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Living Well for a Healthier YOU

November 9, 2015 | marietta forster-haberer | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

No need to wait for the new year to make a healthy living resolution... November is Living Well Month at the Toronto Public Library, so why not start now?

To help you get started, the Toronto Public Library is offering a series of programs and Living Well displays at your local branch. Librarians have also compiled booklists of favourite titles to help you attain your goal of living well. Here is a selection from those booklists:


Born to walk - the transformative power of a pedestrian act


Walking as a mode of transportation has been largely replaced by other things but Rubenstein provides research into the benefits of walking for individual health as well as providing benefits for society.



Fitness - steps to success


Designed for anyone wishing to lead a healthier lifestyle, this book offers nutritional tips, advice for motivation and workouts that will improve cardiovascular health, strength and flexibility.



Your body - the science of keeping it healthy


Curious about the impact of exercise on your body? Time Magazine editors use medical equipment to find out exactly what happens during physical activities and look at which techniques may be the most effective.



The healthy mind cookbook - big-flavor recipes to enhance brain function, mood, memory, and mental clarity


Based on the latest scientific research, Rebecca Katz has developed more than 120 recipes which aim to improve brain health.




Joyous health - eat and live well without dieting


Holistic nutritionist Joy McCarthy, creator of the blog Joyous Health, shares her nutritional secrets for increased energy, balanced hormones, improved digestion and low blood pressure and cholesterol.



The Wellness Kitchen - fresh, flavorful recipes for a healthier you

Paulette Lambert is the Director of Nutrition for the California Health & Longevity Institute and ABC's Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition expert. In The Wellness Kitchen, she shares simple and healthy recipes from her teaching kitchen.




The Mayo Clinic handbook for happiness - a 4-step plan for resilient living


Whether it’s natural inclination or learned behaviour, Dr. Amit Sood believes happiness is a habit. Combining knowledge from neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, and spirituality, he presents a series of exercises help to train people’s brains into choosing happiness.



Mindfulness in plain English


In this step-by-step guide to the myths, realities, and benefits of meditation and the practice of mindfulness, the author introduces the tools of meditation, what it does, and how to make it work in daily life. Included in this expanded edition is a chapter on the cultivation of loving kindness and its relevance in today’s world.



The now effect - how this moment can change the rest of your life


A mindfulness approach helps people connect to the present moment. As a leader in mindfulness psychology, Dr. Elisha Goldstein takes this approach one step further by offering practical techniques to make permanent life changes.



For additional reading on these topics, check out these recommended reads for adults, children and teens:

 Living Well Display at Beaches Branch Living Well Display at Mount Dennis Branch

The Games are Coming... A Medical Perspective

July 7, 2015 | marietta forster-haberer | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Ignite logoEver wondered what goes on behind the scenes in terms of medical preparation and support during any great sport event?  Just ask Dr. Julia Alleyne, chief medical officer for the Canadian Olympic team and top doctor for the 2015 Pan Am games. Besides monitoring the health of all Canadian athletes and accredited team members partaking in the Games, "she'll coordinate all medical services from anti-doping efforts to emergency care, and will serve as chief medical officer for athletes from every country." Quite a tall task, but as Dr. Julia Alleyne pointed out, her experience at the London Olympics prepared her well for this new challenge.

But the care of athletes doesn't just start at the Games... As we know, Olympians are not born but get to the podium only after many years of grueling practice which unfortunately includes numerous setbacks due to physical injuries. And you don't have to be an Olympian to experience sports injuries

If you are interested to read up on the field of sports injuries, check out our selection of books on Sports Medicine.

      Sports injuries sourcebook      Any given Monday - sports injuries and how to prevent them, for athletes, parents, and coaches -based on my life in sports medicine      Sports injuries information for teens - health tips about acute, traumatic, and chronic injuries in adolescent athletes...


      Sport first aid     Index    Sports & exercise massage comprehensive care in athletics, fitness & rehabilitation

And if this kindled your interest in becoming a health care professional in a sports related field, why not explore one of these exciting career choices.

 Sports medicine doctor  IndexCARBECVC  Opportunities in physical therapy careers  Top 300 careers - your complete guidebook to major jobs in every field

Benefits of Meditation and Mindfulness

April 24, 2015 | Cathy | Comments (10) Facebook Twitter More...

Horizon with stones

Creative Commons Deed CCO

Mindfulness has been the 'flavour of the month' for health books recently. I think of mindfulness as focusing on the present and being in the moment and a technique to deal with stress and anxiety in our busy lives. And indeed, many recent titles on mindfulness are about mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR).  

