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Drive Right

ROAD TRIP! The car is packed, snacks ready, music cranked, you’re ready for a summer adventure! Then aches come, back tight, legs cramped, neck stiff. It’s a common problem you can help avoid with simple vehicle ergonomics. The back of the knees should be 2-3 fingers width away from the seat pan and the left knee at a 90-degree bend. Recline the backrest from vertical by about 2-3 inches; adjust lumbar support if you have it. With hands on the steering wheel at 9 and 3 o’clock, positions elbows should be at your side with a slight bend. Be close to the car/load you lift when packing/unpacking the car, no twisting motions and lift with your legs! Remember it’s your holiday, take breaks. Get out of the car every few hours to stretch and move. Enjoy your vacation, you earned it!

Benefits of Green Tea Extract

Green tea extract is a powerful fat burner loaded with beneficial antioxidants called catechins that help support immune function, cardiovascular health, and fat loss. Studies show that regular consumption of green tea extract has a positive effect on overall health and to your dietary habits. It also contains 2% to 4% caffeine, which affects thinking and alertness, increases urine output and may improve the function of brain messengers. The addition of caffeine to the potent mix of catechins revs up your production of noradrenaline, pumping you with feel good confidence, stimulating the nervous system, heart, and muscles by increasing the release of certain chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. To safely incorporate green tea extract into your weight loss regimen, consider drinking plenty of water. One of the active ingredients in SlimROAST weight loss coffee from Valentus – The Healthiest Coffee on the Planet!

Screen Addiction & Your Kids

You have over 230 moveable or semi-moveable joints in your body, and guess what they are designed to do? That’s right – MOVE! When joints are motionless for long periods of time they begin to lose normal function. Now look at the posture our kids have when they are looking at their devices. They often assume this gargoyle like pose for hours. Though it may seem like they are just wasting time, they are also damaging their spine. The Canadian Society of Pediatrics state infants aged 0-2 years should not have any exposure to technology, 3-5 years be restricted to one hour per day, and 6-18 years restricted to two hours per day. As we end the summer and move back into the school season, there is an inevitable change in our routine. Use that change as an opportunity to schedule time for your kids (and you) away from electronics.

Creating Balance; How Full Do You Need to Be?

Our lives are a blank slate…what we put in them is up to us. Logistics to make our lives operate well is essential, but the bigger question is how do we create a balance within to nourish ourselves and decrease the cortisol levels so that we don’t always run on adrenaline? When we schedule too many things in our lives, we rob ourselves of precious down time and an opportunity to replenish. Our quick texting and instant gratification world we live in demands us to be “on” and creates a fear of missing out, trying to please and wrestling with the guilt of saying: “no thank you I shall pass on that.” There is definitely an important skill to develop where we honour our obligations and expectations to others without neglecting a need to take care of ourselves.

Disability Tax Credits

There has been a lot of talk lately about the disability tax credit. You may have seen an ad in your community newspaper telling readers that they can get a considerable tax saving of $2500 per year, as well as sizable tax refund of up to $20,000 from Revenue Canada Agency (CRA). The basis of all of this is that it is dependent on a person having both a medical condition that meets the eligibility criteria for the program and taxable income enough to be able to use a tax credit. Most are skeptical of these ads, thinking that it can’t be true, that CRA will actually pay them back tax money they paid in past tax years based on the severity of their medical condition. Some will ask how is this possible and why haven’t I heard about this. Well, I can tell you that it’s true. Let me tell you a bit about the Disability tax credit program, and how it has helped thousands of Canadians save money on their income tax each as well as receive a nice tax refund.

The Disability Tax Credit (DTC) and the disability amount is a non-refundable tax credit that a person with a medical condition that meets the eligibility criteria can claim to reduce their yearly taxable income.  When determined eligible to use the credit, a person may be able to claim the credit for future use or have it applied retroactively to past tax returns.  The refund or tax reduction is based a person’s total payable tax amount and may be worth up to a $2,500 tax reduction or refund for each year they qualify.  Before applying for the disability tax credit a person must have a medical condition that meets the eligibility criteria that CRA has set out.  In assessing the medical condition, CRA looks at the effect that a person’s medical condition has on their daily activities and details specific activities that must be affected in order to be considered. The application process can be somewhat involved and may take some time to go through, but the outcome can be worth the effort.

Let me tell you my own experience with the disability tax credit. A number of years ago I went through a difficult period of time, experiencing pain in my daily activities. I had two hip replacements within an 8 month span, this after living with osteoarthritis for over 12 years prior. With help from a tax credit consultant, in 2009, I went through the disability tax credit process and received a tax refund of close to $20,000. Over the next 5 years, I was able to use the credit when I did my taxes and saw an additional $10,000 in tax savings.

