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Roses are Red by Jessica La Grassa

February is a conflicted month for me. Always has been. On the one hand, as it contains my birthday and Valentine’s Day I’m celebrating more than usual. But on the other hand, winter is never quite over and polar vortexes threaten at any moment. In addition, my vitamin D levels are particularly low this time of year and I desperately want to escape to warmer and sunnier places (please take me with you on your holiday down south!). However, one silver lining is that roses are everywhere (thank you to whoever equated roses with love) and they can help us get through this in-between month.

There are two types of roses, out of the many, that are usually used by the perfume and aromatherapy industries. The first being Rosa centifolia, also known as the cabbage rose as its petals look like a cabbage. It’s believed to have originated in Persia and is now cultivated in Morocco and France. Most know this version as rose de mail or Rose Maroc. The other, with the Latin name Rosa damascene and known as the damask rose, is probably native to China but is now primarily cultivated in Bulgaria. Otto of rose or Turkish rose are its common names. Both types of roses have similar therapeutic properties and are part of the Roseceae botantical family, but rose damascene is more widely used today.

The steam distillation process to create pure rose essential oil is one of the most expensive and labour-intensive. It takes between 50-100 blooms to create one drop. That’s right. ONE. DROP. Hence its price tag. Using rose absolute or pure rose essential oil diluted in jojoba oil (usually at 10% or less) is an affordable and effective alternative. To create the absolute, solvents are used to dissolve the aromatic compounds of the delicate petals, it’s then further refined to remove any remaining chemicals.

The pure essential oil is clear and pale yellow in colour while the absolute is a dark yellow or orange. Both have a deep rich and sweet smell of floral and are low in toxicity making it one of the safest essential oils to use. They blend well with bergamot, chamomile, clary sage, geranium, jasmine, lavender and patchouli.

Roses and their essential oils have been used medicinally since antiquity. In the 10th century the great Persian alchemist Avicenna discovered the method for distilling rose oil and it’s been used ever since. No wonder, as the effects are profound on the body and mind. It tones and rejuvenates all skin types, eases premenstrual and menopausal symptoms, is considered an aphrodisiac, is an antidepressant and helps release feelings of grief and separation.

After Valentine’s Day, when they won’t be as expensive, pick up a dozen or so roses and make yourself some rosewater. Rosewater makes a heavenly face toner that’s perfect for combating winter’s dry skin. Any rose type is fine; just make sure the bouquet is fresh and organic. Once you have them home, gently clean the roses and remove the petals, discarding the stem and leaves. Place the petals in a pot (enamel is best if you have it) and pour distilled water over them until they’re just covered. Turn on the heat and let the mixture simmer, not boil, for approx. an hour. Then strain and squeeze out any moisture from the petals into a spray bottle. You can use the rosewater alone or add 4 drops of frankincense and 4 drops of geranium for every 30 ml of rosewater. If you’ve added essential oils make sure to shake the bottle before applying it to your face. For best results, use it on a clean face and apply a face oil or moisturizer afterwards.

If you’re feeling a bit blue, try 2 drops of rose essential oil and 3 drops of orange essential oil in a bath with 1 cup of Epsom salt. If you’ve made the rosewater already you can use 2 tablespoons of that instead of the 2 drops of essential oil.

For premenstrual and menopausal symptoms add 4 drops of rose essential oil, 3 drops of neroli essential oil and 3 drops of mandarin essential oil to 20ml of carrier oil (any will do) in a bottle. Gently shake to blend the mixture then massage a small (pea size) amount onto your body, focusing on areas (such as the stomach or lower back) that hurt.

How do you use rose essential oil in your life? Share your experiences with us using #RitualFlowerPower

Jessica La Grassa is a transplant Hamiltonian and a certified Aromatologist who enjoys sharing her knowledge and green living recipes with others.

Have any questions about this article or an essential oil you’d like me to discuss? Email: or on social media @jessicalagrassa

Cool as Peppermint by Jessica La Grassa

mint tea.jpg

For years, when I worked in an office, I’d have a cup of peppermint tea around 3pm. I’m not entirely sure how or why this started but it quickly became a daily habit that brought a moment of peace and made me feel good. Five whole minutes to myself while I waited for the water to boil and the tea to steep. They were glorious. Looking back, and now knowing a bit more about the healing properties of peppermint, I can understand why I enjoyed this so much and why I continue to drink and use peppermint regularly. You’ll soon understand why, too.

Peppermint (Menthe Piperita) is part of the Labiate family (like lavender!) and is a perennial herb. As anyone who has this in their garden knows, the roots are wide spreading and strong with some countries even classifying it as invasive. Originally from France, the essential oil comes from steam-distilling the leaves and flowering tops. The smell is very distinct and when asked to describe it, most will say it smells: clean, cool, strong, minty or fresh. It has been used as a medicinal herb for hundreds of years as it aids the digestive system with issues such as travel sickness, nausea, stomach pains, cramping or indigestion (to name but a few). Applied topically, peppermint also helps with muscle pain and tightness, as it increases circulation and cools the area while paradoxically warming it as well. Its stimulating properties encourage mind clearing and mental awareness while also easing headaches and migraines. Last but not least, it supports the respiratory system by providing relief to coughs and colds. Sadly though, peppermint’s predominant use nowadays is flavouring in food and beverages and as a fragrance in toiletries and cosmetics.

Going back to the peppermint tea just for a second: I’m pretty sure it became a daily habit because the aroma worked to clear my mind and make me calmer; while the actual steeped tea eased any nerves or digestive issues.  

Before we dive into some fun blends and ways we can bring peppermint essential oil into our lives, I’d like to point out some precautions. When using it in a blend try to minimize the number of drops, as the smell will overpower almost any other oils that you’re using. It does however blend well with eucalyptus, lavender, lemon and rosemary. The dilution factor should not be greater that 1%, again because it can be overpowering and strong given its chemical constitution (of Menthol and Menthone). Placing this essential oil directly on the body, which I do not agree with (please use a carrier oil!) will leave a cool and tingly sensation.

Okay, now onto the fun stuff! Let’s play with peppermint essential oil and create the following:

Foot Scrub

This is great for tired or aching feet. In a medium sized bowl mix half a cup of either brown or white sugar with a quarter cup of carrier oil (olive, sweet almond or jojoba are good options here), 6 drops of peppermint essential oil and 8 drops of lavender essential oil. Once fully mixed, transfer to a low jar or container with a lid. To use, sit on the edge of a bathtub or over a large basin and rub a small amount of the mixture onto wet feet, one at a time, for at least 5 minutes, concentrating on problem areas. Rinse. Then dry. If you’ve done this in the bathtub make sure to wash it afterwards as the oils could make the bottom slippery.

