True Life Stories & True Life Issues
This article is contributed to Evolving Wellness by guest author Dr. Colette Szalay.
If you live in an area that gets a typical winter season, you may find it challenging to stay fit given your environment during the winter months. Although no doubt it can get very cold in many parts of the world, the outdoors provides a wonderful opportunity to have fun and stay in shape over the winter months. Sometimes it is hard to get motivated, given the comfort and warmth of the indoors, added to the fact that we have more darkness in the mornings and evenings. Yet with a little discipline to start, the winter can be a season to be enjoyed rather than just tolerated.
For some the winter months represent a repeated cycle of packing on the pounds, only to feel bad when spring approaches because “it’s time to get ready for bathing suit season again”. Taking just a 20 minute brisk walk after dinner every evening can make the difference between maintaining your health and physique, versus feeling like a beached whale after gaining 10 or 15 pounds over the winter months.
Far from being just about keeping a certain physique, keeping active has a myriad of health benefits, one of which is mental health. Seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.) is a depressive state that is brought on by lack of sunlight and many suffer from this. Exercise combats depression and helps ward off these winter blues.
Research has even proven the mental benefits of exercise on memory and cognition for all ages. Studies show that children who exercise show greater aptitude in academic testing and it is believed that exercise has a protective effect against dementia and Alzheimer’s in seniors.
A winter workout doesn’t have to be a costly ordeal. Walking is free and if you want to be even more challenged, just walk through fresh snow and you’ll be working up a sweat in no time. If you are concerned about icy conditions or really have trouble bearing the cold, take advantage of the indoor walking that many local community venues organize. For seniors especially or for anyone who is going outside when the sidewalks are possibly icy, I recommend cleat-like straps that easily slip onto footwear to prevent falls.
For the more adventurous, find a second-hand sports store and you can get inexpensive snowshoes, skates, or cross-country skis. For more thrill-seeking types, for less than $20 you can invest in a toboggan and you can brave a hill with a group of kids. There is no better workout than a child who has endless energy to bound up the hill begging you to go down “just one more time PLEEEEEZ” for the umpteenth time!
As for dressing for the weather, I’ve heard it said before that there is no such thing as weather that is too cold, only clothing that is not appropriate for the conditions. Even in sub-zero temperatures, dressing with snow pants on (or at the very least long-johns under pants), layers under a winter coat, a hat, scarf, warm gloves, and boots, you will be sweating within minutes of a brisk walk. Every time I see young men wearing baseball caps in snowstorms, or women that don’t wear hats for fear of messing up their hair, I shiver inside. I too would certainly not enjoy the winter if I was not dressed properly and constantly cold.
In January 2013, Maclean’s magazine published the article entitled Why Sitting is a Dangerous Health Threat. It cites the act of being sedentary as being the new plague of our generation, akin to obesity or smoking. Sitting throughout the day for extended periods of time is linked to diabetes, heart disease and cancer. One study out of Australia showed that every single hour of TV viewed may shorten life by as much as 22 minutes.
We live in a technological age that makes us sit far more than any previous generation. Long commutes to work, jobs that require sitting still for hours, increased TV viewing in all ages, and the ever-present home computer challenge us to keep active. Why not start with having fun with winter while it lasts? After all, it keeps coming back every year, so it would seem sensible for us to learn to work with it, if for nothing more than the sake of our health.
Dr. Colette Szalay is a chiropractor who practices in Ontario, Canada. She works with all ages, from infants to the elderly. She has a particular passion for helping patients transform their health with dietary changes since she believes the majority of conditions she sees are a cumulative result of poor food choices. She has felt first-hand the benefits of changing her diet over the years and inspires others to do so as well.
This is an ultra creamy and super delicious smoothie that will excite the tastebuds, while nourishing your body with whole food, quality nutrients. A pleasant, natural sweet flavor that is sure to be a hit with the kids and adults alike. It makes a great afternoon snack that provides a real serving of fruit, along with some fiber, protein and healthy fat.
TYPE: Dessert, Snack
PREPARATION: < 5 mins
SERVING: Makes around 24-32oz; for 2 large, or 4 small servings
Allergies and the common cold can lead to sinus pressure and nasal congestion. With a healthy lifestyle and some common sense however, you can mitigate your sinus issues. Take action on a problematic sinus in six steps:
If you have a deviant nasal septum or narrow sinus passage, you are probably at high risk for obstructions. Polyps and other growths can also narrow down your sinus passage. In any case, it is of the essence to decongest the spaces in the sinuses for them to drain appropriately.
