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5 natural remedies for allergies

Allergy season is on its way, which means that a large part of the population will be consumed by sneezing and red eyes. Instead of reaching for the over-the-counter medications, why not try a more organic solution and opt for a natural remedy? There are several simple methods to try that may help lower the side effects of those pesky allergies, with the added benefit of being (often) less expensive than regular medications.

Neti Pot

A neti pot is a saline solution that you flush through one nostril and it comes out of the other. It will empty the sinuses of unwanted allergens and irritations and really helps to clear the system. It can be intimidating to try a neti pot the first time, but it feels fantastic once you are used to it. Sinuses contribute strongly to allergies and taking care to flush your sinuses will help any irritations that occur in allergy season.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been shown to help people with allergies. Specifically, acupuncture can help hay fever and curb inflammatory immune-system substances that are related to allergic reactions. It is a holistic alternative to allergy medication, and if you have never tried acupuncture, it doesn’t hurt at all.

Nettle Leaf

Nettle leaf is a natural antihistamine and helps block the body’s ability to produce histamine. It can be used in a tea or in a pill and helps to soothe any allergy related symptoms. Use it in conjunction with raspberry leaf or peppermint tea for a delicious concoction. Allergy teas are soothing and nettle leaf will help suppress any painful symptoms.

Probiotics

Probiotics are integral to good health and provide important bacteria in the stomach to boost the immune system. Allergies are often the result of an imbalanced immune system and regulating the gut with essential bacteria can help alleviate allergy symptoms. Kombucha has probiotics and is a yummy way of consuming probiotics. It also comes in a pill form.

Turmeric

Turmeric is a spice that can be used in curries, soups, stir-frys, and tofu dishes. The spice contains curcumin and is a decongestant. It helps reduce allergy symptoms and clears the system when it is blocked. Tumeric is a wonderful addition to many dishes and adds essential health benefits to the diet. One teaspoon can also be taken with water every morning to clear the system and is common practice for health-focused individuals.

Natural remedies for allergies will leave you feeling better and more clear-headed than medications. If you try each of these methods to see which works for you, one of them will surely help alleviate the irritating symptoms of having all-consuming allergies in springtime.

Which natural remedy for allergies is your favourite? Let Women’s Post know in the comments below.

Dear mental health, I’m sorry

I’m sorry.

I’m just starting to realize how important you are. You’re something that needs to be cared for, something that can’t be ignored. So, for all the times you cried out for help when you weren’t feeling well, and I ignored you, telling you to stop being so sensitive, I’m sorry.  For all the times I tried to hide you and pretend you don’t exist, I’m sorry. All the while, you sneaked into my bones and muscles, waiting to be heard. I get it! Physical pain is easier to listen to. But sometimes, you make it hard to get out of bed. Let’s not forget all those times you wouldn’t let me see my friends or family, because you just didn’t have the energy to converse and socialize.

The past few years have not been kind to me. Between drastic life changes, difficult relationships, and trying to understand my own personhood, I found it hard to be kind to you as well. I failed to listen when you told me how to feel. Pushing away feelings of stress and sadness is just easier for me. It’s only when you come at me with full force that I understand you’re something that I need to look after.

But it’s hard to understand where you’re coming from sometimes. It makes it difficult to talk to people about you for that reason. Are you acting up because it’s my time of month? Are you trying to tell me I have too much on my plate? Sorry, I don’t understand.

I fear my relationships will suffer because of you. If I don’t understand you’re not well, how could my loved ones? Multiple ‘bad days’ can kill the vibe, ruin a positive atmosphere. I’m sorry if I mask what you’re trying to tell me, in an attempt of keeping things light. Fun. I’m sorry that I downplay your sickness as another ‘bad day.’ It’s just easier. We don’t want people being more concerned than they should be, right? I hope you understand.

