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Reclaiming My Health with Help by Morgan MacDonald

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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: http://www.stjoes.ca/hospital-services/mental-health-addiction-services/mental-health-services/eating-disorders-program

Body Brave Website: https://www.livingbodybrave.com/

National Eating Disorder Recovery Centre: http://nedic.ca/

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!

xx

mettamadeinhamilton@gmail.com

FB: https://www.facebook.com/mettamadehamont/

IG: @mettamadehamont

 

Embracing Essential Oils, starting with Sweet Orange by Jessica La Grassa

aromatherapyhamilton

Hello there! I want to talk essential oils with you. My name is Jessica La Grassa; I’m a transplant Hamiltonian and a certified Aromatologist. I do not perform bodywork, such as massages and facials, but I have a deep understanding of the theory and practical use of aromatherapy. About 5 years ago, after reading No More Dirty Looks, I became obsessed with purging my house of products that were filled with chemicals. I had never noticed before how many synthetic ingredients were in EVERYTHING. “What’s diethanolamine and formaldehyde?” I’d yell to no one in particular. “Those don’t sound natural!” Shortly after being horrified by the traditional beauty industry I turned to essential oils and, with my husband as my guinea pig, I was determined to change the way that we lived. That’s when I decided to learn more. I wanted to concentrate on the healing properties of the oils and how best to use them in my life, not just what smelled nice. I found Jan Benham and The Institute of Aromatherapy by chance and never looked back. She gave me a strong foundation and understanding of how powerful and healing Mother Nature can be.

Originally, my intent was simply to help safeguard my family. But now, as my passion has grown, I’d like to share this knowledge with all of you! Each month I’ll be talking about a specific essential oil, providing some info and easy recipes for how you can incorporate them into your everyday life. By providing this, I hope to help you make educated choices for you and your loved ones too.

Before we start, please note the following:

  • Essential oils should never be applied directly to the skin. Always use a carrier oil for this.

  • Essential oils are powerful concentrates of the oils found in flowers, herbs, resins or spices so a little goes a long way.

  • I do not agree with ingesting essential oils and will strictly be providing topical recipes.

  • I will point out if any of the recipes are unsafe for expectant mothers and/or those who are breastfeeding.

  • I’ll be looking at ways we can use essential oils not just on ourselves but also in our homes.

  • I’m not affiliated with any company or brand but do recommend using 100% pure (not blended) and organic essential oils whenever possible.

I thought we could start with something that most of us have around the house, especially this time of year, and enjoy eating: oranges.

Sweet orange, with the Latin name citrus sinensisis, is part of the Rutaceae Citrus family. This botanical family includes other citrus fruit such as lime, lemon, bergamot, grapefruit, mandarin and neroli. The general therapeutic properties include: detoxifying, cleansing (especially for the digestive system) and stimulating (both uplifting and rejuvenating). The oils are taken from the peel or zest of the fruit and the extraction method typically used is called expression. This involves pressing the peels between two pieces of wood, one of which would have a sponge that catches the released oils. The oils are then collected from the sponge by wringing it out. Sounds like a lot of work, right? That’s why essential oils can vary in price. The quality of the raw materials and the method used will dictate how much the oil is worth.

Luckily for us, I want to extract the oil from the peels a different way and use it to make a wonderful surface cleaner that’s great for disinfecting countertops and yoga mats. Simply save up all your citrus peels (from oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, pomelos, etc.) until you have a jar’s worth. Any jar with a sealable lid can be used; Mason jars are the easiest and cheapest option. You can leave the peels in a paper bag in the freezer until you’ve collected enough. Once you have enough to fill the jar, pack them in as tightly as possible and cover them with white vinegar, apple vinegar or a combo of the two. Place a piece of parchment paper over the top before placing the lid on and sealing it shut. The parchment paper will stop the vinegar from eroding the lid’s rubber seal (especially if you’re using a typical Mason jar) so you can use it again. Let the peels sit in the vinegar for a few weeks (1-4 weeks). Over time the oils from the peels with infuse the vinegar. This type of extraction, known as maceration, is typically done with either water or oil, but for our purposes here (to create a cleaning solution) works perfectly as we’re not putting it on our bodies. After the peels have soaked for 1-4 weeks, drain the liquid into a glass spray bottle and top it off with equal parts water (we’re using a 1:1 ratio here). The soaked peels can go into the compost, although if you have a backyard one it’s best to send them to the city as they will change the acidy balance of your soil mix. You can use the mixture as is or put a few more drop of essential oils in. Some of my favourites to include are: 5-6 drops lemongrass, rosemary, sweet basil or peppermint, all of which are antiseptic, antibacterial, and nicely complement the oils and benefits extracted from the peels. Feel free to use more than one of the essential oils but not more than 2 or 4 drops each. That’s it!

Have a diffuser? Why not try these sweet orange combos:

  1. 6 drops of sweet orange essential oil and 4 drops of cinnamon essential oil to create a warm and calming environment, perfect for colder weather (dare I say winter?).

  2. 5 drops of sweet orange essential oil, 3 drops of peppermint essential oil and 2 drops of lemon essential oil to create a refreshing and uplifting environment, perfect for summer.

Have any questions about this article or an essential oil you’d like me to discuss? Email me: jessica_lagarassa@yahoo.ca

 

Share your experiences using sweet orange essential oil with us using #RitualFlowerPower

 

Ritualize Attention by Lisa Gayhart

time is precious

I was supposed to write this blog post a couple weeks ago. I had it on my to do list, I was thinking about the content, and I really wanted to get started. And yet, even with a week of vacation, I didn’t complete it by my self imposed deadline. Why?

We’re not prioritizing the work that matters to us. We’re lost in shallow work. Shallow work: emails, scrolling, messaging, tidying, making appointments, laundry. All the administrative stuff of life and work that must get done but will never be totally complete. Shallow work not only eats away at your productive hours, but also dilutes our attention and focus leaving us spent but probably not fulfilled.

We all know the feeling of getting lost in work we really love: time flies by, hours lost to the task. We come out the other side energized, excited, and accomplished. This is deep work. (I can’t do the concept of deep work justice in one blog post. Go read Cal Newport’s book Deep Work for the full story.) Even without much discussion, I bet hearing the term triggers thoughts of the work that gives you life, that lights you up. This work doesn’t have to be a solely an individual pursuit or relegated to office/study hours. Community building, parenting, training for a race, planning a trip: these things all take the full care and attention of your focused, thinking mind.

How can we combat shallow work and carve out more time for the work that matters to us: ritualize.

