Sleep, gut health and inflammation issues becoming the norm in Canada

Staying up late, eating the wrong foods and inflammation conditions are reportedly affecting Canadians now more than ever.

In October, the Peanut Mill, a health food store in St Catharines, Ont. offered healthcare advice with a public seminar dedicated to the growing number of Canadians dealing with chronic sleep, digestive and inflammatory conditions.

The Life Hacks seminar was presented by naturopath Frank Silva who offered tips on diet, nutrition and lifestyle changes. The event, which was sponsored by healthcare company SISU, is just one of many that seek to educate the public on common health ailments. 

“Work smarter, not harder,” Silva said. “It can be easy for us to jump on the bandwagon, or look for that trendy new exotic health ingredient, the truth is you got to do the simple stuff first.”

Directing these seminars is something Silva doesn’t see ending anytime soon.

“I love to get to interact and really talk to people and see what their general ideas of health are,” Silva said. “It’s important to see what’s really causing these chronic health conditions and getting to the bottom of it.”

Research has shown a considerable number of Canadians are battling with these chronic conditions.

Nearly one in four Canadians experience insomnia at least once a week, while 10 per cent suffer from chronic insomnia, according to the Canadian Sleep Society.

For some, the conditions can be too embarrassing to discuss with family, friends or healthcare practitioners. In particular, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), is a major concern among Canadian children.

A CTV article in April 2017 stated that researchers found cases of inflammatory bowel disease in children under age five went up by an average of 7.2 per cent each year between 1999 and 2010.

An advertisement for the seminar.

“We can’t be afraid to bring these issues up,” Silva said. “If you look at how we rank internationally, Canada is in the top five nations in the amount of people for IBS. It’s not something we’re proud of and it’s something we need to change.”

Silva’s discussion stressed the importance of going back to the basics.

Some of the simple tips included cutting down television and computer time, not going to bed immediately after a large meal, looking into supplements like curcumin and looking at the importance of and distinguishing between the good and bad kinds of probiotic supplements. 

“Not all probiotic supplements are created equal,” he said. “There is a lack of efficacy with no obvious improvements in some.”

Peanut Mill owner, Jason Sebeslav, said that he has had seminars hosted at his store for more than 15 years.

Jason Sebeslav owns the Peanut Mill.

The store organizes about two seminars per month and has dealt with numerous topics including women’s health, joint health and immunity health.

“What we really aim for is for our customers to leave with a few good practical points to put into practice,” Sebeslav said. “We want people to know that there are things that can be done through diet and lifestyle that can improve the situations that they are dealing with. There are options to consider.”

Average seminars hosted in the Peanut Mill accommodate around 40 people and there are sometimes waiting lists.

“We have had speakers over the years that do draw a larger audience,” Sebeslav said. “In those instances, we have gone off-site, rented halls and other places to do talks including 200 to 250 people.”

For more information and to sign-up for an upcoming seminar, visit

                          The Peanut Mill logo.

About the author  ⁄ Dylan Veenhof

I'm a third-year journalism student at Mohawk College with a three-year background in media communications from Brock University. I aim for dedicated, quality journalism that applies across a multitude of this vast media world. My particular journalistic passion falls under anything involving on-air/on-camera action.

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