How much protein do we need?

April 7, 2014 | marietta forster-haberer | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

According to experts at the Harvard School of Public Health, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how much protein we need. One popular way of calculating how much protein a person needs is by the formula:

                         Weight in pounds x 0.8 = Average protein needs


Canada's Food Guide on the other hand, recommends protein intake by the number of servings based on age range:

Recommended Number of Food Guide Servings per Day - Meat and Alternatives
2-34-89-1314-18 Years19-50 Years51+ Years
Girls and BoysFemaleMaleFemaleMaleFemaleMale
1 1 1-2 2 3 2 3 2 3


To better understand these recommendations we need to take a look at what qualifies as proteins and what role proteins play in our well being. In a nutshell, protein is found in the following foods:

  • meats, poultry, and fish
  • legumes (dry beans and peas)
  • tofu
  • eggs
  • nuts and seeds
  • milk and milk products
  • grains, some vegetables, and some fruits (provide only small amounts of protein relative to other sources)

Proteins play an important role in our well being. They are part of every cell, tissue, and organ in our bodies. And because proteins are constantly being broken down and replaced, we need to supply our bodies with adequate protein in our foods which brings us back to the earlier question... what is an adequate amount of protein?

The average person in North America is not protein deprieved. As a matter of fact, we are likely to eat too many proteins. As spelled out before, not everyone needs the same amount of protein however. People with special protein needs include

  • pregnant and breastfeeding women
  • athletes
  • dieters
  • vegetarians and vegans
  • growing and developing children
  • the elderly
  • people recovering from illnesses


For more information on proteins and how they work, check out some of our resources in the library:

    How proteins work    Nature's robots - a history of proteins    Introduction to proteins - structure, function, and motion 

  Proteins  Proteínas en mi plato - Protein on my plate  Why we need proteins

  Proteins - for a healthy body  The protein counter  The molecules of life - DNA, RNA, and proteins


Make Time For Your Health

March 29, 2014 | Emoke | Comments (3) Facebook Twitter More...

  HealthThese days everyone, including myself, seems to have difficulty finding the time to be our healthiest selves. Being your healthiest self means different things to different people.

I do my best to try to change my eating habits and cut out the bad stuff like wheat and sugars, but being human and all, I definitely slip up from time to time. And thank goodness for cheat days! In terms of physical fitness, I try to get in an hour at the gym a day, six days a week, but once again, this takes some serious discipline for me!

I will share with you some of my personal tips on how to make more time for your health, and provide links to some of the experts' tips on doing so:

My tips:

  • above all else, you have to first educate yourself about what it means to be healthy today. Take the time to read books, online health news, etc. This is the only way that it will feel worthwhile for yourself to change your eating habits. In other words, you need to know why you are doing what you are doing. Then you are more likely to take the time to make smarter food choices.
  • decide on a schedule for yourself for how long you will work out daily and which day of the week can be your "off" day. Off days can be used for healthy eating habits and workouts as well. For myself, I find it gives me something to look forward to once a week, and pushes me through the more disciplined days.
  • talk to friends and family and see if anyone can join forces with you in working out, as this way you may be more likely to actually do it. Find someone who is a health nut too, they will have great information for you. (These were all the foundation tips. Next, the more practical tips)
  • pick a day of the week when you will go to get your healthy groceries for the week. If you stick to this, then you will have healthy items on hand to pack healthy lunches and make healthy dinners.
  • take a look at your schedule, see what elements can be cut down (such as screen time) and try to replace this with an hour of workout time. Workouts for me happen either earlier in the day or later, depending on my work schedule. It's unrealistic for me to plan to work out at exactly the same time daily, as my work schedule is not the same every day.
  • it's a good idea to write down whether you are sticking to these healthy habits or not. If not, evaluate what other activities can be reduced or eliminated from your schedule to fit them in.

Experts’ Tips:

Please have a look at books from the Toronto Public Library website on this important topic as well:

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The Pros and Cons of Being Screened for Cancer - Free Health Program at TRL

March 22, 2014 | marietta forster-haberer | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...







Please come and join us for a free program given by Professor Cornelia J Baines of the University of Toronto, Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Professor Baines will share her research and analysis about the pros and cons of being screened for cancer.


