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Meatless Mondays

Meatless Mondays

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In our Thursday “Ask A Health Expert” post on our Facebook page, one of our readers wrote: I like the idea behind Meatless Mondays but I hate fish. Are there options that won’t leave me starving? Our nutrition expert Amy responded: If going meatless, focus on fat sources and alternative protein. Let’s talk fat today: cook your vegetables in a generous portion of ghee (clarified butter) or coconut oil; drizzle olive oil over salad and top with nuts, seeds, avocado and olives. Fat is a satisfying (and necessary) source of nutrition to help fill you up!   Eggs are also a great option: packing both a fatty and protein punch. Plus eggs are a rich source of B vitamins, biotin, folic acid and choline. I call them, nature’s multivitamin! So what is Meatless Monday, anyway? It is a movement to simply go one day a week without meat. The reasons proponents list vary, but here are the high notes: For your physical health: It may reduce your risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, and even some cancers. For your financial health: Let’s face it: a good steak can run you $30 at the butcher. A good serving of eggs? About a buck. Additionally, the costs to our healthcare system from people suffering from the physical problems above can be factored into the financial savings. For your planet’s health: There’s no denying it: raising a living being takes exponentially more space, water, and resources than raising a plant. So whether your reason for trying Meatless Mondays is one of the above, or another reason entirely, how do you go about crafting a great meatless meal? Substitute Mushrooms. These fungi are surprisingly filling! Grill a portobello mushroom cap on the barbecue as a great substitute for a hamburger. You can put it in a bun with the usual condiments, or you can cut it up in a salad with grilled zucchini, grilled yellow summer squash, grilled red peppers, and grilled onions. Add some health fats in the form of a homemade olive-oil-and-lemon salad dressing, and you’re sure to be satisfied. Substitute Beans. Not the canned kind swimming in sugar and tomatoes! Experiment with soy beans, lentils, kidney beans or navy beans. It’s easy to find a filling Mexican Soup recipe, or even easier to pick up a bag of edamame at the grocery store. Steam them for 4 minutes, sprinkle with lemon juice and sea salt, and enjoy! Filling and delicious. Experiment with grains and noodles. Quinoa and buckwheat soba noodles are two that are very flavour-friendly and easy to find in most grocery stores. Like most things in life, attitude is everything. If you look at this as a great way to get some zen time in in the kitchen while rediscovering your secret knack for great flavour combinations and beautiful plate presentations, Meatless Mondays can turn into your...

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The ABCs of Getting ZZZ

The ABCs of Getting ZZZ

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If you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, wake too early or feel tired, groggy and have difficulty concentrating during the day, you could have a sleep disorder, such as insomnia. According to recent reports one-third of adults suffer occasionally from insomnia and 14 percent experience chronic insomnia. Sleep is absolutely vital for good health. It is a fundamental need for survival, just like food and water. Yet it is often compromised to accommodate a busy schedule. There are many misconceptions surrounding sleep. Contrary to common belief, if you miss sleep during the week you can’t catch up on the weekend. And if you think that sleep is just a passive state you may be surprised to know that during sleep our bodies are actually producing hormones and working on important elements for repair and regeneration. The consequences of poor or inadequate sleep go well beyond just feeling tired during the day. Getting less than six hours sleep is now associated with many serious health problems such as heart disease, depression, weakened immune function, headaches, memory loss and even low libido and weight gain. Aside from a busy life, many factors can hamper our ability to get a good night’s rest, including: stress hormonal imbalances (such as menopause) use of alcohol or caffeine side effects of drugs working shift work and more. As a quick fix approach many turn to prescription sleeping pills. In fact, the use of these drugs in our sleepless society has almost doubled over the past decade. While these drugs may help put you to sleep, they do not provide a long-term solution and they are associated with several side effects including loss of short-term memory, next day drowsiness and sleepwalking. When used chronically, they become less effective, can result in dependency and can actually worsen sleep quality. To sleep better without the risks of sleeping pills, try a few simple lifestyle changes. Here are some A, B, Cs to have better quality Zs: A – Allow Allow adequate time for sleep and make sleep a priority each day. Experts recommend 7-8 hours for adults. B – Bedtime Bedtime routines help develop good sleep hygiene. Try going to bed around the same time each evening. Do relaxing activities at night such as reading, stretching or meditation. This will help to signal your brain that it’s time to sleep. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugar in the evening; these are common sleep disrupters. C – Consider Consider a supplement. Sleep supplements  can help to reduce stress and promote relaxation and improve sleep quality. Try femMED’s Sleep formula. D – Darkness Darkness can help by promoting your body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates our sleep and wake cycles. Make your room dark by using light blocking shades. Keep electronics such as cell phones and computers out of your bedroom. If you are struggling with persistent problems sleeping, despite making...

