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Top 5 tips to survive flu season

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Top 5 tips to survive flu season

(NC) With winter right around the corner, many of us are already anticipating the dreaded cold and flu season. But this time of year doesn’t have to mean a household full of runny noses, sore throats, achy muscles and fevers. Abbey Sharp, a registered dietician, shares her top tips to combat and survive this year’s flu season.

Find ways to minimize stress: Chronic stress wears you down, both emotionally and physically, leaving your body more susceptible to infection and disease. Make an effort to find some activities that help you unwind. Listening to a meditation app, doing yoga, laughing with friends or even just taking a bath may help clear your mind and lower those harmful stress hormone levels.

Exercise daily: You don’t need to be an athlete to reap the benefits of daily exercise. Exercise may help slow down the release of stress hormones, which in turn helps boost immune function over time. In fact, research has found that moderate exercise even helps to prevent the onset of the common cold. Aim to spend at least 30 minutes each day doing something active.

Increase zinc levels: Zinc is a mineral that helps your body stay healthy, not only strengthening your immune system but also promoting normal growth and development at all ages. For a delicious way to get your zinc, try Tetley Super Herbal Tea-Immune, which has lemon, echinacea and zinc. This tasty tea is high in zinc, containing 20 per cent of an adult’s recommended daily intake of zinc per cup. Get enough sleep: When deprived of quality shut-eye, your body experiences an increase in stress hormones, which starts to wear down your ability to fight off disease and infection. Skip the caffeine after noon, shut off all electronics before bed, keep your room as dark as possible and create a relaxing pre-bed routine to help you get seven to nine hours of sleep each night.

Keep good hygiene habits: Unless you plan to barricade indoors yourself this winter, it’s impossible to steer completely clear of germs. Your best defence is to wash your hands thoroughly and often using soap and hot water, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds. And don’t forget to be courteous — practice the “sleeve sneeze” to avoid transferring pathogenic germs onto your hands.

Flu season is upon us, and if you’re one of the one billion influenza cases that happen each year, you’re looking at a rough road to recovery. While most cases last seven to 10 days, the flu can last up to two full weeks for some.

Cindy Beckedam, a registered dietician at Loblaws, and Hans Epp, a pharmacist at Shoppers Drug Mart, share their tips for recovering from the flu.

Drink plenty of fluids: Fluids fuel your immune system by helping move important proteins around your body. We’re also losing a lot of them in the form of mucous or sweat when we have the flu. “While there are no hard and fast rules, do your best to get plenty of fluids whether they come in the form of tea, soup or plain old water,” says Beckedam.

Cancel your caffeine and alcohol consumption: Caffeine and alcohol are diuretics that may work against your efforts to stay hydrated. “Skipping a glass of beer or wine with dinner may make the job of staying hydrated a bit easier,” advises Epp.

Consume foods with the right vitamins and minerals: It takes a lot of work for our bodies to fight the flu, so getting the vitamins and minerals we need is a big part of recovery. Vitamin C, zinc and vitamin A help contribute to a good immune system and overall health, so foods that contain them are a good place to start.

Stay well rested: The flu takes a lot out of us, so getting plenty of rest will help with recovery. “Tired and sore muscles are your body’s way of telling you it’s a good idea to stay at home,” explains Epp. “Staying home and resting have the added benefit of curbing the spread of illness.”

Avoid the flu altogether: The flu shot is still your best way to help avoid the illness, so stop in at your closest Shoppers Drug Mart and get vaccinated today.



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Four reasons to buy a new home

Four reasons to buy a new home

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Four reasons to buy a new home

When you’re in the market for a new home there are many tough decision to be made.

When you’re in the market for a new home it can be a tough decision. Do you head to the sales office of a local builder or check out resale homes? Here are some reasons to buy a brand new home:

The latest technology

Homebuilding has seen significant changes in construction techniques and new technology over the last 10 years. New homes today come with efficiency features such as tankless water heaters, high-efficiency condensing furnaces, low-flow showerheads, Energy Star appliances, high-performance windows and smart thermostats. This means today’s homes and condos are easier on your utility costs and the environment while providing you a home that is as tech-savvy as you are.

