Category Archives: Health & Wellness

legalized pot

AUTHOR & FAMILY THERAPIST OFFERS ADVICE TO PARENTS ABOUT POT LEGALIZATION AND THEIR TEENS

With the legalization of pot in Canada last Wednesday October 17th, many parents & grandparents of teens and ‘tweens are nervous about starting the conversation about smoking, toking and vaping weed now that it’s more easily available. Did I raise my kid to stand up to peer pressure? Does my kid understand the fall-out from prolonged use of weed and long-term health issues? Will my teen’s future be compromised if they indulge in regular pot use?just say noThe author of the recently published The Anxious Teen (a guidebook for parents, teachers, mentors of teens suffering stress and anxiety) KRISTINA VIRRO (pictured below) sat down with me last week and answered a few questions that parents may have and advice they may need before broaching the subject over the family dinner table.IMG_2370 (1)What should parents look for to identify drug use in their teens?   One warning sign is finding accessories associated with drug use, so parents can benefit from familiarizing themselves with what these are. Another warning sign is when a teen starts missing or skipping class, which is often associated with poorer grades. Finally, the smell of marijuana is a dead giveaway, though you might notice your teen using several air fresheners, candles, colognes and more to cover up the smell. weed bongsWhat are the changes in behaviour or indications that your teen may be experimenting with pot or other drugs?  You might notice a change in their friend group and a withdrawal from family bonding time. Since every teenager is unique, pay attention to any changes in their personality that just seem different, too. They might become more apathetic, less productive, possess less self-control, and start paying less attention to their personal hygiene. Or, they might become more aggressive, defensive, irritable, and paranoid, which could all be symptoms of drug use.teen drugsHow do you communicate your distrust of your teen’s friends or peers (who may be involved in drug activities) without causing them to react negatively or defend their friends?  During adolescence, teenagers are actually biologically wired to enhance their connection to peers, meaning they often feel very loyal and protective of their friends. The worst thing you can do is insult friends, so stay far away from poking fun at them, calling them names, or making hurtful totalizing statements (i.e. “your friends are all losers.”) While your first instinct might be to cut contact between your teenager and their “sub-par” friends, it might be better to simply create some boundaries for the times they are spending time with them. Set curfews, check in on them a bit more often, or whatever you feel is best. Finally, create more opportunities for you and your teen to spend quality time together—alone or with the entire family—as this has been well-researched to minimize drug use.pot kidsIf you find weed in your teen’s room or school bag, what should you do/say?  Take some time to process and/or release any feelings that arise before approaching your teen. Once you feel ready to approach the topic in a more neutral manner, start by being honest about finding marijuana. From there, communicate why you’re feeling concerned in a way that doesn’t sound accusatory. Speak in “I” statements and avoid extreme language like “always” or “never.” I also invite parents to consider taking a harm reduction approach, which is based on the idea that, for better or worse, drug use happens, and our goal should be to minimize its harmful effects rather than simply condemning them. A large body of research supports the efficacy of such a strategy. This might involve talking openly about drug use, creating guidelines, and/or using the drug when the effects will be the least disruptive. pot foundShould parents discuss their own youthful drug use with their teens and how do you start the conversation without sounding “preachy”?  Being “preachy” involves excessively trying to teach moral lessons, and usually involves talking at someone rather with them. To avoid this, make the conversation collaborative. Be curious rather than judgmental and remind yourself that people used pot when you were young, too. If your teen feels like you’re blowing things out of proportion and not listening to them, they’ll become more secretive, which is precisely what you don’t want.BOOK COVERThanks, Kristina.  And she offers lots more advice and approaches to parental and family interactions concerning drug use and abuse, as well as coping with the stress and anxiety teens are currently experiencing. You can get a copy of Kristina’s book from Amazon or iBooks, or directly from the author via her website:  www.fresh-insight.ca

Ms. Virro’s Credentials:
Individual, Couples & Family Therapist (Master of Science, University of Guelph)
Registered Holistic Nutritionist  ​(Canadian School of Natural Nutrition)
Master’s of Journalism  ​(​University of Western Ontario)
Certificate in Trauma-Informed Care ​(University of Buffalo, School of Social Work)

July 2017469

WELCOME TO “A BRILLIANT U” – CHANGING YOU, CHANGING LIVES!

