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The Time to Eat Local is Now Living with Chronic Pain

Perimenopause FALL




AFFINITY HEALTH WELLNESS RETREAT & SEA HORSE SPA Two of the stellar, life-enhancing amenities at DeerFields Stables Country Inn are the Affinity Health Wellness Retreat and the Sea Horse Spa. Affinity Health is dedicated to providing you with the latest evidence based therapies to transform your health, vitality, quality of life and longevity through nutrition, fitness, stress reduction, metabolic and hormonal balancing and the latest therapy for telomere optimization based on Nobel Prize Winning technology. Immerse yourself in an experiential approach to lifestyle change while being embraced and pampered by the beautiful retreat setting of DeerFields nestled in the Caledon Hills and surrounded by acres of conservation area and natural trails. Inquire about our 3 day Life Transformation Retreat where you will discover the secrets of actually reversing your biological ageing process, and experience once again what it feels like to be 5, 10 and even 20 years younger. Enjoy the soothing and healing powers of the Sea Horse Spa as you complement your Life Transformation with treatments focused on rest, recovery and restoration of your mind and body. For more information contact: Isabella Devine - Client Services Email: Tel: 905.880.5585 Ext 700 17084 Duffys Lane Palgrave ON L7E 3C2

A Weekend in the Woods to ignite your inner warrior M

E N A N D W O M E N F R O M A R O U N D T H E P R O V I N C E will escape to the Hockley Valley Resort from October 26th to the 28th to recharge, rejuvenate, and are encouraged to embrace their authentic selves for the 5th annual health and wellness event, A Weekend in the Woods.

New this year on Friday night, Shawna Ross and Debra Jones - Igniting Your Inner Warrior, focusing on Your True Power, Love and Inner Beauty. The evening will also include a lovely three-course meal. To help you drift into a restful slumber, you can finish the night off with a relaxing candlelight yoga and meditation with Kelly Mayville. Experience the entire evening for only $65, without dinner for $20. Your Day Pass (Saturday or Sunday) or Weekend Pass offers you unlimited choices of 20+ speakers, workshops and classes, and access to the Market Place with 50+ local vendors and practitioners offering local products, treatments, sessions and readings (additional cost). Something for everyone for your body, mind and spirit! After experiencing the day you created by selecting all your options online, there are a few other activities for you to enjoy. Relax at Babbo Lounge with the healing sounds of Bonnie Ross and Daryl Thistel as you try one of the special cocktails created for the event; a delicious 3-course dinner with live music on Saturday night in 85 or Cabin (reservations required); and to finish off an amazing day we have brought together the award-winning sounds of Bonnie Ross and Daryl Thistel with the amazing dancer Erica Ross to provide you a divine drumming and dance experience. Free for all to attend.

A Weekend of Total Wellness! Providing you with powerful tools, techniques and resources to assist you in your healing journey



at Hockley Valley Resort


IGNITE your inner WARRIOR!


October 26, 27, 28, 2012

Nature Hikes & Boot Camps, Nutrition, Yoga, Meditation, Hormones, Energy Work, QiGong, Manifesting, Living in the Miracle Zone, Electro-magnetic Radiation, Nia, Your Brain & Stress, Dance Your Bliss, Sacred Geometry, Good Medicine & more

Tap into Your Courage, Strength Love & Compassion to Release Your True Power & Inner Beauty

Delicious Organic Lunch, Snacks & Beverages

FREE DIVINE DRUMMING & DANCE EVENT! Coupon Book filled with Special Promotions & Savings!

Friday Night


IGNITE your inner WARRIOR!

Speakers, Dinner, Candle Light Yoga, Meditation

Full Experience $65 without dinner $20

Overnight Stay Packages Includes Full Breakfast

Book Today! 1-866-HOCKLEY

EXPERIENCE OUR MARKET PLACE 50+ Vendors to choose from plus The Spa at Hockley! Products, Treatments & Sessions Specially Priced for You... Hand Crafted Jewelry, Super Foods, Crystals, Aromatherapy, Original Artwork, Reiki, Acupuncture, Coaching, Card & Energy Readings, Beautiful Handbags Massage, Iridology, Live Blood Cell Analysis, Numerology, Colour Therapy & more

Purchase your Tickets On-line to Create the Weekend You Need! LIVLIFE.NET



it’s time to livlife! My daughter has her own opinion on the magazine. She says, “It helped me to feel good inside, and helped me to realize that I need to eat healthy and stay fit, and that I need to be healthy every day.”


W A N T T O T H A N K E V E R Y O N E for their overwhelming support to our first edition of livlife magazine. I’ve been stopped in stores, at outdoor activities, and have even received notes where people have shared their own stories about their children, family members and friends, and how livlife’s articles expressed some of how they were feeling; that they didn’t feel alone in what they were thinking, or that livlife gave them some information to think about.

My family has started to make changes in our own lifestyle, exchanging regular household products (like cleaning, hair, and facial products, etc.) with more environmentally friendly options that do not contain any concerning ingredients. We are preparing more of our own meals with fresh ingredients, avoiding pre-processed and pre-prepared foods, even though they are so quick and easy at times. My son often refers to the burgers at certain fast food places as the “cloggers” and “heart-stoppers”. I find my children have taken it upon themselves to become the monitors of our lifestyle, and they certainly don’t hold back if they think I’m out of line. We’re starting to have a more active lifestyle; going for walks with their new pug and spending more time outdoors, instead of in front of a computer or television. My daughter has decided to start her own fitness club at home and has been practicing her own routines (so many minutes of jumping jacks, so many minutes of jumping on the trampoline, etc.); thankfully she allows for some stretching and cool-down time. I’m just a little concerned that once she gets all of her routines sorted out that we’ll all be in trouble then!


You don’t have to make big changes all at once, just start small. Whether it is eating healthier with fresher ingredients, learning ways to reduce your stress, or getting more physically active, begin your own journey to health and wellness and just livlife! I’d love to hear from you! If you have any comments or stories you would like to see, please email me at Marion Hodgson, Creative Director/Editor




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[ 18 ]

[ 6 ] [ 10 ] [6]

Peanut Allergies - Childhood Epidemic

[ 16 ] Alzheimer’s is Everyone’s Disease


The Change Before the Change

[ 1 8 ] Nutrition and Physical Vitality

[ 10 ] Just Breathe

[ 22 ] Golf - Who Knew

[ 12 ] Infertility - Is Nature Pushing Back

[ 24 ] To Tour or Not to Tour

[ 14 ] The Time to Eat Local is Now

[ 26 ] A Lovely, Private Oasis

livlife FALL 2012






CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Temine Ash | Kathleen Brown Anne Duggan | Faith Flatt Stacey Fokas Thomas Hodgson Kelly Nolan | Alison Parsons Cynthia Percival Susan Stewart

ILLUSTRATION Rosemarie Armstrong Marion Hodgson


Livlife is produced online 2x a year in spring and fall. PUBLISHED BY Type and Images 473286 County Road 11, RR7 Orangeville, On L9W 2Z3 519.940.0192 | | The information in this magazine is for educational and information purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a qualified and licensed practitioner or health care provider.

