This is a fairly easy cake roll recipe. It's filled with fresh strawberries and cream cheese whipped cream! My family loved it. I had to use imported strawberries but fresh, locally grown produce is just a couple of months away. We love anything with berries in it. It's the perfect cake for any occasion.
Ingredients: For the Cake:
3 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all purpose flour
Powdered sugar, to aid in rolling
For the Filling and Topping:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups cold heavy whipping cream
1 pound fresh strawberries (plus more for topping, if desired)
*Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 10x15” or 10.5x15” cake/jelly roll pan with foil and spray with floured nonstick cooking spray.
*Place eggs in a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat at medium speed with mixer for 5 minutes until foamy and yellow.
*Add sugar and mix for 2 more minutes, until the mixture is thickened slightly.
*Mix in oil, baking powder, salt, and vanilla, then add flour and mix slowly until just combined.
*Pour into prepared pan, spreading as needed with a spatula. Tap the pan twice on the counter to release air bubbles
*bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the top is browned and the cake springs back when touched lightly. (Mine took 12 minutes, but all ovens differ.)
*While the cake is baking, lay out a clean kitchen towel onto the counter. Spread with about 1/4 cup powdered sugar.
*Remove the hot cake from the oven and carefully, using oven mitts so you don’t burn yourself, flip the cake onto the towel. This might make a mess, but that’s okay.
*Carefully remove the pan and foil (they’re hot!) and then, using the towel, roll up the cake from the short side. The towel will be rolled into the cake. Let this cool completely before continuing.
Note: you can wrap the cooled cake in plastic wrap and let it sit overnight before finishing.
Make the filling:
Place cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer. Use mixer to beat the cream cheese and sugar until it’s smooth and fluffy, then beat in vanilla.
Slowly add the heavy whipping cream, then turn the mixer up to high and beat until stiff peaks form.
To fill cake:
*wash and dry the berries very well.
Slice about 3/4 of the pound into small pieces, then pat the pieces dry.
*Carefully unroll the cake.
*Spread with some of the whipped cream mixture and top with the chopped strawberries.
*Carefully roll the cake back up as tight as possible, unsticking it from the towel as you go.
*Wrap the cake roll in plastic wrap and chill until ready to top and serve.
*To serve: frost with remaining whipped cream and remaining berries. I used a 1M tip to create roses all over the cake, but you can just frost it if you wish.
This cake is best eaten the day it is made, because of the fresh berries. It will last, fully made, overnight in the refrigerator (wrap it loosely) but the berries might weep a bit.
Any woman who’s used hormonal contraception will likely tell you that, while the pill is great for helping us stay in control of our reproductive choices (thank you, birth control!), it also sometimes makes us feel like crap. And now, a new randomized study has confirmed just that: The most common type of combined hormonal birth-control pill has been found to negatively impact a woman’s quality of life.
Scientists from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden gave 340 healthy women between the ages of 18 and 35 either placebos or contraceptive pills containing ethinylestradiol and levonorgestrel over the course of three months. Published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, the study found that women who took the combination pills reported overall reduced feelings of well-being — from a lower quality of life to negative impacts on her mood, self-control, and energy; also, perceiving things in a more negative way... eg: my glass is half empty, rather than half full.
The scientists noted in a statement that, despite the fact that an estimated 100 million women around the world use contraceptive pills, the medical community still knows “surprisingly little” about the pill’s effect on women’s health. As a result, there’s a great need for studies like this one, which actually compares the pill’s effect with placebos. The scientists added that because the perceived changes in the study were relatively small, the findings should be interpreted cautiously. However, they also noted that the pill’s negative impact on individual women could be of clinical importance.
“This might in some cases be a contributing cause of low compliance and irregular use of contraceptive pills,” study co-author Dr. Niklas Zethraeus said in a statement. “This possible degradation of quality of life should be paid attention to and taken into account in conjunction with prescribing of contraceptive pills and when choosing a method of contraception.”
So, sister friends, be very informed when you make birth-control choices. Ask your doctor about this study and which products were tested.
Beets are a common sweetening ingredient in the juices you’ll find at most health food stores, but a recent study found another reason to drink the bright red juice: It has anti-aging benefits.
Researchers at Wake Forest University knew that exercise has positive anti-aging effects on the brain, and were looking for ways to increase those benefits.
“What we showed in this brief training study of hypertensive older adults was that, as compared to exercise alone, adding a beet root juice supplement to exercise resulted in brain connectivity that closely resembles what you see in younger adults,” said W. Jack Rejeski, co-author of the study.
The small study included 26 men and women aged 55 and older who did not exercise, had high blood pressure, and took no more than two medications for their high blood pressure. Three times a week, they drank Beet-It Sport Shot — a beet root juice supplement — one hour before a 50-minute walk on the treadmill.
Half of the participants received Beet-It containing 560 milligrams of nitrate, a substance found in beets that increases blood flow in the body and improves exercise performance, while the other half received placebo Beet-It with very little nitrate.
“Nitric oxide is a really powerful molecule,” Rejeski stated. “It goes to the areas of the body which are hypoxic, or needing oxygen, and the brain is a heavy feeder of oxygen in your body.”
Combining beet juice with exercise was found to deliver more oxygen to the brain, thus creating an environment for strengthening the area of the brain associated with motor activity. The group served beet juice had much higher levels of nitrate and nitrite than the placebo group after exercise.
This isn’t the first study to find that beets have a positive effect on health and exercise. They may also regulate blood pressure and improve exercise performance and endurance.
So if these bright red roots aren’t yet part of your diet, it may be time to plug your nose and drink up.
