Community News
Debt Getting You Down?

Don’t hit the bankruptcy ‘panic button’ until you have to. Life’s pretty good at throwing curve balls. And whether it comes disguised as a lost job, a health problem or some other unforeseen calamity, all too often that curve ball comes wrapped in financial woe and worry. Suddenly, questions like “How are we going to pay the bills?” and “Do we keep the kids or the cat?” take on far greater relevance than they used to (okay, so not the second one – but you get the drift).

While indebtedness is for most of us a fact of life – how else could you afford that nice home and a new car? – There may come a time when, usually through no fault of your own, you find yourself overwhelmed by debt. And for an ever-increasing number of Canadians, the sinking feeling that accompanies the inability to pay their bills can mean only one thing: bankruptcy.

But before hitting the bankruptcy ‘panic button’, be sure to conduct an honest assessment of just how bad your debt problem is. It can be as easy as making a list of who you owe money to and how much (if possible, include details of interest rates, monthly payments, and the term). Be sure to check whether your credit history has suffered (services such as those offered by Equifax and TransUnion can provide the answer), and determine whether it can: a) be fixed, or b) be prevented from getting any worse. Only then can you properly begin to understand your options?

And while bankruptcy might ultimately be the answer, it shouldn’t be your first recourse. The following tactics are worth considering to avoid going that route:

– Start a budget: Knowing where your money’s going can be a good way to stop the bleeding, enabling you to identify problem areas while targeting (and cutting out) unnecessary spending. Yes, you’ll need to be disciplined, but for many it’s enough to make a positive change to your bottom line.

– Restructure your loans and mortgages: It certainly doesn’t hurt to see if you can free up cash by deferring a car loan or mortgage payment – most financial institutions are happy to help by pushing back one or two monthly payments (usually for a fee), which may be enough to help in the short-term. Alternatively, look into a lower interest / lower payment option that might spread the debt out over a longer period of time.

– Take stock of your assets: Document anything of value – be it land, your vintage 1962 Mustang, or that collection of Disney originals Great Uncle Walt gave you. Don’t be tempted to sell them until you’ve had your situation assessed. These assets could be used to fund a consumer proposal that may, in turn, save you from filing bankruptcy.

If, after all, this, you’re still not sure you can figure your own way out of your financial problems, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.

And remember: simply ignoring the problem won’t make it go away.

LCTaylor Licensed Insolvency Trustees, www.lctaylor.com

Pharmacy Budget

We know that the cost of prescriptions is often difficult to manage for patients. We want everyone to have access to good care and safe medication use – to accomplish this, a customized budget plan for clients. This allows you to remain on your medications and manage the expense throughout the year. Along with the budget, a visiting pharmacist will counsel you or your loved ones in the comfort of your own home on a regular basis. They will help you manage multiple or complex medications and collaborate with other members of your health care team to ensure your health needs are met. This gives you and your family peace of mind with the knowledge that this aspect of your life is taken care of and contributes to a positive quality of life. Better Health and Wellness can be achieved through medication management – call a visiting pharmacist to arrange a home visit.

Care at Home Pharmacy, www.careathomepharmacy.ca

Stress Often Leads to Disease

Little bits of ‘acute’ stress are normal, sometimes even healthy. It’s CHRONIC STRESS that often leads to disease. Headaches, fatigue, depression, anxiety, to name a few, are the first signs of ongoing chronic stress. These symptoms wreak havoc on our bodies and when coupled with an unhealthy lifestyle, exposure to molds, heavy metals, food intolerances, inflammation, infections and parasites within your body, this mixture is why chronic stress is linked to diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Get down to the underlying cause of your stress by having your stress hormones tested and by adopting these healthy lifestyle tips: 1. Practice some deep breathing techniques. 2. Get plenty of sleep. 3. Eat fish at least twice per week or take an Omega 3 supplement. 4. Drink water! Eight glasses a day. 5. Avoid junk food!

Stacie Rasmussen RNCP, Blossom Nutrition, www.winnipegnutritionist.com

Clean Eating: Almond Date Energy Bites

1 cup Medjool Dates (de-pitted).

1 cup raw almonds.

1/4 cup unsweetened coconut or rolled oats.

1/4 cup raw cacao.

¼ tsp cinnamon. Pinch of sea salt.

1/2 tbsp vanilla. 1/2 tbsp maple syrup.

1 – 2 tbsp almond milk.

1. Place dates in food processor and pulse until it forms a ball. Break up the date ball with a spatula and add almonds, raw cacao, coconut and salt. 2. Process for 3-4 minutes 3. Add vanilla, almond milk and maple syrup 4. Process until mixture forms a ball. Add more almond milk if the mixture is not forming. 5. Roll mixture into balls and dip in shredded coconut if desired 6. Can be stored in an airtight container or frozen.

