It Takes A Village

Where would I be without my support network? Lost — that’s where!

Between my doctors and my other healthcare practitioners, my gym with its amazing facilities, my grocery delivery service… there are a lot of people who I rely on, who I’m thrilled to have in my corner. Not only am I grateful for the internet, I count myself as SO lucky to be in a city like Toronto!

On the Interwebz? Check out…

Nutritionist Eats
horizontal-logoAshley Sauvé
is a registered nutritionist and wellness chef that I encountered through That Clean Life (more on that below). Her blog is a trove of delicious healthy recipes, all of which are gluten free (she suffers from celiac disease), refined sugar free, and mostly dairy free! I also follow Ashley on Instagram, where her daily stories are full of body-positive nutritional advice and so much realness! 

Seasoned Nutrition
Copy of Village HeaderDuring the long process of being diagnosed with A.S., I started seeing Julie Seale, a dietitian who subscribes to the Health At Every Size® (HAES®) approach to nutrition and wellness. Her approach focuses on Intuitive Eating, finding pleasure in movement and fostering a positive body image. Her smile is infectious and her focus on being kind to yourself really worked well for me when I was already so very angry at my body for letting me down. Julie works with clients in person, and also remotely via Skype. Bonus: as a Registered Dietitian, her fees are often covered by supplemental insurance!

That Clean Life
logoThat Clean Life is an online meal-planning platform founded by husband-and-wife team Abigail and Christopher Hopkins. Not only does it feature tons and tons of amazing (healthy and delicious) recipes, but it allows users to craft meal plans, which then automatically churn out grocery lists of exactly what you need. And, on top of that, their focus on making things community-centred means that there’s a super-active Facebook group for subscribers, the That Clean Life Insider Group, where users of the platform share tips and tricks and motivate each other to keep it healthy! 

Their manifesto? 

🙏 We love our bodies.

We are grateful for their strength.
We are proud of how we nourish them.
We believe that eating healthy is simple and fun, not a chore or burden.
We fuel our bodies with real food, not so we can achieve some idealistic body type, but so that we can be strong — mind, body and soul, for ourselves and the ones we love.
We don’t diet.
We don’t count calories.
We don’t restrict.
We don’t believe in quick fixes.
We believe in health at any size.

We believe in treating ourselves.
We believe in the pleasure of eating.
We believe in the art of preparing our own food.

Living That Clean Life goes far beyond food.
It’s about a journey.
It’s about an incredible, supportive community.
It’s about feeling strong and empowered.
It’s about simplicity and fun.

We love our bodies.
We are grateful for their strength.
We are proud of how we nourish them.

In the 6ix? Check out:

lJenn Arkison is an amazing Registered Massage Therapist. She’s intuitive and talented, always sensing exactly how much pressure my sore body can handle.

Chiropractics are often not recommended for people with A.S. out of concern that some of the manipulation would be counterproductive for the spine. However, Dr. Jessica Roeder totally gets spondyloarthropathic conditions and works with them with medical acupuncture and soft tissue manipulation. She is amazing.

Alpha Health Services
Charlotte Anderson is my awesome physiotherapist… Her balance of butt-kicking and compassion is a great fit for anyone with chronic pain. Charlotte’s coaching has kept me motivated, and also given me permission to say NOPE NOT TODAY when I’m having a flare up.

 Mama Earth Organics
Fresh, mostly local, mostly organic groceries delivered right to your door by a small company? What’s not to love? Their fresh food baskets keep my fridge stocked, and their grocery items from local favourites like Best Baa Dairy, Monforte, St. John’s Bakery, and others keep me happy!

Meditation for Health
meditationforhealthLucinda Sykes
, MD was one of the first teachers of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s now-famous Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program in Toronto. Full disclosure: my mother, the ceaselessly supportive Channa Verbian, is one of the facilitators in the program. Between Dr. Sykes’s medical knowledge of conditions like A.S., and my mother’s intimate familiarity as the parent of a spondy, participants would be in great hands. I first participated in this program at the very beginning of my professional career and it really changed the way that I coped with stress and challenging emotions, both important parts of self-care for anyone suffering from chronic illness.

Miles Nadal JCC
MNjcc High Resolution EPSWhat’s not to love about a gym with laundry service and permanent lockers? I mean, “my back hurt too much to carry my gym stuff with me all day” is no longer a valid excuse! And that’s not even mentioning their heated saltwater pool, steam roomdry sauna, and whirlpool. Plus, a fully equipped gym, loads of classes (including Range of Motion Aquafit!)… And for those flare-up days, it’s fully accessible, which means that there’s elevators, loads of seating, and even a ramp to access the swimming pool!

NeuroNova Centre
nnc_banner_header01_1454632216__96633Dr. Jackie Gardner-Nix is the author of the Mindfulness-Based Solution to Pain, a book my mother bought me when I was first diagnosed. Luckily for me, her training centre is based in Toronto, and I got to take the Mindfulness-Based Chronic Pain Management Course with Jackie herself, along with co-facilitator extraordinaire Grace Bezaire! I can’t say enough for what these techniques can mean for anyone dealing with chronic pain conditions!