Skin-Deep Beauty – The Dangers of Cosmetics

February 24, 2014 in All Blogs, Education and Parenting, Health & Medical, Living, Our Blog



I am always amazed at the lengths women take to be beautiful and prevent aging. The most common way to beautify ourselves is through the use of cosmetics. There is a large range of cosmetics to choose from: lipstick, eye shadow, creams, powder and so on. More sophisticated methods to enhance facial features include plastic surgeries and injections of Botox.


What a lot of women do not realize is that these procedures and enhancements are actually killing our own skin. America’s Environmental Working Group (EWG) has compiled a database of skin care products and cosmetics with ingredient safety ratings and health information about the product. They aim to use this sort of information to protect consumers’ health and to battle the government’s neglect in properly reviewing the safety of products before they are sold. They have labeled products branded by NeutrogenaPantene and Chanel as highly toxic. Yet how many of us consider whether a beauty product is toxic or not before we purchase it?



Our skin is never just a covering of our internal organs and blood vessels. It is an organ of its own. Our sweat glands in our skin are very actively excreting toxins and excess minerals from the body like ammonia and urea. When we eat junk food, there is more waste to be excreted from our body and hence we smell worse. A lot of us use deodorants to prevent the foul odour of sweat, however deodorants close our pores, which causes the body to not be able to eliminate toxins.


Drugs can be absorbed through the skin; hence we have topical medication that is applied to body surfaces in the forms of creams, gels, lotions or ointments. Even when we put on sunscreen, it penetrates into the skin and is absorbed. This is the reason why we need to always be aware of what ingredients are in the cosmetics we use. There are thousands of synthetic chemicals in them that could be carcinogenic. For example, ethylene oxide is found in fragrances and shampoos, it is classified as a known human carcinogen.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThink before you put anything on your skin. Beauty should come naturally with a healthy lifestyle and diet. Make sure to take in plenty of water each day as it flushes away the toxins and gives your skin a natural glow. Get plenty of fresh air, regularly exercise and get at least 8 hours of sleep each night. Moreover, beauty is never simply skin deep, having a beautiful personality is even more attractive. Be happy with who you are and eliminate negative thoughts from your mind. Shout positive thoughts to yourself instead: “YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!”


Do you agree with the view that cosmetics with chemicals could be harmful to our bodies? Let us know by commenting below! Share the article to those whom you think would benefit from this!


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Janice Yeung

How to be a Responsible, Yet Calm Parent

February 18, 2014 in All Blogs, Education and Parenting, Health & Medical, Living, Our Blog


Being a parent is one of the most rewarding, yet most challenging tasks we could be given. As a responsible parent, we naturally want to make our children’s childhoods smooth-sail experiences, however, as human beings, we are bound to make mistakes. Even as a father or a mother, we need to learn to gracefully rise up from our previous errors and deal with them properly.

We have compiled a few major points to help you remain an accountable parent and yet free you from being overly worried:

Your children know when you are feeling guilty

Children know more than you think. Even though we tend to see them as worry-free and innocent, when we think back to when we were children, we were actually extremely perceptive and would feel sad if our parents were having a fight or were feeling depressed. If you could not stop feeling bad about a previous accident that occurred, your child would sense your feelings and might internalize it as the accident worsening the relationship between you and him/her. They might even think it is their fault that you are feeling unhappy. To prevent this, simply apologize, forgive yourself and move on.

We are not liable for everything our children do 

Oftentimes as parents, we make ourselves the culprits of however our children turn out. However, as our children are growing up, they are developing a mind, personality and interests of their own. A lot of their individuality is not in our control. We can try to be the best parents, however, there are still possibilities of incidents that could happen and take us by surprise. Sometimes, how our children act would shock us and make us wonder what caused their outbursts.

If you are still caring for your child, you are not a neglecting bad parent. Stop feeling guilty for no reason. You are a blessing for your child, just relax, learn from your experience and do not become overly anxious over your child’s every act.

Stay emotionally healthy

Maintaining our emotional health well helps us build a better parent-child relationship. When you need to take a break, give yourself one even if it is a quick walk, taking a shower or a short nap. Let the breaks be guilt-free because you need to recharge to deal with some overwhelming situations that might present itself while taking care of your child.

