Healthy Living Magazine Spring 16

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PA IN RELIEF DRUG FREE, SURGERY FREE, PAIN FREE! Dr. Christine Garrity, Chiropractor, is excited to offer her patients the

latest advance in safe, comfortable and highly effective pain relief and tissue repair. Theralase lasers are the most technologically advanced therapeutic lasers approved by the FDA, capable of delivering 100 times more healing energy than the most powerful devices of the previous generation (Class III – Cold Lasers – LLLT). More power mean shorter treatment times, less therapy needed and better pain relief!

TMJ/Jaw Pain Cervical (Neck) Pain Herniated Disc Degenerative Disc Bulging Disc Spinal Stenosis

Wrist Pain Carpal Tunnel

Migraine Headaches

Rotator Cuff-Shoulder Pain Muscle Spasms Elbow and Joint Pain Golfer’s/Tennis Elbow



The THERALASE laser floods the tissues with photons, energizing the damaged cells and increasing circulation to the painful area. This increases the body’s production of ATP (Adenosine-triphosphate) expediting the healing processes to reduce inflammation and repair damaged tissue. Treatments take just a few minutes, however the therapeutic effect continues to soothe and heal long after the treatment ends. CALL TO BOOK YOUR APPOINTMENT:


Lumbar (low back) and Sciatic Pain Pinched Sciatic Nerve Knee and Joint Pain Knee Meniscus Osteoarthritis and Ligament/Tendon Bunion Pain Morton’s Neuroma

Lower Extremity Pain Pulled Hamstring, Calves Shin Splints Foot and Ankle Pain Plantar Fasciitis Heel Spurs, Neuropathy






departments 5 upfront 8 new & newsworthy 13 dental health 23 seniors 24 directory 26 marketplace 30 healthy recipe

features 10 FEELING STRESSED? Continuing her series on wellness, Shawn Nisbet talks about stress – what to do, what not to do and how to handle it.

13 DENTAL CARE FOR TEENS Teenagers care about their appearance, but are they as concerned about their teeth? Dental hygienist Anaida Deti offers her top tips for a healthy smile.

16 COVER STORY HOME REMEDIES YOU CAN GROW: BASIL Basil isn’t just for cooking. Frankie Flowers and Bryce Wylde reveal the many health benefits of this delicious, versatile and highly effective herb.

Stress les s! 7 top tip s to manage s tress 18 MANAGING ASTHMA The Ontario Lung Association tells Healthy Living about Asthma Control Check, a new test designed to help put you in control.

20 HEALTHY HABITS FOR A HEALTHIER YOU Health enthusiast Stephanie Grech Orr shares some of her simple tips for developing good lifestyle habits – and sticking to them.

21 LET’S STAND UP FOR A HEALTHY PLANET! Personal trainer Earl Salzman urges all of us to act now on climate change. Time is running out, he warns, to tackle our greatest challenge.

25 HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE Dr. Michael Bensimon offers advice on keeping your heart healthy and reducing the risks of this potentially dangerous condition.

a as thm r u o l? Is y ontro c r e und


from the publisher


Isn’t It Time We Took More Control of Our Lives? There are great health benefits to be had by taking control: that’s the underlying theme of this issue of Healthy Living. With so much going on in the world today, many of us may sometimes feel as though everything is spiralling right out of control. Apart from the horrific events occurring on a global basis, we all have pressures closer to home: busy family lives, hectic work schedules, social demands and financial responsibilities. When things start to pile up, it’s easy to think everything is happening around us and that there’s little we can do about it. But that is simply not the case – as this issue points out. Take stress, for example. As Shawn Nisbet explains in her continuing series on wellness, feeling stressed need not feel like a life sentence. We all need some stress in our lives. “At times,” says Shawn, “stress can be beneficial. But unmanaged stress can be toxic.” So if you’re feeling stressed, her article offers plenty of advice about what to do, what not to do and how to handle the stress in your life. Managing asthma is another topic covered in this issue, as the Ontario Lung Association tells us about Asthma Control Check, a new test designed to help sufferers feel less vulnerable and gain more control over their condition. And Dr. Michael Bensimon talks about the dangers of uncontrolled high blood pressure and prescribes some preventative medicine to help you manage your heart’s health. Now we’re not recommending that HL readers transform themselves into raging control freaks. But gaining even a little more control over some aspects of our lives can make us feel less stressed and more content with the world around us. And that makes for healthier living and healthier lives. Remember, even a few small changes can reap big results on the health front! Til next time …

DON FLYNN, PUBLISHER Direct: 416-917-0986

ese Fo llow th a tips f ro m n M.D. Canad ia e hig h to manag ssure! blo o d pre 25 See page

Don Flynn 416.498.4996 Ext. 7 Cell: 416.917.0986 EDITOR


Charlotte Kirby 416.261.9163 Trish Miller-Kostin 416.498.4996 Ext. 4 Jim Mallory 416.498.4996 Ext. 5 Lynne Stewart 416.722.3404 GRAPHIC DESIGNER


Dr. Michael Bensimon, M.D. Anaida Deti Frankie Flowers Stephanie Grech Orr Shawn Nisbet Earl Salzman Kathy Smart Dr. Judy Snider Bryce Wylde DISTRIBUTION

Distributed throughout York Region. Available at select local food stores, health food retailers, doctor and dentist offices, health clubs, community centres, fitness centres, drugstores, medical clinics and more. Healthy Living is published 4 times yearly by The Town Crier of Markham Inc. 1 Town Crier Lane Markham, ON L3P 2T9 John Webster, President Phone: 416.498.4996 Ext. 1 Persons not in our free distribution area may subscribe. Canada: $19.78 for 4 issues. ($17.50 plus $2.28 HST) For subscription inquiries email: All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without the permission of the publisher is strictly prohibited. Information presented is compiled from sources believed to be accurate. However, The Town Crier of Markham Inc., assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions. The Town Crier of Markham Inc. assumes no responsibility for the claims in items reported or for the opinions expressed by our writers. The information in this publication is not intended to replace or substitute for medical, legal or financial advice. Always seek advice from your physician or other qualified health provider regarding any medical condition or treatment. We welcome your suggestions. Unsolicited manuscripts are invited, but will not be returned.