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Is Coconut Oil the Newest Fad or is There Something To It?

Is Coconut Oil the Newest Fad or is There Something To It?

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that coconut oil is the new ‘must-have’ product in your home. It boasts an array of benefits which span from the bathroom to the kitchen, and it seems almost too good to be true. People have been asking me whether it’s just a fad, but it looks like coconut oil is definitely here to stay! The truth is coconut oil has been used for thousands of years in other cultures. It is a staple in Ayurvedic medicine, the traditional medical system of India, as well as in many other traditional health practices. We’re a couple of millennia late to the party, but it’s better late than never! Here are some of the reasons why you should invite coconut oil into your life: It’s Great for Cooking!  It’s a terrific substitute for butter or margarine because it is solid at room temperature. Because of its high smoking temperature, it’s great for baking, stir frying and roasting (unlike olive oil). Unlike butter, it is ideal for vegans. It is extremely stable and resistant to oxidation, which lends itself to a shelf life of up to 2 years! Coconut is classified as a seed or a fruit so people with tree nut allergies generally do not have to worry about allergic responses. It Keeps You Gorgeous! Dry skin from the winter?  No problem! Coconut oil works wonders as a moisturizer, and can prevent dryness and flaking of skin. It is a great anti-wrinkle cream because of its antioxidant properties. Apply coconut oil directly to your skin to soften the appearance of fine lines. It can be used to treat eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis.  This is why it is often the first ingredient in soaps, creams, and lotions. You can use it as massage oil, lip balm, and even to treat diaper rash! It can be used as a hair mask, as it has healing and nourishing properties for dry and damaged hair. It can be heavy, so if your hair is on the thinner side just massage it lightly into the ends, and don’t forget to wash it out! It is an amazing eye make-up remover. It Helps Keep You Healthy! It can help improve digestion and digestive problems including Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The saturated fats in coconut oil have antimicrobial properties which can fight various bacteria, fungi, and parasites that can cause indigestion. Most of the saturated fat in coconut oil is lauric acid.  This is considered a healthy choice as studies show that lauric acid can raise your ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL) and lower the ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL). Coconut oil also helps in the absorption of other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) which are small enough to be absorbed into the cells where they’re quickly converted to energy. Through this...

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Eggs: Are They All They’re Cracked Up to Be?

Eggs: Are They All They’re Cracked Up to Be?

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Over the years, eggs have developed a bad rap. Some people had gone so far as to suggest that eggs should be removed completely from your diet because they are loaded with a dangerous amount of cholesterol even for a healthy heart. With new scientific discoveries though, eggs are making a comeback. In fact, they seem to have done a full 180 and are now being touted for all their health benefits. While it is true that egg yolks contain cholesterol and may weakly affect blood cholesterol levels, it turns out they also contain nutrients that help lower the risk of heart disease. Eggs Contain: Vitamin B12 Vitamin B12 has been shown to help protect against heart disease. Choline This nutrient plays an important function for the nervous system, helping to control memory and muscle support. Vitamin D Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin, which a lot of North Americans lack in the winter. Protein Eggs are a complete protein, containing all the essential amino acids. Protein plays an essential role in building, maintaining, and replacing tissues in the body. Over the years, eggs were ‘rumoured’ to be bad for the heart because they contain cholesterol. Recent research indicates, however, that blood cholesterol levels are more influenced by the saturated and trans-fats we eat rather than by the cholesterol in foods. This means that our bodies are not absorbing the cholesterol from foods at a rate even close to the extent that was thought in the past. On top of this, eggs contain Vitamin B12, which is one of the vitamins for heart health. This is a great natural supplement if you’re wondering how to prevent heart disease in women or men! How much cholesterol do we need? The recommended daily cholesterol intake for a healthy person is not more than 300 milligrams per day.  In healthy people, an egg a day will not increase the risk of heart disease and can be part of a healthy diet. Women with heart disease should limit dietary cholesterol to less than 200 mg per day, but you can still have eggs up to 3 times per week. One egg contains: 185mg of cholesterol, all of which is found in the yolk  5 grams of fat, most of which is the ‘good’ unsaturated fat and there is no trans-fat 6 grams of protein So what are your options if you suffer from heart disease and/or are trying to limit your eggs? Have an omelet with one egg yolk and 3 egg whites. Egg whites are pure protein! You can add as many vegetables as you like. Eggs are filling, inexpensive and easy to prepare, so start incorporating them into your diet! By the way…What’s the difference between white eggs and brown eggs? As it turns out, not a whole lot! Brown eggs come from brown hens, and white eggs come from white...

