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Are phones raising our kids?

A suave and debonair man gets into his vehicle, but it’s obvious he is not paying attention to his driving because as he drifts out of his lane, his vehicle gives him a warning sound.

Then as he mindlessly carries on — he does not pay attention to another car coming up beside him, so once again he is alerted by an alarm tone.

And then, as if that’s not bad enough, he totally ignores the fact that he is rapidly approaching the garbage truck in front of him. But in this case, not only does he get pinged with a tone, now the brakes automatically come on for him.

So, with an exaggerated sigh of relief, this clueless driver lives to see another day. After all, he has had a very hard day.

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Is a gluten-free lifestyle right for you?

We have all heard the gluten-free hype and one cannot help but notice the influx of gluten-free products in the grocery store aisles. I often get asked by patients: is gluten-free a healthier diet to follow or is it just a fad?

As a result of much publicity and mainstream media, the gluten-free movement is certainly in part a “fad,” but gluten-free diets may also be a healthier option for some individuals.

So, with all the buzz surrounding this diet, you may be wondering what exactly is gluten? Gluten is a protein found in many grains, including wheat, barley, spelt and rye. As the name suggests, gluten imparts an elastic-like quality to dough and a soft, chewy texture to baked goods.

Although it encompasses everything pleasing to the pallet, it may not be the most beneficial to your health. There is no question that a gluten-free diet is essential to the health of someone with a severe autoimmune reaction to gluten, such as celiac disease. However, what about for the rest of us?

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New Year’s health resolutions: buyer beware!

It’s the classic scenario.

Christmas holidays are chalk full of spending time with loved ones, relaxing, making snowmen and overindulging.

Whether it’s eating too much turkey or overdoing it on the Christmas baking, many people break out the stretchy pants during the holidays, swearing that they will resume a healthy lifestyle in the New Year.

For many, the New Year usually becomes a time of reflection and re-evaluation.

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Making it all add up

Whenever the education experts (including media pundits), government bureaucrats and parents would all line up to bemoan the latest international test scores of Alberta students — and then proceed to blame the teachers for them — I would always tell myself how glad I was that my kids were safely out of school.

And then I started having grandchildren. Does this mean I have to be invested in the next round of the “new math” debate, all over again? I guess so.

Here’s a question from an international Grade 8 level math test: Find 1/3 minus 1/4.

Four possible answers below the question are presented to test whether the student knows the method to finding the answer, which is 4 minus 3 over 3 times 4 (that’s 1/12 in the old math I was taught).

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Wellness Foundation can’t deal with what kills us

Does Alberta need another arms-length or autonomous foundation, funded by a dedicated tax levy, to convince us that better lifestyle choices can lead to better health?

Apparently many of us do. An informal coalition of communities and organizations representing fully a million Albertans is asking the provincial government to create a new foundation that would fund wellness initiatives around the province.

It’s easy enough to get those kind of numbers if you ask municipalities to join your cause. It’s not like Red Deer city council, for instance, would be using any of its own money to promote this initiative. So last week’s decision to join the coalition doesn’t come with much of a downside.

Quite the opposite. The upside potential for the city is huge, considering what is spent here by the city and partner organizations dealing with the outfall of illnesses and conditions that better lifestyle choices can easily prevent.

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