PHOTOGRAPHY Temine Ash | Simon Burn Paul Carey | Kayla Daisley James Dalton | Marion Hodgson Thomas Hodgson Nikkie Tomkins



Peanut Allergies the childhood epidemic BY DR ALISON PARSONS, ND

Affecting over 1.3 million Canadians (or 1 in every 25 children), peanuts are one of the most common allergens among children today.


HE QUESTION IS WHY? Why are so many children being bombarded with this specific allergy? Let’s first begin by defining what a peanut allergy is, as well as what its symptom picture looks like.

A peanut allergy is a reaction that occurs when your body mistakenly identifies peanuts as harmful substances. When peanuts are consumed, the immune system (the body’s natural defense system that fights off bacteria, viruses and other harmful foreign invaders) overreacts and can cause a serious or even life-threatening response.


In order to recognize the symptoms of a peanut allergy, we first need to distinguish between an IgG and an IgE-mediated immune response. An IgG (delayed hypersensitivity) immune response can show up as a runny nose, eczema, itchy skin rash, or even asthma-like symptoms (wheezing, cough, tightness in the chest). An IgE (immediate/anaphylactic) immune response shows up as a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis.




Anaphylactic reactions present as problems with breathing and swallowing, vomiting and diarrhea, dizziness, dangerously low blood pressure, facial swelling and/or loss of consciousness. It is important to distinguish between these two types of reactions, so if you are unsure about your child’s diagnosis talk to a naturopathic doctor about having them tested; there are simple skin-prick and blood tests that can be done to differentiate between them.

Now that we understand how a peanut allergy presents, let’s focus on why it takes place. Why are so many children’s immune systems overreacting to what should be a harmless food? Put simply, there are proteins in peanuts that, when absorbed into the blood stream, produce a massive histamine response. The presence of histamine in the system then triggers a whole cascade of inflammatory reactions leading to anaphylaxis. The reason why this happens in some children and not others depends on a number of factors that take place right from pre-conception onwards, meaning that prevention measures are best started before the mom even becomes pregnant. The reason for this early start is that if we can assure a child has a healthy immune system, there is a much better chance they will be able to differentiate between harmful substances (i.e. bacteria, viruses) and harmless substances (i.e. peanuts and other common allergens). When this is done correctly, allergies will not develop. If my child already has a peanut allergy, is there anything I can do? Yes, there is. If you feel that many of the above points are beyond your control at this point, don’t be discouraged. It is always best to start early, but it’s never too late to begin optimizing your child’s immune system. There is no guarantee that your child’s peanut allergy will disappear, but there is definitely hope that you can mitigate the response, prevent future allergies from developing, and help your child to live a longer and healthier life. Alison Parsons, Naturopathic Doctor, practices at the Miller Health Centre in Orillia and at The APND Clinic in Bracebridge. She has a special interest in pregnancy, pediatrics, and gastrointestinal health. She is a mom herself and loves spending quality time with her family in the kitchen preparing healthy meals, and outdoors enjoying an active lifestyle.

FACTORS THAT HELP TO BUILD A STRONG AND HEALTHY IMMUNE SYSTEM A healthy immune system in each of the parents during the pre-conception and pre-natal period (there are natural treatments to help this along if needed). A child’s immune system begins development in utero when disease-fighting antibodies made by the mother’s immune system make their way across the placenta. Thus, a baby’s first immune defense is supplied directly by its mother’s immune system. Breastfeeding exclusively for the first 6 months; benefits of continued breastfeeding are seen up to 2 years of age and beyond. Mothers produce milk rich in antibodies that fight disease and infection, so breast milk continues to strengthen the baby’s immune system beyond delivery. Formula cannot duplicate the benefits of mother’s milk and comparatively breastfed infants suffer from fewer allergies. Avoidance of peanuts (and other common food allergens) for the first year of life. This gives the child’s immune system more time to fully develop and therefore have a better chance at correctly differentiating between harmful and harmless substances. Ensuring proper nutrition in your child. One of the best ways you can help your child to build a strong immune system is by providing them with optimal nutrition. Food introduction is an important step and should be started no earlier than 6 months of age. This will be discussed in more detail in a future article so be sure to watch for this if you are interested in learning more. Getting plenty of sleep. A child’s immune system is impaired by a lack of sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, newborns and infants should sleep anywhere from 16 to 20 hours per day, and toddlers should get 10 to 14 hours per night with naps during the day. Letting your child play in the dirt! The Hygiene Hypothesis states that excessive cleanliness interrupts the normal development of the immune system, and this change leads to an increase in allergies. It is healthy and normal for a child to be exposed to dirt, day care centres and farming environments as they challenge the immune system in a beneficial way. Without these exposures (i.e. sterile/clean environments, urban living conditions and being an only child), the immune system finds new things to react to such as certain food proteins. Individualizing your child’s vaccination regime. Every child is different and therefore should have their own unique schedule when it comes to vaccinations; especially when considering premature or low birth-weight infants. Make an educated decision on what’s best for your child; I highly recommend The Vaccine Book by Dr. Robert Sears, MD. Use antibiotics as a last resort. Over 70 percent of a child’s immune system resides in their gastrointestinal tract and depends on good bacteria for optimal functioning. Antibiotics not only kill off the bad bacteria they are intended for, they also wipe out all of the good bacteria that a child’s immune system depends on.





Marie was 47 and had been happily married, enjoying life, and then perimenopause hit hard. Her mood swings were unbearable, her weight gain unacceptable, and her libido hit rock bottom.


ERIMENOPAUSE, DUBBED “THE CHANGE BEFORE THE C H A N G E ” by USA Today, is an apt definition of the transition a woman goes through before officially entering menopause, or not getting her period for a year. But these things don’t happen overnight; it’s a gradual, normal and natural process that all women will experience at one point or another.

A woman’s hormone balance begins to shift between her mid-thirties to late forties. This balance is directly influenced by stress levels, poor nutrition, environmental toxins, and general well being. Some women will go through perimenopause for a number of years. It is important to understand that no two women will experience it the same. While some women will have little to no symptoms, others will experience severe warnings that will markedly disrupt their ability to carry out day-to-day living. For many women, perimenopause brings both a physical and emotional upheaval linked to the transitional changes in our body.




During this phase the ovaries become very unstable characterized by fluctuations in hormone levels. Most women will begin to experience Anovulatory Cycles, meaning no ovulation. Ideally what is occurring is a cycle absent of progesterone and dominated by estrogen. Symptoms experienced are actually comparable to menopause: erratic bleeding, mood swings, weight gain, decreased sex drive, foggy thinking, headaches, infertility, irritability, memory loss, osteoporosis, PMS, thyroid dysfunction, uterine fibroids, sleep disturbances, water retention.

