Category "Smart Living"


You can still get a job you’re not qualified for. Here’s how – National

by BBG Hub

When Lindsay Angus finished a post-graduate program at college, she began her job hunt.

The 25-year-old Toronto resident was fresh off a co-op when she applied for a full-time operations manager position — a job she wasn’t qualified for.

“It called for three to five years experience in operations and project management,” Angus told Global News. “I had about six months at the time.”

WATCH BELOW: The best-paying jobs you can get without a university degree

Still, Angus’ resume got the company’s attention. She was called in for a group-style interview with people who had “way more” experience than she did.

Angus says she made it through several rounds of interviews, and eventually the job was down to her and one other candidate.

“In the end, they went with the other candidate,” she said. “He had slightly more experience in operations while I only had the project management background. They said it was an extremely difficult decision, and they had no feedback for my interviewing skills.”

READ MORE: Stop telling young people to find jobs they love — it hardly happens

Even though she didn’t get the job, the experience was a good lesson in applying for roles that are seemingly out of reach. Angus now works as a project coordinator for a furniture manufacturing company — another position that asked for more years of experience than she had.

“I was able to secure the job because I could speak to my experience and it aligned with their needs,” she said. “I think companies now are looking for employees that fit the culture of the team and would work well inside it.”

The importance of applying for jobs outside of your qualifications

According to B.C.-based career coach Irene Giesbrecht, Angus has the right idea.

WATCH BELOW: How to solve brainteasers when applying for a tech job

“Generally speaking, yes, you should always apply for something that you are not 100 per cent qualified for if that’s the job you want,” Giesbrecht told Global News.

“If you’re an employer, you want someone who can do the job, but you’re not looking for an exact [qualifications] match… you’re looking for someone who you can see growth potential in.”

Giesbrecht says that employers also want to hire someone who has genuine interest in their company and sector. This means that a passionate person with five years experience may get a job over a more senior candidate with less zeal.

READ MORE: Want a raise? Here’s how to ask your boss for more money

Angus believes this comes down to making it clear to an employer what you can bring to the table.

“It is amazing what skills from school will transfer over to jobs, [and] it is just a matter of identifying those and communicating them well in a cover letter and interview,” she said.

Aligning with company culture is also important. Giesbrecht says she advises clients to put themselves in the mindset of the employer to try to understand what qualities they’re looking for. If you think you’d be a natural fit, convey that.

Another tip? If you don’t end up landing a job but made it to the final round of interviews, Giesbrecht suggests calling the workplace back about four to six weeks later.

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“About 10 to 15 per cent of the time, the person who was number one on the list, for some strange reason, doesn’t work out” she said. “It saves the company enormous legwork to take a look at number two, seeing that number two just called and is still interested.”

When not to apply for a job

While Giesbrecht encourages people to be ambitious and go after the jobs they want, it’s also important to be realistic. If you just graduated university, for example, you’re probably not going to get a job that requires at least 10 years of experience.

Giesbrecht says a good rule of thumb is to have around 75 per cent of the experience listed on a posting.

READ MORE: Hot Jobs: Career strategies for a new era in the Canadian workplace

“So if an employer is asking for five years experience, and at the beginning of your career you’ve got three, then you should be applying,” she explained.

“That changes at different stages of your career, but if you’re in the first decade of your career, that’s a good formula to use.”

The career counsellor also says that you need to be honest with yourself about the jobs you’re applying for. “It’s about knowing who you are, and knowing whether or not you can do the job to begin with,” she said.

This means looking at your experience and transferable skills, and seeing if they’ll set you up for success at this job. “If you have nothing [relevant], applying is wasting your time.”

WATCH BELOW: 3 things you should be trying to land your dream job

Learning from the job hunt process

Angus believes that applying for jobs outside of her experience level has been a good learning opportunity. She said she now encourages her friends to adopt this mentality, too.

“There are a lot of people out there who may not have the perfect qualifications, but they can speak to their experience,” she said. “Sometimes it is amazing what you have dealt with in six months at a job that will prepare you for tasks ahead that you didn’t necessarily need ‘three to five years’ to learn.”

“My dad wrote in my [graduation] card, ‘Never discount your accomplishments over the last four years,’ and I carry that with me every day.”

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Unlike Emilia Clarke, it’s highly uncommon to recover from a brain aneurysm – National

by BBG Hub

Emilia Clarke was in the locker room of her gym, preparing for a workout, when she felt “a bad headache coming on.”

In a new essay published March 21, Clarke says she was suddenly extremely tired, but she forced herself through the first few exercises.

It wasn’t until she got into plank position that it felt as though her brain were being squeezed by an elastic band.

READ MORE: How to tell if it’s a headache, migraine or brain aneurysm — and what to do next

“Somehow, almost crawling, I made it to the locker room. I reached the toilet, sank to my knees, and proceeded to be violently, voluminously ill,” writes the Thrones star. “At some level, I knew what was happening: my brain was damaged.”

Clarke was right. She had suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), which she defines as “a life-threatening type of stroke, caused by bleeding into the space surrounding the brain.”

According to the the Brain Aneurysm Foundation, an estimated six million people (or 1 in 50 people) in the United States have an unruptured brain aneurysm.