By Amy Tenderich Amy Tenderich was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in May of 2003. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of Diabetes Mine and co-authored the book Know Your Numbers, Outlive Your Diabetes. You will frequently find her speaking at diabetes, health, and social media events across the country. The best times to check your blood glucose (BG) actually depend on your reasons for checking. If you are checking in order to choose your insulin doses, then the best times are: 1. At wake time in the morningAmy Tenderich 2. Before and after each meal 3. At bedtime If you do not need the information immediately to set insulin doses but are checking for more “general purposes”—like to evaluate changes or improvement in your overall BG control—then checking at the same times each day is most helpful. This helps you identify trends, like if you are consistently high every day in the late afternoon. Of course, you’ll only see these trends if you keep track of your test results. It’s important to use the little log book that comes with your meter to keep track of your numbers and look over them periodically. The data is not just for your doctor. It's for you. As a rule of thumb, just before a meal and then three or four hours afterward provides a useful timeframe for seeing the effects of that meal. Similarly, testing before and just after exercise will tell you the effects of that particular activity. If you routinely test before and after meals, before and after exercise, and before and after sleeping, you'll have great results to review yourself or with your doctor. These numbers will give you a good sense of what might be pushing your blood glucose up or down.
Some people believe that if they get their A1c blood test done regularly, there’s no need for daily glucose testing. Wrong. It is true that the hemoglobin A1c (or simply A1c for short) is considered the “gold standard” of blood glucose measurement. It’s conducted in a laboratory and measures your average blood glucose levels for the past three months. This test is used as the main measure of your glucose management. (The recommended goal is a level of less than seven percent.) The big picture The A1c looks at the big picture, i.e. “What effect are my blood glucose levels having on my chance of future diabetes complications?” BUT, if your A1c turns out to be high, this test doesn’t provide a clue as to what you can do about it. A high A1c result tells you that you need to change something, but only your individual daily glucose results can provide the real clues about specific actions or strategies you might need to take. That’s why frequent home glucose testing matters! Meeting your target A1c What if you meet the A1c target (7.0 or below), while your before- and after-meal blood glucose numbers have been “off”? What does this mean? Remember that the A1c is an average number. In other words, it's a point that reflects the “middle” of all your glucose values over the past three months. So you could have a “perfect” A1c result of 6.5 that might actually reflect the mid-point between several weeks of severe highs and lows. Not good. If, however, your A1c met your target and you did not have frequent low blood glucose values, then all of your levels during the previous three months were okay. They were okay even if they were occasionally off-target. There will always be fluctuations, which is why the A1c is the perfect complement to daily testing. In a nutshell: All of the existing clinical research tells us that your A1c is the vital indicator of your future health. Your glucose meter is a vital indicator of how you’re doing on a daily basis, leading up to your A1c. Stay tune Amy Tenderich will share more of her struggles to get her diabetes under control .
Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 6:58 PM - A threat for spring severe weather is developing for parts of southern Ontario on Thursday, as a dynamic weather system tracks across the Great Lakes region. If the ingredients come together, storms Thursday afternoon and evening will have the potential to produce strong winds, hail, and even isolated tornadoes, in addition to localized heavy downpours.
As a tee-up, the province already saw severe storms in the extreme southwest, with a severe thunderstorm warning in effect for several hours for the Windsor area before dropping around 7 p.m.
Thursday's storms are likely to be even stronger. Read below for an analysis of the system that is set to bring Thursday's storms.
South of the warm front on Thursday, surface temperatures will climb well into the teens and even low 20’s with southwesterly winds. This will help build the instability needed to fuel severe thunderstorms. North of the front, showers and easterly winds will keep temperatures stalled in the single digits.
If enough instability does build through the afternoon, the environment will favor the development of strong to severe storms on Thursday. Strong winds aloft will provide ample wind shear, and the vertical temperature profile supports powerful updrafts capable of producing lightning and even hail.
There will be the potential for isolated tornadoes on Thursday as well, particularly near the warm front where low level wind shear will be maximized. Any storms that show signs of rotation will need to be monitored closely for tornado potential.
Storms should diminish in intensity through the overnight hours on Thursday, as the system continues to shift east – giving way to clearing and more seasonal temperatures on Friday.
Sprawling across the landscape like a gigantic patchwork quilt are the brightly colored tulip fields of Holland.
Acres upon acres of flowers decorate the countryside in Anna Paulowna, North Holland with fields in pink, yellow, red and purple. Photographer Normann Szkop captured these beautiful shots from the air in during the multi-coloured height of the growing season in mid-April.
More than three billion tulips are grown each year and two-thirds of the vibrant blooms are exported, mostly to the U.S. and Germany. The tulip season begins in March and lasts until August with several shows held across the country, but the flowers are undoubtedly at their most spectacular at this time of year. The cultivation of flower bulbs began more than 400 years ago and today Holland produces more than nine billion bulbs every year, of which two thirds are exported overseas. Evenly distributed, this number would allow for almost two flower bulbs for every person on the planet.
Normann explains: "The tulip has come to be a loved symbol of the Netherlands. Many tourists visit the country just to see the bright coloured flower and the astonishing view over the bulb fields.’ ‘The season begins in March with crocuses, followed by the daffodil and the yellow narcissi. In April the hyacinths and tulips blossom to some time in mid May, depending on the weather. Later, in August it is time for the gladioli. Modern mass flower production and modern windmills replace the ages old images we have of Holland. But the brilliant colors which can be seen for miles and miles across the flat landscape are a wondrous sight to see.
This weekend is Easter, where Christians celebrate the return of Jesus. Unfortunately, this year Jesus can’t return because he’s Middle Eastern and been detained at the airport.
Because of the sexual allegations against him, it’s rumored that Bill O’Reilly’s show may be going off the air. For continuity’s sake, Fox will replace it with reruns of "The Cosby Show."
After being accused of sexual harassment by five women, Bill O’Reilly announced he is taking a vacation. And if there’s any justice in the world he’ll be flying United.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has apologized for his Hitler comments and admitted he "screwed up." I don’t think Spicer learned his lesson though, because he then said, "Even Hitler didn’t screw up as badly as I did."
They’re having trouble organizing Easter at the White House this year. Instead of an A-list musician, there will be a military band. And instead of eggs, there’s going to be golf balls and instead of children there will be old white guys.
