Category Archives: heart health

Nordic Pole Walking!! Give it a try!

Looking for a new activity for Spring?  Why not give Nordic Walking a try!  You may have seen this all around the city, and if so, many of those groups may have been YWCA Hamilton!

Click here for our upcoming program information:  NPW Classes blog

Here are a few shots from our wonderful Nordic Walkers throughout the city!!  Come and join in the fun!


Trying to Quit Smoking?

If you’ve made a great new year’s resolution, but are needing a little support, check out Health Canada’s information and tips to help quit, and stay quit! 

And don’t forget, adding physical activity in to your life, can assist you in breaking this habit.  Adding more “healthy”, sometimes helps us stay strong against the “unhealthy”.  Good luck!!



Salads aren’t just a filler anymore……

“You don’t make friends with salad” is a popular sing-song quote from one very long running (and very yellow) cartoon family, the brother teasing his vegetarian sister about her love of veggies. Oh-the poor salad-often treated as just a filler until the “real meal” arrives. BUT, times are changing! The staff at runner’s world online have put together some hearty, main meal salad ideas-check out their great ideas below! And, hey, I think we just may make a few friends with these salads?!

Heart Healthy (and tasty!) Foods!!

Looking to try something new? Why not choose something from this list of heart healthy options. Set a goal of adding one new item to your grocery list each week and you will be surprised that in no time at all, you will have some great new favourites (your heart and your taste buds will thank you!)

YWCA Fitness Countdown to Christmas-Tip 14

Tip #14-Today’s tip comes to us from IDEA Health and Fitness Association ( It has some great holiday implications, as well as a great message moving forward!

Eating at Table Linked to Less Fat

Here’s news you’ll want to share with those who have kids/grandkids: Beyond reducing plate size and counting calories, there may be another strategy for keeping the family at a healthy weight: eating together at the dinner table. Families who eat together without the television on and stay seated until everyone has finished have children with lower weights and lower body mass indexes (BMIs) than those who don’t, reports a Cornell behavioral economist in the October issue of Obesity. The association is especially pronounced for boys.

Strong, positive socialization skills during dinners possibly supplant the need to overeat, the researchers explain. Mothers and fathers who talk meaningfully with children about their day during dinner also have lower BMIs.

“The ritual of where one eats and how long one eats seems to be the largest driver,” said Brian Wansink, professor in Cornell’s Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management and director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab. He co-authored the study with Ellen Van Kleef, assistant professor at Wageningen University, The Netherlands.

Families who eat while watching television can be heavier, the researchers noted. “In fact, eating anywhere other than the kitchen or dining room was related to higher BMIs in both parents and in children,” said Wansink.

“By focusing on family dining rituals, this research departs from the more food-centric approaches,” said Wansink.” Family meals and their rituals might be an underappreciated battleground to fight obesity.”

DIET FREE Habit 2: Include Breakfast and Stop Eating 2 to 3 Hours Before Bedtime

If you’ve been following fitness staff member Wendy’s experience with the DIET FREE program, here is the next installment. Go Wendy Go!!

I am pleased to report that I did pretty well with the first healthy habit in Zonya Foco’s DIET FREE program—Drink water and think before you drink anything else. Of course, I was already a pretty good water-drinker, but I also managed to cut down on my coffee consumption by following this habit. So this week I am ready to tackle Habit 2, which I already know is going to be a VERY big challenge for me. It’s not the breakfast part that’s going to be hard. I already eat a healthy breakfast everyday (except for Saturdays when I splurge on a bacon and eggs breakfast at a local restaurant). It’s the second part of the habit—stop eating 2 to 3 hours before bedtime—that may prove to be my Waterloo. I have gotten into the very bad habit of munching mindlessly while watching TV at night. According to Zonya Foco, who is a Registered Dietitian, the main excuse many of us use to explain why we don’t eat breakfast is that we aren’t hungry in the morning. And why is that? Because we are eating ourselves right into bed! Do you recognize yourself here?