WATCH BELOW: Against the odds: Brain aneurysm survival

During Clarke’s SAH, there would have been bleeding in the subarachnoid space (the space inside the covering of the brain but outside of the brain itself), according to Dr. Brian Drake.

He works as a neurosurgeon at the Ottawa Hospital.

“That’s bleeding over the surface of the brain,” said Drake. “That’s where the blood vessels, which supply the brain with blood, [live.]”

READ MORE: How to treat and prevent migraines naturally

What is a brain aneurysm?

Basically, an aneurysm is a weak spot or an “out-pouching” in the blood vessel wall of an artery of the brain, akin to a blister or balloon.

“They can leak and they can rupture,” Drake told Global News. “When they rupture, they cause bleeding into the brain and over the surface of the brain, which can cause stroke and further brain injury.”

According to Drake, one-third of people who have an aneurysm rupture don’t survive. Of the remaining two-thirds who do survive, nearly half of them are left with some type of permanent disability.

WATCH BELOW: How learning new things as an adult can change brain chemistry

What are the symptoms?

Usually, aneurysms don’t have any symptoms until they rupture.

“The risk is dependent on the exact location within the brain and the size of the aneurysm,” Drake said. “Certain locations are more dangerous than others, and as they get bigger, they get more dangerous.”

Sometimes they can push on some of the nerves in your brain, which would cause pain, but Drake says this is rare. The most common way people discover an aneurysm is when a scan is needed for something else.

“[Patients often] have a headache or something else and [aneurysms are] found incidentally.”

READ MORE: MRI scans suggest transgender people’s brains resemble their identified gender: study

What causes a brain aneurysm?

Unfortunately, little is known about what causes aneurysms.

“The only really known risk factors are smoking and [high] blood pressure,” said Drake.

They can also run in families (though they are more commonly sporadic, or not hereditary).

“For screening, the recommendation is anybody who has two first-degree family members with a known aneurysm [should be screened],” Drake said. Aneurysms are more common in people in their fifties and sixties.

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What happens when one ruptures?

“When they do rupture, the consequences are high,” said Drake.

The most common symptoms, which occur immediately after an aneurysm ruptures, are sudden onset severe headache and stroke-like symptoms. “These include numbness or weakness in the arms and legs, difficulty with language — either understanding language or speaking — and trouble with cognitive ability.”

Clarke remembers struggling with language, a complication known as aphasia.

READ MORE: Washington woman, 19, sings her way through brain surgery in Seattle

“…A nurse woke me and, as part of a series of cognitive exercises, she said, ‘What’s your name?’ My full name is Emilia Isobel Euphemia Rose Clarke. But now I couldn’t remember it. Instead, nonsense words tumbled out of my mouth and I went into a blind panic,” writes Clarke.

According to Drake, Clarke is very lucky to have made a full recovery.

“For somebody to have an aneurysm rupture and survive and be free from disability, she’s already on the very good end of the spectrum,” said Drake.

How do you treat a brain aneurysm?

When someone has an unruptured aneurysm, the chances of it rupturing are low. However, if the aneurysm has already ruptured once, the chances of it re-rupturing are high.

“That risk is highest within the first 24 to 48 hours [after the first rupture], and then it decreases,” said Drake. “So the first treatment is to secure the aneurysm, and the only goal from that is not to make them any better from the rupture but to prevent it from re-rupturing.”

Patients who survive a ruptured aneurysm are usually in hospital for two weeks, which is the amount of time necessary to ensure a vasospasm doesn’t occur. According to Cedars-Sinai, this is a narrowing of the arteries caused by a persistent contraction of the blood vessels. which can reduce blood flow.

WATCH BELOW: What happens to your brain when you’re blackout drunk

According to Drake, after a person has bleeding in the subarachnoid space, the body naturally breaks down that blood and reabsorbs it — similar to any other bleeding or bruising.

“The products of that process are irritating to the outside of the blood vessel walls, and it can cause… a vasospasm. For people who develop [one], they require further treatment,” said Drake.

A vasospasm can cause more stroke-like symptoms and result in more brain damage.

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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SCAD heart attacks are rare, but target young, healthy women – National

by BBG Hub

A rare type of heart attack has been labelled “mysterious” and “devastating” — and it targets young, healthy women.

Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) heart attacks happen when there’s a tear in one of the layers of the artery wall.

Dr. Sheryyn Rambihar, staff cardiologist at Mackenzie Health and spokesperson for Canada’s Heart and Stroke Foundation, told Global News that while it’s rare, health officials are identifying SCAD more and more.

“It’s not that it has jumped out of nowhere, we’ve always known it’s been present,” she explained. These days, she said, when a patient has a heart attack, they tend to go a catheterization laboratory (or cath lab) to examine their arteries with a dye test, which can determine the type of heart attack the patient has.

READ MORE: Heart disease in women is under-diagnosed, under-treated and under-researched

“That wasn’t as accessible and available in the past,” she said. “Now we know a number of women were presenting with [SCAD] in the old days where cath wasn’t readily available and they would’ve been dismissed.”

