Nov 082015

booch2If you’ve not yet tried kombucha (fermented tea), that’s step one. There’s a great company here in Montreal that brews RISE Kombucha. I love it. But it’s not “donner.” It’s a good one to try though, if you’re wondering what all the fuss is about.

Once I was hooked, I bought a kombucha starter from them (a mother, mushroom or Scoby) and started making my own. There’s a slight learning curve, but it’s super easy when you get the hang of it. I promise.

I’ll show you the steps in person, if you’re interested, but if you still need some convincing, then here we go:

#1 Taste
Those of us who are “into” healthy eating, eat a lot of things that might not necessarily taste amazing. We do it for the health benefits. Kombucha is not one of these things. The taste is amazing. You get to decide how sour or sweet you like it, how carbonated, and you get to add any flavour you want. Kombucha and or water kefir have replaced pop in many households.

#2 Health Properties 
You’re going to see a debate over this point. Limited research has been done on the health properties of this drink. Who would actually benefit from researching a drink that anyone can make at home for pennies…? But the anecdotal evidence speaks for itself: stories of how this “elixir” prevents cancer, heals ulcers, boosts energy and aids metabolism. What we do know for sure is the organic acids and nutrients in this tasty drink (B-vitamins, antioxidants, glucosamines …) do aid digestion, preserve cartilage structure and and contribute to overall good health. I invite you to come up with your own anecdotal evidence!

#3 Savings
As mentioned above, buying kombucha can get costly. Saving money is one of the biggest reasons I make my own fermented foods. Once you have your Scoby (which you can often acquire for free) the cost to make kombucha is next to nothing. All you need is sugar, tea and water.

boochIf you want to learn how to make your own “booch,” there are a couple spots left in my upcoming workshop. I’ll be servin’ up a great big mama scoby.

Here’s a post about the first time I ever heard of the stuff: Rise Kombucha Giveaway

Oct 272015

2014-01-28 17.09.36Bug is 2.5 and was waking all night long to nurse. Well not waking– like any breastfeeding, bedsharing mama knows, kid finds boob in sleep. Mama wakes, all night long. It’s been almost five years of nursing and bedsharing. Two things I’m still happy doing. Waking all night to nurse a 2.5 year old…? A little less enthused.

We’d done this big systematic night wean with Babe, and it was hardly as dramatic and traumatic as sleep training a 6-month-old might be. But it was still rough for all of us.

I wanted Bug to stop or at least cut down on nursing at night but I wasn’t going to go through Dr. Jay Gordon’s Plan again. I didn’t have the energy for it, and if it went the way it went with Babe, then Bug would be waking her up for a few weeks! No thanks.

But one night, after a particularly long day, Bug was nursing for what felt like an eternity. I was getting frustrated and it was impossible for me to fall back asleep.

I said, “Okay, peanut, that’s enough. We’ll have more Milkie in the morning. They’re going dodo no.” He understood, and moaned “noooo….” Then fell asleep. The next night it was similar. And that was that. From time to time he still wakes at night. He wants milk. I offer him water and sing Asato Ma to him, his favourite song.

He wasn’t thrilled about the change, but quickly got used to it. And I feel great about this decision. With this boundary. We teach our kids about consent. This is one more way I can do it. It’s my body and now that my kids are the age they are, I decide when I give them milk.

I don’t know how much longer these rascals are going to be nursing, but I’m totally enjoying sleeping a little more soundly these days.


Oct 242015

austin2Have you ever massaged your child? Sometimes we give them a little squeeze of the shoulders or rub of the feet, but have you ever intentionally sat down with them for a quiet moment to connect?

In a recent post, I mentioned I’d recently taken a training in Shantala massage for infants and children. Babe has hardly skipped a night without asking for one. Bug loves it too, and I wish I knew how to do this when they were newborns.

The kids and I find a cozy place, bed or the couch that we call “the relaxing couch.”  I warm some sesame oil and add lavender to promote a good night’s sleep. I proceed to give them the simple yet beautiful massage I learned from Annik Baillargeon, who’s an expert in Ayurveda and maternity, as well as additional techniques from Melanie Faucher, Shiatsu therapist and owner of Espace Shanti.

Babe knows the routine almost as well as I do and prompts me: “okay, time for the I Love You!” It’s an amazing moment that we share in these busy times when I feel like I don’t see my kids as much as I’d like to.

Did you know, that aside from breastfeeding, massage is the best way to connect with your baby? You’re getting all that skin to skin. (Hello, oxytocin!)

Infant massage also

  • Promotes restful sleep
  • Helps with gas/digestion
  • Boosts baby’s immune system

The benefits are countless.

I have a couple places open in the new Indian Infant Massage series I’m hosting in Verdun. Come bond with your baby and other new moms Wednesdays in November: 4, 11, 18 and 25). There will be tea and treats!

