Bullying

What seems like harmless teasing usually isn’t just harmless teasing. Bullying is something that has been an ever growing concern in the past 10 years. With the invention of social media forums like Facebook and Twitter, bullies are taking their leave from the school yard and becoming predators to their classmates online. But where has this come from? What is bullying, and what can we as parents and caregivers do to stop it and prevent it from happening again? By answering these questions, as well as a number of others, we can begin to understand bullying and how we can help our kids.

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Bullying is when someone hurts or intimidates another person on purpose. The person being hurt and/or intimated also has a hard time defending themselves. There are many ways that young children/adolescents can bully each other, even if they don’t realize that they are hurting the other person at the time. Some forms of bullying include:

  • Punching, shoving and other acts that hurt people physically.

  • Spreading bad rumours about people (whether it is online or in person).

  • Keeping certain people out of a group.

  • Teasing people in a mean way (name calling, sarcasm, teasing,).

  • Getting certain people to “gang up” on others.

  • Threatening and racism.

  • Using the internet/text messaging to intimidate, put-down, spread rumours, or make fun of another.

  • Sexual interference.

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Whether or not the bully knows that they are bullying, any of the above listed behaviours are not acceptable. It is actions like these that can drive children into a depression. It can bring on loneliness, unhappiness, and fear. It can make the child feel unsure and unsafe about going to school. Bullying, in the most extreme forms, has been known to drive some adolescents to suicide. There is absolutely no reason for any child to feel this helpless and alone. There is also no reason for any child to feel that they are unsafe going to school or that they are going to be punished by their peers. As parents and caregivers it can be near impossible to identify if your child is being bullied. However, it is very important to maintain an open line of communication so that your child can feel comfortable coming to you about being bullied.

So what can we do? As mentioned before it is important to keep the lines of communication open with your child so that they can feel comfortable coming to you when they are being bullied. In schools a zero-tolerance for bullying behaviours has been adapted. This has proven successful in the reduction of bullying but there are more things that educators can do. By developing programs for bullying awareness and interventions in bullying situations, schools can better protect and help those students that may fall victim to bullying.

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An In Depth Look at Carbs and Cravings: Part 2

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There are many factors that influence our need to feed and overeat. The current obesity epidemic has experts exploring these factors. So what influences our need to feed? Being able to see and smell the food tempts us to eat, even if we are eating outside of meals and snacks. Dehydration and alcohol consumption also plays a part in our need to eat outside of mealtimes. Brain chemistry (unbalanced) also increases our need to eat excess, all in an attempt to increase the serotonin and dopamine in our brains. Excess eating may also be due to a lack of control over emotional distress (loneliness, stress, depression, boredom, etc). So what can be do to curb our cravings?

Well the first thing is to identify what is causing the craving in the first place. It could vary widely from person to person. However, commonly it is a hormonal imbalance (low blood sugar, low serotonin levels) brought on by stress, poor eating habits, and a variety of other things. Regulating blood sugar levels by being healthy and taking care of yourself is an easy way to ease these cravings. Other lifestyle changes like sleeping well and managing stress are good ways to also help eliminate cravings.

Preventing the craving from happening in the first place is quite clearly the goal, first and foremost. This can be done by ensuring that your meals are balanced and nutritious. Making sure that you are getting the appropriate amounts of protein is important for every meal, as well as making sure you never miss an afternoon snack. This is an easy way to prevent cravings in between meals and get you through the afternoon until dinner time.

If you are having a craving, it is better to choose a healthy sweet alternative rather than reach for the sweet cupboard. Having berries and other naturally sweet treats is a great way to get rid of your craving.

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Giving up carbs is a hard thing to ask anyone to do, but even reducing your carb intake can make a huge difference. A few ways that you can cut back on your carbs include:

  • Making sure that you are well rested and can manage your stress well

  • Have a healthy digestive tract

  • Have supplements on hand to balance your brain chemistry and to help manage stress.

Say no to the unhealthy carbs and yes to an overall healthier and happier you!

