Heart Month

Happy Valentine’s Day!

February isn’t just a month for couples look forward to, or be dreaded by those of us who are single, or simply don’t care about the hype that the mass media creates. There’s something that everyone should be aware of – your heart. It’s important to know the risks that Canadians (both male and female) face since 9 in 10 will have at least one risk factor for heart disease and stroke. You definitely look at life in a different way when you do find out of a particular heart condition. But whether you have a condition or not, it’s essential to keep your heart healthy for a long and happy life.

Things to remember for a healthy heart:

  • quit smoking (will be beneficial for you and those around you)
  • exercise (if you have a heart condition, remember to talk with your doctor to see what kinds of exercises are right for you)
  • eating a healthy balanced diet
  • reduce stress levels (yoga is great!)
  • go for regular checkups (a bit tough to do in Canada…hard to get hold of doctors here!)

There has been studies which showed that participants who had 270mg of magnesium daily had a 30% lower risk of stroke. (recommended daily does of magnesium is 280-500mg). You can get magnesium from eating spinach, nuts, yogurt, soybeans, bananas and much more.

Most people today are consuming two or even three times the recommended amount of salt. The Heart and Stroke Foundation suggests that Canadians use no more than 1 tsp (5 mL) of salt a day (2,300 mg). This includes salt that you actually sprinkle on your food to sodium in processed and packaged foods. Too much salt in the system can increase the amount of blood in the arteries, raising blood pressure and increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Reduce taking in too much salt by:

  • cutting down on prepared and processed foods
  • eating more fresh vegetables and fruit
  • reduce the amount of salt you add while cooking/eating
  • use other seasonings (ie. garlic, lemon juice and herbs instead)

Look for the Health Check™ symbol on foods.
Health Check is the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s food information program, based on Canada’s Food Guide.

Let’s keep our hearts happy! Love the heart!!

References from 24 Hours, Heart and Stroke Foundation, and Choices Newsletter

Clinique

Do you suffer from acne? Are you an adult, but still breakout like you’re a teenager? Tried everything on the market and frustrated that nothing ever seems to work? Well, then Clinique may be the answer for you.

I was introduced to Clinique by a guy who didn’t seem to be having that much skin problems. But he was trying everything on the shelf, so he knew way more than I did. I have been suffering from severe acne since I was 11 or so. I don’t know how many times I went to the doctors to get it treated. I tried all kinds of creams, but nothing ever worked. It wasn’t until I went to live in Japan that I was given some TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) which REALLY helped. I was super happy. I stopped taking them, but it didn’t get worse again and stabilized.

However, it didn’t mean that I was all free from acne. I still broke out, never as bad as before, but still. When I went on the one year of being on a strict healthy diet, I noticed that my acne significantly decreased. Since then, I’ve noticed that if I eat chocolate, sugar, buttery food, or chips, I break out – so I mainly avoid those foods as much as possible.

To help the skin from the outside, I now use Clinique. I started using the 7 Day Scrub Cream Rinse-Off Formula $24.00 CAD and Acne Solutions Clarifying Lotion  $17.00 CAD. I wash my face with a gentle soap, then massage the scrub. I rinse and dry. Then I apply the Acne Solution with a cotton pad. After a week, I noticed that I was clearing up. I noticed that I didn’t break out as much. I was really satisfied.

ÖAcne Solutions Clarifying Lotion  $17.00 CAD

Ö7 Day Scrub Cream Rinse-Off Formula $24.00 CAD

When I bought the two items, they were doing a special at Hudson Bay where you got a free gift bag with samples inside. One of the samples was the Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator. I apply it at night around my eye and corner of my mouth to soften the wrinkles. I am hoping to buy the Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel next time since my Mary Kay’s moisturizer is running out.

ÖFree gift bag during promotion with creams, lipstick, eye shadows, mascara, etc.

The prices are pretty affordable compare to other competitors. And if you can buy when they’re giving out the free gift bags, bonus!  What I like about Clinique is that they’re 100% fragrance free. That doesn’t mean that they smell like crap. I’m really sensitive to fragrance so this is good.

However, after talking about acne with one of my friend, she said that Clinique didn’t work for her. So I guess it doesn’t work for everyone. Before taking the leap into investing into Clinique, go to one of their booths in major department stores like Hudson Bay or Sears and ask for samples. They’re really good out handing samples out (on certain items though).

Good luck!

The Hundred-Year Lie – Book

The Hundred-Year Lie:

How Food and Medicine are Destroying Your Health
Author of book: Randall Fitzgerald

This is an excellent book! It’s fascinating and frightening at the same time, being told about the dangers that we have exposed ourselves to throughout our lives. Whether you’re ill or healthy, this is a must-read!

