Q: What were you doing before you started The Well Woman and what inspired you to create it?
A: Before starting down this path I was a fashion fortune teller! Just kidding. But I was working in fashion direction doing trend forecasting at Holt Renfrew, a major Canadian luxury retailer. After that I was opening up retail spaces for a start-up. But before my foray into fashion I was studying food science and nutrition in university. When I graduated, the time didn’t feel right for me to enter the health world. I wasn’t compelled by the western teachings. I knew there was more to it but I didn’t have the hindsight to fully understand it then. I wanted different experiences to widen my worldview. Fashion taught me a great deal about culture, art, community, aesthetics, the world. I value my time spent here immensely as it shaped and defined who I’ve become today.
I started The Well Woman while in school. I was studying holistic nutrition in Toronto and was beginning to think about the ways in which to translate my knowledge, the information I was learning and my vision to others. I wanted to create a platform to share, inspire and educate women. It was December 2015, I remember being at my part-time job and I wasn’t sure what to call the website but it was all I could talk about. The idea of it anyway. At the time, I had a daily meditation practice going and the name just kind of landed during a meditation. That made the decision very clear. It’s not often that that happens so I unequivocally trust it when it does.
Q: What do you love most about the work you do ?
I feel deeply fulfilled by the work I do. In a way I’ve never experienced. I love that I get to effect positive change through food, whether it’s education relating to health and nutrition, helping a client change their diet or lifestyle or surprising people with how incredible plant food tastes. I love that I get to be social and work with people and that I can spend equal amounts of time creating in solitude. I could not have one without the other, both fill me and I would feel unbalanced without the other existing.
Q: What does self-care mean to you and how has this changed over time?
A: Right now, self-care is my inclination to go inward and take care of my mental, emotional, physical and energetic needs. The process involves listening to the signs my body is giving me. For me the essence of self-care hinges on my ability to slow down, accept the space I need, stay nourished (especially while busy) and to prioritize meditation. Although so many elements encompass self-care for me it boils down to food and meditation. I feel these are basic needs and if you start here your life and body will change.
I suppose this idea has changed over time because before I used to think self-care meant needing to own the right dry brush, taking supplements, tongue scraping, Epsom salt bathes, oil pulling… don’t get me wrong I LOVE doing all these things but more recently I’ve been conscious when speaking to self-care because I don’t want it to disenfranchise others. Not everyone can afford all the fancy self-care tools! You don’t need them all. It’s incredible if they are available to you, you are lucky if they are. But I believe when we boil it down to our basic needs, we need high quality food and we need clear minds and strong nervous systems (which can be achieved through meditation).
Q: What is your creative process like and how does it relate to your wellness practices?
A: My creative process involves solitude, time spent in nature and generally being in a state of ease. This can be having a morning to spend at my leisure where I am free to experiment in the kitchen and then snap some photographs. Or it can be a bike ride to the farmer’s market. A hike. Being near a body of water. A stimulating conversation. A palette. A shape. Looking at books from my favourite artists. I get inspired aesthetically in many different ways, even something as mundane as the light hitting a wall in a certain way, or an iridescent beetle in the grass. For me creativity comes from the space and time to put myself in the way of such beauty. It’s around us all the time but sometimes we’re too busy to notice.
I love to take photographs. I have been doing it since I was a kid. What does a 5th grader take photos of you ask? Sleepovers and too many aerial shots of friends jumping. All the rage.
I do also absolutely love collaborating with friends and get to do this often as well. In terms of relating it to my wellness practice, I communicate heavily with images and I relay that to the website all the time. My ideas for palettes, forms and any aesthetic inclinations also present themselves in the food I make, plate and serve forth.
Q: How do you nourish your creativity and stay inspired?
A: Kind of similar to the above answer. I just try to put myself in the way of beauty. The natural world inspires me in ways there are no words for. There is a vastness I can experience here, a force more powerful and impressive than all else. And one that dissipates any small and insignificant issues in my psyche. To paraphrase Alain De Botton, “Nature gradually releases the grip of our indignation, not through its sympathy but through its sublime indifference.”
I also am inspired by friends, peers and women.
Q: What is your relationship like with food? Has this changed over time?
A: My relationship to food is a healthy one but it wasn’t always that way. The majority of my teens were spent with disordered eating habits. I had a serious health issue when I was 22 and that was a turning point when I knew I needed to change my lifestyle and eating habits. Now, I have the utmost respect for food. I understand that what I put in is what I get out. The foods we eat literally make up our brains, tissues, muscles, cells. The more I began to educate myself the easier it became to drop old habits.
All this to say, I’m not perfect by any means. I get busy and stressed and sometimes forget or don’t have time for lunch or snacks. This never feels great so I try and keep my blood sugar as consistent as possible.
Q: What are some tips or practices you use and recommend for strengthening intuition and self-trust?
A: Meditations that connect to your third eye and pituitary gland
Singing loudly. It can be really helpful to hear your own voice powerfully
Age :) one of the best parts about getting older is the self-confidence and trust that comes along with experience
Saying no – to people, jobs and relationships that aren’t good for you
Speaking up, voicing your opinions
Surrounding yourself with strong role models and if you don’t have any reaching out and finding some
Q: What does the idea of conscious friendship mean to you?
A: It means having a relationship rooted in honesty and where open communication and listening are both supported and expected. It means elevating each other, trusting and being brave and courageous to stay open during the ups and downs. Oh, and being present and making quality time for one another.
Q: Who are some women who inspire you?
A: My mom Michelle, my sister Natalie, Annemarie Colbin, Georgia O’Keefe, Frida Khalo, Michelle Obama, Sarah Britton, Yrsa Daley-Ward, Rupi Kaur, Alice Waters, Amanda Chantal Bacon, Eva Cabaca, Jessica Koslow, Donna Gates, Yoko Ono, Hulda Clark, MFK Fisher, Marianne Williamson, Guru Jagat — so many more!
Q: What are you most excited about for 2017?
A: I’ve been in school for the past year, so I’m just so excited to be spreading my wings, doing the work I love and collaborating on projects that inspire, uplift and make people healthier. Also excited to do some travelling and explore foods in different cultures and some plans for growth and expansion for The Well Woman.
If you haven't already by sure to head over to The Well Woman and follow her on instagram @thewellwoman_