4 | Healthy Living

UP FRONT Simple Healthy TIPS Inflammation: Did You Know? Inflammation is a sign that all is not well in the body. Several causes, aside from infection and trauma, can trigger an inflammatory reaction, and the end result can be ill health and loss of energy.

D on’t sit for a prolonged period of time. Stand up and stretch.  Avoid negative people.  Take 15 to 30 minute naps.  Eat fish at least once a week.  Eat foods with bright rich colours.

What Causes Inflammation? If you have itchy skin, hives, asthma, gastrointestinal disturbance, headaches, diabetes or arthritis, reducing inflammation in the body will be of great benefit.  Food allergies can precipitate a wide variety of inflammatory disorder, with the most common culprits being wheat and dairy.  Environmental influences, such as stress or exposure to chemicals, moulds and pollution, are becoming bigger problems as we become more and more dependent on modern conveniences.  Vitamin deficiencies, which can also trigger inflammatory responses in the body, can be caused by low intakes of essential phytonutrients, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

How Can It Be Treated? Inflammation can be treated with food, natural supplements, exercise and mind/ body medicine. The first step is to diagnose the cause of the problem in order to address the underlying issues. Functional Medicine practitioners are experts in diagnosing and treating inflammation. Examination procedures include history, physical examination and blood work, while specialized tests (urine, blood, saliva) may be ordered. Those who suffer from chronic issues that at present are being treated only for symptomatic relief (for example, creams for itching or eczema) and who would like to explore the underlying cause of the problem should consult a Certified Functional Medicine practitioner. Courtesy of Dr. Judy Snider. Snider Chiropractic Clinic. 905-770-5131.

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How Regular Screening Can Prevent It


1. N ordic Pole Walking burns up to 46% more calories. 2. I ncreases heart- and cardiovascular training up to 22%. 3. Incorporates 90 % of all body muscles. 4. H elps to eliminate back, shoulder and neck pain. 5. Less impact on hip, knee and foot joints. 6. I ncreases production of “positive” hormones. 7. Supports stress management. 8. Develops upright body posture. There are approximately 350 clinical and scientific reports about the health benefits of Nordic Pole walking available in scientific publications.

Colorectal (colon) is one of the most common cancers. Of the estimated 23,300 Canadians –13,000 men and 10,300 women – who will be diagnosed with the disease this year, approximately 9,200 will die from it. Yet the good news is that this is one of the most highly preventable cancers, and regular screening is the key. Ontario has one of the world’s highest rates of colorectal cancer. The province’s fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer, it is also the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men after lung cancer and the third leading cause of cancer deaths in women after lung and breast cancers. As worrying as these statistics are, the good news is that a person with colorectal cancer has a 90% chance of being cured if the cancer is caught early enough through screening. Yes, colorectal cancer screening really can be the difference between life and death.

DID YOU KNOW?  M ore than 30% of cancer deaths can be prevented by modifying or avoiding key risk factors, which include: Type II diabetes, obesity, smoking, severe alcohol consumption, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis).  Screening can yield reductions of up to 81% in colorectal cancer incidence.  S creening can yield reductions of up to 83% in colorectal cancer mortality.  Y ou can lower your risk of developing colorectal cancer by consuming a diet high in fruits and vegetables, limiting your intake of red and processed meats, and engaging in regular physical activity.  T he disease is most common in people over 50, and the chance of developing it increases with each decade.  S creening should be done earlier if there is any family history of colon cancer.  Colon cancer is preventable and screening is not a difficult procedure. For more information: Intestinal Health Institute (; Colorectal Association of Canada (; Cancer Care Ontario (

SHOW YOUR SUPPORT to LOCAL BUSINESSES by letting them know you saw their ad in Healthy Living Magazine and by recommending them to others. And, tell us what you would like to see in your local magazine. Contact the publisher: or 416.917.0986

6 | Healthy Living


Congratulations! Ashgrove Spa’s Marika Pelyvas celebrates 20 years in business in Unionville


20 Years Young!

Congratulations to Marika Pelyvas and her team at Unionville’s Ashgrove Spa who have been busy celebrating 20 years in business. The facility, which opened in 1995, is a five-star spa operated by president and head esthetician Marika and her group of certified, European trained staff. With her passion for wellness, Marika focuses on both physical and mental relaxation techniques. From massages, pedicures, manicures and waxes to facial treatments, laser hair removal, electrolysis and permanent makeup, as well as a range of medical esthetic services – Ashgrove has been treating, pampering, revitalizing and rejuvenating its clients for over two decades. So as they enter their 21st year, best wishes to everyone at Ashgrove Spa from all of us at Healthy Living Magazine.; tel: 905.474.0343

100% certified organic produce delivered for less than the cost of shopping retail

Michael Lee, franchise owner Markham - thornhill - unionville (289) 806-0710

HEALTH DATES n MARCH  National Nutrition Month  National Kidney Month n APRIL  Daffodil Days: Cancer Awareness  Dental Health Month n MAY  Celiac Awareness Month  Cystic Fibrosis Month

organicsLive.coM Healthy Living | 7




Colgate-Palmolive Canada tells Healthy Living readers of a new toothpaste that’s just hitting the shelves. The multi-active formula in Colgate Total* Advanced Health* Daily Repair Toothpaste helps reverse and repair early damage to teeth and gums – even before you know it has occurred. Designed to help remineralize weakened enamel, strengthen teeth and prevent cavities, this new toothpaste also helps to improve gum health by fighting the bacteria that may cause plaque and gingivitis. This product also freshens breath, whitens teeth, helps to prevent tartar with brushing, and with continued use helps prevent sensitivity.



