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Student Life

The magic behind witchcraft

Modern-day witchcraft is alive and practiced more than we might think. Across Montreal, there are stores, schools, workshops, and more, that are dedicated to witchcraft and all its branches. Nowadays, the practice has been somewhat glorified with the popularity of shows like Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Charmed, and The Good Witch. Twentieth century witchcraft is far different than what it was back in the 1300s, but for those practicing witchy-religions like Wicca, it is no joke, nor purely aesthetic. 

Witchcraft has a deep-rooted history, widely known because of the dark and devastating events of the past. Take the Salem Witch Trials, for example. According to an article on smithsonianmag.com, they occurred in Massachusetts between 1692 and 1693. Over 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft, thought of as “the Devil’s magic,” and 20 people were executed.

According to historians on History4everyone’s website, the witchcraft craze extended from the 1300s to the late 1600s. Fearful and paranoid Christians believed the Devil gave people known as witches the power to harm others and cast evil spells. Historians estimate that, between the 16th and 17th centuries, over 100,000 people were prosecuted and over 40,000 were executed.

According to the same source, in the Middle Ages, the Christian Church was anxious about rebellion; new heresies (branches of Christianity) and printing information among the elites increased this paranoia. Over 80 per cent of victims were women and the suspicion of witchcraft often aligned with characteristics of being older, widowed or single, and poor. During the witch trials, the accused that were “tempted by the devil” would go through a list of elements that would “prove” to the judge that they were, in fact, a witch. Some of the elements would include an unnatural way of travel, odd behaviour, etc. The accused were subject to torture to elicit information/confessions. This would result in the victim inventing stories just to stop the pain.

Charme & Sortilège is a witchcraft store that has been catering to Montreal witches and the curious for over 20 years. Kim, who didn’t want to give her last name, is a witch and the director of communications at the store. She said it took a few years before their products were of a quality standard to sell to White Magic practitioners.

“After multiple tests in dowsing, we were able to establish that the majority of these products did not undergo any energetic manipulation and had not received the “charge” a practitioner would expect,” she said. This created an issue that can still be seen today in various stores, where fake items are sold with the idea that they will help you practice witchcraft.

“[The items] were all just ordinary items, often sloppy, and adorned with esoteric names designed for quick resale to customers more superstitious than the “connaisseur” with knowledge and needs,” said Kim. Their 600 products are “dedicated, lustrated, invested, consecrated, sanctified, energized, and prepared according to methods of High Hermetic Magic mostly with certain Druidic, Shamanic, and Alchemical additions for some.”

Most common witchcraft practitioners are Wiccan, a religion that focuses on the Spirit that exists in everything. According to the Wicca website, Wiccans celebrate the cycles of the moon, sun and seasons, and try to find harmony within nature and universal energy.

There are different paths and traditions a witch can choose from, like Druidism, Shamanism, and so on. For Kim, being a witch is a way of life.

“It’s a way of being, feeling and reacting to everything that surrounds us,” she said. Some witches start their days with meditations, others light candles and incense, some choose to do Tarot or Oracle readings, and so on. “A Witch’s spirituality is beautiful in that way — we are free to practice the way we feel is right for us, as long as nobody gets hurt along the way.”

According to Kim, Charme & Sortilège has seen an increase in popularity and/or interest in witchcraft. “Maybe it’s because of the movies, TV series, books,” said Kim. “But also, I find that more and more people are searching for spiritual answers outside of the ‘normal institutionalized spiritualities/religions.’”

There’s also an important distinction between the francophone and anglophone communities.

“A lot of practitioners in the french community are solitary practitioners and more practitioners in the english community are forming circles and groups,” said Kim. “We’re working very hard to unite the community and unite the practitioners.” Charme & Sortilège offers workshops, monthly full moon celebrations, and more.

Despite the increased popularity, the witch community is still working to combat untrue claims about their practice. According to the Wicca website, witchcraft is not a cult, Wiccans do not worship Satan or consort with Demons, they do not sacrifice animals or humans, witches do not “steal or control the life force of another to achieve mystical or supernatural powers” and they do not use forces of nature to “hex or cast spells on others.” These false claims are a direct result of fears from the past and those who practice black magic, which Wiccans do not associate with.

According to Wicca, “witches have a very strict belief in the Law of Three, which states that whatever we send out into our world shall return to us three fold, either good or bane.”