Registered builders versus DIY

New homebuilders in Ontario need a licence to build. In fact, it’s the law that they be registered with Tarion, the regulatory authority. This means that builders must meet financial and technical tests before they can build homes, providing you with some peace of mind about your investment.

An older home, on the other hand, may have changed ownership several times, which could mean it’s seen many years of DIY fixes or renovations that may not meet the current Ontario Building Code. Older homes may also have more hidden issues like faulty wiring, illegal alterations and use of older materials.

Best-in-class warranty

Almost every new home or condo in Ontario is covered by a new home warranty with up to $300,000 in coverage. From the moment of possession, almost everything the builder provides, inside and out, is covered in the first year. The major systems inside your home, including heating and plumbing, are covered for up to two years and major structural defects are covered for up to seven years.

Customized finishes

A newly built house or condo gives you the opportunity to customize it to your tastes before it’s even built. Depending on the builder, you can often choose wall colours, design and colour of cabinets and countertops, types of fixtures in your kitchen or bathroom, floor finishes and the style of interior trim throughout your home. Find more tips at tarion.com.


Buying a new home is exciting, but also a lot of work. It involves a whole series of decisions beginning with setting your budget all the way to picking out bathroom tiles. Wouldn’t it be great to have a trusted advisor to help?

MyHome Planner is a free app that offers the reliable advice, information and organization skills you need at each step of the home buying process. It’s like a best friend, new home expert and personal assistant all rolled into one.

One of the first big decisions to tackle is where you want to live. The app can help you research builders and where they are proposing to develop new homes or condos. It also gives you access to Tarion’s Ontario Builder Directory so you can see how long a builder has been in business, how many homes it has built and whether there have been any warranty claims.

Once you know where you want to be, the fun part comes when it’s time to choose the house model and customize it with fixtures, countertops and other finishes to create the home of your dreams. The app can help with scheduling, reminders and valuable information that will help to ensure nothing is forgotten.

When it comes time for the Pre-Delivery Inspection — a walk-through of your completed home with the builder prior to taking possession — you need to identify issues such as damaged or incomplete items.

But do you know what to look for or what questions to ask? The app can coach you with tips, videos and resources that will help you through the process. It can also help you learn about your new home warranty. Find more tips at tarion.com.


Buying your first home can be exciting, but it is important to realize the slew of new responsibilities that come with owning property. Tasks that a landlord would take care of are now on your plate. Here are some to keep in mind:

Neighbourhood by-laws

Many communities maintain regulations, such as maximum heights for fences, hedges and trees; building permits for decks; and rules for the construction of fire pits. To avoid an accidental misstep, check out the neighbourhood by-laws when you are moving.

Maintain smoke alarms According to the Canadian regulations, smoke alarms must be installed outside of each sleeping area and on each level. Maintenance of these devices include testing them every month, cleaning and changing their batteries as directed by the manufacturer and replacing any that are over 10 years old.

Check seldomley used bathrooms

Grime and dirt build-up can cause your faucets and toilets to malfunction or get damaged. Avoid this by running the taps and flushing the toilets of guest bathrooms occasionally.

Curb appeal

Don’t forget to maintain your outdoor property as well. Take pride in your new home with a well-manicured yard. This may not be everyone’s favourite chore, but Stihl’s Lithium-Ion Homescaper Series can help in easing the load with lightweight and powerful tools making the job much easier.

Emergency fund

Now that you own your home, you are solely responsible for any and all repairs. These can be costly, and often come by surprise. Avoid an unplanned financial burden by keeping an emergency fund for household maintenance and repairs. Find more information about helpful tools online at stihl.ca.

From News Canada


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Enjoy a truly Canadian meal to celebrate Canada 150

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Enjoy a truly Canadian meal to celebrate Canada 150

By News Canada

Canada’s 150th birthday is a time to celebrate all things Canadian. Being Canadian brings on thoughts of salmon swimming upstream to spawn, peameal bacon sizzling in a pan, beavertails on Ottawa’s Rideau Canal and tapping maple trees for fresh syrup when the cold winter starts to break.