A recent study by The William Harvey Research Institute has found that daily consumption of 250ml of nitrate-rich Beet It beetroot juice benefits those with high cholesterol levels. Independently funded by the British Heart Foundation and the Medical Research Council, the study randomly assigned 67 people with elevated cholesterol levels to drink 250ml of Beet It or a nitrate-depleted placebo beetroot juice daily. After six weeks, results associated a rise in circulating nitrate with a 24% improvement in blood flow and vascular health - compared with a 6% decline in those drinking the placebo




EASE SORE MUSCLES Increasingly stressful lives and hectic work schedules are increasing both mental and physical stress levels. As a result, muscles become stiff and lose sensitivities. As a potential alternative to prescription drugs and freezing sprays, Lanlay has introduced Lanlay Zepa Spray, made from various plant extracts and expensive herbs that have been pre-treated for six months prior to production. The agents contained in Lanlay Zepa Spray are designed to relieve fatigue and diminish all sorts of muscle soreness.

8 | Healthy Living



NEW! Fight cavities and soothe

sore gums naturally – guaranteed! If you are concerned about sore gums, loose teeth, cavities, damaged enamel and infection you should try this exciting new product now! Lanlay Herbal Tooth Powder is a blend of Chinese herbs and other natural ingredients that provides protection for your teeth and gums when used correctly. sea salt ~ helps ease pain and soothe gums, has antibacterial properties psoraleae ~ can help strengthen bone eclipta ~ can reduce bleeding and inflammation angelica ~ helps with blood circulation, and infection, can ease pain mint ~ keeps mouth fresh, fights plaque Don’t take our word for it – try it for yourself, you’ll be glad you did! Your satisfaction is guaranteed!

Order online at Lanlay Healthmetic Inc., 90 Esna Park Drive, Unit 6, Markham, ON

Tel: 647-887-2789 or 905-947-0668

In her four-part series on the keys to overall wellness, SHAWN NISBET has already covered exercise and nutrition. In this issue, she turns her attention to stress and how to handle it.




t times, stress can be beneficial. But unmanaged stress is toxic. What we think and feel, and for what length of time, has an enormous effect on our overall health, wellness, and even our weight. Yet many of us carry stress as a badge of honour. We may say we want inner peace, but when life becomes too calm we may seek our next hit of cortisol and epinephrine. For some, feeling stressed is synonymous with feeling important, valuable and useful, even though we know stress can be negative to our health.Â

10 | Healthy Living

Unionville Hearing Centre KNOW THE SYMPTOMS Early symptoms of stress may be cognitive, emotional, physical or behavioural, and all too often, may be ignored. These include: fatigue; poor judgment; negative outlook; excessive worrying, moodiness, irritability and agitation; inability to relax; feelings of loneliness, isolation and depression; memory loss and inability to concentrate; cold hands or feet; dizziness; lower back pain; poor quality sleep; asthma; allergies or sensitivities; sweet and/or salty cravings; hormonal imbalances; irritability; headaches; gastrointestinal problems, from diarrhea and constipation to IBS; skin problems, from acne to eczema; and arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.

KNOW THE POTENTIAL EFFECTS Chronic stress can cause imbalances of the stress hormone cortisol. This can lead to: blood sugar problems such as hypoglycemia; weight gain or loss; compromised immune function; infertility; chronic fatigue; bone loss; high triglyceride levels; heart disease; higher blood pressure; and higher cholesterol. Recent studies also associate breast cancer, memory loss and sleep deprivation with increased cortisol levels brought on by unmanaged stress. Whether you are stressed because of constant demands at work or at home, or because you are really in danger, your body responds the same way.




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THE DAMAGE UNMANAGED STRESS CAN DO  Stress can slow wound healing and increase your susceptibility to infections. Stress is the ultimate immunemodulator and can reactivate latent infections such as cold sores.  Stress can change our gene expression. The chemicals your body produces when you are under stress can change everything from how your body stores fat, and how much, to how fast you age.  Chronic stress damages your body’s energy powerhouses (your mitochondria). Every cell in your body is fueled by your mitochondria and this can affect every part of your life. The good news is that this damage is reversible over time, as you begin to manage your stress.  Stress can increase pain such as backache and headache. Excessive cortisol makes the brain more sensitive to pain: this can excite the brain’s nerves and cause headaches.  Cortisol can negatively affect sleep. At night, cortisol levels should decrease and tryptophan increase, allowing your body to relax, sleep and recharge. High cortisol levels throughout the day will give you a second wind around bedtime, causing you to stay up late, have a restless night’s sleep and leave you feeling tired in the morning.  Stress reduces your ability to metabolize and detoxify. Studies show that when stressed your body is unable to break down fat or detoxify toxins – from food additives to prescription drugs. Stress can also increase your toxin burden

Healthy Living | 11

by boosting your desire for high fat, high sugar foods.  Stress can have a negative effect on your cardiovascular system as your heart rate and blood pressure increase to allow you to fight or flight. This stress can increase the thickness of the arterial walls, leading to high blood pressure and heart disease.  Stress has a negative effect on your sex hormones. Stress increases your sex hormone binding globulin which can negatively affect the amount of testosterone and estrogen available to your cells.  Stress can weaken your bones and muscles. Studies associate higher stress levels with lower bone mineral density.  Stress has a negative effect on your gut health. Your gastrointestinal system is sensitive to stress hormones such as cortisol. When stressed, you may experience nausea, heartburn, abdominal cramps, diarrhea or constipation. Ninety-

five percent of your happy hormone – serotonin – is in your gut. When you are nervous or sad, you may feel it in your tummy. Constipation can cause the recirculation of toxins throughout the body and increase the overgrowth of bad bacteria. Stress can also loosen the barriers between cells that line the intestines, causing something called leaky gut syndrome which can then lead to inflammation, food sensitivities and autoimmune diseases.  Stress increases cortisol; cortisol increases insulin production; and insulin is your fat storage hormone. Chronic stress causes your body to produce too much sugar which your body then turns into fat which is stored around your abdominal area, often referred to as ‘the cortisol roll’. When cortisol raises your blood sugar, your body will produce insulin to help lower your blood sugar levels back to normal. High levels of stress cause high levels of sugar which

can lead to drops in your blood sugar level. When your blood sugar drops, your body tells your brain to increase your blood sugar right away, and this makes you crave unhealthy foods such as sugar, candy, pop and desserts. HL

