Political battle in Canada

There is yet another political battle going on in Canada.  Four years ago I warned you to be careful what you wish for when Canadians hoping for a change gave Justin Trudeau a Liberal majority.  Many of us were skeptical that the majority of his election promises would/could never happen and those that did would cost us dearly.

One (huge) example is the federal budget.  An election promise in 2015 claimed the budget would be balanced by 2019, with Trudeau assuring voters it would balance itself.  Although many of us saw that simplistic prediction as an enormous red flag,  (the majority of) others were willing to play along, blindly.  Perhaps blinded by the handsome smile and fashionable clothing although they are worn by someone that has never balanced let alone lived on a budget in his life.

Fast forward to the present: not only is the budget nowhere near balanced, our national debt is through the roof by BILLIONS of dollars and growing by the second.  Why that does not scare more Canadians I am not sure.  I worry most about my sons’ and grandchildren’s futures as the cost of living skyrockets out of control.

Let’s not forget about the scandals that have plagued the Liberal party these past four years.  Topping the never ending list is the SNC-Lavalin (an engineering and construction company) fiasco where our Minister of Justice and Attorney General left the Liberal party because she felt bullied and pressured into intervening in an ongoing criminal case against the company. An investigation proved she had reason to feel pressured.

Then there are the recent black and brown-face pictures as well as the outlandish garments Trudeau wore representing Canada abroad. Our incredibly immature, shallow and inappropriate Prime Minister apparently likes to play dress-up, fitting I suppose for a (former) drama teacher craving the spotlight.  Hardly the image we (most I hope) Canadians want to represent us on the global stage.  Trudeau may be a charismatic and friendly man but he has also proven to be foolish, naïve, a liar, a bully and a cheater, not to mention an elitist, without a clue how most of us live.  Any of us “average citizens” with those characteristics would be fired from our jobs!

So, what’s the purpose of this rant? Not to convince you to vote for a specific political party.  To warn you to think long and hard about how you want this wonderful country of ours to move forward.  No one political party will (now or ever) tick off all the right boxes for the issues at stake.  Individual voters have to decide which party ticks off the most and the most important (to us) of these boxes, then vote accordingly.

I have not even touched on the other important issues that divide the political parties.  In addition to the budget and financial deficits, each party has their own stance on climate change, oil pipelines, abortion, gun control, health care, same sex marriage, child care, education, immigration, indigenous rights and more.  The list goes on and on, be sure to read up on these crucial issues before you vote.

Of course there are the outrageous campaign promises flying around too.  Are reduced cell phone rates really a life necessity or just another calculated attempt to grab votes from the younger, phone-obsessed generation.  Just like legalizing marijuana was last election.  After all, most of the voters thinking cell phones and marijuana are important issues don’t yet pay the exorbitant taxes or hydro and electricity rates the rest of us are mandated to.

There is so much desperate political garbage and yes, fake news, on every form of social media these days.  I am sick of it, yet it’s only going to get worse within the next few weeks, building up to a frenzied pitch until the election is over.  Instead of getting caught up in social media’s mudslinging, do your own research to see where each party stands on the issues. Here are a few sites to peruse, but remember, all of them have the potential to be biased!

The last one compares the platforms for each political party, sorted by specific issues.  I found it very informative.  Do your homework before you vote blindly. Please!

 

Cancer Research is Changing

Cancer research is changing. In the right direction. Instead of focusing on expensive and harmful medications and treatments that compromise every organ in your body, research is looking for ways to outsmart the cancer.

For example, stem cell research has scientists hopeful and busy looking for ways to use these unique cells to fight many diseases, not just cancer. Stem cells are the earliest form of cells within the human body, formed four or five days after an embryo is fertilized, and before the embryo is implanted in a uterus. They are uniquely non-specific when they are formed and don’t take on specific functions (differentiate in scientific terms) until they divide and grow.

With the popularity of invitro fertilization on the rise these days, stem cells are becoming more available as any embryos not used in the fertilization process can be donated to science for research and treatments. Of course, this raises ethical concerns, since the embryo is destroyed in the process of harvesting the stem cells. The concept however, is brilliant.

Stem cells can also be harvested from umbilical cords after childbirth and frozen for use. These cells have been successfully used to treat children with blood cancers (leukemia) and certain genetic blood disorders. Since stem cells have the ability to turn into various other types of cells, scientists believe that they can be useful for treating and understanding diseases. For example, stem cells can be used to:

  • grow new cells in a laboratory to replace damaged organs or tissues
  • correct parts of organs that don’t work properly
  • research causes of genetic defects in cells
  • research how diseases occur or why certain cells develop into cancer cells
  • test new drugs for safety and effectiveness

Adult or non-embryonic stem cells are found in infants, children and adults. What makes them different from the embryonic kind is that these stem cells come from developed organs and tissues in the body. Unlike embryonic stem cells though, adult stem cells can’t differentiate into as many other types of cells. They’re used by the body to repair and replace damaged tissue in the same area in which they are found. For example, mature human tissue such as nerves, bone, blood, muscle, liver and skin all have different types of cells.

