Grooms: How To Take Better Care of Yourselves
Preliminary data indicate grooms may be at a higher risk of dying from COVID-19, as men tend to have poorer health habits compared to women.

Preliminary data indicate grooms may be at a higher risk of dying from COVID-19, as men tend to have poorer health habits compared to women.

The COVID-19 pandemic has proved to be more fatal to men. CNN reported on March 24 that males make up 70% of those who died from coronavirus complications in Italy and 54% of total COVID-19 deaths in South Korea. Yet even without a global virus outbreak, taking care of oneself should be a top priority, especially for men who seem to have poorer health habits compared to women. While grooms are figuring out what to do next about their upcoming weddings, practicing healthy habits can ensure that they’re around to say “I do.”

Why More Men Are Dying From COVID-19

Medical professionals are trying to determine why more men have succumbed to COVID-19. Scientists haven’t determined any concrete causes, according to The Guardian, but they have some theories that may fit the facts. Unhealthy behaviors seem to be the key to higher death rates: More men smoke, drink, and don’t practice healthy habits such as handwashing. Men are less likely to seek medical attention when they are ill. MDLinx reveals that they’re diagnosed at higher rates with serious health conditions:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Chronic heart failure
  • Lung cancer

Grooms and General Risk Factors

British Columbia’s Centre for Disease Control explains that people with chronic illnesses are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 complications. However, they also face a generally greater risk of dying earlier. That contributes to Canadian men’s lower life expectancies: 79 years versus 83 years for Canadian women. Harvard Health mentions that more men are employed in high-risk occupations such as construction, the military, and firefighting. Canadian men are three times more likely to successfully commit suicide, less likely to have significant social connections, and less likely to seek mental health treatment.

Staying Healthy and Beating the Odds

Understanding your risk factors is important. But don’t worry: This article won’t turn into a lecture or sound like a 1950s educational film. What grooms can do, however, is focus on potential ways to maintain or improve their health. Harvard Health suggests choosing one goal to tackle first rather than trying to make a ton of lifestyle changes at once, so pick something attainable right now. Simple steps are a great way to begin your journey, and many helpful resources are available to get you started:

  • If you use tobacco, take steps to quit. Several provinces and territories offer free accessible support for going nicotine-free.
  • People who drink alcohol should do so in moderation. If you’re concerned about addiction, check out this treatment guide from the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and Addiction.
  • The Canadian government offers a food guide snapshot, plus some tips on how to shop and eat better.
  • New to exercise? Sports medicine expert Andrew Lavender provides several suggestions to get started as a beginner.
  • The Loop lists several national and provincial mental health resources.

If you’re dealing with food insecurity due to COVID-19, try Food Banks Canada’s food bank search. Each provincial and territorial government operates social assistance and welfare programs. Also, California-based Dignity Health supplies several tips for eating well if you lack regular access to fresh, healthy food.

Your Journey, Your Choices, Your Health

Life is precious. Besides your quality of life and goals, there are friends and loved ones who care and would love to see you stick around for a long time. Grooms also have a wedding to look forward to, whether or not COVID-19 has delayed their plans. Remember that change won’t happen overnight: This isn’t a race to see how quickly you can accomplish your goals. Nobody’s expecting you to become musclebound or become a whiz at CrossFit. If your first benchmark is eating one piece of fruit each day, that’s fine. The bottom line: Take care of yourself. The world needs you.

Sacred Grounds: The Surprising Religious History of Coffee
The humble coffee bean has a surprising religious history that weaves together many fascinating tails and origin stories.

The humble coffee bean has a surprising religious history that weaves together many fascinating tails and origin stories.

Would you call your morning cup of coffee a mystical experience? In our quest to power up for the day, we probably don’t think about coffee’s origins. Yet this humble bean has a surprising religious history. It’s a fascinating and complex tale that began in Africa many centuries ago.

Coffee’s Ethiopian Origins

Coffee cultivation takes place in over 80 countries today, most of them located in tropical regions. One popular legend claims that an Ethiopian goat herder discovered the plant after noticing strange behavior out of his goats. After finding a green shrub decked with bright cherry-colored berries, he picked some of the fruit and brought it to a local monastery. The caffeine enabled the monks to stay awake, and the rest was history.

Except that it wasn’t really history.

Journalist Livia Gershon explains that the coffee plant did first grow wild in Ethiopia. However, the local tribespeople discovered it first. Thanks to its energizing properties, the bean was used as a sacrament in communal ceremonies. Hunters also imbibed it to stay alert and stave off hunger while seeking their prey. It eventually made its way to other parts of Africa, where other cultures found more uses for it. Some brewed a drink from the vivid red berries, while others roasted them in fat or chewed them without any prep. The Haya people of Tanzania even traded the beans as currency.

Java and Midnight Meditations

Just in case you thought the Ethiopian goat herder would get all the credit, there are two other myths about coffee’s origins. The Spruce‘s Lindsey Goodwin mentions one story in which a Sufi mystic finds and chews the berries during his journey through Ethiopia. Another tale claims that an exiled sheik on the verge of starvation discovered the plant in the wild. When he tossed the berries into his campfire, he fell in love with their aroma but found them too hard to chew. After trying to soften them in water, he drank the liquid and felt invigorated.