For the past few months, I’ve been consulting with A Brilliant U, a lifestyle and healthful living service, guiding them thru the maze that is social media, and assisting with online marketing opportunities for their affiliated Rodan+Fields luxury skincare line (OMG, their skincare products are amazing – yes, my skin is now like a baby’s bum!). Founder John Joseph Mastandrea (below) offers guidance, services and products for a healthy holistic lifestyle: I believe in giving forward, creating opportunities for philanthropy that promote internal & external healthy life styles.25659286_175279333062886_1399336722587567973_nA Brilliant U’s Facebook page offers frequent “Thought for the Day” motivational posts as well as news of Rodan+Fields products suitable for all skin types, seasonal use and their new men’s line called “Beyond the Shave”.  (Pssst: Father’s Day is coming up) MENSRG01-01_DetailI recently sat down and asked John Joseph a few questions about the business opportunities presented by Rodan+Fields as well as being agents of change:

You have a successful ministry career – what inspired you to create A Brilliant U?  I believe in giving back to the universe and helping others to discover A Brilliant U – your own magnificent self. I hope to help people look at the core values of life and turn them inside out to ignite the brilliance within. joyHow did you find Rodan+Fields?  A family friend, Allen Norman, told me about the Rodan+Fields story which is so much more than skincare, it’s about a lifestyle….a way of living your life in the most positive way. 20180514_113249 How did you learn about the potential for generating a substantial side income thru marketing of R+F?  We attended R+F seminars and listened to the powerful potential for creating our own “side hustles” or home businesses.20180417_190117R+F products are considered the finest luxury skincare on the market – how difficult is it to attract customers away from designer or drugstore brands and introduce them to the various regimens available only thru personal presentations and online sales?  Attracting customers takes place not in the hard-sell but rather via the live demonstration and sampling of the products. We are also uploading short informational videos to YouTube, thanks to our colleague Joanne who is the perfect video hostess with the mostest!

There is an exciting revenue generating aspect to R+F – can you explain briefly how this works?Revenue generation takes place when you sign up as a consultant – here’s the link: https://www.rodanandfields.com/ca/businessSys/selectSponsor/SelectSponsorPage   Purchase a product base, then share the good news with your friends, family and wider circle of acquaintances. Invite them to purchase or become a consultant themselves and start their own side hustle. Voila! Revenue generation begins for you.20180514_121332 Apart from offering tools to enhance one’s outside, you also offer motivational and lifestyle advice plus spiritual support to improve one’s inside – how does this all impact your clients and team members?  We ignite the outside to connect with the inner self; when we love ourselves and have integrity we are truly authentic. When self is directed towards giving back, the self transforms and becomes and force for healing.

Your mandate is “changing you, changing lives” – how does A Brilliant U engage with clients in order to change lives?  We change lives by first changing ourselves. For A Brilliant U, we personally change lives by contributing our time and talents to philanthropic causes such as Fife House, Camp Winston, Kohai, and the Rotary Club.  We encourage others to find their catalyst of connection with world mending.

Finally, how has working with R+F and focusing on helping others changed your lives? Working with Rodan+Fields has opened up opportunities for meeting other like-minded people….it is contagious:  open doors, open lives and open selves.20180417_180855(0)If you would like to learn more about the Rodan+Fields products and revenue-generating opportunities, as well as guidance for living a positive and healthy life, follow them on Facebook.com/abrilliantu or Twitter: @abrilliantu or via their website: www.abrilliantu.com

Making positive changes in our lives to heal minds, bodies and souls.ACUTE CARE SOOTHE Specialreverse-lightening-regimen

