Wehl Educators

Catherine Switzer, RHN, Doula, Yoga Instructor

Hamilton, Ontario

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What’s your personal philosophy on wellness?

My personal philosophy on wellness is definitely finding the right balance for each individual. We are all unique, having different nutritional needs, likes and dislikes. I think it’s importance to find that harmonious balance to nurture a healthy lifestyle and relationship with food.

What is your favourite healthy food and why?

Ohhh this is a tough one! I love so many foods for various reasons. If I had to choose one that everybody could simply add to their diet it would be Hemp hearts! The are an excellent source of fibre, protein & omegas. Almost every lifestyle or diet restrictions can consume them.

What do you do for stress management in your life?

Yoga of course! I found yoga in my early 30s; it has changed so many aspects of my life. I can simply roll out my mat and do a quick 10min flow to wind down from a crazy day or carve out time to attend a class. Now that I am a Yoga Instructor, I can visibly see people step into the studio with something heavy looming over them, to walk out looking so much lighter, having “coat checked” it or let it leave them with a deep exhale.

Dr. Holly Johnston, ND

Stratford, Ontario

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What’s your personal philosophy on wellness?

Wellness is the absolute alignment of the heart, mind, body and soul. Wellness is vitality, and I believe everyone can access this within themselves. When you’re at your highest state of being you can feel whole, vibrant, light, at ease, abundant …

Using naturopathic medicine I guide people towards their highest wellness potential.

What is your favourite healthy food and why?

I’m currently obsessed with microgreens – broccoli, arugula, swiss chard, pea shoots … Plentiful in Ontario, and you can really taste their crisp and fresh flavour. They are loaded with nutrients; often 40x that found in the fully developed vegetable. And – you can easily add them to any meal!

What do you do for stress management in your life?

First, developing boundaries and finding balance in my schedule. It’s easy to work all the time! Having a morning and evening routine helps fill my cup and keep me grounded.

Every day I ask myself how I want to feel and what I need support with. My routine will look different depending on the day but will involve a combination of meditation, journaling, acupuncture, herbal tea, gardening, yoga, hiking, swimming, and/or spending time outdoors.

In the spring and fall months I love going on backcountry camping trips to spend time with mama earth and recharge!

Maya Eid, CNP

Toronto, Ontario

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What’s your personal philosophy on wellness?

My philosophy is centred around achieving optimal health in a way that is sustainable and enjoyable long term, free from restrictions and deprivation. It’s also about leading a meaningful and fulfilling life through conscious and self-directed behaviors.

What is your favourite healthy food and why?

I’d say coconuts! Coconuts are versatile because they contain the “meat” and the water and can be used in baked, cooked or raw food dishes in a variety of ways, and they offer many health benefits ranging from heart health to brain health.

What do you do for stress management in your life?

I exercise and limit my social media usage. Spending time with friends and family helps so much too.

Hilary Wardle, CNP

Northern Ontario

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Wehl Blog Article: What’s Helped Holistic Nutritionist Hilary Wardle Recover from her Broken Bone

What’s your personal philosophy on wellness?

I like to say that wellness is a journey. Often times we think of health as a destination. If I do X,Y,Z then I will be healthy and happy. If I lose 10 pounds, if my eczema heals, if I go to spin class everyday, etc. But I believe wellness is a constant practice, that evolves and changes as we do. Our bodies change, our environments change, our hormones change and we must continue to adapt and grow. In order for real healing to take place, it must happen inside. Developing a positive relationship with yourself, your body, your environment, your food – is so important to how you feel and move through life. You can drink all the green juices and do all the yoga but if you are not in tune with your own needs, what’s it all for? I think wellness is more about having an ongoing conversation with yourself and honouring what that is.

What is your favourite healthy food and why?

Oh my goodness – how do I pick just one?! I LOVE food and am constantly inspired by the power of whole foods that nature provides. I have a deep appreciation for all greens from leaves to herbs – the versatility, nutritional density, and healing properties are incredible and make up a huge part of my diet. I’m also pregnant and nut butters and dark chocolate definitely are at the top of my list right now too. Full of healthy fats and fibre, nut butters are great for fuelling the body and the brain! As for the chocolate – the darker the better! I love adding raw cacao powder to my smoothies, elixirs and snacks for flavour and all those incredible antioxidants!