Before he was press secretary, Sean Spicer actually played the Easter bunny at the egg roll during the Bush administration. Which means this week, for the first time maybe in history, we got to see the Easter bunny apologize for comments about the Holocaust.
Congratulations to the first lady, Melania Trump, who just got a nice payout from a British tabloid newspaper, The Daily Mail. According to CNN, Melania received $2.9 million in damages, which she's using to build an escape tunnel back to Slovenia.
Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino from "Jersey Shore" is facing up to 15 years in prison on tax evasion charges. So basically, if you’re a reality star in this country and you don’t pay your taxes, we either put you in prison or make you President of the United States.
Donald Trump made an extraordinary claim to The New York Times about a Democratic congressman: “Elijah Cummings was in my office, and he said, ‘You will go down as one of the great presidents in the history of our country.’” Really? I get the “you will go down” part, but, after that, you kind of lost me.
Apparently Barry Manilow announced today that he is gay. Also scientific research found that the sky is blue. And sugar is sweet. Lots of interesting stuff happening today in the news.
Today, North Korea conducted a missile test, which escalated tensions in the region. But don’t worry — things settled down when Kendall Jenner stepped in and handed them a Pepsi.
Dr Nagarwala mutilated girls aged between six and eight
A doctor in the US city of Detroit has been charged with carrying out female genital mutilation (FGM) on young girls in what is believed to be the first case of its kind in the country.
Prosecutors said Jumana Nagarwala had been performing the practice on girls aged between six and eight for 12 years. She was investigated after the authorities received a tip-off. If found guilty, she faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
FGM was made illegal in the US in 1996.
In a voluntary interview with investigators earlier this week Dr Nagarwala denied being involved in any such procedure, local media reported. But prosecutors said she had performed "horrifying acts of brutality on the most vulnerable victims".
Some travelled to her practise from outside the state of Michigan and were told not to talk about the procedure, they added.
Dr Nagarwala appeared in a federal court in Detroit and was remanded in custody.
"Female genital mutilation constitutes a particularly brutal form of violence against women and girls. It is also a serious federal felony in the United States," acting US attorney Daniel Lemisch said.
"The practice has no place in modern society and those who perform FGM on minors will be held accountable under federal law".
The first recorded case of FGM in the US was in 2006, when an Ethiopian immigrant was jailed for 10 years for aggravated battery and cruelty to children for mutilating his two-year-old daughter five years earlier with a pair of scissors.
In 2012 the US authorities said more than 500,000 women and girls in the country had either been subjected to FGM or were at risk of it.
About 200 million girls and women around the world have suffered some form of FGM, the UN says, with half living in Egypt, Ethiopia and Indonesia.
The mutilation involves cutting off the clitoris and, in some countries, also sewing the vagina almost shut so that it is difficult to urinate. The purpose is to stop women from enjoying sex and prevent them from being unfaithful.
It is hard to believe this practice still exists in an enlightened modern world. The inhumanity and cruelty to women in developing countries is mind boggling. And who is the origin of all of it? Men.
Afghanistan has been labelled one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a woman. One study suggested 87% of women in the country experience some form of domestic violence. Sodaba Haidare visited one place in the capital Kabul that offers hope to women escaping abuse.
Aryan's shift in the kitchen has come to an end. She removes her apron and hat. Glimpses of her personality are revealed - she's wearing a colorful tunic over her black jeans, and she he has a mole exactly between her eyebrows - as if someone planted it in the perfect position.
She places a glass of fresh lemon juice on the table sits down across from me. Aryan is strikingly beautiful and moves with confidence. Yet it's hard to believe we are the same age. She is 24 but has the look of a much older woman. It's because of the years of abuse she endured at the hands of her violent husband.
She was only 16 when her parents arranged her marriage to a man she'd never met. Soon after the wedding, her husband and mother-in-law started beating her. She stuck it out, hoping things would get better with time. But they got worse. By the time she realized she was in an abusive relationship, she already had three children.
One day, when Aryan's husband left for work, she examined the fresh bruises he'd left on her face, then packed her bags and took her children to the police station.
Women who suffer domestic abuse are usually turned away by Afghan police or persuaded to go back to their husbands for their family's honor. But Aryan thought her injuries would make the police take her seriously. And they did.
She was sent to a women's shelter, where she and her children lived ever since, with other women who have also escaped domestic violence. She often dreams of a future where she has her own place, where she can live without the fear of her ex-husband coming near her or her children.
The path to this dream becoming reality lies in the heart of Kabul. And it begins in a traditionally decorated Afghan restaurant called Bost.
Hope is at the heart of its mission. The place is run by survivors of domestic violence and here, women are celebrated as strong, independent human beings, not just victims. Bost is a base for eight women, of all ages. Working empowers them to write a new chapter in their lives.
It's a long and often difficult process. Still, it helps that every corner of this restaurant pays homage to powerful women. The place screams female empowerment. Every wall is hung with pictures of women with unique stories.
There is Queen Soraya, the wife of King Amanullah, who dressed in European fashion and believed women should shed the veil, and that a man should only have one wife. She was also the minister of education, who opened the country's first school for girls in the 1920s.
Then there is the current first lady, Rula Ghani, a Christian-born Lebanese woman, who surprised Afghans by speaking out about women's rights.
There are also lesser-known faces, Afghan women who have been killed simply for doing their jobs. Lt Islam Bibi, for example - a young police officer who suffered death threats from her own brother and was then shot down by unknown gunmen on her way to work. Their stories are not forgotten.
Another wall pays homage to Afghanistan itself, with images of three different women in vibrant, traditional clothes. They symbolize each region of this fractured nation.
There's a small stage, decorated with a handmade Afghan rug. Here female performers sit and play the long-necked string instrument known as the Tambur - or even the guitar or violin. It's an unusual sight in Afghanistan's conservative society, where many believe music should be forbidden - never mind played by women.
Now a divorcee, Aryan has adored the three months that she's spent here. It has changed her.
