Is Sex Important To Your Relationship?

Is Sex Important To Your Relationship?

The Answer May Surprise You

By Carlyle Jansen


A common question is whether sex is really that important.  Some folks wonder whether we should place so much value on sex in our relationships or our sexuality, whether single or partnered. Isn’t it just a trivial part of our lives? After all, you can technically survive without sex (although the species can’t).


The short answer is that it depends on whom you ask. To some a sexual connection is important; to others, not so much. We all have our priorities, and neither is more virtuous than another. Our sexuality is one of many aspects of our lives that makes us whole.  For some, their sexual connection and exploration is very important. For others, exercise, professional development, hobbies, parenting, or a variety of other aspects of life are a priority. Some folks also have schedules where they can squeeze more of their priorities including sexual connection into their weekly schedules than others with a tighter schedule and believe that sex happens when everything else is done (and who ever gets everything done in a day?).


What if I am Not Interested in Ever Having Sex Again?

Many people tell me that they would be perfectly content never having sex for the rest of their lives. This is a valid choice for living your life and many are quite happy with no sexual connection. I have met however my fair share of folks who were surprised to rediscover and revel in their sexual exploration after rekindling their sex life, vowing to never let sex off their radar again.  


Moreover, if you do not value the sexual aspect of your relationship and have a partner who does, this discrepancy can create some challenges. In this case, you may need to find some kind of compromise or negotiate alternate sexual arrangements for your partner. Some couples do stay together because they love each other and agree on parameters for getting their sexual needs met in other relationships. It is very tricky, but more common than many think. Unfortunately, however, in many relationships with different priorities around their sexuality, one partner can be tempted to make their own secret alternative arrangements. Dishonesty is never recommended and maintaining a secret can take an emotional  – and physical – toll, not to mention the relationship turmoil if and when the secret gets out. While hard, it is better to talk about the challenges and deepen the connection with honesty, openness and compassion.


Talking about sex, like many other taboo topics, is hard but generally necessary. If the notion of your partner meeting their sexual needs outside of your relationship makes you cringe, then you may wish to rethink your priorities. If you want sex to be a unique bond between just the two of you, then it needs to move up the priority list. Which does not mean having sex when you don’t want to;  it means figuring out what will make you interested- or even excited- about having sex again.


What would help you value your sex life?

Sex will generally not be a priority if it is unsatisfying, boring and/ or painful. Who wants to prioritize something that is unfulfilling? And who wants to have sex with a partner who is going through the motions just so that they can cross it off the to-do list?  Contemplate what would make sex fulfilling- or even exciting- to you, ensuring your needs and desires are met. Fill in your partner on what would make sex better for you, what would make you value that aspect of the relationship more, but don’t put the effort all on their plate. We all need to take responsibility for ensuring our own needs are met.  Ask for what you want and bring some of your own creativity to your sex life. There are plenty of resources out there to help both of you come up with ideas.


If, on the other hand, sex is painful, there are many forms of sexual expression and a few types of sex, (depending on the type of pain) that can still be enjoyed with pleasure and connection. Some excellent resources for assisting you through fixing or managing the pain include the books: When Sex Hurts and Healing Pelvic Pain. Seeing a pelvic physiotherapist also helps many people reduce or even eliminate the pain experienced with sex.


Finally, if you need help with the kids, cleaning, home renovations, or anything else (especially if your partner is watching TV while you do) then perhaps a discussion about your priorities overall as a couple or family would help, and balance them all in ways that you all feel overall satisfied with where energy and attention are focused with your time together and apart. With help in other tasks that you value, you may find yourself more interested in moving sex up your list of priorities as well.


It’s Up to You

Happy and healthy sex takes a commitment like anything else in life. You can’t improve your health, advance your career, or fix up the house if you don’t make it a priority. And it is legitimate – not better or worse, but legitimate- to make sex a priority, to put time, energy, and even a little money into a healthy sexual relationship with yourself and/ or another(s). Most folks find great satisfaction, connection, and pleasure in valuing their erotic life. And it can be energizing too for your relationship and for yourself.


The Bottom Line

Don’t minimize your needs and priorities. They are yours alone to choose. And don’t trivialize your partner’s desires and priorities. There is no right or wrong when it comes to our priorities in our lives. And each choice as to where we put our energy has its advantages and missed opportunities. It is up to you to create the life that you want. And to co-create the partnership together.


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 visit

Why Make Your Own Pie?: Pizza Czar by Anthony Falco

Why Make Your Own Pie?

Pizza Czar – Anthony Falco, 2021 

Reviewed by Naomi Bussin


I would love to be a Czar, any kind, minus the negative qualities.  But Pizza Czar has a cool ring to it, for sure.  I was inspired when I received Pizza Czar, by Anthony Falco, international pizza consultant. Anthony used to make pizzas at Roberta’s in Brooklyn (great pizza) and is now a consultant, working in cities including Toronto, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo.   