Where: Toronto Reference Library, Beeton Auditorium, Toronto

 When: Wednesday, March 26, 2014  6:30 to 8 pm

    What:  Free program. All welcome! Wheelchair accessible

                                   For more information call Answerline at 416-393-7131

Tweeting Heart Bypass Surgery

March 15, 2014 | Claudia | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

This past February, a medical team at Sunnybrook’s Schulich Heart Centre live tweeted a coronary bypass artery graft procedure for the first time in Canada. The medical team explained why they decided to involve the public via social media using the handle #SBheart. The doctors even took time out to Skype with a grade five class about the procedure. It got me thinking about the broader picture of electronic communication, social media and medicine. One Toronto-area specialist responded to my questions via email and text. The sheer convenience of this service encouraged me to rank this doctor higher on Rate My MD. Reasons abound as to why many doctors are reluctant to communicate with their patients via personal telecommunications or social media.

For those who want to see more surgical procedures, Toronto Public Library’s Academic OneFile and Health Reference Center Academic databases now feature live surgery videos and photos ranging from plastic surgery to vascular surgeries to spinal surgeries. Exciting stuff!

For the not so faint-of-heart re-live the moment when #SBheart doctors stop the patient's heart.


How to treat winter dry skin

February 22, 2014 | Emoke | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

Index.aspx Now that winter is officially ending soon, you may still be wondering how to deal with your dry winter skin issues. I was wondering that myself, so I did some reading to help us all out.

According to Mayo Clinic, some good tips on caring for your skin in general are the following:

  • protect your skin from the sun by wearing sunscreen and covering up
  • do not smoke, this causes wrinkles and takes the brightness and vibrancy out of skin
  • be gentle when handling your skin
  • eat healthy foods
  • keep stress under control and make time for activties you enjoy

MedlinePlus tips to keep in mind at home are:

  • taking less frequent, less hot showers
  • moisturizing within a few minutes of getting out of the shower
  • using moisturizers without alcohol and added chemical and fragrances
  • using a humidifier in your rooms can help dry skin as well


  • suggests to see a specialist (dermatologist)
  • simply moisturizing more often and change your summer moisturizer to a heavier "ointment" one that is oil-based
  • moisturize hands often and cover then up when going outdoors
  • moisturize feet as well with petroleum jelly or glycerine products

Have a look at what the library offers as well:

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Unlock the secrets to a healthy heart ♥♥♥

February 8, 2014 | marietta forster-haberer | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...



On this Valentine's Day, make a date with your heart and unlock the secrets to a healthy heart.  You can help prevent heart disease by making healthy choices and managing any medical conditions you may have. Check out the site of The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for more specific information but here are some quick tips:

  • Prevent and control high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
  • Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke.
  • Limit alcohol use.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Be active.
  • Eat healthy.

For more heart-healthy tips click here and remember, be good to your heart not just on Valentine's Day!

Check out also TPL's books on heart health. Many are available in print and e-format. 


     American Medical Association guide to preventing and treating heart disease - essential information you and your family need to know about having a healthy heart      The healthy heart book     The everything guide to preventing heart disease - all you need to know to lower your blood pressure, beat high cholesterol, and stop heart disease in its tracks

    Mayo clinic healthy heart for life!   American Heart Association complete guide to women's heart health - the Go Red for Women way to well-being & vitality  Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum's heart book - every woman's guide to a heart-healthy life Heart education strategies, lessons, science, and technology for cardiovascular fitness

    Reverse heart disease now - stop deadly cardiovascular plaque before it's too late  Best practices for a healthy heart - how to stop heart disease before or after it starts  Say no to heart diseaseThe 15-minute heart cure - the natural way to release stress and heal your heart in just minutes a day

    American heart association healthy family meals - 150 recipes everyone will love      American heart association the go red for women cookbook cook your way to a heart-healthy weight and good nutrition     500 heart-healthy slow cooker recipes - comfort food favorites that both your family and your doctor will love





Fist bump...just what the doctor ordered!!

February 1, 2014 | marietta forster-haberer | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...



Ever tried the fist bump?  President Obama is a strong advocate of fist bumps. Also known as closed-fist high-five, dap, pound, fist pound, bro fist... the fist bump is often associated with bro culture. But forget the bro stigma! The fist bump may be the BEST way to cut down the spread of infectious bacteria from person to person. With H1N1 and other serious flus emerging doctors encourage fist bump over handshake to prevent illness. Not convinced yet? Check out the Fist Bump Manifesto and start practising fist bump for health!