Sifto is celebrating its 150th anniversary along with Canada’s milestone birthday so the company commissioned leading Canadian gastro chef Mike Shedden to create a perfect Canadian dish of salt-cured maple Canadian Atlantic salmon. This dish is best served cold on top of a dill crème fraiche with fried capers on French bread.

Sesquicentennial Salt Cured Maple Salmon

Serves: 25 1-oz slices


  • 1 kg Atlantic salmon, skin on
  • 1 kg Sifto table salt
  • 1/2 kg granulated sugar
  • 2 oranges, zested
  • 250 g cracked and roasted black pepper
  • 1/4 cup smoked paprika
  • 3/4 cup real maple syrup


  1. Mix all dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl until completely combined.
  2. Coat salmon in cure and reserve 40 per cent of mixture.
  3. Lay salmon skin side down on a baking sheet with half of remaining cure underneath.
  4. Mix in maple syrup to remaining cure and coat the exposed salmon in the wet cure.
  5. Wrap tightly in cellophane and leave in refrigerator for three days.
  6. Flip salmon once every 24 hours for best results.
  7. Once salmon is cured, rinse cure off well and slice salmon thinly and on a slight bias.



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How To Get Your Kids Out Of The House And Into The Garden

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How To Get Your Kids Out Of The House And Into The Garden

By News Canada

Look up the positive effects of gardening and you’ll find a wealth of studies from educational and government institutions that support its impact on your physical and mental well being. But it’s not just adults who benefit from time in the garden. It’s a great way to spend time with your kids while teaching them about biology, food and geology.

Here, garden guru Frank Ferragine, aka Frankie Flowers, shares his tested and true techniques to get your kids in the garden.

Give them a plot of edibles: Your backyard garden can be a fantastic source of delicious fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, carrots and berries. “Letting the kids pick out and maintain edible plants or grow them from seed in their own plot will help foster ownership in the garden,” said Ferragine. “If you’re looking for something that will really get the kids and their tastebuds excited, the geniuses at President’s Choice have put together a strawberry trio that contains framberries, pineberries and seaburst strawberries.”

Give them their own tools: “A watering can, trowel, gloves and kneeling pad may be all it takes to get your son or daughter in the garden with you,” said Ferragine. “Their own set of tools will make them feel more grown up and more responsible.”

Create a miniature garden: Condo or apartment living shouldn’t keep your kids from learning about gardening. “PC Garden Centres have tons of fun planters and colourful pots for the balcony. Planting some microgreens or seasonal flowers in them is a wonderful way to teach your young ones about planting and watering,” said Ferragine. “Hanging baskets are another great choice for these smaller spaces, and the bright colours that are trendy this year will captivate your kids.”

Get connected: For younger generations who engage each other on social media, showing them gardening has its place online can go a long way. “Kids love taking photos, so why not give your little ones an assignment to take some gardening photos to share with you or their friends? It’s likely to spark more interest in the work you’re doing out there and you’ll make some memories to last a lifetime.”


With warm weather on its way, there’s never been a better time to start planning your garden. To help you get started this season, Ferragine has some thoughts on top gardening trends this year.

Big pops of colour: Last year we saw some contrast with loud hues married to more muted, pastel tones, but this year is all about bright colours. Calibrachoas will be this year’s showstoppers with brilliant purples and beaming yellows. Not only do they require little maintenance, but they’ll last from spring until first frost with masses of cascading branches full of petunia-like flowers. Expect to see a rainbow of vibrant impatiens with brighter reds, pinks and oranges in hanging baskets across the country.

Urban planting: This year, condo and apartment dwellers aren’t likely to miss out on the gardening fun. “Urban gardening is going to be bigger than ever,” said Ferragine. “Hanging baskets will be popular spring purchases and many gardeners are already excited about the wide selection of colourful pots from brands like President’s Choice to make a statement in their yards or on their balconies.”

Tough meets tender: A great way to keep your garden looking lush throughout the year is by mixing tough plants with tender ones. While softer, less hardy varieties like peonies, salvia and verbena look lovely, it’s a good idea to intermingle them with lower- maintenance resilient varieties like echinacea, roses and succulents that will keep your garden full in spite of harsher, dryer conditions.