I acknowledge the very excellent pizzas on offer in Toronto, which can be delivered right to your door.  Some of my favourites are Terroni, Queen Margherita Pizza and Maker pizza but there are many.  So why make it yourself?  It does take more effort, but it’s fun and you can make it exactly how you like it.  With no embarrassment, even if you like olive, anchovy and pineapple pizza (you know who you are). 


Great pizza is about the individual elements but also how they work together as a whole.  In my view, the crust and the sauce are key, as is the balance of ingredients.  But whatever you think is important about pizza, you can find it in this book.  Here is what I learned – 


The crust – I like a thin and crispy crust; but the book also has recipes for Sicilian grandma dough and buttery pan pizza.  The grandma dough resulted in a thick crust but it was nice and soft inside, very retro.  The thin and crispy crust was the best pizza dough I ever made. A dream to work with.  The directions for making the crust are simultaneously detailed and vague.  Unfortunately there were no timelines so I was not clear about whether I was allowed to sleep during this apparently 24 hour process.  I contacted Anthony who told me to “listen to the dough”.  I did my best.  I suggest that you know something about making dough before you try it and do the math in advance.  


The sauce – homemade sauce is superior, hands down.  I like a basic raw tomato sauce, but I also tried the cooked spicy grandma sauce, which was delicious.  There are recipes for other sauces and pizza without sauce if that is your jam.    


The toppings – great information about cheeses and other toppings that really made a difference.  Also many recipes from margherita and pepperoni to less classic Bolognese pizza, Brazilian mashed potato pizza with eggs, and pizza alla norma, with eggplant.    


The cook – high heat is key.  You can cook your pizza in a cast iron skillet, a pizza pan or baking sheet or directly on the BBQ.  You can invest in a pizza peel and stone, but see what you can do with what you’ve got first.  


The verdict – a really interesting book, detailed information and recipes and fun facts about pizza and different cultures.  If you want to make pizza, listen to the Czar.  


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.

Why Medication May Be Hindering Your Sleep

Why Medication May Be Hindering Your Sleep

3 Tips On What You Can Do About It

By Adarsh Shah


Are you finding it hard to get a good night’s sleep? Are you reading this right now, staring at the light of your phone in the middle of the night, wishing that you could find the secret to unlock good, deep, restful sleep?


While there are plenty of reasons why you may not be getting the sleep you need and deserve, one cause may surprise you – the impact of your daily medication on your sleep. Whether you believe it or not, the very medicines you take to increase your health could be ruining one of the most critical parts of your night! Medications are designed to heal, but they also come with side effects. One of these can be insomnia or difficulty sleeping. What’s more, these adverse side effects may be worsened by other prescriptions you’re taking for chronic illnesses!


Unfortunately, an interrupted or shallow slumber can be detrimental to your health, even if you manage to get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep each night.  This article will discuss how medications can affect your sleep quality and what you can do to get better rest.


Medication can affect sleep directly or indirectly. Some medications affect the body’s sleep biology directly, while other medications cause side effects (like having to go to the bathroom more frequently), that affect sleep indirectly.  Let’s look at the medication types that have been shown to negatively impact your sleep quality:


Stimulants are often prescribed to help fight off daytime fatigue and can be found in many of today’s most popular allergy, cold and flu medicines. These drugs can cause sleep disruptions by preventing deep sleep, particularly if you take them later on in the day


Antidepressants are often prescribed for mood disorders such as anxiety or depression, while mood stabilizers are typically used to treat bipolar disorder. These medications can disrupt your natural circadian rhythm, leading to restless nights of poor quality sleep. 


Corticosteroids are often prescribed for several conditions, such as asthma or arthritis. These medications can cause insomnia and poor sleep quality due to their effect on the central nervous system.  Larger doses can cause unpleasant dreams, particularly if taken in the evening.


Beta-blockers are often prescribed to treat high blood pressure or abnormal heart rhythms. These medications slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure by blocking your body’s response to adrenaline – disrupting your body’s natural circadian rhythm. Other hormones are thought to be blocked as well, including melatonin, which is essential for falling asleep fast and staying asleep longer.


Steps to Get Better Sleep: To begin with, you should speak to your doctor if you think your medication is having an affect on your sleep.  Speak with your healthcare provider before stopping any medication without their input.  Here are 3 issues to discuss with them:


  1. Switch up the Timing: Your doctor may offer insight into better times to take your medication to reduce the impact on your sleep.  You want to avoid taking medications that contain stimulants too close to bedtime.


  1. Change the Dosage: Depending on your latest blood work, or health conditions, your doctor can also suggest changes in your medication dosage.  Lowering your dosage could reduce the effect on your body and trigger fewer changes to the hormones that control your sleep cycle.


