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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.

mindful ways to boost your energy by michelle cordeiro, cnp


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:


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?


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...


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!


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

make your own: sauerkraut by michelle cordeiro, cnp


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! 


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: 


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) 


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

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


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!? 


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” 


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

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


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). 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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!

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


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 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... 


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... 


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!