Happy National Non-Smoking Awareness Week

January 18, 2014 | Claudia | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...


Each new year brings a new list of resolutions - people wishing to make healthy changes and better choices. Statistics Canada reports fewer than 20% of Canadians identify as smokers and from 2001-11 the number of smokers decreased by six percent and the heaviest smokers have a reduced life expectancy by nine years, compared to non-smokers. CAMH has created a video outlining what works and doesn’t work for those looking to end their habit.

Should you require additional incentive to stop smoking, the International Agency for Research on Cancer lists the Reversal of Risk after Quitting Smoking. Toronto Public Library has books, DVDs and recommended websites on smoking cessation.

What makes new year's resolutions work... or not ?

January 4, 2014 | marietta forster-haberer | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

MP900442363[1]Here we go again... more broken new year's resolutions. Or perhaps you decided not to make any for this year? Whatever the case, let's examine why many of us don't succeed with our resolutions.

New year's resolutions are, plain and simple, GOALS we set to change something about ourselves. And because they are done just around the turn of a new year, we endow them with magical powers. But the 'magic' often doesn't last long. According to a study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology only 8% of us will succeed in achieving our new year's resolutions. Why is that you wonder?

Resolutions a.k.a. GOALS only work if they meet the basic criteria of realistic goal setting. In other words, successful goals have to be S.M.A.R.T.


Specific... Be specific.  Don't just say "I want to lose weight"...rather "I will lose 5 pounds"

Measurable... Establish measurable criteria."I will reduce calorie intake daily by... I will work out three times a week etc.,"      

Attainable... make your goals achievable and figure out how you are going about it

Realistic... your goal has to be relevant and meaningful to you to succeed

Timely... set a time limit within which you will achieve your goal  


Here is a video you can access online to help you set S.M.A.R.T. Goals. You will need a TPL library card to sign in. 

Another approach, as one reporter for the Huffington Post suggested, is to set 12 monthly goals instead of the one BIG ONE. Setting monthly goals is more manageable and allows for more variety. Check out their post for more tips.

For other helpful ideas, check out TPL's books on goal setting. Many are available in print and e-format. And remember you can set goals any time... no need to wait for the New Year!

   Succeed - how we can reach our goals  Goal setting how to create an action plan and achieve your goals  Changeology - 5 steps to realizing your goals and resolutions  The zigzag principle - the goal-setting strategy that will revolutionize your business and your life

   Goals!  how to get everything you want-- faster than you ever thought possible  Boost your productivity and achieve your goals  Before I die  Hard goals - the secrets to getting from where you are to where you want to be



Turkey or tofu...let the celebrations begin!

December 21, 2013 | marietta forster-haberer | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...


MC900444925[1]With the holiday season upon us, it can be difficult at times to stick to a healthy eating plan. And no, it doesn't have to be all or nothing. Here are a few tips to help you strike a healthy balance between overindulging in your favourite holiday foods yet maintaining healthy eating habits.

Eat regularly: Skipping meals can lead to overeating

Load up with colour: Yes, that means lots of colourful veggies but watch those tempting dips

Watch your drinks: Calories from drinks can add up quickly

Be active: Keep up or start a new exercise routine!

When eating out: have a bite beforehand, so you won't overeat

At a pot-luck: bring a healthy dish you can safely enjoy

At a buffet: set limits and focus on socializing instead of mindless nibbling

Last but not least, enjoy your favourite holiday foods:  In moderation!!

Check out also our books on holiday cooking and celebration the healthier way...

    Seriously simple holidays - recipes and ideas to celebrate the season  The healthy home cookbook - diabetes-friendly recipes for holidays, parties, and everyday celebrations  How to cook everything. Holiday cooking

  Betty Crocker celebrate! - a year-round guide to holiday food and fun.  Cooking light holiday cookbook  Celebrate! Holiday cooking around the world


     Vegan holiday kitchen more than 200 delicious, festive recipes for special occasions throughout the year   Healthy holidays - total health entertaining all year round   Gluten-free holiday baking - more than 150 cakes, pies, and pastries made with flavor, not flour


  The holiday kosher baker - traditional & contemporary holiday desserts  How to cook a turkey - and all the other trimmings  Tofu cookery Quick and easy vegan celebrations - over 150 great-tasting recipes plus festive menus for vegantastic holidays and get-togethers all through the year


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