Monday, November 29, 2010

My Obsession with Dental Hygiene

I kinda got stuck with not such a strong mix of dental DNA. Being half-British and half-Japanese speaks for itself in terms of quality of teeth genes.

As such, I am prone to cavities. I am quite envious of that minority of people who have that amazing dental heredity and have never had a cavity despite only irregular brushing and rarely flossing.

My routine consists of flossing on a daily basis. Aileen laughs at how I go a little too hardcore with the floss flicking action, but I just want to take any measures necessary to disrupt those bacterial colonies that grow on enamel. I love dental floss, and always make sure to keep either an extra pack of floss or specialty toothpicks at work, in the car or in my coat. It's good dental hygiene and man, is it satisfying!

I have experimented with many different manual toothbrush techniques in the past: small circles followed by brushing to the crown, dry toothbrushing followed by wet, small vibrations using a very loose grip, dental pastes vs gels vs powders...I've even tried ambidextrous brushing to ensure that each quadrant is equally brushed.

Despite all of this time I put into my dental care routine, many times I visit the dentist and hear about some new "small" dental carie developing. It drives me nuts and makes me obsess even more about refining my brushing technique.

Finally, I gave in reluctantly and invested in an electric toothbrush...and let me tell you, my teeth have never felt so clean! I think I may overdo it sometimes going well past the indicator timer that tells you you have spent enough time brushing your pearly yellows. Best part is that my dental check-ups have been much more positive since.

Debate is still open about fluoridated versus non-fluoridated toothpastes. Aileen and I do try to choose toothpastes that are sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)-free. SLS functions as a foaming agent, but is quite harsh to use on mucous membranes like your gingiva. Some people (although this is purely empirical information) find it can aggravate or even cause canker sores.

I would recommend Tom's of Maine toothpastes, which use natural ingredients, and give you the flexibility of choosing fluoride vs fluoride-free, or SLS vs SLS-free, which is nice, as well as Jason Naturals, which has a nice line of toothpastes that are both chemical-free and SLS-free.

Also important to have a fantastic dentist. We love our dentist, Dr.Jerry Vasilakos. He's always up in his new dental gadgetry that helps to monitor the state of your dental health, and has some of the best dental hygienists around. Aileen and I both agreed that we have never had such thorough dental cleanings till we went to Dr.Jerry.

To summarize:
Get an electric toothbrush.
Try out some natural toothpastes.
Get an electric toothbrush.
Make sure you have a great dentist.
And get an electric toothbrush!

Something That is ALWAYS a Good Idea

I realized that I have never once left the gym unhappy.  Going to the gym is ALWAYS a good idea!!!  Makoto despises the fact that I over use the words alwaaaaaaaaaaays (and neeeeever) but I really do think that going to the gym is always a good idea.  Although, it's important to learn how to adjust what activities you do at the gym for your mood and how your body is feeling.

After having dinner on Friday night, Makoto and I were still determined to go for a late night workout.  This seemed almost impossible after our 2nd glass of wine and a very satisfying dinner.  BUT, at around 10pm, we somehow found ourselves at our gym.

I usually have a hairy canary when Makoto suggests going to the gym at night because it usually means that it'll take me too long to wind down and go to sleep.  What I have since figured out is that I shouldn't feel pressured to have a high intensity workout every single time I go to the gym.  My night workouts usually include a nice little walk on the treadmill (20min) followed with stretch exercises on the mat (15-20min).....followed by an awesome 20min eucalyptus steam room pow wow with my locker room crew!  Even if you are too exhausted to have a mini workout, go stretch.....or spend time pampering yourself with a nice steam....or even spending an extra 5 minutes to meticulously apply that extra hydrating conditioner to your hair.  It feels great to take care of yourself!  

It was such a perfect way to wind down after a hectic week at the clinic! 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Favorite Blogs

A scary thing happened to me last week.  An afterwork event forced me to leave my laptop at the office and I swear I had the shakes all night from internet withdrawl!!  So sad.'s not thaaaaaaaaaaaaat bad but there are definitely some online shopping sites and certain blogs that I love to follow!  Here are some of my favorite health related blogs (because I'm sure you already know that I loooooooooooove Can't. Help. It.)

1.  Holistic Vanity ( - I am crazy about natural skincare and Kristen Ma is definitely one of my fave natural skincare health gurus!  She owns Pure and Simple Spa in Toronto (which was just voted the best spa from NOW Toronto...YAY!!) and I couldn't live without my deep cleansing facial from Slavica at their Yorkville location.  She is always trying out new products, gadgets and gluten free recipes and gives an enlightening view on how ayruvedic medicine can give you clues about the health of your skin.