Room Sprays and Diffuser Blends

This room spray is great at clearing and energizing the mind. Fill a 50ml spray bottle with distilled water and add 6 drops of peppermint essential oil, 8 drops of lavender essential oil and 4 drops of eucalyptus essential oil. Place the lid on and shake. To use, just spray away! Note: you’ll need to shake before each use. I call this blend of essential oils (i.e. peppermint, lavender and eucalyptus) the spa blend because it reminds me so much of going to the spa. It works great in a diffuser too; just lower the drop count to 3 peppermint, 4 lavender and 2 eucalyptus.

Another great blend for when you’re fighting the common cold (hello winter, we see you) is peppermint, eucalyptus and rosemary. Simply add 3 drops of each to your diffuser and up it to 6 drops each for the 50ml room spray.

Digestive Blend

In a 10ml roll-on bottle place 2 drops of peppermint essential oil, 2 drops of fennel essential oil and 4 drops of sweet orange essential oil to 10ml of carrier oil (again, any will do here). Place the lid on and shake. To use, roll onto your abdomen and massage in.

How do you use peppermint essential oil? Share your experiences with us using #RitualFlowerPower

Jessica La Grassa is a transplant Hamiltonian and a certified Aromatologist who enjoys sharing her knowledge and green living recipes with others.

Get in touch! Email or find me on Instagram @jessicalagrassa

Grounding with Frankincense by Jessica La Grassa


I always find December to be an exciting month. I’m finally able to listen to Kenny and Dolly’s “Once Upon A Christmas” album without seeming weird, the nights are long but the winter solstice brings us hope that spring (and eventually summer!) are around the corner, hot drinks like mulled wine and eggnog make an appearance, and everywhere looks so darn festive. Not to mention it brings us the New Year, with new possibilities and opportunities. But, between trying to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list and making time to see all your friends and family, this season can also be stressful and moments of solitude rare. That’s why I thought I’d introduce us to frankincense this month, as it can help calm and ground us during this hectic time.

Frankincense, with the Latin name Boswellia carterii, is part of the botanist family Burseraceae and is native to Limestone-rich regions of India and Northern Africa along with Somalia. The fragrance profile is sweet, spicy and woodsy but also clean and fresh smelling. Frankincense comes from the resin of Boswellia trees. Similar to harvesting maple syrup, the bark is cut to allow the sap to seep out but rather than being collected in buckets, it’s left to harden on the tree. Once solidified, chucks are removed and then crushed so that they can be steam-distilled to create its essential oil.

In ancient times, Frankincense was extremely prized and made those involved in its trade equally wealthy, especially the Egyptian pharaohs. It was a key ingredient in the embalming process, insect repellent, perfumes and healing ointment (for cuts and wounds). In old French the word frankincense, “franc encens”, literally means “true or high-quality incense” and has been burned for centuries during religious and spiritual ceremonies. No wonder it was gifted to a certain baby so many moons ago.

Today, in aromatherapy, it’s commonly used to sooth stress, anxiety and tension as it has a calming and uplifting effect on the nervous system and helps to increase energy. It also assists with clearing the mind and improving concentration, which makes it a perfect meditation companion. Additionally, it’s great for all skin types – especially dry and mature – as it improves, heals and rejuvenates. It has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and astringent properties and blends well with citrus, spice and other resin oils such as: basil, cedarwood, myrrh, neroli, pine, sandalwood and vetiver.

Try using the following blends in your diffuser when you need to slow things down a bit:

  1.  4 drops of frankincense essential oil and 5 drops of grapefruit essential oil

  2. 4 drops of lavender essential oil, 2 drops of sweet orange and 4 drops of frankincense

  3. 4 drops of cedarwood essential oil, 4 drops of frankincense essential oil, 2 drops of eucalyptus essential oil

  4. 4 drops of frankincense, 2 drops of peppermint essential oil, 3 drops of rosemary essential oil

Or try using similar blends in the bath with 1 cup of Epsom salt. Remember to add the essential oils after you’ve run the water, that the water shouldn’t be too hot and to give the water a little swish before getting in.

  1. 2 drops of frankincense essential oil and 3 drops of grapefruit essential oil

  2. 3 drops of lavender essential oil, 1 drops of orange and 3 drops of frankincense

  3. 3 drops of cedarwood essential oil, 3 drops of frankincense essential oil

  4. 3 drops of frankincense, 1 drops of peppermint essential oil, 1 drops of rosemary essential oil, 1 drop of eucalyptus essential oil

Finally, try adding one drop of frankincense essential oil to your regular night cream or face oil. Place the cream or oil in your hands first, then add the drop of essential oil and rub the mixture lightly in your hands. Cup your face with your hands and breathe in a few times before applying it over your face for double the effect, on both your skin and psychology.

How do you use frankincense essential oil in your life? Share your experiences with us using #RitualFlowerPower

Jessica La Grassa is a transplant Hamiltonian and a certified Aromatologist who enjoys sharing her knowledge and green living recipes with others.

 Have any questions about this article or an essential oil you’d like to talk about? Email: or find me on social media @jessicalagrassa

moon moves moods // november 22/23 full moon in gemini


Full Moon in Gemini November 22/23 + Sun in Sagittarius

With the Sun’s move into Sagittarius being immediately opposed by the Full Moon in Gemini, we are being given a ticket to ride a cosmic roller coaster. 

Landing at zero degrees Gemini, the more we allow an inquisitive, child- like curiosity, the more we are able to overcome the daunting fears and pressures that uncertainty presents. 

Full Moons bring truths to light and herald a time of culmination, rest and reflection. As the Moon is connected to our unconscious, eagerness to take control can manifest if we feel unsettled with what comes up. Gemini can instigate restless, nervous and impulsive energy. Misunderstandings are likely present with Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius and it would be wise to temper reactions. Mars newly in Pisces asks us to consider a more forgiving perspective before making decisions and taking action.

While the Sun is in Sagittarius from November 22- December 21, we can gain a lot through our willingness to be daring. This is a time to ignite a sense of adventure. When we loosen our grip, we are able to collaborate with more fluidity and flexibility. Trust in your resiliency. 

Charlie is a visual artist, RMMTT student and energetic practitioner. She is reiki certified and uses the aid of oracle cards and crystals.

Learn more about Charlie's practices or book a session.

For more transit-astrology forecasts and collages, follow Charlie on Instagram.

Watch for an online shop coming soon! 

is it bad to eat pizza for breakfast by michelle cordeiro, CNP


Because I ate pizza for breakfast.

I ate pizza for breakfast after eating pizza for dinner the night before (isn’t that how it always goes?), and I don’t feel really good about it.

BUT FIRST, let’s dissect this question a little bit.

Is it bad to eat pizza for breakfast?

