For many, stress and anxiety go up at the thought of trying to navigate through a party or dinner out, where they have no idea what the food will be, when they can’t even get things under control and the food is coming from their own kitchen.
It may sound like an odd question but fear around food is something many struggle with on a daily basis, especially the holiday season.
If you’re a regular reader of this column, you will have seen me refer to this time of year – Thanksgiving through to Easter – as the “season of food.”
It’s fairly obvious, with most of the year’s holidays, parties and celebrations blocked into this part of the calendar. And they all involve food.
I mean really, it doesn’t seem to matter where in the world you go, which culture you look at or who you talk to, you’ll be hard pressed to find a place where they celebrate a holiday, occasion or special event without food.
Personally, I can’t think of any. Why? Food brings people together. Gathering around the table, mingling at a party, cutting the cake at a wedding, etc., there’s just something about “breaking bread” that makes us feel connected. Except however, when the mere thought of attending a party or the mention of Christmas dinner triggers a wave of panic and that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach.
Hopefully this not you and you can’t relate. But for those who can, let’s dive into what may be triggering that angst and then unpack what you can do to let go of the fear and bring back the fun and enjoy the holidays.
Typically fear comes from things we don’t understand and/or things we can’t control. So, if we’re thinking of this in the context of food, for anyone who has struggled with health and/or weight and can’t seem to gain any ground no matter what they do, herein lies the problem.
I speak to a lot of people who say they eat “good” foods. They say they don’t eat many “bad” foods but just don’t understand why they can’t shed the weight and get those related health issues under control.
It’s no wonder stress and anxiety go up at the thought of trying to navigate through a party or dinner out, where they have no idea what the food will be, when they can’t even get things under control and the food is coming from their own kitchen.
Let’s first address the idea that foods are either “good” or “bad”. It’s true, some foods have a higher nutrient content than others, but labelling foods as “good” or “bad” only serves to create thoughts of guilt and shame for having a piece of birthday cake or indulging in dessert at your spouse’s Christmas party.
To be clear, food is neither good or bad, it’s simply a protein, fat or a carb, PFCs if you will. Food either nourishes your body, or it nourishes your soul. And we need both in order to live happily, in balance and love life.
It’s also important to understand that whether you’re choosing the apple or the Christmas cookie, unless you know what category it comes from and what to put with it to create that balance, you’re not going to get the results you want.
Imbalance can cause hormonal issues along with spikes and crashes in blood sugar causing the body to store fat, increases cortisol levels, insulin resistance, elevated blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, inflammation, weight gain, low energy, poor sleep, sugar cravings as well as increases the risk for diseases like diabetes, hypertension, cancer, Alzheimer’s, autoimmune, to name a few.
On the flip side, when we eat foods in the right portions, in the right frequency and in the right balance, our body naturally enters homeostasis – the scientific word for balance. It’s in that place where hormones are balanced, blood sugar stabilizes and the body naturally releases stored fat, metabolism is turned on, energy increases, cravings decrease, weight comes off, risk of disease is lowered and all you body’s organs and systems are working together rather than fighting each other.
Notice how I have yet to recommend which holiday treats to stay away from in order to make this work for you. That’s because you don’t have to give up your favs in order to start making progress. In fact that’s one of the biggest reasons diets fail. They’re all about telling you to give up, cut, count, track, etc., rather than educating on how to eat the foods you love in a way that creates hormonal balance and stabilizes blood sugar. But then again, if you no longer felt the need to try another diet or had anxiety around food, they’d be out of business.
So how do you enjoy your favs, avoid the holiday weight gain, stop stressing over food and even burn some fat over the holidays? PFC3.
• Never arrive hungry. Having a protein, a fat and a carb together in small portions, frequently throughout the day keeps metabolism turned on and burning fat. Not eating and “saving your calories” only slows the metabolism, burn muscle and stores fat.
• Never deprive yourself. Not allowing yourself to join in a meal only creates a feeling of guilt with food
• Be choosy. When you indulge, be intentional and choose your favourites. You’ll enjoy it more, be satisfied with less of it, and you’ll feel good rather than guilt about what you ate.
Now that you understand the basics of PFC, I encourage you to use those three tips and go to the staff party, do that cookie exchange, go to Christmas dinner. You’ll be able to enjoy yourself knowing that your health and weight goals are being supported, not sabotaged.
Stop dieting, start living.
Cobourg resident first at Peterborough Regional Health Centre to receive new cancer treatment – kawarthaNOW.com
Two years ago, a doctor looked at a CT scan of Stuart Morley’s kidney and saw a tumour. It was small — only 15 millimetres — but the Cobourg resident was over 80 years old, so major surgery wasn’t the best option for him. Instead, he was a candidate for a minimally invasive interventional radiology procedure.
Stuart became the first-ever patient at Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC) to receive life-changing cancer treatment by interventional radiology-radiofrequency ablation.
