How To Get a Good Night’s Sleep

How To Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Top Tips For Maximizing Your Shuteye 

Jamie Bussin and Adarsh Shah


On Episode #138 of THE TONIC Talk Show, Adarsh Shah discussed the best ways to maximize your sleep experience. This is an excerpt from that discussion. For the full interview, please visit


What is a “good night’s sleep? It’s different for everyone. Research shows that for most adults it’s between 7 to 8 hours. But it can vary anywhere between 5 to 12 hours per night, depending on factors like your own personal sleep cycle. In 1929 it was discovered that our brain actually doesn’t turn off when we sleep, but rather goes through a series of activities: REM (which is the deeper sleep, during which it is harder to be woken up) and Non-REM. There is such a thing as too much sleep. The “deep sleep” that we need to regenerate comprises only 20%-25% of our total sleep.


Why do some people have difficulty falling asleep? Caffeine is a big factor. It’s a stimulant that can remain in the bloodstream for between 6-8 hours. Stress is another factor, particularly during Covid-19. People are worried about their health and that of their loved ones or financial stresses. Creating a calming  environment and managing your stress will help. 


How can we create a calming environment? I avoid watching television at night and not being on my device at least an hour before I want to go to sleep. Eliminating or avoiding the “blue light” from devices will have a physiological effect. I also turn the thermostat down to 18-22 degrees Celsius, which is the optimal range for sleep. 


How do we avoid waking up in the middle of the night? I try to remain cool. I also try to block out all light with blackout shades and I try not to have a heavy meal before I go to sleep. I would also recommend avoiding alcohol. Alcohol dehydrates you and interrupts the sleep cycle. It disrupts how you transition from Non-REM to REM sleep. Those interruptions to the sleep cycle throw your body off.


What is the biggest “sleep myth”? The idea that the older you are, the less you need to sleep. We know that infants or kids can sleep for 12 hours a day. As we get older that goes down. But when people move into their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s the thought  is that they need less sleep. That’s not true. We still need a solid 6-8 hours of sleep for the mind and the body to recuperate. People in that age bracket tend to get their sleep at different times, with naps or sleep breaks during the day. In a lot of tropical cultures that nap is part of the normal sleep cycle. As long as the afternoon naps aren’t too long you can still have a good night of sleep with those daytime naps to help your body recuperate. 


Adarsh Shah nurtured the rise of Ultramatic, the iconic Canadian brand of adjustable beds and maker of delightful wellness products.

Using Psychedelics To Treat Addictions

Using Psychedelics To Treat Addictions

5 Questions About The DMT Molecule

Jamie Bussin and Timothy Ko


In Episode #162 of THE TONIC Talk Show,  the CEO of Entheon Biomedical spoke about the efficacies of treating addictions with stabilized DMT molecules. This is an excerpt from that interview. The full interview can be found at


I think what’s driving this is the faults within the current medical system’s treatment of substance use and abuse. Our work addresses the limitations of the current medicalized treatment model for treating substance disorder. Societally we’re all bearing witness to those failures. In Vancouver alone, we have overdose deaths at a rate of 120 to 180 persons per month. Drug addictions and substance disorders tear at the fabric of society at every imaginable level. Hospital costs and policing is a drain. On a personal level it’s destructive to individuals and their families. All of the conventional models of treatments are extremely low on the efficacy rates,  as low as 5 to 10%. Stand-alone treatments for individuals can cost from $5,000 to $30,000;  some drug users will have 6 drug treatment stents in their life – often resulting in death.


Your company, Entheon, is taking a different approach. What is that? Trying to stabilize the patient with a variety of things. Whether it’s medication such as antidepressants, antipsychotics and psychedelics, so that they can do some introspective work such as psychotherapy, a 12 step-like therapy, with a view to assessing their internal make up, what their barriers are, what their catchments are so that they can rework that and get to a place of meaningful reformation of their internal characteristics and from there their behaviors will change. But the reality is that for a lot of drug abusers there is this intractable trauma that makes conventional methods difficult. As you delve deeper into their core truths, the trauma patients tend to retreat even further even into dissociation. We understand with psychedelics, that really key component of creating profound introspection, that epiphanic unearthing of core truths can’t just be delivered without context of a psychotherapy environment. We’re creating that network of support that precedes and follows the psychedelic experience to help optimize integration of that experience so the individual can have some consolidation, recontextualizing who they are, their belief systems, what motivates them and breaking through their traumatic barriers so they can have different behaviours, that aren’t driven by pain or fear.