An In Depth Look at Carbs and Cravings: Part 1

Dr. Natasha Turner ,founder of the Clear Medicine Wellness Boutique in Toronto, is a best-selling author, clinician, and highly sought after speaker.  Dr. Turner’s book, The Hormone Diet, was #1 bestseller a week into its release in 2009. Dr. Turner has made appearances on The Dr. Oz Show (as well as many others) to educate people on the importance of hormonal balance.

Insulin is an essential part of the human body. Insulin is central to regulating carbohydrate and fat metabolism in the body. It is so important to carefully consider what you are putting into your body.

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We all have habits that are detrimental to our insulin levels. An insulin overdose can cause type-2 diabetes. So what causes insulin overload?

Overeating causes a surge of insulin in the body to deal with the incoming carbs and fats. Late night eating is also a cause of insulin overload. The habit of eating late at night is disruptive to regular sleep patterns. Failing to eat a balance of proteins and carbohydrates is also going to cause an insulin overload. Long term these things can lead to an excessive appetite, overeating, as well as weight gain. A hormonal imbalance will ensue, leading to insulin resistance (type-2 diabetes).

Things that we eat can also cause an insulin overload. Foods heavy with sugars and white flours are very likely to cause a spike insulin, spur inflammation, and increase leptin resistance (the hormone responsible for regulating energy intake and expenditure). Products containing high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as well as an increased intake of alcohol can result in insulin resistance and obesity.

So what can we do? Switching out our sweets for insulin-sensitizing foods is a great way to reduce the risk for an insulin overload. Some of these foods include:

  • Blueberries
  • Whey Protein Isolate
  • Avocados
  • Chai seed and Flaxseed
  • Spices
  • Olive Oil
  • Cinnamon
  • Eggs
  • Cherries
  • Vinegar
  • Nuts & Nut Butters

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Some may even reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes for those who are already at a high-risk. There are many health benefits to consuming these types of foods that will stretch not only to your body, but your mind and soul as well.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Other Compulsive Behaviours: Part 2

Picture this.

A house, filled with everything that has ever meant something to you. A memory attached to every item. When you have to get rid of something, you feel like you are losing a little piece of yourself. This in the end makes you unwilling to get rid of anything at all. Slowly but surely, the house starts to fill until one day you can’t see the floor. But that is okay. As long as you have your things, you will be okay. You are ashamed of letting others see how you live, so you hide it. You stay in your home, rarely going out unless it is absolutely needed. One day you get a surprise visit from a loved one. You are sleeping somewhere among the piles so you don’t hear them enter the house. They see what is going on and confront you. Your defenses go up. You become angry and aggressive because they have violated your privacy. You tell them to leave you alone, that you are just fine with how things are and that you don’t need their help. Your cover has been blown, soon everyone will know your secret. But where do you go from here?

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Compulsive hoarding is just that. A compulsive need to collect things, and the unwillingness or inability to give those things up. These items take over rooms, apartments, and full houses, causing unsafe living conditions, posing severe health risks, and damaging relationships. This disorder is separate from OCD, however, like OCD many of those suffering are well aware of their irrational behaviors.

People will often collect things that other people would find not useful or of little value. Things like junk mail, newspapers, clothes that “might” fit one day, broken things and garbage. They will place high value on them, and this is likely the reason that it is so hard for them to try and give them up. People can also collect animals, becoming deeply attached to a large number of animals that they can not properly care/provide for.

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There is no one cause to this disorder. Like many disorders, the causes are multiple and vary from person to person. These causes can include:

  • Trauma

  • Anxiety

  • Another pre-existing disorder

  • Family History

Whatever the cause, compulsive hoarding wreaks havoc on an individual’s livelihood, and is an extremely difficult disorder to receive the proper treatment and support for.

Management and treatments for compulsive hoarding vary from individual to individual, depending on their situation. Behavioural therapy has often times been found to be effective. There are many processes that a therapist can walk a client through to come to terms with why the behaviour exists and develop a plan of action on how to approach treatment in a way that will make the client most comfortable. Often times the first thing that is needed is a gradual exposure to the anxiety experienced when trying to get rid of things. This will allow the client to begin to formulate a plan as to how they are going to get their living place cleaned up so that is habitable (if this is at all possible). Therapy to address the behaviours and anxiety is an ongoing process throughout treatment. Depending on the case, the client may be prescribed medication to treat any underlying disorders in order to be able to participate fully and cohesively in treatment.