 

Graphic by @sundaeghost

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Ar(t)chives

Yum or Yikes: Oregon

Looking forward to a night out after midterms with my best friends, we decided to try something different. We went to Oregon, a hip wine and tapas-style restaurant in Laval’s Ste-Rose district. We were in the mood to wine and dine for a good time, but didn’t want the trouble of heading downtown. 

Oregon has a small menu with 10 main plates, four side dishes and an option of oysters and a cheese/charcuterie board. They serve three different desserts and have a lengthy wine menu. At first glance, the menu online seemed reasonable and I looked forward to trying it out. I came in with a raging appetite but I was disappointed to find out it was a tapas-style restaurant only once I was seated – I went in expecting larger portions. If I had known before, it wouldn’t have been an issue. I will take the blame for lack of prior research. 

Oregon is tucked in a small strip mall on Curé-Labelle Boulevard with very limited parking spaces – I had to park in another parking lot. Walking in, I immediately felt like I was in a wine-bar in Montreal’s Mile-End: the lights were dim, the music was loud, and the decor was designed to perfection.

The service was excellent; the waitress was very sweet and patient with us as we took a long time before deciding what to order. I went for the $25 dish of scallops with a bed of squash purée and hollandaise sauce, along with a $12 glass of French Sauvignon Blanc. One friend opted for the $18 rabbit confit, apple, mustard and fennel cavatelli, along with a $12 glass Italian white wine. The other chose the $21 agnolotti plate with broccoli, lamb bacon and Avonlea Cheddar alongside a glass of $12 Portuguese white wine. Both loved their plates but agreed the price felt hefty.

Photo by Brittany Henriques

My scallops were phenomenal and I enjoyed every bite, despite it being a smaller portion than expected. The atmosphere was very upbeat and the vibe was great for a wine-bar in Ste-Rose Laval. It definitely exceeded my expectations. 

My complaints would be the prices, the fact that I would often have to yell to speak to my friends because of the loud music, and the single bathroom. The music was fine at first, but it got tiring at the end; I felt like I couldn’t hear myself speak or think. The one-bathroom-for-all situation was sort of annoying because, with alcohol in your system, you constantly have to go. 

My friends and I well exceeded our stay as the last ones there past closing time, but they never made us feel like we had to leave, which I appreciated. 

I would definitely go back and recommend it to others because it was an overall great spot with a fun atmosphere and very good food, but the price is hefty for small portions.

 

4.5/5 for the food, 

2.5/5 for the price,

5/5 for the service, 

4/5 for the ambiance.

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Student Life

Ayurveda: A spiritual and physical journey to health and recovery

Ayurveda is an ancient Indian holistic medical practice encouraging self-healing through the mind, body and soul; and it helped me heal.

In his book Ayurveda: The Science of Self-Healing, medical practitioner and professor of Ayurvedic Medicine Dr. Vasant Lad writes that Ayurveda is concerned with eight branches of medicine: pediatrics, gynecology (female health), obstetrics (childbirth), ophthalmology (eyes), geriatrics (elder health), otolaryngology (ear, throat and nose), general medicine, and surgery. 

According to Lad, each branch is addressed according to theories of the five elements (ether, air, fire, water and earth), the tridosha, and the trinity of life (body, mind and spiritual awareness). The tridosha are three energies that define a person’s makeup: Vata (air and space), Pitta (fire and water) and Kapha (water and earth). 

An ayurvedic practitioner will determine your constitution through tests like observing the tongue, nail health, taking your pulse, etc. They ask questions about your health in detail, from your bowel movements to how you sleep. Your makeup is then determined and you’ll receive a plan to help you heal and balance your doshas.

My experience 

My symptoms of nausea, bloating, indigestion, etc. worsened and hadn’t faded after over five years of visiting various doctors. My family doctor dismissed my symptoms and blamed them on my anxiety. My gastroenterologist (without testing me) dismissed me by concluding I had a “sensitive stomach” and recommended I remove meat from my diet (which I already had). I was fed up and lost hope when I noticed additional complications like iron deficiency, among other things.

After visiting Bita Bitajian, an ayurvedic practitioner at the Transformation Ayurvedic Center in St-Lambert, I was told my makeup is Pitta-Kapha: I am full of fire and warmth, making me intelligent, sharp, emotional but tolerant, calm and loving. I gain weight easily and have trouble turning my mind off to sleep. 

With my symptoms, I was diagnosed with aggravated Vata, which can throw my doshas off balance. I had to drastically change my diet for more than a month: no carbs and gluten, fermentation or processed sugar, limited starch and dairy intake, and I had to avoid bananas. I basically ate grass for a month because I don’t eat meat and usually only eat carbs. I also had strict rules to follow: eat before 1 p.m. and not after 8 p.m., drink rose tea twice daily, go to sleep before midnight, go to the gym three times a week and practice yoga and meditation almost daily. 