I’m sorry that we never had the chance to get that close. I’m sorry we don’t keep in touch. To be honest, you’re a little high maintenance. For you to feel better, a lot of actions have to be taken. Therapy is expensive. And yes, my job might be stressful – but it’s what puts money on the table. My friends and family may be difficult to interact with sometimes, but they care about me. It’s difficult to ask me to give up such important parts of my life for your own betterment.  I’m sorry you’re not a priority even though we both know you should be.

But I’ll try harder. The days you don’t feel well, I’ll try to listen. And when other people are talking about their own mental health, I’ll listen then too. When they don’t understand where you’re coming from, I’ll explain it to them. It’s time to start talking about you. Because you’re important. I realize that now.

Runners: what’s the deal with shin splints?

I’m not an expert runner by any definition of the word, but I run enough to know the intense and debilitating affects of shin splints.

I started getting them when I first ventured into the sport last year. The first few weeks were terrible, and as a new runner, I didn’t understand what I was doing wrong. Eventually, I fixed the situation by brushing up on my form and creating a stretching routine any professional athlete would be proud of! Sounds easy, right??

Well, a few weeks ago, they came back! I didn’t change my routine and yet, the pain shooting up my shins was unbearable.

Shin splints are common in high-impact activities that put a lot of stress on the feet and legs. It can also be caused by something called overpronation, when the arch of your foot is in constant contact with the ground due to ankle positioning. This limits the body’s ability to absorb the impact of that connection. Sometimes, stopping your activity and stretching out the area can quickly reduce this pain — but a lot of the time, if you continue the activity that caused the shin splints, it can cause serious injury.

So, what to do about it?

Stretch: This may seem obvious, but you would be surprised how little people stretch prior to a workout. Make sure to really work every area. Stretch your arms, your core, your neck, your ankles, and of course, your legs. Sure, the hamstrings are most closely related to shin splints, but if the rest of your body isn’t just as limber, it will cause muscle spasms that will carry down to those shins. I do at least 10 minutes of stretching before I put my shoes on. Try doing some yoga between runs to help keep those muscles stretched and toned.

Get new shoes: This is what I’m going to be doing in the next few weeks. My shoes are old and are loosing their support. This means there is less of a barrier between the pavement and my feet, causing more friction and more pressure on my shins/arches. If you don’t want to get new shoes, maybe try orthotic inserts to help support your arches.

Take a break: I know this isn’t what you want to hear. It wasn’t what I wanted to hear either. But if you are experiencing shin splints, continued stress on the legs will just make it worse and can lead to serious injury. Take one to two weeks off the activity that caused the shin splints. Also try to avoid any high-impact activities that would cause your weight to be placed on the arches of your feet.

Cross train: Just because you aren’t running, doesn’t mean you sit on the couch and watch TV all day! Go for a walk, swim, or hit the gym and use an elliptical or a stationary bike! As long as you avoid activities in which you jump, you’ll be fine! Maybe the better choice is to go for a long walk. Walking is just as good for you as running is, without the stress caused by having your foot hit the pavement with force.

Return slowly: When you do start running again, don’t pick up where you left off. Start slowly and work your way back up. Sometimes, increasing your speed or mileage too quickly can cause shin splints. So, when you do get back into the game, make sure not to over do it. After the run, if your shins are starting to bother you, stretch them out and ice it to reduce inflammation!

Best of luck!

 

What do you do to help ease the pain of shin splints? Let us know in the comments below!

Woman of the Week: Lisa Martin

Lisa Martin is a testament to perseverance. After facing a hostile takeover of her business and a serious health scare, she returned with force, rebuilding and rebranding her business with immense success.

“When you think your worst nightmare has hit you — it can sometimes prove to be a blessing in disguise,” she said.

Martin is the co-founder and CEO of Hear for Life, a healthcare network that provides diagnosis and preventative hearing services throughout Ontario, including hearing tests, evaluations, hearing aids, and rehabilitative counselling.

It all started with Martin’s sister, Rhonda, who is in the hearing healthcare field and decided to open up a clinic in 1988. As Martin puts it, her sister is the “heart and the hand” of Hear for Life. She takes care of the patients while Martin takes care of the business operations.

