Maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle is a strong contributor to a long life. The habit of smoking, however, has been proven to cause heart disease and many cancers in Canadians, severely reducing one’s chances of longevity.

Smoking does this with the chemicals in the tobacco which can damage your heart and blood vessels, leading to narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis), which can ultimately lead to a heart attack. When it comes to heart disease prevention, no amount of smoking is safe.

Fortunately, smoking as a habit has greatly decreased in the past few decades among the Canadian population as it has been proven to cause many of the ailments we just mentioned. On the rise though is the habit of vaping, which like smoking, can allow users to inhale nicotine.

The Canadian Cancer Society has said the following about e-cigarettes, “Although e-cigarettes are less harmful than conventional cigarettes, they are harmful. Studies on the long-term risks of e-cigarettes have not yet been done, though evidence of the toxicity from inhalation of e-cigarette vapour continues to mount.”

This is a cause of concern for many health practitioners as there has recently been a proposal put forward by the Ontario government to have e-cigarettes and vaping supplies available in convenience stores across the province. This is a big issue as it takes them from the back behind the counter to the front in a display that can easily be seen by youth.

The Canadian Cancer Society reported that in 2016/17, nearly 10% of youth in grade 10-12 (9.9%) were past 30-day e-cigarette users, a 46% increase from 2014/15.

A further cause of concern is the upcoming legalization of marijuana in Canada. Youth having access to a “vaporizer” that can be used for nicotine as well as marijuana, which can affect their brains development, is very concerning.

To help you understand the further risks of vaping and smoking, and ways that you can reduce these habits, we have provided the following helpful resources:

  • Canadian Cancer Society: They’re a helpful resource in understanding what e-cigarettes are and ways that you can reduce smoking in all its forms. Additionally, here is some information on their thoughts around cannabis.
  • Smokers Helpline: A site that is dedicated to helping smokers understand the benefits and negatives that can be attributed to smoking. It also has community forums for those who are in the process of quitting and resources to begin your first steps.
  • The Government of Canada: The government has created a site that allows you to connect with an organization in your province that provides resources on how to quit. They also have a toll free line that you can use to ask questions and talk to someone about quitting.
  • Break it off: Is a free mobile app that is dedicated to helping younger people quit smoking.
  • Leave the pack behind: Is a free resource from the Government of Ontario that offers young adults information on how to quit and personalized support.

If you found these resources to be helpful for you, or you have other helpful resources to suggest, please let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.


An important part of maintaining a heart healthy lifestyle is in the diet that we keep. With the cooler temperatures that Fall brings we tend to gravitate towards meals that are generally very hearty and tend to warm us up from the cold. These meals are usually very good for us, as they are often made up of many vegetables like soups, which provide us with essential nutrients.

Below are some heart-healthy recipes that we will regularly use during the fall months that our registered dietitian, Marsha Rosen, created for us. We hope that you enjoy each of them as much as we have.

Apple Cranberry Crisp

Meal in a Bowl Soup

Miso Chicken

Tart Apple Buttermilk Cake

Warm Winter Fruit

Chicken Chili

Minestrone Soup

Zucchini Soup

Oven-Fried Sweet Potatoes

Corn, Potato and Shrimp Chowder

For more heart healthy recipes, check out the heart-healthy living section of our site.

The first official day of fall has just past and with it comes a number of changes in our daily activities. The largest and most obvious change being the weather. It’s colder, which means that many of us begin to slow down and do fewer activities outdoors. Although this is the case there are still many things that we can do to help to keep our heart’s active.

Below are some recommendations of heart healthy activities that you can during the fall season.

Heart Healthy Fall Activities

Plan Seasonal Outings

Fall can be one of the most beautiful times during the year to go out and explore. The leaves are changing colour and it can create a really nice atmosphere to go exploring. Plan a day out with your family for a nice walk through some of your local walking trails or something more seasonal like an afternoon at the corn maze or pumpkin patch.

Make Fall Fun Crafts Outdoors

Fall weather can be a tad chilly but generally still nice, so crafting can be the perfect middle-ground endeavor: an indoor activity with lots of outdoor involvement. Plus, with so much nature to use, it’s economical too.

Visit your favorite park, take a walk in the woods or explore your own backyard to scavenge for colorful leaves, pinecones and other interesting bits of nature.

Exercise Outdoors

Although the temperature begins to dip beginning in October it doesn’t mean that you need to stop doing all of your regular activities. Many of our followers have shared with us that they like to continue riding a bike during fall, or even fishing to keep up there healthy activities. Find something that will be easy to do every week until you have to move your exercises indoors. Here is a list of some of our favorites.

Make A Family Meal

During the colder months of the year, nothing hits the spot quite like a nice warm meal. A nice stew or soup can really be a relatively easy, heart-healthy meal to have. When cooking try to involve your family, as so much of how they learn heart healthy habits comes from their elders. It’ll also help speed up the process of cooking if you assign them tasks like making mashed potatoes or cutting up the vegetables. Take some inspiration out of some of our heart healthy meals.



This past weekend Mustard Seed Racing and Tarpin Lumber raised money for The Mikey Network at an action-packed race at Sunset International Speedway.

The money was raised from a 50/50 fundraiser. Members of the race team sold tickets to race spectators and half the money went to the raffle winner, and the other half went to The Mikey Network. In total over $1200 dollars was raised for the Mikey Network, which will go towards buying an AED for a family or organization in need.

We want to say a huge thank you to all of the great people at Tarpin Lumber and Mustard Seed Racing for their ongoing support. We hope to continue enjoying these action-packed weekends with such great supporters and friends.

We’re happy to share that another happy family has received a MIKEY defibrillator through our Mikey’s Kids program!

Over the weekend we met with Sandy and Brian, parents of Harmony, our newest MIKEY Kid’s recipient. Above is a beautiful shot of their entire family, who were all delighted by the generosity of the gift, but none more so than Harmony who couldn’t stop smiling during our visit.

The family was very engaged and had many questions for us as we sat down to talk them about their new MIKEY. We walked them through our procedural booklet and are happy to say that they’re keen on learning more, because of which we’re currently working to set up more training opportunities with them in the future.

We’re also happy to share that Harmony’s school has an AED, which allows her family further peace of mind while she’s out of the home.

For parents with children who have heart problems, having a portable defibrillator can literally be life-saving. Knowing that an AED is on hand and ready to help save their child’s life gives so much peace of mind.

We know the first few minutes of a sudden cardiac arrest event is critical to increasing chances of survival. Our Mikey’s Kids program allows children with a high risk of SCA lead a happier, healthier and more active life. These portable MIKEYs can be taken along with them anywhere – at home, at school and at play.

You can learn more about the Mikey’s Kids program and read the testimonials from Mikey Families themselves here. You can also help give these families peace of mind by donating to The Mikey Network directly.