High Blood Pressure? Try these “super” foods!

Dark Choc and Nuts

Why is it that no matter what ailment you are suffering from or disease you are trying to prevent, many of the items listed below are recommended. When researching how to lower blood pressure, the “usual suspects” were recommended.

Blood pressure is the pressure exerted by circulating blood upon the walls of blood vessels. A person’s blood pressure is usually expressed in terms of the systolic pressure over diastolic pressure and is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm HG). Normal resting blood pressure for an adult is approximately 120/80 mm Hg. High blood pressure is referred to as hypertension – stage 1 (140-159 and 90-99) and stage 2 (160+ and 100-109).

When diagnosed with high blood pressure, people are usually told to improve their diet and start exercising. Luckily, there are specific foods you can eat that will target high blood pressure and may even reverse the condition. It is no surprise that these foods also work to fight off diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

But how do they work, why are they recommended and how do you incorporate them into your daily routine?

Whole Grains – Whole grains are grains that are still completely intact and have not been refined to remove the bran and germ. Whole grains retain the entire grain kernel, making them high in fiber and other nutrients. The high level of potassium and magnesium in whole grains is linked to lower blood pressure.

Breakfast: oatmeal or oat bran muffins for breakfast.                    
Lunch: healthy sandwiches made on whole grain bread for lunch.

Low-Fat Dairy – Dairy products are high in both calcium and vitamin D. These two nutrients boost each other’s health benefit and are more powerful at lowering blood pressure when consumed together. A calcium deficiency can increase the risk of developing high blood pressure.

Breakfast: try skim milk with a whole grain cereal.                      
Lunch: stir in fruit and granola with low-fat yogurt.

Spinach -It’s full of magnesium and folate which are both powerful tools in fighting high blood pressure.

Breakfast: add some fresh spinach leaves to an egg white and turkey wrap.  Add some salsa for a an added kick of flavour and antioxidants!
Lunch/Dinner: Add fresh or packaged spinach leaves to just about any lunch salad and replace lettuce on sandwiches with fresh spinach leaves Toss some spinach leaves with other fresh veggies and add them to pasta dishes for a healthy dinner main.

Nuts, Seeds and Beans – Unsalted sunflower seeds and other nuts are also full of magnesium. Beans are also high in potassium and fiber, and the combination of nutrients found in beans make them an excellent choice to help lower blood pressure.

Lunch: Nuts, seeds and beans can all easily be added to salads, soups and sandwiches.
Snacks: Edamame, soybeans that are still in the pod, can be boiled in minutes and taste great eaten straight out of the pod.

Bananas – An excellent source of potassium, bananas can significantly impact blood pressure levels. When your potassium levels fall below recommended levels, your body will hang onto sodium, which raises blood pressure. However, the opposite is true! When potassium levels are high, the body will release stores of sodium.

Breakfast: Eating bananas is quick and easy – add sliced bananas to whole grain cereal or oatmeal or add to protein shakes or smoothies.                 
Lunch: For a healthy mid-day snack, add top whole grain bread with some peanut butter and banana slices.

Baked Potatoes – YES! Baked potatoes!! Potatoes are fat-free and cholesterol-free, and are a rich source of magnesium and fiber. Much like bananas, baked potatoes pack a whopping punch of potassium into every serving. Eating baked potatoes can help lower blood pressure by helping to keep potassium levels high and sodium levels low.

Lunch/Dinner: Enjoy baked potatoes alone, or with a spoonful of fat-free sour cream. For added flavor, add some fresh minced garlic or freshly chopped chives. For added protein, top with cooked ground turkey – yum!

Dark Chocolate – Again a big YES! Unlike milk chocolate, dark chocolate is very high in antioxidants and vital nutrients. Just one ½ ounce serving of dark chocolate a day may help to bring blood pressure levels back down to the normal range – which is like an invitation to eat it!

Snacks: Dark chocolate bars or grate some chocolate shavings over fat-free yogurt, fat-free ice cream or decaffeinated tea. Don’t go crazy here though. As this is high calories, it can be too much of a good thing!

Green Tea – The theory is that the polyphenols in tea are high in antioxidants that help protect the heart and fight off free radicals that can elevate blood pressure.

Breakfast: Try a cup of hot green tea in place of your morning coffee.