Setting one intention and making space for it daily fosters focus as a habit, setting us up for sustainable success. Some ideas to ritualize attention:

  • Do the most important task first, while attention and creativity are high
  • Make tomorrow’s to do list at the end of each day in order to start the next day smoothly and offer opportunity for reflection
  • Complete creative work in an uninterrupted block of time, ideally the same time slot each day
  • Use the pomodoro technique of breaking work into 25 minute chunks
  • Set aside time at the beginning of the week for planning and time at the end of the week for review
  • Determine and enact your “do not disturb” mode: e.g. a specific place like a quiet office or a buzzing coffee shop; music or white noise; no wifi or notifications off; etc.
  • Schedule specific, time-limited, blocks for email, Insta scrolling, and internet browsing

For me, my deep work is research and writing. It’s hard work to dive into: I have to be in the right state of mind, in the right location, with the right tools or it just doesn’t flow. Or maybe that’s just a story I tell myself to obtain permission to slide into my Instagram feed on the train instead of tapping out 50 words in the Notes app? Most likely the latter.

During August I’m ritualizing my focus by scheduling creative time in the morning before I get distracted and exhausted by the day. Whether it’s 50 words or 500, I’m calling it a win. How about you?


Let’s share our thoughts and experiences on Instagram at #ritualattention, through this site, or in class. But not in real time - enjoy the moments. xoxo

--------------------

Lisa Gayhart works in higher ed technology as a UX researcher, academic librarian, and instructor. She’s currently researching digital wellness, in hopes of helping university students cultivate healthier relationships with technology and devices. Lisa is also a Ritual Movement Method Teacher Training student with Ritual Island. She’ll be moving you away from your devices and into your bodies SOON.

@lisagayhart

moon moves moods // august 11th new moon in leo

  Original artwork by Charlie

Original artwork by Charlie

New Moon in Leo August 11th

The World is Yours with the New Moon and Total Solar Eclipse in Leo August 11

When you come from a place of pure inspired action, you are connecting with your heart space. It is intimidating to show up and fully be yourself because it can leave you vulnerable to circumstances outside of your control. But there is also great reward in dropping inhibitions and going for what you want. 

Thankfully, Leo’s energy brings us courage, strength, persistence and creativity to search our souls, honour our feelings, and take the necessary actions to implement more of it. 

In the dark of the moon, we can’t fully see what seeds of intention we are planting. If we take this time to listen to our internal dialogue, we will discover that whatever is in focus now will be a point of lift off in which we will be working with until next eclipse season in January, 2019. 

This means we will have time to experiment, create, explore, research, try, fail, and try again. We are all children of the universe, always growing, learning and evolving. 

Keep things light

 


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.
//  melissstarr@gmail.com

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

Watch for an online shop coming soon! 

mindful ways to boost your energy by michelle cordeiro, cnp

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I've been going through a slump of feeling quite lethargic lately. I always find that this kind of thing sneaks up on me gradually until I eventually realize that I've been purposely planning my day so I can sneak in an afternoon nap. DO YOU FEEL ME!?

And while I LOVE a good nap sesh, what I don't love is having to rely on it to get through my day without snapping like a sleepy child. But when this happens, it's often a good clue that I need to change things up and figure out how to boost my energy levels back up. And this often isn't hard, as just stepping back and looking into my lifestyle is enough to figure out why I've been so tired and what I can do differently.

Maybe you can relate? And if so, ask yourself these questions:

HOW DO I RECHARGE?

This is an important one, and something that took me way too long to realize about myself: I'm an introvert.

What I didn't realize (especially in my early 20's) is that being introverted doesn't mean that you don't like being around people, or that you're not a social human. The distinction comes from where you get your energy from:

Do you feel refreshed and energized from socializing or spending a day surrounded by people?

Or:

Does time spent by yourself leave you feeling renewed and back to normal.

For me, it's the latter.

Figure out where your energy comes from (I'm sure there's an online quiz for this if Buzzfeed’s your thing), and use that to your advantage. I no longer feel guilty about planning nights alone or  telling my friends that I need to recharge for the day. They get it, and yours will too. Because there's no point in further depleting your energy by showing up to something when you're only really half there and half wishing you were at home with your dog.

Own your introvert/extrovert label. Go out and eat up all the energy from those around you if that's what you need to do OR stay home and go for a solo run. Which brings me to the next question...

WHAT KIND OF MOVEMENT DO YOU CRAVE?

Sometimes I get copious amounts of energy from a nice long trail run, and other times it completely wipes me out. Finding what movement you gain energy from is a valuable tool to use towards boosting yourself up. And this movement will often change from day to day, even moment to moment, so exploring all the different ways to move and seeing where you end up is a great tool.

Sometimes a quick walk in the sunshine works wonders, sometimes you need to sweat everything out in a class, sometimes you want gooey yin yoga stretches to reset...explore, journal about it and be open to changing up your movement routine. Aside from keeping it fresh and interesting, this can also help you to gain insight into what really gets your energy levels up, or what absolutely drains you.

In Hamilton? My favourite energy boosting movements right now are:

  • Runs in the Bruce Trail: I recommend starting on the trail at Main and Wilson, running a good out and back using the trail markers and then finishing up at Fairweather Brewery, just East of the trail's start (trail runs and beer are a match made in heaven, I swear by it).

  • R&B Pilates at SousBas: I will never stop recommending this class, because it GIVES ME THE MOST ENERGY. EVER. Which is sometimes problematic when it ends at 9pm but I love it all the same.

  • Yoga in the Park: In Fine Feather Yoga Studio does a PWYC yoga class in Gage park on Sundays during the summer and it's the best community feels. 10am on a Sunday in the park is where to be!

Find what moves you (literally and figuratively) and go do it. Walk, run, jump, swim, bike, wiggle, whatever!

WHAT FOODS MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD?

Follow up question: what foods make you feel bleh? It's nice to think about the foods we eat not in terms of 'good' or 'bad' but rather little acts of self lovin'. Like: "I love myself so I'm going to make sure to find Muskoka Mocha ice cream at the Parry Sound grocery store this weekend", or "I love myself so I'm going to eat more than just Roma Pizza today". Ya know? Food choices that are based on how the food makes your body feel and your mind feel is a great way to gain energy.

And the goods news is that the foods your body needs are often the foods you crave. Thinking mindfully about your cravings rather than labelling them as a weakness or lack of self control can help to bring this into light. Maybe you finish a sweaty workout and are craving a big bag of chips? Your body is probably looking for electrolytes to replenish the salt that you've lost through your sweat, so go for something salty! Craving sugar after you run? You've probably burned through your glycogen stores and need sugars and carbs to replenish what you've lost in energy.

Properly fuelling your body with foods that give you what you need can be the difference between feeling wiped out or energized after meals.

P.S. If anyone knows where I can find Muskoka Mocha closer to Hamilton PLEASE advise.


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@gmail.com
// @movewithguts

a s t r o f o r e c a s t // august 2018

original artwork by stylo starr. prints available for purchase h e r e .

This is the final instalment of the Astroforecasts with Michalina of Attuned Practices. It was super fun while it lasted and we're so grateful for her generous insights. Make sure to follow Attuned Practices on social media or even book readings with Michalina! Stylo will continue to sell the ASTRO prints. If you purchase all five at once, use ASTRO18 to get 20% off. 