What do you do for stress management in your life?

I used to be a real bottle-upper and had a lot of trouble speaking up or out when I was overwhelmed. It’s taken some time but over the years I’ve found that movement, journaling/writing, and sharing help. Sometimes we just need to shift our perspective and I find that movement through breathing/sweating/fresh air can all help with that. Reflecting through journaling and writing also helps me tap into feelings/emotions/fears that I may have trouble expressing or not even be aware of. Finding a person and a tribe of people that I feel safe and comfortable sharing things with judgement-free has been a tremendous help as well. I really believe that being able to move, write and share helps to ease my stress and shift my mood and perspective.

Dr. Janessa Chambers, ND

Waterloo, Ontario

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Wehl Blog Article: Winter Wellness 101 with Dr. Janessa Chambers, ND

What’s your personal philosophy on wellness?

I see wellness, not as a static destination, but as a holistic evolving journey closely tied in life to purpose. It is a journey of discovery, growth, and expansion intertwined with the aspects of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. There is also a notable link to proper physiological functioning.

We all have this inherent wisdom within us to heal and to be well. Within naturopathic medicine we refer to it as The Vis – the Vis medicatrix naturae. To cooperate with the Vis is one of the foundational principles of naturopathic medicine. Just like the last time you got a paper cut, provided your body had what it needed and you didn’t get in its way, it ultimately healed. Pathology (disease, disorder, dysfunction) is a disturbance to physiology, and physiology quite simply is the way your body works. When physiology is working properly, there’s no room for pathology; it simply can’t exist when physiology is working as it should. To extend beyond the absence of disease, the link to wellness is about physiology prevailing! Dr. Randolph Stone (1890-1981) put it so well when he talked about true health as, “the harmony of life within us, consisting of peace of mind, happiness and well-being … a result of the soul finding free expression through the mind and body…”

What is your favourite healthy food and why?

I would say asparagus and brussel sprouts are high up there on this list! Steamed, raw, or broiled, I just find these vegetables plain delicious! They provide nutrients in the form of vitamins, minerals, and health promoting phytochemicals; plus, with brussel sprouts being a Cruciferous vegetable, you’re getting the addition of those Cruciferous associated health and risk reduction benefits too!

What do you do for stress management in your life?

It varies, but movement, getting some fresh air, taking a bath, or meditating are often a fit. Lately, I’ve also been loving the castor oil packs, and sometimes I just need to hit pause and rest. Even if I don’t fall asleep, 10 minutes of shutting down, closing my eyes, and resting can be a big help!

Another big one for me that fills my cup and sparks play is carving out unscheduled time, free of shoulds and lingering to-dos, plans, or scheduled tasks. Simply wedging out some time, it doesn’t have to be long, but time to freely flow from one area to the next in how I’m wanting to spend my time in that moment!

Photo: Lauren Kolyn

Danielle Levy, RHN, NC

Montreal, Quebec

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Wehl Blog Article: Small, holistic changes can make a big impact on your wellness, with Danielle Levy

What’s your personal philosophy on wellness?

My personal philosophy on wellness is rooted in (w)holism – or the bigger picture of our health and wellbeing. It is not just about food, exercise, or meditation for example. To me, wellness also looks at our personal relationships, community engagement, our spiritual life, our connection with Earth, our emotional or mental wellbeing, our work satisfaction, and creative expression. All of these aspects impact our experience of feeling well, and are helpful to consider. I think wellness starts with our basic physical foundation – nourishment, and proper hydration – and then we can move forward from there!

What is your favourite healthy food and why?

I am a BIG fan of winter squash, like Butternut and Buttercup squash, as well as pumpkin! Delicious when roasted, in soups and salads.

What do you do for stress management in your life?

I get outside, and spend time every day walking in nature. It’s a game changer! I also enjoy a morning meditation practice – which keeps me centred and better able to manage stress. Journal writing is another helpful tool – something I’ve done since childhood, which supports my emotional wellbeing.