Avocados – Avocados are high in monounsaturated fat, which are high in antioxidants and nutrients such as vitamin B6, magnesium and folic acid. Avocados contain more potassium than bananas. This combination of nutrients is what makes avocados a healthy blood pressure lowering food.

Lunch: Add slices to salads, sandwiches and wraps.
Snacks: Mash up some avocados and add some fresh diced tomatoes, fresh garlic and lime juice to make yummy and anti-oxidant rich guacamole.

As you can see, there are many foods that may help lower your blood pressure. If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s orders for treatment. However, you can try adding these foods for either a natural remedy or to build on your existing treatment. Not only for your blood pressure but for overall good health!

De-stress Advice for Parents

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So the kids are back in school. Mothers and fathers are breathing a sigh of relief while at the same time undergoing associated stress. There are a slew of things to take care of during the school year: organizing and packing lunches, driving and picking up, homework monitoring and after-school program maintenance and scheduling.

Part of the stress on parents is spurred by the much-needed, but often busy, after school programs. Not only is it a question of what activities to have your children sign up for but also the cost, the driving, planning dinners around it, carpools, equipment, uniforms etc…

So what do parents do to stay calm and level-headed?

My suggestion is to enroll yourself in an activity. I believe that this is possible for anyone. Although easier for some more than others, it is hugely important for parents to take time for themselves in order to relax and recharge for the following reasons:

1 – Improve or maintain health good health: registering in a leisure activity can include a form of physical fitness – whether it is going to the gym, signing up for a kickboxing class or a masters swim team, they all will benefit you in some way physically – as a part of a healthy lifestyle

2 – Reduce stress: whether it is a spin class, cooking class or a yoga class, there are aspects of any of these activities that help to reduce stress. Even stepping away from the house and the kids and doing something on your own, for YOU, helps to slow your breathing and gain perspective. Yoga has meditative qualities and breathing exercises that make you stop to focus on yourself.

3 – Lead by example: children learn how to relax and spend leisure time by watching their parents. Do you read? Do you have a hobby? Do you exercise? Do you know how to relax? Do you take time for yourself? By doing these things teaches children the importance of balance and making “you” a priority.

4 – Perspective: I know that when I return from a walk or a yoga class, I am much more “level-headed” than before the activity began. These activities force one to step away from the current, sometimes crazy, situation and just breathe. Simply breathing and not “thinking” per se allows you to relax, focus and gain perspective. Is the puzzle spread over the flood a tragedy? Is the sink full of dishes going to be the end of the world? If the floor doesn’t get vacuumed today will anyone be worse off in life?

So my advice to parents during “back to school” time is to get “back to you”. Put yourself on the ever growing “to-do” list. Ask for help when you need it. Make yourself a priority. Do not feel guilty or make excuses why you can’t. You and your family will be better off for it.

Vitamins 101

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If you are anything like me, walking down the vitamin aisle is a little overwhelming. Between the different types of brands – generic, name brand; doses, forms and combinations, it can be nearly impossible to know what to choose.

So what vitamins, if any, should you take? Well, as with any other health advice out there, there are varying opinions. In this blog, I am going to provide you with what I have learned. However, this is my opinion and I am not a doctor, naturopath, dietician or other health practitioner. I would suggest taking what you read here and consulting your health care professional as they will be aware of all of your other issues, lifestyle and medications that may be a factor in what vitamins or supplements you should or shouldn’t be taking.

Here is what I know or have discovered:

Multivitamin: This is the basic bare minimum of supplements. Most of us do not get all of the nutrients we need in our daily diets for optimal health. This is why a multi is great. Consider it a “top up” to a good overall diet.

Omega Fatty Acids: 3, 6, 9? One? All 3? What does it do? There is varying evidence to support the claim that it can reduce the risk of dementia, useful in the treatment of depression and bipolar disorder, skin disorders and high cholesterol. It may decrease the risk of stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, some cancers and rheumatoid arthritis. How much is enough or too much? This is completely dependent on what you are using it for – either prevention/general health or treatment of a condition. Your best bet is to talk to your health practitioner.