August 2018 is a massive shift month, as there is a huge interplay between upheaval energies and maintenance energies. 

First of all, when the month begun, we were all still reverberating from the shockwaves sent by late July’s Eclipse-Full Moon in Aquarius, which challenged us hardcore on our beliefs and what we were willing to do about them. And as opposed to Cancer Season, which we just exited, this particular Leo Season has virtually none of the watery emotional swimming, instead it brings not only passionate Fire, but also the intellectual curiosity of Air and most of all, lots and lots of Earth, symbolizing our foundations, our values, home, and the everyday experience.

This combination of elements makes August an ideal time for making big boy and girl steps. This month is for the bold. August has more Fixed Signs than others, more Retrograde planets than Direct, so there is no escaping how deep and real we get with ourselves about our old and tired patterns, our old stories we tell ourselves and others. We are over it.

In Leo Season, we are brought to address our personal greatness, whether acknowledged or suppressed. And by addressing it, we must act, bravely, from our lion hearts.


Dive in and unpack with Attuned Practices, offering readings, reiki and yoga.
Support Hamilton's own Stylo Starr's art.


moon moves moods // july 27th full moon total eclipse

  Original artwork by Charlie

Original artwork by Charlie

Full Moon Total Eclipse in Aquarius July 27th


Full Moon is illumination time. Total Lunar Eclipse says we can find the light in the darkness. 

Even if you realize you still have a ways to go. Be honest about where you are, right now. Forgive shortcomings as you move forward. 
Don’t accept your limitations as your fate. You can change. You can grow. You can evolve. You can shine. 

The Full Moon lands in the sign of revolutionary Aquarius, opposing the Sun in expressive Leo. The Aquarius polarity dreams of ways to be of service to the collective and the Leo polarity takes the necessary action. They are in balance when they approach with both knowledge and faith. 

In this moment of transition, experiment a little bit. What does it feel like to be uninhibited, unbothered, unashamed? Where, what and with whom do you feel most radiant?  What does your bold self bring to others? This Full Moon will permeate and have ripple effects for several weeks, months even. It is jam packed with adrenaline and energy, so find your outlets. 

The airy element of this Moon brings attention to the realm of our thoughts, hopes and wishes.  Watch your mental process- do not get stuck in worrying about what you lack. Everything is always working out in its own time, but prepare for the unexpected. 

Love. Big time. All around. All the time. 


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.
//  melissstarr@gmail.com

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

Watch for an online shop coming soon! 

make your own: sauerkraut by michelle cordeiro, cnp

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I'm all about the DIY, especially when it comes to fermented foods that are normally crazy expensive to buy, but crazy delicious to eat. 

We've talked kombucha on this blog before, and if you're interested in making your own check out that post here. But maybe kombucha isn't your thing or you're looking to branch out? Great! Because the feel-good bacteria don't stop there, and can be found in the best sandwich, salad or breakfast topper ever: sauerkraut. 

Not only is homemade sauerkraut much less expensive than store-bought, but in many cases it's also much healthier to eat. 

An easy rule of thumb is to never buy the sauerkraut you find on the shelf if you're looking for the gut-healing benefits. The ones on the shelf are often pasteurized, meaning heat is applied to allow the cabbage to stay fresher for longer. But when we pasteurize fermented foods, we're also killing off the good bacteria that is beneficial for gut health, and therefore removing the health benefits. 

The good bacteria found in properly fermented 'kraut help to keep our BM's regular, our immune system thriving and boosts our energy levels. It does this by taking up space that can otherwise by occupied by the harmful bacteria that suck nutrients away from us and create the perfect environment for illness to arise. 

To ensure you're making a safe batch, clean everything prior to use including your hands. Always try to use a mild, scent free soap to avoid any chemical contamination or contaminants from scented oils (I recommend Dr. Bronner's unscented baby soap for cleaning jars and tools). 

If you DO see mould, discard the entire batch, clean the jar really well, and start the whole process over. It's unfortunate, but it's always better to be on the safe side when fermenting! 

NORMAL SIGNS OF FERMENTATION 

1) BUBBLES: we love bubbles! They show us that there is active fermentation happening and are a sign of a healthy batch. 

2) FILM/FOAM: it's normal to get a thin film collecting at the top of the jar, or to have a collection of foam as well. 

3) VINEGAR-Y SMELL: that's the acetic acid forming, and is 100% normal and welcomed (this is also what makes kombucha smell like old gym socks...), as it is great for our digestion and keeping the ferment free of bad bacteria. 

Now let's get to it: 

WHAT YOU NEED 

1 head of cabbage (you can experiment with different kinds) 

1 tbsp. sea salt 

Mason jar 

1 fermentation weight (or something heavy that fits in the mouth of the jar) 

THE HOW-TO 

Slice the cabbage thinly by hand or using a mandoline, and place in a large bowl. Add salt and begin massaging the cabbage with your hands, until you can squeeze out enough of the cabbage juice to cover up the sliced pieces (takes about 10-15 minutes). Slowly, the cabbage will begin to soften and the juices will be pulled out by the salt. 

Once enough juice is extracted to cover, tightly pack the cabbage into your mason jar as firmly as possible. Really pack it in there! Cover completely with the extracted liquid (if there is not enough liquid to cover, you can add a bit of water as necessary). 

Use the fermentation weight, or heavy (clean!!) object to weigh down the cabbage in the jar, keeping it below the liquid. Avoid anything plastic for the weight since it could leach into the jar as the fermentation process creates organic acids that can break down plastic over time. 

Cover the jar with a cloth and secure it with an elastic band. Leave the jar for 2-3 weeks, out of direct sunlight and in an area that stays close to room temperature. 

Keep tasting your batch between the 2-3 week mark until your desired flavour is reached: 

Not strong enough? Let it sit for a few more days. 

Too vinegar-y? Reduce the fermentation time on the next batch. 

Cabbage has just started it's season here in Ontario, so go grab some fresh from the farmer's market and try it for yourself! Get creative with added spices and ingredients based off of this basic recipe and be amazed (or maybe disgusted, some combos just don't work out...) at the unique flavour this ferment can create. 

E N J O Y.


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 intuition 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@gmail.com
// @movewithguts
// www.movewithguts.com

shifting body perspective: strong is not a look by michelle cordeiro, cnp

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I don't know how I could write about anything other than tidbits from the past weekend of Ritual Movement Method Teacher Training. So many lessons. So many feels. This is becoming a common theme with this training month to month I tell ya. 

Something that has stuck with me since, was Jo Gale's message of STRONG IS NOT A LOOK because well, you know, it's not. 

