The Vagina Dialogues, coming up at The Drake Hotel (1150 Queen St W) on March 8th, is an evening about connectivity, celebration, and important conversation in support of Sistering. We’re highlighting some of the panelists that will be speaking at this incredible event. 

During the event at Vagina 101: Everything Health Class Never Taught You & The Questions Google Can’t Answer, Dr. Marnie Luck ND will answer questions like “How can I maintain my fertility while avoiding pregnancy?”, “Is this normal?” and “How do stress and ageing affect hormones and vaginal health?”

SDTC: What got you interested in naturopathic medicine?

ML: To be completely honest, the catalyst for my interest in naturopathic medicine was an ad on the subway. It said, “Find a Naturopath.” I was curious. I got home, Googled it up and suddenly I had stumbled upon a career that combined all my interests: adaptive and sustainable change, how environment affects health, nutrition and working with people. Furthermore, I had experienced the gaps in the conventional medical model and negative effects of overextended modern living. I was motivated to be an active part of improving health on a broader scale.

What are the number one complaints that women have when they walk into your office? And what’s the first course of action?

Fatigue, bloating and hormonal imbalances are the top complaints. My first course of action is understanding my clients in the context of their lives–what do they eat and do for fun? What are their stressors, sleep patterns and work schedules like?

Lifestyle factors contribute significantly to low energy, digestive upset and hormonal concerns, so that’s where we make tweaks first. I like to build on the factors that are working and shift the ones that aren’t. I try to do this in a way that’s realistic and resonates with the individual.

The second course of action is the fancy stuff like labwork and targeted additional support (botanicals, bioindentical hormones and nutritional supplementation).

You call yourself “The Period Whisperer.” Can you explain?

I often formulate herbal teas and tinctures for my patients to help resolve their concerns. One of my patients came in for a follow-up and said, “I need more of that period whisperer tea. My periods are a non-issue if I drink it daily.” I laughed that she had named it that, but helping women have healthy and happy periods that don’t interfere with their day-to-day is a big part of my practice. I’m also a bit of a “poop whisperer” too.

What inspired you to start The Vagina Dialogues?

The initial idea for The Vagina Dialogues was inspired by many informal Q &A sessions I’d have with my girlfriends. I’ve ended up being the go-to person for any and all vaginal and hormonal concerns. My comfort and passion for creating conversation around vaginal health stems from my experience as a gynaecological medical model and my work with women. A women’s own relationship with her vagina is often associated with sexual and medical experiences. There remains a gap in women’s knowledge about their own bodies and their comfort talking about it.

My goal is to help inform and empower women about their health, their vaginas and their value in a fun and interactive way. The Vagina Dialogues is the perfect context for this to happen.

What can guests expect from the event at The Drake Hotel next Thursday?

Upon arrival you’ll be greeted with a signature cocktail (or mocktail) and mouthwatering appetizers (come hungry–there’s no skimping on the food). Knixwear is setting up a pop-up shop and will be making some generous underwear/bra donations to Sistering. You can peruse the amazing raffle prizes and take in the debut of “The Vulva Project” art piece.

I’ll kick off the night with Vagina 101, a TEDtalk-esque presentation geared at understanding vaginas in all their glory. More food, more drink, more mingling and vagina cupcakes. Next up is the panel dialogue with amazing Toronto women (Dr. Cheryl Rowe MD, Community Psychiatrist; Joanna Griffiths, CEO of knixwear; Viktoria Kaleteris, Sex Therapist; Joyce Lo, Creative Director at The Drake; and Chef Charlotte Langley) to discuss “Women in 2018, Power and Progress,” speaking to where women have come, current issues and how to move forward. We’ll finish the night off with raffle prizes and you’ll go home with a swag bag of goodies.

How do you start your day? What rituals do you have in your routine?

Every morning starts off the same way: my partner gets out of bed and my border collie, Maeve, hops in and we have a good cuddle. We get out of bed, head straight to the kitchen and I have a big glass of water and then we’re off to the park for about an hour. I may or may not be in my pyjamas.

I typically push breakfast (oatmeal or a smoothie), until about 9 or 10 a.m. (I’m a big fan of getting at least a twelve-hour fast overnight, and I’m often eating dinner late because I see patients in the evening). The most important ritual in my routine is consciously not looking at my phone from about an hour before I go to bed until after I’ve gotten back from the park in the morning.

What is something that is super important for you to do on a regular basis?

Consciously practicing gratitude is something I’ve incorporated into my life. I try to do it in different ways: savouring those moments when I’m surrounded by good people, letting friends, colleagues and family know how much I appreciate them, and acknowledging how lucky I am for all the big and little things in my life (great dog, safe home, optimal health, engaging career and community, chocolate, Beyonce etc.). Practicing gratitude puts my worries and stressors into perspective and reminds me what’s most important–enjoying life and helping others do the same.

Get your ticket for The Vagina Dialogues here