It's time to take out the maple syrup, poutine, and hockey sticks, Canada Day on July 1 is fast approaching. The federal holiday, which celebrates Canadian independence from British rule, was originally called Dominion Day to preserve a cultural identity until three decades ago. In an online poll by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), approximately 47 percent of CBC.ca readers preferred the name Dominion Day while 43 percent approved the parliament's decision to call it Canada Day. Whether you choose to call it either or, Canada Day celebrations rejoice the birth of the Great White North through festivities held worldwide. With a population of 35 million in Canada, and one in ten Canadians living abroad, it is important to have a slice of home and wave high the maple leaf flag. Whether you're in London or New York, a Canadian or not, become a part of the Canada Day celebrations with these seven fun and healthy ways that will be sure to boost your patriotic spirit.
1) A Cup of Tim Hortons
Start your day the Canadian way with a cup of Joe from the Canadian-originated chain Tim Hortons. The steaming hot brew of Tim Hortons will bring warm and nostalgic memories of home. The chain has over 4K restaurants in Canada, 800 in the United States, and 27 in The Gulf Cooperation Council, says Tim Hortons. If you can't get your hands on this delicious, caffeinated drink, you can order online on the company's website.
Health Benefit: In a study published in the journal American Society for Nutrition, researchers examined the association between coffee consumption and the risk for chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes, among many others. The study compiled data from 42,659 participants in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) — a Germany study that assessed coffee consumption by self-administered food-frequency survey and medically verified data on chronic disease incidents in these coffee drinkers. The results of the study found that one cup of coffee — 150 milliliters — was not associated with the overall risk of chronic disease and was linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. So, grab a cup of Tim Hortons and drink to your health!
2) A Bottle of Molson Canadian Beer
Molson Canadian beer is a staple in any Canadian festivity, especially on Canada Day. The beer is only 67 calories per 341 mL bottle. Celebrate the good times in Canada and abroad by drinking this refreshing lager to bring back memories of your home and native land. Advertisements for the beer brand include phases like "This is our beer, Molson Canadian" to culturally identify with the country.
Health Benefit: One beer a day can help reduce the risk of mental decline by up to 20 percent, says a study published in the journal of the American Geriatrics Society. The study followed 11,000 women who were moderate drinkers and found that older women who had a drink a day had a fresher mental acuity compared to non-drinking women. A bottle of a beer a day will keep Alzheimer's and dementia away!
3) A Plate of Healthy Poutine
The common Canadian plate is comprised of french fries, brown gravy, and cheese. This mouthwatering plate is heavy on calories, total fat content, and carbohydrates, says Calorie Count. You can now enjoy a plate of poutine guilt-free without sacrificing your waist line. Overfry poutine with mushroom gravy is a healthy option that poutine lovers can indulge in on Canada Day. The recipe contains crispy oven-fried potatoes with a grease-free gravy and a cornucopia of mushrooms.
Health Benefit: The heavily potato-based dish can provide energy for your body, even for those that are health conscious. Potatoes are rich in carbohydrates that help the body with movement and digestion, says Everyday Health. It's time to say "pass the potatoes, please!"
4) Watch An NHL 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs Recap or Catch A Toronto Blue Jays Game
It doesn't get more Canadian than watching a National Hockey League (NHL) or Major League Baseball (MLB) game — if the Toronto Blue Jays are on. As one of the most popular sports in Canada and what is considered to be the country's national pastime, this fast-paced sport will have you cheering on like a true Canuck.
Tip: Avoid watching game seven of the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs game in the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs — a day that will live in infamy for every Canadian hockey fan.
Health Benefit: Cherilynn Veland, LCSW, MSW from Lincoln Park Counseling in Chicago, Ill., told Medical Daily, "I think watching sports aligns well with relieving some of the cultural pressures that men [and women] feel. Research shows watching sports has a positive effect on anxiety." Beware that the outcome of any sports game can affect the fan's mood — for better or for worse.
5) Watch Skits From Canadian Comedian Russell Peters
The Canadian comedian Russell Peters is one of Canada's modern day comics who covers subjects on race relations, multiculturalism, stereotypes "aboot" Canadians, among others. Peters' jokes are more observational based on his life experiences growing up in Canada and transition from childhood to adulthood. His jokes about the mother country can put a smile on your face this Canada Day.
Health Benefit: A laugh can have some short-term benefits on your health. Mayo Clinic says it can cause physical changes in the body, such as stimulating your organs, relieving your stress response, and soothing any tension you may feel. Long-term effects of laughter include an improvement in your immune system, relief in pain, and even an increase in your personal satisfaction.
6) Go Karaoke
Let the world know how proud you are to be Canadian or an observer of the holiday and sing some tunes by Canadian artists like Paul Anka or Alanis Morisette. You can even bust out your best voice and sing the O Canada national anthem in front of a group of people if you are fearless enough.
Health Benefit: Singing can help you use your diaphragm and promotes a healthy lymphatic system. It releases endorphins in your immune system that makes you feel energized and at ease while giving your lungs, abdominal, and intercostal muscles a workout. "Singing makes us breathe more deeply than many forms of strenuous exercise, so we take in more oxygen, improve aerobic capacity and experience a release of muscle tension as well," said Professor Graham Welch, Director of Educational Research, University of Surrey, reported The Telegraph.
7) Go To A Canadian Parade
Canada Day is a holiday and social event that brings people together to enjoy the festivities. A parade can strengthen social connections in individuals and even increase longevity. Canada Day International, an organization that promotes Canada and all things Canadian around the world, encourages the celebration of Canadian culture to Canadians and non-Canadians abroad. The two main international cities abroad that will celebrate Canada Day in a big fashion are London and New York.
Health Benefit: Attending a parade can help build social bonds and increase socialization in individuals. In a study, 4,775 participants from Alameda County, Calif. were linked to increased longevity because they had solid social relationships whereas their non-social counterparts had fears of isolation and were linked to an increased risk of death, which attributed to poor health.