4 Wellness Vacations for Total-Body Bliss

Wellness vacations are a great way to nurture your body and soul. Check out these 4 retreats (3 of which are in Canada!) for total-body bliss

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Thirteen Moons Wellness

Thirteen Moons Wellness, Peterborough, ON

Formerly a federal government employer, Louise Racine reinvented her life, became a certified nutritional practitioner and founded Thirteen Moons Wellness. The retreat, located in the bucolic countryside near Peterborough, ON – about two hours from Toronto – is focused on empowering women through food. Her programs are a mixed bag, from Healing in Nature (with meditation and energy healing) to Consciously Creating a Healthier You in 2016. The common thread is food – organic, healthy and delicious. 

She also offers classes in holistic nutrition that explore the intrinsic relationship between food and wellness and let participants get involved in preparing meals that tap into the healing properties of good ingredients. Bed down overnight with a pack of gal pals and get on the right track to renewal. Plus, enjoy the perks that come along with it, like a complimentary facial treatment and foot spa.

If you’re short on time, sign up for a customized cooking workshop. Racine is also a talented chef and imparts her knowledge of deliciousness to those looking to up the nutritional quotient of their eating regimens without sacrificing good taste. Think pumpkin ginger muffins and stuffed acorn squash. She also looks at the effects of organic foods on your immune system and metabolism. For dates, see thirteenmoons.ca.

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Ki-Ra Holistic Living

Ki-Ra Holistic Living, Dominican Republic

If you’re able to completely unplug from your life to focus on healthy eating, ponder a stay at Ki-Ra Holistic Living, a centre that combines Ayurvedic practices, nutrition, holistic healing therapies and yoga. Situated near the famed Casa de Campo resort, just 90 minutes from Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, the setting is simply magical, with organic gardens, orchards and ocean views. Naturopathic doctor Kyra Montagu serves as a life coach, confidante and cheerleader as she guides attendees to improved health. She is big on restoring balance to lives knocked off kilter by stress, bad health choices and the demands of everyday living.

The holistic health retreat takes a multi-pronged approach to getting mind and body in tune once again. It’s a farm-to-table menu, where you can pick produce in the fields of the organic gardens and then bring it to the kitchen and transform it into wonderful creations, from veggie smoothies to root vegetable curry. It’s vegetarian focused, but don’t let that scare you.

Montagu takes a realistic – not puritanical – approach to eating, where desserts and burgers can coexist in harmony with nutritious cuisine, making her lessons easy to follow once you return home. She spends a lot of time helping you prep for life beyond the retreat, with classes on planting and growing, herbal cleansing and meditation. To up those feel-good endorphins, the retreats also incorporate massage, reflexology and yoga. It all adds up to the kind of vacation where you not only look great but feel great, too. For more information, visit ki-ra.com.

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The Life Delicious

The Life Delicious, Vancouver

Catherine Roscoe Barr worked as a fitness trainer for 10 years before realizing she wasn’t practising what she preached. She didn’t feel well. She ate poorly, and her health – both physical and emotional – suffered. She had had enough and created a set of rituals that put her on the road to wellness. Now a wellness coach, she is sharing her tools through The Life Delicious urban retreats in Vancouver.

Over the course of a weekend, participants tackle stress management, exercise and nutrition – what she calls “the trifecta of wellness” – with 14 hours of personal instruction. Those first two components are integral parts of the equation that can lead to better eating decisions. “If you’re stressed and not in a good place emotionally, you aren’t able to choose foods that are self-nurturing,” says Barr. But this isn’t all about watching the numbers on the scale get smaller. “Weight loss is the icing on the cake,” she says. “It’s about getting yourself well.”

Eating is front and centre – a communal coming together over good, locally sourced ingredients for the duration of the retreat. Barr helps participants increase their mindfulness and has them journal their thoughts about the food they eat and how it makes them feel. She adopts a scientific approach in her teaching, paying heed to how you can change brain chemistry through food and behavioural modifications. There’s no need to stay overnight; these retreats cater to busy urbanites, so sessions are held downtown at Stretch Yoga Studio. For more information and dates, see thelifedelicious.ca.

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Go Goddess Retreats, Banff

Go Goddess Retreats, Banff

If you’re starting 2016 feeling like you’re running on empty, this getaway from Go Goddess Retreats promises to recharge you. Called Energize, it’s held from February 26 to 28 at The Banff Centre in Alberta and highlights the important role that hormones play on a woman’s energy levels. Along with exercise and creative exercises around art and musical theatre, food plays a starring role. The hands-on culinary session gets participants into the kitchen to learn how to snack smart and cook detoxifying meals with whole foods, regardless of how maxed out their schedules might appear.

Barb Thomas, owner of Go Goddess Women’s Wellness Retreats, uses her skills as both a whole foods culinary instructor and a certified holistic nutritionist in her programming.  Her love of good eating shines through. She is keen to teach others how food can transform health, so participants eat well as they learn. Wine, chocolate and dessert are very much a part of the adventure, proving that a bit of indulgence is good for the soul. For availability, see gogoddessretreats.com.

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