Category Archives: Health

All the Good that You Can

Do you remember the expression that you should learn something new every day?

It is extremely relevant when it comes to understanding our environment and our health. The two are directly linked to one another. Over the past little while we have come to know that many of the things that we have been doing for decades could and have compromised the well being of our planet and our population.

Learning Everyday     We have learned about Microwave ovens and their negative effects, plastics and the chemicals used in producing them, and  Bisphenol A has been in the news for years. There is still more information to come, but with that knowledge comes power. We cannot turn back the hands of time, and undo what has been done, but we can definitely be aware about what might be impacting our well being. With this knowledge comes a great opportunity, an opportunity to act on what we now know.

As a society it is our responsibility to do something with the knowledge that we gain. What can one person do? The answer is to take action, not political action, even better! We can use our buying power to send a message. Every dollar we spend is a vote. If we as a population increase the demand for sustainable and post consumer recycled goods, we are clearly stating that this is what we want. Canada has a great passion for the environment, which translates into good news for us, because as an ecologically minded population our children and our grandchildren will benefit from our forethought, and the preservation of this great nation on this great Earth.

I am reminded of this by John Wesley when I think about taking of our environment,

“Do all the good you can,Learning Everyday
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.”

John Wesley

To Ban or Not to Ban, that is the Question…

To Ban or Not to Ban, that is the Question….

Chocolate Bar Fundraising; Been There, Done That, Had to Buy A Bigger Shirt….

I love chocolate, good chocolate, real chocolate….. SOMETIMES, ok, well maybe more than sometimes, but that’s another blog.

chocolateAt home, we don’t generally purchase chocolate by the case, and we definitely don’t love middle-of-the-road chocolate enough to pawn it off to friend or acquaintance just to save a few bucks on a school field trip.

Here at home, like all homes; all we want is what is best for our family. We work hard to ensure our daughter eats well, and that we remain authentic to our core values.

Sure we use chocolate to make Smores when camping, and we indulge occasionally  in an occasional chocolatey fix, but we endeavor to remain true to what is important and that is our health and our future.

I am truly against chocolate bar sales as a standard in fundraising. I have been averse to it ever since I needed to peddle my first box of chocolate bridge mix door to door in 1975. Yuck!

I wasn’t intending for this to be a preachy blog; but as I re-read it, it seems to have taken on that slant. My apologies. When first conceptualized, it was meant to be funny and an exploration in the value of chocolate bar fundraising. I am not really sure there is a value in it. Seriously; besides the easy money, not really any value. I know I am not alone in my aversion to this funding strategy. I myself have become the proud owner and consumer of several cardboard box fulls of mediocre chocolate covered something. Yes I had to purchase them and inevitably consume them. Hence the title needing to buy a bigger shirt 😉

This is what we accomplish with this fundraising practice:

  • Pay inflated prices for some pretty poor quality chocolate
  • We enable colleagues and friends to indulge in the same chocolate, even though most of them are trying to avoid it
  • Sometimes we succeed in guilting people into supporting the cause for which we are raising funds, that by the way makes us really popular
  • We contradict the teachings of healthful eating that we teach our kids which is also part of our school curriculum
  • We indirectly support child labour and exploitation, (and possibly even slavery and smuggling)
  • We show our kids that quick and easy is the way to go, when really we want to tech them that things that are worth having are really worth working for
  • We negatively impact our health, since we all know that too much sugar and a dependency on junk food can lead health issues, cavities and obesity.

Seriously when was the last time your heard someone at the office say, “OH YEAH…. here comes Sally with the overpriced crappy chocolate, boy I can’t wait to pay $5  for some empty calories!” 

Not A Bigger T ShirtIsn’t it time that our fundraising practices actually mesh with our core values? Doesn’t it make sense that our children and youth reinforce what they learn through their activities?

At eCause Canada, we really believe that fundraising should not only be a way to support a cause, but to support the families health and the health of our planet as well as  reinforce the things that we are already teaching our children.

