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How to Travel Safe when Eating in Exotic Locations #DukoralContest

Dukoral Canada Facebook Contest #DukoralContest

GTA Parent Writer: Rob Mitchell @BobEEats

As much as I may pride myself on being born with an 'iron stomach' or a streamlined constitution, every condition has its limits. I certainly consider myself an adventurous traveller ( hint: What to know what kind of traveler you are? Take the quiz now)

For a tumultuous period of my life I spent an above average amount of time travelling, mostly for business and quite often in far-off locales. Everyone has to eat, breath and navigate their way through whatever situation they may be in. For me, the best part of any foreign destination was the adventure of tasting different, tantalizing and authentic meals.  The 'authentic' part, while a key distinguisher for uniqueness, is also the element that can test those limits on that iron constitution and become the price to pay for the privilege of enjoying some of the world’s most exotic foods.
I've always subscribed to the same philosophy of the outspoken Chef, writer and TV personality, Anthony Bourdain. He articulates that statistically, in order to experience truly amazing tastes you will have to endure that odd time when you suffer the consequences of a constitution-clearing episode that will make you curse Mother Nature herself.  The flip-side to Bourdain’s philosophy is that those tastes are totally worth it - and statistically you should be able to recover and live to enjoy another fantastic meal. 
Taipei, 2009 was a testament to understanding those limits and learning lessons about 'authenticity'.  After travelling through various cities in far east countries with a like minded colleague, I met my match in a bustling night market alley. We were just stepping out of a grueling meeting with Chinese executives and so tired and hungry that we foolishly picked a little noodle stand because it was the one without a line-up. Now, he and I were used to ditching other workmates that stuck to boring hotel bound offerings to elbow our way through a crowd of locals at busy street stands to chow down.  'Street food', particularly in Asia, is where you will find the greatest, most experiential life and palette changing tastes. Frequenting them is how familiarity can lead you to make poor decisions - like dining at the stand that others don't want to wait for.
Food pit stops on one of the many tours of China


Lesson 1

My colleague Chris, had sharper instincts that evening and made the safest choice, marinara on fettuccini. I on the other hand, still driven by my pervasive quest for 'palette expansion', chose some kind of fish and pickles noodle dish - this was the only time that Chris and I had a different dish from the other in 4 days (lots of shared plates in them parts...). The evening ended uneventfully enough and I made my way to my hotel room to grab as much sleep as I could before having to catch a 7:00AM flight to Hong Kong in the coming morning. 
It kicked in at about 8:10PM, just as I was finishing off a quick report back to HQ on how the day's meetings went. It started as an unnatural knock at my abdomen that let me know that something in there wanted out! Uh oh, you know you're in trouble when you rapidly progress from too hot to too cold and gurgles lead to rumbles. A quick call to Chris affirmed that he was alright, the fish and pickles dish was 'too authentic' for me and that I needed to brace myself for a night on the 'flip-side'.  There's nothing as lonely, disorienting or unsettling as having to spend an entire night 'clearing house' when you're not at home.  There was not a position my body could contort into that would lead to a full minute of feeling comforted. Whatever blade the fish pickle bug was stabbing me with from the inside was both sharp and dull and attacking me like a prison shanking. I tried to find the strength to drink enough water so I could toss it back out again and my dickhead boss kept pinging me about receiving the report on the day's meeting (he never ate anything but diet coke and snickers bars, no matter where he was..).  This most memorable, dark and painful travel eats experience went on throughout the night and did not end until well after touch down in Hong Kong the next day. It left me in a compromised state to get through that day's meetings and shutter at the thought of what would have been an amazing Cantonese lunch (missed expansion opportunity). 
Lesson 2
I learned lessons about limits, endurance and how to trust that spending a bit of time to line up with the locals is totally worth it after all. Despite surviving the harrowing day, I still hadn't eaten in about 24 hours and dinner in Hong Kong that evening was yakatori chicken skewers, served rare (yes, rare) at a popular little tucked away place along with a couple of locals that recommended it. It was one of those meals that forever changed how I viewed culture, food and existence on whole - totally worth it, totally.
If I had it to do over
I might have considered taking Dukoral before departing for my business trips so that I could eat with less worry.  I could have saved myself the excruciating pain and lack of sleep during extremely packed business travel. ( I still cringe at the thought of yogurt I ate while in India that caused me to have crazy diarrhea)
New Delhi Business Trip
New Delhi Business Trip