Readers may ask how to go about applying for this substantial tax credit. While it is possible try and go through this process on your own, a person may be better off consulting with a professional who knows the policies and procedures that make up the disability tax credit program in order to maximize the benefits of this program. A tax credit advocate with experience at the DTC program will help clients assess their medical condition and financial situation in order to make sure they have a chance of meeting the criteria and are able to use the credit if they get it.  An initial assessment can make a big difference in determining whether or not it would be worthwhile for a potential applicant, their spouse, or family member to go through the process of trying to gain eligibility for the DTC.  Advocates help guide people through the DTC process by preparing the necessary preliminary documentation, review and submit the required paperwork to Canada Revenue Agency, follow the progress of the application from start to end, and make recommendations can help a person stay informed and involved in the process.   Where there is a problem or delay, an advocate can resolve issues and keep the process moving forward.  As a person who has gone through the disability tax credit process, I believe that each person who applies deserves the best chance of getting the Disability Tax Credit. For more information about the disability tax credit and how to apply, please feel free to call Brett Scott 1-844-453-5372


Medication Reviews

Most people are aware that prescription medications can interact with each other, sometimes causing adverse side effects. However, over the counter products such as vitamins or herbal products can also interact with prescription medications – these interactions can potentially change the effectiveness of the drug and lead to harm, such as a fall. If you are on prescription drugs, it is important to have a discussion with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any over the counter medications to ensure you are taking the right products at the right times. A pharmacist can also conduct a full medication review with all of your prescriptions and over the counter products and advise you on safe medication use.

Clean Eating Recipe: Strawberry Chia Jam

Chia seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids and protein. They will absorb several times their mass in liquid, creating a jelly-like substance in the process. Instead of cooking fruit down, relying on pectin, and adding sugar to help it set, all we need to do is mash up some fruit and stir in a few tablespoons of chia seeds! So easy! Ingredients: 2 cups chopped strawberries, 1-2 tbsp lemon juice, 1-2 tbsp honey, 2 tbsp chia seeds. Cook the berries on medium heat until they start to break down. Mash the fruit with the back of a spoon or a potato masher, leaving it as smooth or as lumpy as you like. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tbsp of the honey and lemon juice. Stir in the chia seeds. Let stand until thickened. If you’d like a thicker consistency, stir in more chia seeds 1 tsp at a time. The jam will thicken further and become more set once completely chilled.

Mental Health Resources

Did you know that the Canadian Mental Health Association has information online regarding different mental health issues? As well, your local Canadian Mental Health Association branch can answer any questions you may have and provide services to the public. Workshops and courses are another great way to learn about these issues. The Canadian Mental Health Association along with other organizations in your community offer this service. Research what organizations are around you and call them to find out times, dates and whether courses are available for free at a cost. Visit your local library to take advantage of free resources or head to a bookstore or shop online to purchase.

5 Reasons to Eat Flaxseed

Flaxseeds are the richest sources of Plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in the world! 5 Benefits of consuming this super food are 1. High in Fibre – Fibre aids in digestion, prevents constipation and suppresses hunger. 2. Women’s Health – The lignans present in them help in battling high levels of estrogen and assist in balancing hormonal levels. 3. Healthy Hair & Skin – The ALA fats in flax seeds benefits the skin and hair by providing essential fats as well as b-vitamins which can help reduce dryness and flakiness. It can also improve symptoms of acne, rosacea, and eczema. 4. Lower Cholesterol – The soluble fiber content of flax seeds trap fat and cholesterol in the digestive system so that it unable to be absorbed. 5. Weight Loss – Since flax is full of healthy fats and fiber, it will help you feel satisfied longer so you will eat fewer calories overall which may lead to weight loss.

Book Club: Is Your Child’s Brain Starving?

By Michael R. Lyon MD and Christine Laurell, PhD

Michael Lyon went from overweight academic underachiever to graduating as the top male student in his high school a year later, thanks to a total change of diet and lifestyle. He ultimately became a medical doctor involved in research on nutrition. This book is an inspiring guide to better brain function through diet and lifestyle changes. The minor downfall is the promotion of supplements he has helped to develop, but it is still a valuable book for parents and has a good recipe section.

IQ and Nutrition

What if you could increase your child’s IQ with nutrition? Inhabitants of a tiny island off the coast of Japan have the highest IQ scores in the world and produce seven times as many geniuses as any other place in the world. Seniors living there don’t seem to struggle with cognitive decline either. The secret: DHA, an essential fatty acid found in fish, krill, squid and some algae. The brain is made mostly of fat, 60% of which is DHA. DHA is found in mother’s milk and has long been recognized as aiding IQ scores in children. Almost everyone nowadays is deficient in DHA. This may be one of the reasons for the increased rates of ADHD, learning disabilities and autism as well as increasing rates of Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related cognitive problems.