Vitamin D is essential in the absorption of Calcium and phosphorus – both needed for healthy bones.   It is an immune system “regulator”. It may reduce your risk of cancer, MS and rheumatoid arthritis in women. It may also help to maintain cognitive function and a healthy body weight.  So how much Vitamin D to take? There is a range recommended for every age and stage in life. Assuming that you don’t receive virtually any Vitamin D from sunshine, most children aged 9 to those 70 years of age should take a minimum 600 IU each day to a maximum 4,000 IU per day. Children in Canada definitely need to ensure that they receive enough. In fact a recent study showed that 80% of elementary school children in Edmonton were Vitamin D deficient.

Calcium: We all know that calcium helps build strong bones and teeth. However it also has been said to increase metabolism, reduce PMS, prevent certain cancers and help your heart. You can get “too much” calcium though so ensure you follow recommended daily intakes. How much? A general recommendation is 1000mg/day. Remember calcium is in many of the foods we eat so be sure to check your labels!

Magnesium. You may not have heard of this one but it has many potential benefits! It may reverse osteoporosis, prevent heart disease, regulate blood pressure, treat migraines, diabetes, insomnia and depression. It also may improve your skin! How much to take? About 300-400mg/day is recommended but again, consult your pro!

These are just a few of the array of vitamins and minerals out there. Hopefully this has shed a bit of light on the subject.

Fitness “Dos”

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At Fit Communications, we are always looking at the positive in every situation. There are too many negative thoughts and nay-Sayers in this world. We believe in being positive and supportive – in business and our own lives. For this reason, I am listing a few “dos” for fitness rather that any “don’ts”!

Do:

Set Goals. Do you want to lower your blood pressure by 10 points? Lose 15 pounds? Run a 5 K? No matter what your fitness level, it will help keep you motivated to set a goal. Be sure to keep the S.M.A.R.T. acronym in mind to help you reach your goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Based.

Do:

Make a schedule and stick with it. This is so important – especially for those working full time and/or with families. With today’s hectic schedules, it is hard to find time for yourself – and to exercise. Making a schedule for your own fitness and health will allow you to stay with it and keep on track. Build your workouts into your schedule just like you would your child’s dance class, hockey practice or weekly grocery shopping. Ensure that what you schedule is realistic though. If you plan to get up at 5 am every day for your workout and you are not a morning person, this may be setting yourself for failure.

Do:

Find a workout buddy. It is a lot more difficult to skip the gym if you know you will be standing up your buddy. If you have a person to workout with, you are responsible to each other. Not only will this help you show up in the first place, but it will also make it more enjoyable and provide your very own cheerleader. To that, if it is in your budget, you can get the same effect by hiring a personal trainer. Many gyms offer this service for a cost. Not only will they provide the same benefits as having a buddy but they can also provide professional advice and guidance to help you reach your goals.

Do:

Change it up. Variety is the spice of life. The same goes for your workouts. Doing the same thing every time will quickly become boring. There are so many options for exercise – not just at the gym. Especially now that it is summer, you can take advantage of fun outdoor activities – riding your bike, swimming, hiking, running, volleyball, etc…   There are also many “apps” on smart phones that can provide you with new ideas for workouts and exercises.

Do:

Try a sport, dance class or game. Why not join an adult hockey or ringette team, gymnastics class or pole dancing class? Not sure what to do? Think back to when you were a kid. What did you love to do? What sports were you involved in? Do these! Not only will it help to keep your interest in fitness, but it will be lots of fun and won’t feel like “exercise”. If you didn’t do any sports as a kid or teen doesn’t mean you can’t do it now. Most sports and activities have adult classes for newbies and those that are looking to get back into it.

So there you have it!  These are obviously only just a few of the many “dos” for fitness.  Hopefully these will give you either a place to start if you haven’t started a fitness program or provide you some new ideas if you are already a “gym rat”!

July in the City

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Looking for stuff to do this July? I have a list of things to do – either as a break from work or when you are on holidays! This is a condensed list of the overwhelming number of things that are going on in and around Winnipeg in July alone! This is also on top of the ever-popular Bomber and Goldeyes games, Folk Festival, Fringe Festival and Folklorama! For kids, there are a ton of ideas – Children’s Museum, splash pads, water slide parks, neighborhood parks and wading pools, and the “new” Zoo. If you are still looking for more resources, both Travel Manitoba and Tourism Winnipeg are amazing and give tons of information!