We as women need to take a more proactive approach to our health and wellness. At this point in a woman’s life, it is important to sustain and reinforce our health. Perimenopause is simply a symptom of a body out of balance. Detoxification provides one of the missing links to becoming well and improving our symptoms of hormonal health. Our body’s ability to detoxify will enhance our body’s ability to prevent or decrease the symptoms of perimenopause. For other women their best choice of treatment may be customized bio-identical hormones or a combination of both types of treatments. Our body needs to be brought back into balance through detoxification and bioidentical hormone treatments to regenerate good hormonal health and good nutrition.

Of course dietary issues need to be addressed. Our diets directly affect our hormone production, both excessive calories and nutritional quality. Each woman’s experience of perimenopause will be unique depending on a variety of factors. The beginning of this phase is directly linked to our ovarian age and our history of PMS. PMS symptoms can gradually intensify during perimenopause and may actually be a positive indicator that a woman is perimenopausal. Women begin to have new body sensations and increased severity of PMS. Below is a list of common changes indicating perimenopause, and again, it is important to understand that not every woman will experience every symptom and symptoms will vary in degree and intensity.

Kelly Nolan, Pharmacist (UBC, 1987), has extensive training in the highly specialized area of Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRt) and pain management. Partnering her pharmaceutical background with the evolving field of allopathic medicine makes Kelly’s services as an integrative practitioner invaluable.

COMMON CHANGES INDICATING PERIMENOPAUSE Change in menstrual flow Shorter or longer periods Menstrual flow between cycles Periodic hot flashes Decrease in vaginal lubrication Increase in vaginal infections Increase in urinary tract infections Change in sexual desire and responsiveness Increased anxiety, depression and irritability Decreased energy Sleep disturbances Lessened ability to concentrate Change in bone-mineral content and strength Change in skin texture and tone Increased sensitivity to criticism Increased negative emotional response to others

In educating ourselves we will be able to make choices that are right for us and will be armed with the tools to make those choices. Perimenopause does not become a disease, it is yet one more transition in our lives. In becoming aware of those changes, stress is alleviated and we are then able to walk through the stages of our lives without such emotional turmoil and physical upheaval.


As women we need to learn and understand the different stages in our lives. In understanding, we learn to support these changes physically through proper nutrition and supplementation. Our focus should then be on sustaining and reinforcing our body during difficult physical times and in the regeneration of good hormonal health.








This was the guidance that our gifted meditation teacher, Dr. Jaak Reichmann, shared with my husband and I at The Center for Inner Freedom in Barrie, and it has served us well. Breath is readily available; you don’t have to remember to bring it with you, and it is free. Could it get much simpler? Well, there is one small thing. The secret is remembering to access it mindfully. Hence the 8 weeks of training within the program. The beauty is that there is no need to change the breath in any way; Jaak would invite us to simply notice it‌to bring our awareness back to it.

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HERE IS A MAGIC THAT OCCURS WITHIN T H E B R E A T H . Once you begin to focus your attention upon it, you can feel the physical differences within; your heart rate may slow and your blood pressure may lower. Those are two pretty good reasons for giving it a try all on their own. But there is more. On the mental/emotional/physical levels, being mindful of your breath can reduce the impact of stress and its ability to overwhelm and damage us in so many ways. The studies on the effects of stress are widely available now. It is common knowledge that unmanaged stress increases the cortisol hormone levels and that stored cortisol creates havoc in the bodily systems…serious havoc. Coming home to your breath brings with it a sense of calmness and balance. No matter what is going on around you or happening to you, you are still breathing. Bringing your awareness to it takes your mind out of the chaos and brings its focus back to your well-being. Never a bad thing. Once you have taken a moment to calm, you are then able to return to the crisis or event at hand with a mind that can actually resolve or deal with it in a much clearer way.

It is not as though you have to physically take time out from what is happening in the moment; people would wonder what on earth you were up to. “I’m sorry. I have to leave the accident scene for a moment while I breathe.” No, it is simply finding a way to stay present in the moment while stepping back internally to focus on your breath. Incredible as it may sound, it is not that hard to do, once you have practiced it in your daily life. You can actually still be speaking to someone while another part of you is reminding yourself to breathe, calming, balancing and centering yourself. As you accomplish that, you become more clear-headed and are better able to deal with whatever comes your way.

I have had several clients over the years who have learned to practice mindful breathing on a daily basis. They report back to me after a few months of embracing their daily practice, and not only have they, but also their family physicians, have noticed a change in their blood pressure. The clients also reported feelings of an increased sense of well-being. Many of these were clients who were exposed to the unrelenting stress of being caregivers to loved ones with serious, life-threatening illnesses. They always had the ability to deal with and survive the crises that appeared in their lives; now they feel more confident in their ability to manage the stress in a healthier way and to thrive, despite their circumstances. They just feel better. I love to hear those stories because these are incredibly strong and compassionate people and it gives me great pleasure to be able to share the gift of mindful breathing and know that it will support them in their incredible daily challenges. So now I extend the invitation to you. Come home to your breath. Try going back to the beginning and re-read this article while noticing your breath. Become the witness, the observer of your breath. In life, when you notice that you are holding it or that you are gasping for it, simply give it your attention and feel what happens within. How does that small change resonate within you? In my own experience, my practice of mindful breathing has gotten me through some traumatic life events. Afterward, my brain just shuts down for me to rest and recharge, but while I am in the moment of the event, I am able to function and make the necessary decisions without falling apart. I would not have been able to access that ability without my daily practice having anchored it within me. On a daily basis, it gives me a true sense of calm, balance and peace that I did not have before; I accepted that sweet invitation to come home to my breath. Remember, it is always there for you and it is free. It really is that simple. Just Breathe…(I think that may be a song title…perhaps Faith Hill…feel free to hum as you exhale!)…Enjoy! Susan Stewart has been teaching gentle yoga and meditation for over 20 years and incorporates them into her practice, along with Cranio Sacral Therapy, Reiki and Somato Emotional Release, to assist her clients in creating more balanced lives and achieving their wellness potential, through the release of stress and pain.

Have you ever noticed that in difficult circumstances you actually hold your breath? We really need to train ourselves to do just the opposite. That is why the suggestion is to practice coming home to your breath on a daily basis. While you are driving, walking, talking, smiling, painting, writing, performing chores, shopping, etc., begin to notice your breath. Just become mindful of it. Befriend it. You can go so far as to express gratitude for it, because without it….well, you know. You don’t need to regulate it in any way. Pranayama or breath practice within yoga is something else entirely and is a unique and valuable discipline. Breath also releases pain from the body/mind/spirit. It can actually just carry it out as we exhale. Focus. Breathe in your intention to release it. Breathe out the pain. The secret to this is to truly be willing to let it go. No matter how acute or chronic the pain, or whether it is located in my body/mind or spirit, I have found that focusing on my breath and setting my intention to release the pain always diminishes it to some degree. LIVLIFE.NET

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These days we experience conveniences that our grandmothers never dreamed of. We can have face time with our friends in other parts of the world, we can do our banking from our smart phones, we can watch YouTube on our TVs.

