Between everyday obligations and commitments, it can be difficult for anyone to focus on the positive. But the pressures of the holidays mean that for a lot of families in need, day-to-day reality becomes unmanageable during this time of year. Canadian charities do spectacular work for communities struggling both here and across the globe. Here […]
Between everyday obligations and commitments, it can be difficult for anyone to focus on the positive. But the pressures of the holidays mean that for a lot of families in need, day-to-day reality becomes unmanageable during this time of year.
Canadian charities do spectacular work for communities struggling both here and across the globe. Here are the ways three top Canadian charities are revolutionizing giving back this holiday season:
1. The Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF) – Working with community-level organizations, this foundation provides care and treatment for HIV/AIDS.
How to help: Instead of expensive jewelry or extravagant household items, treat your loved ones to a gorgeous SLF printed or digital card and a donation in their name. Your contribution fights back against a pandemic that has ruined too many lives.
2. The Air Canada Foundation – Families in remote areas are often unable to obtain specialized medical care, so the Air Canada Foundation provides free transportation to hospitals and charitable organizations.
How to help: Donate your Aeroplan miles to children in need during the month of December and Aeroplan will match them to a maximum of 500,000 miles. For details, go to www.aeroplan.com/donate.
3. Veterinarians Without Borders (VWB) – This groundbreaking charity ensures the well-being of animals around the world. VWB’s work includes animal health care, delivering vaccinations, helping to form co-ops, and training women, children and families in food production, nutrition, husbandry and disease control.
How to help: If you’re looking for an effortless shopping experience, consider a VWB eGift. You can send the eGifts to multiple recipients and customize each greeting card.
Donating to charity is a creative, elegant gift for everyone on your list. For a unique way to brighten up the holiday season, consider donating your miles to any of these charities through Aeroplan’s Beyond Miles program.
“Beyond Miles enables members to donate their miles to 10 charitable partner organizations dedicated to improving lives and enriching communities at home and around the world,” says Alden Hadwen at Aeroplan. To donate your miles, go to www.aeroplan.com/donate.
In Canada, you have the right to open a personal bank account at a federally regulated financial institution, even if you don’t have any money to put in it. You have the right to a low-cost or, in some cases, a no-fee account. All you need is acceptable identification.
If you deposit a cheque issued from an account at a bank branch in Canada, you can take the first $100 in cash immediately, subject to some limitations. You also have the right to cash a Government of Canada cheque for free at any bank branch in Canada, even if it isn’t your branch.
Ask your financial institution about your account’s terms, fees and the number of transactions allowed per month. You can find out more about your banking rights and responsibilities, plus what to do if you believe your rights are not being respected, online at itpaystoknow.gc.ca.
Alex is a 54-year old electrician. Five years ago his doctor told him he had high cholesterol. Despite initial efforts to get his health back on track through diet and exercise, Alex’s doctor eventually prescribed him a brand-name medicine that aimed to lower the bad cholesterol and raise the good cholesterol in his blood.
Like many other Canadians, Alex also takes a few other prescription medicines for some common chronic ailments including high blood pressure and migraines. Alex has taken the same brand name drugs that he’s become familiar with for years and they seem to work well for him.
Alex knows that sometimes when a generic version of a brand name medicine becomes available, it is not uncommon for some patients to be switched to the cheaper, generic alternative.
“I have a long history taking certain prescription medications and I’m happy with how they work for me,” says Alex. “I don’t want to be switching to something new or taking a generic drug at this point. I say, “if it isn’t broke why fix it?”
Many Canadians are often switched to cheaper generic alternatives in an effort to save money. Now the patient choice drug card called RxHelp ONE™ allows customers 34 different brand name prescription medicines at little or no additional cost versus the generic alternative.
Like Alex, fellow Canadians simply need to visit www.RxHelpONE.com to print their own free RxHelp ONE™ card or download the card to their smartphone. The RxHelp ONE™ card is free, convenient and easy to use. For a complete listing that is regularly updated with participating brand name medicines, visit www.RxHelpONE.com
RxHelp ONE™ is available to all Canadians from coast to coast, including those with no drug plan, with private insurance, and/or with public drug coverage. Cards are free of charge; there are no hidden fees, no monthly charges and patient privacy is protected.