Climate consciousness: Canada is huge and our climate is varied, therefore it stands to reason that a plant that grows well in Victoria may not fare so well in Winnipeg. Plant tags contain key information on plant hardiness zones and what type of plant will do best in specific zones or regions. Still, Ferragine says that “Canadians are more informed than ever about the role our climate can play in growing a successful garden.”

Patriotic plants: Red and white plants are already gaining a lot of attention in the gardening world. “Without a doubt, this year’s hottest flower is the Canadian Shield Rose,” says Ferragine. Made in Canada, this choice is a perfect way to celebrate our country’s 150th birthday. Named as 2017’s Flower of the Year by Canada Blooms, the Canadian Shield Rose (pictures) is is able to survive our rigorous winters from coast to coast. It’s the perfect way to celebrate Canada in your garden this summer.


We don’t all have a green thumb, but a beautiful flower garden doesn’t have to be difficult. Planting a little patch of colour can be easy and rewarding, not just for us, but also for pollinators like honeybees. By following these tips, anyone can turn their outdoor space into an area that looks beautiful and helps feed hungry honey bees all summer long.

Your garden is like a buffet for honeybees. Plants reproduce through pollination. This occurs when pollen is transferred from one flowering plant to another. Moving the pollen is where honeybees come in. They use nectar and pollen as food for their hives, but in their travels they can also spread the pollen. Make sure you plant bee-attractive flowering plants that will bloom in your garden at different times throughout the summer.

Plant wherever you can. It doesn’t matter if you live in a house or an apartment — whether it’s on your balcony, on a rooftop or in your backyard — a small patch of flowers can help feed honeybees in your community. Consider plants native to Canada like lance-leaved coreopsis, sneezeweed, New England asters, dense blazing stars and golden tickseed.

Choose the right seeds. Researching the best plants for your area doesn’t have to be a long and cumbersome process. Bees Matter offers free pollinator-friendly seeds with an online sign-up at http://www.beesmatter.ca. Using pre-packaged Buzzing Gardens seed kits can help make planting your garden quick and easy.



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eNewsletter - April 2017

Essential Natural Beauty Tips For Spring

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Essential Natural Beauty Tips For Spring

By News Canada
With all the excitement of getting outside during springtime, we may forget to take proper care of our skin. When not treated, our skin problems from winter can continue through the warmer months. So check out these three essential natural beauty tips from the Canadian Health Food Association to help you keep your skin looking fresh throughout spring.

Always use sunscreen. Applying sunscreen regularly is the first and easiest step to protect against sun damage. This is especially crucial to remember in the spring and summer, when we’re outside more often.

Brimming with options, the sunscreen aisle can seem overwhelming but you can simplify your choice by looking for a natural sunscreen made with zinc oxide and titanium oxide. Unlike others, natural sunscreens contain ingredients that lie on the skin and reflect the sun’s rays without being absorbed. If you’re catching some waves, make sure you re-apply throughout the day — water reduces the effectiveness of sunscreen, even if it says it’s waterproof.

Balance your natural oils with argan oil. Argan oil is a great moisturizer that works for your face, hair and nails. Thanks to its high vitamin E content and fatty acids, argan oil helps reduce the appearance of acne scars and has been shown to help reduce pigmentation and age spots.

If you suffer from oily skin, there’s more good news: argan oil can also help rebalance those oils and reduce the look of shine throughout the day. Treat your hair with an avocado mask. If you suffered from a dry and itchy scalp during the winter, the problem may not go away on its own just because it’s spring. Try a DIY recipe for an avocado, olive oil and honey hair mask to bring back the moisture. Simply mix one avocado with two tablespoons of olive oil and one tablespoon of honey in a bowl and spread on damp hair. Make sure to massage the scalp. Leave on for 20 to 30 minutes and follow your regular hair-washing routine. You’ll notice a big difference immediately.

For natural sunscreen, oils and all these ingredients, check out to find your local CHFA member health food store.




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