Book Review: Green Kitchen at Home

Green Kitchen at Home

It's hard to find inspiration sometimes, especially when cooking. If you follow a specific diet - like vegetarian, gluten free, or vegan - it can be even more difficult to find inspiring, easy recipes without too many specialised ingredients, which is why we are so excited about the Green Kitchen at Home cookbook.

This book was written by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl, the family behind the Green Kitchen Stories blog. It's full of versatile recipes for all types or meals and snacks. We picked up this book a couple of months ago and have been testing it with great (and delicious) success! 

Where this book Succeeds

Delicious food! The recipes in this book showcase and combine veggies in new and delightful ways - it made us love cauliflower and fennel like nothing else! We also love the side tips on how to elevate the recipe. We especially love the Mediterranean Tray-bake with Halloumi Chunks and the Green Pea, Broccoli, and Mint Soup with Puy Lentil Topping. 

It reads like a narrative. We weren't familiar with the Green Kitchen Stories prior to picking up up this book, but now we feel like we've known them for a while. The authors do a great job talking about why they picked these recipes and how their family (they have 3 little ones) feels about every dish they talk about. 

Versatile recipes! They have options for everyone - whether you're vegetarian, gluten free, or vegan! If you are an omnivore, you can easily add meat to most recipes as well! 

Points worth noting

Some recipes require a lot of ingredients. They're not necessarily speciality items but they also may not something you have on hand or shop regularly for, which can add up if you're getting them on top of your usual grocery list. 

Many recipes also require more prep work than others, which may be difficult or hassle full for some folks. We found most recipes we had to plan for - it wasn't something we do in the spur of the moment. 

If you want to check it out but are unsure about committing to purchasing it, the Toronto Public Library has several copies on hand! 


The Spectrum Team


Move: 6 Evening Yoga Poses to tuck you in

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Sometimes we need a little extra something to unwind in the evening - whether it's a cup of tea or a good book (though, if you're like Corina a good book will keep you up until 5am). Sometimes a little bit of movement is all we need. 

Here is a gentle sequence you can do* before bed at any time during your perinatal journey:

Find a comfortable seat - you can be on the bed, on the couch, in a chair, on the floor with aa pillow or blanket under your bum, etc.

1) Breathe

With eyes closed or open, bring your attention to you breath - without trying to change anything, notice where you feel your breath (maybe it's in the movement of your chest or belly, maybe you can feel the air flow through your nostrils).

Take 3-4 deep breaths in and out. 

Continue to breathe normally - whatever normal is to you. 

2) Neck and Shoulders

On a deep inhalation lengthen your spine - as you exhale draw your chin to your chest while keeping your back long and shoulder blades on your back. Hold for 5-10 breaths. Rolls your head to right, hold for 5-10 breaths. Repeat on the left. 

Bring your head back to center. Circles your shoulders forward 3-4 times, then backward 3-4 times. 

3) Side Stretch 

While still seating, inhale and lift your arms overhead. As you exhale, lower your right palm by your right side and take a side stretch to the right. Soften your right shoulder.

Hold for 5-7 breaths. Repeat on the left side. 

4) Twist

Inhale and lift your arms overhead. As you exhale, gently twist to the right, releasing your arms to ground. Hold for 5-7 breaths. Repeat on the left side. 

5) Cat/Cow

From your seat, move onto all fours (or table top position in yoga). Make your sure that you knees are comfortable - maybe place a blanket underneath. 

If you are pregnant or recently postpartum - inhale to lengthen your spine, keeping your back flat. As you exhale, round your back and hug baby in. 

If you are not pregnant/recently postpartum, inhale to arch your back, gently dropping your belly. Exhale to round your back, drawing your belly in.

Repeat 7-10 times. 

6) Child's pose

From table top, open your knees wide and touch your big toes together. Inhale to lengthen your spine. As you exhale, drop you bum to your heels, round your back, and bring your upper body and forehead to the ground.

You can stack your fists or palms and rest your forehead on them or you can use a book (or a pillow) for your forehead. You can stretch your arms forward or have them alongside you, resting on the ground. Hold for 10-20 breaths. 

Slowly come out of the pose, and tuck yourself into bed. If you're looking for more movement in the morning, check out our AM sequence. 