Last week I wrote a post about the damage that restricting certain foods in your diet can do, and I was so moved by the response. Many of you reached out and expressed your support of the message by sharing your own struggles with food. It was really heartwarming to hear how much that post resonated with you, because that means we're slowly starting to shift our minds on what it really means to feel and be well. Let's get rid of the before and after picture #fitspo stuff, and instead make room for more compassion to others AND to ourselves. 

Because we all have our issues with body image or food anxiety to some degree, don't we? So let's speak up about it! 

In my early 20's I started to have some pretty concerning digestive issues that lead me to cut out certain foods from my diet that were doing harm to my body. But even just cutting out those foods, I still felt awful, and would often skip meals in order to ensure that I could get through a shift at work, or a hangout with friends without having to deal with any stomach pain until I was home. 

And I'm the kind of person who gets real hangry when I'm hungry, so it sucked for both me and those around me... 

And as a result of this restriction and elimination I started to lose weight in a very unhealthy way. I felt awful in my body: crampy, bloated and had such little energy to do anything I wanted to. Yet, on the outside, I was told I looked great, fit and thin. Because for some misguided reason, weight loss is almost always seen as a good thing, to be celebrated, to praise someone for. 

And you know what that's saying to that person? That they look great NOW. That before, prior to this weight loss, they didn't look as great. It tells that person that whatever they're doing to lose weight, no matter if it's restricting their food intake, working out excessively or obsessing over their body, they should stick to it, because it's working. 

I had a coworker ask me what my secret was, and when I half-joked that I had cut out most foods from my diet, he told me to stick to it... WHAT!? 

STRONG IS NOT A LOOK. 

How your body looks does NOT define how you show up. It does not define how many elevator squats you can do at R&B pilates, or how long you can hold plank. It does not define how or when or where you choose to move (or not move) your body or how you TREAT other people, what you mean to other people or how important you are to this beauty planet we're all a part of. 

We are so much more than something as trivial as our looks, which is sometimes clouded by things like the world of social media. So this is a call to stand up and be okay with kindly asking others to shift their observations from the mere shape of your flesh to more important things. It is so inconsequential to who you ARE, so let's shift that focus to what really matters when talking about others and when talking about ourselves. 

I'm gonna end with this quote from Rupi Kaur, because she is SPOT ON with her words: 

“I want to apologize to all the women I have called beautiful
before I’ve called them intelligent or brave
I am sorry I made it sound as though
something as simple as what you’re born with
is all you have to be proud of
when you have broken mountains with your wit
from now on I will say things like
you are resilient, or you are extraordinary
not because I don’t think you’re beautiful
but because I need you to know
you are more than that” 

STRONG. IS. NOT. A. LOOK.


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 intuition 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@gmail.com
// @movewithguts
// www.movewithguts.com

moon moves moods // july 12th new moon

  Original artwork by Charlie

Original artwork by Charlie

New Moon & Partial Solar Eclipse in Cancer July 12th

Every moon cycle gives us a chance to re-shape and refine. New Moons are generally a time of initiating new activity and energy, but this particular  Moon is asking that we tune inward. 

Combined with five planets in retrograde motion, slow down and listen in. What is your internal dialogue? Is it encouraging or are you stuck in a mental torture loop? 

As the Moon eclipses the Sun, look for the light in the shadow. Dark thoughts have their place, but it’s imperative to know when to move past them. 

This Moon is opposing Pluto in Capricorn. Pluto wants to help us step up our game and evolve past self-limiting beliefs. Oppositions denote a time where things can happen at you or to you. Not everything is under our control with this aspect. 

Under the influence of this watery Moon, going with the flow will be exercising self care. There is so much in flux right now that we want to let go of controlling, micromanaging and overthinking to be in a state of receptivity. Know the difference between inspired action and action for the sake of keeping busy. Show up for what you know is real. 


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.
//  melissstarr@gmail.com

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

Watch for an online shop coming soon! 

the foods you should be restricting by michelle cordeiro, cnp

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I began studying nutrition wanting to know more about my gut and how I could better advocate for my own health with all the conflicting information floating around. But when it came time to learn what protocols were needed to promote healing for my clients, I was hesitant and became pretty turned off. The idea of clean eating, restriction, expensive supplements, diets and cleanses doesn't jive with me. 

But something still drew me in, made me compelled to learn more about why our bodies fall into disease and illness and what alternatives we have to fight against these things. Because I think it's really important to have options when it comes to our health and be educated on what's really going on. It's important to understand the role food plays in our wellbeing and what tools are out there to support a holistic view of health. 

But I knew deep down that I would never be able to tell clients to adopt a strict diet if I refused to do the same. I can't authentically preach the idea of clean eating (whatever that means) because I'm never willing to cut out the joys of pizza and happy hours from my life. 

And I've tried. 

My first introduction into holistic healthcare came from 6 months of a strict allergy elimination diet to figure out what foods I was intolerant to. A diet that normally lasts 3 weeks was given to me with no end date in sight, cutting out gluten, dairy, soy, night shades, alcohol, caffeine, cashews, corn and on and on the list went. I was very much all or nothing in this diet, and refused to stray as I waited for my digestive symptoms to go away entirely. 

In retrospect I know that this diet gave my gut time to heal, and I'm very thankful for that. But on the other hand it also created an intense need for control, putting foods into good and bad categories in my mind. I know this control did more harm than good when, after 6 months of restriction, I snapped and binged on all the 'bad' foods I wasn't allowed. 

Because restricting food is NO FUN. Summer BBQ's without your favourite foods on the grill? A birthday celebration without the cake? A late night pizza craving without the pizza? No. Fun. 

We love to use food as something we've earned after a long workout or a week of 'being good' when it comes to our food choices. It makes us feel crazy and out of control, like eating a piece of dessert means our diet is now shot and we may as well devour the whole thing so we can try again tomorrow. 

Restricting yourself isn't caring for yourself. If self care is eating healthy, vibrant foods, then self care is also honouring your cravings. Honouring your cravings by eating any and all foods that make you feel joy, community, celebration, comfort or just sane. 

And this culture of restriction is everywhere; even when we think we're steering clear of those messages they've become impossible to avoid:

Fast food restaurants include the calorie count next to their menu items. 

There's woman-focused advertising used to sell low-calorie beers. 

There's ice cream marketed as guilt-free because of the reduced calories pasted on the front label. 

Social media is flooded with 'before and after' images to celebrate weight loss. 

It's everywhere. And this means we're constantly being subjected to a message of food being something we should feel guilty about. But hey, guess what!? It's not! 

And not just because I said so, but because deep down you know so too. How boring would life be if we live it feeling perpetually guilty about eating certain foods!? 

And I say this to you because it's something I frequently remind myself. It's not easy to accept this message when we've been told to feel the opposite. But isn't it a little freeing to know that it's okay to feel guilt once you recognize it, but it's also okay to give yourself permission to just eat? And not feel the need to over analyze it all. 