Deeming a food as good or bad can be harmful in itself because it’s neither of these things, it’s just FOOD. As humans we need it to survive but still we create rules around this biological need, a need that screams at us when it’s not met (hey hanger, I feel you) and puts us in pain if it’s suppressed. We vilify certain foods for having too much fat, sugar, carbs and oil, or for not fitting into a certain category because of a diet we’ve chosen to follow.

So in recognizing this, is food truly good or bad? If we need it for survival, and we know this, we’re better able to think of it as something that keeps us functioning human beings. Able to live our day to day hustle without falling over, and then we can slowing begin to lose the labels.

Maybe all foods serve a function?

Maybe we can choose foods based on a wide variety of purposes beyond just protein, carbs and fat?

GOOD FOOD can be a kale salad because it provides nutrients and makes us feel good.  

GOOD FOOD can be a donut because it brings us joy and makes us feel good.

BAD FOOD can be a kale salad because it’s all we’re allowing ourselves to eat, causing shame, guilt and self loathing.

BAD FOOD can be a donut because it’s all we’re allowing ourselves to eat, causing shame, guilt and self loathing.

Food is both good and bad. And this has little to do with the amount of sugar/fat/carbs, and more to do with the function WE choose it serves.

It’s something that holds a lot of emotional weight, cultural significance, social memories or moments of joy - making it an important aspect of fulfillment in our lives - and this shouldn’t be overlooked.

Which is why, when the guilt started to arise after my pizza breakfast, I sat with it for a minute to figure out why.

In my physical body, that much pizza doesn’t make me feel well, and I know this. I get a little achy, my stomach feels bloated and my energy levels are low. I fall into a state of bleh, while eating it the night before had none of these effects.

So for me, eating the pizza for breakfast was a true example of allowing my body’s signals to dictate what I eat and tell me when I’m fulfilling my needs and when I’m not.

That morning, the pizza wasn’t a good choice simply because it wasn’t what my body was asking for. I made the decision based on convenience rather than taking the time to think about what I truly felt like eating.


It can feel like second nature some days and a whole lot of work others. But this way of approaching food allows you to work through any food-guilt in a way that serves you and your bod a whole lot better than “I’ve eaten too much pizza today so I should probably restrict my food consumption forever”.

Looking at food in terms of abundance rather than restriction - it’s a great place to start.

Michelle is an RMMTT student and Holistic Nutritionist (CNP) with a focus on digestive health and learning to love the body you're in through intuitive eating and self love over dieting, always.

Michelle currently sees clients who wish to improve their relationship with food while sorting through any funky digestive issues at Inland Island Wellness Centre. Feel free to contact her with any questions, for more information on her practice, or to book a free discovery appointment.

C O N N E C T:


// @movewithguts

Dangers of Diet Culture by Cynthia Boyede


We live in a society that places a lot of value on physical beauty. Whether through traditional media like TV, magazines, or radio or through social media, we are constantly fed the lie that thinner is better. If it’s not thinner, than it’s about being perfectly toned and shaped. We are reminded that thinner/more toned means healthier and that translates to worthiness. Even in our close communities and families, those messages are present. Our culture’s obsession with diet, health and fitness makes it difficult to have a caring and respectful relationship with our bodies, food and movement.

A poll conducted in 2014, showed that 87 per cent of Canadian women are dissatisfied with their bodies and 70 per cent of those women are on a diet to lose weight. Diets have been scientifically proven not to work and in fact, they promote disordered eating and put people at risk for developing a full blown eating disorder. Unfortunately, diets are so normalized that we often buy into them without realizing the risk they pose to our mental and physical health. Here are some diet culture red flags to be wary of: clean eating, Keto, cleanses and detoxes.

One in two Canadians know someone who has or has had an eating disorder. That means over 18 million Canadians know of someone with a history of an eating disorder!

As well as being under-reported, eating disorders are often misrepresented, underrepresented or in some cases overlooked. The most popular and widespread image of a person with an eating disorder is an extremely thin, young and financially-privileged white girl/woman who chooses to starve herself. This image perpetuates two dangerous myths about eating disorders:

1.   An eating disorder is a choice: An eating disorder is never a choice. It is in fact a devastating mental illness. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any other mental illness (15%). Genetic makes up 50-80% of the risk of developing an eating disorder (ie. NOT YOUR FAULT).  

2.   Eating disorders discriminate: Anyone can develop an eating disorder regardless of race, weight, body size, body type, gender, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status.

In a society where beauty and thinness are often seen as pathways to health and success, people with eating disorders who do not fit this mold are often prescribed weight-loss or a “make-over” of some sort. Stereotypes like these build a barrier to recovery for a lot of people who have eating disorders because it makes it harder for people who do not fit this mold to detect the eating disorder early.

The good news is there is hope for recovery. A good place to start is recognizing that you struggle with an eating disorder or disordered eating and talking to a health professional or a community support organization like Body Brave, about your concerns.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. Are you preoccupied with thoughts about weight, food, calories, carbs, fat, diets, or   exercise?

  2. Do you refuse to eat when you’re hungry?

  3. Are you terrified about gaining weight or being overweight?

  4. Do you feel uncomfortable eating around people?

  5. Do you feel extremely guilty after eating?

  6. Do you vomit after eating?

  7. Do you mostly or only eat diet/clean foods?

  8. Do you particularly avoid certain food groups e.g. carbohydrates, sugars, fat, etc.?

  9. Have you gone on eating binges where you feel like you may be unable to stop?

  10. Our Executive Director, Sonia Seguin says a good question to ask: Is your relationship with food, exercise or your body affecting your quality of life in any way?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it is important to reach out. Body Brave offers free group and individual support. We also recommend speaking with a health care provider and checking out our comprehensive list of treatment programs on our website, here.

Check out Body Brave if you’re in the Hamilton Area and would like to be a part of a body inclusive and positive community. We’ll soon be offering online support so stay tuned!

Remember, full recovery is possible!


House of Commons, Canada, Eating Disorders among Girls and Women in Canada: Report of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, November 2014, 41st Parliament, Second Session,

Ipsos Reid, 2015. Half (50%) of Canadians Have Been Exposed to Eating Disorders, Whether It's Someone They Know or Themselves. (2015). Ipsos Reid. Retrieved 20 September 2018, from:

"The Role Of Genetics In Eating Disorders - F.E.A.S.T.." N. p., 2018. Web. 2 Nov. 2018.

LeBlanc, H. "Eating disorders among girls and women in Canada: Report of the standing committee on the status of women. 41st Parliament." Second Session). Canada: House of Commons. Available from: https://nedic. ca/sites/default/files//Status% 20of% 20Women% 20Report% 20Eating% 20Disorders. pdf [Links] (2014).

Australian Report

"Need For NIED | Nied.Ca." N. p., 2018. Web. 2 Nov. 2018.


Cynthia Boyede is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator at Body Brave.

