I live, work and play my days away on Queen Street West. Teaching at various yoga studios, socializing at various cafes and bars, this street is my home sweet home here in Toronto. One of my greatest pet peeves with Queen West has always been the shortage of allergy-friendly food for us celiac-vegetarian type. Sure, most cafes have one small, super sugary, gluten free treat and if I wanted to survive off of delightfully deep fried Arepas I could, but true quality food has been hard to come across.
When Feel Good Guru opened across from Trinity Bellwoods Park, I was elated. And just this month, down the street from Moira and her team at Feel Good Guru, FEAST – a specialty allergy-food shop – emerged onto the scene. Needless to say, I am in gluten free heaven. Let me introduce you to my two favorite places to foodgasm.
Photo Cred : Kristiana Hurley
The name explains it all. Though the dishes are small they are indeed as filling and fascinating as a grandmothers feast on the holidays. And they are ALL gluten free. 100%. No “chance” encounters here. This is an allergy-free zone to keep us fussy eaters happy as can be- that means no wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish. Though they do serve meat, they serve only the finest, grass fed goods from Rowe Farms.
For the weeks prior to their launch, I biked passed the café-in-making each morning, anxious for what was to come. When my dear friend and I finally did grace their beautiful space, the designers in us were just as happy as the eaters. The space was beaming with a mod-rock raw open-concept space. Shining white walls framed a pathway to a spacious kitchen where Neil, one of the co-owners and the passionate super-chef spends his time. The walls were packed with ceiling high shelves of me-friendly foods and chocolate. The fridges were bursting with almond milk and Kombucha. We were greeted by Wendy, the lovely co-owner, who is trained as a nurse and welcomed us with a shot of their intriguing coffee alternative called Crio Bru Cavalla ($3.50 for an 8 oz cup), a cacao and cinnamon drink celebrated for boosting immune system, curbing appetite and increasing energy with the jitters from our cup o’ joe.
Alas, the real magic happened when we hit the freshly baked section of the store, where the likes of gluten free pie pastries stuffed with jerk chicken ($7), beef ($6) or veg ($5) meet to DIE for gluten free donuts ($3.50) and coconut milk caramels ($2).
Awesome service. Beautiful Design. Best Location. Impeccably made allergy free food. Feast is a win.win.win.win. in my books.
Location: 881 Queen Street West
Hours: Tue – Sat: 10:00 am – 7:00 pm | Sun: 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Feel Good Guru
If a living wall of sprouts, on-site composting and sustainable recycling system isn’t enough to take you out of the humdrum of the city and into a fantasy veggie garden, I don’t know what is. This vegan, superfood, gluten free haven goes far beyond the “norm” we have accepted in most of our “take-out” foods.
Meet Moira Nordholt, the owner, founder and well-known community member. Moira built it and they came! She’s a yogi and super connected to the yogi community – often catering local yoga teacher trainings and events. She is a writer and an avid traveller. She is, without a doubt, quite an inspiration for the rest of us.
EVERYTHING at Feel Good Guru is organic, vegan and most of it is raw or gluten free. The best part of this equation is that it is scrumptious! You can taste the healthiness, and for the few items that don’t tickle your fancy or the price feels to high, I quote a dear friend when I say, “pay now and live longer”
I have a major food crush on the Bangkok Doc- a courageous and delicious vegan take on Pad Thai, based with kelp and zucchini noodles and accessorized with cabbage, carrots, sprouts, edamame and the kind of sauce that keeps you itching for more ($15), rainbow wrap, which is a vegan celiacs alternative to deep fried spring rolls ($12) and anything from their “Liquid Pharmacy” – my go-to fast food between teaching classes.
Their manifesto sums up their values, confessing that “we want to make it easy and delicious for you to feel good fast by serving the healthiest food on the planet” and just a few minutes in their space will show you a collective of eco-goddesses that walk the talk.
Location 917 Queen Street West
Hours: Mon-Fri 11-7 | Sat & Sun 11-6
I bow down to these entrepreneurs for shifting the way we look at consumption, food and our health. And, I offer you, my beloved friends, a chance to nibble on their goods. Join me for yoga in the park followed by a communal table catered by Feel Good Guru and FEAST on Sunday July 27th from 3pm-6pm.
Visit our Facebook Page to learn more!
|Inspired and energized by yoga asanas, this 2 hour class will uncover the patterns that are preventing you from reaching your true potential. Each class incorporates a collaboration of bodily movement, powerful visioning exercises, and energy healing designed to stimulate and heal your body, mind and soul.Join us Sunday October 20th from 4-6pm as we lead you through 1 hour of restorative yoga and 30 minutes of healing meditation that blends Simple Wisdom’s recipe of inspiration, direction and action, and Ashley Holly’s therapeutic techniques in yoga and meditation.