Downtown Concert Series – this is a free outdoor show every Wednesday at noon in Air Canada Park and Millennium Library Park http://downtownwinnipegbiz.com/

Public Art Bicycle and Walking Tours – learn about the artwork you walk by every day! Maybe you’ve noticed it, maybe you haven’t – with these tours you will get to know where it is, why it’s there, and what it means. Jul 9, 13, 27 http://winnipegarts.ca/wac/news-article/public-art-bicycle-and-walking-tours

Assiniboine Park and the Zoo! http://www.assiniboinepark.ca

Summer Music Series and the Lyric Theatre – spending a warm summer evening at Assiniboine Park listening to the melodies and harmonies from the Lyric Theatre mingle with the rustle of the leaves in the breeze. 8 dates between Jun 30, 2014 and Jul 30, 2014 – 7 – 9 p.m.

Ballet in the Park July 23 – 25, 2014 – 7:30pm – 9:00pm Assiniboine Park Lyric Theatre http://www.rwb.org/balletinthepark

Jazz in the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden – enjoy the very best of jazz in Winnipeg amid blooming flowers, flowing fountains and beautiful works of art Sundays from 3 – 4 p.m.

Red River Co-op Speedway – exciting car races in St. Adolphe every Thursday at 7 pm. http://www.victorylane.mb.ca

Dancing on the Avenue (Corydon) – 7-10 p.m. 8 dates between Jul 4, 2014 and Jul 30, 2014 Many of Winnipeg`s best bands will entertain you and for the children Laughter Without Borders will be there with face painters, balloon makers and your favorite clowns! http://corydonbiz.com/profiles/dancingontheavenue.html

The Forks

Winnipeg Fish Festival – The Forks – July 5, 11 – 4 p.m.a full day of activities, including kids fishing activity stations, main stage fish seminars, fish displays, learn to fish clinics, arts and crafts, fish filleting demonstrations, fly fishing demonstrations and much, much more! http://mwf.mb.ca/wp/2014/06/11/winnipeg-fish-festival-july-5-2014/

The Forks Bridge Party – July 5, 7 pm – 10 pm. Historic Rail Bridge. All day free electronic music event + special multimedia visual performance at night. Bridging Winnipeg’s origins to the future with this special event. https://www.facebook.com/MEMEfest

Roca Raggae Festival – Jul 11, 2014 – Jul 13, 2014 Old Market Square http://www.socareggaefestival.ca/

“Rockin The Red” 2nd Annual Family Festival – July 12 – 13, 2014 – Half Moon Drive In, Lockport – Free weekend for families – activities, concerts and rides! http://www.halfmoondrivein.com/

Manitoba Reptile Exhibit – July 13 – 10 – 5, Victoria Inn and Conference Centre http://www.themrbe.com

Boardwalk Days – Winnipeg Beach – July 18 – 20 – Wonder Shows midway, outdoor craft market, parade and fireworks. http://www.winnipegbeach.ca/

So there you have it! A long list of things going on in and around our great city of Winnipeg! Most are free which is always fabulous! Enjoy!

Diabetes “Epidemic” in Manitoba

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It can be argued that Manitoba is in a state of a diabetes epidemic. Manitoba has the second highest per capita rate of childhood type 2 diabetes in North America. Manitoba also has the highest rate in Canada – by a huge margin. This is incredibly alarming.

So what is Type 2 diabetes? It is a disease in which your pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or your body does not properly use the insulin it makes. As a result, glucose (sugar) builds up in your blood instead of being used for energy.

Type 1 diabetes (previously known as insulin-dependent, juvenile or childhood-onset) is when there is deficient insulin production which requires daily administration of insulin. The cause of type 1 diabetes is not known and it is not preventable with current knowledge.

Type 2 diabetes comprises 90% of people with diabetes around the world, and is largely the result of excess body weight and physical inactivity. Until recently, this type of diabetes was seen only in adults but it is now also occurring in children.

Based on a U.S. study, a North American child born in 2000 stands a one in three chance of being diagnosed with diabetes in his or her lifetime! In Canada, more than 3 million Canadians are living with diabetes and this number is expected to reach 3.7 million by 2020.

The number of people with type 2 diabetes is increasing dramatically due to a number of factors including our aging population, increase in obesity rates and sedentary lifestyles. Aboriginal people are three to five times more likely than the general population to develop type 2 diabetes.

The costs of diabetes include both personal and financial. Those affected have an increased likelihood of complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, amputation and a shortened life expectancy. Financially, it’s estimated that diabetes will cost the Canadian healthcare system $16.9 billion a year by 2020.