I didn’t realize how much the food I ate actually impacted how I felt. Since I was so often dismissed by my family doctor, food intolerances didn’t really cross my mind; I didn’t think my symptoms were as severe as they actually were. 

After one week, I felt lighter; I wasn’t bloated or nauseous, nor was I running to the bathroom every hour. Despite the difficult diet, the initial results were enough for me to stick with it. I was very strict with my diet, I tried to go to the gym as much as I could and I focused on breathing exercises every night to help with my insomnia and anxiety. I felt incredible after two weeks.

Now

Seven weeks in, I’m fed up with the diet but incredibly grateful for the results. I occasionally get indigestion and get bloated, but not like before. This journey has taught me to be mindful of what, how, when, and why I eat. I learned it’s important to listen to your body and provide the proper nutrients to function at its maximum potential. I even started slowly integrating some things back into my diet and am now looking to get tested for gluten intolerance.

I would recommend Ayurveda to anyone who feels stuck and needs to change their lifestyle and habits. If you need physical and spiritual healing, this could be a great option for you.

 

Graphic by @sundaeghost

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Student Life

Skin to skin: Acne-prone combination skin

Skincare. You’ve heard so much about it, but what actually works? The Koreans have the 10-step-routine. Southeast Asians use a lot of turmeric and natural products. North Americans use a lot of chemicals. All swear by their remedies, but not all products work best for every skin type.

This might be a story you know all too well: baby soft pimple-free skin before puberty, explosive acne during puberty, and now your skin is either too dry, too oily, discoloured or texturized. We haven’t quite figured out how to take care of our skin once the pimple phase is over because we’re all so different. 

I’ve battled with my skin since hitting puberty, and it’s only recently that I’ve figured out the recipe for my skin success.

Acne-prone combination skin

Often, people with combination skin types think their skin is too oily when, in fact, according to the Epiderma esthetician I consulted, our skin can produce more oil to help combat dry skin. This makes you believe the issue is excess oil but, in fact, it’s not enough hydration. In this case, the biggest mistake someone can make is to cut out moisturizing from their skincare routine. The reality is that the better moisturized the skin is, the less oil it will produce to compensate. 

According to the Canadian Dermatology Association’s website, acne occurs when dead skin cells clog the skin’s pores, resulting in sebum accumulation – a substance produced by oil glands. Bacteria within the pores can then contribute to those blockages and inflammation. The site indicates many causes and triggers of acne: cosmetics, food, sweating, overwashing, hormones and more. The site’s cited board-certified dermatologists suggest shopping for oil-free cosmetic products and washing your face twice a day.

To help treat your acne, it’s recommended to wash sheets and pillowcases often. What also helps is letting your skin breathe by not wearing makeup a few days a week, washing your face twice daily, not picking your pimples and washing makeup brushes. The main takeaway is wash your face delicately, exfoliate once or twice a week with a gentle scrub (to avoid micro-tears) and moisturize religiously. 

Combination skin types usually get the worst of it and textured skin is common. After my teens, I saw a decrease in the amount of acne I had and just got the occasional hormonal breakouts. But I noticed something different on my skin that I couldn’t quite understand or fix. This was texture — there were tiny little flesh-coloured bumps all over my cheeks. They weren’t your typical pimples and I didn’t think they were until I picked at them and saw they resembled whiteheads. 

Instead of consulting an aesthetician, I took matters into my own hands and started exfoliating so much, my face was filled with micro-tears which made everything worse. I caved and consulted a medical aesthetician at Epiderma. She explained that this texture occurred because of dehydration and clogged pores. I started moisturizing more, but I didn’t see enough of a difference. I turned to hyaluronic acid and it quite literally changed my skin. After a month of using the chemical product, I saw a significant difference. 

Hyaluronic acid is a substance created by the body, according to an article on Healthline.com. About half of the hyaluronic acid in your body is in your skin, where it binds to water to help retain moisture. As a result of hydrated skin, it reduces the appearance of wrinkles and, according to the article, makes skin appear smoother. 

It is recommended by several companies like  Drunk Elephant or The Ordinary to use hyaluronic acid after washing your face and before applying moisturizer at night. 

Above all, in order to have beautiful, healthy skin, medical experts like the Canadian Dermatology Association still recommend starting with a change in diet to see a difference in your skin by avoiding sugars and increasing your water intake.