Chest pain, she added, was often dismissed as “normal,” so one of the reasons SCAD is more identifiable now is that technology is able catch it.

“It was always there, we were just never able to see it.”

Symptoms of SCAD, like a heart attack, include chest pain, shortness of breath, sweating or nausea.

Gaps in SCAD research

A recent report in Medscape added the tear in the artery ultimately blocks blood flow to the heart, causing a heart attack. Rambihar added the tear can be about four centimetres, keeping in mind a coronary artery can be 13 centimetres.

But SCAD is still considered rare. “Although SCAD causes a small percentage of heart attacks overall, it’s responsible for 40 per cent of heart attacks in women under the age of 50. And it mostly happens to women. More than 90 per cent of SCAD patients are female,” Medscape noted.

In 2017, researchers in Alberta added there were at least 350 cases of SCAD in Canada per year and 70 per cent of victims are women.

“This is an important cause of heart attacks among younger people, and it has really only been in the past five or so years that our thinking on it has changed. For the past 100 years, we had been missing it,” Dr. Sharonne N. Hayes, a leading SCAD researcher at the Mayo Clinic, told Medscape.

READ MORE: Why doctors are warning young women about heart attacks related to stress, pregnancy

“SCAD is happening to a group of women who appear healthy, are thin, and have no risk factors. So even though they have classic heart attack symptoms, they are often being misdiagnosed,”

Rambihar said the biggest problem with these cases is the lack of data, but there are some experts out there doing the research.

The Canadian SCAD study has been following women since 2014, and hopes to wrap up its findings in 2020. The study will look at the “natural history of the condition, predisposing medical conditions (that can result in a heart attack), treatment strategies and long-term cardiovascular outcomes,” authors noted.

Rambihar added one of the biggest reasons there is more awareness around SCAD is because women are rallying together online. From Facebook groups to support networks to even sharing their stories with publications and research centres, more women are understanding what SCAD is.

Why it happens

Rambihar said research previously suggested women and men had the same hearts, but that new data now exists to suggest this isn’t the case. A typical heart attack involves clogged arteries or patients with risk factors like diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure. But for SCAD heart attacks, it’s a little harder to figure out the exact cause.

“There are conditions that do cause or predispose people to have problems with their coronary arteries [like] connective tissue problems or things like lupus,” she explained. The most common thing in SCAD is fibromuscular dysplasia, a condition that causes abnormal growth in the arteries — most people wouldn’t even know they have it,” she added.

WATCH: Women more likely to survive heart attack with female doctor: study

She also alludes to emotional stress, physical activity, childbirth, coughing or even cocaine use as some of the factors that can cause SCAD.

“The first-ever description of this condition was in 1931 where a woman vomited and vomited and basically ruptured her coronary artery. She was 42.”

What can people do?

The best thing people can do is to be their own advocates, she added, because SCAD does target healthy people. If you feel chest pain or any other symptoms, check in with your doctor and speak up about SCAD.

“If [you] don’t feel quite right, don’t let anybody send you home from the emergency room without arranging definitive tests.”

READ MORE: ‘It is a nasty disease’: Like Luke Perry, young people also suffer from strokes

On the doctor side of things, she added, healthcare professionals need to also be more aware of SCAD and its literature.

[email protected]

— With files from Su-Ling Goh

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Danish politician told baby ‘not welcome’ in Parliament — should kids be allowed at work? – National

by BBG Hub

Do babies have a place in Parliament? According to a ruling in Denmark this week, the answer is no.

Danish politician Mette Abildgaard was told her five-month-old daughter was “not welcome” in Parliament by speaker Pia Kjaersgaard. Abildgaard, 30, wrote in a post on Facebook that she had not brought her daughter to work before, but a vote required her to be in the chamber early.

Her husband was not able to look after their daughter, she wrote, so she decided to bring the child with her.

Abildgaard said her baby had been in a good mood and “had a pacifier in her mouth” while she was in the chamber. The new mom also said she advised her secretary to take the child out of the room if she started making noise.

Still, 72-year-old Kjaersgaard asked for the baby to be removed, and later defended her move on Twitter, writing that it’s “not good” to bring infants into the chamber.

The event caused a heated debate over whether or not parents should be allowed to care for their kids at work, and if preventing mothers from bringing their babies to the workplace is setting back women’s rights.

Should babies be allowed in the workplace?

“I think children should be welcome as long as the work can continue the way it should be continuing,” Kathy Lynn, a parenting expert and author, told Global News.

“We shouldn’t be putting parents — particularly mothers — in a situation where they end up not taking a job or running for office simply because they have a child.”

READ MORE: Should the rich kids involved in the U.S. college scam be punished?

Lynn says being suddenly called for a work-related duty, as in the case of politician Abildgaard, often means not having enough time to find childcare. Workplaces should be understanding of this, she says.

“Thinking that you can always organize your life so that you have childcare on no notice, is ridiculous. It doesn’t happen,” Lynn said.

There are also instances when a mother needs to be with her child, like when they’re breastfeeding, Lynn says. In June, Canadian Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould openly breastfed her son in the House of Commons on camera.