TheMetabolismPlanBookBanner

INT’L BEST-SELLING AUTHOR TO PROMOTE NEW HEALTHY LIFESTYLE BOOK IN TORONTO FEB. 6 & 7

I was recently contacted by Lyn-Genet Recitas, holistic health expert and author of the New York Times Bestseller, The Plan, who told me she will be visiting Toronto Feb 4 – 7, 2017, to promote her exciting new book  THE METABOLISM PLAN: Discover the Foods and Exercises that Work for Your Body to Reduce Inflammation and Drop Pounds Fast.  Torontonians will be able to see her live on Citytv’s Breakfast TV and  CTV’s The Social on Monday Feb 6, then on Global’s Morning Show the following day with more appearances being added.thLyn-Genet’s latest soon-to-be best seller, THE METABOLISM PLAN takes The Plan to a new level with a revolutionary 30-day diet that’s customized to boost one’s metabolism to burn fat, reduce inflammation, increase weight loss and energy. THE METABOLISM PLAN includes new recipes and an exciting new exercise plan that teaches readers why it’s best to workout smarter, not harder. In fact, readers can get in optimal shape in as little as 12 minutes, 3 times a week! THE METABOLISM PLAN addresses many hidden issues that can sabotage one’s metabolism and inhibit weight loss.image003About the Author:  Lyn-Genet Recitas is the New York Times and international bestselling author of The Plan and The Plan Cookbook, which offers an effective way to lose weight, improve health and reverse the aging process. A sports and holistic nutritionist, Recitas has helped hundreds of thousands of men and women reach their best health by finding their chemical responses to food, not counting calories. Recitas has been featured on The Dr. Oz Show (see below), Fox & Friends, and Fox News, and in Women’s RunningFitness, and More magazines, among others.th (3)

www.lyngenet.com
www.facebook.com/TheLynGenetPlan
@lyngenet on Twitter
@lyngenetplan on Instagram

If you are an online influencer/blogger in the food, weight mgmn’t, anti-aging or health & wellness sectors, I would be happy arrange an interview with Lyn-Genet or fwd a review copy of her book, so please contact me a.s.a.p.  If you want to make a healthy (and simple) change to your lifestyle & eating habits, watch for Lyn-Genet on your favourite morning tv shows.th (2)

nationalwomenshow-logo

COME WALK THE AISLES OF TORONTO’S NATIONAL WOMEN’S SHOW WITH ME….

Thanks to KJ Mullins, publisher of the web-based NEWZ4U.ca news portal, I was granted a media pass to explore the National Women’s Show today and wow, what a blast I had!  Arriving just before the doors were open to the public, I was able to get a running start (I soon slowed to a plod as I got weighed down by samples and freebies) on the thousands of “civilian” attendees so sit back, relax, grab a cuppa joe and enjoy this virtual tour.