  1. Ask for An Alternative: If the above doesn’t work, you could ask for an alternative.  There are usually multiple medication options to treat common ailments and chronic diseases.  For example, for older adults with high blood pressure, a better alternative to beta-blockers could be benzothiazepine calcium channel blockers.


Sleeping Pills & Natural Sleep Aids: Today’s society tends to want to treat every widespread health issue, like insomnia, with a “magic pill”.  And, a third of us have experienced insomnia at some point in our life.  As a result, in the last 3 years, there has been an explosion in the number of sleep aids available.  It has become an $80 billion industry of which sleep medication makes up two thirds.


The problem is that sleep medications are often not the solution. They can become habit-forming if you’ve been taking them for a while and can make it harder for you to sleep. Over time, the body develops a dependency on the sleep drug, and can cause insomnia to return when the medication is stopped.


A safer alternative could be natural sleep aids, however, you should speak to your doctor first to ensure that they will not interact with your prescriptions. Some popular options that could help you get a more restful night’s sleep include Melatonin, Magnesium, Chamomile Tea, Valerian root, and L-Theanine.


The Key to a Good Night’s Sleep? Balance: As you can see, medication, while often necessary, can have a negative effect on your overall sleep quality. It may be time to consider how you can better balance your daily routines and medications to get better, healthier sleep.


The key to getting the restful night of sleep you need may be as simple as taking care of your body during the day. Eating well, exercising regularly, and drinking plenty of water are all important ways to make sure that your body is ready for a good night’s sleep. 


One has to balance the benefits of medication with the scientifically proven mental and physical benefits of better sleep.  Quality sleep can have a powerful restorative effect on the body, which could radically reduce or even eliminate the need for medication. By finding the right balance, you can enjoy a more restful night’s sleep and see the whole-life benefits that come with it.


To learn more about how you can improve your sleep quality, contact the friendly sleep experts at Ultramatic.  Visit to book an appointment, email, or call 1-866-413-4169 for a free consultation.  

Massage Therapy and Physiotherapy: Which is Right For You?

Massage Therapy and Physiotherapy

Which is Right for you?

Mike Gaspar and Jamie Bussin


In Episode #202 of THE TONIC Talk Show/Podcast we spoke with health and wellness expert and CEO & Co-Founder of Health Casa, Mike Gaspar about the modalities of massage therapy and physiotherapy. This is an excerpt of that discussion. For the full interview please visit


What is massage therapy? Massage therapy is primarily the hands-on manipulation of muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints. Massage therapy helps by acting on the muscular, nervous and circulatory systems. 


What is the difference between a masseuse and Registered Massage Therapist? A Registered Massage Therapist has completed a 2-year program at an accredited massage therapy school and is then regulated by a professional college; whereas a masseuse didn’t, but knows how to give a massage. Pro tip: Don’t call your RMT a masseuse … They hate that!

What is physiotherapy? Physiotherapists study the science of movement. They learn how to pinpoint an injury’s root causes, looking at how a specific ligament, tendon or muscle is overly tight, for example and thus causing your pain. They deal with acute injuries or wear and tear injuries. Humans aren’t static or symmetrical. We’re not balanced, perfect beings. Most people are asymmetrical in a number of ways. From one foot being bigger than the other, or a leg being longer than the other. You’d be surprised how a few millimeters difference really changes the biomechanics of your body. Physiotherapists don’t only deal with the sports injuries of weekend warriors, they can help people deal with age-related ability to do the “activities of daily living” – doing things like going for a jog, or a bike ride with your spouse.

What is the difference between massage therapy and physiotherapy? The therapies aren’t mutually exclusive. You can go to both. Massage therapy is often used for immediate relaxation of pain due to tight, sore muscles, muscle spasms, etc., whereas physiotherapy is more focused on addressing the root cause of the pain; whether it’s muscle pain or joint function. They’re often complementary services where the physiotherapist would help you stretch, strengthen and recover from an injury or nagging pain and the massage would help relax tense muscles possibly contributing to the underlying cause of your pain. You would go to the physiotherapist to determine the root cause of the problem and fix it. And you might go to a massage therapist to help deal with the pain.

 Working from home has caused a lot of issues with back and neck pain; would a physiotherapist or massage therapist be better suited to help with that?  Physiotherapists can perform an Ergonomic assessment which helps you ensure your workstation is set up properly to alleviate unnecessary stress on your body and avoid injury. 

How do I know if I need a massage therapist or physiotherapist? That’s where you want to rely on the experts to provide you the right information to help guide your decision. That’s why our business is set up with a patient-first and educational approach where you can pick up the phone, speak to a real person and ask all your questions. 


