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If you're happy and you know it...

March 19, 2015 | marietta forster-haberer | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

International Day of Happiness

"This year will mark the third observance of the International Day of Happiness, which recognizes the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in people’s lives and the importance of their recognition in public policy objectives." To celebrate this year's Day of Happiness, the UN launched a social media campaign with the aim to create the world's happiest playlist... 

If you're happy and you know it

While I am not sure that my song...“If you’re happy and you know!” will make the playlist, I can attest that singing it to my little granddaughter while rocking her on my knees definitely made us both very happy! 

For more ideas on the 'Contagion' of happiness check out one of these titles from the Toronto Public Library and don't forget to add your happy song to hashtag #HappySoundsLike.

 Happy is the new healthy - 31 ways to relax, let go, and enjoy life NOW!   Happiness is a state of mind  Find happiness now - 50 shortcuts for bringing more love, balance, and joy into your life   Four Meditations on Happiness

  Uncovering happiness - overcoming depression with mindfulness and self-compassion  The intelligent optimist's guide to life - how to find health and success in a world that's a better place than you think  Questions for the Dalai Lama - answers on love, success, happiness & the meaning of life  The secrets of happiness - how to love life, laugh more, and live longer

  The mindful way through stress - the proven 8-week path to health, happiness, and well-being   The practice - a daily guide for living present, managing stress, and being happy  The happy life checklist - 654 simple ways to find your bliss  Life by the cup - ingredients for a purpose-filled life of bottomless happiness and limitless succes


Paraskavedekatriaphobia and other things we fear...

March 13, 2015 | marietta forster-haberer | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...


Phobias - stories of your deepest fearsIf you are spooked by Friday the 13th, you are not alone. Also known by the unpronounceable name of Paraskavedekatriaphobia, it is not a legit phobia, at least not according to the DSM, the bible of mental disorders. That's the good news.

The bad news is that there are numerous phobias with less eccentric labels that cause a lot of anguish and suffering for many people. To explore more about these legit phobias, check out some of the titles highlighted below. 

But if after all you are attached to Paraskavedekatriaphobia, keep practicing the pronunciation. According to 'experts' at the MedicineNet, "when you learn to pronounce it, you're cured!"


  Overcome phobias and panic attacks    Scared stiff everything you need to know about 50 famous phobias   Face your fears - a proven plan to beat anxiety, panic, phobias, and obsessions

   Anxiety and phobias  Phobic and anxiety disorders in children and adolescents  Freeing your child from anxiety - practical strategies to overcome fears, worries, and phobias and be prepared for for life--from toddlers to teens




Endometriosis Awareness Week

March 8, 2015 | Claudia | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Coinciding with International Women's Day is Endometriosis Awareness Week, an annual campaign which takes place during the first week in March. #EndometriosisAwareness is the Twitter handle for the yellow ribbon campaign bringing awareness to this affliction.

Women suffering from this affliction suffer heavy menstrual cycles often accompanied by extreme pain. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reports endometriosis affects some 176 million women worldwide -- including award-winning author Hilary Mantel, who has spoken about how her endometriosis had been misdiagnosed, and instead she was treated for psychosis. Also, a long list of celebrities, including Marilyn Monroe and Queen Victoria have or been known to have endometriosis.

Hysterectomy, the removal of a woman's ovaries, is one treatment for endometriosis; however, some medical sources say hysterectomy may be over-utilized as a treatment for conditions that affect a women's fertility. A Toronto Star article, from 2014, notes that more than 40,000 hysterectomies were performed in 2012 to 2013.

The Mayo Clinic's micro-website on endometriosis offers reliable information on this affliction.


 Featured below is a short list of titles from the library about this condition...

Women's herbs women's health by Christopher Hobbs    Dr. Susan Lark's heavy menstrual flow & anemia self help book by Susan Lark   The endometriosis natural treatment program by Valarie Ann Worwood  

Living well with endometriosis by Kerry-Ann Morris   Endometriosis by Mala Arora    The UnHysterectomy by Holly Bridges

...while current news and academic journal articles can be accessed through the library's Health Databases.