Body Brave is an Eating Disorder, Body Image & Disordered Eating Resource & Support Organization in Hamilton, Ontario.

moon moves moods // november 7th new moon in scorpio


Building a Mystery with the New Moon in Scorpio November 7th

In the dark of the Moon, we plant seeds of courage. Scorpio seeks to combine resources that regenerate independent energy and creativity. This is accomplished by pledging loyalties to ideals and potentials for growth that increase self-esteem and confidence. 

No doubt this can be gained through a willingness to dive into the depths of our being. Answering the call of our souls’ yearnings invites new ways of interacting. Through practice and experimentation, there is a chance to increase deeper connection to self, others and the environment. We can introduce new possibilities into our lives.

As we take the plunge with this New Moon in Scorpio, ask questions that will help you face the truth and brave the unknown. 

Some example questions:

Where and with whom do I have a hard time saying no? Where do I give my power away? What do I expect when I make sacrifices for others? How can I do more things for myself and by myself? How can I connect more deeply with others?  How can I learn to trust myself more? 

Our fears are just illusions repeating themselves from old traumas. Don’t let them hold you down. You are deserving. You are capable. Let go of old stories and start anew. 

May your journey be rich with blessings. 

Charlie is a visual artist, RMMTT student and energetic practitioner. She is reiki certified and uses the aid of oracle cards and crystals.

Learn more about Charlie's practices or book a session.

For more transit-astrology forecasts and collages, follow Charlie on Instagram.

Watch for an online shop coming soon! 

Respect for Geranium by Jessica La Grassa


Remember last month when I talked about my undying love for lavender? Well, my feelings for this month’s essential oil were quite the opposite initially. Some say it smells like roses and they wouldn’t be wrong. In fact, it’s been used to supplement or adulterate the more expensive rose oils, as it’s much cheaper, for years by the perfume industry. However, I found it too powerful, too earthy and just too much. I couldn’t see myself ever using it. That was before. As I learned more about its healing properties I developed a certain level of respect for it. Which of course was the purpose of me diving deeper into aromatherapy, so I could broaden my knowledge and use essential oils for their healing properties rather than scent alone. It goes to show you that like books, which should never be judged by their covers, you shouldn’t judge essential oils on smell alone. I’d like to introduce you to geranium, the essential oil I’ve learned to like and now can’t live without.

Geranium, with the Latin name Pelargonium graveolens, is part of the Geraniaceae botanical family and is originally from Réunion, a small island in the Indian Ocean, close to Madagascar and Mauritius. The leaves and stems are distilled, using either heat or steam, creating a pale yellow with a tint of green coloured oil. The main properties include calming, relaxing, balancing and soothing. Traditionally, it’s used to support the circulatory and nervous system as it cleanses impurities, eases inflammation and restores balance.

We also now know that geranium is very useful in treating jetlag and other imbalances brought on by travel. Here are a few of my favourites, safe for travel and plane use; just make sure to use 100ml bottles or less due to the liquids rule.

To help you sleep on either a long-haul flight or once you’ve reached your destination, try using this calming roll-on. In a 10ml roll-on bottle place 4 drops of geranium essential oil, 2 drops of lavender and 2 drops of chamomile (German or Roman) essential oil then fill will jojoba oil. Place the lid on and shake. To use, apply to your temples, wrists and the area behind your ears.

As flying can be dehydrating and exhausting, our skin gets dry and our energy levels decrease. Therefore, it’s important to drink lots of water and move around as often as possible. For an added boost, try this refreshing face toner that’ll help rejuvenate your skin’s appearance. Fill a 100ml spray bottle with equal parts distilled water and rose water (50ml each) then place 5 drops of geranium essential oil and 3 drops of rosemary essential oil. Place the lid on and shake. Note that you’ll need to shake the bottle before every use, as the oils will not bind with the water. To use, spray directly onto your face and let it dry.

How do you use geranium essential oil? Share your experiences with us using #RitualFlowerPower


Jessica La Grassa is a transplant Hamiltonian and a certified Aromatologist who enjoys sharing her knowledge and green living recipes with others.

Have any questions about this article or an essential oil you’d like me to discuss? Email: or reach out on social media @jessicalagrassa

moon moves moods // october 24th full moon in taurus


Full Moon in Taurus October 24th

Full Moons bring resolution, completion and results. It is an ideal time to exercise emotional releasing & letting go. 

This Hunter Full Moon in Taurus could illuminate where and how we hold firmly to our sense of self, worth, values and beliefs. As this Moon conjuncts Uranus in Taurus, there could be sudden surprises that bring new insight to things we didn’t realize we were so unwaveringly attached to. 

As the Moon opposes the Sun, freshly in Scorpio and Venus Retrograde in Scorpio, ideas around possessing vs. sharing could also be in focus. We could either get sucked into fears of the unknown and over-take to satisfy a false sense of security or we could encourage ourselves to venture out of comfort zones. 

Self-love is so important because the way we treat ourselves extends to the way we treat others. Knowing our limits helps others to be aware of and *hopefully* respect the boundaries. And when we can forgive ourselves for not knowing better, we can forgive others too. 

This lunation, may we let go of the expectations we build around ourselves and others. May we allow ourselves to slow down, live moment to moment in full range of emotions, *knowing* we have the resiliency to get through it all. 

Charlie is a visual artist, RMMTT student and energetic practitioner. She is reiki certified and uses the aid of oracle cards and crystals.

Learn more about Charlie's practices or book a session.

For more transit-astrology forecasts and collages, follow Charlie on Instagram.

Watch for an online shop coming soon! 

Root to Bloom


photo by oh sierra

The Root to Bloom Tote // A community collaboration between people bringing their work together to raise awareness of poor living&learning conditions on the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory.

Emily and I often find ourselves stewing in settler guilt, brainstorming ways we can get loud about the need for change in our country’s treatment (and disregard) of our indigenous peoples’ well-being. A mere 40min from where we live in Hamilton, the residents of the Six Nations reserve DON’T HAVE RUNNING DRINKING WATER.

Knowing this is a giant issue that seems too big to tackle, I called the Six Nations council and asked them how I could help. They encouraged me to support an immersion school on reserve. Kawenni:io/Gawenni:yo (KGPS) is a private school (bc the gov won’t fund that shit, obviously) that teaches elementary & high school in Cayuga & Mohawk language. This school is dedicated to the resurgence and restoration of their First Nations culture through language. Language is an important key to culture and a link to history.

KGPS is currently renting rooms in a lacrosse arena where there is also no running drinking water. They are hoping to build a new school on land that has potable water service so that they don’t have to ship in bottled water everyday.

We reached out to Jacqui Oakley (who generously illustrated the image of Mama Peonies kissing their baby buds) and Presstime Designs (who prints our Giant Tote) and to our luck they were happy to jump on board. After receiving the first mini-run of totes, we reached out to Oh Sierra Creative to see if they’d help us get the word out. Before I knew it, I was in a car with Xanthe and Frank (of Oh Sierra) driving out to the school to meet them and take pictures of the tote.