Maintain moisture in your nasal passages. This may mean letting the hot shower run while you’re in the bathroom or any other way you can inhale steam twice daily. To help open the transition space in your sinus, moisten a washcloth with warm water and put it on your face several times a day. Remember to imbibe lots of fluid to deplete the mucus.
Your nasal membranes can become parched due to hot air indoors. Left dry too long, they would turn crusty and cracked, leading mucus to congest in the sinus.
Try using a humidifier in your bedroom during the dry months. You may need to lower the humidity in winter though.
An over-the-counter saline spray can eliminate a surfeit of mucus, allergens and irritants from your nasal passage.
You can also make your own solution. Mix around 16 ounces of lukewarm water with a teaspoon of salt and, as an option, half a teaspoon of baking soda.
Pour this solution into a sterile Neti pot. Tilt head at a 45-degree angle. After putting the spout into the top nostril, gently pour mixture. It will ‘irrigate’ your nasal space and go out of the other nostril. Blow nose to get more water out. Do this to your other nostril.
Make sure the water in your solution is previously boiled, if not purified or distilled. Always rinse the irrigation device after using. Let it air-dry.
At worst, your medical practitioner may refer you to someone who specializes in sinus problems. He or she may prescribe surgery to take out polyps, adhesions, scars, and other obstructions in the nasal tunnels.
Steroids can address polyp growth in the nasal passages. Apt to be prescribed are budesonide, fluticasone propionate, funisolide, and mometasone. Steroids also reduce inflammation inside the nose and slow down mucus secretion.
For quick pain relief, you can get anti-inflammatory drugs from most pharmacies and grocery stores. They should not be taken consecutively for more than a week, unless the doctor explicitly said so.
Decongestants may alleviate swollen nasal passages. They can be taken orally (phenylephrine and pseudoephedrine) or nasally (naphazoline, oxymetazoline and phenylephrine). Pills should not be taken for more than a week, nasal sprays for more than three days.
If your sinus issues are allergic reactions, antihistamines from the drugstore can help. The most helpful variants are cetirizine, chlorpheniramine, diphenhydramine, and loratadine. Get your doctor first to conduct a skin test for allergies.
For the natural and alternative health lovers, these natural remedies for sinusitis are recommended:
If only as part of a healthy lifestyle, clear away from tobacco smoke, cleaning fumes, aerosols, and similar gases. Cease smoking if you haven’t already. If possible, stay inside the house on days when the air is heavily polluted.
HEPA filters can, to a limited extent, manage your problematic sinus. These devices catch undesirable matter floating in the air, e.g. pollen, dander, dust, mites and other irritants. As for allergens that are not airborne, you may need to find other ways to expel them.
Over January I went on the Whole30, a dietary program that seems to be part elimination diet and all nutritious diet. It was designed by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. And now, I’m going on it again!
What is the Whole30®?
Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it. Are your energy levels inconsistent or non-existent? Do you have aches and pains that can’t be explained by over-use or injury? Are you having a hard time losing weight no matter how hard you try? Do you have some sort of condition (like skin issues, digestive ailments, seasonal allergies or fertility issues) that medication hasn’t helped? These symptoms may be directly related to the foods you eat – even the “healthy” stuff. So how do you know if (and how) these foods are affecting you?
Strip them from your diet completely. Cut out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the “reset” button with your metabolism, systemic inflammation, and the downstream effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn once and for all how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day to day life, and your long term health. The most important reason to keep reading?
This will change your life.
It is a program that gets you eating good, real food and excluding all processed and refined food, grains, dairy, legumes, potato, alcohol and sugar (even ‘natural’ sugars) and it is going to get you feeling pretty good, pretty soon! In a way, I like the constraints of this 30 day program as you I didn’t really have to think much what to cook/eat. And remember it is just for 30 days.
I’m not going to lie, however- the Whole30 is pretty strict. And if you haven’t spent much time cooking your own real food (generally speaking) (read here about the benefits of cooking your own food) this could be a bit of a jump for you. But it doesn’t take long to get into the swing of things.
I think the stand out for me in this program, is that it aims to help you let go of the idea of certain junk foods.
For me, if there is one thing to remember while following the Whole30, it is that to not ‘re-create’ foods that make seem like ‘paleo’ versions of a junk food. And to avoid having dessert, which is hard I know. But remember it is only for 30 days!
How to prepare:
Meal ideas (these could be used for any meal):
Nb: Many of these ideas I had on my own whole30, others I’ve added as you may like to try them out. Many of these I need to write up recipes for – so stay tuned!
This article is written for Evolving Wellness by guest Lexi Yoga.