Why are you using the DMT molecule for this purpose? DMT is the active ingredient in Ayahuasca – a psychoactive “jungle brew” employed generally in South American cultures to treat “diseases of despair” – the existential feeling of being lost. The Ayahuasca experience creates this massively profound introspective journey where the individual will have these deeply personal experiences. One of the limitations of Ayahuasca is that it is very difficult to create repeatable, precise doses for medical purposes. We’re taking a purely synthetic version of DMT and administering it in a safe, gradual and precise way that is controllable by a physician. The Ayahuasca experience can take 6-12 hours during which the individual may have an overwhelmingly difficult situation they may not be prepared for – there is no “off switch”. Whereas our approach is via a regulated intravenous pump. If the experience gets too intense, we can modulate the dosing or even stop it altogether, with a return to baseline functions within 15-20 minutes. The patients arrive at that therapeutic place gradually. We’re using the right molecules delivered in the right way so that we can create a very customized, safe experience.


Explain a little bit about the regulatory process you’ve gone through.  Even though psychedelics are in a unique space, novel in some regards, the reality is that the population that we’re trying to help are medicalized. They have medical disorders. The traditional drug discovery pathway that exists for other pharmaceutical companies exists for us too.  So we’re engaged in all the necessary clinical trial steps and we’re engaging all the necessary regulators like Health Canada, the FDA and the European agency when appropriate. We have signed our clinical trials agreement with our research partner in the Netherlands. We also have our GMP production agreement signed. We anticipate having all the pieces in place for human clinical trials in Q3 or Q4.


I understand that the work Entheon is doing is very personal for you. Everyone has probably been affected by knowing someone with addictions. My story is no different. My brother was a longtime drug user, since the age of 17. He suffered a traumatic event in his teens, and his way of coping was to take up drugs. Initially it started pretty innocently. But over the course of two decades that drug use did escalate to being highly problematic and apparent and involved over 8 treatment attempts. He was medicated. He spent hundreds if not thousands of hours with therapists. For two years I was responsible for overseeing my brother’s care. I saw well intentioned professionals earnestly trying to help my brother, but he slipped further into a state of dissociation and we lost him eventually. I’ve used DMT and have undergone psychotherapy to help me work through my own traumatic issues relating to my family of origin and my relationship with my brother and my father – issues woven into the fabric of who I was. DMT really did help me reformat my understanding of my attachments and resentments, my outlook on life. I was teetering on the edge of something very dark and I’m so lucky that I found out what was on the other side of that.  


For more information about Timothy Ko and his work at Entheon Biomedical please visit

Charitable Donations

Charitable Donations

The Tax Benefits of Giving

By: Susan Gottlieb


Below is an introduction of a larger publication entitled “Charitable Giving


As a whole, Canadians are a caring group. We care about our social and religious institutions, community facilities, arts, education, research and hospitals. We care especially about those less fortunate than us. Canadians donate their time, volunteer, fundraise for charities and make charitable donations. All of these efforts contribute to the country’s social, medical, educational and cultural well-being. 


For years, Canadians have looked to various levels of government to fund much of the good work that charitable groups provide to enhance the quality of our lives. In recent years, governments have cut back on direct funding, and it’s now up to individuals and corporations to fill the gap. As a result, the government has introduced tax incentives to encourage Canadians to give charitably.


When done properly, charitable giving benefits both society and you, the donor. It allows you to help the causes you care about. If you are considering making large gifts, be sure to include these gifts in your tax, financial and estate planning. Prior to making any large gift, it is strongly recommended that you contact your professional tax and legal advisors to discuss the various charitable giving options to ensure all of your needs are met.


Charitable giving in this guide is defined as giving a gift to a registered charitable organization in a way that achieves both personal donation goals and at the same time provides tax and estate planning benefits to the donor. The gift may be a one-time donation, a series of payments over a set period or ongoing support. It may be a gift the charity can use now or a deferred gift, available to the charity in the future, perhaps even after your death. This guide discusses some of the options to consider when making a gift to a charity: Charitable giving; Tax benefits; Charitable giving options; Leaving a legacy; Other donation options; and Corporate donations.