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E ARE PLUGGED IN 24/7 FOR BETTER OR WORSE IT SEEMS, and while all these modern devices are supposed to make life easier, it seems we are suffering more stress and chronic disease than ever. With high-speed connection came a high-speed expectation of how we are to negotiate our lives; finding it unacceptable when people are not available at all hours through email or cell phones. We take our computers to bed with us, constantly exposing ourselves to our devices and this can have far reaching effects on the delicate balance of cells within our bodies, and the especially sensitive area of reproduction.

Various statistics point to infertility rates between 20 to 40%; this rate has doubled within the last 20 years in North America. If we remember anything from our history lessons, we know that the human condition has been subject to war, famine, and many less than ideal environments that can impair the body’s ability to function optimally. Yet it is in the last few decades where men and women who want to start families are forced to deal with the reality that 25% may not get the chance. In this day and age where supplements avail, food is plentiful, reproductive technology is advanced, and not to mention‌is there an app for that?

The contributing factors to rising infertility will read like a laundry list of do’s and dont’s for couples trying to conceive, ranging from alcohol use, obesity, advanced maternal age, exercise, diet, and sexual practices. Creating life is a complex and miraculous process and we must take a moment to appreciate this complex internal choreography. But couples who fit the definition of infertile (which is 2 years of regular sexual intercourse without conception, where primary diseases have been ruled out) are quick to accommodate these healthy habits in efforts to boost their conception powers and sometimes to no avail, because their efforts still don’t amount to a new family member. This could be due in part to the fact the environment we have created in our efforts to live modernly, have interfered with our body’s ability to achieve this precious calling. So what do our “must have” techno devices have to do with our ability to procreate? The latest cell phones we have attached to us night and day emit radio frequency radiation similar to microwaves, which have a thermal effect on cell division and cell integrity (causing leaky plumbing in the way cells communicate, if you will). Both men and women are vulnerable to any technology that influences the production, maturation, and viability of their respective reproductive cells. Not to mention the hazards of wireless technology that seem to be omnipresent in our modern lives. It too emits a radio frequency; non-ionizing radiation in which no long-term studies are available yet, but short-term studies demonstrate its ability to cause cellular damage, alterations in cellular communication, lowered immunity, increases in toxins’ abilities to cross our blood-brain barrier, as well as decreased melatonin, and altered brain waves. In the short term this causes a breakdown in how we manifest the building blocks for new life and in the long term, it can lead to cancer. In fact, The World Health Organization has finally been compelled to classify television, cell phones, and computers as class 2B carcinogens. Pretty unnerving considering what laptop is named for! Having these devices around us, especially at night, where they interfere with our sleep hormone Melatonin, and alter brain waves preventing us from relaxation, has further impact on our ability to conceive. Studies show that we get 6 and a half

hours of sleep on average, far less than 20 years ago when we averaged 8 to 9 (which is biologically important to cellular repair). Lack of sleep means an increase in our stress hormone Cortisol the following day, impairing our reproductive hormones like Progesterone and Leptin. This directly impacts ovulation and sperm production, and therefore fertility. So how do we improve our ability to foster the next generation? First of all, get all wi-fi devices and sources of dirty electricity out of the bedroom. This includes any electronic device with two prongs as they force your body to be used as a grounding source for radiation. In a recent article by Helkie Ferrie, she recommends some safety guidelines, such as: If you cannot permanently part with your modern conveniences, use ear buds when talking on the phone; sit with your laptop on a desk three feet from you; connect a separate keyboard; only use laptops on battery; and be sure to charge them 9 feet away from you. These modern evils interfere with the life sustaining force of electromagnetic fields of the earth! By avoiding these devices we can decrease the assault on our fragile reproductive systems and begin focusing on creating experiences which enhance the health giving effect of naturally occurring electromagnetic fields that emit negative ions. Surprised? Yes, nature! Moving water (including showers and fountains), beaches, forests, thunderstorms, salt lamps, aromatherapy, crystals;

engaging around these naturally occurring phenomenons and avoiding harmful modern day appliances can restore your health. So take a walk with your loved one and reconnect with ancient and powerful communication modes…each other! You’ll be moved by what you can create! Visit and

Dr Faith Flatt is a licensed Naturopath and Doula practicing in Dufferin County. She has a special interest in treating reproductive imbalances and supports her patients with natural therapies from conceptionto-postpartum, and childhood infection. She endeavours to empower her patients’ journey toward health through education and compassion.


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Every day we are waking up blind to what changes are happening in our food system. You and I don’t know what is in or on our food when it is imported from overseas. We need to support locally produced food or it will no longer be available to us. Our farmers are our most trusted source for our food. BY STACEY FOKAS

the time to eat local IS NOW! A

S A MOTHER, WIFE, ENTREPRENEUR AND A U T H O R of the best selling cookbook freshalicious, I spend every day talking about all the good reasons to eat local, sustainable, seasonal foods and support our community’s food system by connecting with local farmers. I also believe that if you cannot get what you want from a grocery store, you should buy at the farm or go to your local farmers’ market.

Just two years ago, I sat with Laura from Peach Country Farm Market (Vineland Ontario) and she shared with me both sides of the food system that were troubling her. The grocery store (the buyer) wants the best possible price, often wanting to pay less than the cost of production here in Ontario. They also have no issues with compromising taste and nutritional value by asking the farmers to pick their unripe fruit weeks in advance just to have them on the shelf. The farmers (growers/sellers) in Canada have considerably higher overhead costs than in countries overseas. There are higher fuel, labour, and operational costs, as well as heavily regulated chemical and fertilizer usage laws implemented by our government. Our local farmers cannot afford to make mistakes, like underselling their food and not turning a profit, just to have a buyer. Have we, the consumers and grocers, lost sight of the value in good food? It is getting harder to find local fruits, vegetables, poultry and meat in our local grocery stores. We, the consumers, need to create the demand for better food for our families. We pay to live in a safe community, so why not pay for the best food money can buy? Strawberries are in season here in Ontario, and all I see are strawberries from the USA! It has become all about the money, not about you, your children, or their future health and well being. In our local community we have four local Farmers’ Markets operating weekly from May through October, all within 36 kilometres of my home. These farmers should have their products sold in all the local grocery stores! However being a democratic society, unless the consumer creates the demand to have local food brought back into the grocery stores, it sadly does not happen. Those US strawberries must have a higher profit margin, even though they were picked way too early, are [ 14 ]