In 2013, the company had what Martin calls a near-death experience.  According to Martin, their business associate abruptly and without warning gave away their licence to a competitor, with the support of a supplier. Martin lost everything — their telephone numbers, their locations, their website, but most of all, their money.  They lost about $14 million overnight and were given three months to leave the premises.

“They just gave away my licence agreement [to a competitor] – which is everything. It is where we built our business, housed our clinics,” Martin said. “Lots of my suppliers turned their back on me. They weren’t sure if I was able to make it.”

The worst part of this transition was the confusion. Most of Martin’s patients were seniors in their 70s, 80s, and 90s, and all of a sudden the clinic they visited was no longer the same.

“[Our employees] spent a year phoning people telling people we moved, sending letters with pictures of staff to remind patients who they are. That took, I would say, five to 10 different mail outs and thousands of phone calls to the patients. We even did robocalls to hit everyone, to remind them we have their file – because we owned all the patient files.”

It took Martin and her sister two years to stabilize the company in different locations. By the third year, they had managed to re-brand and recapture the values they held when they first opened the clinics.

“We managed working with our own brand and we were able to capture a whole bunch of new business. But, in the third year there was a little hiccup,” Martin said. That hiccup: she was diagnosed with colon cancer and had to undergo seven months of chemotherapy following a surgery.

Martin should have had a routine colonoscopy in 2013, but she waited three years until the turmoil with the company was over. During the transition, she was hardly sleeping and was plagued with anxiety. She didn’t want to bother with routine medical examinations.

“You can’t let your life get in the way of every of health issue and that means making sure you get screened when you need to get screened. Colon cancer — people don’t think they will get it.  If a girl like me — someone who eats organic, does world games championship-training, runs three times a week, can get it…I was fit, so how did this happen to me?”

“If you are 50, get a colonoscopy. No matter what — don’t miss it.”

But, with the help of her incredibly loyal employees, Martin was able to get better while still keeping her new business afloat.

Martin and her sister have now sold their new company, Hear for Life, and have retained their position and all their staff. “The company that acquired us is an amazing organization nation-wide. You get the same personalized boutique style care, but now we have the backing of a huge organization so people don’t have to worry about being here tomorrow. I get to continue in my role, and my sister continues to work. Nothing has changed except we were able to realize [the company’s] value and have our exit strategy.”

“The Hear for Life brand is here to stay,” she said proudly.

Martin hopes that once the new transition is done, she will be able to help the bigger company grow in the marketplace. She is considering writing a book about her plight with cancer, and she has been asked to do some public speaking events on business for women’s groups.

Martin continues to be active and is considering taking up hockey and running again for the first time since her chemotherapy.

 

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Running helps Canadian singer Melissa Bel stay on a high note

Why do you run? Some people choose to run to loose weight or keep fit — all you need is a pair of shoes and an open road. But, there are many more benefits to running than simply overall health, just ask Canadian singer and songwriter Melissa Bel. In a phone interview, the Toronto native now living in Devon England talks about her music career and how running helps her both mentally and physically.

“It has been over a year now living in a rural village called Devon. It is a slower pace of life where everything closes at 5pm,” Bell says with a laugh. Despite missing the busy city life in Toronto, this Canadian pop soul artist finds running on country roads relaxing. “The city drives you to be busy. Having that balance is good,” she adds.

And she wouldn’t have it any other way.

When she isn’t doing media interviews or promoting her music, Bel is running. The movement helps inspire creativity and clears her mind. “I considered myself a casual runner and Devon is a beautiful place to run. It is a constant battle to run but it is the progress you can make it. I run one mile. Next day I will run two. It is therapeutic and is a good way to blow off steam,” she says.

“I originally started running to lose weight, tone up my legs, and improve my fitness. I’ve been an on-and-off runner for about six years, but recently have started to be more consistent with it. Possibly because the more mild UK climate makes it easier to run outside all year long. I’m actually thinking of doing my first-ever race in October, the 10 mile Great South Run (I have to stick to it now that I’ve said it on record!). I still run for the same reasons as when I started, but also to blow off steam, clear my mind, and challenge myself. It’s a bit meditative for me as well because it’s one of the rare times where I’m fully in the moment and not getting distracted by thoughts and worries. I’m fully focused on my breath and my strides.”