If you find that you cannot shake away your feelings of worry for weeks or even months, you should be concerned with your own psychological health. When you are experiencing sadness, worthlessness or excessive guilt throughout the day, nearly every day and have trouble concentrating on taking care of your child, it is recommended that you reach out to a family doctor or counselor, who could refer you to a therapist who can assess and treat mood disorders. Take this precautionary measure for the wellbeing of yourself and your family.

What are your best tips for being a great parent? Let us know by COMMENTING below! SHARE this article if it helped you! :)

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James Lavapie

Cancer Fighting Foods

January 27, 2014 in All Blogs, Conditions, Education and Parenting, Food and Nutrition, Health & Medical, Living, Our Blog

Cancer Fighting Foods


If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Cancer, many doctors will often advise a change in diet as one of the first steps in treatment. The Canadian Cancer Society maintains that one third of all cancers can be prevented by eating well. Although most cancer fighting foods are promoted as such because of the vitamins and nutrients contained within them, it is important to remember that the body tends to better absorb these compounds in their natural form. Try to avoid synthetic pills and opt instead for the natural thing. A healthy diet rich in cancer fighting foods will help you to both look and feel your best as you prepare to deal with a difficult diagnosis. Continue reading for our top five cancer fighting foods!



1. Carrots


The beta-carotene contained within carrots is great for fighting cancer because it is converted by your body into vitamin A. Carrots are not necessarily the most versatile ingredient in the kitchen, but you can get your daily serving of vitamin A by making a fresh juice containing carrots and fruit. For those who don’t enjoy the taste of carrot juice, the addition of fruit helps to mask the flavour.


2. Red and Yellow Peppers


Red and Yellow Peppers are incredibly rich in vitamin C, assisting with the neutralization of toxins and the strengthening of your immune system. For those who would rather have a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, keep in mind that red and yellow peppers are actually a better source of vitamin C than oranges.


3. Sunflower Seeds


These little seeds are filled with cancer fighting power due to their abundance of Zinc and vitamin E. As mentioned above, vitamin C is great for neutralizing toxins and strengthening the immune system – however the zinc contained within sunflower seeds promotes this process while also accelerating healing time.


4. Tomatoes


According to a Harvard study, the consumption of seven to ten helpings of tomatoes a week has an influence on both cancer symptoms and the disease itself. The active cancer-fighting ingredient in tomatoes is lycopene, which assists in the reduction of fat levels, functions as a strong antioxidant, and gives tomatoes their red colour. Make sure to thoroughly cook your tomatoes prior to consumption because more lycopene is release by a tomato in its cooked form.




Health Canada – Cancer


Canadian Cancer Society – Diet


American Cancer Society – Vitamins and Minerals


Harvard Health Publications – Tomatoes and Prostate Cancer


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James Lavapie

Fall time Family Fun

November 17, 2013 in All Blogs, Health & Medical, Living, Our Blog

Fall time Family Fun



With the winter months quickly approaching, parents should take advantage of the few balmy fall days we have left by getting up, going outside, and staying active. When the temperatures begin to drop, it will become more and more difficult to ensure that your family is leading a healthy and active lifestyle, here are some tips to help you and your family beat the cold!


Apple Picking


Going to pick apples at your local orchard is an age-old tradition and a great way to keep your family active in the fall. The apples are often just the beginning of your trip to the orchard. When planning your trip, be sure to research orchards that offer various activities such as horse rides, corn mazes, a petting zoo, or pumpkin carving. By targeting orchards that offer more than one activity, you are able to keep your family entertained and outside of the house for an entire day (as opposed to only a few hours!). The best part of apple picking comes a few days after, when you make delicious and healthy treats from the fresh apples. If your family got carried away and picked too many apples, try preserving them in a delicious homemade applesauce.




