Category Archives: health & wellness

Tourism Prince George Visitor Guide

Guess who and her dog is on page 51 of the 2013 Tourism PG Visitor Guide? This girl! I wrote an article on how living the Northern BC lifestyle — including all the great activities that Prince George has to offer, like snowshoeing and kayaking — is beneficial to my health. The story about hiking Teapot Mountain was submitted in my role as communications officer of Northern Health, accompanying a great ad for our organization.

Tons of great stories and things do around Prince George in this year’s guide — take a look at the for a digital copy or stop by their Visitor Centre on 1st Ave to pick up a copy.

Prince George Tourism Guide

Look who’s on page 51 of the 2013 Prince George Tourism Guide!

Stroke hitting too close to home

[Editor’s note: I am the original author of this post, but it was originally posted on my work blog. I wanted to duplicate it here as well because the message is so very important.]

My husband is 32 years old, and last month, he had a stroke.

I came home late one evening to my find my husband tired and feeling sick to his stomach. After an hour of napping, he sat up and looked at me with a weird expression on his face – his left lip was pulled up slightly and his pupils were dilated. I half-jokingly asked, “What’s wrong with your face – are you having a stroke?” He was aware enough to get up and go to the mirror to see for himself, where he tugged at his lip a bit, but it stayed put. I asked him how he was feeling and he said, “Ummm…” and seemed to be wracking his brain for the right response. When he couldn’t remember what my name was, I knew we had a serious problem.

June is national Stroke Awareness Month and I wanted to share my story here in the hopes that I can encourage people to learn about the signs of stroke, as I’ve found that many people don’t understand how serious it is. Did you know the following stats?

  • Stroke is a very urgent medical emergency that affects more people than you would imagine; the Heart and Stroke Foundation reports that more than 50,000 strokes occurs in Canada every year – that’s one every 10 minutes.
  • The first three and half hours are crucial in preventing long-term damage by receiving clot-busting drugs or other medical treatment, but about two-thirds of Canadians make it to the hospital too late for that. Not surprisingly, adults under the age of 50 take the longest to call 9-1-1 due to denial, thereby risking death.
  • And, stroke is the third leading cause of death in Canada.

When I realized there was something wrong with my husband, I admit I still wasn’t sure it was actually a stroke. Strokes only happen to eighty year olds, right? Not so. My husband had no risk factors of stroke. That night, he was walking around the house normally, and even went to put on socks when I told him we were going to the hospital, and he functioned as well as he does every morning. But he was experiencing a stroke.

My husband and I are extremely lucky. I got him to the hospital fast enough to save his life, and now, only a month later, he is back to his old self… except for the extreme health kick – a positive side effect of this life-changing experience. We’ve both changed some of our unhealthy habits for the better and look forward to a long and healthy life together.

Make sure you educate yourself and your family by knowing the signs of stroke. It might just save your life one day.

Quenching my thirst

What’s your drink? Mine is wine, and oh do I love it. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve drank a few too many bottles over the last few years, but I’ll chalk it up to being in my twenties (and I only get to say that for another month and a half).

When life gives you lemons, you know what you have to do…

Due to some recent health issues in my family, my hubby and I have both cut back on the alcohol, but now there seems to be a big empty hole in those sunny Saturday afternoons which used to be filled nicely with a cold six-pack. And so, I need an alternative.

Rosemary lemonade, from the Weekly Greens blog.

I’ve started coming up with tasty mixes for flavoured water or tea. You’ve already read about my recipe for rhubarb iced tea, and I’m sitting here now, enjoying a tarty little glass of rosemary lemonade (pictured above), a recipe I found on the Weekly Greens blog.

Mint and orange green tea.

There are tons of great ways to spruce up plain old iced tea, like adding just mint and oranges, as pictured above. I added about five bags of green tea and let it steep/chill for a few hours for a great afternoon thirst quencher.

In addition to tea, flavoured waters have been a real treat. Just add your ingredients to a pitcher, top with water (I prefer tap myself, but bottled or mineral would be great too), and let sit overnight in the fridge. The longer you leave it, the more the different flavours will mix and mingle, creating a little party just for you. As pictured, I’ve tried mixing cucumber/mint/lemon and strawberry/basil/orange. Both turned out quite tasty.

