Sarah Blackwell makes green smoothies.  – Photo by Jared McLeod

Sarah Blackwell makes green smoothies. – Photo by Jared McLeod

By Sarah Blackwell

Anishinaabe people  use the medicine of Shkagamik-kwe (Mother Earth) to heal us of our diseases.  We go to Medicine people and Elders and offer our semaa  so they may guide us to the medicines that can help heal.

But how often do we look to food as our medicine?  The foods we eat every day could be causing some of our sicknesses, a topic discussed at my recent workshop  at Nipissing First Nation for  Ontario Works Program clients.

Invited by  Karen McLeod, Employment Assistance Counsellor,  to provide her clients with information on creating healthy lifestyles through balanced living and eating, I talked about integrating whole, raw living foods into diets, and demonstrated how to easily make green smoothies.

We started by looking at a “wellness wheel”, a visual representation of how to achieve more life balance by making small changes in areas like healthier  diets.

The second part of the workshop focussed on food as medicine, and how to get proper nutrition.  One participant said he discovered that green smoothies are a “simple convenience” after learning how to make them by mixing fruit, water and greens.  Some participants said they had never  tasted  kale, spinach, bok  choy or nappa cabbage.

“Greens [can] give more than vitamins,” said one participant, after learning how to make smoothies affordably at home.  Nipissing First Nation staff members also enjoyed green smoothies for their afternoon break.

Karen McLeod said the workshop could benefit her clients, and I feel it’s just one way First Nations communities can slowly start integrating healthy foods into their programs and staff environment.

Holistic Health Coach Sarah Blackwell can be contacted at her website at or on Facebook  at