“We know that that relationship between mom and baby is very, very important when they’re newborns, and quite often what happens, particularly for politicians, [moms] can’t afford to take the whole year off, but they really do need to be close to their baby,” Lynn said.

WATCH BELOW: Celebrating post-birth bodies

Lynn says as long as arrangements are made for the child to be moved out of a shared space if they are crying or making a fuss, there’s no reason why a baby shouldn’t be allowed in a workplace — even Parliament.

Plus, Lynn says it’s important for workplaces to remember that when someone has a child, they’re going to need accommodations from time to time, regardless of whether or not the child is on the job with them.

“We can’t think that you just have a baby and the next day, you don’t think about that job [of parenting],” she said. “The reality is there has to be a situation where the child can be accommodated.”

When kids should not be allowed in the workplace

Lynn says if a child is being disruptive and preventing others from doing their work, it’s not a good idea for them to stay in the office. When kids are old enough to be mobile, that’s when they should be in daycare, Lynn says.

READ MORE: ‘Snowplow parenting’ is preventing young adults from learning ‘basic life skills’

Plus, not all workplaces allow employees to bring their kids to work, and many jobs are not safe environments for children, either. Jobs in the service industry, for example, are not baby-friendly, nor are retail or factory jobs.

This means that many parents have to rely on childcare — which is often incredibly expensive.

Affordable childcare is a problem

In Canada, affordable childcare is an issue many families face.

A recent report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives think tank found that daycare costs were the highest in Toronto and the surrounding area, where fees for children under 18 months average $1,685, and $1,150 a month for older preschoolers.

WATCH BELOW: Apps for children that parents should watch out for

Cities in Quebec had the lowest fees for full-time, regulated spaces across the country, followed by Winnipeg and Charlottetown — in the three provinces that have had fixed fees for years.

Lynn says workplaces should work towards being more child-friendly, and understand that not being able to take care of your kid causes stress.

“If you can’t bring [babies] with you and have to leave them somewhere you don’t feel comfortable with, you’re going to be distracted,” Lynn said.

With files from the Canadian Press

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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First postpartum depression drug for women approved in U.S. – National

by BBG Hub

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first drug specifically developed for severe depression after childbirth.

The agency on Tuesday approved Sage Therapeutics’ Zulresso, an IV drug given over two-and-a-half days.

Sage said Zulresso will cost US$34,000 without insurance, plus costs for staying in a hospital or infusion centre. Whether the treatment gets covered by insurance is determined by each insurance company, which also sets the out-of-pocket costs, depending on the plan.

In a company-funded study of new mothers with moderate or severe postpartum depression, half the women given Zulresso had depression end within two-and-a-half days, about double the rate of those in a comparison group given dummy treatments.

READ MORE: Postpartum depression symptoms worse during the holidays

Postpartum depression affects about 400,000 American women a year. It often ends on its own within a couple of weeks, but it can continue for months or even years. It can be treated with antidepressants, which can take six to eight weeks to work and don’t help everyone, or with counselling.

“Postpartum depression is a serious condition that, when severe, can be life-threatening,” Dr. Tiffany Farchione of FDA’s Division of Psychiatry Products said in a statement. “Women may experience thoughts about harming themselves or harming their child.”

Zulresso’s active ingredient, brexanolone, mimics a derivative of the naturally occurring hormone progesterone, levels of which can plunge after childbirth. The infusion helps restore normal levels and emotions, according to Sage chief executive Dr. Jeff Jonas.

READ MORE: How hired postpartum help is becoming more commonplace for moms

The drug’s most common side effects were sleepiness, dizziness and headaches. A few women had more serious problems, such as fainting and loss of consciousness.

Because those risks could result in injury, the FDA said it is restricting Zulresso’s use to certified health-care facilities where patients can be closely monitored throughout the infusion.

READ MORE: Mom shares gripping photo of what postpartum depression looks like

Zulresso appears safe for breastfeeding, said Dr. Kimberly Yonkers, a psychiatrist specializing in postpartum depression who heads Yale Medical School’s Center for Wellbeing of Women and Mothers.

She expects the drug will be used to treat serious cases and patients not helped by antidepressants.

“It’s going to depend on patient willingness to go into an infusion centre and insurers being willing to pay for this,” Yonkers added.

Sage plans to begin selling the drug in late June.

It’s developing a second, similar treatment in pill form, and Marinus Pharmaceuticals is testing both a pill and IV therapy.

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‘Snowplow parenting’ is preventing young adults from learning ‘basic life skills’ – National

by BBG Hub

Snowplow parenting is exactly what it sounds like: acting as the rescue option for your child’s every need, even when they’re adults.

And while setting up children for success is one thing, one recent poll by the New York Times and Morning Consult found a majority of parents in the U.S. were “robbing” their kids of adulthood.

The poll, which looked at data from 1,508 young adults and 1,136 parents of children that age, found a majority of parents were still doing doing mundane tasks for their adult children, USA Today reported.

READ MORE: Should we f***king swear around our kids? Parenting experts weigh in

The poll found 76 per cent of parents reminded their adult children of deadlines at school, 74 per cent made appointments for them (including doctor’s appointments) and 15 per cent of parents texted or called their children to wake them up every morning.