Mike Gaspar is a health expert and the co-founder of Health Casa. For more information visit

Addressing The Top 3 Men’s Health Issues

Addressing The Top 3 Men’s Health Issues

Hormones, Calcium Equilibrium and the Heart

Ian Clark and Jamie Bussin


In Episode #191 of THE TONIC Talk Show/Podcast we spoke with health and wellness expert and CEO & Founder of Activation Products, Ian Clark about the various issues that can impact men’s health. This is an excerpt of that discussion. For the full interview please visit


What are the big health concerns for men? There are many. But the biggest concern is hormonal health and making sure that your hormone function is in line with your ideal age – which is 25. You want to make sure that you have the hormonal health of a 25 year old, as best you can for your entire life. Another concern is keeping your body clear of any congestion. Congestion results in so many symptoms that can take men’s lives early – things like calcification, heart disease, clogged arteries, lymphatic system congestion, problems absorbing nutrients. Organ function diminishes as we age. You can lose 30% of your kidney function by age 50 or 60, if you don’t maintain organ health.


Let’s start with hormonal/reproductive health.  As men age they produce more estrogen and less testosterone. It’s a double whammy. You can have more estrogen production because of toxicity, or lifestyle choices like not enough exercise to build functional muscles. Maintaining strong muscles contributes to continued testosterone production. Your body produces energy. Your bone marrow is like your battery. Your battery charger is your muscles. As men age their muscle mass naturally decreases. It is important to keep your muscle mass up as best you can to keep energy levels up. A lack of energy is also going to impact your organ health. Your brain function, zest for life, enthusiasm are all tied to your body’s ability to continue to create energy.


How do we maintain calcium equilibrium?  There are two different vitamins that have been touted for maintaining calcium equilibrium: Vitamin D3, which is well known and Vitamin K2-MK7 which is lesser known. You can get D3 from exposure to the sun or from a supplement. K2-MK7 helps transport the available calcium to the places it is supposed to be – your bones; as opposed to clogging your arteries, making your muscles sore or stiff, or causing your joints pain.


How can men have healthy hearts? One of the key components to heart health is magnesium. There are 330 biochemical reactions that occur in our bodies all the time that rely on magnesium as a catalyst. It’s known as the master mineral. Magnesium in food has become less and less bioavailable. The effectiveness of magnesium depends on how you’re taking it in, either in your food, via oral supplementation or through your skin. You don’t need a lot of magnesium, but you need enough. In the first two stages of magnesium deficiency, you wouldn’t even notice it. At stage three you’ll notice symptoms like increased anxiety, stiff muscles or sore joints, heart palpitations, and brain fog, etc. For men, in particular, when you experience chronic stress, you’re burning through more magnesium. There are different forms of magnesium that you can take, but in my view the most effective is magnesium chloride hexahydrate. If you take that with the Vitamin D3+ K2-MK7 you’ll have all the energy you need.

Ian Clark is a health and wellness expert, advocate and CEO & Founder of Activation Products. For more information about Ian visit


We Get Letters!

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



The first issue of Tonic Toronto magazine was published and distributed in Spring, 2007. At that time I was still practicing as a commercial litigation lawyer – (perhaps foolishly) attempting to do both at the same time. At that time there were more than ten health and wellness publications being distributed in the city. Some were very local, some regional and a few national. Over the next few years, changes to the regulation of natural health and wellness products and services resulted in many advertisers leaving the industry. And as a result, many publications shut down. The internet and social media changed the way Canadians took in their information and so the nature of publishing changed. I pivoted too – focusing on live events, such as the OmT.O. yoga festival, and eventually other media through The Tonic talk show/podcast. Last September I, the magazine, talk show and events, became part of the Zoomer media family.


And so the nature of the changes, such as an increase in the quality of paper used for the magazine and a tweeking of the distribution model were less reactive and more anticipatory. Likewise, the changes coming are less about reacting to cultural or industry shifts, but rather my attempt to consistently improve The Tonic products. Over the course of the coming months there will be lots of changes – some of which you’ll notice, others you may not, but are nonetheless important.


First – Tonic Toronto magazine will be renamed “The Tonic” magazine. No, millions of dollars were not spent on consultants to come up with this earth shattering change – I originally conceived of the magazine as having a local focus: featuring local writers, highlighting local events etc. But as part of the Zoomer media group, the magazine has a broader reach. And now that I’m heard every week on the talk show and podcast, I think that the continuity of the brand is paramount.


Which leads to the second change – there will be one website that will house all the articles on the website and all of the interviews from the talk show/podcast, instead of the separate websites for all of the media properties. The Zoomer creative team is hard at work to create a beautiful, clear and clean website which will allow you, dear readers (and listeners) to get all the best health and wellness information, quickly and simply.