GULP: exploring the mysteries of the alimentary tract

February 17, 2015 | marietta forster-haberer | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Gulp - adventures on the alimentary canal

Mary Roach, dubbed by the Washington Post as "America's funniest science writer" has done it again. In her latest book, 'Gulp: adventures on the alimentary canal, she takes the reader on a mysterious adventure exploring all the nooks and crannies of the alimentary tract... all 30 feet of it. Starting with the nose (sniff, sniff) to, yes you guessed it, the 'ick factor' including the 'perfumed' part on the way. So much for a spoiler alert!

And if you enjoy this book, you may want to check out the many other hilarious titles by Mary Roach - Toronto Public Library has many copies in various formats including e-books.

If humour isn't your thing and you would rather read something more serious on the digestive system, here are further suggestions. 


          Get to know your gut - everything you wanted to know about burping, bloating, candida, constipation, food allergies, farting, and poo but were afraid to ask  No guts, no glory - gut solution, the core of your total wellness  The inside tract - your good gut guide to great digestive health  

          A woman's guide to a healthy stomach - taking control of your digestive health    Digestive wellness - strengthen the immune system and prevent disease through healthy digestion   Digestive intelligence - a holistic view of your second brain

          Digestive wellness   Gut solutions - [natural solutions to your digestive problems]   The complete idiot's guide to digestive health




African Healing Traditions...

February 11, 2015 | marietta forster-haberer | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

As I was reading up on Black History Month, I came across some highly interesting books on African Healing Traditions. To my dismay, I realized that I did not know anything about this subject - so by highlighting these books here, it is my hope that others may have their 'aha moment' too. Titles in the library range from the official African Herbal Pharmacopoeia to stories of African Tree Remedies and Rituals. 

    African American folk healing    African herbal pharmacopoeia     African American slave medicine - herbal and non-herbal treatments.

    Healing traditions - African medicine, cultural exchange, and competition in South Africa, 1820-1948      A healing grove - African tree remedies and rituals for the body and spirit    Black issues in the therapeutic process

For information on general health issues specific to Canadians of Black Heritage, see my earlier blog.

Check out also the multitude of programs at TPL celebrating Black History Month or pick a book from the recommended reading list.





Baby knows best...

January 29, 2015 | marietta forster-haberer | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Now that I am a grandma and get to enjoy child rearing at 'arm's length', that is, getting all the cuddles without the midnight feedings, I have come across many wonderful ideas that would have made life so much more fun when my little ones were babies. Okay Doctor Spock where were you when I needed you? 

Baby-led weaning the essential guide to introducing solid foods and helping your baby to grow up a happy and confident eaterOne of those wonderful ideas is 'baby-led weaning'. Baby-led what, you may ask? I know, I know, it sounded strange to me too but it makes so much sense when you consider it and chances are my daughter would not have turned out to be such a picky eater. Anyway, in a nutshell, baby-led weaning is 'letting children feed themselves from the very start of weaning.' By the way, weaning in this context does not mean the end of breastfeeding but rather the beginning of eating solids. Solids that you and I eat, not that mushy stuff that we pureed and spoon fed our little ones. According to experts, "you just hand them the food in a suitably-sized piece and if they like it they eat it and if they don’t they won’t." This lets babies experience the texture of food and let them develop their taste buds. In other words, you allow babies to have fun with food... quite a change from the customary admonition 'Don't play with your food'! And in case you worry that your baby doesn't get enough nutrition, keep in mind that you still provide all the essentials in breast milk. Once your baby is eating well, he or she will let you know in not uncertain terms that the weaning aka breastfeeding is complete. Just one more thing, make sure you are eating a balanced diet so that you and your baby are well nourished. In case you need a refresher on healthy eating for babies and the whole family, check out these books from the Toronto Public Library's collection.

     Feed yourself, feed your family - good nutrition and healthy cooking for new moms and growing families  Eating in color - delicious, healthy recipes for you and your family  Fearless feeding - how to raise healthy eaters from high chair to high school
     Get your family eating right! - a 30-day plan for teaching your kids healthy eating habits for life  The picky eating solution - work with your child's unique eating type to beat mealtime struggles forever  It's not about the broccoli - three habits to teach your kids for a lifetime of healthy eating

You may also want to check out the Baby-Lead Weaning Cookbook for more ideas.


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.

Toronto Public Library helps find reliable, understandable health information for you and your family.