The way I see it, if your body is craving some green things, eat the green things. If your body is craving some sweet things, eat those too. It's all about eating intuitively, and this is something I've been exploring more and more as a nutritionist, as a human and as an eater. 

If this resonates with you and you have questions, thoughts, concerns please reach out! Send me an email and let's work through some stuff, together.

a s t r o f o r e c a s t // july 2018

original artwork by stylo starr. prints available for purchase h e r e .

Ground down within yourself. The month of July is dominated by the grounding energy of all the Earth Signs. Granted, this may seem a bold statement, considering July being the site of the Cancer-Leo intersection, which has nothing to do with earthiness. Nevertheless, July begins with a move towards personal stability.

Juno, who governs committed partnership, moves from fiery Aries to reliable and secure Taurus, where She undoubtedly breathes a sigh of relief. In our partnerships, this should signal a settling down and renewed focus on the here and now. Moreover, of note is the lack of Libra energy this month. This underlines of how little influence relatability holds on our moves. Not only do we not want to be in conflict anymore, but we actually can’t be bothered to try to convince anyone either. This month, let’s look at how much less important it is to be understood or even liked, than it is to stay present and in our process. We know it. And we are in no danger of forgetting ourselves and what we are working towards due to the absurdly high amount of Retrogrades this month. These current Retrogrades indicate that we are just as busy, if not more, soul-searching and figuring things out, as we are out there in the world, doing the things.

As the transition from nurturing Cancer to self-expressive Leo takes place this month, it is certainly a month where we both revel in how good it is to be good to ourselves and how that in itself will reflect outward, irregardless of the audiences’ reception.


Dive in and unpack with Attuned Practices, offering readings, reiki and yoga.
Support Hamilton's own Stylo Starr's art.


It's Canada Day Weekend! Celebrate by...

 Artwork by  Chief Lady Bird

Artwork by Chief Lady Bird

Hey Friends! Robin, here. It's Canada Day long weekend. Your weekend might be filled with bbq hangs, cottage getaways, and toasts with friends and family, revelling in how lucky we are to be Canadian!

Yes. We are lucky. B U T // that luck was built on a pretty dark, tragic, and under-acknowledged past. 

For those of you that know me - I'm super sensitive and am always feeling the feels of the ever shifting socio-political climate. Reflecting on Canada Day, I couldn't help but feel the weight of our Indigenous history, and how our government's (past... and arguably present) actions echo the current migrant crisis at the Texas/Mexico border.

I messaged my beautiful friend, Jasmin Glaw, asking how I can support our Indigenous Peoples. She sent me this KILLER LIST. 

So here's my challenge to you: celebrate by CLICKING ON EVERY LINK. Learn some NECESSARY shit. Spend your money, energy and time on/with/for Indigenous people so that we can collectively, with real impact, continue to work towards RECONCILIATION. And talk about it at your Canada Day celebrations, ya?

And now, words and wisdom from Jasmin :

HAPPY 151 YEARS OF COLONIZATION FOLKX!
(aka Happy Canada Day!)

As we roll out our Canadia branded towels, rep our red and white, maple leafed bucket hats and other hilarious merchandise to celebrate Canada let’s not forget the First Peoples who stewarded this land we now call home… you know, because those people are still here! 12 000 plus years later, and Indigenous people continue to rise. 
Canada Day can host many meanings and feelings for people. For newcomers, it can be a new experience to celebrate a country that has offered friendship and refugee. For born and raised Canadians, it can be a celebration of identity via backyard beers and BBQs at the cottage. However, amongst these celebrations there are also those who do not see today as celebration, but more so a day marking of invasion, cultural genocide, appropriation, disease, broken promises, trauma… the list goes on. 

Everyone has rationale in regards to how they tackle, enjoy or spend their Canada day… be open and appreciative toward all perspectives and all walks of life.

Celebrate by… Supporting Indigenous Businesses //

1)     Raven Reads (Online)

  • RECONCILIATION. ONE PAGE AT A TIME. A beautifully curated collection of Indigenous literature and giftware delivered to your doorstep each season.

2)     Cheekbone Beauty (Online)

  • Canadians are beautiful people and many have no idea this funding gap exists. The truth is First Nations children get 30-50% less funds for education than the rest of Canadian children.
  • Cheekbone Beauty will be supporting First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada with 10% of profits from all purchases.

3)     Cedar Basket @ the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto (Tkaronto)

4)     Skwachays Lodge Gift Shop (Vancouver)

5)     Inkdigenous (Tkaronto)

6)     Manitobah Mukluks (Winnipeg/Online)

 

Celebrate by… Tuning Into Indigenous Peoples Sounds and Stories //

1)     imagineNATIVE

  • The world's largest presenter of Indigenous screen content. The organization is recognized locally, nationally, and internationally for excellence and innovation in programming and as the global centre for Indigenous media arts

2)     Unreserved Podcast on CBC

3)     Missing and Murdered Podcast CBC

4)     Reclaimed on CBC Music

5)     Revolutions Per Minute a PLETHORA of Indigenous musicians for your ears.

 

Celebrate by… Educating Yourself //

1)     What is a land acknowledgement?

2)     What is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and what are the TRC: Calls To Action

3)     What do Indigenous youth have to say about their futures? Feathers of Hope

4)     What does the international community have to say about the Rights of Indigenous Peoples? UNDRIP

5)     What does Canada have to say about Indigenous communities and reconciliation over the next 150 years?#Next150Challenge

6)     What does it mean when someone talks about the child welfare system in Canada and how it’s failing Indigenous children and youth? Jordan’s Principle

7)    Where do I read more human stories about Indigenous peoples, from Indigenous perspectives?:http://www.cbc.ca/books/108-indigenous-writers-to-read-as-recommended-by-you-1.4197475

 

Celebrate by… Eating at Indigenous restaurants //

1)     Nish Dish (Tkaronto)

2)     Pow Wow Café (Tkaronto)

3)     Salmon and Bannock (Vancouver)

4)     Lelem (Richmond, BC)

your new potluck staple by michelle cordeiro, cnp

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Somewhere there's a really old issue of Reader's Digest that includes a recipe for a roasted red pepper bean salad. Somewhere. But until I can find it again, I give you this recipe that is SUPER CLOSE to that salad. My sister has been making it for years and I'm in love with it, forcing her to make it for me whenever I had the chance. But one day I realized that I was totally capable of making it myself and the recipe is really quite simple... so instead of forcing her to make it for me for the rest of my life, I just learned the recipe. Because you know, I grew up a little. And I've been rocking potlucks ever since. 

AND YOU CAN TOO! 

This salad is versatile, fresh and such a crowd pleaser. It's gluten free, nut free and can be modified to also be dairy-free by omitting the feta, making it super tolerant to any allergies or diet preferences. Like I said, it's a crowd pleaser. But if you can include the feta, include the feta. 