It’s hard to separate truth from myth, but we do know that Yemenite Sufi Muslims consumed coffee to keep alert during nighttime chanting rituals. Coffee eventually spread throughout the rest of the Muslim world, fueling Yemen’s economy for over 250 years. Many people drank it to stay awake during late-night Ramadan festivities, and coffeehouses sprung up to fuel the demand. More legends propagated about the bean’s origins, with some crediting Muhammed or the archangel Gabriel for gifting it to humanity.

Coffee Comes to Europe and America

Coffee was widely consumed in the Muslim world by the 1500s. Around this time, Europeans began encountering the drink during their travels. Although they found it bitter due to its initial lack of sugar, they loved its energizing effects. The drink soon came to Europe, where it was both loved and considered controversial. Just as in the Middle East, coffeehouses popped up in major cities throughout the continent. They became cultural centers and community meeting places, much like taverns were during America’s colonial era.

One often-repeated legend claims that several clerics asked Pope Clement VII to ban coffee, insisting that it was “Satan’s brew.” Yet when the pope tried coffee for himself, he enjoyed it so much that he gave it his blessing. From there, coffee came to the Americas, where early colonialists embraced the brew. “Coffee makes a man more reasonable, better able to concentrate and hardworking,” comments Laura Turner in the Washington Post. “No wonder people might see it going hand in hand with the Protestant work ethic.”

All Hail the Mighty Bean

Canada ranks third in the world for coffee consumption. For many of us, this bold brew is a must-have that fuels our bodies and minds. Whether or not we thank the divine for our daily drink, it certainly holds a revered place in our modern lives.

Simple Ways To Adopt Healthier Habits
As the years go on, it becomes a lot easier to fall into the wrong habits. A great way to succeed includes incorporating your significant other into the mix.

As the years go on, it becomes a lot easier to fall into the wrong habits. A great way to succeed includes incorporating your significant other into the mix.

As the years go on, it becomes a lot easier to fall into the wrong habits. Routine may force you to eat specific foods out of convenience, for example, rather than for the nutritional content of the meal. Luckily, it is never too late to practice better habits. A great way to see success from your goals is by incorporating your significant other into the mix. When you both are serious about adopting healthier habits, you can lean on each other for support throughout the process. Consider these suggestions to find the right ideas to reach your goals.

What You Eat

One of the best ways to get started is by focusing on your diet. What you eat plays a huge part in your overall feelings of wellness. Try to begin incorporating healthier options into your meals. Instead of making traditional French fries, consider cooking some sweet potatoes. Small adjustments can make a big impact. Focus on the foods nutritionists claim to be the healthiest, like eggs, broccoli, Greek yogurt, salmon, spinach, lentils, nuts, and leafy greens. If you’re not used to eating any of these foods, slowly incorporate them into your diet to see success.

How You Sleep

How you sleep also plays a big part in your health. A number of recent studies suggest that the average adult does not get anywhere near the amount of sleep he or she is supposed to. Experts agree that a healthy adult needs somewhere between 6 and 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. One way to encourage this is by giving yourself a strict bedtime and sticking with it. Try to limit using your phone once you’ve gotten in bed. Instead, read a book or newspaper. Studies show that phone usage before bed increases the odds of sleep disruption.

Exercise Habits

A growing body of research suggests that regular exercise can significantly improve your overall health and longevity. Not only does it help you keep weight off and feel your best, it reduces the likelihood of disease and premature death. While you may not have the time and stamina to start training for a marathon, there are simple ways you can incorporate exercise into your daily life. For example, you could take a walk every evening, or take the stairs at work instead of the elevator. Ideally, you can find some activities that you and your partner both enjoy that you can do together.

New Skills

When discussing health, a number of experts focus solely on the body. While it is crucial to eat the right foods, get a full night’s rest, and exercise your body, you also need to think about nourishing your mind. As you get older, you are less likely to pick up a new skill by chance. This means you need to take active steps towards learning how to tackle a task you’ve never attempted before. Whether you want to play a musical instrument, knit, climb, or ride a horse, taking the time to master a new skill is a healthy and productive option.


Limiting how often you use your phone is also a good habit to get into. These days, most people rely on their phones for everything. One study has even suggested that the mind is subconsciously thinking about checking a phone even when the item is not present in the same room or is powered off. This means you need to take hard action to break the chain. Try to have at least one full hour away from any screens. Use this time to meditate, read, connect with a loved one, or whatever else will help you use your time well.

Break a Bad Habit

You may also have adopted a bad habit that you want to break for your health. Smoking cigarettes or the excessive consumption of alcohol can easily take a toll on your life. In order to live in a healthier way, try to avoid these behaviors. Quitting smoking or cutting back on drinking might help you feel a bit more in control of your life. Be forewarned that these goals can be very difficult to achieve, so be sure to lean on your partner for support throughout it all and make the steps you are taking to improve your life small enough to be achievable.

Adopting healthier habits is important for your future. Take time now to see what adjustments will help you reach your wellness goals and discover what you and your significant other can accomplish together.