She is no longer the insecure and scared woman she once was, who had to raise her arms in self defense, who would cower at the slightest aggressive word. But her husband has left her with a lasting hatred of men. She thinks all men are abusive - but little by little that's changing too.
Here, every day she sees men come to the restaurant with their families - men who are kind and caring. And she sees something that she never experienced herself. Love.
I write about middle Eastern and Indian women quite often for two reasons. First of all, to show western women how fortunate we are, even the ones from lower income families. The freedoms we enjoy, we take for granted and often, do not appreciate. The other reason is that they are women I admire and respect. It takes great courage to take a stand in their countries, where women are treated as chattel, possessions to be used until they are worn out and beaten or discarded at their husbands' will. They have few freedoms or human rights and this condition is usually supported by their governments and religions. They are often risking their lives just to speak out about their situation. These few women are the hope for all who have been subjugated, abused or imprisoned by men.
They should be recognized by all women as the heroes of our time.
By Mikel Theobald Reviewed by Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD Exercise is an important part of managing diabetes, and walking is one of the best options. It's easy to get started, and it can fit into any schedule. For people with type 2 diabetes, regular physical activity is especially important because of the huge impact it has on maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. “A 20- to 30-minute walk can help lower blood sugar for 24 hours,” says Tami Ross, RD, LD, a spokesperson for the American Association of Diabetes Educators. Not only can exercise make you feel better, but it can also help prevent many complications of diabetes. And you don't have to run five miles a day or lift heavy weights at the gym to benefit from it. Brisk walking — fast enough to break a light sweat and get your heart beating faster — on a regular basis can make a big difference in your overall health and how well you manage your diabetes. The Benefits of Walking Walking is easy, costs practically nothing (aside from a good pair of walking shoes), and can be done almost anywhere. When you have diabetes, the advantages of walking include: Improved blood sugar control Lower blood pressure Improved cholesterol — lower bad cholesterol and higher good cholesterol Fewer diabetes-related complications, such as heart disease and stroke Weight loss and weight maintenance Improved circulation and movement Stress relief, better sleep, and an overall feeling of well-being Walking Recommendations for Diabetes The current recommendation for exercise for people with diabetes is to aim for 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic exercise at least five days a week. Ross suggests thinking of exercise as a kind of “extended-release medicine.” That’s because 30 minutes of exercise can provide benefits for 24 hours — a good reason to not skip a day. If you're not used to exercise, even walking, you’ll need to start slowly and build up to the suggested 30 minutes. Aim for 10 minutes a day the first week and gradually add more time as your energy allows. Try to walk three to five minutes longer each week, until you reach the goal of at least 30 minutes five days a week. Keep in mind that your total walking time can be broken up to include a 10-minute walk to the grocery store, a 10-minute walk around the block, and 10 minutes of mowing the lawn. The key is to move consistently during each 10-minute time span. Gearing Up for Walking Taking steps to ensure foot health is essential to a walking routine because diabetes makes you more prone to foot infections. Be sure to buy walking shoes that fit properly. Choose shoes that are sturdy yet comfortable and that provide plenty of support. Consult a specialist at a walking or running shoe store and let him or her know that you have diabetes so that you can get recommendations on the best design and fit for you. A doctor who specializes in foot care (podiatrist) can also suggest good walking shoes. Next, consider these extras that can make walking more comfortable and more fun: Good socks. Choose proper-fitting socks that won't bunch up or move around in your shoe. Choose fabrics that wick away moisture from your feet to keep them from getting damp. A pedometer. This small, wearable device can help you track how many steps you take. Experts suggest that you build up to 10,000 steps a day — the equivalent of five miles. Don’t worry about reaching “five figures” right off the bat — even 4,000 to 5,000 steps a day can yield great health benefits, so pick a goal that’s right for you and build on it as your endurance increases. A walking buddy. Walking can be more fun if you do it with someone else. Plus, a walking buddy can help keep you motivated. Exercise log. Track your progress by keeping an exercise log book. Be sure to record your blood sugar levels before and after you walk so you can see how it affects your levels. Other Important Walking Tips Before you start any exercise routine, including walking, it’s important to talk to your doctor. Here are some other important tips to keep you healthy and safe: Schedule your walk 30 to 60 minutes after a meal. Check your blood sugar before you exercise. If it's under 100 milligrams/deciliter (mg/dL), have a snack before getting started and then wait until it’s above 100 mg/dL to start your walk. If it’s 250 mg/dL or higher, wait until it comes down to a normal range before you begin to exercise. Check your feet for blisters, bumps, cuts, sores, or redness before and after every walk. If you notice any problems with your feet, don't walk that day and call your doctor. You may want to try swimming or another form of exercise until your feet heal. Follow your doctor’s recommendations for keeping your toenails appropriately trimmed, so as not to injure yourself while walking. Stretch before you walk. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your walk to stay hydrated. Bring glucose tablets or a snack or drink, such as hard candy, fruit juice, or regular soda, in case your blood sugar drops while you're walking. Wear a medical identification bracelet or necklace and carry personal identification with you. Walk in a safe place, away from traffic and with other people around. If the weather isn’t cooperating, take a walk at the mall. Walking is an easy way to help control your diabetes and get in shape. Make a plan, find a friend, and get moving!