almost tasteless, and burned hundreds or thousands of gallons of fuel to get here. Nutritious? It seems senseless when we have fresh, tasty, delicious strawberries growing right here in Ontario. Today it is not my duty as a consumer of food to support farmers halfway around the globe. It is my responsibility to my children to teach them how to support and buy local. I really enjoy the friendly relationships I have with Bert Niewenhuis of Bert’s Lamb who sells delicious lamb, or Randy Leitch of Leitch’s Honey whose bees produce fabulous tasting honey, both of whom are at the farmers’ markets weekly. There is also Anthony Dawson of Black Willow Elk Farm who raises awesome elk, and Julie Baumlisberger of Windy Fields Mushrooms who grows beautiful blue oyster mushrooms that you cannot find in the large grocery stores. Nicole and Tom Judge of Spirit Tree Estate Cidery, produce apple cider and bake delicious stone oven breads. These are real farmers producing real food on a smaller, more sustainable scale. They are our friends and neighbours, and it is my duty to support my community, my farmers, my children. Although you cannot find Rock Garden Farms at the markets, Margaret is open at their home site all season long and supplies locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables for our tables. They buy food on our behalf, like they were buying for themselves. Nothing but the best, and as local as possible. Find the place in your community that offers the best food for you and your family, often off the beaten path, and not always convenient. Convenience is making us lose sight of the need to earn what you have, to work for it and feel good at the end of the day. Make it convenient by planning outings with your family around the food you eat every day. Eating seasonally will keep your food costs down; the food definitely tastes better and is almost always higher in nutritional value than foods imported from overseas. Finally, these changes need to take place for our kids and their future. How do they know the difference if we do not teach them to eat well and connect with where their food comes from? It’s our responsibility, yours and mine, to create and maintain an “eat local” food movement that benefits us all. Recipes from Stacey Fokas’ book freshalicious on next page. For more fabulous recipes, visit

juicy-licious sirloin and pork burgers on whole wheat garlic biscuits BBQ heat 375˚F to 400˚F 1 lb fresh ground sirloin 1 lb fresh ground pork 1/2 chopped white onion 3 chopped garlic cloves 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano 1/4 cup chopped fresh thyme 1/2 tsp fresh or ground sage 1/2 tsp sea salt and pepper 1/4 cup sunflower oil 1/2 cup beer, wine or apple juice 3/4 bag Saltines crushed crackers 2 eggs GARNISHES 10 sliced baby red onions 1 sliced/fried roasted red pepper 1 cup arugula PREP Serves a family of 4 to 6 Preparation time: 5-10 minutes Cooking time: Approx. 10 minutes

Mix your sirloin and pork in a bowl gently; over-mixing will take away from the tenderness in the meat. Add your grated onions and spices. Drizzle on some sunflower oil and add the beer (or wine or apple juice in its place), along with the eggs and crushed crackers. Mix thoroughly and pat into large balls, flattening them to about 1-1/2 inches thick. Start with a high heat to sear for a quick minute or two, then turn the BBQ down to medium heat and cook to your personal liking. While the meat is cooking fry your peppers in frying pan, season and blend to create a creamy sauce Add some sunflower oil while blending. Plate as shown.



wild blueberry, raspberry and lavender honey tarts with caramelized walnuts Preheat oven to 375˚F. 3 pints wild blueberries/raspberries (use frozen berries when not in season) 1/4 lavender 1 tsp vanilla 1/4 cup unpasteurized honey 1/4 cup cherry brandy 2-4 tbsp cornstarch (with water) 1/4 cup sunflower oil for the phyllo 12 sheets phyllo pastry WALNUT TOPPING 1/2-3/4 cup chopped walnuts 1/2 cup Amaretto PREP Makes 12 large tarts Preparation time: 15-20 minutes Baking time: Approx. 35-40 minutes (best when served warm)

Cook down the fruit with lavender, vanilla and honey, for about 10 minutes in pot. Then thicken with cornstarch, stir on heat until it becomes thick and the colour turns dark and the cornstarch has disappeared. Set aside. Put chopped walnuts into a hot frying pan and add the Amaretto. Cook down until no juice remains and the walnuts are sticky. Prepare twelve sheets of phyllo, oiling lightly in between. Lay them one of top of each other. Using a pizza cutter cut them into squares, just big enough to fill each muffin tin. Approximately 4 x 4 squares. Place the phyllo into the muffin tins. Fill each tart fully with the warm fruit. Do not fill them too high. Top with the caramelized walnuts and place in the oven. Bake them for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until the phyllo is golden to brown, take




[ 15 ]


S THE DEMENTING PERSON LOSES AWARENESS OF THE DETAILS OF LIFE, a growing circle of family, friends, co-workers, church affiliates, professional advisors, caregivers and service providers take up the slack and, in varying ways and means, fill in the gaps, creating a more comfortable world for a frightened and confused individual. For every person diagnosed with a dementing illness, a cluster of people find themselves impacted and involved. The size of the cluster may vary but the effects are similar.

The emotional impact of accepting the slow disappearance of familiar responses from someone near and dear is intense and deeply saddening. In my opinion, it sets the stage for all that lies ahead; how one begins to deal with that sadness while finding strategies for everyday routines of safety and comfort is the essence of care and companionship.

[ 16 ]




Usually we think of the spouse as being the essential, caring person, around whom the cluster of contacts revolve. This is no longer always the case; many folks are alone, having outlived husbands or wives, or having been isolated for any number of reasons. They are now reliant on a grandchild, friend, neighbor, lawyer, or in some cases, a public guardian, or the staff and services of a care facility, to provide the essentials of their being. Let’s take a look at how dementia of the Alzheimer type is changing our community and our individual understanding of this disease. And, no, I never refer to it as devastating, a common term used in literature; it can be devastating if the expectations of those in the cluster do not change to accept the fundamental limitations imposed by the Alzheimer process. This does not in any way mean diminishing the dignity, sense of independence or social involvement; it means making some changes in our sense of priority, conversational approach, and how we listen and respond.


alzheimer’s is everyone’s disease

My mum, a widow who had raised three of us on her own, had just found the opportunity to return to work as a nurse at the hospital, so she told me all she knew about senility, and handed over the old folks to my care (or that is how I remember it!). I loved my grandparents dearly and throughout my teenage years I spent much of my time with them; Grandma smiling, patting, loving, smelling of Pears soap and lavender, and silently slipping away. Grandfather repeating endless stories of his remarkable pioneering life, embellishing as he went, but always gentle and loving, until the day we sent him to an old men’s home and he was tied into a chair (we took him back home again by nightfall). He exhausted my mother, and when I moved on to nursing school a patchwork of volunteering friends and boarders got us through.


I was ten years old when I was first introduced to what was then dubbed senility. My grandparents were brought from their wonderful farm carved out of the wilderness to our rather poor home in the city.

Looking back, life seemed simpler then and for some reason, all of our family were able to make the adjustment in our thinking; that although we had the greatest love and respect for my grandparents, we did not anticipate that either one would respond or behave in the long accustomed way. We changed our expectations to meet their new reality and it has been my theme song ever since. Somewhere back in the Seventies and Eighties, Alzheimer’s emerged into everyone’s consciousness. Care became regimented and predetermined, restricting the opportunities to try individual approaches. Thankfully, the Nineties brought new awareness and educational programs, workshops, support groups and team meetings; allowing ideas to grow into new philosophies of care; many excellent books were written at that time as well. Gradually we were able to understand that despite the changes in an Alzheimer mind, and notwithstanding our need to change and listen with a different ear, a whole person was still with us, needing touch, humor, music, and a sense of trust to the same degree as the rest of us, if not more. To my knowledge, none of those needs diminish at any time over the course of the dementing process. One of the most satisfying aspects of the public education process around Alzheimer’s is to watch the manner in which bank clerks, bus drivers, grocery cashiers, hairdressers, and even teenagers in a line-up, all now recognize the signs and take the time to ensure the safety of those they recognize as struggling a bit. It is a testament to the work done by the Alzheimer Society of Canada in promoting education at every level. The clusters have expanded and the person with Alzheimer’s is safer within their own community. In a later article I will describe some of the practical, everyday coping skills I have learned through careful listening and close observation of the words and actions of people with Alzheimer’s and their closest companions. I hope that by sharing these ideas that sadness, fear, frustration, disappointment, embarrassment, and even anger that may arise in both the one with Alzheimer’s and the one without, will somehow be abated.