Fundraising needs to be win/win/win. In fact, if everything we did was to benefit health,of people and planet, we’d live in a much better world! And for that, I would most definitely buy the shirt!

To learn more about how your next fundraising program can be profitable, green and healthy, please email info@eCause.ca for information or complete the contact form right here in the blog.

Wishing you and yours good health and happiness along with an abundance of time to enjoy them!

Why Is There Microban on Our Kids School Supplies Repost from 2010

School ScissorsI am new to this blogging thing even though I have loved writing for more than 35 years so forgive me in advance for this moderate rant. I was school supply shopping today and I had a VERY difficult time getting scissors that weren’t treated with the anti-bacterial Microban. What? Are the kids in elementary school doing; surgeries instead of arts and crafts? When did the curriculum change. Aren`t the scissors going to be covered with glue and markers like the ones from the past three years? Why would the scissors need to be protected from algae or the “bacteria causing stains, odors and product deterioration”,(quoting from the Microban website.) What is in Microban? Apparently it is proprietary technologies, so we don’t know, the Environmental Protection Agency has classed Triclosan as a probable carcinogen. Isn’t Microban from the same family? Why would I want it on my kids hands?, the answer, I wouldn’t, germs and bacteria are necessary in our lives, they are what make us stronger and healthier, please share this information with friends and those you love, try not to buy into the “FEAR” that is being dished out. Teach your children the importance of good hygiene, and the need for us to live in harmony with all of the earth’s made micro organisms.

Keeping You and Me on Our Toes

     A colleague in the industry said to me recently, where are the brakes on this thing??? Life is busy, and fast, and stressful, and all too often we don’t take the time to take care of ourselves. Wherever you are going in your life, your feet are likely taking you there. They connect and ground you to the earth. With feet firmly planted, and your weight evenly distributed you are balanced, yet you can sense something as miniscule as a grain of sand and be thrown off kilter.
Most of us spend our time in our heads; thinking, planning, and analyzing, and as a result we often miss the messages that are either right before us or coming from within. We answer questions with “I think that….” rather than “I feel that… ” We are not always in touch with our true selves. In some cases even our feelings are skewed because of various influences in our lives.
Foot Reflexology is an incredible way to tune back in. Thousands of nerves pass through our feet; they are messengers that transmit information to and from our brains.
Through use, abuse and inadequate treatment of our systems, as well as the sheer force gravity these messengers can get congested or blocked. Reflexology pioneer Eunice Ingham concluded in the 1930s that these reflexes were an exact mirror image of the organs of the body, and as such blockages interfere with regular function. The massage and pressure point techniques used during a reflexology treatment can help to clear these reflexes of their congestion and stagnation and encourage Homeostasis.

Profound relaxation, detoxification, improved circulation, and healing can be among the included benefits. Bringing both attention and intention to areas in need is powerful. One of the best ways to get centered and balanced is to focus on our feet; we can only truly be balanced when we are able to connect without interference to the earth.

The roots of my wellness knowledge grew initially with my training while studying to become a Reflexologist. From there the profound love I feel for people and planet grew the company called eCause. In my clinic I have the great pleasure to work with people one on one to get to the soul of the matter, with eCause I have the chance to support families, schools and entire communities with information, superior products and financial support through fundraising.

My job  is complementing your health, Why? eCause I care!

Happy World Reflexology Week! We are celebrating with our most requested promotion at an even greater discount than before; Buy 4 treatments and receive a 5th for FREE. Visa & M/C accepted. Actual treatment cost $48.00 each. 514-998-3863 to book today.

Safe in the Summer

Here we are. Summer is around the corner. Winter sweaters have made their way into the back of the closet storage and the shorts, tank tops, and bathing suits are re-inhabiting the dresser drawers as you are starting to think about protection from our glorious sun.

Without a doubt the love for your children and your desire to keep them from harm’s way has you insisting on a few seasonal things; proper sunscreen coverage, proper hydration, a hat for their heads, and sunglasses to protect their eyes from harmful UV rays.