Feel free to request an e-copy of the guide at or reference it at


This publication is not intended as nor does it constitute tax or legal advice. Readers should consult their own lawyer, accountant or other professional advisor when planning to implement a strategy. Interest rates, market conditions, special offers, tax rulings and other investment factors are subject to change. This information is not investment advice and should be used only in conjunction with a discussion with your RBC Dominion Securities Inc. Investment Advisor. This will ensure that your own circumstances have been considered properly and that action is taken on the latest available information. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time obtained but neither RBC Dominion Securities Inc. nor its employees, agents, or information suppliers can guarantee its accuracy or completeness. This report is not and under no circumstances is to be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities. This report is furnished on the basis and understanding that neither RBC Dominion Securities Inc. nor its employees, agents, or information suppliers is to be under any responsibility or liability whatsoever in respect thereof. The inventories of RBC Dominion Securities Inc. may from time to time include securities mentioned herein. Insurance products are offered through RBC Wealth Management Financial Services Inc. (“RBC WMFS”), a subsidiary of RBC Dominion Securities Inc.* RBC WMFS is licensed as a financial services firm in the province of Quebec. RBC Dominion Securities Inc., RBC WMFS and Royal Bank of Canada are separate corporate entities which are affiliated. *Member-Canadian Investor Protection Fund. RBC Dominion Securities Inc. and RBC WMFS are companies of RBC Wealth Management, a business segment of Royal Bank of Canada. ® / ™ Trademark(s) of Royal Bank of Canada. Used under licence. © 2018 RBC Dominion Securities Inc. All rights reserved. MyGPSTM is a trademark of Royal Bank of Canada. 18_90083_048 (01/2018)

Chair Yoga



By: Deborah Devine

Can you get fit while you sit?  Is it crazy to ask that question?  Especially after being told that sitting is the new smoking, and as we now find ourselves sitting more than ever before. Is it possible that our declared enemy, the chair, is actually waiting to become our friend in fitness? Surprisingly, yes!  And Yogis have been promoting this kind of mind-body fitness for almost 40 years. Chair Yoga makes yoga accessible for people of all ages and levels of ability, and offers enough diversity in its array of practices to suit everyone’s needs.

Chair Yoga for Mobility

For anyone working with balance and mobility challenges, gentle postures are done sitting in the chair.  Modified Sun Salutes and static postures can be performed easily, and we have the option of adding small weights to further develop the core and upper body. 

Chair Yoga for Aging Well

Chair Yoga is also a great practice as we age, because it’s likely we’ll be managing through some injuries, perhaps arthritis, and even joint replacements.  So challenging postures we may have found easy in the past, are now too painful or risky.  Chair Yoga is perfect in helping support us to cultivate balance, endurance, and strength in standing postures such as Tree Pose and Lunges.  And we also see experienced yogis using chairs as support for even more challenging postures, like Head Stand and Shoulder Stand.   

Chair Yoga as Lockdown Lifestyle LifeSaver

Chair Yoga can also help us through lockdowns, and is an effective #WFH wellness hack to help us stay refreshed in mind and body.  To endure the endless hours online, many people are creating mini Chair Yoga breaks, timed throughout the day.  Get a timer and break out a few modified moves on the chair like Downward Dog and Pigeon Pose.  It feels terrific, and helps us stay on our game mentally.

Chair Yoga has stood the test of time in the fitness world, because it’s so practical and effective.  We get the circulation going, move lymph, improve joint function by moving synovial fluid around, we’re engaging muscles, and hydrating our inner webbing, the fascia.

And Chair Yoga, when practiced mindfully, reduces stress, which changes our body chemistry and hormones.  This has far reaching implications across many areas of our health including, sleep, metabolism, immune function, heart health, pain management, and mental performance and emotional wellness. So make friends with your chair, and you too can get fit while you sit! 


Deborah Devine is a trusted yoga teacher, speaker, wellness expert, and TV Host of Healing Yoga, airing daily on VisionTV and OneTelevision

Connect with Deborah at





Is 2021 Your Time to Shine?

Is 2021 Your Time to Shine?