Hematopoietic stem cells are a type of adult stem cell found in bone marrow. They make new red blood cells, white blood cells, and other types of blood cells. Doctors have been performing stem cell transplants, also known as bone marrow transplants, for decades using hematopoietic stem cells in order to treat certain types of cancer.

A recent breakthrough has scientists able to genetically program adult stem cells to behave like embryonic stem cells so they can be used as specialized cells throughout the body, for any organ or tissue.


Lectins: toxic proteins or revolutionary research?

Although lectins are proteins, they are not as good for us as one would think. They are beneficial in plants as they keep insects (kind of like a defence mechanism) away and contain nitrogen which is essential for plant growth. In the human body however, lectins can be toxic!I

The reason lectins cause us so much grief is because they are incredibly sticky and therefore cannot be digested properly. Instead, they adhere to the cells in our guts so that vitamins and minerals do not get absorbed. They also stick to insulin receptors, blocking the hormone called Leptin, so your brain never recognizes when you are full. I’m sure you can guess where this is going. Yes, lectins increase your appetite. Amongst other things.

Increased appetite means weight gain is at the top of the long list of bad things lectins cause. The rest of the list includes achy joints, indigestion, digestive damage, fatigue, brain fog, constipation, mood swings, immune system suppression, depression, and overall poor health.

Everyone has heard of gluten and how millions are avoiding it whether they need to or not. Gluten is a lectin, but there are many other lectins that cause just as much grief (or more) for people with food sensitivities. In fact, if you have been diagnosed with Celiac’s disease, you should avoid all lectins.

Well, people like myself that suffer from a wheat (but not gluten) allergy realize that it is a protein in wheat that triggers my reactions. I was never told however that it was a lectin or that I might be lectin intolerant. This probably explains why those without Celiac’s disease or a gluten allergy (like myself) who have eliminated wheat from their diets feel so much better.

Wheat germ lectin has been shown in research to impact the immune system by increasing inflammation within our bodies. Not just in our stomach or intestines, but all over our bodies. Have you heard of “leaky gut syndrome?” This happens because lectins punch holes in our intestines (hence the leaky gut) letting toxins and bacteria out of your gut to invade and cause inflammatory responses in many other organs.

This resulting long-term inflammation has been linked to many serious medical conditions including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, uterine fibroids, breast and ovarian cysts, auto immune diseases and small airway obstruction (asthma) in lungs. I was experiencing most of these health issues when I was first diagnosed with my wheat allergy. It took me persistence and quite a long time to figure this out.

Now for the good news! Lectins are not always bad. Recent research reveals that lectins have been shown to be beneficial in some revolutionary uses. I say revolutionary because the use of natural plant extracts instead of harmful and expensive chemical medication is just that. This is quite exciting, except perhaps to the mega-rich and powerful drug companies. Oops, sorry, I am digressing….Here are some of the revolutionary uses I spoke of:

  • Small amounts of lectins may help the good bacteria that live in human digestive systems.
  • Research suggests that lectins may be useful for helping to identify and diagnose cancer. Lectins are also being studied for their potential to slow down the rate that cancer cells multiply.
  • Researchers are even looking at lectins as potential treatments for illnesses caused by bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

So, do you continue to consume foods containing lectins or eliminate them from your diet? Well, that depends on how badly they affect you. In my case I avoid wheat. Keeping a journal of foods (lectins) you eat and how they affect you can help decide which ones to eliminate from your diet.

These are the foods with the most lectins, in descending order:

  • legumes (peanuts, cashews, beans, soybeans, peas, chickpeas, lentils) with uncooked red kidney beans the worst, as well as butters from these (peanut butter, hummus)
  • wheat, corn, rice, oats and quinoa
  • nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and peppers)
  • dairy products containing casein A1 (most North American cows)
  • corn, soybean and sunflower oils
  • squash family (zucchini, melons, cucumbers)
  • soy products (milk, beans, sprouts, tofu, oils)
  • many fruits, including bananas. See list below for lectin-free fruit

The answer for those of you without an obvious reaction is to simply reduce the lectins you eat. It is not necessary to completely eliminate them, and there are ways to reduce the amount of lectins you are putting into your body. Sprouting, fermenting, removing the seeds, or cooking the culprits well will severely diminish the lectins’ potency. Get your pressure cooker out and dust it off!