Which begets the third change – we’ll be putting out a regular newsletter so that you’ll have timely access to current news in health and wellness as well as preferred offerings from our partners directly to your email. You’ll never have to miss out on your favourite writer or guest and you’ll be able to consume your information at your own pace and in the manner of your choosing.


In the meantime, I invite you to consume this issue of Tonic. Joel Thuna advises how to beat energy drains. In an excerpted interview from the talk show with Ian Clark, we discuss the top health issues facing men…and what to do about it. Jelayna Da Silva tells you how to avoid yoga injuries (at p 19) and Carlyle Jansen discusses whether sex is really that important to your relationship. 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.

Income From Spousal Joint Accounts

Income From Spousal Joint Accounts 

Know the Attribution Rules

By Susan Gottlieb


It is often assumed that spouses can split income earned in a joint account equally or in whatever way minimizes their overall tax bill. This is not the case. In general, each spouse must report their share of income earned in a joint account in accordance with the proportion of funds they have each contributed to the account. This article looks at income tax rules that apply to the reporting of income, including interest income, dividends and capital gains from a joint account with the right of survivorship. Knowing the rules can avoid potential problems and penalties.


Proportionate tax reporting Income earned in a joint account held between spouses must be reported based on how much each spouse contributed to the account, or ‘attribution rules’. The attribution rules are designed to prevent certain income splitting between non-arm’s length persons, including spouses. Under these rules, income earned from property transferred (including gifts or sales) or loaned to a spouse, is considered to be income of the spouse making the transfer, not the spouse receiving it, with the following exceptions: 


  • Where there is a sale of property, if the transferee spouse pays fair market value for the property using their own funds and the transferor elects to report the sale at fair market value on their tax return, there is no attribution. 
  • Where there is a loan of property, if the borrowing spouse pays interest at a rate at least equal to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) prescribed interest rate each year, there is no attribution. This is commonly known as the spousal loan strategy. Speak with your RBC advisor for more information regarding this strategy. 

Tax slip reporting – Although a T5 or T3 tax slip may be issued for your joint account in your sole name with your Social Insurance Number (SIN), it does not automatically imply that the CRA is expecting you to report all the income for tax purposes. The CRA only requires one SIN to be included on the tax slip so only the primary account holder’s SIN number is displayed. For example, the tax slip may be issued to you even though you only contributed a portion of the funds or never contributed any funds to the joint account. Your spouse, who contributed funds to the account, would also be required to report their proportionate share or all of the income even though a tax slip was not issued in their name and SIN. If this is the case, you may want to speak with your qualified tax advisor to determine if reporting the appropriate amount of income on your tax return in the following manner makes sense in your specific situation: 

  • Attach the original tax slips issued in your name to your individual income tax return but do not report the full amount of income appearing on the slips. 
  • Provide the CRA with a brief explanation of the reason why you are only reporting your proportionate share of this income. If you did not contribute to the account, your proportionate share would be zero.
  • Provide your spouse with a copy of your tax slips in order for them to report their proportionate income on their tax return. Your spouse will need to attach the copies of the tax slips originally issued in your name to their income tax return, explaining why they are reporting this income even though the tax slips were issued to you. If filing electronically, the above considerations still apply. Retain your copy of the tax slips and your explanation in your own files in case the CRA asks for the information at a later date.

Capital gains and capital losses – If an asset is sold within a joint account, the joint account owners must report their portion of the gain or loss. The reason behind the sale does not affect reporting requirements. For example, let’s say your spouse wishes to withdraw cash (or “pull out their share”) from a joint account to which you contributed 80% of the capital. In order to fund their withdrawal, or to pull out their 20% from the joint account, an asset has to be sold in the joint account. The sale of this asset triggers a capital gain which cannot be solely claimed by your spouse simply because they withdrew their proportionate share of the account. Instead, the capital gain must be split between you and your spouse according to the proportion of funds each has contributed to the joint account. In this example, 80% of the capital gain would be taxable in your hands while 20% would be taxable in your spouse’s hands. 

Withdrawals from the joint account – If one of the joint account holders withdraws funds from the joint account, it is important to factor this withdrawal in determining the proportionate tax reporting going forward. The proportion of future income that should be reported by each spouse should be recalculated if either party makes a withdrawal from the account. 

Conclusion – Joint accounts cannot be used by you and your spouse to achieve income splitting. For example, you and your spouse cannot arbitrarily split the income 50% each, solely on the basis that it is a “joint” account. You also cannot choose a ratio to report on your respective tax returns each year to optimize your tax savings. Each spouse must report their share of income earned in a joint account in accordance with the proportion of funds they have contributed to the account. Consult with a qualified tax advisor if you have any further questions on the tax reporting requirements for joint accounts held by spouses.