You can win a $1000 Air Canada gift card to get you traveling or a Go Pro Camera.  Be sure to SHARE with your friends for extra entries and have a chance to win one of 6 weekly prizes of a $100 Neutrogena Travel Pack. 
dukoral, traveller's diarrhea, runs while travelling, dukoral contest, canadianmomeh, top canadian mom blogger, top canadian blogger

About Dukoral:
DUKORAL®* is indicated for the prevention of and protection against travellers’ diarrhea and/or cholera in adults and children 2 years of age and older who will be visiting areas where there is a risk of contracting travellers’ diarrhea caused by enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) or cholera caused by V. cholerae. Protection against diarrhea caused by ETEC starts about one week after the 2nd dose and lasts for about 3 months. Protection against cholera starts about one week after the 2nd dose and last for about 2 years for patients over 6 years of age. A booster dose is required beyond 3 months for travellers’ diarrhea and 6 months (patients 2 to 6 years of age) or 2 years (patients over 6 years of age) for cholera.
To help you remember when to take your dose, you can download a free app for your smartphone here. This app will program the dates for each dose into your smartphone, so you can check one more item off of your to-do list.

Where to get Dukoral?

Vaccines411.ca is a useful website which may help you find a location that offers DUKORAL®. Other locations may be offering this vaccine. Talk to your doctor or healthcare professional, including your pharmacist.

Talk to your doctor or healthcare professional, including your pharmacist, today to find out how to help protect yourself against travellers’ diarrhea and if DUKORAL® is right for you.

You do not need a prescription for DUKORAL® for protection against travellers’ diarrhea, unless you are a Quebec resident. In Canada, if you are taking DUKORAL® for protection against cholera, the vaccine does require a prescription. DUKORAL® is available at your pharmacy, doctor’s office or travel clinic. The DUKORAL® vaccine must be stored in a refrigerator at 2° to 8°C.
For protection against travellers’ diarrhea, a primary immunization requires 2 doses taken orally at least 1 week (up to 6 weeks) apart, with the last dose taken at least 1 week before travel. Full dosing information is available: http://www.dukoralcanada.com/taking-dukoral
Did you Know?
Over half of travellers’ who visit high-risk destinations like Mexico, the Caribbean and Africa will be affected by travellers’ diarrhea caused by Enterotoxigenic E. Coli (ETEC). However a recent survey has revealed that four out of five (79 per cent) Canadians are not as travel savvy as they should be about the potential causes, symptoms and risks of an ETEC infection. Bacterial enteropathogens, such as ETEC, are thought to cause approximately 80 per cent of cases of travellers’ diarrhea, which is characterized by a sudden onset of symptoms including fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea. 

@TELUS Making a Difference to Families in GTA with Community Gardening Initiatives

GTA Parent Writer: Rob Mitchell @BobEEats

I'd heard about the TELUS community garden project in passing and never really gave it too much thought beyond, 'seems like a nice idea'.  That underappreciated notion was realized when I got an opportunity to view the gardens first hand and most especially, taste the product of this awesome endeavour. As with many corporate office environments in a city's downtown, the TELUS building has the staples of a slick functional modern working environment. What makes the TELUS work space stand out is how the gardens are integrated into the scene-scape of the entire environment. It really lends itself to an interjection of nature's beauty and bounty.  Right away the space around the garden was inviting and there were areas created to take up that invitation.  A few seating areas to chat, another few to lean about and take in the magnitude of the city; all within the construct of living growing flavour. 

Here are some Pictures from Our Evening:

It would have been a fine enough evening on its own, just explore around the garden setting and learn more about what the TELUS team had been growing but there was more….  A dining area was set up with numerous plates of the same veggies I was checking out minutes ago in mid-grow, prepared to be eaten by invited guests.  The most novel part was that the preparer of the spread was the charismatic Chef Massimo Capra who was effortlessly transforming the fresh produce into elegant antipastos. A small team was also in the wings readying the sea bream fish fillets that were to be paired with the garden feast.   I tasted everything, bent the ear of the Chef and learned a ton.