Shawn M. Nisbet, Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Yoga Teacher, Certified Fitness Consultant & Master Nordic Pole Walking Instructor 416.804.0938;;

TOP TIPS TO DECREASE OR MANAGE STRESS  Avoid foods and beverages that unnecessarily stress the adrenals: alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, fried foods, processed foods, refined carbohydrates, and fast foods.

 Choose healthy foods that nourish your adrenals, nervous system and overall body: green leafy vegetables; plant foods such as garlic, onions, mushrooms, olives and fruit; deep water ocean fish such as salmon (wild-caught Alaskan), sardines and anchovies; foods high in tryptophan, including turkey, pumpkin seeds, nuts and organic eggs; and fermented foods, including yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, pickles, kimchi and miso tempeh.

12 | Healthy Living

 Regular physical activity:

 Music: Listening to music

 Mindfulness: Some call

Any aerobic activity (walking, jogging, swimming, biking) decreases stress. Just 20 to 30 minutes of activity most days of the week can help lower your overall cortisol levels. While fear can increase cortisol, regular physical activity can boost self-confidence, resilience and fortitude – and decrease cortisol.

you love and which fits your mood can lower cortisol levels. And if that music also makes you want to move, it’s a great way to increase the day’s activity.

it meditation; others call it ‘quiet moments’. Taking time for yourself will reduce anxiety and lower cortisol levels. Feeling stressed? Take a few deep breaths. This will trigger your nervous system to slow your heart rate, lower your blood pressure and decrease cortisol. Learning more about meditation may be a step towards controlling your stress levels and gaining control over your overall health.

 Social connections: Two studies published in the journal, Science, show social aggression and isolation lead to increased levels of cortisol. Close-knit human bonds – whether family, friendship or romantic partner – are vital for physical and mental health at any age. Human connectivity and physical touch relax the parasympathetic nervous system, while nurturing relationships increase oxytocin and reduce cortisol.

 Laughter: Having fun and laughing reduces cortisol levels. Dr. William Fry, an American psychiatrist who has been studying the benefits of laughter for the past 30 years, has found links between laughter and lowered levels of stress hormones. Laugh and joke as much as possible in your daily life and you’ll lower your cortisol levels.

dental health


Don't Give Your Mouth the Brush-Off! BY ANAIDA DETI, OWNER AND CEO OF DENTALX As a teenager, you take great pride in your appearance, but are you miscalculating the work it takes to maintain a healthy smile? Add in your new found independence and active social life, and you might think you’re just too busy to pay extra attention to your teeth or go for check-ups. As a registered dental hygienist, I try to emphasize how important it is for adolescents to maintain proper dental hygiene. Did you know that dental decay is the most common chronic disease in young people between the ages of five and 17? Continued on next page 

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Open wide and say ah!

 Continued from page 13 Cavities are not just for little kids, and as our teeth are among the first things people notice about us, it’s vital that teens make the effort to maintain good oral hygiene. Here are my five easy tips teens should use when it comes to dental care:

(Or oooh! Or whoa!)

Our Dental Health special feature, published quarterly, is the perfect opportunity for you to sink your teeth into the marketplace and grow your practice. We can offer area exclusivity, editorial consideration, we’ll provide you with extra copies for your office, and, not to be forgotten, we have a circulation throughout York Region! For more information on this business opportunity, contact Don Flynn, Publisher at 416-917-0986 or email:

It’s easy to maintain dental health when it’s part of your daily routine of things to do. Brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once can greatly reduce the risk of tooth decay and plaque build-up. Also, teens who wear dental braces should brush and floss after every meal to avoid debris getting stuck to their teeth and wires.

It’s all fun and games until someone loses a tooth! More than 200,000 injuries to the mouth and jaw occur each year, so if you are involved in contact sports, use a mouth guard, rinse it often and store it in a ventilated container.


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14 | Healthy Living

It’s normal to grab a quick snack in between classes or activities: it’s the kind of snack that’s important. Foods and drinks loaded with sugar can wreak havoc on teeth, causing cavities and damage to the tooth enamel. Opt for something healthier such as fruits, veggies and cheese sticks. Remember, an apple is nature’s toothbrush!

Studies continuously show tobacco users usually start smoking in their teens. It’s imperative that parents and teens discuss the health and dental consequences of tobacco products – from tooth staining to dental tartar build-up to stinky breath.

Tongue and lip piercings may be trendy, but they’re also dangerous. Not only do you run the risk of tongue swelling and infection: you can also chip your teeth on mouth jewellery. This can result in fillings and even root canal treatment. HL

A registered dental hygenist and CEO of Dental-X Smile Centers, Anaida has made it her mission to educate patients on the importance of dental health. She is a member of the Canadian, Ontario and Toronto Dental Hygienists Associations, and was elected as the ODHA Ambassador for Toronto North. She founded Mission Kind (Kids In Need of Dentalcare), to help children aged six to 16 obtain much needed dental work at no charge. @anaidadeti;


TARGETS PEOPLE WHO CARE ABOUT A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE!  FIND OUT how you can zoom in on your target market and get positive results from your advertising!