Cucumber, mint and lemon water.

Strawberry, basil and orange water.

Here’s where you come in, Internet. Do you have favorite non-alcoholic bevvie recipes you’ve created or found on your online travels? Leave a comment and share if you don’t mind! Cheers to your health!

On walking around Prince George

In my quest to live a more healthy and active life, I’ve taken to walking. Yup, just walking. I’ve been walking the 2km from my house to work on occasion and walking downtown during my lunch breaks.

It really is fascinating to me how much more I’ve been noticed when I walk places I normally drive every day. In becoming more familiar with my community – where I’ve lived for fifteen years – I am finding more reasons to love it.

Things I’ve seen or noticed during my walking trips in the last couple of weeks:

  • I randomly ran into my best friend, who is a geology technologist, working on a site downtown. That was a nice surprise.
  • A old guy riding down the middle of the road, on a bike that looked homemade, yelling at the top of his lungs, “WEEEEEEEEE!”
  • People who shouldn’t be driving. This almost almost deserves its own post, but I thought I’d spare you the rant. In the last two weeks, I’ve come THISCLOSE to getting hit by a car THREE times while I’ve been walking. Once, I was crossing a side street along a main one-way road, when all of a sudden a lady crossed the main road super fast in order to do so before traffic came, and then slammed on her breaks inches from my ankles. Really? Just today, someone came speeding out an alley and I managed to stop right before my toes got run over. And then he had the audacity to glare at me like it was my fault. Oops, didn’t spare you the rant after all. Sorry, internet.
  • People who live several blocks away are starting to recognize me and will wave or say hi like we’re neighbours. That makes me smile.
  • Dogs and cats who sit on the couches and stare out the front window are just adorable.
  • You can tell a lot about a person by how their yard looks. I’ve started to make it a game and perhaps will report back here later.
  • A couple times my husband has met me with our dog as I’ve walked home, and that makes me very happy.

My intent is to make this a bit of a series and take photos along the way to document some of the interesting, oddball or special things I see while walking along my fair community.

Have some fun stories about walking around your community? Please share!

On health: Losing my “degree weight”

People these days are busy. I know I am. And busy means that certain things that should be a part of the daily routine get skipped — like taking care of your health. Health is not nearly as large a part of life as it should be, and yet, without health, we will have no life to speak of.

As I’ve mentioned, I have been so wrapped up in my master’s degree work that I haven’t noticed what has been happening to my body. The endless days of sitting — first at my desk at work all day, and then at my home desk writing papers — combined with candy snacking, toast for dinner because it’s quick and easy, and wine-fueled paper writing evenings, has really taken its toll on my fitness and, let’s just say, body shape. I’ve put on some “degree weight.” And it’s now time to get back to my pre-degree weight. When I say that, I’m not just referring to pounds (although they’re definitely there), but to fitness levels. I know I’ve lost muscle and endurance as well. Walking up several flights of stairs ain’t as easy as it used to be.

I work in marketing communications in a health care organization and so every day I am surrounded by healthy and active living messages. I can’t help but notice and take heed, right? Well now it’s time to really pay attention. Dropping the guilt and dropping the pounds.

Two great health blogs that I’ve noticed from organizations similar to mine are:

  • ParticipACTION – a new post almost every day with simple ways to work activity into your daily routine (like always taking those damn stairs!) and tips on improving your active lifestyle.
  • Healthy Families BC – features posts from a great variety of authors about activity, food and nutrition.

I highly recommend you check these out for inspiration and motivation. I’ll be right there with you!

My get fit plan for the next while will include walking to and from work when it’s not raining, running on my treadmill when it is raining and going to my yoga studio 2-3 times per week to get my stretch on. Thankfully with summer around the corner, I’ll be getting outside, doing what I love the most: enjoying the outdoors. Expect many posts to come on my hiking/kayaking/camping trips!

Remember, it’s not just about the lbs, but about your health, and it should be important to us all.

Wish me luck!