I love having a good bean salad option when there's a big food spread because it ensures that I'm getting a hearty serving of veg, fibre and protein in one dish. It also stores really well and honestly gets even better with age as the flavours from the dressing sink further into the ingredients. Make it a day before your next BBQ or, I don't know, your next Canada Day party (topical!) to save yourself time and ensure it's at its maximum flavour potential. Maximum flavour potential of deliciousness. 

Okay I'm done blabbing, here's the recipe, hope you love it. 

ROASTED RED PEPPER BEAN SALAD 

FOR THE SALAD: 

2 red peppers, roasted and chopped 

2 (15oz) cans of black beans 

2 cups of corn 

1/2 cup feta, crumbled 

4 green onions, chopped 

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved 

1 avocado (cubed) for serving 

FOR THE DRESSING: 

1/2 orange, juiced 

2 tbsp olive oil 

1 garlic clove, minced 

1 chopped jalapeño (more or less to taste) 

Salt and pepper, to taste 

DIRECTIONS 

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place red peppers on a baking sheet and roast in oven for 20 minutes. Rotate peppers and roast for another 20 minutes until peppers are charred and skins can be taken off easily. Let cool, remove stem, seeds and charred skin and then chop into bite sized pieces. 

2. Combine dressing ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Set aside. 

3. Combine chopped roasted red peppers, black beans, corn, feta, green onions and cherry tomatoes in a large bowl. Cover with dressing, stirring well and let sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours (the longer the better!). Add avocado right before serving and adjust salt and pepper as needed. 

4. E.N.J.O.Y

Reclaiming Our Attention by Lisa Gayhart

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Last November, I started an experiment. I was feeling drained from long days in front of my devices. I felt like I couldn’t focus. I was irritable and distracted. I was tired of giving my best to screens.

I did a little reading and eventually came to the decision to do a technology fast of sorts. Like any lifestyle change, it was very difficult at first. But the more time I spent experimenting with different ways of using tech every day, the better I felt. The weekends felt longer and I felt less scattered. I didn’t bring my phone to meetings or events. With my head up, I saw very clearly how much of ourselves we are handing over to our devices.

This all sounds magical, wonderful, and full of meaningful revelations about life. But, like most things on the internet, it’s not the whole story. Today, I’m right back where I started.

Our relationships with technology are often left out of discussions on health and wellness. For many of us, technology is an ever present and growing force in our lives. Over the last decade or so, we have gradually outsourced our daily thinking and doing to technology. Getting up to flip the record or turn on the radio, walking across the bedroom to set your alarm clock, navigating to an appointment with written directions or a map - these common tasks are increasingly uncommon. Technology is everywhere and it’s not all bad. Today’s technology is amazing! We form relationships around the world, educate ourselves, discover new talents, find solace in like minded groups, start businesses, partake in democracy, and so much more.

Living with tech is not an all or nothing situation: like most things in life, our relationship with technology requires more nuance, more balance. We can design our tech use, intentionally and with purpose, to be something useful and enjoyable. We don’t need to feel drained and stressed by our devices.

In a series of posts this summer, we’ll look at our tech habits and how we got here; learn ways to increase our digital wellness; and discover new corners of the internet - and maybe even ourselves.

In the meantime, let’s start noticing our habits and how we feel:

  • What does your relationship with tech look like?

  • Do you feel drained, pressured to stay in the loop, overwhelmed with information?

  • How do you feel after some time scrolling: drained or energized?

This summer, we reclaim our attention. We make space for more outdoor adventure, more creation, more stargazing, more memories. Our devices will always be there for us.

Let’s share our thoughts and experiences on Instagram at #ritualattention, through this site, or in class. But not in real time - enjoy the moments. xoxo

--------------------

Lisa Gayhart works in higher ed technology as a UX researcher, academic librarian, and instructor. She’s currently researching digital wellness, in hopes of helping university students cultivate healthier relationships with technology and devices. Lisa is also a Ritual Movement Method Teacher Training student with Ritual Island. She’ll be moving you away from your devices and into your bodies SOON.

@lisagayhart

moon moves moods // june 28th full moon

  Original artwork by Charlie

Original artwork by Charlie

 

Full Moon in Capricorn June 28th

Here it is. Two weeks of manifesting with the New Moon and now we are at the culminating phase of that unfolding- the Full Moon. What has shown up?  

This Full Moon lands in Capricorn early on June 28th, opposing the Sun in Cancer. Capricorn is pre-occupied with work and ambitions, while Cancer wants to nurture and tend to home life and personal matters. Strive to find the middle ground between these polarities and you will bring balance to your emotional life.       

We may feel disappointed as we start to identify what isn’t going to work, and what we need to let go of in order to move on. This is ultimately beneficial as it will help us to have more clarity of purpose when the next New Moon comes around (yay more chances!). In the meantime, a whole wave of emotions will surface and it is important to be gentle with yourself and others. Give yourself a couple of days to focus on forgiving and to remember what you’re grateful for. 

In Capricorn, the Moon will illuminate where there are control issues. Can you enjoy the process of building without instant gratification? This is the first Full Moon after the Solstice and it’s a good mid-year check in point. Find your center. Grounded and earthy Capricorn can help us identify our worth, but approaches with a stern demeanour that asks us to be focused on the preparation that “becoming” requires. 


Charlie is a visual artist, ritual movement method teacher training 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.
//  melissstarr@gmail.com

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

Watch for an online shop coming soon! 

RMMTT musings: if hip openers make you cry, you're not alone by michelle cordeiro, cnp

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Last weekend I met for the Ritual Movement Method Teacher Training and had a h.e.a.v.y experience. We all did. The weekend before we all did a whole bunch of hip opening work, we all had some pretty intense personal experiences in the week that followed, and then talked it out (read: collectively cried for 45 minutes). It was a lot. And I struggled with it for many reasons but the main one being that I hate crying in front of others. I do it, but I hate it.  

And I'm working on that. 

I have a beautiful writer of a friend who recently put out a blog post called "The Things I'm Not Sorry For Anymore" and it really struck me (so go read it and marvel over the beauty that is her writing because I can't do it justice). A significant part that has hung on from both her blog and the overall wealth of wisdom that she gifts me, has been to stop apologizing for my emotions.  

And it's so haaarrrddd for me to do, and for many of us to do. It's hard because we often associate our own vulnerability as weakness when it's so intensely the opposite. Vulnerability IS strength. But even knowing this, it takes time to reframe the mind and allow ourselves to let our emotions run fluid.  

Here's a little excerpt: 

"I am learning to not be sorry for having deep emotion. I am not sorry that my tears make you uncomfortable or that my past experiences have made me intolerant to ignorance or that I find your joke offensive." YEP. 

So when I heard that hip opening exercises, like Robin's Hips Don't Lie video, can bring up a lot of emotions, I was curious. But I did the video when she first released it a few months ago expecting a big emotional moment... and felt nothing but sore hips the next day. Okay sure, no big deal, love the DOMS. 