9 Tips to Get Unstuck


By Rod Macdonald, Certified Coach Practitioner and Tonic’s Resident Coach


Q: “So much has changed in my life over the last year and I feel like I am stuck. How can I get unstuck and make progress towards my goals?” -Finlay 


A: Finlay, the feeling of being stuck is more common than ever, especially with so much out of our control. However, one of the things we can do is focus on what we can control and make the kinds of changes that move us closer and closer to what we actually want. Ask yourself the following questions and the answers should help you create some movement to begin the process of getting you unstuck: 


  • What do you really need and want? Getting clear about what you need and want is an important first step. Without a destination in mind, it is almost impossible to get there. 
  • What do you control between where you are and where you want to be? Focusing on what you can control and letting go of what you can’t is important to manage where you put your energy. Otherwise, you spend your valuable energy on things that cannot change.
  • What has worked in the past? You probably have faced challenges before, so what worked before may work again.
  • Who can help? Surround yourself with people who want to help and support you. 
  • Who can you help? Helping others often helps us get a better perspective on our own challenges. 
  • What makes you happy? Doing things that make you happy will give you the energy to get through the tough times.
  • Are you eating well? Good nutrition optimizes your energy and health compared to poor nutrition.
  • Are you sleeping well? Getting good sleep is critical to your overall wellbeing.
  • What are you watching? Reduce or eliminate negative information that comes in via tv, radio, or internet.

Finlay, you will get unstuck, so keep doing the things that support that and stop doing the things that don’t. Before you know it, you will have achieved your goals and be on to even bigger goals.


Combining over 30 years in the field of self-development, Rod is the CEO of the Certified Coaches Federation, one of the largest coach education companies in the world, and a speaker, coach and author. For more information on the Certified Coaches Federation, visit  


Want to ask Tonic’s Coach a question? Send a brief email to describing your challenge in 50 words or less, and one question will be selected per issue. 

Two’s Company, Three’s A…

Two’s Company, Three’s A…

Understanding Non-Monogamy and Polyamory

By Carlyle Jansen 


Most of us were presented with one model of relationship of committing to only one partner. Any deviation has been considered cheating. Monogamy works quite well for many folks. However, this relationship style is not the best choice for everyone. Fortunately, an increase in discourse and resources about consensual non-monogamy (CNM) of late means that individuals and couples can make more informed choices about their relationships.


Aren’t we just talking about cheating?

Ethical non-monogamy is practiced by folks where all relationships are negotiated and consensually agreed upon. Cheating on the other hand happens when the rules of the relationship — explicit or implied — are broken. If sexual and other forms of contact (such as emotional closeness) occur with all parties’ knowledge to the extent agreed upon, then cheating is not at play. The difference is whether there is complete and consensual knowledge about the parameters of each other’s behaviours and connections. 


How common is it?

In terms of numbers, one in five Americans has tried some version of ethical non-monogamy according to one study. Five percent of people in relationships right now are practicing CNM. Thirdly, one in three millennials believes that non-monogamy is the best relationship style for them. Other studies have also shown that those in polyamorous relationships enjoy the same marital satisfaction in general and sexual satisfaction as those in monogamous ones. The rise in popularity of CNM in popular culture and films, in support groups, and educational books and online resources has contributed to an increased acceptance of this style as a viable option for those who choose it. 




Non-monogamy is the umbrella term for basically any option that is not monogamous: multiple lovers, sexual connections and/or partners at one time. However, this is where the similarities end. There are as many ways of doing CNM as there are people practicing it. 


Open Relationships/ Marriages are ones where sex and relationships with others are allowed. 


Polyamory is based on the Greek and Latin for “many (poly) loves (amor)”. A polyamorous person is someone who desires having more than one committed romantic relationship at a time, with the knowledge and consent of all their partners. Polyamorous folks usually are not interested in more casual sex or partners. People often have primary partners with whom they share more commitments such as finances, parenting and/ or housing and secondary partners with fewer such commitments. 


Polyfidelity is a closed relationship between three (triad) or more people who agree to no sexual relationships or dating outside of the group. 


Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is a term used by some partners who agree to a non-monogamous relationship without discussing the specifics of who and what and when of other relationships.  


Polygamy  is the practice of having more than one spouse, usually one person with multiple spouses who do not themselves have other outside romantic relationships.  


Swinging is a practice of  having recreational sex or sexual experiences with anyone outside of a committed relationship. Interestingly, one study showed that swingers were found to have a higher sexual satisfaction than those in other CNM or monogamous relationships. 