This is so much more than just a yoga class. Vision Flow will leave you with a new sense of purpose, an excitement for action and an open heart to the future that we unfold together!
Dates: Sunday Nov 3rd 4-6pm
Location: Misfit Studio, Queen Street West.
Cost: $35 in advance | $40 at the door
Email email@example.com to register!
Visit www.simplewisdom.ca to learn more about intuitive coaching and healing.
Visit www.yogayuda.com to learn more about group and private yoga classes.
PRIVATE YOGA – Just $80.00 per session!
NEW TO YOGA? Join Ashley Holly, RYT, for your first class FREE, when you sign up for a five class pass.
- Private Yoga
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- Kids Yoga
- Prenatal Yoga
- Bachelorette Yoga
- Workplace Yoga
- Yin, Restorative, Ashtanga Vinyasa Flow, Hatha, Hot and much much more!
Sign up today for FIVE private yoga classes and get ONE PRIVATE SESSION FREE! E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up!
This time of year, clients are falling out of routine faster than a bat out of hell. The winter winds and the temptation to snuggle up in bed with some tea and a movie trumps the summertime energy that takes us out of our homes and into our bodies. Whether this means attending your favourite fitness class, doing yoga, visiting with friends or simply soaking in the great outdoors, if we let our hermit hangovers drag into the next few months we will rapidly lose sight of the bodies, minds and spirit that we feel so easily connected to with the sun lighting up our lives. When 90% of chronic diseases are caused by unhealthy living, that includes poor food choices and lack of movement and stress, this is a friendly reminder that we cannot simply ignore.
In yogic tradition, habits or ongoing patterns of thought are referred to as samskaras. Through our yoga practice, we prove over and over again that it is possible to ditch old habits and introduce new ones. And there is no time like the present to recommit to your new samskaras. As a yoga teacher, I too am guilty of slipping out of my true “self” and surrendering to a notably lazier, subdued and unenthused version of me during the winter months. Call it SAD or a simple distaste for the chill, today’s snowfall reminded me that enough is enough; it is time to stand up, shake up and heat up.
The question is how? Here is a collection of my go-to methods for reconnecting to and liberating my beautiful self when my groggy mind tells me it is not worth it. And it is all done before noon :)
- Wake up early. The tendency (or samskara) to laze around in the warmth of your bed until the absolute final moments of the morning, or incessantly press snooze (are you guilty of setting 4 alarms each morning?) will only throw you off your game for the potentially amazing day to come. Give yourself a one-week challenge to set that alarm one-two hours earlier, listen to it and settle into the day.
- Begin the day with positive intention setting. My go-to motivational speaker Brian Tracy suggests waking up to the words “I feel terrific today” or “today is an amazing day”. If it sounds too cheesy for you, I say, try it before judging it. The power of positive thinking and intention setting is pretty mind blowing when you believe in it.
- Detoxify. Allow that extra hour to be your cleaning hour. Not for your home, but for your soul. Start by hoping into the shower and when you are all warmed up take in a full 8 oz glass of room temperature water with some lemon or salt to help release any lingering toxins.
- Movement. Depending on how long your morning shower and get ready routine is, you may have a few moments to spare for some movement, taking the detoxification further and truly awakening the body, preparing it for the day. This could be anything from 20 minutes of sun salutations or basic stretching activities from the comfort of your bed. For those days where movement isn’t an option, take a time out for a deep meditation, focusing your gaze on the third eye, your ajni chakra and relaxing your body and mind.
- Eat. They have been telling us this for as long as I can remember and we still don’t listen. Breakfast baby. Embrace it. Maybe we need to set that alarm an extra 2 hours now… try a hearty breakfast a few days a week and balance it out with a fruit plate or a nice veggie juice. Eat slowly, with awareness. Maybe go so far as to bless your food before indulging. Avoid mixing fruits with other foods, creating an ideal environment for your digestive system to get to work.
In just one to two hours a day you are guaranteed transformation in your life. It takes a mere ten days to form a habit, so set yourself off on a mid-January challenge (just in case your new years resolutions have slipped away). Set up your ideal morning routine and get ready to re experience what may sit now as a dried up, shivering and chapped body as a vibrant, healthy and energized soul. “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” says that voice in my head. Plan to successfully execute your morning and reclaim your life.
For more insights, meet me at the studio or join us for a weekend to change it all, with Bare All from Feb 22-24th, 2013. Only 3 spots left!
Tuesdays 10am Community Class (PWYC) at Misfit Studio
Wednesdays 6:45pm Hot Yoga at Yogatree Midtown
Thursdays 5:15pm Hot L1 and 7:30pm Core at Yogatree Downtown
Sundays 10am Hot L1 and 11:30am Hot L1-2 at Yogatree Downtown
Sundays 3pm Hustle n Flow at Misfit studio.