And it didn’t stop there. The poll also found 11 per cent of parents called their children’s place of work if there was an issue and 16 per cent wrote a part of all of their children’s job or internship applications.

Parenting expert Maureen Dennis told Global News this style of parenting is preventing young people from learning basic life skills.

“They haven’t been given the chance to make decisions, to learn from both the good and the poor ones,” she said. “Allowing kids to make decisions when they are young allows them to learn from those age-appropriate decisions, especially the poor decisions.”

Parenting coach Julie Romanowski agreed, adding this type of parenting enables the child any time they struggle with something.

“It runs a very high risk of the child being incapable of coping in the world as an adult,” she explained. “This can lead to all kinds of problems, from mental health issues to financial difficulties, relationship problems, time management, keeping a household and even overall hygiene.”

The poll followed recent news of the U.S. college scam, where Desperate Housewives actress Felicity Huffman and Full House‘s Lori Loughlin were indicated for allegedly paying bribes to get their children into top colleges like Yale and Harvard.

Going into adulthood

Attending college or university is often the first stepping stone of adulthood, and when parents start doing tasks for their children, children don’t have the opportunity to be independent, experts said.

“The trouble is that these parents haven’t had any expectations of their children and have been solving their children’s problems their whole lives, so they have not given their kids the chance to fail or to exceed expectations,” Dennis said.

“These kids have no idea of what they themselves are capable of. They are not driving the direction of their own life. They have just been along for the ride.”

READ MORE: Mom lets children skip school to take a ‘mental-health day’ — is this good parenting?

She added as parents, you can’t just hand over the wheel — you have to teach children how to drive first. “These parents have literally chauffeured their kids through life and don’t know how or want to teach their kids to drive their own life.”

Romanowski said it is only appropriate to check-in with adult children if they struggling or isn’t doing well in school. There are ways to support them without rescuing them.

Giving children space to be independent

Romanowski argued teaching children to be independent starts before sending them off to post-secondary education — life skills start as early as age five.

“It [creates] opportunities for socializing and learning new information in the school-age years.. .these skills are all being developed in young children,” she continued.

“Waiting until teen years or early adulthood is when we see a problems arise… it is much more difficult to teach and manage.”

And along the way, parents have the responsibility to hold their children accountable.

“The only way we can help adult children is to layout our expectations for them and to hold them accountable for them. They need to experience the highs and lows of their own decisions and actions to learn life skills,” Dennis said.

Teaching children how to be independent

Romanowski said children learn best by instruction, repetition and role modelling.

Here are her steps on how children learn responsibility:

1. A child needs to feel self-secure first in their surroundings and then in themselves.
2. A child has to know what the expectations and boundaries are for the task/life skill/routine.
3. A child can then predict what the expectations are for that task/life skill/routine to be executed.
4. A child can then feel more independent around the task or routine.
5. A child can then start to take responsibility for that task/life skill/routine

READ MORE: COMMENTARY: Here’s to more ‘free-range parenting’ in 2019

“Learning responsibility lies in the areas of a child knowing their place in the world, understanding how they can contribute in a meaningful way, being properly guided at times of difficulty and most of all, being connected to a parent/caregiver who shows acceptance during good times and bad.”

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘Dirty Dozen’: Do these fruits and veggies really have harmful amounts of pesticide? – National

by BBG Hub

A new report says pesticide residue is on most of your favourite fruits and vegetables — even after they’re washed — but health experts say there’s nothing to be worried about.

According to the Environmental Working Group’s 2019 “Dirty Dozen” list — a report that tests pesticide residue levels on produce — strawberries have the highest levels of pesticides, followed by spinach and kale.

WATCH BELOW: Yes, avocados need to be washed before consuming

“We were surprised that more than 92 per cent of kale samples had two or more pesticide residues detected, and some samples contained as many as 18 different residues,” Dr. Olga Naidenko, EWG’s senior science advisor for children’s environmental health, told Global News.

The report, released on Wednesday, used data from the United States Department of Agriculture to analyze which fruits and veggies are the most and least contaminated. This is the first time kale has appeared on the “dirty” list since 2009 as it hasn’t been included in USDA’s produce tests in recent years.

Naidenko said the produce samples were tested for pesticides after they were cleaned.

READ MORE: Rates of colon cancer have doubled among young people, and doctors still don’t know why

“This means the produce has been thoroughly washed and, when applicable, peeled,” Naidenko said. “After these preparations, pesticide residues are still detected on many of the fruits and veggies.”

Other fruit that was listed as having higher levels of pesticide residue include nectarines, apples, grapes and peaches, ranked fourth to seventh, respectively. (Full list here.)

Food that EWG ranked on their “Clean 15” list of lower-residue foods include avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, frozen sweet peas, onions and papayas.

Are pesticides really that harmful for you?

Despite the report, Erin MacGregor, a Toronto-based registered dietitian and co-founder of How to Eat, says that Canadians should not be worried about pesticide residue on their foods.

WATCH BELOW: Does Canada’s new food guide reflect the needs of all Canadians?