Perfect, all the essential bases are covered! Or are they? In theory this plan of action is ideal, keep the kids protected from the harsh components of the elements and you are good to go. Unfortunately it is not that simple.

Google it, and you’ll find hundreds of articles on the dangers of most conventional sunscreens. Add that to the fact that there are not yet government regulations on most body care products and you have a recipe for false claims and questionable and unsafe ingredients in a HUGE majority of the sunscreens on the market. Many traditional sun blocks actually contain known cancer causing ingredients. This is a big concern when your intention is to PROTECT your children.

What is a loving parent to do? You’ll be glad to know that safe sunscreens do exist! Even some made right here in Canada, some are government certified and some are even eco certified. This is incredible news for those wanting to do the best for the health of their family. There is a great website with a database with invaluable information on thousands of body care products; it is called Skindeep and I highly recommend looking into the safety information on your sunscreens and any of the body care products you might use before slathering them on.

Proper hydration – this one is pretty much a no brainer, we play, we sweat, we need to hydrate. But HOW we hydrate, for reasons of our well being, is just as important as actually hydrating itself.  For health reasons as well as HUGE environmental reasons, make a personal promise to yourself right now – never use a plastic water bottle again! It doesn’t matter whether you recycle or not, they are toxic, toxic to you, toxic to our planet. For starters they are made from petroleum, and the multitude of chemicals in their composition makes its way into the water you drink and once there they are they known to negatively affect and wreak havoc on our endocrine systems. INVEST in the best, invest in yourself,  get a top quality water bottle preferably in an 18/8 stainless steel, (it should cost in the neighborhood of between about $18 and $25 dollars) and it should last you FOREVER. I have been using mine for 6 years! I have saved Thousands of dollars as a result, not to mention I personally have kept more than 12000 plastic bottles out of landfills, (I used to go through about 6 bottles a day).

Protective eye wear that filters out Ultra Violet Rays, (including the more dangerous UVB rays) are essential.  Even in overcast skies they can protect you and your kids from cataracts, as well as short-term eye damage including snow-blindness in the winter months.

Topping it off, a proper sunhat serves two major purposes; 1 – it is meant to shade you or prevent you from being in direct sunlight, and 2 – and this is actually even more important, it is mean to allow you to expel heat, so the traditional baseball cap is not the greatest of ideas, they tend to hold the heat in, which can lead to overheating, so a straw hat (while not the most fashionable choice) is really a better idea.

You love your kids and every year you tackle the same summer safety concerns. This year take a few extra minutes to look at the bigger and more long term picture. The small changes you make today to support the health of your kids and our planet may cost you a few dollars more initially but the payoff or ROI (return on investment is HUGE) in peace of mind and a healthful future for your family.

I’m Thinking Win/Win is a Better Way to Go!

HERE’S something funny to think about;

ParticipACTION

Coca Cola (yes the makers of the beverage that can not only dissolve your car engine, but that can possibly be attributed to the increase of obesity, diabetes, and the overall un wellness of the human race) sponsors PARTICPACTION in Canada. (That’s the organization that encourages physical fitness through activity in Canada)

Ummmmm here’s a question; do they hand out coke bottles or plastic water bottles after the end of the physical activities? Coca Cola is also well known to own many of the bottled water brands, (which most likely are filled with tap water.)

And does it really matter since contributing to the demise of the planet and the environment will inevitably lead to the demise of the human race anyway.

I’m thinking we CAN be active and support the health of people and planet at the same time!

Win/Win/Win – tap water, no sugar, physical activity! Using a TOP quality stainless steel bottles like a Klean Kanteens , now that’s a winning combination. eCause Canada is thrilled to support schools, teams, corporations and  charities with winning healthy fundraising opportunities!