It was a quick, but highly emotional trip. It took less than 2 minutes of taking to Linda, the principal, before our hearts started breaking. I dissolved into a sobbing mess, apologizing to her because it’s all so unfair. My privilege. Their generational hardship.


100% of the proceeds from the Root to Bloom Tote are being donated to Kawenni:io/Gaweni:yo Private School.

As settlers on unceded land, we are committed to responding to the Truth & Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action. We want to affirm that indigenous languages are a fundamental and valued element of our culture and society and that the preservation, revitalization, and strengthening of indigenous languages and cultures are best managed by indigenous people and communities.

Creating this tote / buying this tote is a small but accessible gesture, and one that is greatly appreciated by Linda and her team. This tote project is just the tip of the iceberg of the indigenous advocacy we have in the pipes.

Buy a tote. Tell everyone you know to buy a tote. Stay tuned for more: crowd funding, reparation movement classes, fundraising dinners, and who knows what else. Join us.

photos by oh sierra

moon moves moods // october 8th new moon in libra


Out of the Monkey Mind and Into Inspiration with the New Moon in Libra October 8th

Libra is a sign that strives for harmony and balance, but can struggle with indecisiveness and overwhelm because of the conflicting pros and cons to a situation. This New Moon in Libra wants to inspire us to drop our analytical intellect and to tune in and make decisions from our intuition.

With a quincunx - a 150 degree point of planet separation that suggests a need for extreme astrological multi-tasking to dreamy Neptune, there will be help to inspire our imagination. To benefit from this energy, we have to be willing to engage in the mystery of a process and have faith in our fantasy.

The challenging square to Pluto that this Moon will also be making suggests there is a risk in over-rationalizing and not being able to accept plot twists. We could be tested to stay in our centre. Silence the over-powering voices that talk you out of your feelings. Are they really valid or do they make you suppress your innate nature? 

We know the truth of ourself better than anybody else. While there are others who can help guide and influence, we are responsible for creating the internal balance we need to be able to relate. 

May this Moon bring you insight into the being you want to become so you may strive for it with honest expression.

Charlie is a visual artist, RMMTT student and energetic practitioner. She is reiki certified and uses the aid of oracle cards and crystals.

Learn more about Charlie's practices or book a session.

For more transit-astrology forecasts and collages, follow Charlie on Instagram.

Watch for an online shop coming soon! 

For the Love of Lavender by Jessica La Grassa


I have a confession to make: I adore lavender. In fact, maybe adore isn’t the right word. I LOVE it! You know how some people need to stop and say “hi” or pet a dog that they pass on the street? Well, I need to smell lavender. Every. Single. Time. I pass it. Like a magnet I gravitate towards it and don’t even realize I’m doing so until it’s too late – my head and hands are already in the shrub. I’m almost positive that if you live in Hamilton and have lavender growing in your front yard, close to the curb or sidewalk, I’ve stopped to smell it. I’ve been caught once or twice, which probably embarrasses my husband more than me, but I simply give a big a smile and holler, “it’s lovely!” I find the smell intoxicating and immediately feel calm afterwards. Why is that? Let’s explore lavender together.

Lavender has many different known species but the most widely cultivated one is Lavandula angustifolia (formerly known as Lavendula officinalis). It’s originally from France and is part of the Labiatae botanical family, which includes herbs such as basil, peppermint, thyme and rosemary. To extract the aromatic essence, the flowering tops are distilled using heat or steam. This process sees the plant cells break down and the oils release as vapour. The vapour is then cooled, so it can return to liquid form, and the oils collected.

The term “aromatherapy” was coined in 1928 by a French chemist named René-Maurice Gattefossé who trained as a chemical engineer and worked in his family’s perfumery business. In the 1920s he investigated the antiseptic and therapeutic properties of essential oils and re-discovered lavender (thanks in part to a chemical accident that left a burn on his hand that he was able to eventually heal with lavender essential oil)…and for that I have a lot to thank him for. You see, even though essential oils were used for centuries before (especially by the Egyptians), Gattefossé’s research helped bring a renewal and structure to the contemporary discipline and lavender was one of his favourites, writing several articles on the subject. Thanks to his research, and many others, we now know how incredible and extremely versatile lavender can be. It can have a cooling or warming effect on the body, is cleansing and detoxifying yet soothing and calming. No other essential oil can perform such contradictory functions. It’s almost as if it adapts to what the body needs and complements the benefits of almost any other essential oil in a blend. Do you see why I love it so much?

The ways in which we can use lavender in our daily lives are endless but I’d like to highlight a couple that I’ve found useful over the past years: a dry shampoo and carpet/mattress cleaner.

Lavender Dry Shampoo

For the dry shampoo use an old spice jar that’s been sterilized (either through the dishwasher or boiled), as you’ll want something with a perforated cap to help shake the mixture into your hands without releasing too much. These will usually hold 50 ml so the following is assuming this measurement; please adjust accordingly depending on your jar size. For light coloured hair mix 3 tablespoons of arrowroot powder, 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 5 drops of lavender essential oil in a bowl. For darker coloured hair mix equal parts arrowroot powder and cocoa powder (approx. 1.5 tablespoons of each), 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 5 drops of lavender. Mix well then transfer to your spice jar. To use, just sprinkle a few shakes into your hands first or directly onto your roots and blend using your fingers, gently massaging it into the scalp. The antibacterial and antiseptic properties of lavender shine here. In conjunction with the powders, they fight the excess oils without harming the balance of your hair or the use of nasty chemicals. Perfect for post-workout drinks with friends or a little boost between washes.

Lavender Carpet/Mattress Cleaner

The carpet and mattress cleaner is quite simple but extremely effective. Simply mix 2 cups of baking soda with 20 drops of lavender essential oil. Place the mixture into a jar and sprinkle directly onto your mattress and/or carpet. Let it sit for 1-2 hours then vacuum it up (you might have to do this twice) and voila, your mattress and/or carpet are cleaned and smelling great. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer so works well here with the detoxifying properties of lavender.

In the Bath

Finally, another great and easy way to bring essential oils into your life is to add them to your bath as they have a profound effect on the body, both physiologically and psychologically. However, please note that essential oils do not naturally blend in water so you’ll need to give the water a little swish before getting in. The water shouldn’t be too hot and you should not exceed 5-7 drops for a full body bath. Here are some great combos using lavender essential oil:

  1. For cramps: Place 1 cup of Epsom salt in the tub while it’s filling up. Then, once it’s filled and the water is turned off, mix in 4 drops of lavender essential oil, 2 drops of geranium essential oil and 1 drop of cypress essential oil.