The Spectrum Team



Hiring a doula? Some things to know - part 2

Hiring a Doula
the core value of a doula practice is based on a holistic approach to reproduction and its continuum as a function of healthy sexuality and decision making
— Willie Parker, MD, MPH

Last week we published a blog post outlining five things to know when considering hiring a doula. This week we go a little deeper. While full spectrum doulas who offer a variety of services, today we focus primarily on birth work. 

Below we outline five more questions to consider when looking for a doula:

1) What's important to you?

We sometimes say that there are as many way to give birth as there are people. The same is true for doulas. Two people can be trained by the same organisation and the same instructor and have different approaches to their practice. Sometimes these approaches can be minute; sometimes they can be disparate. 

What matter is what is important to you! Do you want someone who is also a yoga teacher, or a childbirth educator, or a fitness specialist? Do you want someone who speaks your language? Is spirituality important to you? 

Sometimes we don't know what's important to us, which is why meeting doulas is vital - you learn about them and their approach and you see if it's a good fit. Learn more about this in your FAQ.

2) A doula does not replace taking childbirth education classes.

Most of the time, you will have 1 or 2 prenatal visits with your doula and there is a lot to cover! Generally during the meetings you get more familiar with your doula, talk about your birth and postpartum wishes, and practice a variety of different coping techniques.

To give ample time for that, taking a childbirth education class before your doula appointments (or at least one of them) is ideal. During a childbirth education class you would cover information such as the stages of labour, coping with inductions, interventions, both medicated and unmedicated coping methods, coping with cesarean deliveries, immediate postpartum, planning for the postpartum period, etc. While your doula may cover some of these topics, they won't have to go as well in-depth as a childbirth educator would.

3) What about price differences?

Doulas are definitely an investment! If you've been looking for doulas you've probably noticed some price discrepancies - some doulas charge as little as 200 - some as much as 2200! Some doulas work pro-bono.

When charging, a lot of doulas (but not all) base their prices on experience. Some doulas who are just starting out may not feel confident in charging full price; however, many doulas (regardless) of experience are starting to charge a standard price. For Toronto, currently that is between $1000 to $1300 for a base package. There are some doulas that also offer some reduced rates spots in their practice. 

There are also doulas who work pro-bono (for free) but their clients are usually low-income folks vetted by an independent organisation. 

If you'd like to learn more about the factors that play into our fees, check out our FAQ.

4) What if a doula hasn't had a baby?

What if a midwife or doctor hasn't had a baby? What if a dentist never had a root canal? What if a therapist never had depression/anxiety/etc? It doesn't matter. 

We are trained professionals who can perform our job very well, regardless of whatever personal experiences we might have had. 

5) What's the process of hiring a doula? 

Once you contact a doula/agency/collective you set up a time to meet the prospective doula for an introduction/informal interview, which lasts between 30min to an hour and is free (most of the time). This can take place at a coffee shop where you feel comfortable or your home! 

During the introduction/interview you get to know the prospective doula, they get to know you, and you get to ask them questions about themselves and their practice! Stay tuned for a blog post on what questions to ask during a doula interview! 

After this meeting, take some time to sit with how you feel about the doula and let me know if you'd like to work with them (or not). Most doulas will hold the spot open for you for a couple of weeks. 


We hope you found these helpful, and if you have any more questions, drop us a line.


The Spectrum Team

Thinking about hiring a doula? Here are some things to know - part 1

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"Having a person who unconditionally nurtures you during a major life experience is a privilege too few enjoy. Doulas provide this exquisite nonjudgemental support to others - often strangers - and touch people's lives in profound ways."                                                                 - Loretta Ross, The Doulas Radical Care for Pregnant People

You may have heard the word doula before - perhaps in a pregnancy, birth, and postpartum context; perhaps in a reproductive justice context. Or maybe you've never heard it before. 

A doula is a person (often woman-identified, but not always) who helps people during their perinatal journey - most often during their pregnancy, birth, and postpartum (but, again, not always). Depending on where are you during your perinatal journey doulas are an investment - both financially and emotionally (your doula may be with you between 4 to 100+ hours, holding space for you, and guiding you through vulnerable and emotional times). Below we touch on some questing to consider before deciding on a doula. 

1) What do you want a doula for?

