2. If you want thick pancakes, use a raising agent: This produces the carbon dioxide. Use baking soda or baking powder, or a mixture of sodium bicarbonate with a weak acid, like cream of tartar.
  3. Let batter stand for at least 30 minutes: Three hours is better. Why? You want to beat the mixture hard, to form the gluten—but allow the starches time to swell. With insufficient time, the pancake structure will be weak and full of air bubbles.
  4. Go easy with the batter: Rookie cooks always use too much.
  5. Use moderate heat: The pan should be hot enough for the pancake to brown in less than a minute, but not so hot that the batter sets when you put it on the pan. The pan matters, too. The best are heavy and flat, and hold heat well.
  6. The colour and flavour come from “browning off”: This process—a chemical reaction known as the Maillard reaction—is caused by hot sugars reacting with amino-acids, generating a wide range of small molecules that escape from the mixture and carry their wonderful smells to your nose.

Happy pancaking!

[More at Time Science]

* * *

How to Write Emails If You Want People to Actually Respond

imrs-1

The sweet spot of email writing. (Image courtesy of Boomerang.)

Having trouble getting people to reply to your emails? The solution, say the experts behind a popular Gmail plugin, is to write as if you’re 9 years old. Short, declarative sentences carry the day. But beware: Excessive simplicity and complexity both diminish your chances of a reply. Messages written at a kindergarten reading level get replies 46 percent of the time; those written at a university level, 39 percent.

Here’s a full list of Boomerang’s email tips:

  1. Use short sentences with simpler words. A 3rd grade reading level works best.
  2. Include one to three questions in your email.
  3. Make sure you include a subject line! Aim for 3-4 words.
  4. Use a slightly positive or slightly negative tone. Both outperform a completely neutral tone.
  5. Take a stand! Opinionated messages see higher response rates than objective ones.
  6. Write enough, but not too much. Try to keep messages between 50-125 words.

[More at The Washington Post]

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