Keys to success


There are many keys to a successful relationship, regardless of style. When it comes to CNM, many of these keys are that much more important because of the wider possibilities and boundaries that need to be negotiated.

  • Honesty: Of course, honesty is always the best policy. In this case it means being honest with oneself as well as with others. There is no shame in having a boundary or feelings about one’s own or another’s intimate connections. 
  • Trust: It is almost impossible to navigate any relationship without trust, however when an agreement is made about a partner’s relationships with others, it is imperative that the partner is trusted in those interactions and in discussions about them.  
  • Consent: Consent is always paramount in any relationship of any kind. In CNM, it is important that everyone involved knows about and agrees to everyone else’s involvement. And yes, cheating can and does still happen in non-monogamous relationships when agreements are broken. 
  • Clear boundaries: Get into the details of what works and does not work for you. Go slowly with opening a little at a time. Sometimes we don’t know where a boundary is until it is crossed, and thus what we imagined would be ok can turn out to not feel as positive in reality after the fact.  
  • Communication: Multiply the time required for communication in monogamous relationships several fold. The reality is that CNM can lead to more time having sex but it often also includes a lot more time spent communicating too!
  • Google: A shared calendar and documents about information such as the date of the last STI tests can make planning time together and communication a lot easier!



There are so many aspects of CNM to negotiate: 

  • Are other relationships just “casual”, (i.e. only one-offs or only for sex or no sleepovers or dates) or can they be committed emotionally and otherwise? 
  • What details do you want to know (name, what you like about them, kinds of sex you are having, who else they are in relationship with, or nothing at all?)
  • How frequently do you both see others (once a week, when out of town, with people 100 miles or more away, on Tuesdays, and/ or when we don’t have plans)
  • What safer sex practices need to be put into place with each other and others? Some couples are “fluid bonded” where they share sexual fluids with each other but condoms etc. are used with other partners. Incidentally, CNM folks tend to have more consistent safer sex practices since  people are used to the negotiation and practice. 
  • Are there any sexual activities (such as oral sex or a certain kind of role play) or locations (eg the communal bed or home or certain toys) that are sacred and not to be shared with others? 


Don’t CNM people get jealous?

Of course they do! We all can feel jealous. The importance in any connection is that we listen to our jealousy. For example, a jealous feeling might really be a signal that the individual feels that their needs are not being met (“we don’t spend as much time having fun together anymore”) or that they feel taken for granted (“you put effort into dates with the other person and I would love effort put into me as well”) or fear of abandonment (“I worry that you like them more and will leave me”). A thoughtful partner will hear those concerns and reassure them or do their best to accommodate.


Compersion is what a lot of CNM folks feel for their partners: being happy for the happiness that a partner experiences, just as one might feel joy for a partner’s work promotion or other pleasures. It is easier to feel compersion when we feel secure in the relationship that we have and the boundaries that each partner follows. Also, if we work with the premise that love is abundant and not finite, we can see that the love and relationships that a partner has for another usually enhances our connection rather than takes away from it. Interestingly as well, many people experience a greater love and attraction to their partner given the freedom and pleasure that they experience in other relationships rather than less attraction to them. 


Where to start?

Don’t engage in CNM as a way to “fix” your relationship, as it needs to be solid before opening yourselves up to more considerations. Spend the time and energy in conversation, romance, spicing things up: all of the things we do at the beginning of a relationship to make it the best it can be. Then find a support group, read books such as Opening Up by Tristan Taormino to learn how others have opened their relationships in a variety of ways. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel – you can save a lot of pain and suffering by learning from others’ mistakes as well as ensuring greater pleasure and happiness by applying what has been successful for others. With those tools in place, you can create the relationships that work best for you.  


Carlyle Jansen is the founder of Good For Her, a sexuality shop and workshop centre in Toronto. If you have questions or comments, email or go online to

The Miracle of Eyesight

The Miracle of Eyesight

And How We Can Maintain It

By: Joel Thuna


These days all of us should and most of us do sport masks covering most of our faces. This brings our “windows to our souls” front and center. For most of us eyesight is one of the many things most of us take for granted, until we are forced by a situation not to. 