The amateur photographer and retired radiographer tells how PRHC’s Dr. Kebby King put a metal probe through a small cut in his skin and, using a CT to guide her, found the tumour and dissolved it with radio waves.
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“It was amazing,” Stuart recalls. “I felt no pain and I was able to go home later that afternoon. Now I’m back taking photos and looking forward to travelling the world again. I worked in diagnostic imaging for 12 years. But back in the ’60s, we could never have imagined the kinds of things doctors can do these days.”
Interventional radiology is often described as ‘the future of medicine’. It’s used to diagnose and treat a wide range of emergency and chronic health conditions such as cancer and other illnesses, without the use of conventional surgery and the associated pain, complications, and longer hospital stays.
For patients in the Peterborough region, this means they can go home sooner, with less pain and less risk, all without having to travel far away.
VIDEO: Interventional Radiology is helping to revolutionize cancer care at PRHC
Interventional radiologist Dr. King describes that difference as “night and day.”
It’s remarkable how many life-threatening health conditions can be diagnosed and treated with this innovative specialty. It can be used to biopsy or treat tumours like Stuart’s, put in ports for chemotherapy, or stop bleeding — in as little as an hour.
Dr. King and her colleagues already perform 6,000 interventional radiology procedures each year at PRHC, and the need for this kind of care is only growing in our region. PRHC’s interventional radiology suites are 14 years old, however, and are too small to fit new advanced technology and the staff required to use it.
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A $6 million investment in state-of-the-art equipment, upgraded suites, and an expanded recovery room is essential to meeting the need — so more patients with more complex conditions can be diagnosed and treated close to home.
Grateful for the great care he received and determined to help pave the way for new ground-breaking therapies to be offered at PRHC in the near future, Stuart donated to the PRHC Foundation for the first time. He wants to support the interventional radiology renovation and upgrade, and he knows that the government doesn’t fund hospital equipment.
“Our regional hospital needs our help,” Stuart says. “I’m asking everyone to join me in donating to support the interventional radiology facilities. Pictures can save lives. I know this because medical imaging saved mine. Now, our donations will help others. Thank you for helping to give people like me a brighter future.”
Not only do donations fund state-of-the-art technology not funded by the government, fuel innovation, and bring new services to our region, they also help PRHC attract and retain the best and brightest healthcare professionals. Doctors, nurses and staff want to do their jobs to the best of their abilities, and advanced equipment and innovative treatments support them in doing that.
This holiday season, donors and grateful patients like Stuart can help ensure PRHC’s frontline workers have the tools they need to provide expert, compassionate care, and receive some good cheer. Tribute donations can include a message of thanks or best wishes to a hospital department or individual physician, nurse or staff member when made online at prhcfoundation.ca or by phone at 705-876-5000.
To donate, find out more about interventional radiology, or share your own PRHC grateful patient story, please visit prhcfoundation.ca or call 705-876-5000.
This branded editorial was published in partnership with the PRHC Foundation. If your organization or business is interested in a branded editorial, contact us.
Canadians should ensure kids get routine vaccines following COVID disruptions: doctors – National | Globalnews.ca – Global News
Preventable diseases like measles could follow trends seen elsewhere in the world and spread quickly in Canada due to a drop in routine vaccinations during the COVID-19 pandemic, say pediatricians who are urging parents to ensure their kids are fully immunized.
Provinces and territories log data on vaccinations provided in the community against infectious diseases like measles, diphtheria, polio and whooping cough, as well as vaccines against other illnesses administered in school immunization clinics.
Although much current data doesn’t cover years beyond 2019, provinces with more recent figures are already seeing a dramatic decline in routine vaccinations.
Pediatricians are concerned about possible outbreaks of preventable diseases if too many children were underimmunized or not vaccinated at all while public health clinics focused on COVID-19 vaccines. Widespread school closures and vaccine disinformation that swayed some parents against immunization efforts complicated matters still further.
Recent data from Public Health Ontarioshows that for 12-year-olds, vaccination against the liver infection hepatitis B plummeted to about 17 per cent in the 2020 to 2021 school year, compared with 67 per cent in the school year ending in 2019.
For human papillomavirus, or HPV, which can cause cancer, the vaccination numbers were even lower, plunging to 0.8 per cent last year, compared with 58 per cent in 2019. For the meningococcal vaccine, which helps protect against four types of the bacteria that cause a rare disease, vaccinations fell to about 17 per cent from 80 per cent over the same time. Risks of the potentially deadly illness include meningitis, an infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord.
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“The large decline in coverage in 2019-20 and 2020-21 illustrates the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as there was limited capacity to deliver school-based immunization programs,” Public Health Ontario said in a statement.
It said data for uptake of vaccines aimed at protecting younger kids against measles, for example, is not available beyond 2019, and a report on later numbers is expected to be released next spring.
Dr. Monika Naus,medical director of Immunization Programs and Vaccine Preventable Diseases Service at the BC Centre for Disease Control, said in-school vaccines, starting in Grade 6, were delayed, but work is underway to return to pre-pandemic levels.
