Posts made in December, 2013

Not a creature was stirring…

Posted by on Dec 25, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Wishing you and yours’ joy this holiday season! See you in 2014!


Joy word written in red ribbon on white background

Read More

Best (and worst) of 2013? You decide!

Posted by on Dec 23, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments


It’s that time of year again when I start polling readers about Flashfree (and Guyside) — what you liked, what you disliked, what I/we can be doing better. So, I’m throwing it out there – share a link to the post that resonated the most, and that resonated the least, in the comments section. Tell me and my colleague Bob Le Drew what you would like to see more and less of in 2014. And don’t forget that we start a weekly Guyside in the New Year.

Your reward for your comments? a $25 Amazon gift card which will be drawn out of a hat on January 1.

Ready! Set! Soapbox….

Read More

Newsflash: MedPage Today warns about OTC thyroid supplements

Posted by on Dec 20, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments


I’ve long been asked to write about thyroid issues and I’ve avoided the topic for several reasons, one of which is that it can be quite complicated to distinguish between common perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms such as fatigue, weight changes and hair loss and the very same that may be related to an underactive thyroid. Other symptoms may include changes in cognitive function (memory issues, anyone?) and depression.

A bit of background…

As we age, thyroid disorders become more pervasive. This is due to functional changes in the endocrine system — the collection of glands the produce hormones that control growth, metabolism, sexual development and function (including the thyroid gland) — that result in certain tissues and glands producing less of a certain hormone or producing it at a slower rate. The thyroid in particular, can cause problems because signs are not always readily apparent. And when they are caught, they may be easily confused with the most common complaints of menopause, which is why the involvement of a healthcare professional is so critical.

Yet, MedPage Today is reporting that women who take over the counter supplements to boost thyroid function may actually be placing themselves at risk for severe hyperthyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid produces too much hormone, which can lead to rapid weight loss, irritability and nervousness, sweating, fatigue and a rapid heartbeat. The underlying reason for the associated risk in OTCs is that they contain unlabeled levels of two main thyroid hormones — T4 (thyroxine), and T3 (trilodothyronine).

The article also points to other contaminants, such as iodine and heavy metals.

I encourage you to visit MedPage Today (you may need to register) and read the piece. as Staff Writer Kristina Fiore’s expert source points out, it is especially critical for women who are looking for a quick fix for their thyroid issues to avoid supplements at all cost and see a physician who will monitor and measure hormone levels to insure that they are just right. These drugs walk a fine line when it comes to dosing and the gap between an effective dose and a lethal one is quite narrow.

If you are uncertain about your symptoms and you are not finding relief with standard menopause therapy strategies, please see a qualified endocrinologist. You may be mistaking menopause for something more serious but often equally manageable by a health professional.

Read More

Guyside: Don’t let winter weigh you down

Posted by on Dec 18, 2013 in bone health, diet, exercise, Guyside, health, general, men, weight, weight gain | 0 comments

Picture of the Rideau Canal

There may not be a five-mile skating rink like Ottawa’s Rideau Canal in your town. But there are lots of opportunities for physical activity, even when the days are short and temperatures drop.

Where I live, this is the darkest time of the year. Instead of a beautiful sunrise when I wake up, it’s dark. When my partner is walking home from her office, it’s also dark. The layers of clothing get added to. The gloves and the puffy jackets come out of the basement.  And the road bike gets brought inside and put on the trainer. Even though the winter solstice in December marks the is a welcome “bottom” to the year, before and after, the days are dark and short and cold.

When I was a kid, winter was the time for snow forts and snowmen and skating in the community rink while Anne Murray tunes scratched over the PA system.

Now, winter is the time of year where I have to shovel the driveway, wear heavy boots that I don’t like, and the time when I can’t ride (I know I could ride, but I’ve never been a winter cyclist type).

When it’s snowy and cold, It’s easy to find that hot new series to watch, to light a fire, pop some popcorn, and wait for spring. It’s just too tempting to simply hibernate in the house over the winter months. And it’s also a terrible idea when it comes to men’s health.