One of the most remarkable things about fall is the changing of the leaves. As green foliage becomes bright orange and red, this natural occurrence gives you the opportunity to incorporate physical activity and hard work into your child’s everyday life. There are few children that do not enjoy playing in a huge pile of leaves. Assist your child with the task of raking up the fallen leaves, and then allow them to have the time of their lives playing with nature. Most parents would simply rake the leaves themselves, but including your child in the process teaches them a valuable lesson about hard work and its rewards. Plus, all that raking also doubles as a surprisingly hard work out! If your child does not enjoy jumping in piles of leaves, try taking them hiking in a national park to witness all the fall beauty first-hand.


Scavenger Hunt


Much like apple picking, scavenger hunts are one of those things that children will always enjoy. Give this thrilling activity an autumn edge by having the scavengers search for fall items such as pinecones or a specific kind of fallen leaf. The thrill of searching for each clue and winning the grand prize will have your children up, active, and having fun the entire time.




City of Toronto – Parks and Trails


Parks Canada – Find a National Park

Pick Your Own – List of farms and orchards

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Janice Yeung

An Interview on Mental Health with Dr. Robin Friedlander

November 15, 2013 in All Blogs, Autism, Brain Injury, Cerebral Palsy, Conditions, Developmental Delay, Down Syndrome, Health & Medical, Our Blog, Stroke

Enabled Kids is attending the Health and Wellbeing in Developmental Disabilities Two-Day Conference (HWDD) at the Eaton Chelsea Hotel in downtown Toronto. We will be bringing you live blog posts from the conference venue on Nov. 12th and 13th.


We had the honour of speaking to Dr. Robin Friedlander, Psychiatrist and Head of the Neuropsychiatry clinic at the BC Children’s Hospital; Clinical Director of the Vancouver & Fraser Developmental Disability Mental Health Service; Director of the Developmental Disorders Program at the University of British Columbia; and Chairman of the Planning Committee of the 4th Health and Wellbeing in Children, Youth and Adults with Developmental Disabilities Conference next year in Vancouver, BC. Here is a transcript of the conversation we had talking about the current state of healthcare for people with developmental disabilities and what could be improved.

Enabled Kids (E): “Thank you for taking our interview Dr. Friedlander. What do you think about this Health and Wellbeing in Developmental Disabilities Conference so far?”

Dr. Robin Friedlander (F): “This is a really important conference, it is the only conference on this topic that is hosted on the east of the Rockies in Canada. It brings together people working in the field. It allows us to share ideas, what’s new and what’s happening. What’s really interesting is that I learned that there’s a lot going on in Ontario recently that I was completely unaware of before.”



Dr. Robin Friedlander also presented at a workshop ‘Antipsychotics in Developmental Disabilities: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ at HWDD, illustrating the use/misuse of antipsychotics in children for control of aggressive behaviour.


E: “Great! Now knowing that you are a specialist in dual diagnosis, how far do you think Canada has come in terms of identifying dual diagnosis in individuals and how far do you think we still have to go?”

F: “We are much better than we used to be, because every psychiatry trainee gets training. BC has the best training program in the country for psychiatrists I think. In some medical schools, students might get one seminar or a talk on this topic, but they are not even mandatory. The reason that students don’t have an interest in this is because they don’t have any idea on the issue. The problem in medical schools is that everyone feels that their particular area of expertise is the most important. But in time, people will know of different diagnoses and include them in medical schools’ curriculums.”

E: “Going into your expertise as a Psychiatrist and Head of the Neuropsychiatry clinic at BC Children’s Hospital, how important is early identification or treatment in terms of a child with developmental disabilities’ health and wellbeing later on in life?”

F: “Early identification of autism seems to be important, because if treated early, it helps with the prognosis. It depends on which intellectual disability the child has, some are treatable, some are not. Early identification is important for the ones that are treatable.”

E: “With mental health becoming an issue gaining more public attention, we would like to ask should mental health be a primary-care doctor’s job?”

F: “It should be started with primary care, because psychiatrists can’t treat it all. I only get referred patients, the system makes it the only way psychiatrists can get paid, which I think is smart.”




E: “When people talk about integrated mental health care, what are the key components that must be included?”

