How to Kick Start Your Immune System

Even healthy people can catch a cold or flu now and then, but you can kick start your immune system’s defence against viruses and bacteria to limit your chances of getting sick this winter.

The basics are: Exercise, Rest and a Healthy Diet featuring whole foods that support your immune system and reduce inflammation. Eating onions, garlic, ginger and sage can aid in fighting infections and following a diet rich in antioxidants like fruits and vegetables, support your immune system and combat free radicals known to damage DNA and suppress your immune system. 

Avoiding sugary drinks and drinking plenty of water helps to fend off infection by filtering out your system.

Regular moderate exercise can mobilize your T cells, a type of white blood cell known to guard the body against infection. A brisk 30 minute walk daily can cut your risk in half of catching a cold.

Getting a full 8 hours of sleep each night helps to regulate your immune function which is vital to preventing sickness.

Simply keeping your hands clean is one of the best ways to ward of illness. In short boosting your immune system naturally will help you live a healthier life.

1.  Eat nutrient dense foods
2.  Exercise regularly
3.  Prioritize sleep
4.  Limit sugar consumption
5.  Use herbs for the immune system

Natural Immunity Boosters:

Oregano Oil – Helps improve your gut health by eliminating bad bacteria in your digestive system while boosting your immune system. 

Cruciferous Vegetables – Brussel Sprouts, Kale, Broccoli, Lettuce and Cabbage support your liver and immune function by boosting the liver’s ability to flush out toxins.

Ginger – Ginger helps to break down the accumulation of toxins in the organs, particularly in the lungs and sinuses.  Ginger also helps to cleanse the lymphatic system.

Garlic – One clove contains 5 mg calcium, 12 mg potassium, and more than 100 sulphuric compounds powerful enough to wipe out bacteria and infection, lower blood pressure and kill parasites in the body.

Here’s to staying healthy this holiday season!

 

 

 



Keeping Your Skin Protected is Imperative

 

Let’s be straight – there really isn’t a safe way to tan. When the skin feels direct sun exposure, it screams HELP!

In scientific terms, this means ultraviolet light is penetrating the epidermis causing the skin to react by producing melanin, aka your suntan. In your mind, a tan may give you that young, healthy glow but over time it causes just the opposite: A change in skin texture, wrinkling, age spots or worse the big C.

The sunlight that reaches us is made up of two types of harmful rays: long wave ultraviolet A (UVA) and short wave ultraviolet B (UVB). Basically, UVA rays can age us and UVB can burn us. Over exposure to either can damage the skin. There’s also a third type of ray, UVC – these are the shortest and strongest but thankfully they’re absorbed by the ozone layer and don’t typically reach the earth.

UVA rays penetrate deep into the dermis, the skins thickest layer. Unprotected exposure can lead to premature skin aging and suppression of the immune system. And when your skin’s defences are down, you’re at risk for skin cancer.

UVB rays will usually burn the superficial layers of your skin. The intensity of UVB rays vary by season, location and time of day, with 10 am to 4 pm being the peak hours. Sunburned skin doesn’t just feel awful, it can cause permanent damage over time. This is why keeping your skin protected is imperative.

What about self-tanning lotions?
Self-tanning lotions are a safe alternative to the sun. They contain dihydroxyacetone, which interacts with proteins in the skin to produce an orange/tan color that doesn’t wash off. When you can see colour, the self-tanners have a SPF of 4. This is not enough protection so additional sunscreens should be used.

Are tanning booths a safer way to tan?
In spite of claims that tanning booths offer “safe” tanning, artificial radiation carries all the risks of natural sunlight. Tanning booths emit UVA radiation, which poses both short and long-term risks to the skin, including cataracts (eye damage), sunburns, skin cancer and premature aging. In addition, there can be damage to the body’s immune system and reactions to certain fragrances, lotions, moisturizers and medication.

COOLA Products will be available soon at The Spa at the Old Mill – Stay Tuned!



Backyard Entertaining

With the flowers starting to protrude above the ground, and the sun shining just enough to go outside with out bundling up, summertime is just around the corner and it’s a great time to plan getting together with friends and family to enjoy the outdoors. 

There are many ways to plan a successful backyard party, but the first thing to arrange is the perfect seating experience to allow everyone to be comfortable and engage in conversation.  If your entertaining a large crowd then smaller seating areas, scattered around the backyard will ensure that people will mingle and create different conversations that can be enjoyed by various people.

Setting the perfect decor for your backyard entertaining can be done with a simple string of patio lights or hanging lanterns. Light tiki torches around the garden and use votive candles to set the mood by placing them in small glass jars. Get creative with your table decor by using lightweight colourful tablecloths and brightly coloured paper napkins, which are easily disposable afterwards, and less time in cleaning up.