If you are a beginner to yoga, and just starting out, then it is valuable to know the basics. All you really need to practice yoga is yourself, but being comfortable and safe is important to enjoy your yoga practice.
When practicing outside, make sure that the ground is dry and free of rocks. If you are indoors, have a clear space that is free of furniture.
Practice on a non-slip surface. A yoga mat is a good investment, but not absolutely necessary. A folded blanket will also work, but it does tend to slip a bit.
If you are a bit stiff and lack flexibility, then you may need some cushions, a yoga strap and/or hard foam yoga blocks. Proper use of yoga props are best learned from a teacher, who can adapt the practice to your particular needs.
There is no need to buy expensive yoga clothing. Wearing loose comfortable clothes, preferably cotton or other natural fibers is all you need. The more your skin is free to breathe the better. Be sure that your clothing allows you the maximum range of movement – and that it doesn’t bind you at the waist or crotch. Jeans are not advisable; loose or stretchy shorts are great! Don’t forget to take off your belt if you wear one too.
Practice yoga in bare feet. Being grounded to the Earth bare foot gives your feet room to breathe and gives you more stability in the postures. Leave your shoes and socks outside the room or away from your practice area. Avoid wearing socks, as you can slip and fall.
Take off your watch and jewelry. It is best to remove your glasses, as you want to avoid the chance of breaking them. If you have long hair, then tie it back. Have a zip-up or jumper handy, in case you feel cold – and a light blanket for the relaxation and meditation periods.
Do not practice yoga near furniture or any sharp objects, as you may lose your balance during some postures, fall and hurt yourself. Be sure to have enough space around you to be able to move around comfortably.
Move slowly. If you experience pain, stop, come out of the position, take a few breaths and then resume your practice. Pain is your body’s way of warning you that something might not be good for you. However, don’t let the fear of pain stop you from practicing gently. Remember to always let your reach slightly exceed your grasp.
If you are pregnant, then you should consider consulting a book on pregnancy yoga or working with a teacher who specializes in this field. This is to avoid any harm to the baby.
If you suffer from any medical conditions or have any doubts as to the safety of some practices, then it’s best to consult your physician or holistic healthcare professional. Remember that yoga is not meant to be used as a medical prescription for any condition. Yoga is a wonderful complimentary treatment to heal your body and make you feel good on a mind, body and spirit level.
Lexi Yoga is a yoga enthusiast who took her 200 hour Teacher’s Training Course in Toronto, and 30 hour Yin Yoga Certification Course in Ottawa. She is quite the health nut, who lives a healthy lifestyle mainly consisting of – eat, sleep & yoga. She enjoys making instructional yoga videos on her successful YouTube channel. You can visit her website - LexiYoga.com and follow her daily life on Twitter, and Facebook.
Many parents pin their hopes on the so-called ADHD diet in improving their children’s brain function and reduce symptoms of the said condition, e.g. restlessness and inattentiveness. If you or your kid has ADHD, this regimen may encompass food and supplements you are already comfortable with.
This diet was created in the view that certain food and ingredients may aggravate ADHD symptoms; the diet eliminates such substances and promotes others. Apart from food, the ADHD diet is typically comprised of supplements designed to offset nutritional deficits that may galvanize symptoms. Your ordinary diet alone may not be able to supply optimum amounts of such nutrients.
ADHD diets have divided experts, some of them believing that they could only do so much to relieve the condition’s symptoms. Many nutritionists nonetheless stress that certain food work well on the brain, i.e. take the edge off ADHD symptoms.
Focus Formula – herbal remedy proven to relieve symptoms of ADD/ADHD in children & adults, including poor mental focus, trouble concentrating and decreased attention span
Items on an ADHD diet may include high-protein fare such as meat, eggs, cheese, nuts and beans; omega-3 fatty acids like those in olive oil and coldwater white fish; and complex carbohydrates like fruits and vegetables.
Protein is highly suggested for breakfast and in-between meals to improve concentration at school and bring out the potency of ADHD drugs. Meanwhile, complex carbs are suggested for dinner as it is a great impetus to sleep.
Omega-3s are also available in supplement form. Dietitians recommend ADHD sufferers to take omega-3 supplements in addition to vitamins and minerals. This advice is all the more poignant because many kids and adolescents do not balance their diets. But since symptoms of ADHD symptoms differ widely, coordinate with your doctor before availing of supplements.
Reduce your intake of simple sugars. Repeat culprits include candies, corn syrup, table sugar, and white flour. All in all, knowing what food to eliminate is a matter of trial and error. If you find symptoms receding after putting off certain substances, continue avoiding them.