Contact me at with any questions or explore additional articles at


This article may contain several strategies, not all of which will apply to your particular financial circumstances. The information in this article is not intended to provide legal or tax advice. To ensure that your own circumstances have been properly considered and that action is taken based on the latest information available, you should obtain professional advice from a qualified tax and/or legal advisor before acting on any of the information in this article.

This document has been prepared for use by the RBC Wealth Management member companies, RBC Dominion Securities Inc. (RBC DS)*, RBC Phillips, Hager & North Investment Counsel Inc. (RBC PH&N IC), RBC Global Asset Management Inc. (RBC GAM), Royal Trust Corporation of Canada and The Royal Trust Company (collectively, the “Companies”) and their affiliates, RBC Direct Investing Inc. (RBC DI) *, RBC Wealth Management Financial Services Inc. (RBC WMFS) and Royal Mutual Funds Inc. (RMFI). *Member-Canadian Investor Protection Fund. Each of the Companies, their affiliates and the Royal Bank of Canada are separate corporate entities which are affiliated. “RBC advisor” refers to Private Bankers who are employees of Royal Bank of Canada and mutual fund representatives of RMFI, Investment Counsellors who are employees of RBC PH&N IC, Senior Trust Advisors and Trust Officers who are employees of The Royal Trust Company or Royal Trust Corporation of Canada, or Investment Advisors who are employees of RBC DS. In Quebec, financial planning services are provided by RMFI or RBC WMFS and each is licensed as a financial services firm in that province. In the rest of Canada, financial planning services are available through RMFI, Royal Trust Corporation of Canada, The Royal Trust Company, or RBC DS. Estate and trust services are provided by Royal Trust Corporation of Canada and The Royal Trust Company. If specific products or services are not offered by one of the Companies or RMFI, clients may request a referral to another RBC partner. Insurance products are offered through RBC Wealth Management Financial Services Inc., a subsidiary of RBC Dominion Securities Inc. When providing life insurance products in all provinces except Quebec, Investment Advisors are acting as Insurance Representatives of RBC Wealth Management Financial Services Inc. In Quebec, Investment Advisors are acting as Financial Security Advisors of RBC Wealth Management Financial Services Inc. RBC Wealth Management Financial Services Inc. is licensed as a financial services firm in the province of Quebec. The strategies, advice and technical content in this publication are provided for the general guidance and benefit of our clients, based on information believed to be accurate and complete, but we cannot guarantee its accuracy or completeness. This publication is not intended as nor does it constitute tax or legal advice. Readers should consult a qualified legal, tax or other professional advisor when planning to implement a strategy. This will ensure that their individual circumstances have been considered properly and that action is taken on the latest available information. Interest rates, market conditions, tax rules, and other investment factors are subject to change. This information is not investment advice and should only be used in conjunction with a discussion with your RBC advisor. None of the Companies, RMFI, RBC WMFS, RBC DI, Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates or any other person accepts any liability whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of this report or the information contained herein. ®/TM Registered trademarks of Royal Bank of Canada. Used under licence. © 2020 Royal Bank of Canada. All rights reserved. NAV0036 (12/17)

Battle Your Energy Drain

Battle Your Energy Drain

Healthy Alternatives to Stimulants

By Joel Thuna


All of us experience it – the dreaded energy drain. When we feel exhausted day (or night); when no matter how enticing that amazing restaurant, new movie, or friend get-together is, we just can’t get ourselves into gear and go.

What is harder to recognize is low-grade energy drain. In this case, you may not necessarily feel the classic signs of exhaustion — like achy muscles or that all-over tired feeling. What you experience is just the lack of motivation for many of the activities you used to love. Often this also manifests as difficulty concentrating, increased impatience and frustration with others. No matter what level of energy drain you experience there are ways to combat it.


First let’s look at what we traditionally use as “perk ups”  –  sugar and caffeine, also known as stimulants. As a class of foods and drugs, stimulants work but at a high cost.  Sugar increases your blood sugar levels and gives you a temporary burst of energy, unfortunately when that burst fades, your energy level goes to levels lower than before the sugar and your body will now crave more sugar. It is a never ending (calorie rich and diabetes causing) cycle. With caffeine (coffee, tea and chocolate) the cycle is different. Caffeine raises your heart rate and blood pressure boosting energy and the effects last until the caffeine is fully metabolized. However, like sugar, once the boost is done, energy levels drop below pre-caffeine levels and your body begins craving more.