Call from anywhere in Canada 1-877-638-1678

Beautiful Brown Bin

Recycling paper and plastic is pretty much the norm now. Almost everyone has blue box that weekly makes its way to the end of the driveway. Did you know though,  that the organic material finding its way from kitchen counters to landfills accounts for almost 50% of all waste collected and contributes up to 3% of Canada’s green house gas emissions? By organic material, I mean the stuff that nature gave us in the first place; the carrot and potato peelings, the melon shells and the wilted lettuce from the fridge as well as other table scraps including even meats and breads. These are all examples of household waste that can be converted to organic fertilizer.

Composting is a simple and beneficial way to support multiple levels of our eco system.  It improves air quality, helps to grow more nutrient rich fruits and vegetables, and reduces potential ground water contamination.  The Borough of Cote St Luc has taken the lead on composting in the greater Montreal area and Big Hanna from Sweden, the largest commercial composter in Canada, belongs to McGill University and is located on its downtown campus. McGill’s Gorilla Composting organization has been working for years becoming a Canadian leader in composting.

In Montreal $215 million dollars over five years is being been slated to build 4 organic waste treatment plants in the Montreal region to process residential organic waste that will be collected weekly.  The goal is to convert what’s collected into compost and biofuel. This will make it easy for city dwellers to give back to Mother Nature as communes and Kibbutzim in Israel have been doing for years.

Today my brown bin was delivered here in Dollard Des Ormeaux. It looks quite similar to the one pictured here on the left. This now means that besides all of the fruit and veggie peelings, egg shells and coffee grounds that we already put into our own composter, we’ll now have a place to scrape dinner leftovers that might include salad dressing, olive oil , or even cheese or meat. This is good news for us all, the less “rotting” food that ends up in our landfills, the better our overall air quality and ground water. The better the air quality, the less respiratory issues. Really health of people and planet are interdependent.

If your municipality does not yet have the facility to collect organic waste from you, why not start composting at home? Here’s some information that can get you started.

Composting is a natural and biological breakdown of organic material by micro-organisms, fungi and bacteria, and for the biological breakdown to occur the proper environment needs to be created. Where do we begin in our humble homes? – First, getting or building a composter, and having smaller receptacle like a stainless steel bucket with lid for your kitchen scraps is the beginning. (Most boroughs offer composters for purchase at a discounted price.) Both “green” and brown” materials need to be alternately fed to your composter. The GREENS are your nitrogen rich materials like fruit and vegetable scraps and peelings, coffee grounds and tea bags, and crushed egg shells and the BROWNS are the carbon rich materials such as dry leaves, bread, pasta and rice as well as well shredded paper and paper towels.  Simply put, the “greens” is usually the wet stuff from your kitchen and the browns are usually dry. Small changes to your household waste management habits and personal composting is a painless and invaluable contribution you can make towards improving the health of the environment, and yourselves.

Remember not all organic waste from your home can can be used in your home composter, the meats and grease type waste needs to be disposed of rather than composted and the way you layer its contents and care for them is important, and there are some great websites with step by step instructions like the one from London, Ontario http://www.london.ca/d.aspx?s=/Recycling_and_Composting/Compost_at_home.htm, and the Compost Montreal also has graphical downloadable document that demonstrates what is ok and not ok to compost found here: http://www.compostmontreal.com/compostables.

While any new task or change takes a while to become habit, this one is simple and makes sense, and definitely reduces the amount of true waste that needs to be carted off to the landfills. You know what they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, in this case all our trash once converted to quality compost is a treasure for us all.

The World is Thirsty Because We Are Hungry!

Girl Guides of Canada are taking action for a better world! So glad to have been their guest blogger on World Water Day! Girl Greatness starts here!

GirlGuidesCANBlog

“The World is Thirsty Because We Are Hungry!”

That’s a mouthful! Or maybe it isn’t. What does it mean? What does it have to do with today? Well, March 22 is World Water Day. Water is the most precious resource we have on Earth, it is essential to our survival, and we are essential to its well-being and its very existence.

I’ll save you hours of Google research and break down this year’s World Water Day campaign issues and goals into a few simple and bite-sized pieces. (Yes I am using food related puns here to keep you on your toes.) I’ll then empower you with knowledge and tips which you can easily feed into your life moving forward.  You can even help to change the world. You know like icing on a cake! How’s that for a four-course meal?