Type 2 diabetes may be prevented through increased physical activity, healthy eating and weight loss.

My concern is that those that are at risk for the development of the disease are not receiving this information. Especially those in remote areas where there are high populations of Aboriginal people. In addition, even if these people did have the information, do they have access to what they need? It is no secret that fresh fruit and vegetables are not readily available in remote communities. When they are available, they are charged ridiculous prices. When money is tight, families will likely choose what is cheapest in order to provide for their families rather than what is most nutritious. In addition, are Aboriginal people with Type 2 diabetes educated on what they can do to make positive changes while keeping with their traditional cultural food choices? For those of us with internet, we can google any educational information, recipes or tips we need. Up north, this is often not an option.

There are many things we, as a community, can and should do about prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes. However, firstly, I think we all need to be aware of the seriousness and scope of the disease. Once we are all “in the know”, we can help to spread the word and encourage others to do the same.

Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games

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The Sochi Olympics have come and gone.  Many of us are still suffering from an Olympic “hangover”.  Especially with the final day of Olympic fever with the 5 am wake-up call of the Canada Gold medal hockey game February 23.  I, like millions of other Canadians, watched with admiration, pride and support over the course of the two weeks of the Olympics Games.  I have numerous memorable moments that I can site.  Whether it be the opening ceremonies, the figure skating second place heart ache or the gold medal curling, I was glued to my T.V., computer and phone.

The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games began March 7, 2014 and ended on Sunday March 16, 2014.  My question to you is “what was your favourite moment” of these Games?  What is your favourite sport in the Games?  Are you going to the airport to welcome Manitoban Dennis Thiessen home from his gold medal win in wheelchair curling?

I have to admit that the Paralympic Games is not what I normally think about when I think of the “Olympics”.  However, having watched some of the coverage myself, I was completely blown away by what I saw.

I saw a paraplegic skier fly down the hill in alpine skiing.  This completely amazed me, as it does when I watch any skier, able bodied or not in this sport.  I am too chicken to try to get off a ski lift!

I saw a biathlete with one arm whip across the trails.   One arm!  Incredible.  Did you know that cross-country skiing events include women’s and men’s standing, sitting and visually impaired?  I didn’t!

A total of 45 countries participated in the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games.  Sports included alpine skiing and snowboarding, biathlon and cross-country skiing, ice sledge hockey and wheelchair curling.

Canada placed 4th in overall results – total medal counts.  This achieved the Canadian team the results goal of 3rd place in gold medal hardware.

So what happens now for Canadian Paralympic athletes and programming after Sochi?  Well according to Anne Merklinger, CEO of Own the Podium, “the future really bodes well in terms of the young up-and-comers that we have”.  They want to focus on the next generation of athletes heading to the 2018 Games.

These athletes are just like any other athletes.  They get the same rush of adrenaline, the same nerves, and the same self-doubt.  They also have the same drive and passion for sport and athletic prowess.  They train just as hard as able bodied athletes.  They deserve the same spotlight. My hope is that anyone who reads this will pay closer attention to Paralympians.

I am sure that these Paralympic athletes, like all able bodied Olympians, would welcome sponsorship.  If you are one of these athletes, or you are a company that would like to sponsor one or a team, contact us and we can help get you two together!

Although you cannot go back and watch events of the Games, you can follow the athletes and organization on Twitter @Paralympic and Facebook “Paralympic Games”, on Google Plus and YouTube.  Tweet about them, share them, like them.  I guarantee they deserve your attention and support!

Girls in Sport

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This past Sunday, March 2, 2014, Canadian Olympic speedskater and Winnipeg native Cindy Klassen opened an indoor sports and fitness facility for Palestinian women -Dar Al Kalima Sports Hall, the largest indoor sports facility in the West Bank. The $1.2-million US indoor gym will host a women’s sports program — the first of its kind in the region — and serve Palestinian girls and women.

This opening and Klassen brings attention to the importance of sport for girls and women.    There are so many reasons that girls should participate in sports.  They could become professional athletes, win a gold medal at the Olympics or receive scholarships to colleges and universities.  Even if any of these do not happen for the girls in your life, the benefits to having them participate in sports far outweigh any associated costs.