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Keeping it Smooth

Keeping it Smooth

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We all lead busy lives and including enough fruits and veggies into our diet can be a struggle.  Canada’s Food Guide recommends that women between the ages of 19-50 should be eating seven to eight servings a day. To give you an idea of what that looks like on your dinner plate, you would have to eat 21 spears of asparagus or up to 140 grapes. That’s a lot of food to fit into your daily routine! So instead of eating them, we revved up the juicer/blender and made these three delicious juices. They can accompany any meal or function as a tasty snack on the go. They all contain three to four servings of fruits or veggies (that’s almost half the daily recommendation) and are loaded with the vitamins you need to stay healthy. We suggest you try a few different recipes and keep a pitcher of your favourites on hand. Here are the three we liked the best. Spinach-Cucumber-Celery Juice  (4 servings of vegetables) 2 cups packed spinach 1 cucumber 1 celery stalk Spinach is loaded with vitamin K, which helps fights atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), lowers blood pressure and works to decrease your risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke. It’s also a great source of vitamin A, which works to protect the mucous membranes found in the respiratory, urinary and intestinal tracts. Celery  is a healthy source of vitamin A, dietary fibre and  is also mildly anti-inflammatory. Cucumbers are 95% water which makes them a great source for hydration. They’re also an excellent source of silica, which helps promotes joint health by strengthening the connective tissues. Cucumbers are rich in vitamin A, K and potassium. Citrus Style Immune Booster  (4-5 servings of fruits) 1 14 oz grapefruit, peeled and cut into chunks 2 medium oranges, peeled and cut into chunks 3 kiwis, peeled and cut into chunks Grapefruits contains lycopene, which may have an effect in the prevention of certain cancers, although further research is needed. They are also a good source of dietary fibre and vitamin A and C. Oranges, as we all know, are an excellent source of vitamin C, but they are also a good source of thiamin and potassium, and a very good source of dietary fiber. Kiwis are also loaded with vitamin C, which is essential to the formation and repair of tissue, particularly cartilage, blood vessels, tendons and skin. One cup of sliced kiwifruit provides 5g of fiber. Eating fiber will help fill you up, keep your digestive system running and work to lower cholesterol. Super Berry Anti-Oxidant Fighter  (3-4 serving of fruit) 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen) 1 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen) 2 cups peeled and chopped mango ¼ cup water Blend together and add additional water to thin. Fruits like blueberries contain antioxidants, which may help prevent cell damage by neutralizing free radicals. Strawberries are...

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femMED Celebrates International Women’s Day

femMED Celebrates International Women’s Day

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Founder and CEO Shawna Page created femMED when she found that searching the aisles on her own for the right products was frustrating and confusing. Out of that frustration, femMED, the first user-friendly, brand of comprehensive supplements designed specifically for women was born. Today femMED celebrates International Women’s Day and those women who through hard work and tenacity, made it possible to for a woman to follow her dreams. International Women’s Day (originally called International Working Women’s Day)was first observed on February 28 in 1909.  Its focus varied from a general appreciation and love for womankind (as celebrated on Mothers’ Day or Valentine’s Day) to acknowledging the economic, political and social achievements and milestones of women in society.  Today, 104 years later, International Women’s Day is still celebrated around the world. In celebration of IWD, we have chosen a few of the top  contributions by women. Radioactivity Marie Curie was a physicist and chemist best known for her work on radioactivity; She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the only woman to win in two fields, and the only person to win in multiple sciences. It appeared that she died for her work. Marie Curie died from aplastic anemia, which is caused from long-term exposure to radiation. Windshield Wiper As Canadians, we appreciate this one a lot, and have Mary Anderson to thank for inventing the windshield wiper in 1903.  Imagine the perils of driving in the rain, sleet or snow without this invention? Disposable Diaper Entrepreneur Marion Donovan created the alternative to cloth diapers with her invention of the disposable diaper in 1946.  Although some moms and dads have reverted to cloth diapers for either environmental or personal preferences, parents the world over owe Marion a debt of gratitude. Dishwasher Josephine Cochrane did more for the hands of women around the world than Vaseline with her invention of the first mechanical dishwasher in 1886. Barbie doll Ruth Handler, in 1959 created the first Barbie.  Handler first suggested the idea  to her husband Elliot, a co-founder of Mattel Toy Company who was unenthusiastic about the idea. Ruth persevered and the first Barbie made its debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York on March 9, 1959. The doll was named after Handler’s daughter Barbara . It is estimated that over a billion Barbie dolls have been sold worldwide in over 150 countries, with Mattel claiming that three Barbie dolls are sold every second. The brassiere (aka the bra) Mary Phelps Jacob forever earned the respect and adoration of women when she invented the bra.  Women of all shapes and sizes have embraced this invention, yet according to research from 2008,  75–85% of women wear a bra of an incorrect size. These are just a few of the contributions that women have made to the world at large. Women continue to make their mark in...

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