One observation to make today is that when you engage in a conversation involving any question and answer exchange, you might notice that the person is not answering the question you asked, they are answering one three questions back. The processing time is slower and the opportunity for frustration may escalate. The solution: Don’t ask questions! The answer probably isn’t all that important. Re-phrase your conversation to give information, not seek it, and think how relieved your loved one will be! Anne Duggan, a retired Registered Nurse with an abiding commitment to the assurance of dignity, confidence and independence for the aging population, is a respected developer of her own care homes on Vancouver Island and, now, the Founder and CEO of Strategic Elder Life Advocacy Inc., bringing comprehensive consultative guidance to those making decisions and transitions in their later years.


[ 17 ]


and Physical Vitality

Are you satisfied with your health, energy level, and overall well being? Or would you like to improve it and eliminate some personal challenges? | B Y C Y N T H I A P E R C I V A L [ 18 ]




F RECOMMENDED NUTRITIONAL AND PHYSICAL requirements are being met every day, your body and mind should support you with overall feelings of strength and stability throughout your life. Let’s look at the nutritional adjustment option and choices which may help you achieve more energy, and a higher benchmark of health.

Steering your course toward improved vitality starts with your specific objectives. What are yours? Write them down; make your goals measurable, time specific, realistic, and tell someone who will help keep you accountable for their success. Have commitment to your vision. Adjustments to determine your healthy weight may be about the types of foodstuffs and/or doing the right varieties or amounts of various activities. Physical limitations may need to be addressed with a customized fitness program or health practitioner. The choices you make about the groceries you eat and fuel your body with, absolutely, 100% influences the way you feel and how your body operates on a daily basis. It may also be what you are not eating that is hindering your health. Many bodies caught up in today’s busy lifestyle are starving for real nutrients in their diet. Vitamins are essential to our metabolic activity; our bodies cannot produce them (except for Vitamin D and B12), and hence they must be continually re-ingested to do their jobs. We also cannot store them for long so we have to continually replace them. Consuming too many processed foods with preservatives, extra sodium and sugar, and almost no fibre or nutritional content, could be a hazard. Even though many of us try to eat basic and unprocessed foods, we may not be getting the required amounts of daily required nutrients. Worldwide today, verses in the early and mid-1900s, nutrients are diminished from the soils due to years of over use and bombardment from fertilizers and pesticides. Additional nutritional value is lost when food is prepared by microwave, or exposed

to radiation in flight or crossing borders; through time spoilage in transport or due to (unripe) early harvesting. If the nutrients are not in the soils and not in the foods, what is a body (whose physiology of daily refueling needs to operate efficiently and effectively) to do? Many people now consume extra nutritional supplementation beyond their daily food intake. This is increasingly growing in interest and enthusiasm worldwide, as it is now known that many diseases are caused by deficiencies. Today’s major health issues: anemia, diabetes, heart disease, inflammatory diseases, obesity, osteoporosis, and various cancers are not only preventable but are linked to deficiencies in nutrition. Routine supplementation of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants is the preferred choice for many who want to optimally protect themselves from deficiencies. People feel more energetic as their blood and organs are receiving the essential nutrients they need daily to regenerate, replace healthy cells accurately, and to minimize ongoing free radical cellular oxidation damage. Determining which nutritional supplementation to choose personally can seem to be an overwhelming task with the diversity of advertised options. Fortunately there are sources to help you gain personal expertise. Keep expanding your knowledge about the recommended daily allowances, determine what makes sense for you and find a reliable source. Triumphing in life with essential daily exhilaration in everything you do is so worth the effort.


Choices to consider are: re-fueling (foodstuffs and water), the amount of/type of activities we do on a regular basis, the elimination of toxicity and personal stress, rest and regeneration, and our body’s existing physiological and psychological makeup. All of these will affect the outcome of us achieving our lifelong goals. Lifestyle choices with regards to the amounts of alcohol and coffee consumed may also be a factoring influence.

TIPS FOR DETERMINING WHICH NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS ARE RIGHT FOR YOU Are the ingredients naturally derived or synthetic? Is there research and science behind the formulations; are they tested? Is the packaging accurately labeled and is the pricing reasonable or inflated? Higher prices are not always the true factor of value or quality. Ask if the nutrients are protected to be bioavailable, recognized by your body, and not crystalizing in your intestines where absorption takes place. Does your sources offer full satisfaction and a money-back guarantee? Measure your improvements; energy levels, tolerance attitudes and immune system improvements (resistance to sickness) to endorse their true performance for you.

Cynthia Percival is a Certified Sports Coach who pursues outdoor activities and wilderness Travel on a regular basis. She is an advocate for environmental wellness and food based nutrition for a harmonious life. LIVLIFE.NET

[ 19 ]

getting to know your

Health & Wellness provider


T WAS A DESTINY OF SORTS THAT UNITED S I S T E R S V E R A A N D C A N D I C E seven years ago to transform The Naked Vine into the thriving business that it is today. It was their love of wine, their backgrounds in sales, marketing, public relations and logistics, and their experience of making custom wine that became the passion for the business. Now with seven employees, the business continues to grow.

Besides offering custom wine making and wine supplies on premises, The Naked Vine has expanded to include corporate gift baskets, all occasion sand-blasted wine bottles (great idea for wedding and corporate gift giving), wine glasses and decanters, unique party items, a diverse array of on-trend, high quality decor, jewelry, accessories and giftware, and don’t miss one of their popular wine tasting events. What makes The Naked Vine unique is their high end products, their healthy wine which contain less preservatives than commercial wines, their extended hours (open six days a week, and Sunday by appointment for wedding party bottling), their product guarantee, their vineyards are sourced from all over the world by their wine kit supplier, Pellar Estates. They have now also expanded to carry Riedel Products. Vera and Candice love to work with their clients to create their own individual wines since they truly believe wine is such a personal thing. They love to see their customers come in happy and leave happier. Besides their passion for their clients, they also support their local communities, charities, clubs and organizations and feel strongly in supporting their community. Stop by and visit the Vine Ladies in Bolton at 12612 Hwy 50, Unit 14 or visit for more information.