Cost includes your own  Indian Infant Massage booklet and bottle of oil.

Additionally, I will be doing a three-hour workshop on the subject (hands on!) at Espace Shanti in the New Year.

Come learn about baby massage with me!

Oct 212015

leakI used to live in Scotland and work in a cafe which I think was called the Old Bakehouse. We didn’t bake anything but if I remember correctly, there was a place in the stone wall where there was once an oven. It was a quirky little place filled with quirky characters. My god I miss living in Edinburgh. One of the girls I worked with was called Ange. She was my closest girlfriend the entire time I lived in Scotland’s capital. This was in  2007 and it’s foggy, but I’m pretty sure it was Ange who made up this recipe, which I still use today.

2lbs (about 2 large) white sweet potato, peeled and chopped in smallish pieces (or regular potatoes as per Ange’s original recipe)
2T butter (sub with coconut oil if you want it to be vegan)
5-6 leeks. Washed, cut in 1.5″ rounds
1T each thyme, parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups bone broth or veggie broth

How To:
Melt butter
Fry leeks without browning them. About 10 minutes.
When they’re soft, add potatoes, herbs and broth
Bring to a boil, then simmer for a while, until potatoes are softUse an immersion blender to make some of the soup into a puree

That’s it. Enjoy :)

Oct 142015

Whether you’re vegan, sensitive or intolerant to lactose/dairy, or just looking to add a little variety to the breakfast table, I promise you, making nutmilk is easy. Way easier than you could imagine.

Here are 5 reasons to learn how to DIY.

milk#1 Purity
Homemade nutmilk is made fresh and kept in the fridge. There is no need for preservatives or stabilizers. Many store-bought milks contain carrageenan, emulsifiers, synthetic vitamins, straight up sugar (who cares that it’s organic!) etc. The only ingredients you need to make a nutritious nutmilk are nuts and water. Healthier sweeteners and flavours may be added, if you wish.

#2 Environment
Tetra Paks claim to be way greener than they are. Only 18% are recycled (into toilet paper) the rest goes into the landfill. Homemade nutmilk produces zero waste. The pulp can be consumed (ideal!) or composted.

#3 Cost
Yes, nuts are expensive, but not as expensive as pre-made nutmilk. For example, 1.5 cups of shredded coconut will make you 1L of fresh, coconut milk. The cost is less than $2.00 vs approx. $4 for a litre of boxed coconut milk.

Costco sells unsweetened shredded coconut, $10 for 2 kilos. 2 kilos will make you more than 20 cups of fresh coconut milk.

If you also spend money on almond or coconut flour, you will save loads of money by making these things with the pulp leftover from your milk.

1 cup of shredded coconut = 3/4 cup of coconut milk & approx. 1 cup of coconut flour

#4 Nutrition
Aside from the extra undesirable ingredients you’re chugging down when you’re drinking store-bought milk, you’re also getting less nutrients. Leaving the homemade milk, unstrained allows you to benefit from the fibre. This is especially yummy with cashew milk. Two popular brands of almond milk, Almond Breeze and Silk, are the target of a class-action lawsuit claiming they only contain 2% almonds.

#5 BPA in packaging
Most cans of coconut milk are lined with BPA, and it leaches into foods that are acidic, salty or fatty, including coconut milk. BPA exposure is linked to all kinds of problems, including fertility issues, miscarriages and breast cancer and neurobehavioural problems in infants. BPA exposure is so common that it’s been found in the urine of 93% of adults. There are no commercial brands of coconut milk that are BPA and guar gum free, and also organic.

If you’re eager to save some money and make tastier, healthier nutmilk, come on out to my Nutmilk Know-How Workshop October 20 at Coop la maison vert.

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 Posted by at 2:11 pm
Oct 092015

learner2When I give away or sell my last cloth diaper, I’ll be a happy mama. And it seems we could be close. The jury’s out, on whether Bug will ever be a big brother, but what I do know is he’s transitioning out of diapers and into underwear.

Even though I’ve already seen one kid go from diapers to potty, we don’t exactly have a plan here. When we’re home, Bug is bare butt or in undies. Sometimes he goes in the potty and other times on the floor. I recently dug up the undies we used for Babe when she was learning to use the potty. They have this little padded area in the crotch that possibly catches some of the pee. If you’re a girl. They virtually do nothing for Bug. And to be honest were also a little pointless for Babe.

When I heard AppleCheeks was coming out with “learning pants,” assumed they would be similar, but they of course went above and beyond. They didn’t invent the training pant, but they may have perfected it! Unlike the undies I had for Babe, the absorbent panel covers all the way up to the waist band in the front and the back. This means they work for boys and girls.

