Tag: health

Healthy Swellness: 6 ways your Rexall pharmacist can help you

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Who are the people in your health squad? I keep it pretty simple: I’ve got my doctor, my massage therapists (although I haven’t seen either of my two fave RMTs in ages…sigh), my chiropractor, and my running buddies (they count, don’t they?)—I’d say those are the core people. But I will admit: I don’t ever take advantage of getting more from my visits to the pharmacist other than to having my prescriptions filled.

But last week, when I attended the launch of the new Rexall Brunswick House, I got to chat with the pharmacy manager, Jessie Chen, and learned that you miss out on benefiting your health when you don’t draw from your pharmacist’s expertise.

“Often people come in with it comes to cold and flu symptoms, seasonal allergies, heartburn, stomach upset, dry eyes, headaches—they come into the pharmacy first for something over the counter that can provide some relief,” says Chen. She says about 50 percent of her work with patients is helping with these issues, and the other half is focused on prescriptions.

Other ways your pharmacist can help you?

  • “We can administer flu shots, and recently in Ontario (every province has different regulations), we were approved to administer other vaccines, such as the shingles vaccine and HPV vaccine.”
  • Your pharmacist can take your blood pressure. The pharmacy is equipped with a blood pressure machine and if you wish, they can create a tracking card for you and link it to your medication profile so you can monitor it over time.
  • Your pharmacist can help you quit your smoking habit. Pharmacists can provide smoking cess counselling, recommend certain nicotine replacement products, and prescribe sme smoking cessation medications, and provide follow-ups with patient over time, says Chen.
  • “We can help you when buying over-the-counter products,” says Chen. “It’s a good idea to consult with your pharmacist. Sometime people think because something is herbal or if it’s vitamins, it’s safe, but there could be potential interactions. Pharmacists are a good resource to help identify if any interactions and whether or not that product is a good choice for you,” she says. If you’re pregnant, for example, there may be some products with limited research on them and the pharmacist can identify when you would want to exercise caution.
  • Your pharmacist can also help determine when you need the help of another health expert. “Our recommendations are tailored to the patient, so we take some basic health information, such as symptoms, and drug allergies, and find out what medications they’re currently taking to keep in mind possible drug interactions, and from there we can assess whether seeing their doctor is necessary.”

Since there are so many ways you can work with your pharmacist when it comes to your health, you should choose a pharmacist you feel comfortable with. “Health and wellness if the core of our business,” says Chen. She recommends selecting someone you feel you can open up to and be honest with, since open communication and trust is the key for it being a successful relationship.

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And btw, in case you’re worried about the Brunny now being occupied by a Rexall, you should know that Rexall worked with the city’s Historic Preservation Service and restored the exterior and interior elements. In fact, the original keg barrel bar is now the main checkout area. The chandeliers and tin ceiling are originals that have been restored.

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And while those are elements of the building you can check out anytime when you shop here, if you pop in now, you’ll have a chance to have a peek at the Rexall Brunswick House Music Artifacts Exhibition, which included memorabilia from artists who’ve played on the Brunny’s stage, including Jeff Healey and Oscar Peterson. But check it out soon, because all of these artifacts are soon being shipped to Studio Bell, the National Music Centre in Calgary (which I got a chance to preview before it opened when I was in Calgary last spring—it’s definitely worth a visit!).

Photo credit: Evan Bergstra/Ryan Emberley Photography

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Leave a Comment May 2, 2017

Healthy Swellness: Don’t let pursuing your fitness goals give you back pain

davWith the warmer spring weather on its way, a lot of us are scrambling to get started on getting our beach bods back in time for summer. And while we may be considering how toned we want our arms to get, or of that six-pack of abs, the health of our back is not something we typically consider, but really should not be overlooked.

Ironically, as I write this, it was almost a year to the date that I discovered how important back health is in the most painful way. It’s hard to say for certain what caused me to throw out my back, but long flights and running both possibly contributed to the issue. What I can say for sure is that it is the most physical pain I have experienced ever. I couldn’t sit down, lie down, pull open a door, or move in any way without incredible pain. My pride kept me from crying actual tears, but there was much whimpering and crying on the inside. And the only way I found relief and got my back to health? Regular appointments with a chiropractor.

If you’ve never seen a chiro, I think they’re a health pro we could all use in our lives. For example, if you’ve thrown yourself into a new workout regimen this spring, remember how important proper form is. Improper form can cause injury to your spine, knees, and shoulders, says the Ontario Chiropractic Association. Three popular exercises, when done with bad form, that can and often do lead to back injuries are squats, deadlifts and kettlebell swings.

First off, for these exercises, remember to maintain a neutral spine (to discover your neutral spine, stand backed up to a wall, with your head, upper back and tailbone touching the wall, with enough space for your fingers between the wall and your lower back). Next, keep these pointers in mind for each exercise:

Squats

Keep your chest up, and as you bend your knees, engage those glutes by lowering your body as though you were taking a seat. This form will help you maintain a neutral spine.

Deadlifts

As you hinge at the hip to perform your deadlift, envision a wall two feet behind you and imagine you are touching your glutes to this wall. This little tactic helps ensure you hinge at the hips instead of overusing your knees,

Kettlebell swings

Maintain that neutral spine as you swing so that you hinge at the hip and avoid straining the back. Swing the kettlebell only up to shoulder level (if you swing higher, you may compromise your neutral spine form.