 

Photo by Laurence BD

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Student Life

Finding healthy food on campus

Nourishing yourself with the right food is essential for productivity in school and overall wellness.

According to an article on Harvard Medical School’s website, Dr. Eva Selhub explains that food is fuel for your brain and, like a luxury car, it works best on high-quality fuel. She adds that fueling your brain with low-quality food damages it, thus reducing its efficiency.

So what is healthy eating?

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s website, eating healthy requires eating a balanced diet filled with vegetables, protein and water. Carbohydrates are also important, but only the good kind which are found in legumes such as beans or fruits like bananas. It is encouraged to choose whole-grain foods and limit processed foods and refined sugars as much as possible.

But where can you find these healthy food options around campus?

Downtown Campus

Options are a-plenty on the Sir George William campus compared to Loyola. For quick and easy grabs, Il Panino Café Mediterraneo (1435 Guy St.) has a large variety of tasty salads and generally healthy sandwiches. Mandy’s (2067 Crescent St.) is another quick option that has mouth-watering artisanal salads.

If you have a little more time on your hands, vegans and vegetarians (or anyone willing to try these specialty foods) can get a healthy meal and snacks at Copper Branch (1245 Bishop St.) or La Panthère Verte (2153 Mackay St.). The rest-boutique Abe & Mary’s (2170 de la Montagne St.) is another great option if you’re feeling a little fancier and have the time to sit down with friends and eat well while on break. Koa Lua, the Hawaiian poké shop (1446 Ste-Catherine St. W), offers a variety of healthy poké bowls if you’re in the mood for something other than sandwiches or salads.

Loyola Campus

While it’s tough to find healthy food options on and around this campus, it’s not impossible. For those with dietary restrictions and don’t mind the walk or five-minute bus ride, the Provigo at 6485 Sherbrooke St. W has a lot of healthy food options. If you forgot to pack your lunch, this is a good alternative to buying food at a restaurant.

The Hive Café Solidarity Co-Operative (7141 Sherbrooke St. W) is located on campus in the same building as the Loyola Chapel and is a great option for healthy food. All the meals are vegetarian and their menu also includes vegan and wheat-free options, according to their website. Nearby, past Souvlaki George, is a Korean restaurant, Comptoir Koyajo (6963 Sherbrooke St. W). Their menu includes Asian-style protein bowls, soups and specialty dumplings.

There’s also Mon Ami Korean BBQ (6521 Somerled Ave.); not all the food is necessarily healthy, but the menu has a wider variety of options compared to some of the other food spots nearby. Lastly, there are the food counters in the CJ and SP buildings, which usually have vegetarian options that are sustainable and healthy.

The most budget-friendly and fool-proof option is to make your own healthy lunches at home, but that isn’t always possible and realistic. If you do forget to pack your lunch, the options are out there if you take the time to properly dissect the food you’re eating and choose better/healthier options to allow your body to feel its best.

Photo by Laurence B.D., Map by Mackenzie Lad

Categories
Ar(t)chives

YUM or YIKES: Arepera

On my next vegetarian foodie adventure, I searched Montreal for a Latinx restaurant. My friends and I found Arepera when scouting where to eat dinner. My experience with Latinx food has never gone past Mexican, Brazilian or Salvadorian which are, more often than not, very meat-based cuisines.

Arepera is a Venezuelan restaurant in Montreal’s Plateau located on the pedestrian walkway Prince Arthur St. E. The restaurant is much larger than it looks, with bright yellow walls, similar to that in the Venezuelan flag. They also have old church benches in the waiting area, which I found was a really fun touch to the traditional look of the place.

The restaurant specializes in arepas, a Venezuelan-Colombian cornmeal bread stuffed with a variety of ingredients that forms a sort of sandwich. The arepa has a rich history dating back centuries. According to an article on Amaizeyou.com, the cornbread was a staple in diets across many Indigenous tribes in Latin America, which are now distinguished as Venezuela and Colombia. According to the article, arepa got its name from the Latin-Indigenous word for corn, erepa.

Arepera is not labelled as a vegetarian restaurant but it has a wide variety of vegetarian and vegan options featured on its lengthy menu, with options varying from $8 to $16 per arepa/plate. The menu is also 100 per cent gluten-free — since arepas are made from cornmeal, there’s no risk of contamination.

Queso y aguacate vegetarian arepa. Photo by Brittany Henriques.

I chose a serving of fried plantains as a starter and a mango juice to drink. I always teeter towards water instead of juices or soft drinks, but their juice flavours piqued my curiosity and I could not resist mango. My friend opted for a guava juice which was just as delightful.