  2. For insomnia: Place 3 drops of lavender essential oil and 3 drops of chamomile (German or Roman) in a filled bath with the water turned off.

  3. For relaxation: try the Ritual Island bath soak that includes Epsom salt, lavender, ylang ylang and eucalyptus.

How do you use lavender essential oil in your life? Share your experiences with us using #RitualFlowerPower


Jessica La Grassa is a transplant Hamiltonian and a certified Aromatologist who enjoys sharing her knowledge and green living recipes with others.

Have any questions about this article or an essential oil you’d like me to discuss? Email: or reach out on social media @jessicalagrassa

moon moves moods // september 24th full moon in aries


Full Moon in Aries September 24th

Aries wants to forge ahead, no matter the cost - but as this Lunar position opposes the Sun in Libra, balancing our self-interests within our most personal relationships and other partnerships will be the key to emotional fulfilment. 

Whereas Libra strives for harmony and shies away from conflict, Aries brings intensity and confrontation. Try to think of emotionally charged exchanges as an opportunity to see parts of yourself that you are not usually conscious of. The true work however, is being able to apply what is learnt for the better.

As we set the intention to release with the Full Moon, bring attention to where you fear everything will fall apart if you are not in control. Yes, we are the masters of our lives, but we are influenced by external circumstances. Being aware of the context empowers us to be able to find our place and work toward our goals with peace and cooperation in mind. 

Persevering through emotionally turbulent times is what builds trust and intimacy - a vulnerable connection we yearn for. We could all use a little more tenderness. 

With this lunar event, may we find the heat to keep our passions burning.

Charlie is a visual artist, RMMTT student and energetic practitioner. She is reiki certified and uses the aid of oracle cards and crystals.

Learn more about Charlie's practices or book a session.

For more transit-astrology forecasts and collages, follow Charlie on Instagram.

Watch for an online shop coming soon! 

make your own: chia overnight oats


Are you ready?

This might be the simplest, fastest, most satisfying breakfast you’ll ever eat.

I’ve fallen off the chia pudding train the last couple of months because for me it’s more of a comforting cold weather meal. A meal for times when you wake up at 7am and don’t leave your bed for an hour because it’s so warm in the blankets and so cold out of them so why would you? And then you hop in for a quick shower, throw on a sweater and run out the door without time for egg scrambling or smoothie blending.


You made them the night before in a mere FIVE MINUTES and by some magic they’re perfectly set and ready to eat straight from the mason jar you made it in by morning.

I love this breakfast because it covers all your bases: protein and fibre with the chia seeds (you can add some ground flax if you’re an overachiever in the fibre department like I am), healthy mood-boosting fats and protein like nut butter, and satiating carbs from the oats. You’ll be full, get in your morning BM, and feel energized through your morning like the rockstar you are.



½ cup almond milk (store bought or homemade)

½ cup rolled oats

1 tbsp chia seeds

1-1000 tbsp nut butter of choice (I go almond or peanut)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp honey

Optional last minute stir-ins:

Cocoa nibs



Nuts and seeds

Spirulina powder


Put all ingredients in a 500ml mason jar, stir well, twist on the lid and leave in the fridge overnight.

Wake up, add any last minute stir-ins, and head out into the world with your mason jar and spoon in hand like:


Michelle is an RMMTT student and Holistic Nutritionist (CNP) with a focus on digestive health and learning to love the body you're in through intuitive eating and self love over dieting, always. 

Michelle currently sees clients at Inland Island Wellness Centre. Contact her for more info on her practice or to book an appointment.
// @movewithguts

moon moves moods // september 9th new moon in virgo

Original artwork by Charlie

Original artwork by Charlie

New Moon in Virgo September 9th

Earthbound with the New Moon in Virgo & Venus in Scorpio September 9th

As the Sun and Moon oppose Neptune in Pisces, this New Moon in Virgo is about synthesizing our dreams with our reality. 

Virgo brings the analytical side to what we want to create and takes into consideration the practical, day to day responsibilities that are required to manifest.

Venus moving into Scorpio the same day speaks of what we want and how we want to feel vs. what we can have. Jupiter in Scorpio will sextile (make a harmonious aspect to) this Moon, suggesting that we can stretch beyond, manage & accept what needs to be done in the material world when we see the bigger picture/broader vision. 

As we go internally with the dark of the Moon, set the intention to soften judgement. Practice encouraging affirmations to tame the internal + external critic. Allow space and time to pivot away from pessimistic attitudes that hold back the ability to participate, show up, and work toward goals and desires.

Charlie is a visual artist, RMMTT student and energetic practitioner. She is reiki certified and uses the aid of oracle cards and crystals.

Learn more about Charlie's practices or book a session.

For more transit-astrology forecasts and collages, follow Charlie on Instagram.
// @changeable_charlie

Watch for an online shop coming soon! 

an easy way to think about meals by michelle cordeiro, cnp


As a nutritionist, I often get asked what we’re supposed to be eating amongst all the conflicting health information out there. I believe this question can stem from feeling out of control around food, so we go looking for food rules that will make it easier to ‘stay on track’. Whether on track means of a diet, lifestyle, goals, weight loss, or whatever else, it's often a tool to further restrict how we eat.

But really, I can’t, and never will, tell you exactly what to eat for each meal. Because only you truly know the answer to that, and I promise promise promise that you do know the answer. Ignoring your hunger signals or cravings means ignoring what your body needs as fuel. So listen to them!

In terms of ensuring your meals are well balanced and full of enough nutrients to make you feel ah-mazing, there is a small formula that I often pass onto clients. While I never believe in rigid rules around food, this formula helps to ensure that your meals are:

  1. Filling you up!

  2. Giving you energy!

  3. Helping you recover from movement!

  4. Satisfying cravings that arise from deficiencies!

I often stick to this when it comes to my main meals because I just feel better when I do, and it’s very very simple. Just try to incorporate each of the following onto your plate or into your smoothie:


Such as: meats, eggs, beans, legumes, tempeh, etc

Protein is a must for muscle recovery and fuelling after a sweat sesh because of its integral part in a whole wack of metabolic processes. Without it, you may find that your blood sugar is imbalanced, you’re intensely craving something sweet after a meal or you’re just realllllyyy tired. I used to make big lettuce, cucumber and tomato salads for dinner thinking I was being 'good', but then wonder why I was dying for ice cream an hour later. It was because my meals would lack protein (or any real sustenance) and my body would be screaming for sugar soon afterwards to fill in that gap. Beyond this, protein rich foods are very filling, so you’ll feel satiated for longer periods of time. Which brings me to...