 ONLY interested people choose Healthy Living Magazine — it lasts for weeks, months and longer, and reaches multiple readers.

Healthy Living Magazine published by The Town Crier of Markham Inc. 1 Town Crier Lane, Markham, ON L3P 2T9 Tel: 416-498-4996 | Email:

cover story THIRD IN A SERIES:

Simple Home Remedies You Can Grow


Basil is not only one of the tastiest herbs to use in the kitchen, but also one of the healthiest. Part of the mint family (Lamiaceae), basil likely originated in India, but today it is most commonly associated with Italian and Thai cuisine, and it grows in gardens all over the world. It is still used as a medicinal herb in India and elsewhere.

HEALTH BENEFITS Basil leaves have traditionally been used to provide relief from indigestion and as a remedy for irritation of the skin and digestive tract. In Thai herbalism, the plant is also used for coughs. It has a long list of other uses, including treatment for stomach spasms, kidney conditions, and insect bites. The plant has antiviral, antibacterial, and antiproliferative (inhibiting the growth of malignant cells) effects. It even has some insecticidal properties, possibly because it contains methyl cinnamate. Basil has been used orally as an appetite stimulant, antiflatulent, diuretic, lactation stimulant, gargle, and mouth astringent. It’s a rich source of vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron. The herb contains strong-smelling oils that are composed primarily of compounds called terpenoids, which give basil its unmistakable aroma. Essential oils such as these are used in perfume and aromatherapy. They

16 | Healthy Living

are also the reason basil is such a health-promoting herb: some of these terpenoids—particularly eugenol, thymol, and estragole—play a role in the plant’s antibacterial properties, for example. Thymol (which is found in even higher concentrations in thyme) is also a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.


 Stomach upset? Sip basil tea! If you’re suffering from a stomach ache, basil tea is a natural way to ease the digestive system. It can calm your body, and the micronutrients (including potassium) can help rid you of feelings of nausea and cramping in the stomach. Roughly chop 20 fresh basil leaves (to help release the oils) and place in a mug. Fill the mug with boiling water, cover with a saucer, and steep for 10 minutes. Strain before drinking, if desired  Acne breakout? Make a blemish mask! If you have acne, a basil blemish mask is your solution. In a blender, combine ¼ cup of plain yogurt with 25 fresh basil leaves and blend on high speed until

smooth. Apply evenly to your face and leave on for up to 30 minutes. Rinse with cool water.  Aging skin? Tighten it with a basil toner! Poor hygiene, oil, makeup, dead skin cells, and cumulative exposure to sunlight all contribute to enlarging your pores: the surrounding skin loses its firmness and the pore may appear larger because of the lack of support. Excessively clogged pores can lead to blackheads. Fortunately, basil can help. In a blender, combine 30 fresh basil leaves with ½ cup of boiling water and blend on high speed until smooth. Let sit for 15 minutes to cool down, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a glass container with a tight-fitting lid. Use a cotton swab or ball to apply the toner to your face in the morning and evening. The toner will keep in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.  Love your pasta? Healthify it with basil! Basil is a strong anti-inflammatory. But what causes inflammation in the first place is eating too many refined carbohydrates: cakes, cookies, breads, crackers, and—you’ve got it—pasta. There are a few things you can do to make your pasta healthier and taste better, too. First, cook pasta until al dente or slightly firm to the bite. Mushy pasta makes it too easy for your

DIFFICULTY Medium HARDINESS Annual TIME TO PLANT Spring, after threat of killing frost has passed; can be sown indoors 6 to 8 weeks before last frost date TIME TO HARVEST Early summer through early fall LOCATION Full sun SOIL TYPE Well-drained

digestive system to use the available carbohydrates. This means the energy extracted from the pasta enters the bloodstream too quickly, causing a spike in blood sugar and a biological cascade that contributes to inflammation. Second, make your pasta dish with a basil pesto instead of cream sauce. You’ll save calories and garner the antiinflammatory effects of the basil. You’ll need the following ingredients: 3 cups fresh basil leaves ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese ½ cup pine nuts

inch sea salt and fresh ground black P pepper ½ cup extra virgin olive oil 2 cloves garlic, chopped In a food processor, finely chop the basil, Parmesan, pine nuts, and salt and pepper. Add the oil and garlic and pulse to combine. Be careful not to overprocess — the pesto should be thick with some texture.

CAUTIONS People with serious kidney or liver damage should not consume basil essential oil, as they may have trouble eliminating it. HL

Excerpt from: Power Plants © 2014 by Frank Ferragine and Bryce Wylde. Photographs © 2014 by Shannon J. Ross. Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved. Available at


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Healthy Living | 17

ASTHMA: YES, YOU CAN TAKE CONTROL! The Easy Test To Help You Manage Your Asthma For those staffing Ontario’s toll-free Lung Health Information Line, many questions are all in a day’s work. Some callers want to know about a cough, air pollution, allergies, quitting smoking, the flu shot, radon and other lung health issues. And then there are the questions that go the other way. “We get lots of calls from people worried about their asthma,” says Chris Haromy, a Certified Respiratory Educator and information line staffer with the Ontario Lung Association.“One of the first things we do is try to find out if their asthma is under control by using questions from the Asthma Control Check.” Living with asthma can be a bit like driving a car: one minute you’re cruising along, breathing easily, not a care in the world; the next, you’re skidding off the road, coughing, wheezing and fighting for breath. That’s why The Lung Association consulted with medical experts to develop the Asthma Control Check, a set of simple questions to warn you if your asthma is getting out of control. “A lot of people we speak to do not have their asthma under control. In fact, many have had uncontrolled asthma

18 | Healthy Living

for years,” says Haromy.“For example, some callers use their reliever inhalers every day, while others don’t exercise because they get too short of breath. Both groups are reporting classic signs of uncontrolled asthma.” More than two million Ontarians – including one in five school children – live with this serious and potentially fatal lung disease. It’s one of the most common chronic diseases among children, and the number one reason for kids being admitted to hospital. However, lung health experts say hospitalizations for asthma are now largely preventable, regardless of the age of the patient.“Modern asthma medications are incredibly effective,” says Dr. Tom Kovesi, a pediatric respirologist at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario,“but we need to do more to educate people about using them effectively.” Dr. Alan Kaplan, a family physician with a practice in Richmond Hill, says the major reason for uncontrolled asthma is what doctors call ‘non-adherence’: you have no symptoms, feel fine, so decide to stop taking your controller medication.“For most people with asthma, a small dose of medication taken regularly is all that’s required.”