Younger children missed appointments at doctors’ offices while physicians were seeing patients virtually and public health clinics, which mostly administer routine vaccines for kids outside of the Lower Mainland region of the province, were busy with COVID-19 shots, Naus said.
Routine childhood vaccinations drop during pandemic
Dr. Sam Wong, director of medical affairs for the Canadian Paediatric Society, said disinformation and vaccine hesitancy during the pandemic, “combined with the failure of the public health system” to provide routine vaccines, mean certain populations could be left vulnerable to highly contagious diseases like measles, which spreads through coughing and sneezing.
“You could walk into a room an hour after someone’s been in there and potentially get infected,” he said.
“We’re worried, as a group of health-care providers, that if you have lower rates of vaccinations that you’re more likely to have localized outbreaks of vaccine-preventable illnesses such as measles or mumps and chickenpox,” Wong said.
Wong said it’s important for doctors and parents to discuss the importance of routine vaccinations that have been proven effective for decades, adding some people believe young kids’ immune systems are not ready so they’d rather wait until they’re older.
“But that’s why you want to give the vaccine, because their immune system is not able to fight off infections,” he said.
“Some parents don’t want to even have discussions with me about it. But if there is an opening, I’m happy to talk about it,” said Wong, who works in Yellowknife, Edmonton and Victoria.
The Public Health Agency of Canada said Canadian studies have found immunization coverage declined during the pandemic for the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.
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Quebec saw a 39 per cent drop in April 2020 compared with 2019, the agency said, with the greatest impact seen in children aged 18 months.
In Alberta, the agency said vaccination for those diseases declined by 10 per cent in April 2020 compared with the same month a year earlier. Coverage for Ontario children under two decreased by 1.7 per cent, it added.
“The Public Health Agency of Canada continues to work with provinces and territories on an ongoing basis to understand the impact of the pandemic on routine immunization coverage across Canada, and to improve the availability of high-quality data to inform immunization programs,” it said in a statement.
It is currently in discussions with all jurisdictions on ways to monitor coverage of vaccines, similar to a surveillance system used for COVID-19 vaccines, the agency said.
Nova Scotia Health said its last report on childhood vaccines was completed three years ago, and numbers have fallen during the pandemic.
“Anecdotally, we know there was a drop in childhood vaccination, but we do not have the specific numbers available at this time,” it said in a statement.
However, the school immunization program is aiming to help students catch up on vaccines that were missed early in the pandemic, mostly through doctors’ offices, it said, adding that getting an appointment was a challenge for some families.
“We know that a substantial number of Nova Scotians do not have a family doctor. Public Health often works with local primary care clinics to provide vaccines to those who do not have a family doctor and some public health offices will offer clinics to this population.”
Last week, the World Health Organization and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a statement saying a record high of nearly 40 million children missed first and second doses of the measles vaccine in 2021 due to disruptions in immunization programs since the start of the pandemic.
The two groups said there were an estimated nine million measles cases and 128,000 related deaths worldwide in 2021, and 22 countries experienced large outbreaks.
Dr. Noni MacDonald, a professor of pediatrics and infectious diseases at Dalhousie University in Halifax, said a national registry that could quickly tell doctors which children have not been vaccinated is essential in Canada.
“I feel like I’m banging my head against a brick wall,” she said of her efforts to call for that change.
“How can we do proper health-care planning when we don’t have the data?”
Canada is an “outlier” that lags behind most European countries on the measles vaccine, she said, adding a coverage rate of 95 per cent is needed to create so-called herd immunity against the highly infectious disease.
Canada recently had 84 per cent uptake of the second dose of the measles vaccine. MacDonald said Australia, in comparison, had 94 per cent based on the most recent data from the WHO. She used the two countries as an example because they had a similar number of births _ 368,000 in Canada, and 300,000 in Australia in 2021.
“We are just not in the same league, and we should be embarrassed.”
Flu shots are now free for everyone in Quebec due to overwhelmed hospital ERs
While the campaign for flu shots has already been underway in Quebec for several weeks, the provincial government announced on Friday that immunization will now be free of charge for any Quebecer over the age of six months.
Previously, only people who met certain criteria (babies, seniors, the chronically ill, etc) were able to get the influenza immunization free of charge, and the vaccination sites set up for COVID-19 were only handling free flu shots. Meanwhile, the general population in Quebec was previously only able to get vaccinated at pharmacies, for a fee.
The decision was made due to the critical state of hospital ERs in the province, particularly at children’s hospitals in Montreal, where kids are being brought in by parents in larger numbers than usual due to rising rates of flu, COVID-19 and RSV infections.
“With the trio of viruses currently circulating, the influenza vaccine is now available free of charge to all Quebecers who wish to take advantage of it. It’s one more tool to limit the pressure on our network.”
—Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé
To schedule an appointment for a flu shot and/or a COVID-19 shot, please visit the Clic Santé website.
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