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In Sickness and in Health

by Lorrie - 0 Comment(s)

From time to time some kind of medical issue will come up in our family and a little research on the best path to take is called for. Like many of you, I sometimes turn to the internet for some quick research. Unfortunately, lots of unreliable sites may be found along with legitimate ones. Thankfully there are the E-library resources at Calgary Public Library. The Library carefully chooses authoritative e-resources with the most reliable and up-to-date information. Under Health and Wellness in the E-Library there is an array of easily accessible medical information, ranging from technical academic information in MEDLINE to a more consumer friendly site in the Health and Wellness Resource Center.

These resources are not just about a healthy body: there are sites that cover the mind in the Psychology & Behavioral Science Collection and Consumer Health Complete. There are issues happening in every family and, more times than not, everything happens at once. Dad is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease just as the school psychologist says that Timmy has been diagnosed with ADD. Convenient and private, using the Calgary Public Library's E-Library from home is a great way to dig a little deeper and inform yourself on these issues. It may be helpful to check out the benefits of Yoga or Tai Chi for stress relief for yourself.

Another very helpful e-resource to look at is Consumer Health Complete and its Drug and Herb Information section. This resource gives in-depth information about each drug, its uses, side effects and how it interacts with other medication. This can be very handy if you find yourself dealing with a complex illness that requires multiple medications. If you would prefer alternative sources for drugs it will help explore herbal remedies as well.

Another E-Library resource, the Family Behavior Toolbox can help families with issues that arise with kid’s behavior and socialization. Sometimes it is hard to know if little Sarah’s potty mouth is just a stage kids go through or an indicator of a more serious problem.

With your Calgary Public Library card, access to authoritative sources is free and convenient. Reliable information can be a great remedy for worry. It is stressful enough dealing with a medical issue without trying to sort through misinformation, using the Health and Wellness tools found in the E-library at the Calgary Public Library can help.

The Good, the Bad and the Very, Very Ugly

by Katherine - 3 Comment(s)

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been reading three books that vary tremendously in terms of subject and scope.

The Good: salads: beyond the bowl, by Mindy Fox. My only complaint is that there aren’t pictures provided for every recipe. But otherwise, this is a delicious book! Tonight, I’m having potatoes and green peas with pesto. YUM! Fox encourages readers to make gorgeous salads from all sorts of greens, of course, but also incorporates fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds, grains, eggs, meats and more. If you’re bored of arugula, or you’d like to be the most popular guest at the picnic, check this one out!

The Bad: Six Weeks to OMG: Get Skinnier than all Your Friends, by Venice A. Fulton

Did I say “bad”? I meant awful. If you need me to tell you why competing against your friends, skipping breakfast and bathing in cold water might not be entirely sustainable (or healthy) routines, then you’re in trouble. And so are the readers of this…wait for it: crap. There – I said it. Dear readers, in nearly 400 Slice of Calgary posts, I have never once written a scathing book review, but this one deserves it. Fulton – an “expert in nutrition and exercise physiology” doesn’t provide readers with his credentials – neither in this book, nor in his blog. An “expert”, eh? Kind of like how I’ve got 65 pairs of shoes and therefore am a podiatrist, right? Skip this fat-phobic trash and do what you already know you need to do: cut out the junk, get your body moving, and eat your veggies.

The Very, Very Ugly: People who Eat Darkness: Love, Grief and a Journey into Japan’s Shadows, by Richard Llyod Parry. I never read true crime, but was drawn to this book because of the review on its back cover: “Utterly compelling...comes with a cast-iron guarantee that you will read to the very end”. I wondered what was so compelling about it, so I read the first page. 224 pages later, it was midnight and time for me to go to bed, but I couldn’t stand not knowing what happened to Lucie Blackman – or what would happen next. This is a gruesome story, to be sure. But it’s not solely about the young British woman who moves to Japan and is abducted, killed, and dismembered. It’s about her family dynamics, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police, misogyny in Japanese culture, and the way that we treat victims and survivors of crime. The journalism is exhaustive and the writing is fantastic!

Need a suggestion for your next read? Chat with your librarian, sign up for our monthly newsletters, or check out our other blogs!