 Do you use your reliever inhaler four or more times a week?  Do you have asthma symptoms (cough, wheeze, difficulty breathing) four or more days a week?

Because managing your asthma is much easier when you have a plan, every asthma patient should have an individual Asthma Action Plan, a set of instructions written out by the healthcare provider. This plan not only tells you how to manage your asthma: it also tells you how to recognize when your control is slipping and what to do if symptoms appear. “It is completely reasonable for someone to expect not to be bothered by asthma symptoms and never have an exacerbation or worsening,” says Dr. Kaplan.“However, keeping asthma under control does take some effort, working with your physician and/or asthma educator.” Dr. Kaplan’s advice? Take your medication regularly as directed; take it properly so it reaches deep into the lungs (this could mean using a valved holding chamber, or spacer, for medications delivered by a puffer); and avoid your asthma triggers (dust, smoke, pet dander, etc.). HL

 Do you ever have difficulty exercising or playing sports because of asthma?  Do you wake up one or more nights a week because of asthma (coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing)?  Have you missed school or work in the last month because of asthma?  Do you ever have asthma flare-ups (worsening of cough, wheeze, difficulty breathing)? If you answered YES to any one of these questions, speak to your healthcare provider about the right medications for you to take control of your asthma.

To find out more about the Ontario Lung Association Asthma Control Check, go to or call the Lung Health Information Line at 1-888-344-LUNG (5864).


We are presently looking for several new advertising sales people for select territories. Now you can work the hours and days you choose in your community. Several territories are available in the Markham/Stouffville area. Others are available throughout York Region. Print sales experience preferred. Involvement in health and wellness would be a bonus. If you are self-motivated and have good communication skills we want to hear from you. DON FLYNN Publisher 416-498-4996 Ext.7




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Healthy Living | 19

Healthy Habits for a Healthier You STEPHANIE GRECH ORR, a student at the University of Malta, is

studying for a B.A. in Communication Studies and Psychology. One of her passions is helping people to achieve a healthier lifestyle by developing healthy habits and sticking to them. Here Stephanie shares some of her simple tips with HL readers who want to make procrastination a thing of the past! ‘I’ll start on Monday.’ That infamous line is all too familiar, whether we’re looking to lose weight, start an exercise regime or simply develop a healthier lifestyle. For many, however, that magic Monday never comes. Yet it’s not as difficult as we think to change our attitudes and change our habits. In fact, the best way to develop a healthy eating plan is to start today! And the good news is that a few small changes in our everyday lives can soon add up to big results. Here are a few simple tips to get you started:  1. Throw out those drinks and foods you know are not good for you – such as soft drinks overflowing with calories and processed foods full of salt and sugar. Drink plenty of water instead, and if you get bored drinking plain water, just chop up some fruit to add a punch to your drink. The liquid will fill you up, while the sweet taste of the fruit will help to satisfy sugar cravings and make you think less about reaching for a can of cola. Plus the added fruit will boost your vitamin intake.  2. Meal preparation. By preparing meals in advance, you’ll have less of an excuse to eat unhealthily. For example, by cooking large batches of pasta sauce and chilli and freezing them in smaller portions, you’ll always have a healthy meal that’s fast and easy to enjoy. Young people still living with their

20 | Healthy Living

parents might also think of getting more involved in grocery shopping decisions.  3. Practise portion control. A key to maintaining a healthy diet is finding the right balance and portion size. Use a smaller plate to help you avoid over-sized meals, and eat slowly so you can really taste and appreciate your food. As it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to tell your stomach that you have had enough, eating more slowly will prevent overeating.  4. Snack healthily. Stock up on fruits and nuts at the beginning of the week. You’ll soon find yourself reaching for them more often and be less tempted to grab a packet of crisps or a bar of chocolate.  5. Save money by buying foods that can be used in more than one recipe. For example, if you plan on serving a roast chicken during the week, any leftovers can be used in wraps, salads or curries.  6. The easiest meal to change? Breakfast. Instead of sugary, calorie-laden cereals, go for healthier options such as muesli or a bowl of oatmeal. You can even add some fruit to make it tastier. Options such as these start your day off on the right note, keep you on the healthy straight and narrow, and help you develop good food habits for life. And they’re easy on your wallet, too! HL

CLIMATE CHANGE Let’s Stand Up For A Healthy Planet! Imagine your child or grandchild living in a world where food and water shortages are the rule; where regions from every continent are uninhabitable because of rising temperatures; where mass migration creates conflict and chaos; where coastal cities are battered regularly by fierce storms and flooding. EARL SALZMAN urges all of us to act on climate change now! This is not fiction. It is a scientifically plausible scenario researched and outlined in a Toronto Star article, and echoed by many climate scientists. As a personal trainer, my concern is with the physical wellbeing of my clients. Climate change is our greatest challenge, not only physically, but morally and spiritually. We are at a tipping point. How we deal with this crisis now will define how our kids and grandkids see us. They will either thank us for our bravery, foresight and wisdom, or they will ask us how we could stand by and allow this devastation to happen. When talking to groups, I want them to know that there is hope and that we are still in control of our destiny. The most profound effects of climate change can be avoided, but every country must act immediately. The recent climate agreement in Paris, in which the world pledged to keep global warming under 2 degrees Celsius, is a framework from which world leaders need to plan and take action. What does this mean for Canada? One plan to meet Canada’s international commitment has been written by Sustainable Canada Dialogues, a group of 60 Canadian scientists who put out a joint paper called Acting on Climate Change. In it, they conclude that it is possible for Canada to create a low carbon future and be at least 80% fossil fuel free by 2050, while developing a more robust, diversified economy. Meeting this target would enable us to meet our international commitment toward avoiding the most disastrous effects of climate change.