I was extremely impressed with the TELUS vision and execution of the evening and the unveiling of the award winning environmental, charitable and sustainability practices through:
  •  Battery Recycling
  • Solid Waste Diversion
  •  Supporting local food programs such as Green Thumbs Growing Kids through the TELUS new Roof Top Garden
  • Roof Top Sustainability Garden:
    • The rooftop garden at TELUS House Toronto was created to maximize the green space at the building and generate fresh, local, organic produce for team members and local charitable organizations including Toronto-based charity, Green Thumbs Growing Kids in addition to giving team members a chance to learn about sustainability through educational workshops and hands-on learning.
      • TELUS House Toronto has paved the way for the next phase of the company’s corporate urban gardens across the country.
        • TELUS Garden, the company’s LEED-platinum-certified head office in Vancouver, opens later this year and TELUS recently broke ground on TELUS Sky in Calgary, another LEED-platinum development.
    • TELUS’ Green Team network of team members  have passionately volunteered their time to promote environmentally sustainability
    • Encouraging team members to address climate change and reduce their carbon footprint
    • Minimizing consumption of resources
    • Reducing pollution generated and enhancing waste diversion programs
    • Promoting green commuting initiatives such as telework, public transit, biking and carpooling
    • One of the Global 100 Most Sustainable Companies in the World by Corporate Knights four times since 2009
    • Here is representation of solid waste diverted from landfills  and recycling efforts:

    batteries recycled

    Additional information on TELUS projects can be found here:

Attend a FREE @ChevroletCanada Safe and Sure workshop to learn more about Car Seat Safety! #Chevysafe

Safe and sure

ChevroletSafe and Sure Child Car Seat Installation Workshops, offered in partnership with Parachute Canada, give you the guidance needed to help keep your child safe by reducing the risk of preventable injuries.

These no-charge workshops are for parents, grandparents, and other caregivers and provide hands-on instruction on how to properly install and use a child’s car seat. From rear-facing to front-facing to booster, you’ll learn from trained technicians the correct way to install the seat that’s right for your child. Safe and Sure Chevrolet Car Seat Installation Workshops are now available at participating dealerships in Toronto. Register at www.safeandsure.ca for any of the three remaining workshops.

  • November 15 – Legatt Chevrolet Buick GMC – (360 Rexdale Blvd, Etobicoke, ON M9W 1R7, Canada)
  • November 29 – Budd’s (410 South Service Rd West, Oakville, Ontario, L6K 2H4)
 Join the Conversation and Connect with Chevrolet Canada on Twitter at @ChevroletCanada  #ChevySafe

Register Now

When can I let my Kids Explore on their Own?

This post is written by Ro aged 9 on why you should let your kids roam the outdoors!

Today I will be talking about why parents should let their kids go more places with their friends without supervision.

Parents are always telling their kids go outside and play so you get some fresh air, which is easy understand but i think kids should be aloud go to a near by park or a convenience store. Let them ride  bikes around the block with friends but not always with supervision.

But you should always tell your kids what to do when they get lost or when somebody gets a cut etc. Kids should be taught to stick together.

Yesterday my parents and my friend's parents allowed us to go to the  convenience store by ourselves but first we had to go on google maps (street view) with our parents and review what streets to take and where to go when we see a landmark etc.  

Its always a good idea to let your kids go with  friends because if someone gets hurt the other person can go and get a parent and the third friend can support the person hurt.

Thats why I think parents should let their kids go to places with there friends without supervision.

Top benefits of letting your kids ( please note one the the kids should be at least 9):

- Freedom 
- Leadership
- Responsibility 
- Friendship
- Fresh air
- Independence 

 Written by: Ro | Ro lives in Toronto and loves exploring his neighbourhood and in his spare time is busy with hockey, improv and making movies!

Where to Find Toronto Area Natural Parks and Make the Outdoors Your Active Classroom for Discovery

I am a nature nerd. I came across this post on The Weather Network and wanted to share it. 

We need fresh air people. Get your kids outside for active learning. This is your outdoor classroom.

The lack of nature in today’s wired generation, or Nature Deficient Disorder as coined by American author Richard Louv in his book Last Child in the Woods, has prompted parents and school and park administrators to find ways to encourage kids to reconnect to their environment. So if you’re looking to up your dose of nature, let imaginations (and little legs) run wild in these green spaces.

City parks – Bienenstock Playgrounds, a leader in playground design and construction, helped the City of Toronto re-imagine McClearly Playground. In 2009 they unveiled the city’s first “natural playground.” This east end park incorporates climbing boulders, a slide built into a hill and logs from a fallen elm tree.

