Warning: Cereal Killer

13 10 2012

You know the world is becoming a dangerous place when you can’t safely eat your cereal.

@GlobalBC tweeted this morning about Kellogg’s recall of a variety of their Mini Wheat products. Apparently the popular breakfast cereal could contain metal fragments.

Recalls seem to be trending after the massive recall of Alberta’s XL Foods beef. Now the mini wheats and these quickly followed by some Fresh Express brand romaine salads also tweeted by @GlobalBC. Officials fear salmonella contamination.

The mention of Kellogg’s cereal brings me back to the days when Mini Wheatswere a staple in our house. Every morning before school, I filled my bowl with milk and dry cereal. From Rice Krispies, to Cheerios to Mini Wheats, as a kid, it was a normal and pleasant way to start the day.

Cereal

No one would expect anything dangerous in their morning meal. Cereal is a staple for many households and recent recalls are a surprise for all.

Nowadays, I don’t even have time for that simple meal. I am rushing around, always on a tight schedule and surely not doing myself any favours where health is concerned. Up early, up late and practically running through the different events of my day in between.

Don’t even have time to read the news…hence regulated to reading tweets about it.

Sometimes I long for the slow-paced easy days of my childhood when my biggest concern was my older brother eating all the Mini Wheats before I could get any. But then again, after the recent recalls, maybe I’ll just stick with Cheerios.





The unknown history of Thanksgiving

8 10 2012

Now I know, today is Thanksgiving and everyone is too busy catching up with distant family and stuffing themselves with delicious food to be online reading random blogs about history. But maybe you will get around to reading this sometime as you recover from all that turkey in the coming week.

cheesecake

The amazing food that always comes with Thanksgiving is usually at the foremost of everyone’s minds during this holiday!

What DO we know about Thanksgiving?

I find we Canadians don’t really seem to care so much about the history of this holiday so much as we are concerned about the food.

We know the what: turkey, pumpkin pie and thankfulness.

We know the when: second Monday of October

We know where and who: Canada and Canadians

But have you ever wondered about the “why?” we have this holiday?

I did and so one day…I did some digging. The history behind Thanksgiving in Canada is actually rather interesting.

The unknown history of Canadian Thanksgiving 

As tradition today has it, Canadian Thanksgiving DOES celebrate the harvest and has ever since 1959 when Parliament officially designated it. The second Monday in October was to be “A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed”. But Thanksgiving has been celebrated in Canada long before that in all different ways and for all different reasons!

For instance, the Natives have all had harvest celebrations throughout their long history in the country.

The first thanksgiving by Euro-people in Canada began with  Martin Frobisher who was an explorer and was celebrating his safe return to Newfoundland in 1578.

Then there were the French settlers who celebrated the Order of Good Cheer to keep the citizens content throughout the harsh Canadian winters.

After the American Revolution those loyal to the British brought their own thanksgiving traditions over to Canada .

The first time Thanksgiving was a civic holiday was April 5, 1872, in celebration of the recovery of the Prince of Wales from an illness. After 1879 it was observed annually but announced each year on a different day and for different reasons for which to be thankful for.

So really, we do have quite an interesting history surrounding our thanksgiving. But at the end of the day, it’s always been about thankfulness, “to God, the Queen and the benefits believed to flow from both” as Canada.com puts it.  

Sunset, ocean

Another beautiful Thanksgiving day sets into history.





Can a turkey tweet?

6 10 2012

Thanksgiving is here (for those of us in Canada) and of course the social media is all a-twitter. Yes indeed Twitter is a great source of all sorts of Thanksgiving news. More than just good wishes for the holiday, there are tweets about traffic, health stories, recipes and advertisements. I’ve collected a few here to get you in the spirit of the holiday… if you haven’t yet joined the crowd.

Thanksgiving food safety

Ottawa Health tweeted to warn about the dangers of feasting on undercooked meats. Their article gives some quick facts and then tips for making sure that your delicious meal is safe for everyone to consume.

Recipes

The Vega Team gave a link to a whole selection of vegan thanksgiving recipes on Pinterest. This pumpkin cheesecake caught my eye!

Pumpkin cheesecake pinned by Sarah Dougherty has that characteristic Thanksgiving appeal

Pumpkin not your thing? Style at Home suggests a classic apple pie in their tweet.

 

Putting the “giving” in Thanksgiving

The Union Gospel Mission reminds everyone to build community and contribute to those in need this season. UGM is an urban relief center serving Thanksgiving dinners to hundreds this season.

The Salvation Army also gives people some ideas of how to reach out this weekend. In some ways, giving is a true sign of being thankful.

And the “thanks”

And of course, the heartwarming #thingsIamthankfulfor. Truly, it is a delight to read through these posts and realize how truly blessed we are to live in this country.

So what are you thankful for this year?  If you need some help, check out Twitter as just one way to be reminded of all the blessings you have.





A Nature Shortage

2 10 2012

Are children out of touch with nature? Are they mentally, socially, and physically hindered by their lack of outdoor experiences?

Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, will answer these questions with a definitive, “YES!” He coined the term “Nature Deficit Disorder” which describes how todays children and adolescents are completely disconnected with nature and the potential ramifications of such a disconnect.

A common alternative to outdoor play, kids are spending more and more time playing video games or other electronic devices

No one can deny that with the growth of technology such as the computer and internet, video games and television, staying indoors has become easy, entertaining and in some ways, natural. Parents even feel that their kids are not necessarily safe out-of-doors and so encourage their children to find ways to play inside. Furthermore, in some areas, finding an untouched “natural” environment is next to impossible. But are the problems that can come from too much indoor play worth keeping kids in the easier, “safer” environment?

Effects of Nature Deficit Disorder:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • obesity
  • attention problems
  • health problems (asthma, cardiovascular issues, etc.)

Attention deficit disorder (ADD) has been linked to a deficiency in outdoor exposure with several treatments suggesting that kids need to spend time outside. Some studies conclude that getting to use all of the senses in a natural, peaceful environment can be very helpful in reducing ADD symptoms.

toddler picking blackberries

Getting outside gives kids a chance to use all their senses

toddler eating blackberries

Munching on freshly picked berries is just one of the many activities that young kids love.

Being outside not only helps kids to avoid the problems mentioned above but it can truly help children grow into healthy, responsible, and intelligent adults.

Benefits to interacting outside with nature:

  • better overall health, lower blood pressure, reduced stress
  • decrease in aggressive tendencies
  • better immune system
  • higher sense of self-worth
  • improved attention span
  • more responsible when it comes to environmental interaction (littering, sustainability)

How do we make a change?

Louv suggests that parents don’t try to force their kids outside but rather foster a love for nature through their own habits. Encourage children to join you in your walk about the park or takes your kids fishing or on a hike. Give kids the freedom to explore, even if it’s simply the discovery of bugs when turning over a large rock. You won’t be sorry you got outside a bit yourself and your kids will thank you in the years to come. Join the Children and Nature Network to join thousands of others in the effort to connect kids to nature.

Grand Teton National Park

There is a beautiful world outside waiting to be explored. (Grand Teton National Park, WY)