Eyesight truly is a miracle. Your eyes can focus in as little as 13 milliseconds. For comparison, a FAST autofocus camera can do it in 300 milliseconds. The eye has a large focal length. It can focus as close as about 15mm and under the right light conditions as far as 3 Km away. Pretty amazing from what I see.

Your eyeballs are roughly spherical and about an inch in diameter. In its front, lies the cornea. Just behind the cornea is the iris, the coloured area with a hole in the center called the pupil. Circular muscle tissue in the iris allows it to open and close the pupil to regulate the amount of light that gets inside your eye. Right behind the iris and pupil is the lens. The cornea and the lens work together to focus images on the retina, which is the light-sensitive layer that lines the inside back of your eyeball.

Your eye focuses on an object by bending all of the light rays from a single point on the observed object toward a single point on the retina. In the eyeball, light rays passing through the cornea are bent by its curvature toward the pupil. The lens flexes to change its curvature and finish the focusing process.

This process is wonderfully elegant and complex. As with any complex process things can and do go wrong. It is common to have vision degrade as we age, even without any underlying conditions. On top of that we have diseases that contribute to vision issues; Diabetes, Atherosclerosis and Hypertension all lead to reduced vision. Add to these specific vision-related conditions; Cataracts, Macular Degeneration (MD), Glaucoma.

Cataracts. A condition in which the lens of your eyes becomes clouded. Age-related cataracts are a leading cause of vision impairment and blindness around the world.

Diabetic retinopathy. Associated with diabetes and a major cause of visual impairment and blindness, retinopathy develops when high blood sugar levels damage retinal blood vessels.

Dry eye disease. A condition marked by insufficient tear fluid, which causes your eyes to dry up and leads to discomfort and potential visual problems.

Glaucoma. A group of diseases characterized by progressive degeneration of your optic nerve, which transfers visual information from eyes to brain. Glaucoma may cause poor eyesight, blindness and significant pain.

Macular degeneration. The macula is the center part of your retina. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the main causes of blindness.

Diet: Like always, a healthy diet is the foundation for proper eye health. Your eyes need an ample supply of many nutrients to function properly. Studies have found that your lens is particularly sensitive to nutrient deficiencies.  Ideally aim for a well-rounded diet with a high level of variety and not too many processed foods, fats and sugars. Get your fill of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables (rich in a class of antioxidants called anthocyanins) as well as dark leafy greens.  Together they play a key role in protecting from macular degeneration and cataracts, the leading cause of blindness. The richer the colour the better, as it indicates higher levels of antioxidants. Carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, peppers, chard, red lettuce, kale, beets, pumpkin, watermelon, kiwi, red grapefruit, limes, oranges, cantaloupe, mangoes, berries and grapes are all good choices. 

Vitamins: Vitamins K2, C, E and A are vital for eye health. Vitamin K2 is a powerful ally in ocular health. K2 reduces Atherosclerosis in your eyes, enabling better blood flow and reduced pressure in the eye itself, reducing the risk of Macular Degeneration and Glaucoma. Vitamin C promotes the health of your retina’s blood vessels and helps reduce the risk of Cataracts. Vitamin E helps to protect your eyes from Macular Degeneration and Cataracts. Vitamin A plays a crucial role in vision by keeping your cornea clear and helps you see in low light conditions.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin are vitamin-like substances. They are a pair of potent antioxidants found in many vegetables but in very small quantities. They are also found in your eyes, especially in the lens, retina, and macula.  They work to protect eye tissue from harmful ultraviolet rays from sunlight. High levels of the pair in eye tissues is linked with better vision, especially in dim light or where glare is a problem. Studies found people with high levels of the two may be half as likely to get Cataracts and slow the progress of Macular Degeneration. 

Omega-3: The cell membranes of your retina contain a high concentration of DHA, a particular type of omega-3 found in some fatty fish, algae and crustaceans. DHA is also anti-inflammatory and believed to play a role in the prevention of diabetic retinopathy (DR).

Minerals, Zinc: Your eyes contain high levels of zinc. The mineral is essential to the formation of pigments in your retina. This is why zinc deficiency is associated with night blindness. Studies have shown that older adults with early macular degeneration when given zinc supplements saw their deterioration slowed and they were able to better maintain visual sharpness.

Healthy lifestyle habits, such as a wholesome diet and regular exercise, may help prevent many chronic diseases including eye conditions. Remember not to neglect the rest of your body. A diet, lifestyle and supplement regime that keeps your body healthy will go a long way to keep your eyes healthy as well.