Last year Waterfront Toronto turned a former industrial site into Corktown Common, an 18-acre city-run park in the West Don Lands area. Much of its playground and splash pad have been built into the landscape and the space is home to hundreds of trees, thousands of shrubs and plants, and a large marsh where nature-lovers can spot frogs and ducks.

Outdoor classrooms: Schools have also gone greening their outdoor play spaces. Last year, playground design company Earthscape added natural elements at L’école élémentaire La Mosaïque, including a log jam where the school’s children (and the neighbourhood after hours) can balance, climb and hang out.

In the west end, Bienenstock Playgrounds gave students at Kingsway College School in Etobicoke a new place to play. It features a log tunnel, obstacle course and fort, plus sand and water pump.

Children’s Garden: This outdoor space at the Evergreen Brick Works is not your typical playground. Its main elements - rocks, logs, dirt, plants and trees – encourage open-ended play. Children develop an appreciation for the environment as they explore the space, water plants, make mud and build forts.

Pop-up playgrounds: PLAYbynature’s pop-up adventure playgrounds are putting self-directed outdoor play back into the lives of children. Partnering with community events in green spaces across the city, they provide the “stuff” - wood pieces, tools, rope, tires and cardboard - and simply let imagination dictate playtime.

Dirt: Torontonians of all ages come to hang out and play at Trinity Bellwoods Park in the city’s west end. Kids looking to reconnect to the Earth should head north of the conventional playground to the big dirt hill. When city programs are not in session, the mound of sand and mud (depending on the weather) is a hot spot for nature-lovers to climb, dig and just get dirty.

Love the ravines: Toronto has a big playground in its own backyard. The Humber and Don River Valleys are a quick escape into nature. Check out all you can do when you love the ravines:

(Image source)


Source:  The Weather Network  

Mindful Strategies for Reducing Anxiety in Children Starting or Returning to School!

Spending time outside is a great stress reducer!

My close friend Laurel is my "go- to- girl" for advice when it comes creating happy and well adjusted children. She is so fun and laid back that I feel at ease talking to her about my children. She has also survived the preschool and youth phases. This is perfect for me since my kids are only 5 and 9.

Her playful approach will certainly be an asset to her children now that they are well on their way to adulthood.

Recently, Laurel started a business called Meditating Munchkins  dedicated to teaching children and their parents the benefits of practicing Meditation to reduce anxiety.

Here are a few tidbit tips from the video below:

  • Tip 1: Set up an "OM Zone" in your home.  This is a tech free area in your home where everyone can decompress and feel at peace. In this space you would have comfy pillows, maybe some fun crystals etc. It is clutter free and filled with inspiration. You can get your kids involved this fall by creating this family space. This is a place where everyone is invited to go either privately or as a family. 

    : Have a weekly 1 minute family meditation - encouraging this as a great way to deal with individual troubles and stresses - a sure way to calm down when we are frustrated. This weekly event can be a place where positive intentions are shared and possibly  capped off with a family meeting. Here you can you talk about schedules, chores, other important items to be accomplished. Use flip chart paper to record notes and schedules a reference point. 

For more tips check out Laurel's video here: 


Four Fun and Fantastic Apps for Ages 2 - 10

Hello my name is Ronan and today I will be telling you all about some great apps for a variety of ages

Ages 2 to 4: Sago Mini Doodle Cast  Price: $2.99
Sago mini doodlecast is a great game for young kids. They give you templates like a house with no roof and your little one can draw a roof on it but there are tons of different templates to draw with.You can also record what you drew, like if you drew your family you could say this is my family and say there names like this is john this is sarah and so on.  My 4 year old cousin really enjoys this game. 

Ages 5 to 6: Sonic and All Star Racing Transformed Price: free
This game is a very fun game where you can turn into different characters and race in different cars which have different special powers. There are different cups to race that have different events in them. My five year brother loves this game.

 Ages 6 to 7: Toca Boca Hair Salon 2  Price: $2.99

This game is a lot of fun, you get to style people's hair using different tools and give them unique styles. You can comb. iron, curl and dye their hair and much more. Once you finish styling their hair there is still more work to do! Put on different items like hats, earrings, bow ties and more. Then take a picture of them and move on to the next customer.

Ages 8 to 10: Cartoon Network Soccer Price: 2.99
Be a soccer player and one of your favourite cartoon network characters at the same this game! It is lots of fun.

Thank you for reading my article on app ages.  Let me know what you think of these games and if your family like them!