by KAYLEIGH ROBERTS Meghan Markle is living the rom-com dream and dating a royal. The Suits star and Prince Harry went public with their relationship last fall, and—as anyone who attended elementary school can attest—first comes love, then comes marriage. Which begs the question: what will Meghan Markle's official title be if she and Prince Harry do tie the knot? Here's what we know. First, can Prince Harry and Meghan Markle even *get* married? In 2017, this might seem like a ridiculous question—but Harry's royal status complicates things for two reasons: Markle is divorced and Catholic (according to People, she attended the private Immaculate Heart Convent school in L.A.). Markle divorced producer Trevor Engelson in 2013, but this shouldn't be a huge obstacle if she and Prince Harry decide to tie the knot because there's precedent for royals marrying divorcées. (Prince Charles and his wife Camilla Parker Bowles were both divorced before their marriage in 2005.) Meanwhile, the concern about Markle's faith stems from an archaic rule set forth in George III's Royal Marriages Act of 1772, which prohibited senior members of the royal family from marrying Catholics. In 2015, new rules went into effect under the Succession to the Crown Act which allows members of the royal family to marry Catholics. Phew. The Queen will absolutely have a say in the matter. Even though the supposed obstacles to Markle and Harry's potential marriage are easily navigated from a legal standpoint, Queen Elizabeth will still have to sign off on the union or Harry could lose his place in the line of succession. 2015's Succession to the Crown Act placed limits on an old rule from the Royal Marriages Act of 1772, which gave the monarch the right to approve marriages of all distant royal relations. Under the new rules, only the first six in line for the throne require the monarch's consent to marry—Prince Harry is currently fifth in line, meaning he would need his grandmother's permission to marry Markle. So, what would Markle's title be? According to Royal Central, in the United Kingdom wives automatically take their husband's title, meaning Markle would be HRH Princess Henry of Wales (admittedly a little weird). However, she would not be Princess Meghan, since "princess" is a title that you have to be born into under the British monarchy (which is why Kate Middleton is Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge—not Princess Kate). Royal Historian Marlene Koenig explains that like William, Harry will likely be made a Duke—therefore his wife will be a Duchess. "Most likely, he will be created a Duke. Sussex is available so [Markle] would be HRH the Duchess of Sussex. Her rank would be a princess by marriage of the United Kingdom, Great Britain, and Northern Ireland," Koenig said. Welp, that settles that! Now we just have to wait for the proposal .
Education was my only refuge from my dark thoughts. I focused all my energy on school. In my fourth year, I was promoted to head TA. I worked as a senior mentor for the school’s first-year transition program. I carried an eight-course load and earned a 3.99 GPA. One day, I got an email from my department advisor. In it was a description of the university’s highest honour, the John H. Moss Scholarship, a $16,000 award that’s given to an outstanding student who intends to pursue graduate work—the Rhodes scholarship of U of T. My advisor encouraged me to apply. No one from U of T Mississauga campus had ever won it, she said. The deadline was only a few days away, but she convinced me to hustle up the paperwork. A few weeks later, I got an email saying that I was one of five finalists. I arrived for my interview on February 6, 2013. The committee ran through questions about my academic record and leadership experience. I’d written about my abusive marriage in my application, too, and at the end of the interview, the panel asked me how I go on after everything I’ve been through. My polish wore off in that moment. "Every day I feel like giving up," I told them. "But I don’t want my daughters to grow up thinking that being abused is normal." Forty-five minutes after my interview concluded, I got a phone call. John Rothschild, chair of the selection committee and the CEO of Prime Restaurants, was on the other end of the line with a few other panellists. "Congratulations," they said. "You’re our winner this year." I couldn’t believe it. I grabbed my daughters’ hands and danced wildly around the house with them. I wanted to tell the whole world.
Samra and John Rothschild
Since then, John has become a friend, a mentor, and the closest thing I have to a father figure. He taught me how to believe in myself again. He says if I ever get married again, he wants to walk me down the aisle. In September of that year, I started my master’s in economics. By the time I graduated, I was surviving off OSAP, and my debt load was piling up. I wanted to stop borrowing money as soon as possible, so I decided not to pursue a PhD. Instead, I accepted a job at the Royal Bank of Canada, where I work today as a commercial account manager. Around the time of my graduation, I was named the top economics student at U of T. At the award ceremony, a journalist introduced herself to me (her daughter was in my class). I told her my story, and she published an article about it in a Pakistan newspaper. As my story circulated through the community, I received hundreds of messages from women all over the world trapped in forced marriages and looking for help. So many of them sounded like me five years earlier, isolated and helpless. Women who show up at shelters or call assault hotlines or leave their homes find themselves completely alone. Without any help, they return to their abusers or fall into new relationships that are just as bad. Once, while I was TAing at U of T, a father barged into my office yelling. "You’re pushing my daughter to get her master’s degree!" I couldn’t believe it. To me, it was natural to offer encouragement—his daughter was the top student in my class. "She’s supposed to marry a boy in Egypt. Stop poisoning her with your Canadian bullshit," he barked. Years ago, a woman wrote to me asking if we could talk on Skype. She was a Canadian university graduate whose parents forced her into a marriage in Pakistan after she finished school. Brutally abused for three years, she returned to Canada to have her baby. She wanted to leave her marriage. After we finished talking, I drove to her house and encouraged her to do it. "No one will ever love me again," she said. Three years later, she graduated from a master’s program and got a job working full-time in Toronto. I realized I couldn’t stop abuse from happening. But I could offer friendship to women in similar positions to my own.
I started a non-profit called Brave Beginnings that will help women rebuild their lives after escaping abusive relationships. John Rothschild, my mentor, provided our start-up funding, and we’re piloting the project this year. For the past three years, I’ve lived in a three-bedroom condo in Mississauga with my daughters, who are now 15 and 10. I serve as an alumni governor at the University of Toronto, and I speak about my experience for organizations like Amnesty Inter-national. I’m happier than I ever imagined I could be. I want women to know that they deserve a life of respect, dignity and freedom—that it’s never too late to speak up. It infuriates me that many women are expected to uphold their family’s honour, yet they don’t have any themselves. Last April, I called my ex. I wanted to help him repair his relationship with our older daughter. It had been four years since we had spoken in person. I decided to meet with him. Despite everything, I believed that my girls deserved to have their father in their lives. I sat in a coffee shop at Eglinton and Creditview Road, desperately hoping that I was no longer scared of him. I saw him walking across the parking lot, and waited for an avalanche of fear to hit me. It never came. Sitting across from me, he was just another person. To my surprise, he apologized. "I cannot believe after everything that you’re still willing to help me repair my relationship with our kids," he said. That day in the coffee shop, I finally felt free.