Because stress is a contributing factor to various diseases, meditation and mindfulness may have health benefits beyond lowering stress. For example, meditation together with light treatment has been shown to be more effective than light treatment alone for psoriasis. MBSR techniques also had positive short-term and long-term effects in terms of pain and overall well-being, for patients with fibromyalgia.  

Recent research has shown the intriguing results of meditation reducing the rate of brain aging as well as affecting the length of telomeres of breast cancer survivors. Telomeres protect chromosomes from damage; longer telomeres are believed to protect against disease.

However, meditation doesn't help with all conditions. For example, one recent study showed that meditation alone did not lower blood pressure and another study found no evidence of meditation helping with weight loss. But even without these benefits, meditation can help you manage your stress, reduce negative emotions and improve your emotional well-being.

For more about the health benefits of meditation, you can check out one of the titles below or attend one of the library's meditation programs:

The healing power of meditation You are not your pain (book)
audiobook (CD)
The mindful way workbook
The blissful brain: neuroscience and proof of the power of meditation The meditation doctor: a practical approach to healing common ailments through meditation Clinical handbook of mindfulness

Could you use an extra set of eyes?

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

Be My Eyes
Now you can...there is an app for that! Check out this free app "Be My Eyes", developed by Hans Jorgen Wiberg in Copenhagen, Denmark. Wiberg, who has Usher Syndrome, an inherited condition that causes progressive vision loss, came up with the idea for an app after he saw many blind people using FaceTime to get help from family and friends. Broadening the scope from a few available helpers to a network of eyes worldwide, he got together with software developers and voila, the 'Be My Eyes' app was born.

In a nutshell, the Be My Eyes app connects blind people with sighted volunteer helpers from around the world via live video chat. The app is available for free from the App Store. But here is the catch, at this stage it's only available for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. But don't despair, the developers are working on an Android version. To voice your interest in the Android version, go to their site to register.

While the app was developed for blind people, there is no reason why other people with diminishing vision could not use it. I am thinking particularly of the aging boomers. Could this be the way of reducing medication errors in the home?  If you can think of other innovative uses for this app, send it along in your comments.

For other helpful vision loss tools contact your local CNIB office. To locate an office near you, check out their website or call their helpline at 1-800-563-2642.

For further suggestions, check out the library's collection on Self-help devices for the visually impaired.

   Assistive technology for students who are blind or visually impaired - a guide to assessment  Keep It Simple - A Guide to Assistive Technologies   Assistive technologies in the library

Why sitting is hazardous to your health...

April 9, 2015 | marietta forster-haberer | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Rethinking sittingSitting is a favourite pastime in North America. We sit in our cars, sit at our desks, lounge around in endless meetings and when we get home, guess what? We plunk down in front of the tele or computer.

According to a survey "Americans are sitting an average of 13 hours a day and sleeping an average of 8 hours resulting in a sedentary lifestyle of around 21 hours a day." Does that sound like you? Be honest, I won't tell! Whether you admit it or not, most of us spend way too much time in the sitting position.

So what's wrong with sitting? I could quote umpteen articles that show that sitting is hazardous to our health but as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words so I will let this graphic from the Washington Post do the 'talking'. For full explanation of the hazards, check out the original source.

So what can you do about the hazards of sitting? The exercises illustrated above help to counteract a sedentary lifestyle. But to really tackle the problem, you need to reduce the time you spend sitting around. There are many creative ways to cut out sitting....walk/bike, roller blade to work or at least part of the way; use an exercise ball or treadmill desk instead of an office chair; walk during meetings rather than sit in stuffy boardrooms; and go for a walk after dinner instead of sitting in front of the television. Borrow a pedometer from us to keep track! These measures go a long way to combat the hazards of sitting.

For more information, check out the featured books below. Or perhaps you would like to acquire a more ergonomically designed chair?  Even better, explore mindful uses for the much maligned chair...

   Get up!  why your chair is killing you and what you can do about it   Sitting kills, moving heals how everyday movement will prevent pain, illness, and early death -- and exercise alone won't   How to sit

   Fifty chairs that changed the world  A taxonomy of office chairs - the evolution of the office chair, demonstrated through a catalogue of seminal models and an illustrated taxonomy of their components    Chairs  Chair

    Quiet sitting - the Daoist approach for a healthy mind and body    Chair yoga - seated exercises for health and wellbeing    Seated tai chi and qigong - guided therapeutic exercises to manage stress and balance mind, body and spirit  

     Yoga for meditators - poses to support your sitting practice     Sitting still like a frog - mindfulness exercises for kids (and their parents)    Shi er duan jin - 12-routine sitting exercises

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.





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