And can we talk about the name for a second? Thank you, AppleCheeks, for calling them LEARNING pants, not TRAINING. Kids aren’t supposed to be trained, but they certainly love to learn. Learn to eat, learn to sleep, learn to use the potty. No training necessary!

The absorbent panel is made of two layers of microterry sewn in, covered by the PUL used in AC diapers.

When a child’s getting used to using the potty, I feel like these are better than diapers with snaps. These pull up and down quite easily, while snap diapers like ACs take that little bit too long a tiny bladder might not be able to wait.learner

Bug chose a St. Lucia blue training pant, but they also come in Appletini and Jem.

He wore them the entire first day and used the potty so I couldn’t gauge how much pee these things hold. I put him in a diaper for overnight.

The next day, he was surprisingly eager to put on his big boy underwear. He wore them and just a shirt, and peed, standing right in front of me. A full, 2.5yo 40lb pee. You know how much pee ended up on the floor? None of it. So I guess that how “training” pants are supposed to work.  Truly impressive. They’re not meant to replace a diaper, but in this case they did.

There’s an option for a booster, which I stuffed in once. It’s not recommended you remove it like you might with a pocket diaper. It’s a bit finicky to get in there, but I don’t know how necessary it even is. The learner held a full pee without the booster too. Since then, I’ve left it out.

If the learners are not soiled, they can be washed as regular underwear. If they did catch a poop, AppleCheeks recommends you rinse them first and then wash them as soon as possible. Any solids should be removed prior to washing to avoid staining and to keep the learners clean.

They retail for $21.95CDN. You can buy from your favourite retailer Monday, but first enter here to win a pair!

Share the post (leave a note saying you shared it) Like mamanaturale’s FB page and comment here with your colour choice. Good luck, contest closes Sunday at midnight.


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Oct 052015

indiaHere’s a funny story about me and India…

About six years ago, I moved to Montreal for lack of a better idea. I’d been living out of a tent and backpack for years. I was recently single and looking for an adventure. So I moved to Montreal, subletting my friend Paola’s place while she went off to explore her homeland of Mexico. I was keen to find a waitressing job, make some money and head off to India.

On the second night in Montreal, Paola introduced me to the guy I affectionately call “my husband. And most of the rest of the story you know, if you’ve been reading this since I first found out I was pregnant.

So I never made it to India, and somehow ended up teaching yoga anyways. These days, I’m also learning a bit about Ayurveda, Yoga’s 5,000 year old sister science. It’s not within the scope of this newsletter, but what I actually wanted to talk about is  very much related– how the postpartum period is handled in some parts of India.

It’s so incredibly different than what we do here in North America. In India, the new mother is mothered for the first month after she gives birth. She is nurtured. She is tended to and nourished.

She is not expected to:

  • clean her house
  • stay on top of laundry
  • act as a hostess for random family and friends
  • go back to work
  • go out on date nights with her husband

It’s no wonder why so many of us in North America, myself included, wind up with a Postpartum Depression diagnosis. We. Push. Too. Hard. There are too many expectations of us as new moms. Stuff imposed by family, friends, society, and ourselves.

What should we be doing in the first six weeks postpartum? Lying in bed or sitting on the couch, feeding baby. Eating better than we have in our lives because nursing takes a lot of energy and we are recuperating from a living being coming out of our body! We should be receiving food, water, love and massages!

Another striking difference of how the first few weeks and months goes in India and many other places around the world, is the sense of community they have that is certainly rare here. I don’t know about you, but my mom didn’t move in after the birth of my kids. When my son was born, I was living in Montreal and she was living in BC! I felt very alone. Most of us don’t have the village we are supposed to have. We don’t parent in communities like we used to. We are detached. Disconnected.

We were smart enough to hire a postpartum doula in the weeks after our son’s birth. Millie helped with dishes, laundry and took my oldest out to the park so I could rest. She brought us food and upon my request, a pint of Guinness! She listened to me cry.

My experience with Millie was invaluable and I have found myself wanting to do similar work. So here It is. Along with the therapeutic yoga I am already doing with new and expectant moms, I’m offering my services as a Postpartum Doula. I also just finished a training in Indian Massage for infants and kids (Shantala) and I’m eager to share this knowledge with parents who want a beautiful way to connect with their babies either in private or in a group setting.

Being there for clients in this important time may not be the exact same as it would’ve if I was family– but I hope it can be pretty close. I hope it can help others the way it helped me.


For more information on the packages I’m offering, you can visit or call 514.318.4566

Sep 282015

picklesI’ve been making my own fermented food for ages, but recently upped my game because of the Naturale Living Workshops I’ve been hosting. My friends know that I’m quite clearly on a fermentation kick, and this question has come up often in social situations: what’s the difference between pickling in vinegar and fermenting?