Mom was right; breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Not only does it nourish us after the “fast” we’ve had while sleeping, but it is the metabolism booster we need to get our bodies going. Studies have shown that those who skip breakfast generally eat 100 calories more each day than those who eat breakfast. When you don’t eat breakfast, you become overly hungry during the day, and then tend to overeat later.

What is a “good” breakfast? Is it the Hungy Man’s Special—the 3-egg omelette stuffed with meat, bacon, ham, and cheese, with 2 slices of butter-laden toast, and home fries? You might be able to get away with all those calories and fat if you are a farmhand who just came in from the fields, but when is the last time YOU worked on the farm? How about if you split a veggie omelette with your spouse or friend, put it on a smaller plate, and had half the home fries and 1 slice of the toast (sans butter), with a side of fresh fruit? This would be much healthier for you, and you would consume a lot less calories (bonus—it wouldn’t cost much either!). A good breakfast should include:
• A fruit or vegetable
• Some whole grain
• Some protein
• Possibly a BIT of good fat (such as walnuts)

This week, let’s try to: Include breakfast and stop eating 2-3 hours before bedtime:
1. Floss your teeth after dinner and DON’T EAT again!
2. Every day eat a GOOD breakfast. Here are a few healthy breakfast ideas from our friend in the Fitness Centre, Donna, who also happens to be a Registered Dietitian:
a. Whole grain toast with peanut butter and a banana
b. Cereal with milk and strawberries
c. A bagel with cheese, and orange juice
d. Poached egg on whole grain toast and a fresh orange
e. Yogurt with granola and fresh fruit
f. Oatmeal with chunks of apple, cinnamon, slivered almonds, and milk

Bon appetite!

Mmmm Coffee!

When I first started the opening shift (6 am) my biggest concern was how to get my morning coffee! Except for a local franchise which I suspect is open 24 hours and is 3 blocks from work, nothing opened until 8 am.  And, I love my coffee and I didn’t want to wait until 8 a.m. for a coffee that was just “ok”, so I began bringing it to work with the added benefit that it saves me money!  I buy a locally roasted, fair-trade, organic coffee, dark roast. Actually, I’m sipping a cup now. Ahhhh. It is worth every cent.

I drink 2 cups in the morning and seldom any after noon.  I say seldom because on those rare times I get a headache, I found coffee actually helps!  It turns out that caffeine is in many over-the-counter pain medications.  According to a article on headache and coffee, caffeine makes pain relievers more effective in relieving headaches and brings faster relief.

Coffee is really popular if the number of coffee shops that have sprung up over recent years is any indication.  For us coffee drinkers, more good news! According to a recent study released May 16, 2012 by the National Institutes of Health, “older adults who drank coffee had a lower risk of death overall than those who did not drink coffee.” The study, which went on for over 10 years, was adjusted for other risk factors such as smoking and drinking alcohol.  It goes on to elaborate that “coffee drinkers were less likely to die from heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes, and infections, although the association was not seen for cancer.”

So, I can relax and enjoy my morning coffee, no sugar, no cream, just a little skim milk. It is a low calorie pleasure, as long as no cream or sugar is added.  For me, there is nothing better than that first cup in the morning. Unless I was drinking it at a campsite by Pancake Bay.


Do You Know the Symptoms of a Heart Attack?

Have you ever wondered how you could tell if someone you love is having a heart attack?  Are the symptoms different for men and women or are they the same?   Well, here are some symptoms to look for:

Chest pain – This discomfort or pain can feel like a tight ache, pressure, fullness or squeezing in the center of your chest lasting more than a few minutes. This discomfort may come and go.

Upper body pain – Pain or discomfort may spread beyond your chest to your shoulders, arms, back, neck, teeth or jaw. You may have upper body pain with no chest discomfort.