In Canada, studies show that people are nearly twice as likely to participate in any physical activity in summer compared to winter. And if you look at the sporting activities Canadians participate in, only two of the top 10 are winter sports. In Canada, it shouldn’t be surprising to anyone that ice hockey bumps up winter sports participation numbers, and even with the burgeoning popularity of women’s hockey it’s still predominantly male.

And the irony of all this is that when you exercise outdoes in the winter you burn up to 31% more calories than in warmer weather.

So, some tips for guys like me who don’t play hockey or ski for getting out there:

  • “There’s no bad weather, just bad clothing” is an a age-old proverb. So if you’re going to invest, invest in good layers of clothing. Go to a store that specializes in outdoor gear for winter so that you can benefit from knowledgeable staff. Fitness magazine has some tips on how to dress for outdoor exercise.
  • If you’re a beer-league hockey player, don’t just rely on the hockey to keep you fit. The start-stop nature of hockey can be dangerous for people who don’t have a good base of fitness.
  • Some sports — hockey and skiing come to mind — can be pricey to participate in.  But skates and snowshoes are cheaper than fully kitting out for playing hockey or going downhill, and walking (with appropriate footwear that will keep you stable) is the cheapest form of all. I live in Ottawa, where for several weeks each year the Rideau Canal turns into a free five-mile skating rink (your hot chocolate will cost you, though). Also, rent before you buy if you aren’t sure if you’re going to stick to a given activity.
  • Find a buddy. There will be times when you can’t drag your own sorry butt out for that workout, which is when you need the nagging, cajoling, and potential bribery of a friend to get you going. Use that help, and offer it to your workout buddy.
  • If you just can’t stand winter, then bring your sport indoors. My road bike is hooked up to a trainer, so I have the opportunity to ride inside. Other people go to spinning classes to benefit from the motivation of others suffering around them (N.B.: One discovery from spinning — all that sweat that evaporates when you’re riding the bike outside turns into a puddle beneath the bike when you spin. Be warned.)
  • Even if you don’t hit the gym in summer, many will offer “winter membership” or monthly memberships.

If your tendency, like mine, is to go to ground when exercising is no longer just a matter of tossing on a t-shirt, shorts, and going, then you, like me, have to just work a little harder to not give in. Besides, drinking that cocoa will feel SO much better if you skated five miles to get it.

Read More

The promise of the menopause skin cream – part 2

Posted by on Dec 16, 2013 in aging, appearance | 0 comments



Do you remember Mikey, the kid who didn’t like anything, except Life cereal? Well, when it comes to menopausal promises, I’m just like Mikey. However, I am going to eat my words this month, words slamming Stratum C and the promise to restore the youthful glow. In October, I shared news about Stratum C, a new cream formulated specifically for menopause skin that had been shown to relax facial muscles AND build collagen, while simultaneously moisturizing, promoting elasticity and providing a radiant glow. After I slammed the manufacturers, they offered to send me a sample with the mutual understanding that I would try it for a month but that I made no promises.

The verdict? I love the way that Stratum C feels going on and I will state unequivocally that in this subject of one, it did appear to soften my lines and improve my skin’s moisture levels and appearance. Whether or not regular use would yield significant, lasting results is beyond my one month test but I will say that I liked it so much, that I’d be inclined to try it for a longer time period. However, I’m sticking by my guns with regard to Stratum C’s ultimate ability to reverse the ravishes of environment and natural aging. And while I will reiterate that there is absolutely no doubt that one of the peptides contained in this new cream and serum stimulates production of collagen (there are published studies demonstrating that), like a majority of dermatologists will tell you, a skin cream alone won’t turn back the signs of time permanently.

Keep in mind that, I only use skin products recommended by my dermatologist (I have rosacea and its accompanying acne issues). But guess what?  I’m ready to do some show and tell the next time I visit him.

Hey Forme Laboratories! I like it. And as you’ve come to learn, that’s pretty unusual when it comes to products geared toward menopause.



Read More