A few weeks ago, I lay in bed cuddling with my youngest daughter. Every night, we snuggle for 10 minutes before she goes to bed, just the two of us, unpacking the day. Out of the blue, she said, "Mom, I think Daddy’s family picked you because you were only 16. They thought you were just going to do whatever they told you to do and they’d be able to make you into whoever they wanted you to be." And then she paused. "Man," she said. "They picked the wrong girl."
Congratulations to Samra Zafar for her courage, determination and for her amazing success. She is a wonderful example of hope for women who struggle to escape abusive relationships and achieve their dreams. Never lose hope.
My first day of school in September 2008 was one of the best of my life. I got to school 15 minutes before my class started and walked through the Kaneff Centre at U of T Mississauga. After everything I’d been through, I’d finally achieved my dream. I sat in the hall, tears running down my cheeks. If only my father could have seen this, I thought to myself. I thrived in my new environment. I aced every class, and other students gravitated toward me, asking to study or socialize. My success changed my thinking. If I was the scum on the bottom of my husband’s shoe, like I’d been told all these years, why were my marks so high? Why did classmates want to be my friend? I could feel vestiges of confidence I hadn’t had in years. One day in October I was walking to the campus bookstore to buy textbooks. Just around the corner, outside the health and counselling centre, a flyer on a bulletin board caught my eye. On it was a list of questions. "Do you feel intimidated? Do you feel like you don’t have a voice? Do you feel like you’ve lost your identity?" As my eyes ran quickly down the list, my brain screamed over and over again: yes, yes, yes. "Come in and make an appointment," the poster read. I opened the door and walked inside. A few days later, I sat across from a counsellor, describing what was going on at home. "I don’t know what to do," I told her. "I’m trying to keep my husband happy and I’m still not good enough. He keeps telling me I’m worthless. All I want to do is fix it." She grabbed my hand. "It’s not your fault," she said. It was the first time anyone had said that to me. As I continued my counselling, I realized that what had happened to me was wrong. My agency had been stripped away. I learned about the cycle of abuse that characterizes so many unhealthy relationships. Our marriage was becoming more toxic every day. He once bought me a cellphone as a present, but installed spyware on it so he could monitor my calls. He kicked me in the stomach. He kept threatening to kill me. A year after I started counselling, I told him I wanted a divorce. "What are you talking about?" he asked me. "I love you. I can’t live without you." One January night in 2011, he picked a fight. I wasn’t doing enough housework, he said. As he loomed over me, tightening his fist, I picked up my phone. "If you touch me, I’m going to call 911," I shouted. And then he spat out the word divorce, in Urdu, three times: talaq, talaq, talaq. According to some Islamic scholars, uttering those words means the marriage is over. I thought I’d be thrilled when he left, but I was terrified. I’d never lived on my own, and I was bracing myself for the shame I believed I would bring to my family.
He sold our house out from under me, leaving me and the kids with three weeks to pack up. We had nowhere to go. I even registered at a couple of shelters, expecting to be homeless. One day, I was at the U of T tuition office, and a woman overheard me lamenting my situation. She suggested I look into campus housing; luckily, the university had one family unit left. Two days later, I had the keys to my very own shabby three-bedroom townhouse. I couldn’t afford movers. I packed all my belongings into garbage bags and made 10 trips back and forth every day for five days, in the van I used to drive the kids who attended my home daycare. I used my last $100 to pay a couple of students to help me move my furniture. I was relieved not to be out on the streets. I slept in one room with my youngest daughter. My eldest had the second bedroom, with enough space just for a single bed. I rented out the third room to a Pakistani student who watched my girls while I worked in the evenings. It was tiny, but it was ours. That year, I juggled five jobs to stay afloat. I worked as a TA, a researcher with the City of Mississauga and a student mentor. I did night shifts at the student information centre on campus. I even ran a small catering business out of my apartment.
One day it dawned on me that my husband was a man willing to put his own kids out on the street to teach me a lesson. I drove to the police station and reported everything. I gave a three-hour-long videotaped statement, offering as much detail as I could about the decade of abuse I’d endured. The officer said he likely wouldn’t be able to lay charges because there weren’t any bruises on my body. But it didn’t matter. Just telling the authorities was a huge relief. It was my way of acknowledging everything to myself, of finally saying, it wasn’t my fault—none of it was my fault.
The officers interviewed my doctor and counsellors, and two days later they arrested my husband for assault. He pleaded guilty. We finalized our divorce, and he got joint custody. My older daughter refused to see him, but my younger daughter visited him every other week. There were many times over the next year that I thought I’d made a mistake, that I couldn’t do it on my own. I thought the shame would never go away. After my marriage ended, none of my old friends would speak to me. My mother refused to tell people back home. I had no family in Canada, no friends at school who knew what was going on. I was completely isolated. I’d always been told that women are responsible for upholding the family’s honour. A woman living alone is a sin. A woman travelling alone is a sin. When everybody around you says you’re in the wrong, that your dreams aren’t valid, you start to believe that. And there were many times that I’d fall into those sinkholes.
When my daughter turned three, I learned about a parent drop-in centre called Ontario Early Years, funded by the Ministry of Education. Located in a Streetsville strip mall, the space was bright and cheerful. My daughter would make crafts or play with Play-Doh, and the parents would gather in a song circle with their children and recite nursery rhymes. My husband took my daughter and me there a couple of times. Eventually, he let me walk over on my own. I looked forward to those two afternoons a week, when I’d be allowed to step outside by myself without fear, when I’d feel fresh air on my face.