Recovery and treatment are possible. It is a long and tough process, but with the right supports and treatment plan, anyone can go on to live a happy and fulfilling life.

Listed below are resources for OCD and other compulsive behaviours.

International Women’s Day

WomenHoldingWorldWe are mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers, homemakers, lawyers, and doctors. We wait tables, change diapers, kiss boo-boos, and run households. In a day and age where gender roles are not nearly as clear cut as they used to be, it can be hard for the younger generations to remember how hard women throughout history had to fight to get the same basic rights as men. And in many parts of the world, women are still discriminated against.

International Women’s Day (IWD) serves as not only a reminder, but a celebration of the contributions of women throughout history. It is a day that connects women not only locally but internationally, through events held across the world in celebration. It is a day of activism, artistic expression, and most importantly, appreciation for women around the world.

The history of IWD starts in 1908 in New York. It was a time when women started to band together and protest, demanding better hours, fair pay, and voting rights. The early 1900’s saw the beginning of what most labeled as “radical ideologies”. Women fought and won the right to vote, although in many workplaces today there are still many barriers for women as far as pay and promotions are concerned. The first ever National Women’s Day was observed across the US on February 28th, 1909. The celebration of NWD continued on the 28th of every February until 1913, when it was changed to International Women’s Day. Women rallied in Russia on the eve of World War I and observed their first IWD. It was then changed to March 8th and has been observed in many European countries since that day.

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From 1908 until now, women have made great strides in obtaining equality and fair treatment in countries all across the world. IWD has become a holiday in many places around the world, mirroring the status of Mother’s Day. It is an important celebration and day of appreciation for all of the important women in our lives. It is also a day of inspiration and solidarity between women, showing that we are powerful not only as one but as a collective. We have made great strides since the early days of the feminist movements, and we continually strive for true equality for all.

So how can you celebrate International Women’s Day? Below is a listing of local events.
Toronto
Missisauga
Barrie
Markham
More Events In Toronto

To get information on events going on in other parts of Canada and the world please visit http://www.internationalwomensday.com/events.asp .

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““A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.”
~Diane Mariechild

Holistic Dentistry

Your smile is an international hello

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Treating the body as a whole, and not just separate pieces is the foundation of any holistic medical practice. This is just as true for Holistic Dentistry as it is for other holistic medical practices. Holistic Dentistry promotes health and wellness instead of the treatment of disease. This approach to dentistry includes both the advances of modern science and knowledge that is drawn from many traditions of natural healing. Holistic Dentistry focuses on not only the patient’s teeth, but their mind, body and spirit as a whole. It shows how dental health is an important part of overall health, not something separate. Holistic Dentistry is a way to take care of one’s teeth and gums that is healthy for the body as a whole, which includes using different techniques than those of traditional dentistry.

The Holistic Dentistry approach is one which chooses to take a different path than that of a traditional dentist. So how is Holistic Dentistry different from traditional dentistry? Listed below are some of the important differences between Holistic Dentistry and traditional dentistry.

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Traditionally, dentists use mercury fillings in teeth. It has been stated by the ADA and FDA that the mercury in the fillings is safe and stable enough not to do much harm to the body because they leak only a small amount of mercury over time. However, Holistic Dentists recognize that mercury is a toxin to the body, no matter how small the amount. They choose to not use mercury but a composite filling instead, to reduce the harm to the body as a whole.

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Severe decay brings the recommendation of root canal therapy from a traditional dentist. They will argue that a root canal is the most effective way to keep a natural tooth. However, unless the canal is 100% sterilized, the canal will not be effective. There are a number of chemicals that can be used to sterilize the canal. Holistic Dentists realize that these chemicals are toxic to the body, no matter how small the amount. They also recognize that any bacteria left over from an improperly completed root canal can also damage the body. It is for these reasons that a Holistic Dentist will not typically recommend a root canal.