Stomach pain – Pain may extend downward into your abdominal area and may feel like heartburn.

Shortness of breath – You may pant for breath or try to take in deep breaths. This often occurs before you develop chest discomfort or you may not experience any chest discomfort.

Anxiety – You may feel a sense of doom or feel as if you’re having a panic attack for no apparent reason.

Lightheadedness – In addition to chest pressure, you may feel dizzy or feel like you might pass out.

Sweating – You may suddenly break into a sweat with cold, clammy skin.

Nausea or vomiting – You may feel sick to your stomach or vomit.

If any of the above symptoms occur and last for 5 minutes, go to the hospital for treatment.

Are there differences in symptoms between men and women?  Sometimes.  “Although men and women can experience chest pressure that feels like an elephant sitting across the chest, women can experience a heart attack without chest pressure,” according to Nieca Goldberg, M.D., medical director for the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU’s Langone Medical Center and an American Heart Association volunteer.  “Instead they may experience shortness of breath, pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, upper back pressure or extreme fatigue.”

If you have had a heart attack and would like to know how you can prevent another one, the YWCA offers a HeartBeat program at the Ottawa Street location.  To find out how this program can help you, call 905-522-9922 ext 226 or check out the HeartBeat program at under Programs and Services.

For more information on heart attacks visit:

Woman Alive!

A FREE Physical activity program for woman facing barriers to participation, it starts here @the YWCA in 2002, the success of the program has seen its growth to numerous sites across the city of Hamilton.

The FREE 10 week’s program consists of three 1 – hour physical activity session per week, including activities such as group fitness, aqua-fitness, yoga and more….. The program provides the participants with 3 healthy sessions with different healthy topics such as healthy eating, stress management, staying active and more…..

Woman Alive! Program supports women in understanding the importance of their own health and in developing strategies and skills for improvement and provides them an active, safe, enjoyable and comfortable environment.

Woman Alive! Program provides the participants with Free child minding, free gently used running shoes, healthy snacks, prizes and healthy talks.

Our next Woman Alive! Session for the spring will be:

Registration & Orientation: April 17th,2012

Program runs Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, 10:30-11:30am

For more information please call Rana Aldibs @ 905-522-9922 ext.118


Thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, folate, B6 and B12. These are some of the important B-vitamins that work to make red blood cells, form your genetic blueprint, keep your nervous system healthy and even help your body use energy from food. You can get all of your B-vitamins by eating a variety of foods from Canada’s Food Guide. B-vitamins are found in all four food groups.

Information About Vitamin B12

  • You need vitamin B12 to form DNA, make healthy blood cells and keep nerves working properly.
  • Low levels of vitamin B12 can cause pernicious anemia. Vegetarians who eat no animal products and the elderly who absorb less vitamin B12 are most at risk.
  • Vitamin B12 is found only in animal foods and fortified foods. People who avoid all animal products should look for meat alternatives, such as soy products fortified with vitamin B12.
  • Ten to thirty percent of older people may not absorb vitamin B12 well. Health Canada advises adults over 50 years to consume foods fortified with vitamin B12 or a supplement containing vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 Content of Some Common Foods

The best sources of vitamin B12 include: eggs, milk, cheese, milk products, meat, fish, shellfish and poultry. Some soy and rice beverages as well as soy-based meat substitutes are fortified with vitamin B12. To see if a product contains vitamin B12 check the Nutrition Facts on the food label.

How Much Vitamin B12 Should I Aim For?

Age in years Aim for an intake of


Stay below (mcg)/day
Men and Women 19 and older 2.4 An upper limit for vitamin B12 has not been established.
Pregnant Women 19 and older 2.6
Breastfeeding Women 19 and older 2.8

The following table shows you which foods are sources of vitamin B12.