The woman who ran the centre was Pakistani, and she recognized some of the signs of abuse even before I knew what to call it. She saw how jittery I would get if the sessions were running long, or how I’d have to ask permission from my husband if there were any changes to the schedule. She let me use the phone to call my parents. I tearfully told my father what was happening, that I felt imprisoned and helpless. He was horrified, but advised me to wait until I got my Canadian citizenship. "That way you won’t risk losing your daughter," he said. And so I waited another year. Throughout this period, I resumed my education, taking high school courses by correspondence. I applied to university several times. I was always accepted, but my husband would never pay the tuition. In 2005, I told my husband that I wanted to go home to visit my family for four months. It had been five years since I’d last seen them. When he told me he didn’t have the money, my father sent plane tickets for me and my daughter, who was four by then. On my way to the airport, I asked my husband for $10 to buy myself a coffee and my daughter a snack. "Bitch, go ask your father for that too," he told me, as he dropped me off at Pearson. When my parents picked me up at the airport, they almost didn’t recognize me. I’d lost so much weight I looked skeletal. My family were shocked. The bright, confident girl they knew had been replaced with a skittish, scared young woman. It took a couple of months for me to realize I could go to the mall on my own, or to the grocery store. These were small triumphs, but they helped build up my confidence. By the end of my visit, I was resolved not to go back to Canada. As soon as I delivered the news to my husband over the phone, he unleashed a flood of apologies. He told me he’d never hurt me again. He promised we’d move out of the house, that we’d live alone together like we used to. He wore me down. In August 2005, I returned to Canada. We moved into a new apartment, and my husband was paying both his parents’ mortgage and our rent, leaving little money for anything else. At first, he was kind again. But within a few months, I got pregnant with our second daughter, and the abuse resumed. I needed an escape plan, so I began tutoring and babysitting children in our apartment building, slowly saving money for five months until I had enough for my daughter and me to fly to Karachi, where my sister was getting married. This time I wasn’t coming back. My father had been diagnosed with kidney failure before I’d arrived in December, and over the next few months I watched helplessly as his condition deteriorated. One day, I sat with him in the ICU. "Papa, if something happens to you, what am I going to do?" I asked him. "Realize the strength you have inside of you," he told me. "Go back to Canada and find a way to get out of your marriage." He died two days later. My husband arrived in Karachi that week for the funeral. Sex was the first thing he wanted. It wasn’t until he’d finished that he asked me how I was feeling. I said I was fine, got up and walked to the bathroom. I turned on the shower so he wouldn’t hear me cry.When I asked my mother what to do, she told me I should go back with him. After all, she had two more daughters to marry off, she said, and she didn’t have the money to support me. I couldn’t work. I had no education or experience. And I was pregnant. Resigned and defeated, I went back with him. While I’d been away, he’d moved back into his parents’ house.
This time I got a small room in the basement, with bare walls and a little window in the corner. My daughter slept in her crib in the room next door. In June 2006, I gave birth to my second daughter. I was miserable. And yet my father’s words had ignited something in me. I knew I was smart, and I knew the only way out was through school. I studied in my room every night, finishing the last course I needed for my GED, a Grade 13 economics credit. A few months after my younger daughter was born, I earned my diploma, and decided to apply to university again. I knew my husband would never let me leave the house to earn money for tuition, so I resurrected my babysitting service, telling him I was earning money for the family. I co-opted my mother-in-law with the promise that she’d earn easy money taking care of kids, and my husband even let me buy a van to drive my charges around. I was making between $2,000 and $3,000 every month, and though I had to turn over my earnings to my husband, I managed to sock away a few hundred dollars here and there. It took me two years to save enough for one year of school. In 2008, I applied to U of T’s economics program. I was accepted. Nothing was going to stop me from going. "Who’s going to pay for your tuition?" my husband asked. "I am," I responded. My in-laws were so angry about my decision that no one in the house spoke to me for six months. I didn’t care. This was my chance to get out. It had taken me nearly 10 years, but I’d gone from victim to survivor.
The next day, we were at my grandfather’s house for the wedding. As my mother adjusted my gown, I pulled back. I told her I wanted to run away. "Don’t be silly," she said. "All the guests are here." Someone put the marriage licence in front of me, I was told to sign it, and I did. Later we held a celebration at a high-end restaurant in the city. Strings of lights and red ribbons decorated the room, and 200 of our parents’ friends came. There were piles of food, and everybody laughed and sang and danced long into the night. I wore a long red lehenga sari. I was told to sit there quietly and look down at my hands, playing the demure bride.This was the first of two ceremonies—we had to make it official so that my husband could apply for my sponsorship in Canada. The second ceremony was still months away, as was my wedding night. In the meantime, I continued to live with my parents and attend school. My new husband stayed in Pakistan for a month. We saw each other a few times, but never for long and usually with others around. One evening, we went to Pizza Hut with his older brother and his brother’s wife. It was my first date, and I was so shy I barely spoke. We talked regularly online, over MSN Messenger, and occasionally on the phone. Slowly, I grew more comfortable with the marriage. Nothing about him struck me as special. He wasn’t smart or funny or warm, but he was a normal enough guy. He told me how pleased he was that his wife was so smart. He suggested university programs I should consider in Canada. He agreed to wait to have kids until I finished school. He said all the right things.
When my immigration papers came through in August 2000, we both flew to Abu Dhabi for our second, smaller celebration. After it was over, we slept together for the first time. I was petrified. I knew nothing about sex or birth control, and neither did he. My aunt had told me about ovulation, explaining that I couldn’t get pregnant if I had sex on certain days of the month. I thought our wedding night was one of those days. I’d never even seen a condom before. Later that week, we flew to Canada and I moved into his two-bedroom condo in Mississauga. I missed my parents, my friends, my school. I was so unhappy that I stopped eating, and I spent most of my days watching TV while my husband was at work. I stopped getting my period right away. At first, I thought it was because of the move, the abrupt change in environment. But a month passed, then another. I was getting sick every morning. My nausea was so severe that I was afraid to go outside in case I fainted. Finally I told my husband that I needed to see a doctor. I sat in the doctor’s office, listening to him ask me if I understood what being pregnant meant. All I knew was that it meant I couldn’t go to school. This can’t be happening, I thought. This isn’t happening. I was only 17. During the first few months of my pregnancy, my husband was kind and thoughtful. He took late-night trips to the grocery store to satisfy my cravings. He’d call a couple of times a day from work to ask how I was feeling, and every night we cooked dinner together. I discovered an adult learning centre near our condo and enrolled in an ESL course. I thought our marriage was going well. Then, two months before our daughter was born, he told me his parents would be moving to Canada and staying with us. He had planned for them to live with us all along, but this was the first I’d heard of it. We moved out of the master bedroom into the smaller one so his parents would be more comfortable. Everything changed when they arrived. My husband and I stopped spending time alone together. His mother got upset when he paid attention to me, so he didn’t show me any affection. When I would ask if I could call my parents in Ruwais, he or his mother would tell me we couldn’t afford international calls.