Such as: oils, avocados, nuts, seeds, ghee, nut butters, etc

I could go on and on about how annoying I find low-fat products (THAT ARE JUST FULL OF SUGAR AND ARE HARDER TO DIGEST AND TASTE BLAH AND ARE DESIGNED TO KEEP US THINKING THAT FAT, ON OUR BODY OR IN OUR FOOD, IS BAD FOR US). Soooooooo let’s bring the fat back on our plate, shall we? Because fat is delicious, it’s needed by virtually every cell in our bodies, AND it keeps our brains happy and focused. By eating healthy fats daily, it can help to curb brain fog and reduce signs of depression. Have a big test coming up (hello students, it’s almost September!), then increasing your fat intake can improve memory recall and concentration. So good! So yum! Don’t omit it! Add a minimum of 1-2 tablespoons to your meal in the form of high quality fats and see how you feel.


Such as: kale, spinach, broccoli, sprouts, etc

Load em up, always. But (which is why I put protein and fat at the top of this list), don’t restrict yourself to only leafy greens. A big salad is delicious and full of mighty nutrients sure, but without the fat and protein you’re missing out on a whole lot, and your body will tell you this. But the reason you want to increase your intake is because vegetables contain lots of great nutrients and FIBRE. Fibre for pooping and expelling toxins and feeling fresh. We often don’t get nearly enough fibre (30-35g should be a daily minimum), so I try to focus on incorporating more and more in every meal, however I can.


Such as: potatoes, beans, grains, starchy veg, etc.

Carbohydrates are an important energy and fuel source, but finding carbs that are easily digested by your body is important (not everyone does well with grains, so stay mindful of this!). When you eat carbs your body turns them into simple sugars (glucose) that are used up by your cells for energy. We’ve all heard of carbo-loading by athletes before big events, so if you need some energy prior to a big R&B pilates class, go for the quick energy that carbs can provide (and trust, you’ll need that energy boost mid elevator squats, right ROBIN!?).

Maybe you feel like your meals are pretty sub-par and are tempted to follow a certain diet or cleanse to get back to your vibrant self. But sometimes the answer is much more simple, and by focusing on incorporating all the things your body needs can leave you feeling strong, focused and in control of your body.

Have questions? As always, don't hesitate to reach out with them!

Michelle is an RMMTT student and Holistic Nutritionist (CNP) with a focus on digestive health and learning to love the body you're in through intuitive eating and self love over dieting, always.

Michelle currently sees clients who wish to improve their relationship with food at Inland Island Wellness Centre. Feel free to contact her with any questions, comments, for more info on her practice or to book a free discovery appointment.

C O N N E C T:


// @movewithguts

moon moves moods // august 26th full moon in pisces

Original artwork by Charlie

Original artwork by Charlie

Full Moon in Pisces August 26th

Gentleness is the strength behind power with the Full Moon in Pisces August 26th

When we take a leap of faith, the universe acts in mystical and mysterious ways to reward us. 

The influence from Pisces wants to direct the seeds of worth that we planted under the New Moon in Leo toward cosmic and universal consciousness. To a connection that is bigger than just ourself.

The inner saboteur is the voice that talks us out of what we dream of. The Full Moon in Pisces is an opportune time to hear this voice and venture through the fears anyway. Think of what/who needs to be confronted, forgiven and released. Where can you surrender to give more of yourself to what is trying to come into your world? 

When it’s a struggle to feel good about yourself, believe in magic. The all-loving power of compassion carries and supports us completely. Even after failing and falling, with faith, we can get back up again.  And again. And again. 

Charlie is a visual artist, RMMTT student and energetic practitioner. She is reiki certified and uses the aid of oracle cards and crystals.

Learn more about Charlie's practices or book a session.

For more transit-astrology forecasts and collages, follow Charlie on Instagram.
// @changeable_charlie

Watch for an online shop coming soon! 

ditching diet culture by michelle cordeiro, cnp


There was a period of my life where the words “21 Day Fix” or “Two Day Cleanse” felt like the answer to all my problems (I’ve done both). And why wouldn’t they be? These programs had all the makings of what I wanted in a diet: a quick timeline and a reassuring word.


Because I’m broken? Because without weight loss I am something that needs to be changed, reworked or made better? NO. Absolutely not. But it’s hard not to let your mind spiral with the diet industry being the monumentally convincing soul sucker it is.

I recently revisited the website of a program whose workouts I used to do, and found it interesting the things I never picked up on when I assumed this program had my best interests in mind. Workouts where words like ‘tank top arms’, ‘girl weights’ and ‘muffin top’ were thrown around in mockery. And they do this because in order to sell you their programs, they have to ensure you feel like your body has at least one thing to change. One thing that absolutely has nothing (nothing!) to do with your happiness and worth. If this sounds familiar, and you’re thinking of starting a workout regime or online program, ask yourself some questions first:

Is weight loss the main goal of this program?

Does this program express an importance in restricting certain foods?

Does this program dictate the amount of food I eat?

Is there a schedule outlined for when I should be eating (ex. No food after 7pm)?

Are diverse body types represented in their advertising?

In answering these questions focus on how it makes you feel. If you’re feeling shamed, punished, restricted or uncomfortable from a programs choice of words, images or rules, this is a sign that the program is not in your best interest. And, just like when it comes to the foods we eat, there’s no one form of exercise that is best for everyone.

Diet culture will often use pictures of young, thin, beautiful people to showcase the workouts, meal plans and testimonials as a tactic to keep you thinking that thin is a valuable goal. The milestones and tracking sheets will pertain to measurements and weight loss rather than emotions and body feels.

BODY FEELS! Because it's far more important to feel good in your body over looking a certain way in your body.

So get angry! If you’ve found yourself buying into these tactics you should not feel ashamed but betrayed. How dare companies use their wide reach and large marketing budgets to bully us into feeling less worthy because of the size of our jeans, only to sell us diets created to make us feel worse.

And truly, rejecting diet culture is the first step to moving on from feeling out of control and guilty around food. The first step to adopting a more intuitive eating lifestyle where you create the rules. A lifestyle where you eat when you’re hungry and eat what you’re hungry for without the guilt. Never again will a summer BBQ be wasted or day at the beach rained on by poor body image fuelled from diet culture bullshit.

And because I realize this post was a bit ranty (this stuff fires me up!)’s a little feel good food I've been in love with lately: Organic Medjool Dates (worth the price, promise) + Nut Butter + Almonds. 

Michelle is an RMMTT student and Holistic Nutritionist (CNP) with a focus on digestive health and learning to love the body you're in through intuitive eating and self love over dieting, always.

Michelle currently sees clients who wish to improve their relationship with food at Inland Island Wellness Centre. Feel free to contact her with any questions, comments, for more info on her practice or to book a free discovery appointment.

C O N N E C T:


// @movewithguts

finding mindful movement during rigid training by michelle cordeiro, cnp


Marathon training is funny.

I spend a lot of focus on exploring movement practices that my body craves, yet I’ve jumped into something that has an intense schedule of pinpointing how (and how long) I move each day. It might be a little hypocritical.