I didn’t know that mandatory vaccinations that we receive as infants/child had mercury in them to preserve better. That recently, girls are starting puberty at the age of eight, and even cases of three-year olds!! The author believes that there has been an increase in male breast reduction operations, since the ‘Pill’ is getting into our water system, and well, we drink that water!

You will be amazed at all the hidden and coverups, how the FDA approves of substances – more likely for business and profit, rather than the safety of the citizens.

We are seeing an increasingly number of diseases that were rare just 50 to 100 years ago. Of course, back then, maybe the person died before getting diagnosis or treatment. Perhaps people couldn’t afford medical treatment, so by trying to treat it themselves, the numbers weren’t in the records.

However,  we are seeing a spike in the last couple of decades, such as cancer, Parkinson’s, immune disease and heart disease. What I’ve noticed after reading this book is that the media is focused on the ‘cure’ of many diseases, but not much effort is put in the ‘prevention’ of them. Of course, health books and workshops tell you to eat healthy and get daily exercise, but if we are being exposed to hazardous substances without knowing it, those preventions may not be enough.

I believe that the harmful chemicals in our food, environment (pollution, paint, house-hold cleaners, etc), hygiene products (toothpaste, cosmetics, perfume, soap, shampoo, etc) and even medicine, all add up, and they build up in our system. With the type of lifestyle that most of us have, we don’t have much opportunity to detoxify our body from these toxins – and that’s when problems begin. There is only so much the body can handle!

Don’t try to change over night. It’ll likely backfire. Take small steps. Try cutting out canned foods from your cooking. Then, switch to safer make-up the next time you purchase your cosmetics. Use lemon and baking soda for cleaning around the house – not only will it be safer and cheaper, it’ll leave your place smelling fresh and natural. Little by little, things will change, and it’ll make it easier for you to adjust to the changes.

Read! & Good luck!

Need a Coffee Break? Or take a break from Caffeine instead?

coffee12Living in a city like Vancouver, it’s hard not to miss walking a block without seeing a coffee shop. Infact, some blocks have cafe’s opening right across from each other, giving consumers a variety of choices.

But as some reports have shown, people today are consuming way too much coffee. Not only are caffeine in coffee, but in teas, colas, chocolate and in some over-the-counter drugs. The amount of caffeine you take in a day can quickly add up, so it’s good to keep an eye on your daily intake, especially if you’re suffering from physical problems such as urinary issues, heart disease, and anxiety.

With most of us living a fairly stressful life with everyone working a lot more harder and longer, we take in coffee to keep ourselves awake and pumped. But it comes with a price. Many undesirable effects like insomnia, irritability, tremors, headaches, reducing bone density and being too hyper can disrupt our lifestyle. Caffeine worsens stress by depleting your levels of B1 which is one of the ‘anti-stress’ vitamins. We’ve already seen some problems arising from energy drinks that have way too high contents of caffeine causing death.

It’s recommended to consume less than 100 mg per day. I find that I am so sensitive to caffeine that even a cup of Earl Grey Tea from Starbucks will keep me awake until 4 am – and insufficient sleep means more likely to feel tired and anxious the following day. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying coffee is evil. I use to drink coffee with my hectic schedule, and loved drinking Latte’s and Cappuccino. It was really difficult fighting the temptation at first, and it comes up every now and then, but I’ve found a new love of Vanialla Rooibos Herbal Tea to keep me happy these days (which is caffeine-free).

It’ll be hard to avoid coffee or cut back when the one place to chat and hang out with friends (or business) are happening at coffee shops these days. And if you need 8 cups of coffee to keep you going around the clock to get everything done – perhaps it’s time to ‘wake up’ and think about making some changes to your overall lifestyle instead.
More info @ Health Canada

alive Magazine

http://www.alive.com

“Canada’s Natural Health and Wellness Magazine”

Their tagline says it all. I love picking up this magazine. It’s full of health-related information, and best of all it’s FREE :)

Unfortunately, there’s quite a bit of ads inside, just like any other magazine. It’s ok because you get to know what kind of products are out there for what, but beware that just because you see a large ad, or see it frequently doesn’t mean that it’s a good product.  I took one ad from the magazine for a omega (supplement) product to one of the supplement stores, but the staff told me that although that brand is well known and popular, it wasn’t the best one. Doctors will also tell you to look for specific things in supplements, so don’t fall for those fancy, pretty brands and packaging.

For the most part, the magazine is designed nicely (except for the ads :P ). It’s a nice magazine to read through on your sofa with your favorite tea, and maybe even a pair of scissors since I tend to cut out specific information to keep in my health ‘sketchbook’.