Stacie Rasmussen RNCP, Blossom Nutrition, www.winnipegnutritionist.com

Help is Available

Professionals can help! If you have a mental health concern, deciding to take that first step toward reaching out to a professional can seem daunting and scary. However taking that first step can open the door to feeling better. Who do you go to if you have a mental health concern? Your doctor can be a great professional to turn to. They may even refer you to other professionals to ensure you get the care you need. There are many different types of professionals that can help us. For example, counsellors can help you work on relationship issues, past life events and many other topics. Financial planners can help you save money or reduce debt. Reaching out to a professional doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you, it means you’ve recognized a need for change and want someone to help you through it.

Canadian Mental Health Association, www.cmha.ca

Benefits of Cassiolamine

This multi-flavonoid compound helps in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and in the reduction of high blood pressure. Cassiolamine helps to maintain healthy blood vessels by reducing the adhesion (stickiness) of blood platelets, which promotes healthy blood flow. This important ingredient also serves as an anti-oxidant, which helps to maintain a healthy heart and improved immune system. What this natural legume-based extract is mostly known for is its powerful lipase-inhibiting features, which results in the prevention of fat absorption and an effective carbohydrate blocker.

Roma Stefanowich, Valentus
www.easygo.valentustour.com

Medication Timing

It is important to understand clearly when to take medications and how to take them. Some prescriptions have to be taken on an empty stomach while others are taken with food – check with your pharmacist to ensure you know what that means (how long before or after a meal do I have to wait). This helps with the appropriate absorption of the medication. Some medications should not be taken with other drugs as this can lead to reduced effectiveness. Timing of medications is also important in terms of when to take them – morning vs nighttime – to alleviate side effects. As well, it is key to follow the instructions on the number of times per day to take the medication. When receiving a new prescription, ask your pharmacist to fully explain the medication so you have a clear understanding of it. A full medication review of all your prescription drugs and over the counter products can further help you see how they work together.

Care At Home Pharmacy
www.careathomepharmacy.ca

Go DEET-Free With Essential Oils

It’s no secret that Manitoba is a mosquito haven. Quite frankly, our mosquitos can rival some small birds! While a lot of you still use traditional (and toxic) bug repellents, many of us want to know our alternatives. Lemon eucalyptus oil could be a much safer and more natural weapon against these little monsters. So what’s so bad about DEET, you ask? DEET toxicity can be blamed for skin irritations, rashes, lethargy, headaches, tremors, involuntary movements, seizures and convulsions. When applied to the skin a certain percentage of DEET is absorbed into the bloodstream. And the toxicity of the chemical goes up when it’s combined with isopropyl alcohol or freon, both of which are common ingredients in commercial bug repellents. In fact, DEET products are required to carry several child safety warnings. Studies have confirmed that lemon eucalyptus oil can be as effective as DEET in repelling mosquitoes. Other essential oils that mosquitos loathe are: catnip oil, neem and citronella!

Protect Your Pet from Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is an endemic in Manitoba for people and pets alike. The disease is spread by black-legged ticks, or commonly called deer ticks. When a deer tick infects a dog, there are common symptoms to look out for. One is lameness due to inflammation of the joints. There may also be a lack of appetite, stiff gait, sensitivity to touch and difficulty breathing. More serious complications include damage to the kidneys and heart or nervous system. Avoid allowing your dog to roam in tick-infested environments where Lyme disease is common. These ticks are found in grassy, wooded areas of Southern Manitoba. Check your dog’s coat and skin daily and remove ticks by hand. Remember, deer ticks are TINY! They are often very hard to find. Pet stores and Veterinary clinics have tick-removing tools and knowledgeable staff to show you exactly how it’s done. Your veterinarian can also recommend a Lyme vaccination as well as a variety of products that repel and kill ticks.

Lisa Tustin, Professional Pet Services
www.facebook.com/propetservices1

How to Choose a Safe Sunscreen

Summer at last! Days get longer and temps get hotter! While we all love the sun, it’s time to be mindful of the damage it could do. When choosing a sunscreen, go for the “broad spectrum” protection. Sunscreens with this label protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Make sure your sunscreen has a sun protection factor of 30 or higher. The SPF number is the level of protection the sunscreen provides against harmful rays. Higher SPF numbers do mean more protection, but the higher you go, the smaller the difference becomes. For example, a bottle labeled SPF 85 has no better protection than a bottle of SPF 50. Always be wary of dangerous ingredients in your sunscreen. These include parabens, phthalates, propylene glycol, and sodium laurel sulphates. Retinyl palminate, a form of vitamin A, has been linked to skin tumours and lesions on sun-exposed skin. Also, use creams not sprays or powders, as creams offer more sun protection without the nanoparticles.

Clean Eating: Vanilla Chia Breakfast Pudding

Ingredients:
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons pure maple syrup or raw honey
Seasonal fruit for topping, Almonds or other nuts for topping.

Directions:
Combine almond milk, chia seeds, vanilla and sweetener in a bowl. Mix well until combined and the mixture begins to thicken. Store covered in the refrigerator overnight or for at least an hour (the longer the better)! Stir well before serving and add a bit of water to the pudding if it becomes too thick. Top with fresh fruit and nuts of your choice. (Yields 2 servings)