Scholastic.  Exercise improves learning, memory, and concentration, which can give active girls an advantage in the classroom.  They are also more likely to graduate high school than those not involved in sport.  Statistics squash any notion that playing sports will take time away from studying and academics will suffer.  Athletes learn the valuable skill of time management.

Life skills.  Sports teach valuable life skills including teamwork. When girls work with coaches and teammates to win games and set and achieve goals, they learn how to be successful. In fact, 80% of the female executives at Fortune 500 companies identified themselves as former “tomboys”—having played sports.  Athletes learn commitment, dedication and work ethic.

Health. In addition to being fit and maintaining a healthy weight, girls who play sports are also less likely to smoke. They are also less likely to have an unintended pregnancy.  Girls and women who exercise are less likely to get breast cancer or osteoporosis later in life.

Self-confidence. Sports build confidence because they know they can practice, improve, and achieve goals. Girls and women who play sports have higher levels of confidence and self-esteem and lower levels of depression.  In addition, girls and women who play sports have a more positive body image and experience higher states of psychological well-being than girls and women who do not play sports

Reduce Stress. Playing sports can reduce stress as the brain chemicals released during exercise improve a person’s mood. Friends are another mood-lifter. And being on a team creates tight bonds between friends. It’s good to know your teammates will support you — both on and off the field.

Fun.  Playing and participating in sports is fun!  This should be reason enough to get girls into sports.

For those of us that were involved in sports growing up, we do not need to be convinced why girls should be in sports. This blog confirms what we already know to be true.  My hope is that everyone knows this and that all of the girls and young women in our lives and across the world are given the opportunity to participate and reap the rewards!

Sportsmanship and the Olympics

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“In the name of all the competitors I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, committing ourselves to a sport without doping and without drugs, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honor of our teams.”

This is the Olympic athletes’ oath.

The judges at the Games take a slightly different oath:

“In the name of all the judges and officials, I promise that we shall officiate in these Olympic Games with complete impartiality, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them in the true spirit of sportsmanship.”

These oaths are not just words, but promises.  Promises that these athletes and judges will act fairly and in doing so, honor themselves and their countries.

The faith in these oaths has been challenged throughout the history of Olympic Games and sport.  Many examples of performance drug use and abuse to have plagued not only amateur, but more recently, professional sports.  No Canadian old enough to remember, can forget the pride when Ben Johnson won a gold medal in the 100 metre sprint for Canada in the 1988 Summer Olympic Games.  However, likewise, no Canadian will ever forget the shame that came following the positive doping result that stripped Johnson and Canada of its medal.

There is also the unforgettable example of the historic and dramatic event of “The Whack Heard Round the World”.  This referring to the incident between Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan.  It was the ultimate in “unsportsmanlike conduct”.  In preparation for the Lillehammer Winter Olympics, Kerrigan was clubbed in the right knee with a police baton by Shane Stant during a practice on the eve of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.  This assault was planned by rival Tonya Harding’s ex-husband Jeff Gillooly co-conspirator Shawn Eckardt.  This shameful event risked Kerrigan’s chances of not only medalling but even competing at the Olympics.

As for the judges, there is always the rumor that judging is “fixed” or in some way biased or judges are bribed.  This rumor came true when a judging scandal in Salt Lake City temporarily denied Canadians Jamie Sale and David Pelletier gold due to backroom dealing between judges.

These examples along with so many other negative news headlines have stained the Olympic spirit and oaths.  They almost make us almost lose our faith in sports and sportsmanship. Almost…

It’s unfortunate that these isolated cases come to light on the world stage.  On the bright side, these ARE isolated cases.  These are not the norm. The vast majority Olympians and judges have honor, integrity and make us proud.

These 2014 Sochi Olympics have given us some more reasons to retain our faith in sportsmanship.  Two instances are top of mind.  First, is the Canadian cross country ski coach that handed a Russian competitor a ski.  The skier’s ski had broken earlier in the race during a quick downhill corner.  The athlete was not in contention to win at that point in the race – he was simply trying to make it the last couple of hundred metres down the 1.7 km course.  Justin Wadsworth, the Canadian coach, saw he was in trouble and wanted him to finish the race “with dignity”.  He grabbed a spare ski he’d brought for Canadian racer Alex Harvey and ran onto the track. Gafarov stopped. Wadsworth kneeled beside him. No words passed between them. Gafarov only nodded. Wadsworth pulled off the broken equipment and replaced it. Gafarov set off again. Wadsworth not only is a great example of the Olympic spirit but happens to also be a three-time Olympian.  We all need to remember his name – for his athletic achievements and this inspirational story.