“A list like the Dirty Dozen makes it seems like we have something to be concerned about, when we don’t necessarily have anything to be concerned about at all,” MacGregor said to Global News.

“We actually have a very stringent regulatory system in Canada, which states there’s a very conservative amount of pesticide residue allowed to be on fruit and vegetables that Canadians buy in the grocery store.”

MacGregor says this means produce has to pass government safety standards, which determine how potentially harmful a pesticide may be. “[Regulators] look at what level of residue would cause harm — if we were to ingest it — and then they set a residue limit that falls far, far below that,” she explained.

READ MORE: Parents, vaping near children is just as dangerous as smoking: study

Pierre Petelle, the president and CEO of CropLife Canada, says that pesticides are a necessary part of farming. He says fruits — especially smaller ones like strawberries — are susceptible to a number of insect infestations and diseases that makes them unusable.

“If you rely on [only] nature to grow crops, you would consistently waste endless amounts of food,” he told Global News.

“We compete with lots of different organisms and insects for the same crops, and so farmers need to protect them. It’s a simple as that. [Farmers] try to make sure they only use [pesticides] when and where they need them, but they’re no doubt an essential part of fruit and vegetable production.”

Is organic better for you?

One of the recommendations made by EWG is that consumers buy organic versions of produce found on their Dirty Dozen list whenever possible.

WATCH BELOW: Affordability is one of several factors stopping some Canadians in following latest Food Guide

“When organic versions are unavailable or not affordable, EWG advises consumers to continue eating fresh produce, even if conventionally grown,” they said in the report’s press release.

While some people prefer eating organic fruits and veg, MacGregor says they’re not always free of pesticide.

“Pesticides are allowed to be used in organically grown produce as well; they simply cannot be synthetic [pesticides], they have to be naturally-derived,” she said.

Washing your food

What consumers should do if they’re concerned with pesticide residue is thoroughly wash produce under cool tap water, MacGregor says.

READ MORE: Infection during pregnancy increases your baby’s risk of autism, but not by much: study

Washing is also an important step in preventing food poisoning as bacteria can live on the skin of fruits and vegetables.

In December, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a report that found more than 17 per cent of avocados had listeria monocytogenes on the skin. Even though you would never eat an avocado’s skin, the FDA noted this foodborne pathogen can be transferred by a knife.

Other produce, like lettuce and tomatoes, should always be washed, too. Even skinned fruits like melons and bananas should be cleaned before eating.

“Melons, in particular, are an extreme example because their flesh is the best growth medium for salmonella,” Keith Warriner, a professor of food science at the University of Guelph, previously told Global News.

WATCH BELOW: UBC study says fruit and veggie consumption is down

Bottom line

It’s important for Canadians to eat fruit and vegetables daily as part of a balanced diet. Produce offers nutritional benefits, including a variety of vitamins and minerals, that are vital to a healthy lifestyle.

Petelle says reports like the Dirty Dozen can scare Canadians into thinking that fruits and vegetables are potentially harmful — which may cause folks to avoid them.

“If this report from the Environmental Working Group has the effect of stoking fear in people around certain eating fruit and vegetables, it’s having a very dire consequence,” he said.

“Reports from scientists are saying we need to eat more fruits and vegetables — not less — and worrying about minute traces of pesticide is not where we should be focusing our attention.”

With a file from Arti Patel and Marilissa Racco

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Stop frying with olive oil. Here’s what you should use instead – National

by BBG Hub

Buying oil can be confusing, and cooking with it can be even trickier. There are tons of options and often, very little information about which is best for what you’re doing in the kitchen.

For Mark McEwan, a head judge on Top Chef Canadaquality is key.

No matter what oil you use, try to get a good quality oil, especially when you are using them in a salad or as dip,” McEwan told Global News. “Quality ingredients always speak for themselves.”

READ MORE: Coconut oil is ‘pure poison,’ says Harvard professor

When it comes to flavour, the best oil for the job will depend on the food you’re cooking. According to McEwan, refined oils are best for cooking at very high temperatures (like deep frying), and unrefined oils are best for salads or light sautéing.

This is because refined oils have a higher smoking point, which is the temperature at which the oil begins to burn and smoke.

“Vegetable, refined sunflower, canola, grapeseed, refined peanut, corn and avocado oil, for example, have a higher smoke point than unrefined extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil,” McEwan said.

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When [an oil reaches its smoking point], taste and nutritional value can be compromised,” McEwan said.

An unrefined oil has a very low smoking point, retains most of its nutrients and has a more fragrant, robust flavour, “perfect for dipping breads or brightening up salads and vegetables,” said McEwan.

Refined oils — like vegetable, canola and avocado oil, for example — have higher smoking points and more neutral flavours. These are best for searing and frying.

READ MORE: Consumers are being warned to be on the lookout for fake olive oil

Sesame oil, extra virgin olive oil and toasted nut oils have the strongest flavour.

“I love sesame oil in stir fries, and toasted nut oils as a finishing touch for soups and to add to certain salad dressings. These oils are also the best options for non-heating,” said McEwan.

“Coconut oil is a little different because it’s solid at room temperature which means it’s not ideal for vinaigrettes or as a finishing oil. It’s OK for moderate-heat roasting and has a mild coconut scent. I actually like to use coconut oil for non-dairy baked goods.”