“If you’re like me, and you want to continue being treated with the brand you trust, get yourself an RxHelp ONE™ card and tell your pharmacist you’re choosing to stay on the brand name drug you’ve been using all along,” advises Alex.
Visit www.RxHelpONE.com for more information.
One- or two-bite desserts are hot, even when they’re cool. In this recipe from President’s Choice, for example, instead of the usual graham crumbs for the crust, try using chocolate sandwich cookies filled with vanilla crème.
Caramel Greek Yogurt Cheesecake Bites
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Chill time: 4 hours 20 minutes
8 PC® “Eat the Middle First” Cookies
1 tbsp (15 ml) all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp (7 ml) granulated sugar
1 tub (250 g) PC Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese- Caramel
24 Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
24 toasted pecan halves
Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C). Line a 24 mini-muffin cup pan with foil liners.
In mini food processor, process cookies to fine crumbs. Place 1 tsp (5 ml) crumbs into each muffin cup. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, gently press crumbs together into bottom of cup. Bake in the centre of oven for 5 minutes. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, stir together flour and sugar. In a bowl and using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and flour mixture until smooth. Beat in egg. Spoon 1 tbsp (15 ml) of mixture into each muffin cup. Bake in the centre of the oven for 8 to 10 minutes or just until cream cheese looks set. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Place one chocolate chip flat side up in centre of each cheesecake bite; immediately top with a pecan. Chocolate chip will melt. Cool to room temperature on rack, about 2 hours.
Transfer to an airtight container; refrigerate until firm and cold, about 2 hours.
More recipe ideas can be found online at pc.ca.
The digestive system is best described as the body’s engine. Did you know that every day, eight different organs work together to process the essential nutrients needed for energy, growth, and rejuvenation?
Digestion is fundamental to good health, but a high proportion of Canadians – as many as 20 million, or 56% of the population – regularly suffer from digestive problems like heartburn, constipation and cramps.
According to Dr. Taz Bhatia, an integrative health expert, as well as a frequent contributor to the Dr. Oz Show, and the author of the new Random House book called The 21-Day Belly Fix, digestive discomfort should not be considered inevitable.
“Even though many people experience digestive problems on a regular basis, there is a stigma that causes us to be embarrassed by them,” she points out. “Therefore, we are often reluctant to seek treatment – and that can only complicate matters. My advice to any patient is to do your body a favour and make the basic lifestyle changes that can lead to optimal digestive health, and seek extra help when you need it.”
Dr. Taz recommends the following tips for healthy digestion:
1. Fibre, fibre, and more fibre. A balanced diet that is high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, keeps food moving through the digestive tract.
2. Drink water. Staying hydrated is also a fundamental component of good health. Drinking water throughout the day and avoiding carbonated beverages will help ensure that the digestive tract is lubricated, which facilitates the flow of food.
3. Know when to seek treatment. When the body is dehydrated, the intestines compensate by drawing water out of food. This in turn leads to constipation, a common digestive disorder that affects one in four Canadians and is best defined as infrequent or difficult bowel movements. A recent study by the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation with support from RestoraLAX, reveals that many people who suffer from constipation report a negative impact on their productivity and overall quality of life.
According to Dr. Taz, the first line of defense against occasional constipation is to help water work in the digestive system more effectively.
“After proper hydration and use of natural therapies, I often advise my patients to try an over-the-counter treatment called PEG 3350 laxatives, which can give water a boost,” she explains. “When the first signs of constipation occur, try one of these solutions before resorting to the strongest option on the pharmacy shelf.”
Working with the body’s natural functions, PEG 3350 laxatives draw water into the bowel to soften stools and increase the frequency of bowel movements. Available over the counter at pharmacies and drugstores, this type of laxative is recognized as being gentle and having relatively few side effects. They are different from stimulant laxatives, which trigger contractions of intestinal muscles and may lead to such side effects as gas, cramps and bloating.
Your health care practitioner can help with more information and other healthy digestive tips.