The plantains were delicious and hot, and came with a cup of grated cheese instead of a dip, which I found interesting. From my Caribbean restaurant experience (plantains are common in Caribbean dishes), I’m used to having dipping sauce with the dish. At Arepera, the grated cheese stuck to the plantain and they actually ended up tasting incredible together. The plantains were so sweet and ripe that I found a dipping sauce unnecessary.

I had the queso y aguacate vegetarian arepa, which included cheese and avocado as the main stuffing ingredients. I had never had arepas before, nor have I ever had thick grilled cornbread, but it tasted incredible. I loved the texture and, because of the lack of wheat, the bread tasted light and I didn’t feel bloated afterwards. The dish also came with a small salad which I could not even get to because I was so full after the last bite of my arepa. My friends had the pabellón arepa (beef, black beans, plantains and feta cheese) and the llanera de pollo arepa (chicken, feta cheese and avocado). Both said they enjoyed every bite.

The restaurant was big, the staff was friendly and the food was incredible. I have no complaints aside from the fact that I would’ve liked for the arepa to have a choice of sauces to make it a little bit more flavourful when choosing a vegetarian option at least.

As a whole, I would rate Arepera:

4.5/5 for the food,
4.5/5 for the price,
4/5 for the service,
3/5 for the ambiance.

I would definitely recommend it to everybody. I believe this place would be more popular if the aesthetic, design and overall ambiance was more current and Instagram-worthy (I personally like the more traditional look they have going on, though).

This piece was written with the current Venezuelan Crisis in mind. Though western countries get to indulge in traditional Venezuelan dishes, residents of Venezuela are still going days without food in their stomachs.

For more information on the Venezuelan Crisis and the Government’s standpoint, click here

 

Graphic by @sundaeghost

Categories
Student Life

Wellness on a student budget

School can be stressful but taking care of your physical and mental health is crucial to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and practicing wellness. 

Students who are physically active tend to perform better on tests; it improves cognitive performance, according to the Centre for Disease Control’s website. Physical activity also helps reduce stress and anxiety as well as the risk of cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, diabetes, and more. According to a Healthline.com article, yoga and meditation also help reduce stress as well as chronic pain, inflammation, and could even improve sleep quality.

It’s clear that physical activity helps keep you mentally and physically in shape, but it can sometimes negatively impact your wallet. Gym and wellness studio memberships can be expensive for someone on a student budget, but many places around Montreal offer free trials and budget-friendly prices.

For fitness enthusiasts, if you’re on a tight budget, why not try out all the gyms for free?

Monster Gym in Dollard-des-Ormeaux offers a one-month free trial and the gym is open 24/7. The large facility includes a bistro, a hair salon, a supplements store, a boxing gym and even a yoga gym. While those are not included in the free-trial, other gyms like Econofitness, Gold’s Gym, and Buzzfit allow you to try their facilities out for a day. Buzzfit and Econofitness are also known for being on the lower-end scale for membership prices if you’re looking to stay committed to one gym for the semester or the year.

If you want something more challenging, CrossFit LaSalle offers a 14-day trial for the low price of $1. Crossfit is not your typical workout; it’s described as a “high-intensity fitness program incorporating elements from several sports and types of exercise,” in the Oxford dictionary.

For easy access, Le Gym on Concordia’s downtown campus (located in the basement of the EV building) offers a variety of classes under $50 per semester. There are several different types of yoga, spinning, zumba, pilates, aerobics, HIIT, martial arts, team and individual sports, and more. For a student-priced membership, Le Gym charges $30 for one month and $70 for four months. Loyola also has gym facilities you can join (the PERFORM Centre), although it requires a separate membership from Le Gym’s.

For those who prefer something more mindful and spiritual, Ashtanga Yoga Montreal offers free yoga classes from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at their downtown studio every Wednesday.

Spin Energie, a spinning studio, offers an unlimited introductory week for $45, or a two-month one class per week pass for $25. Students even get 15 per cent off prices for yoga, pilates, spinning and dance classes. Lululemon also has a varying schedule of free yoga classes at their stores. For the full monthly schedule, call your preferred location.

If you would like to avoid physical activity and/or are unable to do it, meditation is another great way to help heal your mind and spirit. Montrealmeditation.org can be used as a resource website to learn about meditation and find information about free meditation events held by the Sri Chinmoy Centre of Montreal, a centre dedicated to meditation teaching and practice. Free classes are offered on Monday nights from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. from Sept. 16 to Oct. 7. As a result of limited space, the site asks people to register first, and the location will then be confirmed to you personally.