ā€œ...and this is my gardenā€

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

I love documentaries. And I'm suggesting that if you see only one documentary this summer, you make it “...and this is my garden”. It’s not new. It’s not big budget (how many documentaries are, though?). But it’s fantastic, fantastic, fantastic!

Actually, I cried as I watched it. It’s not a sad story at all - on the contrary, it’s about an entire community that benefits when its children are taught to tend their own gardens. This is a film about the earth, community, wisdom sharing, food, and self sufficiency, but I can’t describe how uplifting it truly is. After seeing it, I was energized and hopeful and really overwhelmed by the beauty of what can be accomplished with nothing more than water, sunlight, and care.

You must check it out for yourself! We've got it in our catalogue, and here's the film's website.

Skinny, Skinnier, Skinniest...

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

If you’re a documentary fan, then check out Thin, an amazing little film from HBO. Thin explores the progression of several women who are residents in an eating disorder recovery centre in the United States. One resident is a wayward teen and another is a university educated psychiatric nurse; it quickly becomes apparent that anorexia doesn’t discriminate based on age or education. But, I wonder – given that nearly every one of the residents was Caucasian – if there are some patterns related to ethnicity...? But, I digress...

The women in the centre are each close to or under(!) a hundred pounds and still believe that they have weight to lose. They obsess over every morsel ingested, and then try their damndest to eliminate those morsels by either vomiting or using diuretics, or squeezing the food out of their feeding tubes (yuck!). Sometimes they hide food rather than eating it at all. It’s an enormous struggle – and a tearful event – when one woman is obliged to eat a whole cupcake. With psyches this complex, it’s no wonder that the women have to receive treatment from a whole team of practitioners: counselors, doctors, dieticians, and others.

The film is really well made. It definitely shows the women in an unvarnished light, and the viewer will at times feel both repulsed and sympathetic. But ultimately, this is not a film about anorexia. It does not explain how anorexia comes about or can be prevented; it does not speculate about why or how these particular women fell victim to such skewed views of body and food. Rather, this is a film about women; about feelings; about obsession. And like a lot of other HBO productions, there is no happy ending offered. Indeed, the fates that befall some of the women who are forced to leave the centre are quite saddening. But this isn’t suggary scripted TV; it’s real life. Er - I guess I should say: It’s not TV. It’s HBO. So be prepared for a bit of grit.

Browse some of our documentaries today! And if docs aren’t your thing, then check out HBO’s dramatic shows. Six Feet Under, The Sopranos and Rome are all fabulous!

Baby's first Audiobook

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Sure, I’d taken out books on CD before. But, I’d never downloaded one from Overdrive, our provider of free e-books and audiobooks.

Now that I’m finally(!) an iphone user, I’m anxious to download as much free content as I can – everything from university courses to music, movies and books.

The first title that I downloaded was The China Study, and I listened to it over the course of a few evenings, as I walked around my community. Next, I might check out fiction, or perhaps some cookbooks. Downloading these items was so easy! You really do not need to be tech savvy to click or tap your way to hundreds of new titles. Just download the free Overdrive app, and you’re off to the races.

If you need any assistance, just give us a call (403-260-2600) or strike up a chat with us, from our homepage.

And if you haven’t yet heard of The China Study, then may I suggest you make it your first download? Chock full of staggering epidemiological research into the effect of dietary protein on rates of disease in North America and China! I especially recommend it to those for whom a family history of cancer is a concern, and those who may be evaluating or re-evaluating their intake of meat.

On Pet Loss

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

During the last few months, four(!) of my friends have lost beloved pets. Which really means, of course, that they have lost members of their family. Pets give us unconditional love, and maybe even more importantly, they allow us to love them unconditionally – and it feels so good! Pets are witnesses to our lives; they give us free therapy and countless hours of entertainment. When I recently adopted a cat, my aunt told me to pay attention to how many times I would smile over the next few weeks, and it’s incredible. I am a much happier person with my sweet girl than I was without her.

If you’re grieving the loss of a pet, pop into your local library and check out some of our collections. This title (just one of many!) is suggested in memory of a very special rabbit named Marty. Available in paper and e-book format.

Going Home: Finding Peace when Pets Die, by Jon Katz

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