2.  Gwendolyn Honey ( - This is a new blog by writer Stacey Lindsay.  She is a wealth of knowlege when it comes to natural products, studies, tips and recipes and her sincere journey to live a healthy and happy life is conveyed through her writing.

3.  Gluten Free Goddess ( - This is a blog that I recommend countless times every single day I practice.  It has great tips on how to start eating gluten free as well as delicious gluten free recipes for every meal....including brunch!  Check out all the gluten free breads (her gluten free sandwich bread recipe is amaaaaaazing), cakes and even cupcake recipes she has!

Annnnnnnnnnnnnd....if you are a coffee lover and want to find out where all the good quality coffee is in the city, check out  You're already going to have that cup of java so make it a good quality, delicious one!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Movember: Promoting Men's Health Awareness Through Moustaches

The whole idea behind Movember was a dumb guy idea...but the awesome thing about dumb guy ideas is that every other guy gets them and loves them.

Movember was supposedly started over beers by a few blokes in Melbourne, Australia in 2003. The idea was to grow your mo (moustache) for the month of November (starting with a clean shave on October 31st), to raise awareness for men's health. This event has now ballooned into a worldwide phenomenon supporting prostate cancer awareness, the ugly stat being that 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Last year, the Movember charity raised $47 million worldwide, with Canada being the second largest fundraising country worldwide behind Australia. Good on ya, mates.

Being a healthcare provider and a fellow member of the male species, I observe and understand the difficulties men have in taking charge of their health. In growing my pathetic excuse for a moustache (mind you, I did start a week late...) I am supporting the brotherhood of men (the Mo Bros) throughout Toronto and the world to raise awareness for men's health.

Men do tend to struggle with being proactive in their health and getting check ups from their health professionals. I admire women for taking charge of their health and being on top of annual physicals and bloodwork, and being courageous enough to try to find out if anything is amiss in their body. I also admire women who bring (or sometimes drag) their reluctant male partners into the office because they care. And, of course, I admire all the men who are brave enough to go on their own for a health check up, are open to listening to messages their body is telling them, and take a proactive role in preventing opposed to visiting the doctor after a problem has already arisen.

To the Mo Bros and Mo Sistas (not women with moustaches as some people think, but women who support the promotion of men's health through the Movember movement), here are a few health reminders for the dudes in your lives:
  1. Get your annual bloodwork and physical done...and yes, annual means EVERY year
  2. If you don't have a family doctor yet, take the time to find one that is accepting new patients...try the website for the Health Care Connect which helps Ontarians find a family health care provider.
  3. Check your testicles every month for any unusual lumps (takes 2 minutes)
  4. Over 50? Time for a colonoscopy and prostate exam.
  5. 45 years old with a family history of prostate cancer? Time for a prostate exam.
  6. Eating plenty of vegetables and fruit will not make you less of a man.
  7. If you avoid soy products because you are worried you will grow breasts, know that beer is also estrogenic like soy.

Although my version of Movember, so far, should be renamed Dirtyupperlip-ember and Aileen is supporting only the reason behind this, but not necessarily my new look, I'm happy to keep going with this until November 30th in support of men's health.

Happppy Movember!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

How to Make Yourself More Happy AND Burn Some Excess Calories

SING!!!  That's right!!  Belting out your favorite tune not only helps to release endorphins, your brain's natural feel good chemical, it can also burn up to 100 calories in an hour!  Shake your booty while singing and instantly double that calorie count.

Being Korean, I am lucky to have a karaoke gene encoded in my DNA.  This does not mean that I am an amazing just means that I have no shame when it comes to belting out a tune in private or in public.  Makoto is half Japanese so I was convinced that he would also be a karaoke star but it took a little persuasion to get him to come out of his shell.  On our first trip to Korea, I dragged him to a karaoke bar (Asian Karaoke bars are a little rent private rooms....this is mostly because we are all mic hogs and sharing the stage with a large group of strangers and having to patiently wait our turn would be out of the question).  At first, he insisted on just listening to me while he shook the tambourine and drank soju.  Maybe it was the liquid courage or the discovery that he could karaoke to Eminem, Snoop Dog, CCR, Metallica, The Backstreet Boys and, of course, Vanilla Ice but the man is now addicted.

Subsequently, we now own both Rap Star and Sing Star for our PS3.  The greatest thing about karaokeing is that you quickly realize that you don't have to be a good singer.  It's all about having fun and just letting go!  So start the day with singing your favorite song in the shower (the acoustics are faaaaaaaaaaantastic) or organizing a karaoke night with your friends!  Toooooooooooo much fun!
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