Well, let me tell you, friends!

Pickles or pickled vegetables are preserved in some kind of acidic environment– but not all pickles are created equally.

It is possible to preserve vegetables with a vinegar solution. This is usually what you’re getting with dill pickles and Sauerkraut you buy at the grocery store. The vinegar solution is boiled,  a process which destroys the rich enzymes and natural culture. They might be tasty, and they’re ready to eat very quickly, but in my opinion inferior to their traditionally lacto-fermented friends.

Fermented veggies are preserved in a salt brine (salt and water, sometimes whey). They are chock-full of beneficial bacteria– probiotics, which multiply and add to the amazing flavour.

Fermented veggies are also higher in vitamins than they were before the fermentation!

Sometimes grocery store sauerkraut might have been fermented, but if it’s also been pasteurized, goodbye probiotics!


Both methods preserve your food.

Both vinegar preserved and lacto-fermented veggies are “pickled.”

Both methods can easily be done at home.

Both methods will probably save you money.

Both methods will allow you to eliminate yucky extras in your food (polysorbate 80 is in Bick’s pickles–yuck!!)

In my opinion, homemade vinegar preserved veggies are way better than conventional store bought. But, compared to homemade lacto-fermented veggies, they are definitely not as nutritious as they could be.

If you’d like to learn more about making your own lacto-fermented veggies, and other ways to live a more Naturale life, sign up here to be informed about upcoming workshops.
Looking forward to seeing you!


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Sep 252015

Naturale Living Workshops banner


Mama Naturale has been in existence for over five years. It has changed and evolved just like I have. Many of you are new, but many of you have been reading since the first few posts! Thank you for sticking with me through it all.

As a sign of my gratitude, I’m extending this invitation to Mama Naturale readers, only: sign up to my new newsletter, and get 25% off the first Naturale Living Workshop you take with me.

If you live outside of Montreal, which I know many of you do, there are still great reasons to sign up.

In the newsletter, I’ll be sending out easy, healthy recipes and tips for living with less toxins and clutter (be it physical or mental!) as well as information about the ongoing workshops. Between now and the end of the year, you’ll have the opportunity to learn Probiotic Veggie making, Kombucha making, clothdiapering 101 and Yoga Birthing for Couples.

Sign up using the form below, and I’ll be able to track who is eligible for the discount. Looking forward to meeting you in real life!



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 Posted by at 12:46 pm
Sep 212015

Disney-on-Ice-Treasure-TroveMy parents took us to Disney World when I was 10 and I loved it. But my teenaged self swore that if I ever had kids, they wouldn’t watch Disney movies and they certainly wouldn’t go to Disney World. I also knew my daughter would never own a Barbie. Among other things I thought before I had kids.

Turns out Babe loves Barbie (that’s a whole other blog post). She also loves Frozen and a few other Disney movies. We own a lot of them, though many of them are not appropriate for her age and certainly not for Bug. But Frozen, oh my we have watched that one a few times. I admittedly love it too! Especially Kristoff. So I didn’t mind, one bit, when last year, Babe’s grandparents bought us tickets for Disney’s Frozen on Ice. We had a mother-daughter date that she still talks about.

When we were invited to the launch of Disney On Ice’s Treasure Trove, I couldn’t wait to tell Babe. She’s been asking to go see Frozen on Ice again since we went. She knows we’ll get to see Ariel, Belle, Cinderella, Jasmine, Aurora, Tiana, Mulan, Snow White and Rapunzel (while she hasn’t seen Tang;ed, she’s trying to grow her hair at the moment and says Rapunzel’s is nice but a little “exagerer.” I’m looking forward to seeing the Lion King characters, my childhood favourites, Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland.


Babe and me at Frozen on Ice

The show is basically a mish mash of all kinds of Disney movies that my kids, myself and Papa will recognize. But that’s not even the thing I love about these Disney on Ice shows. It’s the skating. These skaters are amazing!I haven’t seen Treasure Trove yet, but if it’s anything like the Frozen show, it’s top-notch quality, filled with music from the movies that we all love, even though we don’t want to admit it. I love the song Let it Go. I love Can You Feel the Love tonight. Actually, the entire Lion King Soundtrack.

As I’m writing this I somehow just remembered that my mom used to take me to the Ice Capades. I loved that like I loved Disney World. Look at me sharing these things with my kids too. And so can you. I’m giving away a pass for a family of four to see Treasure Trove at the Bell Centre on Wednesday October 7 (French) or Thursday October 8 (English). To enter, Like mamanaturale on FB and comment here on the blog with your or your child’s favourite Disney character. You can tell us why, if you want. You’ll get a second entry for sharing, just please be sure to remind me you did so on the FB post. Contest closes Sunday, September 27 at midnight. Good Luck and maybe see you there!