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When it comes to your health, cooking with oil is better than using other fats (like butter or lard), but they should still be treated with care, said Lauren Baker. She works as an in-store registered dietitian for Loblaw.

The difference between saturated and unsaturated fats

According to Baker, oils are known as a “heart-healthy fat.”

Oil can be made up of two different kinds of fat: saturated and unsaturated. Unsaturated fats — which can further be divided into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats — are healthier overall, though you can still have saturated fats in moderation. 

Most oils are higher in unsaturated fat content. “These unsaturated fats help keep our cholesterol in check, and makes it a better choice… compared to things like butter or shortening or lard (which are higher in saturated fats).”

You may want to consider using oil instead of other saturated fats (like butter) if you’re at risk of high blood pressure or high cholesterol, Baker said. Even though oil is healthier than other kinds of fat, it’s still fat — and you can have too much.

READ MORE: Nuts are high in fat, but will eating them make you gain weight?

The smoking point affects more than just flavour

“You don’t want an oil to exceed its smoke point because at that point, it could start creating free radicals, and they can cause cell damage, and that’s not great when we look to manage inflammation in our body,” Baker told Global News. 

When oil surpasses its smoke point, it goes through a process known as polymerization and the construct of the oil can change. This is when free radicals are created, which, if ingested, can promote inflammation.

Inflammation is bad because it can promote the development of chronic disease. “There are many variables to be considered in chronic disease risk, such as diet, physical activity, stress, sleep, and family history,” said Baker. “Thus, choosing oils that are high in their [unsaturated fat] content may help reduce inflammation, and keep your cholesterol in balance, particularly your… ‘healthy cholesterol’ level. 

That’s why olive oil — an unrefined oil with a very low smoking point — shouldn’t be used in your pan! Reach for vegetable or canola oil instead.

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Portion control is crucial

All sources of fats are “equal,” Baker said. They provide the same amount of energy — which means they all yield nine calories per gram — that your body then uses to fuel your metabolism.

“Your body metabolizes carbohydrates, proteins, and fats as its energy sources. When considering… healthier fats… it comes down to choosing options higher in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats,” said Baker. “These are considered to be higher in antioxidants… and omega-3 (which you get from oils with a higher polyunsaturated fat content).”

With regards to weight management, oil is a better option than butter or lard, but you should still use it sparingly. The old Canada’s Food Guide recommended two to three tablespoons per day, and Baker says this is still a good measure.

The current food guide doesn’t use serving sizes, so I’d say just use what you need to get the flavour or the taste in your food, or to prevent your food from burning,” said Baker.

READ MORE: Researchers want the world to eat differently. Here’s what that diet might look like

Oil is a great source of omega fatty acids

“Sunflower oil is a higher source of omega-6, while canola oil is a higher source of omega-3,” said Baker. “Both oils are safe to use if pan frying.”

Adult women (aged 19 and older) need 1.1 grams per day of omega-3, while adult men (aged 19 and older) need 1.6 grams omega-3 per day.

Flaxseed oil, which can make a very nice salad dressing, is also high in omega-3.

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If you’re simply looking for an oil to drizzle in a pan before you cook…

Baker would recommend an oil that has a medium to high smoking point which is also high in unsaturated fatty acids.

Examples include canola oil, sunflower oil, avocado oil and coconut oil.

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Stop being a ‘people pleaser’ — how to say no to others – National

by BBG Hub

It can get easy to always say “yes” to social obligations, even if you really don’t want to be there.

Andrea Bonior, a clinical psychologist and columnist of “Baggage Check,” recently wrote a post in Psychology Today on why some people have a hard time saying “no” to obligations.

She said many of us are people pleasers. “Often mildly socially anxious, these folks — and the majority of them are women, though men can certainly be afflicted — are so afraid of disappointing others that they make themselves miserable in the process,” she wrote.

“They’re desperate for help in saying “no,” and yet they also can’t imagine actually bringing themselves to do it.”

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This can mean wanting to say “no” to a friend’s birthday party or maybe even something more personal like a wedding. The reasons people want to say “no” vary, she added. It can come down to finances, schedule conflicts or just not having the desire to attend.

But it’s human nature for people to not want to disappoint others, often making it hard to use the two-letter word.

“It’s a very human tendency to want to be liked, almost evolutionary,” she told Global News. “The problem comes when your desire to please overtakes the ability to take care of yourself. You sacrifice your own needs.”

She added these days, that sense of belonging and community are still there, and when people ask us to join them for social gatherings, it gets tough to back out.

How we say ‘no’ has also changed

Bonior argued the way we say “no” has also changed, and technology has made it somewhat easier.

“We’re sort of getting less comfortable with interactions that are not calculated,” she said. “People don’t have to decline invitations in person and they can get out of it last minute.”

This can simply be done by sending a text or an email — any way to avoid real-life confrontation. Bonior said this can also mean more people are likely to cancel at the last minute.

“If you are worried about being liked, last-minute cancellations cause more damage,” she said.

Do we just love cancelling on others?