While most doulas attend only births and/or offer postpartum support, fulls spectrum doulas are slowly emerging. Perhaps full spectrum doulas have always existed, but doula work began moving past only birth/postpartum support more significantly in 2008 when the Doula Project in NYC began training volunteer abortion doulas. 

Today, full spectrum care encompasses even more - doulas offer fertility, miscarriage, abortion, birth, postpartum, adoption, and surrogacy support. You can absolutely get a doula for any or all of these life's events - if you'd like to learn more about it, drop us a line. All of us at Spectrum Doula Collective are full spectrum doulas. 

2) What's the difference between midwives and doulas?

We get asked this question a lot. A midwife is a healthcare practitioner who studied midwifery in a university and a clinical setting. In Ontario, midwives are regulated by the College of Midwives of Ontario (CMO) and they are paid for by government under the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, meaning that residents of Ontario not covered by OHIP can still receive midwifery care for free. 

A doula is not a healthcare practitioner and as such does not do any clinical duties. A doula is trained by a doula organisation (although there are those who had been nurses or midwives and now solely practicing as doulas without specific training). Doulas not currently a regulated profession and are paid for out of pocket although some private insurances are starting to cover doula care (see below). 

While midwives are concerned with the health of you and the baby, doulas are concerned with your mental, physical, emotional, and sometimes spiritual well being. Doulas hold space for you and provide you with support, caring, and encouragement. 

3) What about certification?

Some doulas are certified, some doulas are not. There are many certifying organisations for doulas with different prerequisites. Most of them have a course section and a practical section. Some prospective doulas take only the course section and start practicing, some doulas do the practical as well but don't certify, some doulas do both and certify and some don't do either. 

There is no regulatory body for doulas. At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself if certification is important to you. 

4) Can your insurance cover it?

Sometimes. Some people can claim doula care under their health spending account with "flex dollars" built in; however, some insurance companies require that the doulas are certified through specific organisations (usually either DONA* or CAPPA). Some doulas are also RMTs or Naturopaths and may be covered through those designations (though this limits your choice of doula). 

*our doulas DONA-certified 

5) What about your partner(s)? (if applicable)

If you currently have a partner (or more) they (or you) may wonder if their role may change when hiring a doula. The short answer is yes. 

The longer answer answer is that your partner(s) role is amplified. Doulas provide partners with both the skills and confidence to support you. Doulas work with partners during all stages of your perinatal journey. 


We hope you found this useful - stay tuned for our part 2! If you have any questions, drop us a line


The Spectrum Team

Easter: 5 ways to make it your own.


Do you like Easter but you're not religious? Me too. Growing up in Romania in the 90s was a strange time. During communism, any religious celebration - including getting married in church - was prohibited. That changed after the revolution and, although Romania is a secular state, it is one of the more "religious" countries in Europe. But this isn't about Romania - what I'm getting at is that I didn't grow up religious/never have been and I love holidays. So I ignore religious undertones to holidays and make up my own meanings. This gets a little harder at Easter - which is still presented as all about Christianity (and bunnies). So what do we do - especially when starting a family?

Well - a while back, Heather McDougall wrote an article about the pagan roots of Easter. I really really loved it - but it didn't help in guiding what to celebrate around Easter. So - I made it my own and turned it into a spring Thanksgiving! What's a spring thanksgiving you ask? Well - I'm happy to give you a few pointers:

1) Get together

(Chosen) Family gets together for a meal - homemade or bought, doesn't matter. 

2) Eat

Meal is inspired by seasonal - spring - ingredients (I know this is harder in Canada depending on where you live)

3) Pick and choose traditions

Pick and choose Easter traditions you like, make them your own. The Easter Bunny? Invite them in! Painted eggs? Go ahead! Chocolate? Every damn day but more on Easter! Who's gonna stop you?

4) Make up traditions

This is my own, but you can take it. Give everyone a sheet of paper and a pen. Ask them to write 3 things they are grateful for this past winter, 3 instances where they made a difference/did something good, and 3 hopes they have for themselves during the warmer seasons. Go around your (chosen) family circle (whether it's 2 or 20 people) and have people share as much or as little as they'd like. 

5) Everyone helps

Everyone helps with clean up. I'm serious about this one. 

That's it. I hope this helps and may you have a wonder filled spring where you change, grow, and feel connected. 


Corina and the Spectrum Team