Bel is not working on any new music at the moment, but is rather promoting her recent album In the Light, which includes seven songs on the Extended Play. The album was released on Nov. 4 of last year.

This will be Bel’s fourth album and her music before was jazz and blues attracting fans in the 40’s and 60’s age groups and a huge following in Quebec. “My earlier albums were definitely more jazz and blues, with bits of pop, folk, soul and even rock,” she says. “I wanted to be more consistent as far as the genre of “In the Light”, and to be perfectly honest wanted a better shot at getting played on the radio. My goal with this album was to do something fresh and contemporary while incorporating my soul and blues influences. Hoping to gain some new fans while giving my existing ones something a bit different that they’ll still enjoy!”

On April 26th, Bel will be coming back to Canada. She will be in Toronto performing at the Cameron House.

 

www.runwithit.ca

Twitter: @ christineruns

Youtube – runwithitcb1

Would you try these vegetable masks?

Facial masks are refreshing and give your skin the rejuvenation it needs as the seasons change.

To shake things up and get away from buying a facial cream potentially full of chemicals, why not try a natural vegetable cream? Though imagining mashed up vegetables on your face is a bit gross, the result of treating yourself to a hydrating organic facial will be well worth smelling like tomato paste or garlic for a couple hours….or days.

Food Fresh Avocado Avocados Fruit Organic

Avocado Body Mask

  • 2 avocados
  • 3 tbsp sea salt
  • Two fresh lemons grated
  • ¼ cup coconut oil

Mix all ingredients in blender until smooth. Apply to face for 10 to 15 minutes and rinse off. Refrigerate remainder and use every two to three days. Avocado is very hydrating and will leave your skin silky smooth.

Vegetables Carrots Basket Market

Carrot Facial Mask

  • 2-3 carrots
  • 4 tbsp honey

Cook carrots and mash with honey, and apply to your face. Leave for 10 minutes and rinse with a cool cloth. Carrots are great for the skin because of their Vitamin A content and they are hydrating.

Tomato Paste Facial

  • Tomato
  • Dash of water

Blend tomatoes until smooth, but not the consistency of juice. Apply to face and leave for 10 minutes and wipe dry. Tomatoes will regenerate the skin and give it a new glow.

Garlic Face Mask

  • ½ tbsp. corn flour and ½ tbsp. sandalwood powder
  • Squirt of Lemon juice
  • ½ tbsp garlic paste
  • Dash of almond milk

Mix all ingredients and add a dash of almond milk to make into a gooey dough. Apply to face and leave for 10 minutes. Rinse with cold water. Garlic is rich in Vitamins A, C, and E and protects the skin from sun rays.

Kale Face Mask

  • Two leaves of kale
  • Almond milk
  • ½ tsp honey

Blend all ingredients together until smooth and rub on face. Leave for 10 minutes and rinse. Kale contains a lot of hydrating nutrients and will leave the face feeling refreshed and moisturized.

Vegetable facial masks aren’t just fun to make, they are also a lot less expensive than the spa alternative. So, for your next girls night, why not try them out!

Would you try any of these veggie facials? Let Women’s Post know in the comments below.

The Canadian Liberals are piping up about pot….finally

As it turns out, marijuana legalization in Canada is not up in smoke.

The Liberal government announced last week they will introduce legislation on April 20 to approve the legalization of marijuana — legislation they hope will be active for Canada Day 2018. This declaration follows a 106-page report released by theTask Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation, which was assembled in June 2016. The task force was created to weed out any issues pertaining to legalization and has set guidelines on how to proceed to approving the product.