What foods are left to eat that are lectin free you ask? If you don’t have any of the above health issues to try to clear up, don’t worry about them, lectins obviously don’t affect you. If you do feel the pain (literally), eat the lectin rich foods (above) but ensure they are well-cooked and in moderation, and eat more of these lectin-free foods:

  • mushrooms, onions, garlic, celery, and carrots
  • broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus
  • leafy greens (spinach, kale etc)
  • sweet potatoes (cooked)
  • cherries, apples, blueberries, strawberries, oranges, and lemons
  • pasture raised (grass fed) meat and chicken
  • sheep, goat, and coconut milk as well as South European (A2) cow’s milk
  • almonds, almond butter
  • olives and olive oil

The moral of this story is to listen to your body. If you suffer from many or any of the health issues listed above, maybe you are lectin intolerant! I wish I had this information ten years ago when I was going through my personal battle to figure out what was wrong with me. My doctor wanted to put me on antidepressants, but I refused, believing it was more complicated than that. I’m sure glad I did. I feel better now pushing 60 than I did throughout most of my 40’s and early 50’s!

April is cancer awareness month

Even though cancer is insidious and affects many of us throughout the whole year, April is designated as cancer awareness month here in Canada.  Since my mother and mother-in-law died of cancer in the mid-90s, I have done my part to raise awareness and money for cancer research by canvassing my neighbourhood each April.  My neighbours are so used to me knocking at their doors every April that many of them have the cheque prepared before I get there.  This is a good indicator of just how many people are affected and threatened by cancer.   Although I also get to chat with my neighbours, the fact that cancer is such a huge enemy to us all and needs to be conquered makes my annual trek through the neighbourhood most rewarding.

Canvassing neighbourhoods is just one of the many ways to raise awareness and money for cancer research.  Online donations are accepted around the world.  You can donate as an individual or a corporation, for yourself or in memory of a loved one.  You will receive a charitable receipt making your donations tax deductible. Donations can be one time, or recurring, arranged as monthly deductions from your account.  You can also bequeath a donation in your will.     Here are a few links to facilitate your donation:

Canadian Cancer Society    fights all cancers in Canada

Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation  fighting breast cancer in Canada

St Judes  fights childhood cancers

Alberta cancer society   money goes to cancer research, prevention and screening in Alberta

UK Cancer Research   fundraising to beat all cancers in the UK

American Cancer Society   fighting all cancers in the USA

National Breast Cancer  fighting breast cancer in the USA

Australian Cancer Research Foundation  fighting all cancers in Australia

 

 

 

As well as the many charitable organizations to donate money to, there are numerous charitable events you can attend or support to raise both awareness and money for cancer. Donating your time is as valuable as donating your money.

you can WALK:  in the REXAL ONE WALK TO CONQUER CANCER in support of the                                                Princess Margaret Cancer Center,

or the LIGHT THE NIGHT WALK in support of the Leukemia and                                                   Lymphoma Society of Canada.  This takes place in 11 cities throughout                                         Canada including  Calgary and Edmonton in Alberta, Halifax  in Nova Scotia,                             Montreal and Quebec City in Quebec, Winnipeg in Manitoba, Saskatoon in                                 Saskatchewan, Vancouver in British Columbia, and London, Toronto and                                     Ottawa in Ontario.

One of my personal favourites is the 5th annual curling bonspiel entitled  ENDS for an END to CANCER .  My son and his fiancèe are involved in this fundraiser at the Richmond Curling Club, their home club here in the Ottawa area.  Although I do not participate in the curling at this event, I do donate a gift certificate from my gardening company for the silent auction, one of the  many ways they are raising money to support the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation…

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Please donate money, time or support  to any charity or charitable event supporting cancer research, treatments and care for its victims.  This April or any other month of the year; together we can make a difference in the fight against cancer.

Market Surveys

surveys

This article/post is another one I wrote specifically for someone I met on Freelanced.  The problem is I wrote it and he used/sold it, but never paid me for it.  I learned a valuable lesson the hard way.  So, here is the article…

One of the best forms of market research is the survey.  It is the best because it is simple, can be inexpensive, and designed to obtain the specific data needed for analysis.  Surveys can be employed to ask questions, to identify customer satisfaction, to gauge the introduction of a new product, or simply to collect quantitative data.

An effective survey design is both artistic and scientific, asking the right questions to gather the correct type of data that is needed for research. For example, if charts are an integral part of the research to be reported, questions asked should require numerical answers.  On the other hand, if the research to be reported requires customer feedback including comments and observations, the survey must consist of open-ended questions that encourage opinions in the form of written words.