Whether you prefer to sweat or sit still, Montreal has a ton of great budget-friendly alternatives to help keep in shape and practice well-being.

 

Photo by Laurence B.D.

Categories
Student Life

Crystals and gemstones: Healing mind, body and soul

To ward off negative energy, use or keep black tourmaline on you. To aid with and amplify optimism, use a citrine crystal. For love, self-love and peace, get a rose quartz stone. Crystal healing is a branch of alternative medicine in which crystals and gemstones are used to cure and protect against illnesses. 

According to an article on Live Science magazine, crystal healers in practice believe that crystals act as conduits for healing through positive energy and the extraction of negative energy. Although crystals have been used for centuries for the belief that they hold special healing and restorative energy powers, there has been increased popularity over the past decade. This surge has promoted the crystals’ effectiveness through many facets of natural and homeopathic medicine.

In an article on energymuse.com, crystal expert Heather Askinosie wrote that crystals and gemstones “harness the life-giving elements of the Earth and the universe. Harnessing the energy of the Sun, the Moon, and the oceans, semi-precious stones connect us to Earth as soon as we come into contact with them.”

There is no scientific research that has been able to determine the effectiveness of crystals. Most medical practitioners believe this to be pseudoscience, which is a set of beliefs and practices said to be scientific but are incompatible with scientific methods. According to Live Science, “the philosophy of modern crystal healing is based on traditional concepts borrowed from Asian cultures, most notably the Chinese concept of life-energy (chi or qi).” This can also be found in the Hindu or Buddhist concept of chakras, “which are vortices of this life-energy, said to connect the physical and supernatural elements of the body.”

Crystals and gemstones are assigned different healing properties. The most popular stone is Amethyst, which is believed to relieve stress and awaken spiritual awareness. Clear quartz is another popular crystal that is an important piece in any collection; it’s used to clear the mind and counteract negative energy blockages.

Gemstones are also used in the Chinese tradition of feng shui, with the most popular stone being jade, which is used for good fortune, harmony, balance and protection. According to an article on The Spruce, “feng means “wind” and shui means “water.” In Chinese culture, wind and water are associated with good health, thus good feng shui came to mean good fortune.” The basics of feng shui involves harmonizing the self and the environment through energy.

The ancient Indian practice of Ayurveda also uses crystals and gemstones to align chakras and balance doshas, the three energies that define a person’s makeup, according to Ayurvedic practice. In his book Ayurveda: The Science of Self-Healing, medical practitioner and professor of Ayurvedic Medicine Dr. Vasant Lad writes that the energy vibrations of these stones harness healing properties. Healing can be done by choosing the right crystal or stone and activating it by wearing them on your person and placing them in water overnight to drink it the following day. Crystals and gemstones can be ‘purified’ by soaking them in saltwater for a few days.

According to the same Live Science article, in a session, a crystal healer will place the appropriate stones on parts of the body that need healing. The stones are used physically and spiritually to help heal both the mind and spirit.

Despite consulting and practicing this ancient medicine, most modern crystal-healers still recommend always seeing a family doctor and not replacing modern medicine with stones. The stones are recommended mostly for spiritual reasons.

According to herbalism student Tamara Montenegro, crystals changed her life. She sees a crystal therapist when she feels unbalanced physically and emotionally. Montenegro claims the gems have helped with her anxiety, insomnia, and even heartbreak.

“It helps me to ground myself,” she said. “I truly believe they are a great healing tool — they can help you manifest things into your life.”

 

Photos by Laurence B.D., graphics by @sundaeghost

Categories
Ar(t)chives

YUM or YIKES!

Eating out as a vegetarian with allergies can be quite tricky and pricey; so I’ve set out to find the top vegetarian restaurants in Montreal.

LOV is a vegan and vegetarian restaurant with four locations: three in Montreal and one in Laval. Their concept is to serve customers healthy, eco-friendly, botanical meals without compromising taste. LOV’s philosophy revolves around what they call their “eco-commitment,” which involves serving wines from organic farming and using local suppliers and ingredients.

With this information in mind, I was excited to try it out. I was drawn to the Montreal-based restaurant from the moment I first saw their California-bohemian decor and stunning menu passing by.

My first impression upon entering the Laval location in Centropolis was that the design was meticulously thought-out and beautiful. Shades of white, lace, swinging cocoon chairs, and plants all over the restaurant transported me to a Malibu beach. My friends and I were greeted with a smile and given the option of indoors or outdoors – we chose outdoors in the shade.