According to The Leap Manifesto, a document written and supported by Canadian scientists and environmentalists, the federal government must stop all expansion of the Tar Sands, oil company subsidies need to be diverted toward transitioning to a green economy, and a carbon tax must be implemented to deter polluting industries. Experts say we can avoid climate change disaster. So what can we do as individuals? We need to get active! Climate change is an unseen enemy that many of us find hard to grasp and get excited about. We need to understand that our kids’ future is riding on us! Our collective voice is the crucial element in holding Canadian leaders accountable for promises they’ve made in Paris. Use social media and talk to friends to spread the word. Start writing and calling politicians to let them know that their constituents are all of one mind, and that we will settle for nothing less than a meaningful plan to contain the effects of climate change. My son is now in university and I can’t live with the idea of leaving him a world where everything he’s dreamed of may not come true. I want to tell him I did everything I could to make a livable world for him and his children. Ask yourself what you are willing to do to save those you love and leave them a world where they are safe, and where the pure, clear sky is the limit. HL Earl Salzman, HOn. BA, CPTN. Healthy Living | 21


How to Spot It and What to Do Each year thousands of Canadians die from heart attacks because they don’t receive medical treatment fast enough. Recognizing the signs of a heart attack could save your life or that of someone you love. The heart needs a constant supply of blood to keep beating. When that flow is blocked for any reason, the result is a heart attack. Signs can vary from person to person and may not always be sudden or severe. Although chest pain or discomfort is the most common symptom in both men and women, some people do not feel chest pain. And while some people may experience only one symptom, others may have a combination:

From Michigan to Markham

22 | Healthy Living

chest discomfort (uncomfortable chest pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain, burning or heaviness); discomfort in other areas of the upper body (neck, jaw, shoulder, arms, back); shortness of breath; sweating; nausea; and light-headedness. If you experience any of those signs, call 9 -1-1 or your local emergency number immediately, or have someone call for you. When heart attack strikes, quick medical help may not just save a life: it can also reduce damage to the heart muscle – damage that can lead to heart failure. For more information, visit (Source:

In 2006, a Michigan woman named Karen Dunigan set up 100 Women Who Care, to raise money quickly for local charities. Ten years on, the organization has over 100 chapters, including Markham. 100 Women Who Care Markham supports local community causes and is dedicated to community service. Members meet for an hour every three months, with each member writing a $100 cheque to a jointly selected local charity or notfor-profit organization. The chosen organization then receives a group donation of $10,000. Each meeting opens with a five-minute update on how the funds donated at the previous meeting have been used. Funds from the February meeting, for example, will go to The Centre for Dreams, which provides the

opportunities and means for adults living with a developmental disability to focus on their abilities through educational, social and life skill programs. So if you are stretched for time, but would like to help others in your community and learn more about the many programs and organizations servicing Markham, why not join 100 Women Who Care Markham! You’ll become part of a powerful group of local women making an immediate, direct and positive effect on the lives of your neighbours, with 100% of your donations going directly to a local charity. The next meeting will take place on Tuesday May 10th at York Downs Golf and Country Club. For more information, visit


Medication Mistakes and Mishaps

Is it time to talk to your parents about drugs? Plenty of information advises teenagers about the dangers of drug misuse. But with so many people living longer these days, there is a growing need to broach the same topic with seniors. A new program, Let’s Talk About Rx, tackles the problem. Medication errors are among the most serious health risks facing today’s seniors. Recent research suggests many have difficulty managing their medication, with nearly 60% of those surveyed taking four or more prescription medications on a daily basis. Considering the fact that each medication has unique consumption instructions, getting them wrong can have devastating consequences, with many people struggling to keep track of which medications they have taken and when. The result can be medication misuse, however unintentional. The statistics underline the growing problem: each year, more than 27,000 Canadian seniors are hospitalized as the result of an adverse drug reaction. Forgetting to take medication, not getting timely refills and experiencing negative drug interactions are some of the ways in which poor medication management can adversely affect seniors. With so many people living longer these days, the problem has the

potential to affect many more seniors in the years ahead. That’s why a new education program has been developed to tackle the many medication management issues emerging among the growing senior population. Let’s Talk About Rx offers a wide range of tips and resources to ensure proper medication management. The program includes such practical information as tips to help avoid medication mistakes, advice on how family caregivers can help, and 10 signs that medications could be to blame for health issues. Recognizing that this might not be the easiest conversation to have with aging parents and loved ones, Let’s Talk About Rx offers a valuable insight into the potential pitfalls facing seniors when it comes to maintaining medication routines. The program and its free guide also provide tips and tools to help seniors manage their medications safely, and potentially allow them to remain in their own homes longer. HL

✚ Five Tips for Senior Medication Safety The Home Instead Senior Care network offers five tips for family caregivers to help seniors avoid adverse drug reactions and stay independent in their own homes: ✚ Have a family or professional caregiver accompany the senior to the doctor to ask questions and ensure full understanding of the medication regimen. ✚ Make one doctor the gatekeeper to manage medications and discuss any problems taking a medication, such as the inability to swallow a pill. ✚ Use medication organizers, such as a pill box. ✚ Use medication trackers. ✚ Consider speaking to your local pharmacist about a medication review

For more information, visit

Healthy Living | 23


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High Blood Pressure!