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Fluoride is seen as an important part of a dental care regimen. It comes in both a topical and ingested form. Many traditional dentists argue in favor of fluoridating water supplies. Their argument is supported by the decrease of cavity rates in areas that have fluoridated water supplies. Holistic Dentists are typically against any form of fluoride that is ingested. The main concern is the toxic effects that the ingested fluoride can have on the body (i.e. cancer and various bone problems) as well as fluoridating the water supply being forced medication of the general public. However, there are some holistic dentists that are for topical fluoride.

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Whether or not a material that is placed in your body is referred to as the biocompatibility of dental materials. Most traditional dentists will not test the biocompatibility of the materials because they do not believe in it. Many traditional dentists will not even explain the difference between the fillings and other materials that will be used. Holistic Dentists recognize that any material that is put into the mouth, can affect the entire body. Many Holistic Dentists have on-site equipment to test for biocompatibility of any materials that will be put into your mouth. Composite materials are the materials of choice for many Holistic Dentists when doing fillings and they often use alternate materials for other procedures.

The important thing to remember when considering going to a Holistic Dentist is to ask the right questions. You need to keep in mind that it is your mouth that you are looking out for, so you need to choose a dentist that is right for you. This means asking questions like:

  • What kinds of materials do you use?
  • What types of procedures will you not perform?
  • What is your overall philosophy when approaching Holistic Dentistry?

Asking these questions will allow you to make the right decision for not only your mouth, but your body as a whole.

7 Ways to Beat Depression Naturally


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Depression is a state of mood characterized by negative effects in our life that continue to spiral, depression can be reflected in one’s physical, emotional and mental well-being. The onset of depression can be marked by an array of causes; perhaps you have reached a hiccup in a relationship with your significant other, or perhaps you are undergoing the loss of a loved one.

What was once the focus of intrigue and marvel in life may quickly and abruptly lose its enticing properties for the depressed individual.

If you identify with several of the following signs and symptoms, and they just won’t go away, you may be suffering from clinical depression.

1. You can’t sleep or you sleep too much

2. You can’t concentrate or find that previously easy tasks are now difficult

3. You feel hopeless and helpless

4. You can’t control your negative thoughts, no matter how much you try

5. You have lost your appetite or you can’t stop eating

6. You are much more irritable, short-tempered, or aggressive than usual

7. You’re consuming more alcohol than normal or engaging in other reckless behaviour

8. You have thoughts that life is not worth living (Seek help immediately if this is the case) 

7 Ways to Beat Depression Naturally

1)     Exercise on a regular basis, I highly recommend it.  There are so many different forms of exercise (Yoga, walking, tai-chi, weight lifting) begin slowly.  Begin outside if you can, fresh air is the surest way to get the blood flowing and change-up your energy.  Even if it’s as little as 20 minutes a day to start, you will notice you feel better instantly.

2)    Diet rich in vitamins and minerals, healthy foods, vitamin B and calcium.  Cut out refined carbohydrates, fried foods and avoid sugar at all costs.  Make sure you speak to your doctor about getting the proper DHA’s and probiotics into your diet for a healthy mind and gut.

3)   Vitamin D is called the sunshine vitamin because our bodies produce it when exposed to sunlight.  Ask your doctor to check and see if you are low in vitamin D.  People often feel better when they take vitamin D especially in the winter months.

4)   Herbal Supplements contain many medicinal powers and can heal a variety of ailments.  Seek out a great naturopathic doctor to discuss homeopathic remedies, vitamins, acupuncture, cupping and getting to the route of the issue by releasing toxins from the body.

5)   Get enough sleep and notice when your sleep is being disturbed by your mood.  The best thing to do is create a routine and stick to it everyday.  Take a Epsom salt bath to sooth and relax you, reduce TV and all stimulants.

6)    Talk it out with a therapist, counselor, friend or mentor. Depression is not the cause of hopelessness and extreme sadness — it is a symptom. If there is a specific problem you are having that is causing these feeling…face it, come up with a plan. Do not allow your problems to go unanswered. Hope can be found in moving, step by step toward addressing our issues.

7)    Be of service to someone else in need.  Often when we take the focus off ourselves and help another we stop running circles in our minds and we tend to feel better.

Most important of all, have hope and faith that “this too shall pass” and you do deserve to live a happy life.

Stacey Dombrowsky