Everything happens over wine. It all begins here at


[ 20 ]







who knew? BY TEMINE ASH


NOWING I’M BEING OBSERVED FROM E V E R Y A N G L E , I silently step into the tee box, place my ball on the tee, and remind myself to just breathe and swing. It doesn’t matter if I’m playing a par three course, nine holes, or a full round of 18 holes, I feel the exact same every time I begin; my stomach in knots, my heart beating erratically. Breathe and swing. Once I get past the first tee, or the “First Hole of Observation” as I like to call it, I know I’ll be fine. Just breathe and swing…and there it is! One of the most satisfying sounds in the world; the ping as your club makes a solid connection with the ball. This past Father’s Day I decided to treat my Dad to a gift he enjoys that would allow us to spend time together; a round of golf. Everyone we mentioned the idea to, thought it was a great idea and soon there were eight of us playing.

As my friend Bruce Blears would say, “Just go out and play. Relax; concentrate on hitting the ball, and let the Force be with you!”

[ 22 ]



Golf is a game of many things to many people which is why it is so widely enjoyed by so many. Whether overcoming the many challenges and variables such as weather, or just enjoying friends, the scenery, and getting exercise (my personal favourite), golf appeals to both men and women, young and old alike.

Our day began early in the morning; it was sunny and cool with a slight wind that became determinedly stronger as the day wore on. It blew our ball a little to the left, and maybe off the fairway (just a little). Personally I think it’s always helpful to have some wind when playing as it makes for a good excuse when you can’t hit the ball very straight.

The day was a lot of fun; we ended up ditching the score cards and instead experimented with different clubs, made sloppy shots, enjoyed the camaraderie, and took in the glorious day. Have you ever watched golf on TV? It can seem like a very slow and strategic game; especially with the amount of people playing at once it can seem never ending. Oops! Did I just say that out loud? I don’t mean to upset the enthusiasts of the game; I am one (although I don’t consider myself an expert). But when you play the game yourself, it is so much better than watching it on TV for so many reasons. I am fortunate where I live; I am surrounded by beautiful courses, both large and small, that house a variety of incredibly talented pros eager to show you their game. Even getting out to the driving range is great fun! Cindy Graves, from North Vancouver, BC, explained to me that golf is something you have your whole life; all the lessons are accumulative. Cindy finds golf a social outlet and is a great way to network. According to Cindy, the mountains and the ocean affect the weather in North Vancouver continuously, making the game even more unpredictable and challenging. “We get a lot of rain, but we can’t let that stop us, or we’d never play! Our warm winters also allow us to play year round, although you can expect frost delays some mornings”, recounts Cindy. She has the gear though; special boots, mitts with velcro that attach to your cart to hang-dry in-between holes, and there is the ever dependable rain hat. Cindy says another benefit is the abundant wildlife, often seeing bald eagles and osprey; however it’s not unusual for a golf marshal to drive up to warn about a bear on the course. Bruce Blears, a huge golf enthusiast from the Orangeville area, has an inspiring love of the game. He is motivated by his desire to improve his game each time, and to relax and enjoy himself. Bruce tells a story about how one day his daughter found a golf ball monogrammed with his grandson’s initials. Bruce thought this would be good luck and immediately used the ball to play, managing to get a hole in one! Kelly Myles, General Manager of the Caledon Country Club explains that the stronger your inner core is, the better your game of golf will be; and starting in the fall, Caledon will be offering the Yoga for Golf program. The Caledon Country Club’s golfing season is seven and half months long, and features various clinics, camps, and event nights (Beginners, Ladies, Couple’s Night Nine & Dine, etc.). It’s a beautiful course, nestled in the rolling hills of Caledon with spectacular views in every direction.


I was paired with my sister Cara, who takes the game quite seriously; she has many corporate functions and finds golf a useful networking tool. I figure it’s my job as the older sibling to help her have some fun, and I pick up pointers and etiquette tips whenever she and I play (like not stepping in front of her shot when on the green).

Golf is a game that grows on you, and you learn it by simply playing it. The more you play it, the better you become. If you haven’t tried it before, don’t be intimidated. I’d recommend lessons for anyone (both novice and experienced golfers alike). There are so many variables that can affect your game (for example, wind or rain), but once you know what you’re doing, these major obstacles become minor hurdles.


Do some research; read books and magazines or surf the net for courses near you. Get a friend to show you the ropes. If you’re nervous, go when the course is the least busy. Remember to check the forecast, dress for your tee-off time (early morning versus mid-day), and remember to keep hydrated. Also, consider renting clubs from the pro shop until you get the feel of what works for you. Remember to be safe and considerate of other players around you; yell “fore” if your ball is heading for other players. Turn off your cell phone ringer (and no, it won’t kill you to be disconnected for a little while); be respectful of others, and quiet during other players’ turns. Keep up the pace and don’t delay other groups behind you; let them play through if necessary. And always rake the bunkers and repair divots in the grass when you are through.


[ 23 ]

To Tour


or Not to Tour

Since 2008, the more reasonable exchange rates prevailing in the Euro-zone have brought significantly renewed interest to a long established form of holiday; guided coach tours.


Y W I F E A N D I H A V E T O U R E D M A N Y C O U N T R I E S via coach tours during the past couple of years, as have our friends. We know another couple that reported visiting almost identical sites to us, but via a river cruise boat where sleeping accommodation is on the boat rather than in hotels. This latter travel system might be of special interest to those who do not wish to change hotels every day or so. There are some definite advantages to having your suitcase remain on the moving boat rather than endless packing and unpacking.

Plan early and research; there are at least half a dozen major tour companies that are easy to find on the internet or through your local travel agent. Look closely to see where the coach will go and how many days it will spend in each location. Check to see how many meals are provided, and if there are any interesting side-trips available (remember these usually cost extra). Get a map of the tour and see if you can estimate approximate distances and therefore travel times for each day; you might be two hours on the coach one day and seven the next. Ask your travel agent or tour company if your chosen departure date is real. By that I mean, have they enough passengers for the coach to actually leave on that date? If there are poor bookings you may find you are stuck with an alternate date which does not fit your booked airline travel plans. If things look good at this stage and you book the trip, you will be asked to pay a deposit (usually about ten percent), with the balance due about ninety days prior to departure. Money can also be saved if you book in the country where the tour originates. We have successfully booked with a British travel agent and paid in Sterling, saving about ten percent over the cost of booking in Canada. If traveling to a location several time zones away, allow yourself at least a day to recover ahead of the coach departure time. Many of the tour operators can set up full trips that include air fare, although fellow travelers have reported savings of more than 75% by booking the flights themselves. We strongly recommend arriving a day or two before the tour begins in the eventuality that your flight is delayed and you miss your coach tour connection. Also, we have found it convenient to stay at the hotel used as the tour starting point so we can be relaxed and ready to go.