My first stop was the charming HRH Custom Creations booth where I met Amy and say her beautifully made metal signs and butterflies. www.hrhcustomcreations.com20161104_105702(0)Then next up I was drawn into the Sweets Canada booth where Sam Dhutia and his pretty assistant let me sample some of their flower-infused artisan chocolate. Sam gave me a box of Q’bites with milk chocolate and black licorice and a deelish bar of Dark Chocolate/Cranberry with Lavender petals to bring home and I just had my first bite….OMG – yummm. Check out their range of edible flower & chocolate treats here: www.sweetscanada.com 20161104_110107 20161104_110111 20161104_110116I love the Happy Bees Honey man (below) who was so pleased to sample his yummy treats. I caved in a bought a jar – I’ll probably christen it tomorrow on my breakfast toast. Based in Welland, Ontario, his busy winged workers feast on wildflowers so their products are naturally sweet and oh so good for you.  www.happybeesapiary.ca20161104_111008 20161104_111202Across the aisle, I found products courtesy of African “killer bees”! Yikes….the lip balm was actually quite lovely and they also offered great little stocking stuffers such as beeswax candles and mini honey jars (see below) www.africanbronzehoney.com20161104_111549 20161104_111607I was intrigued by the Enright Cattle Co. booth (below) showcasing their fashionably rugged leather bags, totes and purses. The cattle farm based in Tweed uses the hides from their beef beasties and, as a meat-eater, I was all in favour of this company’s “use every part” philosophy.  www.enrightcattlecompany.com20161104_112235 20161104_112253I then met entrepreneur Eriver Muwanguzi who is introducing African jewellery and fashion designers to Toronto through his company, Tofara  www.tofara.com  He showed me unique handcrafted pieces from various countries and I was blown away by these statement pieces (below).20161104_112628 20161104_112637 20161104_112700I had some fun schmoozing with the “ladies in blue” – officers from the Peel Region Police Recruiting dept. Yes, I was tempted to sign on but I hardly think they’d want this grumpy old broad patrolling their precinct…LOL20161104_112826CwbcafRWgAAAJYRHave you ever visited the Ste. Anne’s Spa and Bakery? Just a short train ride or drive from Toronto, you can experience relaxation in the country with spa treatments, skin products and now a healthy gluten-free bakery. And if these jovial staff (below) are any indication, it’s a very happy place to visit.  www.steannes.com20161104_113713 20161104_11372120161104_113757Nice to see Veronica of www.iloveisola.com jewelry at the show – her handcrafted bracelets and necklaces use semi-precious stones and each has an energy or healing component.20161104_113836(0)Unikati & Co. offers handcrafted toys, bags, jewellery and all sorts of lovely things, all made by people in areas of conflict, war survivors, rural families, hunger project workers…every piece has a story to tell from around the world. www.unikati.ca20161104_114010 20161104_114023 20161104_114125The lovely ladies of Lazizza explained their ultimate shapewear collection (move over, Spanx, these Canuck girls have got you beat!) to me and I may be calling on them soon so I can look fab during all the Christmas celebrations. Check them out yourself: www.lazizzashapewear.com 20161104_115212 20161104_115201 20161104_115408Invocation (below) is a First Nations aromatherapy company offering home fragrance and perfumes made from natural organic or wildcrafted ingredients. The range of fragrances enhance your mood, increase energy or can relax and soothe.  www.invocation.ca 20161104_12224720161104_122241 20161104_122255Here are a few random shots taken around the showroom….20161104_123243 20161104_111832 20161104_113304Here’s something a little different but oh so comfortable, esp. if you’re built like moi! The Breast Rest garment replaces your typical underwire bra (ouch!) and makes hangin’ round the house really comfortable. The cotton lycra Comfort Support System is fully customizable to your body shape and is designed as a solution to the discomforts of the traditional bra. It has pillow-like support and revolutionary design which provides the comfort and support for which you have been yearning.  www.thebreastrest.com20161104_123731 20161104_123734 20161104_123744

As soon as I saw the word “Australia” I knew I had to stop and find out more about the Rodan + Fields Anti-Aging products (below). I spoke with John and Bill (OMG, their faces were as smooth as a baby’s bum) and they kindly gave me a “personal pamper pack” filled with all sorts of potions, lotions, unctions and serums to try at home. The products are beautifully packaged and promise clinically proven skincare and anti-aging results. They are introducing the line to Australia next year so I’m emailing friends and family back home to watch out for it. Check out John and Bill’s website for details: www.holygrailforskin.com20161104_125905 20161104_125911 20161104_125919Now here’s something different – the Divorce Angels is a resource network for those going through the divorce process. Having had several friends go through the trauma of separating their families over the past 20yrs, I know how much they would have appreciated this support. www.thedivorceangels.com  Pictured below left, Marni Sky is co-founder and she also featured a lovely collection of handcrafted empowerment bracelets created by a member of this unique support group.

20161104_131759 20161104_131810As I was leaving, exhausted and hungry (I couldn’t even get near the food sampling booths due to huge crowds), I made one last stop at the Children of Hope Uganda booth. I so wanted the stunning purple and orange handwoven basket pictured below, but I settled for 2 cute pink bead elephant keychains and a pair of handmade bead earrings in the same colour as the basket. www.childrenofhopeuganda.org/shop20161104_132556(0) 20161104_132523 20161104_132534I hope you enjoyed this brief overview of the National Women’s Show – and what a wonderful show it is this year. I spent over 3hrs there and still had more stuff to see, hear, watch. The show runs until Sunday night so hopefully you’ll consider a visit yourself over the weekend.  Located in the South bldg of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, here’s the link to information and tickets: http://www.nationalwomenshow.com/en/toronto/visitor/20161104_124047

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GRAZING MY WAY THRU LAST NIGHT’S 21ST ANNUAL “EAT TO THE BEAT” FUNDRAISER