Secondly is the story of another Canadian.  This time it is a speed skater Gilmore Junio who made the choice to withdraw from the 1,000 metre race, effectively gifting his place in the race to fellow Canadian Denny Morrison.  The 1,000 metres isn’t Junio’s specialty while Morrison — a two-time world championship silver medalist in the event — offered a better chance of earning a medal for Canada.  What a difficult and selfless decision this was.  Junio, qualified for one of Canada’s four spots in the event fair and square and even had family there to watch the event.    But Junio gave of himself for the betterment of his team.  Gilmore Junio is the second name I want everyone to remember.

There have been some “bad apples” in the past, present and unfortunately, likely the future.  However, I hope that we all remember that these are few and far between.  I hope that the media don’t draw much attention to these and we, as social media fanatics and fans of sport, don’t help to draw attention.  There are a tremendous number of amazing, selfless and faith-inspiring stories happening every day.  Not just at the Olympics.  These are the stories I want to get all of the attention.  These are the stories we all need to share, tweet and like.

 

World Cancer Day

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Today, February 4 is “World Cancer Day”.  Everyone you know has been affected by cancer, either directly or indirectly.  We all know of someone who has either been diagnosed by cancer, fought cancer, survived cancer or succumb to this horrifying disease.  We all have potentially cancerous cells in our body.  Cancer doesn’t care who you are, how much money you make, if you are a good person, what race, religion, sexual orientation or age you are.  It is non-discriminatory.  Only YOU can do something about your own fight to either prevent or early detect this monster.

I have resourced our local “Cancer Care Manitoba” for their tips for prevention and screening.  I want to share these with you now as I hope that it will reach more people and save more lives.  As an early Valentine’s gift, please share this with your loved ones!

There are 2 major things we all need to do:

A) Get checked! Cancer screening saves lives.

Cancer Screening is for people who have no symptoms of cancer.  It helps find cancer early when treatment may work better.  It helps prevent some cancers by finding and treating early changes before they develop into cancer.

These are the screens and recommended ages to do them.  However, family history or personal medical history may change this with frequency or type of screening.

  • Women ages 50-74 should have a screening mammogram every 2 years.
  • Women ages 21-69 who have been sexually active should have a Pap test every 3 years
  • Men and women should have ages 50 -74 should do a home screening test (stool test) every 2 years.

B) Life a healthy lifestyle to reduce your risk!

There are 5 basic steps or rules to live by: (the 5th is added by myself from my own research)

1. Be Tobacco Free! Don’t use tobacco products of any kind and avoid second-hand smoke. If you are a smoker, quit now and reduce your lung cancer risk by up to 90%! If you don’t smoke, avoid second-hand smoke at all costs! Cigarettes contain 57 known carcinogens, and the smoke from a burning cigarette contains 70% more of these substances than inhaled smoke.

2. Cover Up! The number of skin cancer cases in Manitoba has increased by two-thirds since 1990. The good news is 90% of skin cancer can be cured if caught early! So, SLIP on clothing, SLAP on a hat and sunglasses and SLOP on sunscreen!

3. Shape Up! Just 10 minutes 3 times a day can help protect against colon and breast cancer.  You don’t have to run a marathon or buy a gym membership!

4. Check Up! The earlier cancer is found, the more successful treatment is likely to be. Follow cancer screening guidelines and report any health changes to your doctor or dentist.

5. You are what you eat!  Healthy eating has been linked to fighting or preventing cancer.  Avoid processed or prepared packaged foods, deep fried foods and saturated fats.  Eat lots of colours – fresh fruits and vegetables.  Choose whole grains as much as possible.  Choose lean meats such as chicken or fish and limit red meat.  Get Omegas into your diet.  Include all these in your diet: Vitamin D, green tea, turmeric, cinnamon, a multivitamin. Educate yourself.  There are so many resources on line. Parents, you are in charge of what your kids eat.  Set them up with a good nutritional foundation and knowledge.

For more information on Cancer Care Manitoba, their research, how to donate, contact information and more, please visit their website at http://www.cancercare.mb.ca

For more information on World Cancer Day, please visit http://www.worldcancerday.org/