F: “I believe they are talking about different departments, including pediatricians, behavioral therapists, and so on, looking after for example a patient with self-injury symptoms together, sharing their knowledge and methods, instead of dealing with the patient separately.”

E: “What is the biggest thing that is lacking at the moment in providing care for children with developmental disabilities?”

F: “I think we need more integrated clinics, because the funding is being separated now and goes to different healthcare providers such as behavioural therapists and physicians. But I believe that the government funding should be integrated. A lot of times families who seek resources for children with developmental disabilities are seeking for it within the community. If these kids have very complicated diagnoses, their family members might need a break from taking care of them. There should be something that’s built into the system where people with the skills to take care of these kids could be arranged together. The funding is there, but it’s how you use it that is important.”

E: “Has there been an increase of people diagnosed with developmental disabilities over the years? What are the factors that tie into that?”

F: “There has been more diagnoses of autism, this is because of the financial funding attached to the research. But this is hopeful because intervention in the people diagnosed with the disorder could change the outcomes. With more government funding, services to help with identifying diagnoses that were not available before have been opened up.”

We thank Dr. Friedlander for taking the time to speak with us. We wish him best wishes for hosting the Health and Wellbeing in Developmental Disabilities Conference in Vancouver BC in 2014.


Do you have more questions in mind? COMMENT below and we’ll try our best to find experts to answer them.

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Janice Yeung

Surprising Study Results for Kids with Disabilities

November 12, 2013 in All Blogs, Autism, Brain Injury, Cerebral Palsy, Conditions, Developmental Delay, Down Syndrome, Health & Medical, Our Blog, Stroke

Enabled Kids is attending the Health and Wellbeing in Developmental Disabilities Two-Day Conference (HWDD) starting today at the Eaton Chelsea Hotel in downtown Toronto. We will be bringing you live blog posts from the conference venue on Nov. 12th and 13th.



Go4Kidds is one of the research groups funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research that presented their findings at the HWDD Conference. Go4Kidds stands for “Great Outcomes For Kids Impacted by Severe Developmental Disabilities”. The team is dedicated to studying the health, wellbeing, and social inclusion of children with severe and complex needs. They focus on intellectual disabilities together with possible physical disabilities, autism, behavioral and mental health concerns.

The large sized sample survey data they put together covered social inclusion in a broad way. Three focused in-depth studies that they performed were on family quality of life, social inclusion (from ages 6-12) and health or service system surveys (from ages 10-16).

The results of these studies were surprisingly positive. Out of parents of 419 children, only 11% say that their child is unhappy, while a great percentage of 61% say that their child is happy. When directed the question of whether their child is achieving his/her potential (the question did not ask parents to compare their children to others without developmental disabilities), 28% say that their child is achieving his/her potential.

The factors that contribute to whether children with developmental disabilities achieve their potentials include the presence of community activities, state of mental health and whether they have used hospital emergency rooms in the past year.

However, when it came to studies about social inclusion, the researchers found more negative statistics when they interviewed community leaders like girl scout brownie leaders or swimming instructors about how children with developmental disabilities were interacting in social situations. The results turned out that although there were lots of proximal opportunities with lots of other kids around, there was not a lot of interactions between the child with developmental disabilities and his/her peers.


It was concluded that the factors that help the child participate include the school’s strategies, encouragement, level of the child’s ability and the child’s characteristics. The quality of people around the child, the environment and communication skills. It was also discovered that while community leaders were more active in letting children with developmental disabilities participate, schools did not show as much enthusiasm in this aspect.


Dr. Barry Isaacs gives the framework for evaluating family quality of life, including individuals’ health, finances, relationships and third-party support.

The last reported aspect was on family wellbeing, where the data leaned towards the positive side: a lot of families (just under 45%) express a high burden of care for their child with developmental disabilities, but yet also express a high wellbeing level. Researchers explained that this might be due to a coping mechanism, where the parents acknowledge that the child is difficult to take care of, but they learn to cope with it.

The next steps that the research group hopes to take are to compare the data to a typical population without developmental disabilities and bring it into the public arena.

Were you at the HWDD today? What were your insights into the keynotes and workshops? Let us know by COMMENTING below!

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