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending the 21st annual Eat to the Beat fundraiser, presented by KitchenAid®, for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) which featured 60 female chefs supporting people living with breast cancer.  Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall became the mecca for urban foodies to experience the best Ontario’s culinary scene has to offer.20161101_192052 20161101_192441 20161101_192621 20161101_193335Eat to the Beat guests have the opportunity to enjoy specially prepared savoury and sweet dishes at 60 stations, along with wine, beer and a selection of non alcoholic beverages set up around Roy Thomson Hall’s outer lobby. “We are so grateful to our participating chefs, sponsors and supporters who have helped to make Eat to the Beat Toronto’s must-attend culinary event and fundraiser over the years,” says Cathy Park, co-chair, Eat to the Beat20161101_193704 20161101_193439 20161101_192116Started 21 years ago by sisters Lisa and Abby Slater, Eat to the Beat has raised more than $3.9 million since its inception. Funds raised at Eat to the Beat will support the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation – dedicated to funding relevant and innovative research, supporting and advocating for the breast cancer community, and providing credible, unbiased information to help empower those affected by breast cancer or at increased genetic risk of developing the disease.

“Just like Lisa and Abby, we’re inspired by the strength of breast cancer survivors and those who are affected by this disease,” says Karen Malone, VP, Research & Programs, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, “Thanks to fundraising events like Eat to the Beat, we can continue to offer emotional support and information to anyone affected by breast cancer.”20161101_194217I ran into a number of friends there, including the lovely ladies from Succulent Chocolates (yummmmm), pictured below…20161101_191956…and lots of other talented bakers, chefs and chocolatiers…..20161101_195939 20161101_19211120161101_195643There was also a number of wineries sampling their products and the fellas from Still Waters Distillery offering shots of their new Stalk & Barrel Canadian whisky (just launched in LCBO stores) – pictured below. Mmmmmm, very nice and smooth.20161101_195441 20161101_195453On behalf of all us hungry foodies attending last night, thank you to all the participating chefs and congrats to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) for another successful soiree. For more information, visit www.cbcf.org

Big thank you to my dear PR colleague, Peter Ashworth (with me below) of Ashworth Associates Inc. for granting my media accreditation – my tummy really thanks you….burp!20161101_202703_001

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NATURAL LIVING WELLNESS CENTRE OPENS IN TORONTO with special appearance by GRAMMY-NOMINATED FLUTIST/COMPOSER RON KORB

I had the opportunity to attend the opening of the NATURAL LIVING WELLNESS CENTRE, Toronto’s newest pain management and natural wellness centre located at 200 Spadina Ave (between Queen W & Dundas W Streets). The Centre’s principal owner KEVIN HALL (pictured below L with massage therapist Andrew Foster RMT, ART, CST) invited his good friend and international award-winning recording artist RON KORB to come play for the guests so the flutist/composer obliged with excerpts from his brilliant Grammy-nominated album Asia Beauty.20160607_20085520160607_194526The Centre focuses on education as much as treatment, and aims to empower clients/patients with access to research, publications and seminars, and partners with allied organizations, doctors and other pain clinics across the country.  The beautifully appointed, loft-style offices offer 2,300 sq. feet of space dedicated to treatments, classes and consultation rooms, along with a well-stocked boutique carrying a wide variety of products for mind, body and spirit.20160607_191807 20160607_192037 20160607_192057But no smiling buddhas or incense sticks here – you’ll see clean urban design featuring exposed brick, dark wood floors, stylish lighting, elegant wall tiling and state-of-the-art equipment and fixtures. Services provided include: Chiropractic, RMT & Occupational therapy, music & art therapy, chronic pain support, cannabis education, hypnotherapy, integrative wellness services and products, group classes (yoga, nutrition, mindfulness) and guest speakers, plus a full teaching kitchen for those (like me!) who need a good kickstart to preparing & eating healthy food choices. Below, Kevin introduces everyone to the Centre and Ron’s performance….20160607_194223

….then I managed to wrangle Kevin’s very busy colleagues Lauri-Anne and Jessica (below L to R) into posing for a quick pic with Ron in between topping up the catering platters and greeting guests!20160607_192200Thank you to Ron for his invitation, and a big thanks to Kevin, Lauri-Anne and Jessica for your warm hospitality – I look forward to sharing your story as you grow the business. www.natural-livingcentre.com20160607_201219(0)