Recent research has corroborated a study in the 1970s that associated artificial coloring, flavoring, and preservatives to hyperactive behavior among kids. Today, pediatricians are wont to discourage children with ADHD from eating preservative-laden and artificially colored food. Also, ADHD kids should stay away from food with aspartame, nitrites, monosodium glutamate.
BrightSpark – homeopathic remedy proven to relieve symptoms of ADD/ADHD in children such as hyperactivity, distractibility and impulsiveness
But while candy and other sweet treats cause kids to ramp up activeness, they do not in themselves cause ADHD. Sugary items should still play a role in any diet, albeit a reduced one.
More progressive studies even found that a little caffeine can improve symptoms of ADHD in kids. Then again, caffeine’s side effects may supersede any advantage. Pediatricians would probably tell you or your child to avoid caffeine altogether.
If you or your child has ADHD, talk with a doctor first. He or she can request special tests designed to gauge brain function. Afterwards you can follow a well-planned diet under his or her supervision. Besides, an ADHD diet may require supplements that need doctor’s prescription.
Be sure to stay for the entire duration of the diet, which usually takes a month at least. Stay long enough to see changes; bail if you don’t. Record the effects of this modified diet in a journal and show it to your doctor.
MoodCalm – homeopathic remedy to relieve symptoms of mood swings to calm emotional outbursts
Adequate sleep (a minimum of seven hours) and regular physical activity (30 minutes three to four times weekly) should go well with your new eating regimen. Meditation, to say nothing of deep breathing and relaxation techniques, also goes a long way toward a calmer, more attentive you.
Making informed decisions would not only mitigate you or your kid’s suffering. By being more accurate in appraising medications, treatments and diets, you would have a better chance at defeating ADHD. By the look and smell of it, the ADHD diet is something that would fit snugly in any healthy lifestyle.
Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees. In a pan add the ghee or coconut oil and cook chopped onion until soft. Stir in crushed garlic, chopped tomatoes, and salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes until tomatoes are soft. Then beat the eggs and water until you have a smooth consistency. Pour the eggs and cooked tomato + onion combo and the fresh basil into a greased pan (I used a pyrex container one which was 35cm (length) by 24cm (width) by 7cm (height)). Stir in the fresh basil. Bake for about 30-40 minutes OR until cooked through (it shouldn’t wobble at all once cooked).
If you’re a manager, the conference call is probably the most irksome item on your to-do list. The staff of today do not just happen to sit within a cubicle of each other; they are globally scattered. Meeting with them personally might be out of the question, hence the importance of the conference call. It is the needle’s eye any employee, manager or not, has to go through.
As with any form of communication, a conference comes with etiquette. Some points to ponder when making that conference call:
1. Talk in a silent, imperturbable area, especially one away from noisy pets. An open-plan office is a no-no. So unless you can find or maintain a quiet room, hold the mute button until you must talk.
2. Then again, the mute button can stop everyone else from talking; be sure you understand how to use it. Also, know when to use the hold button. Otherwise, every participant would hear hold muzak emanating from your phone.
3. Don’t forget to use the correct phone. Some phones are very sensitive to background noise. Many can even pick up your mere movement on a leather chair: an inconvenient furniture in most cases.
4. Aside from sitting on leather chairs, or scraping any chair for that matter, avoid shuffling papers and tapping pens. These are just a few of the loudest sources of background noise.
5. Arrange for the conference call in advance. Make sure participants know the phone number, passwords and other important info. Also, take your callers’ time zones into account…
6. …and start the conference sharply on time. Do not wait for tardy participants. Roll-call the participants present, and give special mention to those missing in action.
7. Since a conference call is essentially, well, a conference, note-taking is still imperative. So is agenda: Have it ready and distributed beforehand.
8. Introduce yourself. Tell your name before speaking. Never assume the callers recognize your voice, even if this is your umpteenth meeting. Plus, an introduction would do the secretary or note-taker immense good.
9. In the same thought, have every participant introduce themselves. Get even the most aloof one to say hello. It lightens up an otherwise an intimidating setup, where everyone is faced with faceless persons. An introduction infallibly builds relationships.
10. You might want to take advantage of guest speakers. The presence of a relative stranger has a psychological effect on other callers. They would give their rapt attention and be in their best behavior – even though the guest did not last seven minutes into the meeting and has left.
11. Use names to ask for inputs to the discussion. This will save every caller the embarrassment of being caught not listening and requesting to have the query repeated.
12. Control the conversation in a way that one caller does not monopolize it. Also, do not go off-topic. Be considerate of everyone’s time; not everybody may share the same time zone.
13. So be grateful for every caller’s time when ending the meeting. Thank them, and they will look forward to another round of talk with you.