Photo by Brittany Henriques

Usually, my biggest challenge is to find meatless plates free of peanuts and almonds (because of allergies). On that day, I was also on a carb-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, fermentation-free diet (doctor’s orders). Nevertheless, based on my prior research, I was confident I would find something for me at LOV.

The menu is composed of seven starters and 15 main courses, four of which are salads. As a picky eater, I like knowing most of my options aren’t simply salads. I was immediately drawn to the Coconut Curry, a $15 dish composed of basmati rice, kale, carrots, curry coconut milk, and lime.

Unfortunately for me this time, rice was off my list of options. As other options, there was Pok’ai’ – cauliflower rice, cucumber, avocado, compressed watermelon, edamame, cashews, wakame, shiso, and sesame ginger sauce. The $16 plate fit my dietary restrictions, but I was very worried about the odd compressed watermelon thrown into the mix.
Instead, I settled for the Truffle and Caviar, a $14 meal composed of zucchini spaghetti, oyster mushrooms, arugula, tapioca caviar, and truffle sauce. The plate was very well presented, colourful, and was the perfect portion for my smaller-than-average appetite.

I went to LOV during lunch time, and barely had to wait for my food to arrive. My Truffle and Caviar plate was very good, but I worried there was an extra ingredient in the sauce not indicated on the menu. After my meal, I asked the waitress if the sauce had any other ingredients and she told me some soy milk might have been added for creaminess. I was disappointed to know there was an added ingredient I wasn’t aware of seeing as I was on a restricted diet. I should’ve asked prior to ordering, but I simply trusted the menu.

Nevertheless, the meal was fantastic, but note to self and others: always ask your waiter for a list of all the ingredients if you have any dietary restrictions or allergies.

As a whole, I would give LOV an 8 out of 10 for overall look, service, and food.

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Student Life

The year of green

Climate change; global warming; the planet is dying–however you want to label it, the time to act in order to reverse the severe damage to our planet is now. 

According to a recent report by the United Nations, the world is 1° C hotter than it was between 1850 and 1900.  In 2015, 196 world leaders came together to sign the Paris Agreement, a plan to keep global warming well below 2°C.

According to the World Wildlife Foundation, if the world doesn’t collectively act to reduce negative changes by 2100, sea levels could rise by 1.8 per cent, virtually all coral reefs will die, arctic summers will be nearly ice-free, 2.7 billion people will be exposed to heat waves every five years, flooding will increase by 170 per cent, and 18 per cent of insects and plants will lose more than half their habitat.

Luckily, if everyone does their part, there’s still hope. Coming into the new school year, implementing a sustainable approach to everyday routines can help. Little changes go a long way for the environment.

Food and drink

Several major U.S. cities like Seattle and Washington D.C. banned plastic straws this year. In June, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his plan to ban all single-use plastics by 2021. As a result of these bans, reusable straws have become more popular. If you’re a frequent straw-user, there are many alternatives to plastic straws, such as metal or silicone straws that you can buy and keep on you at all times to avoid using plastic ones.

Bringing a reusable water bottle and travel mug with you for constant water and coffee/tea refills can also reduce your plastic water bottle/coffee cup usage.

For food, wrapping your lunches in beeswax paper is a sustainable alternative to using plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Canadian brand Mind Your Bees Wraps makes eco-friendly colourful reusable beeswax wraps for all food storage purposes. Tupperware’s and cloth snack pouches are also a great alternative to plastic bags for trickier loose foods.

Carry reusable grocery bags in your pocket or backpack for when you need to go shopping—most grocery stores now charge for plastic bags. When shopping for groceries, try choosing a zero-waste grocery store where you can bring your own containers and buy in bulk. Méga-Vrac is a zero-waste grocery store with two locations, in Rosemont and Hochelaga, that offer discounts on products if you bring your own containers. The waste-free store also offers all the products listed above!

Health and beauty

Wasting less and choosing eco-friendly products is possible even for your beauty routine. In regards to menstruation, some alternatives to regular tampons or pads are menstrual cups such as the Diva Cup or menstrual cloth pads.Try using reusable cloth pads to remove makeup instead of disposable cotton pads and handkerchiefs instead of tissues.

When it comes to hygiene, try choosing a soap bar or shampoo bar instead of liquid soap–it usually lasts longer and doesn’t come in a plastic container. Ditch your plastic toothbrush and opt for a bamboo toothbrush. Did you know the plastic and nylon used in your toothbrush are virtually indestructible? According to National Geographic, approximately 23 billion toothbrushes are thrown out in the U.S. every year. Most of the plastic ends up in our oceans, killing marine life–100,000 marine animals per year to be exact. According to Ocean Crusaders Foundation, over 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris are currently in our oceans.