Joel Thuna, MH, is a master herbalist with over 30 years of experience.

East: 120 Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Beijing

East: 120 Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Beijing

A Healthy Start to the Year

By Naomi Bussin


Recipes are often authentic, or simple, but not both.  Yes, spice blends are best if the spices are freshly toasted and ground, but that may not be practical.  Sure, homemade sauces and condiments may add to your dinner, but you might not want to make them.  And, in Winter 2021, our options for eating food that we didn’t cook ourselves are limited.  What to do?  

I got you.  New cookbook by UK’s Meera Sodha is both authentic and simple. It covers a span of cuisines “from Bangalore to Beijing”, including India, China, Sri Lanka, Japan, Malaysia and Indonesia.  The recipes are based on the author’s travels and from recipes gathered from ex-pats.  Although she is not vegan, she writes a vegan column for the Guardian newspaper, which piqued her curiosity and ingenuity in creating plant-based recipes from traditional favourites.  The other key piece of information is that the recipes are pretty fast and easy.  The ingredients are generally obtainable from supermarkets in Toronto at least, and she gives you options for workarounds if they are not. 

The recipes are not divided by cuisine, but by the main component, such as salads, noodles, rice, tofu, flour and eggs and legumes. 

I don’t have a steamer, but I want to make mushroom bao buns with pickled cucumbers – those soft steamed buns that are so delicious, filled with a mushroom, soy and peanut butter filling.  Thai salad with grapefruit and cashews has those sweet, sour, salty and spicy Thai flavours and with store-bought shredded vegetables, it’s easy as pie. For a heartier dish, she has included a recipe for green onion and ginger noodles which is based on a great dish from Momofuku which I used to order (in the before time).  If you can find paneer (some supermarkets have this Indian cheese), there is a sheet pan roasted paneer aloo gobi, a lighter, oven-baked version of the traditional dish.

We made honey, soy and ginger braised tofu which was spicy and sweet in a good way, and served it with rice and broccoli.  Easy and delicious, I will make this again.  I baked my tofu because I hate the splatter from frying it.  We also made udon noodles with roasted red cabbage and cauliflower, spiced with curry powder and lime.  Loved the roasted vegetables but our udon noodles were mushy, need another brand.  We also made paneer, tomato and kale saag, which was a lighter version of traditional saag paneer that I found easier to eat.  I liked it a lot and ate the leftovers with added chickpeas.  My general comment with these recipes is that you should add greater quantities of spice than suggested (depending on taste of course). 

There are lots of choices, and I was impressed by how accessible the book is.  If you have the time or the inclination to cook the long way, go for it.  If you’re looking for something new but want the short way, start here. 


Naomi Bussin is a lawyer, mother of three and an accomplished cook. Food is her favourite subject and she reads cookbooks in her spare time. 

Is Your Diet Making You Anxious?

Is Your Diet Making You Anxious?

Five anxiety offenders to consider removing

By Heather Lillico


On the final day of exams in University, I had a panic attack. Like many students, I had stayed up late studying in an attempt to cram a semester’s worth of knowledge in a few short hours. That morning, to avoid falling asleep during the test I guzzled coffee and pleaded with my brain to just make it through. But my brain and body had had enough. I felt the familiar feeling of the world crushing inwards, my heart starting to race and panic setting in. I couldn’t help but wonder…had I caused this? I’d always been sensitive to the effects of caffeine and felt jittery if I had too much, but did my excessive intake this time tip me over the edge of anxiety?

Years later I finally accepted that my body functions best without caffeine, and I’ve learned this is the case for many others, especially those with anxiety.

During my own anxiety recovery journey, and while coaching many nutrition clients I started to see patterns. Patterns of foods that contribute to anxiety, and once removed lead to a calmer mind. Consider how much you rely on these in your diet and whether they might be sneaky culprits for anxiety. I’ve gathered them into a list of Five Anxiety Offenders

  1. Caffeine: It increases activation in your fight or flight nervous system which makes you feel anxious.
  2. Refined/processed sugars: They spike blood sugar which makes you feel anxious, and also affect gut bacteria which have a role in your mood.
  3. Dairy: Many people don’t tolerate dairy well and can’t digest it properly, especially as they get older. As well, the hormones in dairy affect the body’s natural balance.
  4. Alcohol: It can disrupt feel good neurotransmitters in the brain, and also negatively impact gut bacteria.
  5. Red/processed meats: They have been linked with causing inflammation in the body (and the brain), a side effect of which can be anxiety.