And then two weekends ago we met for the Ritual Movement Method Teacher Training and opened up dem hips for almost 6 hours. Did I feel the emotional side of movement? No. Not at all. Still nothing. 

A week later we met again and the majority of the women in the group had gone through a huge emotional release after our last session... and I sat there feeling cheated out of the full experience. I wanted it! I wanted to experience this deep connection between movement and my emotions other that the obvious feelings of joy that normally follow a good sweat sesh. 

I thought "maybe I'm doing it wrong", "maybe I'm not the ball of emotions I thought I was", "maybe I don't hold anything in my hips".... 

And then it hit me. Hard.  

Robin took us through a guided meditation to deal with all the 'stuff' we were individually/collectively dealing with, and I LOST IT. I have never experienced such a full on emotional overload like that before. There was no warning, no build up, just a bunch of stuff came barreling out all at once and I hated it. I fought against it the entire time, tried to calm myself down, refused to lean into it or let it flow, and felt big shame for showing such extreme emotion even in such a safe space. 

But (but but!) when it was all over I did appreciate how beautiful it was to experience such extreme emotions from movement. During and after moving my body I've felt pure joy, frustration, strength, weakness, but never an uncontrollable sadness like I did on Saturday. Old shit coming to the surface that was held up in my damn hips. It was a wild realization.  

I get it. Yoga, pilates and other movement practices are holistic practices, affecting more than just the physical body. I know that moving can make me feel joyous and relaxed and accomplished, so having this alternative (and delayed!) experience was crazy.  

SO WHY ARE OUR HIPS SO TIGHT? 

Because we're sometimes/usually/always sitting. Our society is so often sitting at a desk, sitting in front of a computer, sitting watching TV or sitting in transit that we often don't allow ourselves to properly stretch out our hips. So when we hold tension in this area, similar to how we can hold tension in our neck and shoulders, it's hard for this tension to be released.  

And this is where a proper movement practice can benefit much more than just the physical body. Much much more. Stretch that stuff out. Squat deep, stand tall, create big, wide knee circles and move your hips in ways that feel really good, sticky, and beneficial. Stuff might come up right then and there, it might come up an hour later, or (if you're like me) it might come up 7 days later when you really don't want it to. Ah, life.  

Curious? Give this 30 minute HIPS DON'T LIE video, created by Robin, a try. It was my first introduction into hip strengthening and mobility work. And then when it's hard, frustrating and sticky, do it again and again. It does get easier, promise.  

 

what your poops want to tell you by michelle cordeiro, cnp

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Quick poll: when you go to the bathroom do you wipe sitting down or standing up? 

It all started with Dan Harmon on a podcast talking about how he wipes his bum. Yep. Just so you know, Dan Harmon is a stander. He goes on to say that his friends all think it's super strange that he stands up, so naturally my roommates and I started discussing. Everyone in the house thought that his standing up routine was weird... 

Except for me. 

I was outed as a stander and was SUPER alone in it. So I started asking around and no matter what you think, the jury is out on this. I. AM. NOT. ALONE. Everyone I harassed for this personal info had such different (and STRONG) opinions on what was the right way to do the thing. I had created a shit storm (heh) of heated debates and I was loving it. 

I realized this is pretty in line with the fact that we just don't talk about our poops! We don't! So often talking with clients I'll find clues that lead to the root cause of an issue through something they take for granted. Something they wouldn't have mentioned if I hadn't asked because it never raised alarm bells to them. I mean really, who do we have to compare our poops to other than ourselves? 

Imagine a world where we knew what our poops were telling us? Where we talked (in beautiful detail) about the shape, size, colour and consistency of our number twos? I mean come onnn how fun would that be ;).

But don't worry, we're going to talk about it right now (no pictures, promise). 

HOW OFTEN 

Okay. In an ideal world, where everything was as it should be, we'd all be going three times a day (aka one meal in, one meal out). But this is hard to come by. Instead, ensuring that you have at least one decent (fully formed, easy to pass) poop a day is a good place to start. Two? Even better. Three? You're killing it. 

A simple way to test your 'transit time' (how long it takes for the food you eat to make it's way out of your body) is the beet test. YUM! Since beets turn your BM's (bowel movements) red, by tracking how long it takes to pass those beets can be a good sign of how long your transit time is. The shorter the better, though the ideal is around 18-24 hours since this is thought to be the average time it takes for your body to remove waste. A longer transit time could be a sign of constipation and might be something to think more about. 

SINK OR FLOAT

Is one right and one wrong? Technically no, but one thing floaters may be telling you is that there's a high fat content making up your BM's, a sign that you're not digesting fats as well as you could be. Bile (produced by your liver) is needed to break down and absorb fats, and fatty poops could mean that your liver isn't quite functioning as it should. Crazy, eh! One small clue from your poop could be a telling sign about a big-shot organ! SO IMPORTANT! 

Since there are other potential causes of this (some totally normal, such as excess gas in your GI tract from certain foods), working with a health practitioner to pinpoint the underlying cause is the best way to properly rule out any issues. 

So while as a general rule I would say you want your poops to sink, there are many reasons floaters are perfectly healthy too. This ONE sign isn't going to make or break your level of GI health, so look deeper at what's going on and (always always always) focus on how you're feeling. 

WHAT SHAPE

According to the Bristol Stool Chart (since I promised no pictures, you'll have to Google it), the ideal BM is long and either smooth or with cracks on the surface. So, there's that. 

Did you Google it? Are you going to buy one of the BSC mugs or novelty t-shirts? Because they make those... the internet is a weird place. 

You also want to look to your poop for signs of improper digestion, which might look like undigested food particles or stool that is small and hard to pass. If you're finding undigested bits, think first about going back to mindful eating and ensuring that you're chewing your meals down to a paste before swallowing. If you find you have trouble passing these small 'deer poops', it sounds like you may, again, be constipated. 

Rather than turning to laxatives, there are many lifestyle and dietary factors to look at. Laxatives have a place, but the overuse of them can lead to a bandaid fix on a long term problem, and could cause your bowels to become lazy and dependent over time. So use them wisely. Tune into your fibre intake, how mindfully you're eating, your exercise routine, diet and lifestyle to see where more sustainable changes can be made. 

SO WHAT TO DO? 

Need someone to talk to about what's going on with your number twos? I got you. I really think sharing these sometimes hard to talk about details with your health practitioner is extremely important. Whether it's me or someone else, finding a practitioner that you feel comfortable with is so so important to your optimal health. 

Because that's what we're after right? Health that isn't just getting us through the day but that allows us to thrive and feel really really good in our bodies. 

For this reason I offer free 15 minute meetups to chat, connect, ask questions and get feedback as to what's causing the funkiness in your gut. Often it's small changes that can reap big big results over time. 

