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Is there a common link between Cancer, Diabetes, Alzheimer's?

September 19, 2014 | marietta forster-haberer | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Morwenna Given, Medical Herbalist
To find out, please join us for a free health talk given by Morwenna Given, practising Medical Herbalist.  Ms. Given will talk about the basic and common molecular beginnings of Cancer, Diabetes and Alzheimer's Disease and discuss how the pathologies of each disease is interlinked.

The talk will take place on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm in the Beeton Auditorium at the Toronto Reference Library.

Bring your questions! The talk is free and All are welcome. 

For more general information about the prevention of Cancer, Diabetes and Alzheimer's Disease check out one of these books from our collection.


  L'alimentation anti-âge - bien manger pour bien vivre longtemps  Eating well, living well - an everyday guide for optimum health  The Alzheimer's prevention program - keep your brain healthy for the rest of your life

   Say no to cancer - the drug-free guide to preventing and helping fight cancer      Eat well age better - how to use diet and supplements to guard the lifelong health of your eyes, your heart, your brain, and your bones    Nutrition in the prevention and treatment of disease.


Nail Safety and Toe Time

July 30, 2014 | Claudia | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...


The strangest thing happened to me on two occasions at different nail salons. First, a bit about myself, I have a perfume sensitivity and prefer bringing my own products such as cream and Epson salt. Due to language miscommunication with the technician they thought I suffered from some disease and put on their NC-95 masks - which they did not wear for other customers. Ironic, as many of the chemicals and procedures in nail salons are potentially harmful and/or toxic, with increased exposure. In hindsight, I could have directed these technicians to the Center for Disease Control's webpage "Nail Technician's Health and Workplace Exposure Control".

CTV News has published a list of dos and don'ts to consider when you're at the salon and a similar article and video are featured on ABC News. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has successfully lobbied for the removal of the Toxic 3 additives: formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate, or DBP, found in nail polish. Also, the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) Skin Deep database offers links to ingredients, product safety and healthier options.

Learn how to professionally apply polish, get creative, learn about the history of nail therepy and design or even learn to make nail polish with some books from the library's collection...

Pro nail care  salon secrets of the professionals by Leigh Toselli  A complete guide to manicure & pedicure by Leigh Toselli  Miladys standard nail technology 6th ed  Nail structure and product chemistry 2nd ed by Douglas D. Schoon Homemade nail polish create unique colors and designs for eye-catching nails by Allison Rose Spierkermann_ebook Nails        

Diagnosed with fatty liver... what now?

July 14, 2014 | marietta forster-haberer | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Liver Disease in Canada: A Crisis in the Making

According to a report by the Canadian Liver Foundation, an estimated 25% of Canadians, or 8.5 million people, are obese. Fatty Liver disease, which is directly linked to obesity, is the most common form of liver disease in Canada. This is an alarming correlation.

So what does it mean when you are diagnosed with fatty liver disease? Some fat in the liver is normal but if fat makes up more than 5%-10% of the weight of the liver, you may have alcoholic or nonalcoholic liver disease which may lead to serious complications. 

90%-100% of people who abuse alcohol develop fatty livers. But what about people who do not drink or drink moderately and still have fatty liver? Their condition is called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The cause of NAFLD is not clear but obesity, high cholesterol/triglycerides, and insulin resistance go hand in hand with NAFLD.

Currently, there is no medical treatment for fatty liver disease but as Dr. Julie Chen put it, NAFLD should act as a wake-up call prompting us to make the necessary lifestyle changes to keep our cholesterol, sugar levels and weight in balance. 

Here are some titles in TPL's collection that you may want to check out on fatty liver and other liver disorders.

  Healing fatty liver disease - a complete health & diet guide, including 100 recipes     Fatty Liver You Can Reverse It Liver disorders - a Cleveland Clinic guide

   Dr. Melissa Palmer's guide to hepatitis and liver disease        Fast facts - liver disorders          The liver disorders and hepatitis sourcebook

What's in my cosmetics? There's an app for that!

May 31, 2014 | Emoke | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

6a01774483f2be970d01a511b10cc5970cAre you concerned about the toxins that exist in your cosmetics? You are not alone. The good news is that there are websites that are dedicated to such info, such as EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. Other sites are included in a blog by a colleague of mine.

To make life even easier, Lily Tse has created the Think Dirty app, which gives us the opportunity to check for harmful ingredients on our smart phones, right in the store. Read all about it in a recent Toronto Star article and also on Global News.

The mobile app was launched last summer and lists more than 68,300 products. According to the founder: “All of this information exists in other places, but it’s buried in documents or on web pages where it takes you five clicks to find it. I wanted to create something that was easy to use and in plain English from credible sources, so (consumers) can make an informed decision,” says Tse.

The app ranks products on a 10 point scale, with 8-10 containing harmful ingredients with the potential to cause serious long-term health effects, like cancer. "The app describes the ingredients and their known implications for health, and then offers substitutes for “cleaner” products."

The app is currently only available for iPhone, but should be available for Android this summer.

Fresh, Light Breakfasts for Spring!

April 26, 2014 | Emoke | Comments (3) Facebook Twitter More...

Index.aspx My latest blog was inspired specifically by this book, Recipe Rehab - 80 Delicious Recipes That Slash The Fat, Not The FlavorIt is available in ebook format as well. Based on the show Recipe Rehab where celebrity chefs compete against each other to transform a family's unhealthy recipe into a healthier one, while still having it taste great! These chefs, including Spike Mendelsohn, Aida Mollenkamp, and Candice Kumai, team up in the book along with others, to teach readers how to make these amazing recipes.

 Breakfast Recipes: (Please check the book for exact measurements, but I have selected recipes in which you can use whatever measurements you like)

 Grab-and-Go Bagel and Lox Sandwich-

Basically a healthy alternative to the breakfast sandwich. Combine cream cheese, capers, chopped scallion tops. Mix these well. In a separate bowl mix some arugula, lemon juice, freshly ground black pepper. Spread both sides of a whole wheat bagel thinly with the cream cheese mixture, lay a slice of smoked salmon, tomato, cucumber and red onion slices on top, followed by the arugula salad. Enclose the bagel, cut in half and serve up!

 Tropical Parfait-

Basically a healthy alternative to the store-bought yogurt parfaits, which are full of sugar. This recipe does not have to be pretty or exact, simply mix together yogurt and fruit and save the granola and coconut for the top layer, if you don't want to be exact. Cut up tropical fruit: pineapple, mango, papaya, kiwi, etc., and place fruit mixture in your dish, add a layer of nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt, some dried fruit and almond granola, and repeat the layering process once more. Top it with shredded unsweetened toasted coconut.

 Cranberry-Ginger Oatmeal-

Basically a healthy alternative to the instant packaged oatmeal, or I'm sure the ones that coffee shops sell. Add butter to a pot over medium heat, melt, then add one cup of rolled oats, cook for just a few minutes. Pour one cup of unfiltered 100 percent natural apple juice and one cup water into the pot, along with 2 teaspoons peeled and grated fresh ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Simmer 5 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup dried cranberries, pinch of salt, 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and cook for another 5 minutes or until soft. Top the finished oatmeal with banana slices.


 Enjoy these tasty healthy breakfast recipes!


How much protein do we need?

April 7, 2014 | marietta forster-haberer | Comments (1) 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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Toronto Public Library helps find reliable, understandable health information for you and your family.