You can easily pick up these monthly-published magazines at most natural supermarkets like Choices. Or if you’re more of the digital-reading type, you can check out the articles on their website @ alive.com

Stay healthy!

Book: A New Earth

A New Earth
by Eckhart Tolle
★★★★★

Well, after reading The Secret (after reading The Power of Now), it’s nice to come back to something more spiritually based once again.

The things that Tolle talks about are hard to explain, which is why I recommend you read this book because he just explains it so well. It’s best to get the most out of it, directly from his very own words!

He focuses on your ‘ego’ and how it affects you and your life (mostly in negative ways in our modern society). He teaches us not to identify yourself with your physical appearance/form (as most media-driven society has become way too focused upon, creating disastrous results, especially with younger people), not to identify yourself with your possessions and status. To take control of all that ‘wanting’ that is never satisfied.

Interestingly enough, The Secret and this book do share similar ideas. One in particular was the ‘war against’ statements. The war against drugs, crime, terrorism, cancer and such has actually increased the number of these ‘problems’. The Secret states that by thinking about negative things, you attract negative or ‘like’ energy, making the situation worse. In A New Earth, the author mentions that by making something an ‘enemy’ to fight against, strengthens that ‘enemy’.

Throughout this book, you finish a chapter or section and end up saying “ah~” or “I see, I see.” with a nod, as if you have become enlightened in some way by a new way of thinking. I am not sure if reading his first book, The Power of Now would be a necessary prerequisite to this book. For me, I found The Power of Now as if a monk had slapped me several times, and have shown me this and that about the world, pulling my hand as I was dazed with the new perspective. A New Earth was as if I had become the monk’s disciple, and I was studying the spiritual teachings along beside him. Many other reviews had mentioned that reading the first one is a good idea. However, I’m sure you’d still be able to enjoy this book without having to read The Power of Now.

I did find that Tolle tends to repeat the same things over and over, but perhaps that is to help get the message across. So that if you are reading the book over several weeks, you’d be reviewing some of the parts over so that you remember the ideas well, even after you are done reading the book.

This book has allowed me to find peace through the difficult times, and  has given me the strength, to find joy, love, and hope. I hope it will do the same for you.

Happy Reading :)

IBS

Anyone who suffers from Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) knows how it can put limits on our lives and cause us to lose confidence in ourselves. You have trouble focusing in class or at work with the pain/discomfort. You avoid traveling, especially if you don’t have easy access to the bathroom. You may not be able to attend social events due to dehydration, fatigue and you feel as though anything you eat could trigger another bowel movement.

I’ve suffered IBS since around I was 14. According the NCBI   IBS doesn’t cause permanent harm to the intestines, and wont lead to a serious disease, such as cancer. In my case, it was the worst two three years ago like sleeping 4 hours a night for nearly three years, barely no exercise, often sitting in front of the computer for 12 hours a day for school and work, having no breakfast, eating poor nutritional foods, lunch was always eating by the computer to get work done, taking a quick nap right after eating to catch up on some sleep, and no ‘resting’ or peaceful time.

IBS is a common functional disorder that involves abdominal pain, fullness, gas, and bloating and cramping, with either constipation or diarrhea or alternating constipation and diarrhea.Symptoms vary from person to person, but is diagnosed if the symptoms have been present for at least 6 months. There is no test to diagnose IBS, but make sure you talk to your doctor and do some tests to rule out other problems, such as an infection.

Since there are no ‘magic’ pill to cure IBS, treatments goals involve relieving the symptoms and knowing your own body. Things to help treat IBS are:

  • regular exercise
  • better sleep habits
  • reduce your stress levels
  • dietary changes that are appropriate for you such as avoiding drinks that stimulate the intestines (ie. cofee, tea, or soda)
  • avoiding large or heavy meals
  • avoid wheat, rye, barley, chocolate, milk products, and alcohol
  • increase dietary fiber

After doing most of these I’ve found improvements and find that stress is a big factor in how my digestive system functions!

There are medicines that help relieve the symptoms of IBS, however they are temporary, and do not solve the actual problem. Taking medication for prolong periods may cause other problems. I was taking Imodium almost daily and could tell it was doing harm to my stomach as I developed sores in my mouth. It’s best to talk with your doctor about IBS and medications. You may be interested in seeking help from a Chinese Herbal Medicine specialist if you’re not wanting to take any ‘drugs’. I tried the herbal medicines plus moxibustion and it has worked in the past. Homeopathy and naturopathy is another option.

Remember to take plenty of fluids and reduce your stress levels!!!

References from Canadian Health & Lifestyle Magazine and

NCBI

National Center for
Biotechnology Information