Many of the items listed above also happen to be delicious indulgences, but the great thing is you don’t need to be perfect in removing them to see effects. Even a modest reduction can lead to big gains towards feeling calm. If you used to have three coffees a day try tapering down to two, or switching to a lower caffeine alternative like green tea. And if you live for that afternoon chocolate bar, swap it out for a higher quality dark chocolate option instead, or enjoy dates with natural peanut butter. The point isn’t to be perfect, but rather to tune in to how you feel, instead of waiting years like I did to connect the dots.

Heather Lillico is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Yoga & Meditation Instructor. Heather focuses her practice on anxiety and knows it’s possible to get off the hamster wheel of looping thoughts. She teaches others to use anxiety-calming nutrients and stress-relieving mindfulness techniques to get out of the fast lane and find the magic of a clear mind.

For more info visit or follow her on Instagram @heather_lil

Welcome (Back)!

We Get Letters!

Like it or not, each issue, Tonic Publisher Jamie Bussin gives his thoughts on health and wellness.

Welcome (Back)!


Hello. If you’re reading this column for the first time; welcome, I’m Jamie and I’m the publisher and editor in chief of this magazine. And you’ve probably received your copy of this issue of Tonic Magazine with your subscription to the Globe and Mail. You may be reading this column first, or last. I know some people like to read magazines back to front. I don’t judge.


If you’re not reading this column for the first time; welcome back. I appreciate that you’ve taken the time to read Tonic. You may have noticed some changes. Most obvious, is that for the first time this column, and every other inside the covers, is being printed on glossy paper stock. This is principally so that you feel both fancy and shmancy. Research shows that when one feels fancy (and shmancy) they retain more information. …and if you didn’t notice the change in paper stock until you just read it above, well then, you needed to feel fancy and shmancy more than you knew.


Another material change to the magazine is that we’ve increased the number of copies delivered with the Globe and Mail, from 10,000 to 20,000 each issue. So, maybe it’s been months or years since you’ve received us at your door. We just wanted to make sure you didn’t have an excuse not to read us. It’s all on you now. Of course we’re also still available, free on racks at many fine health and wellness, or independent grocers across the GTA. You can visit our website to see the retail locations where you can pick up your copy. Unfortunately, one of the collateral results of Covid-19 is that some of that cohort is temporarily (or sadly, permanently) shuttered. So, we concluded, if you can’t go get us, we’ll come to you. Le voila. 


These improvements to the magazine are made possible because Tonic is now a proud member of The Zoomer Media family. Over recent years our connections have grown, starting with cross-marketing through our various media channels. Progressing to me broadcasting THE TONIC Talk Show on Zoomer Radio, and culminating in the magazine, live events and the talk show being purchased by Zoomer in Fall 2020. I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue to speak to health and wellness, and now with more resources behind Tonic, to expand the scope of that messaging. It’s a win-win-win (for Zoomer-Tonic-and you the reader/listener).


But, not everything has changed. I’m not a fool. …well, I suppose in some respects I am. But I do appreciate that health and wellness readers like continuity. So, we’re committed to bringing you the best information possible about nutrition, and diet and cooking, and nutraceuticals, and exercise and yoga…and sexual health…and mindfulness, …and spiritual health, and sleep and innovation. And tarotstrology. I don’t want to revisit the barrage of hate mail I received the last time we didn’t publish that column. As I said, I’m not a fool (although some of you whose signs are aligned with Mars may need to get their astrological houses in order).


I look forward to sharing more of our exciting plans to grow Tonic over the course of coming months. In the meantime, I invite you to partake in what makes this magazine great: Joel Thuna discusses a natural approach to eye health. Carlyle Jansen explores non-monogamy and polyamory as choices. Timothy Ko explains how psychedelics can be used clinically to treat addictions  and Naomi Bussin reviews the latest hot cookbook “East” . If you want to learn more about any of those topics you can visit and listen to full interviews on those topics. As always, if you’d like to discuss this note or anything you’ve read in this issue, feel free to reach out to me.