Last year Glamour magazine wrote about society’s “cancellation plague,” and how easy it is for people to bail on others with the tap of a few buttons. Some experts argued this type of culture can ruin friendships.

“Our FOMO (fear of missing out) has been replaced by FOGO (fear of going out),” author Elizabeth Kiefer wrote. “Performative admissions of how much better it is to stay home have become the thing to do on social media. There are countless memes dedicated to the fact that early bedtimes and hanging solo on the couch have become preferable to spending time with our friends.”

READ MORE: Why we all lie to get out of socializing, and how to do it right

She added cancelling plans to be alone is a reasonable enough excuse, but there’s also a level of narcissism to the move.

“[It is] inherent to the idea that we think we’re too busy, stressed or mentally exhausted to devote time to anyone but ourselves. It’s at odds with the very idea of friendship.”

Bonior said effort also matters and when people expect plans to get cancelled, they don’t want to put any in.

How to say ‘no’

But sometimes, it is about learning how to say “no” in a respectful way, valuing your relationships and also knowing when to set boundaries.

Here are some of Bonior’s tips to say “no.”

Practice first: No, not in front of a mirror, but start learning how to say “no” by actually saying “no” to small things you wouldn’t say “yes” to. “It can be helpful to practice for clarity sake — if somebody sends out a call out for volunteers and you ignore it.” In this situation, respond by saying “no.”

Understand your patterns: “Try to identify when you are most vulnerable to this behaviour, and when you are not. What feelings are associated with saying ‘yes’ to something that you’d rather not? Is it fear of being disliked? Is it the idea that you ‘should’ be able to do it? Is it guilt that no one else will?” Bonior added understanding why you say “yes” when you do will help you figure out when you can say “no.”

READ MORE: Embrace ‘JOMO’ — it’s way cheaper than ‘FOMO’

Think before you speak: Bonior said sometimes we blurt out a response to avoid awkwardness or silence or to keep the conversation going.

“Stop responding out of pure reflex, but instead make yourself count to five before you respond. That will not only gradually desensitize you to the awkwardness of pauses, but it will give you further opportunity to deliberate and find the right words for whatever response you choose.”

Stick to your gut: Sometimes a person’s “no” quickly becomes a “yes” because they can’t come up with an excuse for not attending something. “When we give too many reasons for why we are saying ‘no,’ the other person may detect an opening,” she wrote, expecting us to say “yes” instead.

Instead, she recommends just saying, “Sorry, I can’t make it” in the first place

Don’t always say yes: Bonior argued this is different from learning how to say “no” — some people just don’t know when to stop saying yes. “The problem is people put too much on their plate.” She said saying “no” helps you set your priorities.

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘Non-Christian’ yoga program cancelled at school, former principal suing – National

by BBG Hub

An assistant principal is in the middle of a legal battle after her elementary school ended her yoga program and transferred her to another location — a move she says was prompted by parents who said the practice was not Christian.

Bonnie Cole, a Georgia educator who introduced the yoga program during the 2014-2015 school year, said she implemented breathing and stretching exercises as a way of reducing stress and encouraging relaxation in the classroom.

This upset parents who objected to yoga on religious grounds, even though Cole says the program was not religious.

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Cole claims Bullard Elementary gave into the parents’ pressure, and sued the Cobb County School District in 2017 after her program was “halted” and she was transferred to another school — one that was further away from her home.

A federal judge recently refused the school district’s request for summary and said the case will go to trial.

In her lawsuit, Cole maintains that the yoga program was not rooted in religion, but still prompted complaints from some Christian parents. In 2016, upset parents held a prayer rally for “Jesus to rid the school of Buddhism,” Cole’s lawsuit says.

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It also alleges that the school district was being hypocritical because emails containing “Christian-based Daily Scripture Devotionals” were sent to all staff during the time she worked at the school.

The lawsuit contends the school system violated the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution by adopting the “religious perspective” of complaining parents who said the practices did not align with their Christian beliefs.

The school system said there was no religious motivation to her transfer. Attorneys for the school system wrote in a court filing that the disruption at the school was to a point that it made Cole “unable to effectively lead her staff and her students moving forward.”

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Debate around the yoga was heated before the lawsuit.

In 2016, Bullard Elementary held a meeting with parents to address the “many misconceptions” around the school’s yoga program, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

“While we have been practicing de-stressing techniques in many classrooms for years, there have been some recent practices associated with mindfulness that are offensive to some,” the school’s principal wrote in an email to parents at the time.

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The principal said students would not be allowed to say the word “namaste” or put their hands to their hearts while mediating or doing yoga. Students were also prevented from colouring mandalas, symbols associated with Hinduism and Buddhism.

Yoga causing divides in schools

This isn’t the first time yoga has been a topic of controversy in schools.

In 2015, the University of Ottawa scrapped their free yoga classes after concerns of cultural appropriation.

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In 2017, a Vaughn, Ont. mother was upset when her child took part in yoga at their school after she asked for a religious accommodation that excused her from the activity, the Toronto Star reported.

The mother told the outlet her family is Roman Catholic and doesn’t do yoga because it’s rooted in Hinduism.

With files from the Associated Press 

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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