The report has an extensive set of recommendations for the Liberal government, including who will be able to sell it, buy it, and how much it will cost. The recommended age limit is 18, but can be set higher if the province chooses. The Canadian Medical Association had a problem with the age restriction and suggested it be raised because the teenage brain is still developing at 18, but ultimately the task force believed this would fail to adequately solve the issue of young adults smoking unregulated pot.

If this legislation is approved, the government would control and license producers, though people would be able to grow up to four plants in their own home. As described in the report, the plants would have a maximum mandatory height limit of 100 cm and would need ‘reasonable security measures to prevent theft and youth access, with oversight and approval by “local authorities”.

The restrictions of marijuana would be similar to the Tobacco Act in that it wouldn’t allow advertising or endorsements. The packaging would contain company name, strain name, price, amount of THC in the product and any warnings. There would also be a seed-to-sale tracking system implemented to avoid corruption of the market. The price of weed would have to be competitive with street prices and would be lower to invigorate people to buy legally-regulated marijuana.  The report also discussed the criminal penalties after legalization. Criminal punishment will remain for illicit production, trafficking or possession, and trafficking to youth. There is also an imposed limit of 30 grams on a person at any given time, and vape houses will require a permit.

People have been buzzing since the announcement and it has been met with varied opinions. The Liberals have been in hot water as of late with their millennial supporters who are feeling snubbed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to not carry through with his promise of electoral reform, and many sense this is the government’s way of winning back support. It will be interesting to see whether legalization of marijuana sways the vote in the favour of the Liberals with the election looming in the following year.

Being able to grow plants at home deserves attention as well. Several people would adhere to the rules of only having four plants, but it would be hard to monitor people who would potentially take advantage of growing at home, and may use it as an opportunity to sell recreationally. The information provided on licensing and which producers would receive approval is also vague. It is concerning to think of massive producers getting contracts and making pot that is full of additives and chemicals similar to tobacco. The task force did emphasize licensing smaller producers as well, but more transparent information should be provided to the public ahead of that decision.

The legalization of marijuana is a progressive and smart decision. It is positive to see the Liberals keep their promises and commit to following through with a controversial and important initiative. Taking weed off the streets will help people get high safely and will help normalize a fairly typical drug of choice. Canada is finally becoming a ‘chill’ nation, and July 1, 2018, will certainly be a very relaxed day for most Canadians celebrating the new legislation.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!

The ultimate healer: Tumeric and Ginger Anti-inflammatory Tonic

With the fluctuating weather lately, everyone seems to be getting sick. Instead of popping a ton of Advil and chugging cough syrup, why not try a juice? This anti-inflammatory tonic should help you heal in a natural and organic way using fresh ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 2tsp fresh turmeric
  • 4 carrots
  • 1cm fresh ginger
  • 1 orange
  • ½ lemon
  • 3 stalks celery

Directions:

Simply add all ingredients into a food processor with 1/2 cup water and blend until smooth. Enjoy in sips as the drink will be very concentrated, but will clear your system immediately.

Drinking homemade juices with the soothing spices of turmeric and ginger will strengthen your immune system and flush out nasty toxins from your immune system without using immune-suppressants such as cough syrup. Vitamin C found in oranges and lemons will also help heal a cold in no time. Enjoy this fresh juice and hopefully you are better for spring  just around the corner!

5 Run With It clothing tips for novice runners and walkers

With spring just around the corner – Vancouverites are begging to retire their snow shovels – warmer temperatures can motivate some to take up running for the first time or inspire those determined souls who are trying to come back after a nagging injury.

Before starting a running program, it’s wise to invest in a good pair of running shoes. Your feet are essential to your well being and they deserve the very best that you can provide. If you’ve ever run in soaking wet, heavy, skin-chafing cotton, you’ll know the importance of choosing fabrics that are sweat wicking to help keep you dry and enhance performance while training.

Courtesy of Skechers Canada

Looking for something you can wear straight from a run to the office? Try Firma Energy active wear. Their stylish leggings are great for walking and the office. “Firma energy wear absorbs infrared waves that our bodies omit & re-emits them with far infrared waves , which penetrate the human body, increase blood circulation and stimulate muscle tissue to a depth of 5cm,” says owner Yvonne Hogenes.