Whether you’re just getting back into fitness or are a regular at working out, make sure you can continue your exercise routine by caring for your back, bones, muscles, joints and central  nervous system. You can find more essential info on keeping your back health in check at www.chiropractic.on.ca. And while you’re at it, on the site, you can find a local chiropractor who can help you learn about and maintain your back health.

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Leave a Comment May 1, 2017

Foodie Swellness: Hydrating with Bonne O (+ a giveaway!)

Bonne O water

If you’ve ever traveled with me or have followed me on the blog for awhile, you probably know that drinking water is not something I do very often. I drink water when I run, of course, and when I work out, but I haven’t been able to make it a habit to drink several glasses of water daily. I did make a real effort to drink plenty of water years ago when training for my first half-marathon, and found I was frustrated with being in the bathroom all the time. And I noticed that when I stopped guzzling water, my running didn’t seem to be affected, so I stopped drinking it as often (and interestingly, more recent research challenges how much fluid we actually need).

One thing I have been able to do when it comes to hydration is swap out some of the juice and a lot of the soft drinks (I used to consume a half a can daily and now I don’t usually have any in my fridge) and I’ve replaced it with flavoured sparkling water. As you may recall, I tried out Sodastream last year to help me do this, and I was super curious about Bonne O, another at-home machine to make your water bubbly so when this Canadian company asked me to try out their sparkling beverage system, I told them I was in as long as I could share my honest review to which Bonne O said of course.

So, how’s it measure up? My first reaction to the actual Bonne O machine itself is that it’s not very sleek or modern looking. Compared to the modern look of my Sodastream Power, the white machine and overall shape is much less appealing to me than the boxy and more compact shape of the Sodastream Power I have (besides aesthetics, I need kitchen gadgets that take up the least amount of space in my small kitchen, and I feel like Bonne O takes up more counter space).

Bonne O

Bonne O’s major difference, in my opinion, is the carbonators. What are these mysterious little white pucks that somehow make water bubbly? Instead of the usual heavy canisters of compressed CO2 (the kind you use with Sodastream), Bonne O uses small round pucks, which are made of food-grade materials (think citric acid and sodium bicarbonate) that react with water to create CO2 gas.

Another thing that sets Bonne O apart is you can use it to carbonate lots of different beverages and ingredients. With Sodastream, you’re carbonating water and adding fruit or syrup. But with Bonne O, you can make fruit infusions so that flavours are incorporated during the sparkling process. And, people, you can sparkle wine or your favourite cocktail! Whaaaat. I could get behind some sparkling white wine on a hot summer night!

That said, because I go through phases, lately I’m focusing less on what I’m drinking (my juicer hasn’t been used in while…) and focusing more on cooking, so I’ve been using the Bonne O mostly to drink sparkling water really simply with lemon or lime. But I did whip up some ginger syrup as the Bonne O 100 Sparkling Creations book that comes with the unit inspired me to try the recipe. And the result is delicious, and I like the idea that I’m making my pop from scratch.

So which machine do I prefer? I found that Bonne O, using one carbonation puck, results in exactly the level of bubbliness I enjoy (N.B. You can use half a Bonne O carbonator if you prefer less bubbles). My Sodastream Power, while it offers three levels of carbonation, I found that the results weren’t consistent (I sometimes selected the highest carbonation twice to get a decent amount of bubbles, but sometimes I’d end up with great bubbliness and sometimes less so).

It’s the carbonators that are, in my opinion, the major advantage to the Bonne O system. With my small kitchen’s limited storage and no car to do grocery shopping, I really dislike buying, storing and and returning the CO2 tanks. The carbonators in comparison are lightweight and are in a compact box, and this is what’s won me over. The only thing I feel Bonne O comes in second on is its design, as I mentioned above. Sodastream Power is a much sexier looking machine. If choosing between the two machines, I personally think it boils down to the CO2 tanks vs carbonators and the machine’s design, as I find the actual beverage results pretty comparable if you’re planning on carbonating water (if you’re keen on carbonating wine and other drinks then, of course, Bonne O is the way to go).

And what about that giveaway I mentioned?!

(THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED)

CONGRATS TO SHAMARRA G., the winner of her own Bonne O! Thank you to everyone who entered!

Here it is! You don’t just have to take my word on what Bonne O is like because one lucky winner in my giveaway will win a Bonne O Sparkling Beverage System (valued at $169.99 Canadian/$149.99 U.S.)! The giveaway is open to Canadian and continental U.S. residents. You can enter in three different ways (enter all three ways as each way counts as an entry!):

INSTAGRAM: Follow me on Instagram (@healthandswellness), and comment on the photo related to this giveaway — tell me what beverage you’d use the Bonne O to make. Would you add a certain fruit? A cocktail? Herbs?

TWITTER: Follow me on Twitter (@healthswellness) and tweet:

I love bubbles! And I’d love to win a @bonne_o Sparkling Beverage System from @healthswellness! http://bit.ly/2nCvvQX #bonneoswellness

FACEBOOK: “Like” the Health and Swellness Facebook page, and reply on the photo on the page — tell me how much water you drink daily. I’d love to hear what everyone’s hydration habits are!

This giveaway is open until 11:59 p.m. EST on Tuesday, March 21, 2017. The winner will be chosen at random on March 22, 2017 and contacted via the method they’ve entered to provide their shipping address and contact info.

Thanks, good luck and happy hydrating!

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1 Comment March 14, 2017

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