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Make sure your passport is current and that you have suitable medical insurance. We suggest you purchase enough currency of your first destination to cover meals, taxis, etc. for at least 3 days. It is generally easy to obtain cash from banks and bank machines for most currencies after your trip is under way. Pack lightly in case you have to handle your suitcases by yourself, although remember you will only be able to wash very few items (underwear, socks, etc.) during the trip. The evening before departure you will meet your tour guide and fellow passengers. They will tell you what time to have your luggage outside your door and what time to be on the coach. Keep a light raincoat or umbrella out of your luggage as you usually don’t have access to your suitcases until the evening. While food is forbidden on the coach, you may pack water or juice. Don’t worry though; the tours make frequent stops throughout the day to allow you to purchase snacks, maps, souvenirs, etc. The tour guides will offer a plethora of information to you each day; coupled with frequent stops and an abundance of diverse and detailed historical data; you’ll be happy just to be where it happened. Keep your camera ready; a small notebook and pencil are handy to jot names or dates to relate the photos back to later. We find that postcards get such fine pictures that a few of these can be a wonderful addition to your scrap-book. If you want to buy souvenirs or postcards, make sure to buy them at your first opportunity as you may be in an entirely new country within a few hours. It may not be the cheapest buy every time but at least you’ll be happy you got some! Sadly, there is rarely time for going back later.


About a month or so before your trip you can expect to receive a package outlining details, hotel phone numbers, currency information, and details of the various and historic sites to be visited, as well as a good deal of information on climate, people, language(s) spoken, and items to consider buying as local souvenirs. In many cases there will be simple everyday words and useful phrases in the languages of the countries you are to visit as well.

Also, get lots of rest. Fit in some side trips in the evenings by all means, but space them out. Think about what length of driving or walking you face the next day; a little planning can make the trip so much more pleasant. My wife and I are dumbfounded by the number of passengers who stay up late in the evening only to sleep on the coach for the first two hours the next day. In case one doesn’t come this way again, why miss anything at all?

While you will visit the main attractions there will be times when you could have spent hours or even days in one location; Vienna was like that for us. This has to be for another day. There are horror stories of tourists being robbed but some precautions will help. Your guide will usually warn you that a particular area is bad for pick-pockets or the like. Keep your money and valuables in a belt pouch or body location that is hard to remove, and walking around in a group is recommended for both security reasons and to prevent getting lost. Hopefully one person in the group knows where they are going, and between all of you, that you can speak a few sentences of the local language.

The hotels are of a very pleasant standard; rated four-star, and quite modern. Many need your door key-card in a slot near the entrance or bathroom to work the electrical system for the room. So just don't rush into the room and dive for the bathroom. You will be in the dark fumbling about trying to find the toilet, which can certainly dampen your enthusiasm. Sleeping accommodation usually consist of twin beds in Europe (although you can usually reach to hold hands), while the bathrooms will be different yet satisfactory. Toilets will be at different heights as will the bathtubs. For some reason Europeans like to mountain-climb into their baths in the morning. Or like in Greece where they are no tubs, but a shower-head on the wall and a drain on the floor, curtain sometimes optional. I can only say like the French, “Vive la difference!” Relax, and enjoy the experience. The whole experience will have some downsides; tight timelines and rigid schedules are not for everyone. Sleeping in six different hotels over eight or nine nights, being bombarded with new sights and information for six hours a day for ten days, and using three or four different currencies in a week is not everyone’s ideal method of travel. Short or rushed, or possibly even missed visits can be disappointing as well, especially if they’re only a few kilometers off the route. However, on the plus side you can visit a wide variety of countries and see many top attractions in a small window of time. Hotels are all pre-arranged, your luggage is looked after, you are chauffeured around by first class drivers, and your guide will be an invaluable fount of knowledge. We feel the biggest single advantage is that we have been to places we would have never seen by travelling via coach tour.


[ 25 ]

a lovely, private oasis BY KATHLEEN BROWN


ONVENIENTLY LOCATED IN THE LOWER LEVEL OF THE BEST WESTERN PLUS O R A N G E V I L L E I N N A N D S U I T E S at the corner of Hwy 10 and Buena Vista Drive is the enchanting Spa O. Upon arriving for my first reflexology treatment, I was warmly greeted by Kim and I was also offered a refreshing lemon water. Kim took the time to discuss my treatment with me and all it entailed, ensuring that I felt comfortable and involved, giving me a selection of essential oils to choose from for my treatment.

The treatment rooms were comfortable with heated tables, a shower for convenience, and a complimentary chocolate for each client. Kim was very professional and personable and put me at ease.

My treatment was calming and invigorating; a lovely way to end a hectic day!

[ 26 ]



My following visit was with the Spa Manager and Esthetician, Rachel, who also greeted me warmly with a complimentary beverage, and left me to relax while she prepared for my pedicure treatment. Rachel also made me feel very comfortable; she gave me some great tips, and explained all of the different products they offer. I was pleased to discover Rachel also offers a facial treatment that includes a foot and hand massage. The staff schedule their appointments far enough apart so that never once did I feel rushed or hurried throughout my treatment; I felt that time frame was truly mine, and that Rachel was solely focused on me and my treatment.

MONARCH MENTORING Arts Based Workshops and Mindful Living Strategies to Enhance Your Life Michele Johnston



Orangeville, On

Spa O offers a full range of massage therapy and esthetics, and in addition to the beneficial treatments, clients are welcome to use the salt water pool, hot tub, and sauna when visiting the Spa, provided they advise the staff ahead of time. Easily accessible for patrons with disabilities, Spa O features Elsie, a foot care specialist and R.N., who offers specialized treatments for clients with specific needs. Spa O is also very proud to announce that Gayle recently joined their team, bringing with her 20 years of experience as a registered massage therapist.

Dancing Moon Designs Illuminating the Creative Spirit

with Shaman Artist & Facilitator

C.J. Shelton


Spa O does not offer the large scale multi-room environments that you may find at other spas, but what they do not have in size, they more than make up for in customer service, treatment and overall experience. I found my experience quaint and relaxing, and felt that the smaller environment gave a more private atmosphere. Not only does Spa O cater to the ladies but they also offer a full range of gentleman's treatments. And gentleman, for your favourite lady, gift certificates for all treatments can be purchased at the front desk of the hotel in the main lobby. Clients are able to purchase the products used; for example, the Spa uses a natural body line called Simple Indulgence, which is actually a locally made product they use in their body treatments. They also carry a full line of Biodroga products used in their facial treatments. Spa O can tailor packages to each client’s needs, and offers monthly specials which clients can find out about by contacting Spa O directly. I found Spa O to be a charming place with engaging and professional staff that take the comfort and safety of their clients very seriously, while making any experience a relaxing and enjoyable one. I would recommend this lovely little oasis to anyone interested in one of their many services offered.

Someone you can trust when you want: Insightful solutions to struggles, A personal roadmap to success, Clarity, harmony and healing, To discover your character and calling. NUMEROLOGY • ASTROLOGY • FENG SHUI • FLOWER ESSENCES

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[ 27 ]


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Healthy Happiness Providing personalized, compassionate alternative and traditional medical care for Dufferin County Dr. Nadine French, MD family doctor who is committed to supporting her patients to explore all treatment options for wellness

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livlife - Fall 2012  

A health and wellness magazine that provides expert advice to the growing health conscious lifestyle audience. Relevant topics, practical in...

livlife - Fall 2012  

A health and wellness magazine that provides expert advice to the growing health conscious lifestyle audience. Relevant topics, practical in...