Questions? As always, reach out!

moon moves moods // june 13th new moon

  Original artwork by Charlie

Original artwork by Charlie

Friends! We are excited about a new collaboration with one of our sweet community members, Charlie. Charlie is a visual artist with a passion for cosmic / esoteric / metaphysical practices and a student in the RMMTT program. Every Monday leading up to a New and Full Moon, Charlie will share her insights on how the Moon is moving and how that may affect our moods and feelings.

Fun, right?!

If you're a sceptic on the Moon's pull on our inner waves, I get it. I've been there. The metaphysical is hard to grasp and easy to deny. But...Yo, she can move the ocean, what makes you think she can't move the ocean within you? Your body is sack of water, filled with more sacks of water. If you're still not convinced, just stay with us for the ride. Read Moon Moves Moods. Look up at the Moon. Look within. Notice any connections between her size and your feels. Soon you'll notice patterns. And even if not, it's a fun opportunity to self-reflect.

Without further ado...
  

New Moon in Gemini & Venus in Leo June 13th


The thing about the Moon, she is our quickest moving planet in the solar system, transiting a new sign every 2 1/2 days. We see and feel her energy most presently. She is divinely feminine, mysterious and changeable. As our emotional guide, she is associated with mother hood, nurturance & nourishment, intuition, the unconscious and survival habits. 

As she moves around the zodiac, she makes three of several significant cycles: a New Moon, a Half Moon (Waxing & Waning) and a Full Moon. 

New Moon = Emotional Initiation
Half Moon = Emotional Turning Point
Full Moon = Emotional Culmination

The New Moon with the influence of Gemini could initiate new stories around how we communicate what we feel to the world. It could inspire curiosity about feminine energy of our inner world. 

Coupled with this New Moon in Gemini, Venus, the planet of love & intimacy, leisure & pleasure, art and creativity, moves into Leo until July 9th. Roar and purrr. Leo’s are the warmest sign in the zodiac. They wear their hearts on their sleeves, and feel just about every emotion, very dramatically. However, feeling safe enough to be raw and emotional is a necessity. During this transit, we may gain great satisfaction when we cultivate our connection to spiritual matters and our ability to be a channel for divine information. Look deeper into relationship needs to avoid shallow achievements. 

Gemini and Leo are two of the most child-like and fun-humoured signs in the zodiac. Look for the jokes - they are everywhere. Indulging in play time opens up receptivity. Follow and express what you feel, but watch for over-analyzing. Understand that words are meaningless when they aren’t followed by action. 

We will benefit most from this energetic combination when we motivate ourselves to commit to our chosen paths with the courage to lead from the depths of our hearts. 

Wishing abundant new beginnings that illuminate and satisfy your truest heart’s desire!! 
 


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.
//  melissstarr@gmail.com

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

Watch for an online shop coming soon! 

BREW YOUR OWN KOM-BOOCH-A by michelle cordeiro, cnp

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Do you have any rituals that you love? 

Maybe it's waking up and making coffee, spending time in the kitchen, doing a crossword with your roomies (hey guys!), or long afternoon dog walks. For me, it's creating a big batch of home brewed kombucha and watching my baby SCOBY's grow and grow and grow. I LOVE IT. 

If you've ever brewed your own kombucha, you know what I'm talking about. And if you haven't, join me this summer for a Kombucha Making Workshop! I love these workshops and love giving away my boochy expertise, SCOBY's + Starter to get more home brewers going! Join me :) 

I started brewing kombucha about 2 years ago and have pretty much fallen in love with the process, my bebe SCOBY's and the drink itself (tastes great on it's own, flavoured with ginger, or spiked with an added shot of rum). A quick Google search and you'll find the list of potential benefits is quite hefty, but I've found that there are specific advantages that I notice most - more on that soon! 

KOMBUCHA, WHAT ARE YOU? 

Kombucha is a fizzy, fermented bevvie made from tea, sugar and a culture of bacteria and yeast (it's not gross, promise). The tea is fermented for 14-21 days which builds up the healthy acids and probiotics that do wonders for gut health. 

The bacteria and yeast component is called a SCOBY, which stands for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. The SCOBY (also known as the culture, the mother, the brain, the jellyfish...) eats up the caffeine and sugar to create organic acids that are present in the final brew. These wonderful acids are great for your health in many many ways, such as... 

THESE ADVANTAGES

We're talking less bloating, better digestion, increased nutrient absorption, energy boosts, immune system improvements, detoxification and on and on it goes. But I encourage (as with all things) to see how it makes you feel in your body and go from there. 

I find that kombucha does WONDERS to boost my stomach acid levels and reduce acid reflux, while helping my digestive system work a little more efficiently. For this same reason, it feels great to down some booch after a big meal when I feel sluggish and bleh. And I mean, it makes sense when you combine the fizz, the organic acids AND the added fresh ginger (that I rarely leave out of a brew because I love the SPICE). 

The probiotics found in kombucha help to reinoculate your gut with GOOD, disease-fighting bacteria that ward off bad bacteria from making a long term home in your belly. And while the amount and strains of these bacteria aren't as plentiful as taking a high dose probiotic supplement, by incorporating kombucha (and other fermented foods) into your diet, you're able to ensure you're getting a small dose of good bacteria each day. I like to think of the probiotics in kombucha as a good maintenance dose that you can easily incorporate into your life in a delicious and inexpensive way (when made at home of course!). 

When we think of detoxification, our liver is the main detoxifying organ needed to get the gross stuff (toxins, pollution, chemicals, etc) out of our bodies (if you want to know how to detox daily, check out this previous post right over here!). Glucuronic acid is created during the kombucha fermentation process and it's also made by our liver, binding itself to toxins to prevent them from being reabsorbed in our system. 

I like to think of this acid as a knight in shining armour that sacrifices itself for the greater good - because once the acid has bound to a toxin, it's forever removed from the body along with whatever is being detoxed. 

So when we think about all the chemicals we're exposed to on a daily basis, our bodies have to work pretty hard to keep up with proper detoxification. This is where supporting our liver becomes extremely important. By drinking or eating foods that increase our body's ability to detox, we're taking some of the workload away from the liver, allowing it to improve it's detox ability even more! I mean if you didn't already love drinking kombucha... 

INTERESTED IN BREWING YOUR OWN? 

Now let's get into the good stuff. HOME BREWING! 

ALL YOU NEED is a SCOBY to call your own, some previously brewed kombucha (i.e. starter liquid), some caffeinated tea (this feeds your SCOBY), sugar (this also feeds your SCOBY), a brewing vessel (any glass jar = perfect) and filtered water. 

Brewing your own booch will save you significant funds because each jar of home brew costs just pennies compared to the $4-$6 you'll spend on a store bought bottle. It also allows you to control exactly what goes into it, including the quality of the ingredients. Avoid added sugars and load up on healthy flavouring ingredients to take this concoction to the next level! 

Convinced? Curious? Questions? 

Join me for a workshop or reach out to learn MORE!