Providing music for your party is a great way to encourage fun. You can use your patio as a dance floor and keep the music near by so those that won’t to dance up a storm can. You can hire a DJ but if you do not want the added cost then plan ahead with top dance hits from your era downloaded on to your iPod or use your MP3 player or cd’s for everyone to enjoy dancing to.

Food at your party always seems to be the number one concern. Easy backyard entertaining is preferably done with a smart backyard buffet. Keep your menu light and simple, food should be yummy and easy to handle and the less you have to fuss the more time you get to spend with your guests.  Why not take advantage of your grill and have a few people to watch over grilling hotdogs and hamburgers. Don’t forget dessert, something perfect for a summers evening like fresh fruit kebobs and maybe some freshly whipped cream to dip into. Be sure to have plenty of finger foods on various tables around your garden and set up a self serve bar table complete with a cooler for ice, so everyone can help themselves to a drink.

Hospitality is the key to throwing a great party, welcoming your guests and making them feel good that they came. Chances are with great friends, just being together is all that’s important.

Specialty Burger Recipes to give your grill a thrill!

Great cocktails to serve at your next backyard party.

DJ services to help bring your Backyard entertainment to the next level.



Let Them Have Cake

Dorothy and Jim were married at the Old Mill Toronto in 1957.  When asked to describe their wedding cake, Dorothy remembered a two tier structure with a first layer of roses and the second with cherubs.  They both described the decorative piece on top.  “It was a bride and groom under an arbour” reflected Dorothy.

“I was going to say cage” giggled Jim.

The couple is but one of a number of couples reflecting on their wedding day at the Old Mill Toronto.  The iconic landmark near the banks of the Humber River in Etobicoke, is celebrating its own anniversary; 100 years and it still has the VOW factor.

Barry and Patsy exchanged their vows in the sixteenth century chapel at the Old Mill under the dappled light of the stained glass windows and candlelit chandeliers.

Most men might not remember the finite details of their wedding day 34 years later, but Barry was a banquet captain at the Old Mill and Patsy worked in catering. Barry remembers vividly.

“When the ceremony was finished, the wedding party was about to take their pictures, the Old Mill surprised us with a complimentary pre-reception for our guests.  I will always remember my cousin coming around the corner and yelling out ‘hey everyone, they’re serving sandwiches in the Mill Room.’”

The ‘sandwiches’ were in fact labour intensive canapés and hors d’oeuvres hand prepared by the chef for their 120 guests.

Barry reflects on a perfect reception in the Brule Ballroom (think hardwood floors and wood-burning fireplace). “There was a strolling musician; a violin player who went to each table playing requests accompanied by an accordionist.”  Barry’s request was Flight of the Bumblebee and he is still in awe with the memory of that performance.

Baked Alaska was always an event for weddings at the Old Mill. “Before serving, the lights would be dimmed, then the band would start up and the servers marched in with sparklers on the dessert plates and placed them in front of their guests at the same time.”

Henny and Leo’s wedding in the Old Mill Chapel was in 1988. Henny had been introduced to the Old Mill Tea Room by her sister when she immigrated to Canada in 1975 and it held a place in her heart ever since.

“We had the same minister as my sister did nine years earlier.  He was a really nice man.  He took his time and made us feel special.”

“We liked the idea of having everything in one place.  It was easier for our guests. After the ceremony we went to take pictures in the garden and our guests could get some fresh air and go for a walk as well.”

Henny described a European style reception; hors ‘oeuvres in the Mill Room for 60 people.

“They couldn’t do enough for us.  Everything was perfect.  On our first anniversary they sent us a card and offered us a complimentary cake to celebrate at the Old Mill.”

When Lori and Mauro got married at the Old Mill their cake was something of a showstopper.

Lori surprised her groom with a custom cake replicating his 40’ Silverton powerboat. She said “all the bartenders and servers wore captains’ hats.  My husband loved it.”

Lori and Mauro had 250 guests at their wedding in 2005. “After the ceremony in the chapel we went straight to a tent set up in the garden for cocktails.  It was April so there were heaters.  We had a martini bar and oyster bar.”

Dinner was in Guildhall with musical accompaniment by the Downchild Blues Band.

Lori said they stayed in the honeymoon suite, “it was gorgeous.  It had two rooms, giving us a separate bedroom.  And we had a fireplace!”

If there is one thing that the Old Mill has been doing the same for a hundred years it is making every guest experience unique.

Natalie Bauer, director of marketing and events for the Old Mill Toronto said “we are fortunate to have a selection of different banquet rooms to accommodate large groups or intimate settings. We have the beautiful gardens for picture taking and a patio for outdoor cocktails.

“There is a florist on site who can take care of all the flower details”.