In May 2001, I gave birth to our daughter. When we returned from the hospital, my husband slept on the couch while I stayed with the baby in the second bedroom. I’d never felt so alone. I fantasized about stealing money from my husband’s wallet and taking a cab to the airport, calling my parents and asking them to buy me a plane ticket home. But I didn’t want to leave my daughter behind. When she was a few months old, we bought a four-bedroom house in Streetsville with his parents. I was rarely allowed to leave. I never had a penny to my name. My mother-in-law gave me her cast-off clothing to wear. I didn’t have a cellphone. I wasn’t allowed to go to the grocery store on my own. If I didn’t iron my husband’s shirts or make his lunch or finish my chores, he and my in-laws told me that I was a bad wife who couldn’t keep my family happy. I walked on eggshells all the time. If I asked my husband something, he would reply, "Bitch, get out of here." Two years in, the abuse got physical. He would grab my wrist and shove me around. I’d be sitting on the couch and he’d slap me upside the head, or grab me so hard on my upper arms that my skin would bruise. Once he tossed a glass of water in my face; I slipped on the floor and threw out my back. Another time he punched a hole in the wall next to my head and told me, "Next time, it’s going to be you." On several occasions, he picked up a knife and said he was going to kill me and then himself. I was having suicidal thoughts all the time. I was convinced my life was over. One time, I took a razor blade into the shower and thought about cutting myself, stopping only when I heard my baby cry. I believed my unhappiness was my fault—that the secret to perfect wifehood was eluding me. If I’d just done the dishes better, been quieter, anticipated that he wanted a cup of coffee or a glass of water, then none of this would have happened.
Cataracts are a common part of aging, with the eye's clear lens growing cloudy and blocking light. However, people with diabetes are 60 percent more likely to develop cataracts. They tend to develop this eye disorder at a younger age, and their cataracts worsen at a much quicker pace. People with type 2 diabetes develop cataracts due to their high levels of blood sugar. "As the blood sugar levels increase, the concentration of [glucose] around the lens goes up," Gonzalez says. "The sugar enters the lens through osmosis, bringing water with it." That changes the chemical composition inside the lens, prompting the lens to grow cloudy. People with type 2 diabetes also are 40 percent more likely to develop another common eye disease, glaucoma. Glaucoma occurs due to an increase in fluid pressure inside the eyeball. The pressure pinches off blood flow to the retina and optic nerve, causing slow damage. This damage leads to gradual but permanent vision loss. Diabetes: Protect Your Vision : The problems with blood sugar are the principal cause of the damage to the eye," Gonzalez says. "Most people with diabetes will vary in terms of how high their high is and how low their low is. The larger the difference between the high and the low, the more susceptible you are to damage from diabetes." Tightly managing your type 2 diabetes is the best way to prevent eye health complications. By Dennis Thompson, Jr. Reviewed by Farrokh Sohrabi, MD Type 2 diabetes can have a terrible impact on your eye health. Learn about the major diabetic eye diseases and get tips for avoiding them. Type 2 diabetes is a systemic disease, and if left untreated it can cause many serious complications in areas throughout the body — including the eyes. In fact, complications that threaten eye health are among the leading problems that can occur with diabetes and put people with type 2 diabetes at a greater risk of blindness. Preventing eye problems such as diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma hinges, in large part, on successfully managing blood sugar levels. Diabetic Retinopathy: Unchecked blood sugar levels that spike and plummet can cause damage to the blood vessels of the eyes, resulting in a condition known as diabetic retinopathy. This is the most common vision problem due to diabetes. Retinopathy targets the retina, the tissue lining the back of the eye wall that perceives the images captured by the eye. There are two main types of diabetic retinopathy: Non-proliferative retinopathy. This is the disease's first stage. "The fluctuations in the blood sugar begin to damage the walls of blood vessels," says Victor H. Gonzalez, MD, founder of Valley Retina Institute in McAllen, Texas, and a volunteer for the American Diabetes Association. "The blood vessels begin to leak." The leakage causes the retina to swell, blurring your vision and causing straight lines to appear wavy as the retina takes on an uneven shape. Proliferative retinopathy. This is the disease's second stage, in which the eye tries to compensate for the loss of blood vessels by forming new ones. These new blood vessels are weak, though, and crowd into the retina. "Unfortunately, the blood vessels begin to grow around the central vision," Dr. Gonzalez says. As these vessels mature, they often bleed and cause scarring that can lead to a tractional retinal detachment, which occurs when the scar tissue causes the retina to pull away from the eye tissue. This can cause blindness if not corrected. Cataracts and Glaucoma : Early detection is also key to preventing vision loss, especially for diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. People with diabetes should undergo a thorough eye examination once a year. These eye examinations must involve dilation of the pupil. That's the only way an eye doctor can observe the back of the eye. "They need to have a dilated eye examination performed by an ophthalmologist," Gonzalez says. "Sometimes patients will go to health fairs and have an eye screening there. That's not a diabetic eye exam. Unfortunately, I've had some people get into trouble because they use that as their annual eye examination." "We have very effective treatments," Gonzalez adds. "If we begin treatment early on in these patients, we can have a very significant impact on their retinopathy and reduce their risk of severe vision loss.