March 24th, 2015

Get the Skinny on Carbs

gts-01Carbohydrates, or carbs, have been the most talked about type of food over the last couple of years, due mainly to the recent popularity of low-carb diets. The idea of reducing carbs as an easy way to lose weight has created quite a buzz. However, people with diabetes must carefully balance the foods they eat for good nutrition and optimum blood sugar control. A radical reduction in carbs is not currently recommended.


March 23rd, 2015

Mastering Monitoring

mm-01To properly control your diabetes, you must know your blood sugar numbers.

Testing is the only way to discover whether your blood sugar is too high, too low, or just right. There are two common tests to assist you in monitoring your blood sugar levels—the daily blood sugar testing you do yourself and the glycosylated hemoglobin (A1C) test, which is done in a laboratory and provides a reading of your average blood sugar over the past three months. You need both of these tests in order to get a true picture of how well you are controlling your blood sugar.


March 20th, 2015

Medicine Never Tasted So Good!


Kids often think medicine comes in two flavours—gross and *blecch*. It makes medicine time a struggle for moms. But there’s a solution!

FLAVORx has created custom-flavoured medicine! For a small fee ($2.99), our London Drugs pharmacists can flavour your children’s medicine. That means less fighting, less spitting out and less stress (for mom).

The best part is your kids can choose! Go here and see how Fred the Flavorbot helps you choose flavour selections for over 200 medicines.

To get more information on flavour your children’s medicine, talk to your local London Drugs pharmacist—visit our website for locations.

February 26th, 2015

March is Pharmacist Awareness Month

Expanded Scope

Pharmacists are taking on expanded roles and are increasingly being recognized as the medication management experts of the health care team. Here is chart from the Canadian Pharmacists Association showing what pharmacists are doing in each province.

Pharmacists are the most accessible health care providers for Canadians, yet many still unaware of the breadth of health services they now provide.

Pharmacist Awareness Month aims to help improve the public’s understanding of the increasing role pharmacists play in the provision of health care services and the tangible benefits they bring as health care providers for Canadians.

For many years, Pharmacists have been taking on expanded roles in the Canadian health care system. Today’s pharmacist is highly respected as the medication management expert of the health care team. They collaborate with patients, their families and other health care providers to deliver a range of innovative services, including medication reviews, chronic disease management, immunization services and wellness programs.


February 23rd, 2015

Five Foods of Mexico

mexico_221851948Inspired by a recent trip to Mexico, this blog post discusses fabulous fare from that southern hot spot! Mexican cuisine uses many delicious foods and spices but five that really stand out to me are:

  • Avocados
  • Tomatoes
  • Beans
  • Corn, and
  • Peppers

Read on for a brief overview of these tempting ingredients and try a recipe or two at the end of this article.


February 17th, 2015

London Drugs Osteoporosis Screening Clinics in Victoria

Osteoporosis Screening Clinics return for two days at London Drugs in Tillicum Centre


As individuals continue to focus on their health there are many tools available to provide guidance on health goals. One area of health people may not consider is the health of their bones. London Drugs is announcing the return of their Osteoporosis Screening Clinics to give individuals an overview of their bone health. For two days only, London Drugs Victoria customers will have an opportunity to book an appointment with a pharmacist.


February 2nd, 2015

Getting to Know the “Forgotten Organ” in Your Body

You are made of approximately 10 trillion body cells. As if that wasn’t amazing enough, your body is host to many trillions of microorganisms such as bacteria, yeasts, viruses and fungi. These live all over and in your body, with a large contingent found in your “gut,” also known as the gastrointestinal system. The gut runs a complex path from the mouth to the esophagus, stomach, small then large intestine, and finally the rectum and anus. The roughly 100 trillion microorganisms that inhabit the gut (mostly in the large intestine) exist “symbiotically” with humans. This means we provide them with a place to live and they help us digest certain foods, help provide a balance against unhealthy microorganisms, create vitamins K and biotin, and perhaps, even help regulate our body weight. These trillions of organisms can even be considered an essential organ in the body, as important as any other.

Kashi granola bars

You may already be aware that bacteria digest foods we don’t break down well. Beans are indeed a “musical fruit” as gut bacteria process the stachyose (a natural sugar) that was not digested by the human gut. In fact, this sugar and other carbohydrates such as fiber, are important foods for your gut bacteria. The addition of “prebiotics” to foods such as yogurt and bread is intended to support the growth of these bacteria.

A common prebiotic is the fibre “inulin.” You will find this in Kashi granola bars and some flavours of Nature’s Path cereal, available at London Drugs.

Nature’s Path cereal

You may also have heard how important the balance of “good” to “bad” microbes is. Indeed, of the trillions of organisms in our bodies, not all are beneficial for us. A good example is Clostridium difficile. This bacteria is fairly widespread in nature but only causes problems under certain circumstances, such as, for example, when you take an antibiotic to treat an infection. In this case, the drug destroys some of the normal, helpful bacteria as well as the bacteria causing the illness. Without enough healthy bacteria, C. difficile can grow out of control. For this and other reasons, it is very important not to overuse antibiotics.

Bacteria also help with our nutrition. One example of this is vitamin K. This vitamin is required for normal blood clotting. Foods, such as leafy green vegetables, provide about half the vitamin K required for healthy adults while gut bacteria (good old E. coli) produce the rest. Interestingly, newborns lack the bacteria in their intestines to produce vitamin K so they are usually given vitamin K supplements, either as a shot or by mouth, before discharge from the hospital.

The idea that weight could be affected by gut microbes, particularly bacteria, has been gaining traction in recent years. Studies have been done on mice and on humans, and while there are no absolutes yet, it appears that leaner mice and people have different types of gut bacteria as well as a more diverse population- that is, more types of bacteria. And at least one study suggests that a high fiber, low fat diet is more supportive of microbes that promote a healthy body weight.

The Human Microbiome Project (HMP), sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, was established in 2008, with the mission of defining our microbial community and analyzing its role in human health and disease. This project is made possible with the help of thousands of volunteers who send in samples from their skin, mouth, feces and other sites. At least 10,000 different microbes have been identified. As the research proceeds, it will be possible to better understand which microbes are most useful for human health and perhaps how to help them flourish in our systems.

Stay tuned for more exciting developments about the “forgotten organ.” Anticipate a future where we think about our health and the health of trillions of our closest friends.

Barbara Allan RD

Registered Dietitian
Certified Diabetes Educator

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