Studies

Here is something to think about: how much paper does Concordia and its students use every year? A lot of people around campus have already switched to digital for practical reasons. Try going digital this semester by taking notes on Google Docs/Word/Pages, opting for a PDF or ebook instead of textbooks, and handing in your assignments online (when permitted of course).

Mobility

According to Statistics Canada, the transport sector is responsible for 74 per cent of CO2 emissions. That’s why thinking of the way you travel is crucial to a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Luckily, Montreal has a variety of sustainable transportation options. Try to ride to school on a Bixi or Jump bike if you don’t have your own. Bixi docs are all over downtown and at least 3 can be found in close proximity of the downtown campus. The new Lime e-scooters are now a fun new option for days when you just don’t feel like pedaling. Another option is to use public transit, the shuttle bus or carpooling with friends. The fewer cars used per person, the less greenhouse gasses emitted.

Acting to help reverse the severe effects of climate change is an adjustment, but if everyone does their part, it’s possible.

 

Graphic by @sundaeghost

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Opinions

O Canada, our home is Native land

Quebec needs to be more honest about the province’s history of injustice towards Indigenous people

I believe that for decades, Quebec has been hiding shameful truths about the province’s past to maintain a good image. As a result, its citizens have been living in blissful ignorance for far too long, and we have made Indigenous peoples suffer for even longer.

In my opinion, a major reason Indigenous issues have seen very little progress in recent years is because generations still aren’t being told truths about Canada’s history. Most generations were taught Quebec’s history through the eyes of a white man.

Elementary and high school curriculums essentially teach students that white people have always been superior to Indigenous people, beginning with how Christopher Columbus “discovered” America. When European colonizers realized other human beings had lived on this land for centuries, they decided to convert these “savages” to Christianity and teach them the white man’s way of life—what they believed was the right way to live.

Thus, history lessons are based on excuses about the “duty” of Europeans to “civilize” Indigenous peoples for the “greater good.” Although Quebec’s high school curriculum was changed in 2017 to include more Indigenous perspectives, according to CBC News, I believe it still doesn’t do enough to explain the extent of Indigenous peoples’ struggles.

This idea of white dominance over Indigenous peoples is embedded in our brains during childhood, and I believe this is why we have not progressed as a nation. The legacy of the mistreatment of Indigenous peoples is seen today in their high rates of poverty, mental and physical health issues, food insecurity and suicide rates, according to The Globe and Mail. Not only does our history neglect those who lived on this land first, it also demeans an entire group of people.

When I was taught Quebec’s history, the material rarely mentioned First Nations people. Instead, it prioritized the history of white Quebecers. The province’s history curriculum has many undeniable flaws, but the biggest one is the failure to acknowledge and properly teach students about residential schools in Canada.

From 1880 to 1996, residential schools tore families apart and subjected Indigenous children to years of physical, sexual and mental abuse. Entire generations grew up without the chance to learn their culture, language or traditions. Residential schools resulted in a cultural genocide. Indigenous children were told that if they spoke their language or practiced their traditions, they would suffer terrible consequences.

These horrible conditions scarred generations of Indigenous peoples, and the consequences of the residential school system are still present in their communities. The infant mortality rate for some First Nations communities is nearly four times the national average, according to a 2013 CBC News article. The suicide rate for young Indigenous men are 10 times higher than those of non-Indigenous youth, according to 2000 data reported in The Guardian. Not to mention the unclean water, poor education, bad housing and lack of job prospects that many Indigenous communities face, according to the Toronto Star.

I believe these issues still exist due to a lack of awareness and care, which is something the government should be held responsible for. As a nation, we have neglected Indigenous peoples. We have let them down for centuries, and progress will never come unless the truth is taught. Future generations must learn about the impact that residential schools and colonization continue to have on Canada’s Indigenous communities. A lack of education about these issues has shielded many Canadians from the harsh reality Indigenous people face everyday.

In my opinion, this ignorance has led Quebecers to feel less empathy towards Indigenous people. More has to be done, and it needs to be done better. Our children deserve an honest education, and most importantly, First Nations people deserve to have their histories told. In the words of the wise Malala Yousafzai, an education activist, “There are many problems, but I think there is a solution to all these problems; it’s just one, and it’s education.”

Graphic by Zeze Le Lin

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