With any stimulant, repeated use leads to craving and to some degree dependence. How many people do you know who can’t get going in the morning without their caffeine or sugar fix? I’ll admit for many (including myself) there are times when it is mighty tempting to reach for that sugary crutch when you need a boost. Here are a few healthier alternatives:  

  1. Reach for a protein rich food (yogurt, shake, bar, seed, nut, etc.). Scientists have found that protein activates our orexin cells. These specialized cells stimulate neurons to release neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, all of which promote alertness. As a side benefit, protein is lower in calories and doesn’t cause cravings or dependence. It’s a boost that is HEALTHY for you.
  2. Replace caffeine with spices, e.g., Ginger, capsicum, cinnamon, pepper and turmeric. Taking these spices boosts metabolism and circulation, increasing your energy levels. Unlike caffeine, they are also good for your heart, arteries, blood and digestive system. Additionally, they are potent anti-inflammatories, antioxidants and have strong anti-cancer activity. My preference is homemade (caffeine-free) chai or iced chai and I also have a never ending love of curries. 


As the saying goes “laughter is the best medicine”. Now when you are feeling drained, it may not be easy to see the humour in anything but science has found that laughter is potent medicine. 

Laughing triggers healthy physical and emotional changes in the body. It strengthens your immune system, boosts mood, reduces pain, and protects you from stress. A good laugh can bring your mind, body and mood back into balance. Humour lightens your mood, connects you to others, and keeps you focused, energized and alert. Even better, laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

Try and do whatever makes YOU laugh; silly jokes, weird cat videos, tv comedies or listening to Bob Newhart’s skit “the driving instructor”. 


Try supplementing with adaptogens. These are the class of herbs that have specific properties to help your body with stress. They can help your body adapt to life’s ups and downs. Adaptogens help our bodies handle and recover from both short- and long-term physical or mental stress. Some also boost immunity, cardiovascular health and overall well-being. Research shows adaptogens increase energy levels and endurance, combat fatigue, enhance mental performance and memory, ease depression and anxiety, and help you thrive rather than just muddle through.

Some of the herbs with adaptogenic properties are:  Ashwagandha, Imperial Ginseng, Siberian Ginseng, Chaga and Turmeric. With these I recommend taking certified organic capsules so that you know you are getting the cleanest herbs out there.


Exercise is amazing. Its list of health promoting benefits is truly never ending. Each and every one of us should incorporate some form of exercise into our daily routine to improve our health and our energy levels. You want to ensure you are doing the right amount of exercise, neither too little (which still has some benefit but far fewer) nor too much! Yes, I said it, you can do too much exercise.

Overdoing it can be just as harmful as not doing it at all. If you overdo it, you could damage your body and you could go too far and wear yourself out. In this scenario your exercise is taking all of your energy. 

The key to a happy balance is to gradually increase the amount and type of exercise you do until both you and your body are comfortable with your level and intensity. Try talking with your healthcare provider about what type and level of exercise is right for you.


There are multiple vitamins and minerals at work inside your body. Some of them convert the food you eat into the energy that keeps you going. If you are eating a (mostly) well balanced diet you are probably getting enough of most of these vitamins and minerals with the exception of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is key to transforming the food you eat into energy you can use. It also keeps your body’s nerves and blood cells healthy and helps prevent a type of anemia that can make you weak and tired. In red blood cells, B12 and iron help carry oxygen throughout your body. 

Unfortunately, many people are deficient in B12. Vegans & vegetarians (due to low intake), seniors and those with digestive conditions (reduced stomach absorption) are most deficient. There are 2 forms of vitamin B12; Active and passive. Active is well absorbed and works quickly as compared to passive, which has very low bioavailability and low absorption. To ensure you are getting enough, supplement with Sublingual Active vitamin B12 liquid.


We all need regular good sleep to stay healthy. There are two major types of sleep; REM (rapid eye movement) sleep or dreaming sleep, and non-REM or quiet sleep. Both affect energy levels in different ways. 

One of the stages of quiet sleep is deep sleep. Deep sleep appears to be the one that plays the greatest role in energy, enhancing your ability to make ATP, which is the body’s energy molecule. REM sleep facilitates mental energy and helps with learning and memory. People who were tested to measure how well they had learned a new task improved their scores after a night’s sleep. There is also emerging evidence that getting enough REM sleep may help to preserve memory and cognitive function as you age.

To get a good night’s sleep, ensure that you clear your room of distractions (TV, Cellphone, Tablet) and that you are comfortable (temperature, layout, pillows, etc). 

Together with healthy eating, the appropriate level of exercise, wise supplementing and a good night’s sleep,  you can beat the blahs and have the healthy energy of your youth!


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

How to Help Prevent Yoga Injuries

How to Help Prevent Yoga Injuries

4 Top Tips

By Jelayna Da Silva


Yoga, so gentle. Guess again. Yoga injuries have risen just as fast as its popularity over the past few decades; with unspoken expectations to immediately do movements that can take years of practice to feel safe. What are ways we can prepare ourselves for yoga, and ultimately prevent injury? One answer: Cross training.