Let’s look at last week for example: Missing two of my three training runs and therefore setting myself up for a gruelling week this week is not where I wanted to be. And while I have a million excuses it comes down to the fact that I don’t always want to run for a couple hours. It’s hot, recovery can take time and my knees don’t always love it. And normally this would be totally fine and I simply wouldn’t run that much.

But I have a goal, I’ve signed up, and if I want to feel strong throughout the 42km race in November there’s a lot more commitment needed over here.

But it does make me think: where does mindful movement end and goal crushing begin? Can simply focusing on my end goal be enough to make my body crave longs runs?

So throughout this (less than perfect) training I’m working through, I’ve been trying to steer my focus towards the end goal, the ‘why’, rather than solely on what I feel like doing in the moment. Do you feel me?

We’ve all felt the magical afterglow from pushing ourselves off the couch and out the door to do something - whether it’s a run, a walk, a class or a ride - the afterglow that just feels so good. Which is a testament to the fact that mindful movement is beyond just what you mentally feel like doing in the moment, and instead can include looking into how you’ll feel during and after it. Sometimes we might need the push, even though it’s not what we’re feeling in the moment, to allow ourselves to move forward and become the goal crushers we were born to be.

And I’ve realized that there can still be mindful movement in an intense training schedule. The mindful movement never fully ends because I’m constantly faced with tuning into my body to see where I’m at. How are my energy levels? What did I fuel my body with today? How much sleep did I get? What other kind of movement have I done this week? All these questions, whose answers I find in the really rough runs or days where I recognize I need rest, keep the mindfulness in my movement.

Because training schedule or no training schedule, race or no race, if you don’t tune into what’s up with your body during everything you do, injury and burnout are much more likely.

So find your ‘why’ and use that as a push. Pre marathon training Michelle used the mental boost found through outdoor movement or flowing with community as her why. Right now, however, it’s more strength, endurance and not peeing myself during the race focused. Not bad goals.

Michelle is an RMMTT student and Holistic Nutritionist (CNP) with a focus on digestive health and learning to love the body you're in through intuitive eating and self love over dieting, always.

Michelle currently sees clients at Inland Island Wellness Centre. Contact her for more info on her practice or to book an appointment.


// @movewithguts

Reclaiming My Health with Help by Morgan MacDonald


When I read Michelle Cordeiro's piece Shifting Body Perspective: Strong is Not a Look, I was reminded of the struggles many of us face with food and our bodies. I felt validated in the serious self-work I have been doing this year. In 2018, I took the plunge and dedicated all of my energy towards recovering from an eating disorder that I’ve been struggling with for 14 years.

With the help of medical professionals, I have been working towards normalizing my eating, learning healthier strategies to cope with stress/anxiety/depression and accepting my body as it is. Easy enough, right?

After spending years in a constant cycle, restricting-binging, striving to look a certain way to feel love for myself, my body said no more. I was unable to keep up with the demands of life because of my illness and with the support of my family, sought out professional help.

The first step was getting a referral to an outpatient program for adults. In Hamilton, the nearest option is St. Joseph’s Eating Disorder Program. The wait-list can take as long as six months, but I was fortunate enough to get a call after two months.

In February, I entered a 25-week long group called “Making Changes,” offering Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to adults with Eating Disorders. The group is run by a team of professionals who have devoted their careers to the research and treatment of Eating Disorders. This team includes a psychiatrist, psychologists, nurse practitioner and dieticians. We met with the team weekly and learned how to introduce change into our lives - that would support our recovery. Words cannot describe the growth that took place over those 25 weeks.

During the months that I was waiting to hear from St. Joe’s, I decided I needed to reach out to other resources in the city that may be supportive. I came across Body Brave, a non-profit founded by Sonia Seguin, a strong woman who recovered from an eating disorder, and her mother, Dr. Karen Trollope. Body Brave offers affordable services and workshops for individuals struggling with eating disorders and body image issues. The atmosphere is warm and comforting and their approach to helping others is sensitive and compassionate.

If you think you or someone you know is struggling but are not ready to take the outpatient approach, I highly recommend checking out Body Brave! You can chat with Sonia and find out how they may suit your needs; check out a workshop or sign up for a body-positive yoga class. Body Brave offers workshops on topics ranging from mindfulness, to beginning the stages of recovery, to maintaining recovery, body image, etc. Service fees are very accessible (either OHIP-covered, PWYC, or minimal to cover basic costs). Through Body Brave, I have met some beautiful souls who I now think of as dear friends (one of whom is now my lovable new roommate).

Another aspect of my recovery was finding exercise that is meaningful and not punishing. After years of over-exercising, I developed joint issues and coupled with years of restriction, I developed osteoporosis (that’s right - osteoporosis at 29 years old…). I realized that I needed to change the way I approached exercise to protect my body from further harm. That’s when I discovered the Ritual Movement Method. I came to one of Robin’s R&B Pilates classes at Sous Bas and was hooked. With a sexy playlist, a challenging-yet-playful practice and Robin’s sense of humour, I felt like I finally found a sustainable and fun form of exercise (who knew such a thing existed?!). ‘Sayonara’ Stairmaster, ‘hellooo’ Elevator Clammies...

I am forever grateful for my family, St. Joe’s, Body Brave, and R&B Pilates for helping me through a difficult point in my journey and I definitely feel like there is still more work for me. Recovery is long road and right now, I am especially feeling the icky feelings of poor body image with the weight restoration (in my case, weight gain) that came with normalized eating. These feelings, of course, are magnified in these hot summer months, during wedding and vacation season, in the age of social media, in a Western culture that is becoming more and more “health” conscious…

I am about to begin the next chapter with St. Joe’s, a group titled “Body Image” for these exact feelings so stay tuned…

If you or anyone you know is suffering from disordered eating, feel free to check out the resources that I found helpful.  The process of recovery is not a “one-size fits all” method (no pun intended) and what helped me may not help everyone, but I can confidently say that recovery requires making changes and change helps with the support of others.

Check out:

St. Joseph’s Eating Disorder Program:

Body Brave Website:

National Eating Disorder Recovery Centre:

About Morgan MacDonald:

Morgan works in administration at McMaster University. Taking a leave of absence to focus on recovery, she has been focussed on connecting with people in the community to help with the healing process. She is currently developing a clothing line with her mother, Carol Davies, an experienced fashion designer. Their brand, Metta Made in Hamilton, creates high-quality, comfortable “wellness wear” made from sustainable fabrics. Keep your eyes peeled for Metta Made in Hamilton’s launch of a new line this Fall which will focus on creating size-inclusive, age-inclusive capsule pieces that aims to make everybody look good and feel good.

If you have visions of what you would hope to see in a size-inclusive clothing line/any challenges you experience shopping for clothing, please reach out because we would love to hear your input!



IG: @mettamadehamont