Food Serving size Vitamin B12 (mcg)
Vegetables and Fruit This food group contains very little of this nutrient.
Grain Products This food group contains very little of this nutrient.
Milk and Alternatives
Skim 250 mL (1 cup) 1.4
3.3% homo, 2%, 1% 250 mL (1 cup) 1.1 – 1.2
Buttermilk 250 mL (1 cup) 1.0
Chocolate milk 250 mL (1 cup) 1.0
Cottage cheese 250 mL (1 cup) 1.5-1.7
Swiss/emmental 50 g (1 ½ oz) 1.7
Feta, gouda, edam, gruyere, brie, cheddar, fontina 50 g (1 ½ oz) 0.8-0.9
Yogurt beverage 200 mL 1.3
Plain (regular, low fat) 175 g (¾ cup) 0.8-1.0
Fruit bottom (regular, low fat) 175 g (¾ cup) 0.8-0.9
Chocolate, non-fat 175 g (¾ cup) 0.9
Milk Alternatives
Almond or oat beverage, fortified 250 mL (1 cup) 1.1
Soy or rice beverage, fortified 250 mL (1 cup) 1.0
Meat and Alternatives
Organ Meat
Liver (lamb, veal), cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 54.4-64.3
Kidney, lamb, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 59.2
Liver, beef, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 52.9
Liver, turkey, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 43.7
Kidney, veal, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 27.7
Giblets, turkey, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 24.9
Kidney, beef, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 18.7
Liver, chicken, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 15.9
Liver, pork, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 14.0
Pate (goose liver, chicken liver) 75 g (2 ½ oz) 6.1-7.1
Turkey, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 0.3
Duck, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 0.3
Chicken, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 0.2-0.3
Ground, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 2.4-2.7
Various cuts, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 1.3-2.5
Various cuts, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 0.8-1.1
Ground, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 0.8-0.9
Ham, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 0.7
Bacon, strips, cooked 3 slices (24 g) 0.3-0.4
Caribou/reindeer, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 5.0
Salami, beef and pork 75 g (2 ½ oz) or 3 slices 2.0-2.7
Sausage (pepperoni, chorizo, Polish, Italian, frankfurter) 75 g (2 ½ oz) 1.0-1.9
Deli meat, turkey breast 75 g (2 ½ oz) or 3 slices 1.5
Deli meat, pastrami 75 g (2 ½ oz) or 3 slices 1.3
Deli Meat (mortadella, bologna) 75 g (2 ½ oz) or 3 slices 0.9-1.1
Wiener/hot dog 1 wiener (45 g) 0.8
Fish and Seafood
Clams, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 74.7
Oysters, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 18.2 -26.3
Mussels, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 18.0
Caviar, black and red 75 g (2 ½ oz) 15
Mackerel (King, Atlantic), cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 13.5-14.3
Herring, Atlantic, kippered 75 g (2 ½ oz) 14.0
Herring, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 7.2-9.9
Roe, raw 75 g (2 ½ oz) 9.0
Crab, Alaska King, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 8.6
Tuna, bluefin, raw or cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 7.9-8.2
Sardines, canned in oil or tomato sauce 75 g (2 ½ oz) 6.8
Trout, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 3.7-5.6
Salmon, red/sockeye, raw or cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 3.8-4.4
Salmon, pink/humpback, with bones, canned 75 g (2 ½ oz) 3.7
Salmon, Atlantic, wild, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 2.3
Tuna, light, canned in water 75 g (2 ½ oz) 2.2
Meat Alternatives
Meatless, chicken, breaded, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 3.8
Meatless, fish sticks, cooked 75 g (2 ½ oz) 3.2
Meatless, luncheon slices 75 g (2 ½ oz) 3.0
Meatless, wiener/frankfurter 75 g (2 ½ oz) 1.8
Soy burger 75 g (2 ½ oz) 1.8
Egg, cooked 2 large 1.1-1.3
Red Star T6635+ Yeast (Vegetarian Support Formula) 2 grams (1 tsp powder or 2 tsp flaked) 1.0