1.Pilates: There’s a reason people blend yoga with pilates. Yoga can be incredibly demanding on the core and joints. Pilates offers movements needed to strengthen these areas; abdominals, back, hips and chest. Pilates describes the “core” as the area between the shoulders and knees. It has precise, effective movements that give people a base of strength, and targets the smaller, neglected stabilizing muscles. You can work your delts and lats all day, but if you don’t work the muscles around the rotator cuff or get the gluteus medius firing, you’re cruisin’ for a bruisin’.


  1. Strength Training: With the surge of “at home” workouts rising in the pandemic, the accessibility of strength training has increased. There’s a growing understanding that weight lifting has its place, but bodyweight work can also be incredibly effective. By building strength and endurance you will come to yoga better prepared. A program that has broadened the understanding of what “strength” looks and feels like, integrates body weight, resistance training, yoga and weight lifting is 


3.Train Vulnerable Places: Example: wrists! We walk on our feet all day, come to yoga and ask our hands to carry our entire body weight!? So rude! It’s essential to gradually build up the wrists. Look for teachers that integrate wrist work at the start of practice. A great resource is They have classes for wrist strength, among many creative, comprehensive, anatomically inspired classes.


4.Listen to your body: This is so important. Yoga builds a relationship between the body and mind. This entails trusting the body to know what it needs. When we listen to inner cues, the bridge of trust between mind and body is reinforced. A phrase I like to share in class, “Our body often knows things before we do, it’s our job to listen”. Hear it when it says ‘enough!’. Decipher what is ‘safe discomfort ‘ and ‘dangerous pain’. If you’re curious to learn more, listen to episode 158 Greg Lehman: Explaining Pain Research, Biomechanics, and Strength on the “Mindful Strength Podcast”. 


These tips are meant for active styles of yoga. Trying restorative or yin is also a great place to start. Even so, yin can be challenging. It asks us to hold deep, intense stretches. Take classes with well-educated teachers who can offer helpful modifications. Remember, trust yourself to know what you need. When the body talks, LISTEN. 


Jelayna Da Silva is a well-certified, passionate yoga teacher, currently offering public and private classes online to practitioners from all walks of life.

Cooking with Tomatoes

Cooking with Tomatoes

For Soups, Salads and More!

By: Shauna Lindzon


Plump, sweet, and tart…these are all words that I think of when I am eating tomatoes.  When I envision them in a grocery store, there are so many different colours and varieties to choose from – Heirloom, beefsteak, San Marzano, cherry, grape, Roma, green etc.  Some are juicy, and some are drier.  Each tomato has its unique characteristics that you should look for depending on if you are eating them raw or if you are going to cook them.  Not to mention, you can buy them preserved in cans, jars, and sundried.  All varieties boast some great health benefits.  In addition to being full of vitamin C and Beta carotene (converts to vitamin A in your body), tomatoes have a phytochemical called lycopene which has been studied for its health benefits including reducing your risk for heart disease and cancer.  The more processed that tomatoes are, the more lycopene that is available.  Think of it as breaking the cells down and releasing more lycopene.  Therefore, tomato paste has a lot more lycopene available than a fresh tomato.  Fun fact – some people think of a tomato as a vegetable, but botanically they are actually a fruit, because they grow from a flower of a plant.

Tomatoes are one of the most versatile ingredients to use in cooking.  They are a universal staple in a variety of cuisines, including Mexican, Spanish, Middle Eastern, French, and Italian.  Popular dishes that highlight tomato as a prime ingredient include pan con tomate (Spanish toast), shakshuka, Provencal tomato soup, and lastly one of the most common dishes being pasta with tomato sauce.

How do you like to use tomatoes?  Here are some great ideas:  When in season, simply slice them up and pair them with some fresh sliced basil, mozzarella cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar and some flaked sea salt and cracked freshly ground black pepper.  If you are into canning, there is nothing better than taking field tomatoes and canning them to use year-round.

Have you ever made your own dried tomatoes?   You can use your oven to make the most delicious flavourful dried tomatoes.  Slow roast your tomatoes on a low oven temperature (250 ⁰F) for 2-3 hours.  This produces a sweet, but tart tomato that can be added to pasta, salads, soups, etc.

Another healthy, easy to make, and delicious late summer or early fall use for tomatoes is to make gazpacho.  To a blender, add tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers, celery, shallots (or garlic), olive oil, and then season with lemon juice, red wine vinegar and a fresh herb such as basil.  Add some salt and pepper to taste and you have a lovely appetizer to start your meal!  I hope that I have inspired you to grow, eat, and cook with tomatoes more often!

Shauna Lindzon is a dietitian and nutritionist.  She is a program developer and nutrition leader at Wellspring Cancer Support Network and enjoys doing virtual nutrition cooking classes and corporate wellness lectures.  For more information about Shauna visit and follow her on Instagram @shaunalin.