“Our spa has been so popular we had to give it larger space.  Our brides like to come the night before the wedding with their attendants, get their aesthetic treatments and then go back to their rooms to enjoy a glass of wine.  It’s a lovely way to be pampered the night before the big day.”

Any couple booking their 2015 wedding at the Old Mill will be automatically entered to win $10,000 toward their wedding. This includes a wedding night stay in a King Suite. Contest details are at oldmilltoronto.com.

Isn’t that the icing on the cake?

Pam Stellini



Aromatherapy Basics

Definition of Essential Oils

An essential oil is a fragrant, volatile oil which makes up the essence of the plant. Essential oils are derived from various areas of the plant including fruit, seed, bark, flower, root and stem. The molecules of essential oils are very powerful and have been used for healing purposes over thousands of years.

Methods of Extraction:
Expression: used mainly to extract essential oils from the rind of citrus fruit. The surface of the fruit skin is broken and the sacs that hold the essential oils are extracted.
Distillation: Through a process of condensation essential oils are collected through the distillate.
Enfleurage: Mostly used for exotic flowers that are very fragile. A glass surface is coated with odourless fat and oil and the flowers and blossoms are placed on these oils. As the flowers wilt, they release their fragrance and it is absorbed into the fat, then extracted. 

 Evolution of Aromatherapy
 
Ayurvedic medicine has been used from 3000 – 5000 BC. Practised in India, plant extracts were used to achieve a balance between the body, mind and soul. It was believed that each person should be treated individually for their aliments.

In ancient Egypt, aromatic substances were used for their medicinal purposes, perfumes and in cosmetology. Herbs were used for incense and oils and resins were used for embalming. The Greeks brought essential oils to Greece after visiting Egypt. They started to incorporate oils into celebrations, rituals and religious traditions. The Greeks were instrumental in advancing the use of aromatherapy for medicinal purposes as they had discovered that the use of aromatherapy had a significant impact on the internal organs.

In the 1500′s the foundation of modern medicine was laid and although both traditional and holistic practitioners used essential oils and herbs, medicine began to advance towards chemical science and synthetically mimicing the healing properties of the essential oils. 

Methods of Essential Oil Application
Compress:
Essential oils are dissolved in a solution and applied to wounds, bruises, abscesses or pressure points.
Inhalation: Direct inhalation is when you inhale the aroma of essential oils directly.
Massage: 1% – 5% is diluted in a carrier oil and the oil is rubbed into the skin.
Toiletries: In lotions and creams, essential oils are absorbed into the body via the skin, and also through inhalation.

Essential Oil Families 
Citrus: Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit, Tangerines etc.
These oils are known to be highly antiviral and they fight cold and flu germs that are in the air. They are uplifting oils that can be used for their antidepressant qualities, as natural diuretics and to reduce cholesterol levels. You should avoid being in direct sunlight when using these oils.
Herbs: Rosemary, Peppermint, Thyme
Herbs are known for their analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. They are also good for the respiratory tract, for muscle and joint pain and for hives and itchy skin. Antifungal and antiseptic.
Woods: Patchouli, Sandalwood, Cedarwood 
These are grounding oils and are used as aphrodisiacs for eczema, psoriasis, chapped and cracked skin. Good for varicous veins and circulation.
Flowers: Jasmine, Rose, Lavender, Geranium
Natural antidepressants, hormone balancing, tension relieving, sedative. If you like florals, these essential oils are among the most luxurious oils in the world. Natural antibiotics.
Root and Spice: Ginger, Cinnamon, Clove
Digestive aids and promote circulation. Analgesic and antiseptic, antifungal, antihistamine, antibiotic.



Team Building

The term “Team Building” conjures up various definitions to all of us, and what one individual considers “useful”, “relevant” and “motivational”, another may not agree.  When Team building is  done  effectively, we can consider this positive process as “Building a Team within a Workplace”. Why?  To promote office harmony; employee understanding; improve performance and working towards a shared goal.

We believe the purpose of team building is to encourage each team member as individuals and the group as a whole.  Providing on-going and annual evaluations are key to employee growth, however team building reaches a new level of individual and team engagement.  Goals and expectations must be made clear, otherwise working towards a team goal can get derailed if individuals work towards their own objectives.  

Team building is often thought of as being expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.  There are numerous programs and ideas for every budget.  Don’t confuse team social activities with team building activities.  A structured environment giving direction and encouragement during a team building exercise, will infuse your team with energy and creativity.    

At the Old Mill Toronto, our team building partner is the “Frontier Team Building” group who label their programs “Edutainment”.  Their unique one of a kind team building experiences take full advantage of our indoor and outdoor surroundings.  Team building is a sure way to foster effective relationships, elevate morale and make your meetings experience unforgettable!