First take a moment to read the menu below that…

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Girl Guides and Breast Cancer (Cross Post)

Originally written for Girl Guides of Canada and published on January 25th, 2012

Girl Guides and Breast Cancer on National Wear It Pink Day

National Wear it pink day banner 2012National Wear it pink day banner 2012

For several years I walked in the Weekend to End Breast Cancer in Montreal. As a result, I was au courant with the research and of course the desperate need to find a cure. I saw stories of hope but also, on the flip side, I noticed that the incidence of breast cancer was on the rise.

I walked beside survivors, I held the hands of those undergoing treatment, and I also watched Evy, my dad’s partner, fight valiantly and lose her battle with the disease. The harsh reality is that 1 in 8 women will develop some form or breast cancer.

My daughter’s last Girl Guide Unit had 43 girls and four Guiders. According to statistics, six or more of them will get breast cancer. That is not okay with me – how about you? Are you a Guider, a Girl Guide or a parent? Are you okay with that number?

What can we do about it?

Well for starters today, as a sign of our awareness and our commitment we can Wear It Pink today, for starters, and only as a symbol, and then the actual work begins…..

Is there really a CURE for cancer? I personally don’t think so, and although much-needed research dollars make it to projects and programs developing better medications and supporting those undergoing treatment through pink ribbon campaigns, I don’t think the solution lies in buying more bread, batteries or gasoline with a pink ribbon on it. In fact, sad but true some products being sold with pretty pink ribbons on them are known to contain carcinogens.

NO. The real answer, the ONLY answer that empowers us is in prevention!

As Girl Guides “we take action for a better world!” PREVENTION, through education and action is our essential next step!

HELLO LADIES: Newsflash! Our breasts are next to our armpits, well for some of us maybe a little lower but that is not the point here.  This is not rocket science, nor am I a doctor, but why in the world should we, would we, put toxic, or known cancer causing chemicals next to our breasts?

You know in our arm pits?
Where we sweat (or rather, glow) to release toxins,
You know through our pores,
Those holes in our skin where stuff can go in and also come out,
Why would we put poison there?

But how do you know what’s safe?  That is a little tricky. Unfortunately, there are no standard regulations in place yet to protect us in this area. What we really need is legislation for safer cosmetics, better environmental regulations and we need to know the truth about what’s really inside our products.

There are amazing organizations advocating for our well-being. I am happy to share some of their great work with you here.

  • The Story of Cosmetics can save lives, watch this video as an investment in your health and share it with those you love. Guiders, depending on the age of your girls some info can be shared in your units, if not with your girls, their parents. This has a lot of great information.
  • Another phenomenal organization and one of the most successful in environmental advocacy in Canada is Environmental Defence. They work diligently to make a positive impact here in both environment issues and health issues in our country. Their new campaign, Just Beautiful, is all about how safe, or rather how unsafe, our cosmetics are. Their mission is “to challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.”  That sounds an awful lot like the Girl Guides’ mission.
  • A Quebec organization on a similar mission is Breast Cancer Action Montreal, and one of their projects to share important information is through Femme Toxic here is a link to the top 20 toxic ingredients we need to avoid. Breast Cancer Action Montreal can even do presentations and informative workshops on making healthier choices that can assist in cancer prevention.
  • Skin Deep through the Environmental Working Group does tons of research and provides you with data and safety information on hundreds of the most popular brands of skin care products. Look up your brand to get an idea of its safety.

National Wear It Pink Day is a day to raise your awareness, and START informing yourself on what is next. Cancer doesn’t look at the calendar to decide when is the best time to move in, EVERYDAY is a day for us to learn and act in our own best interests, commit yourself to learning something about cancer prevention today, and take action on prevention!

This post was written as the Guest blogger for Girl Guides of Canada

Other posts written for Girl Guides of Canada were: Green Camping and Green of Red, Orange, Yellow and Gold Leaves posts on GirlGuidesCANblog.