How to Reduce the Risks A Statistics Canada study of 2013 revealed that 17.7 % of Canadians over the age of 12 have high blood pressure (HBP). Do you know the dangers of high blood pressure, and how to reduce the risks of developing it? DR. MICHAEL BENSIMON, M.D., offers some helpful advice on keeping your heart healthy. Uncontrolled high blood pressure is often referred to as ‘the silent killer,’ as it rarely shows any symptoms. A person suffering from HBP may not be aware of the damage to his or her arteries, heart and other organs. But, untreated HBP can over time lead to serious health issues such as heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, vision loss, memory loss and even fluid in the lungs. In addition, individuals whose blood pressure is higher than 140/90 mm Hg (140 systolic or above or 90 diastolic or above) over the long term, often end up becoming patients treated for cardiovascular problems. All adults should know their blood pressure and follow a healthy lifestyle. Here’s some advice for reducing the chances of developing HBP:  1. Be physically active. Physical activity is good for your heart and circulatory system. A sedentary lifestyle increases the chance of developing high blood pressure and heart disease. It is easier for an inactive person to become overweight or obese which can lead to other illnesses. So give yourself the gift of a membership to the local fitness club! All you need is a regular exercise program that incorporates moderate-toheavy levels of activity.  2. Develop healthful eating habits that decrease your salt intake. To take care

of our bodies, we need good nutritional intake from a variety of food sources. A diet that's high in calories, fats and sugars and low in essential nutrients contributes directly to poor health as well as to obesity. It is well known that eating too much salt can be detrimental to our health. For example, some people are ‘salt sensitive,’ meaning a high-salt (sodium) diet raises their blood pressure. Salt keeps excess fluid in the body, which can add to the burden on the heart. Not surprisingly, healthful food choices can actually help to lower blood pressure.  3. Keep your weight down. Being overweight increases one's risk of developing high blood pressure. This is a national health care issue, as 54% of Canadians are considered overweight or obese. This reality has been borne out in a 2013 Statistics Canada study which revealed that over 30% of obese Canadians suffer from HBP. A body mass index of over 30 is considered obese, while from 25 to 30 is considered overweight. What does all of this mean for HBP? Excess weight increases the strain on the heart muscles, raises blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and lowers the HDL (good) cholesterol levels. In addition, being overweight increases the risk of developing diabetes. With some common sense eating habits and regular

exercise, you can shed some of those excess pounds within a few months. Even losing as little as 10 to 15 pounds can really make a difference – helping to lower your blood pressure and your risk of developing heart disease. If you are overweight, see your doctor or a nutritionist to devise a workable meal plan that both satisfies your nutritional needs and which can also lead to weight loss. Don't forget the human aspect. If you feel you are not self-motivated enough, get a friend or coach to motivate you to lose weight. Visualize the end goal of how much you want to lose and stick to a plan. Just don't give up and you will succeed!  4. Avoid drinking too much alcohol. If you drink alcohol, only do so in moderation - no more than two drinks per day for men or one drink per day for women. Heavy, regular use of alcohol can lead to increased blood pressure. It can also cause heart failure and stroke, as well as produce an irregular heartbeat. So do your part to silence that silent killer with this easy-to-follow advice! HL Dr. Michael Bensimon, M.D., practices medicine in Montreal. In addition to his residency in orthopedic surgery, he also has an M.Sc. in Cardiac Physiology.

Healthy Living | 25

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Kathy Smart's healthy yet sinfully delicious version of Boston cream pie meets French toast! Boston Cream Pie French Toast with Chocolate Drizzle Kathy Smart, one of North America’s glutenfree experts and a healthy eating advocate, transforms forbidden favorites into guilt- and allergen-free treats – like this sinfully delicious yet healthy breakfast meal that’s actually good for you. Boston cream pie meets French toast for a gluten-free, dairy-free, white sugar-free version of a normally high fat dish. FOR THE FRENCH TOAST:

4 1 1 1


slices of gluten-free wholegrain bread egg, whisked cup of non-dairy milk teaspoon of vanilla

1 tablespoon of coconut oil PREPARATION

Slice bread in halves. Combine egg, milk and vanilla. Dip bread into liquid mixture on both sides until well coated. Heat coconut oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add dipped bread and allow to golden on both sides. Put aside. FOR THE CREAM FILLING (I would make this ahead of time):

1.5 cups of non dairy milk (almond, cashew or coconut) 1/4 cup coconut sugar 1/8 teaspoon sea salt 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/8 cup cornstarch 2 teaspoons gluten-free flour 2 large organic egg yolks 1/4 cup coconut oil 1/2 cup coconut milk, whisked with peaks


In a medium-sized saucepan, stir together 1 cup of milk, coconut sugar, salt and vanilla. Bring to a simmer and stir. Whisk the cornstarch, flour and egg yolks with the remaining ½ cup milk. Whisk 2 tablespoons hot milk mixture with the egg yolks to temper them. Pour the egg/ milk mixture back into the remaining simmering milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a whisk, until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine sieve. Stir in the coconut oil. Refrigerate. When cool, fold the whipped coconut milk into the cooled cream. FOR THE CHOCOLATE DRIZZLE:

Melt ½ cup of dark chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons of coconut milk in a saucepan on low heat. TO ASSEMBLE:

Take one half of the French toast and fill with cream filling. Add another French toast half on top. Drizzle with chocolate sauce and top with strawberries. Enjoy! PER SERVING (1/4 of recipe, 205 Grams):

341 calories, 6.5 g protein 23 g fat, 30 g carbohydrates, 2.6 g fibre, 225 mg sodium

Recipe created by Kathy Smart, North America’s Gluten-Free Expert, Best Selling Author Chef and Nutritionist.

30 | Healthy Living

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