If your report on the research is an annual or repetitive event, make sure the questions are kept consistent to keep interpretations of the questions from changing.  In annual reports, consumers like to see comparative data so they can visualize changes.  If the questions change, even slightly, the data may be skewed significantly.

To be able to compare marketing trends between demographics in your report, add a category to the survey so those who are completing the surveys must identify what country, region or other category they represent, with the choice of responses in this category based on the demographics to be compared.  If this is planned for ahead in the design of the survey, the charts and graphs in the final reports will easily be able to reflect this important differentiation.

To ensure other members of the company are in the loop, especially in the case of a new product that they might be affected by, be sure to get their opinions on what they would like to learn from the survey by suggesting questions to be included.  Also get them to sign off on their approval of the basic concepts of the survey before the final draft is started to avoid possible misconceptions later.

Lastly, test the survey out on family members, friends, and co-workers to see how long it takes them to complete it, and then edit the final draft of the survey quite ruthlessly, keeping the questions both simple and direct, since a drop in the response rate is almost guaranteed to happen if the survey consists of more than forty questions or takes longer than 10 minutes to complete.

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Market Research

market research

Surveys and focus groups are used to gather data about potential customer and clients as well as the competition in the market your business is in.  There are many ways to gather this data and then analyze it to facilitate business decisions.  This process of gathering and analyzing data is called market research. Although it can be expensive, market research that is properly executed can greatly improve a business’ chance of success.  Market research can be broken down into primary research and secondary research.

Primary vs Secondary Research

Primary research is generally more expensive, and takes longer to conduct, but is more conclusive and is essential to get answers to specific questions.  Secondary research involves collecting data from reports already published by reputable sources.  This type of research is less expensive because it is easily accessible to everyone.  Magazines, newspapers, and computer websites are all examples of secondary research sources.

Qualitative vs Quantitative Research

Primary research can be further broken down into qualitative and quantitative research.  Qualitative usually refers to small target groups where the data gained provides direction but not predictions.  Quantitative research on the other hand provides a more statistical type of data that can then be analyzed to predict future trends and patterns.

Surveys

Surveys are a quantitative form of primary market research.  They are a simple way to collect data by phone, email or regular mail through a postal service.  To make a survey, be sure to use simple but specific questions, targeting a specific audience of potential customers or clients.  Survey costs can be minimalized by having a current employee design the survey and analyze the data.  Costs will obviously vary depending on the size and method of survey with email surveys the least expensive due to the lack of postage and printing costs.

Focus Groups

Focus groups are a qualitative form of primary market research, involving a small group of chosen people that meet specific criteria.  This pre-screened group are then asked to participate in discussions of relevant topics lead by a moderator who can record the discussion while guiding participants to share the reasons for their opinions.   The cost of focus groups can be exorbitant though, since it is advisable to use experienced, objective moderators and hold the focus group outside of the workplace.

Conclusion

Market research involving surveys and focus groups is necessary in today’s competitive business world.  The research can range from inexpensive, informal and simple strategies for small businesses to costly, time consuming, and complicated experiences for large conglomerates.  Regardless of the size and scope of the research, the methods are similar.

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Get Help with Assignments

homework

 

College and university students struggling to get assignments completed and submitted on time can easily find help online these days.   Many times students are required to take courses they do not want to as part of their degree programs.  Many hours are spent trying to understand course material they are not interested in but must submit assignments for.  Math and science courses are the prime example of courses that some schools require even though the knowledge in these subjects is not necessary for many degrees. This seemingly unfair practice can often lead to frustration and stress, sometimes causing students to drop out of school.   Fortunately, in today’s computerized era, there are many experts available online to help students around the world with just about any subject.

Online experts offer high quality paper writing services on most school subjects at any grade level. These experts understand the quantity and quality of work that today’s students require keeping up with and successfully completing their studies.   The assistance provided by the degree holding experts found online is always professional, accurate, punctual, and confidential.  Assignment and homework experts offer online assistance twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  Communication with them is typically open through email or live chat lines.   Many homework assistance and research paper writing services can be accessed around the world thanks to modern technology and computers.

Prices for assignment and homework experts are typically very reasonable, competitive and also very affordable.   Many secure payment options are available including the use of PayPal and most credit cards.  Some companies also offer special discounts to their repeat customers. One hundred percent satisfaction is usually guaranteed or any money paid is refunded in full.

Students at college and university are often short on time.  Research papers, assignments, and other forms of homework can take up many of their after class hours.   These stressful situations can be alleviated with online help provided by the use of assignment and homework experts.  Professional assistance from the qualified individuals of any assignment expert seems to be well worth the money spent.

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