Firma athletic-business wear. Photo Credit: Jeanette Brown

Here are the Top 5 Run With It clothing tips for participating in this year’s Vancouver Sun Run 10k, which annually attracts about 50,000 runners, mostly non-competitive; or any other event that may stoke your competitive spirit.

  1. Dress in layers. It is generally cool at the start of the run, so…. wear some clothes you can either throw away or give to someone to hold for awhile.
  2. Bring extra clothes for after the race to change into.
  3. Wear what you normally train in and are comfortable in for the race. New garments, especially socks, can sometimes chafe your skin. For best results, test run a pair of sweat wicking socks so you’ll know what to expect.
  4. Avoid cotton – wear lightweight, breathable sweat wicking fabrics to keep you dry and comfortable.
  5. Wear a runner’s cap to keep you dry and protect you from the sun.

Overall, these clothing tips will help keep you warm, comfortable and help you to perform at your best.

Courtesy of Skechers Canada

www.runwithit.ca
Twitter: @christineruns
Run With It on YouTube – runwithitcb1

#HealthAtEverySize: Big Fit Girl

As a plus-size woman, I rarely read self-help books. I find them degrading and useless. They make me feel like I’m not good enough. The authors, most of whom are tiny celebrities that can afford personal trainers and in-house chefs, put an emphasis on weight and size. They suggest cutting our carbs, eating only low-fat foods, exercising seven days a week, and attending boot camps to ensure your body is “bikini ready.”

For plus-size women, these recommendations can cause anxiety and depression, and 90 per cent of the time result in fast weight loss and even faster gains after the fact.

Big Fit Girl is an exception to that sentiment. This book follows the personal story of author and plus-size athlete and personal trainer Louise Green on their journey towards athleticism. The book is full of body-positive messages and completely dismisses the idea that health is related to a number on a scale.

For example, did you know that about 40 per cent of obese men and women have healthy blood pressure and normal cholesterol? And yet, most of those people are judged by the size of pants they are able to squeeze into.

 

Green runs through how the fitness industry as a whole discriminates against size and fails to meet the specific needs of plus-size women. Athleticism, according to Big Fit Girl, doesn’t equate with weight or size. It is something that can be measured by ability, strength, and endurance. In essence — a healthy body doesn’t necessarily mean a bikini body and the fitness industry needs to come to that realization.

I’ve been struggling with my own health journey for a while, and reading this book gave me the inspiration I needed to keep going. It begins by shattering stereotypes and discussing the lack of body diversity in advertising, media, and branding. Green asks her readers to make a number of pledges, including avoiding companies that don’t provide options for larger body types and eliminating negative, body shaming messaging.

As encouragement, Green lists the social media information of a number of professional plus-size athletes who, despite their size, have become award-winners in their field. The book is slam-packed with stories and quotes from plus-size athletes, outlining their peaks and valleys, as well as their success.

Big Fit Girl is a wonderful combination of athletic and nutritional advice, motivational success stories, and myth debunking. In between the storytelling, Green includes a number of recipes, simple stretches, her favourite workout playlist, and a training regime for a 5k race.

Green wants her readers to succeed, but not only because she wants them to accomplish their personal goals. Instead, she wants to start a movement: plus-size women have a prerogative to prove to society that they can be healthy and active. The more people that see plus-size women on the racetrack, the more it will be normalized.  “Whether you are an avid walker, a triathlete, a ballroom dancer, or an Olympic weightlifter, or if you aspire to be al these things and more, your presence as a plus-size woman working out in our society is creating a much-needed shift. And because we don’t see women of size as much as we need to in advertising, television, movies, or other media, it’s up to us – you and me – to inspire others to join our ranks.”

Ultimately, this book taught me a number of things, but these three stand out: Don’t be afraid of trying something because you think you will be limited by your size. Aim for health and fitness above weight loss and dieting. And practice self love, because you ARE an athlete.

Big Fit Girl will be available in stores on March 18.