Wake + Bake: Holistic Mushroom Queen Tonya Papanikolov

Photo by @NathanLegiehn

Tonya Papanikolov is a nutritionist, but not as you know them. That title conceals a wealth of holistic knowledge, a lifetime of experimenting with food as medicine, plant-based culinary skill, public speaking, and infinite hours of education and content creation via her online home, The Well Woman.

But it doesn’t even stop there for the Toronto-based wellness advocate slash renaissance woman. She’s also on a mission to bring plant medicine to the people with her new sustainable mushroom company, Rainbo. Her signature offering? A blend of 11 medicinal and adaptogenic mushrooms to consume every day as a tincture, like CBD.

Given that Papanikolov is the kind of thriving human being with a grounded lifestyle that most people would want to emulate, we thought we’d interrogate her on her cannabis use, and how she does a morning routine. And we’re so glad we did.

woman drinking an herbal tonic, tonya papanikolov

How did you and cannabis meet?

I didn’t really get into cannabis until a couple years ago when I started experimenting with CBD oil for stress management. I never became a pothead when all my friends were doing it, because quite honestly, I have sensitive lungs and don’t like to smoke. I aim to bring intention and mindfulness into anything I consume. Cannabis is medicine. I truly believe anything we consume can be medicine when we bring healing intention into it, as well as the right dose at the right time.

Today, I take CBD oil a couple times a week. I just go with the flow and when I feel called to use it, I’ll put some CBD oil in my morning elixirs.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?

I wake up around 8am. The first thing I do is kanoodle and snuggle/cuddle/spoon with my partner. He travels a lot so we relish our mornings together; they are blissful. I love dreamtime and lucid states so we usually talk about our dreams, and then I move into a quick gratitude practice where I think about various things in my life that I’m grateful for, sometimes saying them out loud, sometimes keep them for myself. The fastest way to shift into higher states of energy and consciousness is to experience gratitude.

Then I have a big glass of water and start my meditation practice which are some kundalini yoga kriyas. After that I typically have a quick two-minute cold shower which is rather exhilarating and somewhat challenging, but so incredible for the body. It’s a practice I picked up from kundalini yoga and I feel like I have superpowers after it.

What does your daily cannabis routine look like?

I take a CBD oil, either tincture style or capsule style a couple times a week. I like to make a warm, nourishing elixir with CBD, I put it in all kinds of things like cacao, dandelion, coffee, matcha teas and I make them for myself, my partner, friends or sometimes at dinner parties. A CBD potion is a wonderful way to end a meal or start a day.

First product you reach for?

Well, in Canada, we don’t have access to all the amazing CBD products like you do in the US yet! So we have to order through sites like the Ontario Cannabis Store or find someone independent. I do like Plant People, their product, company, and ethos.

Song that *actually* gets you up?

Pachanga "Boys Time". I like to shake it all out in the mornings with a dance to some electronic music.

Morning self-care ritual?

Cold showers are epic! It’s a major feat of the mind to step into cold water with grace. I see clients all the time and coach them on healing and holistic health and so often, the mind is at the root of our anxiety, stress, and addictions. So cold showering is my attempt to master my mind. Step in with grace. Step out with grace.

Being able to do that cultivates superhuman powers. When I do it, I feel like I can take on anything that day. Cold showering is said to have potential health benefits including aiding in circulation, inflammation, stiff joints, stress, and depression.

woman covering her face with fungi, tonya papanikolov

Favorite thing to eat in the AM?

Green smoothie, green juice, or both! They alkalize the body, give me sustained energy and make me feel light and clear.

Everyday comfy outfit?

Leggings, a long tunic, sun hat, slip on shoes. Or a dress. Both with no bra or underwear is preferred. I usually don’t wear a bra anyway because I like feeling unconstricted and free.

Vape, tincture, topical or edible?

I like tinctures and oils because they feel more medicinally potent to me. Then I occasionally enjoy edibles (in the right dose) because I love food and creating it with it.

What are five emojis that describe mornings at your house?


Please don’t make me choose only five.

Tell us about the products that keep you going all day long?

Well I’m hugely bias for the company I just launched, Rainbo! I’m obsessed with medicinal mushrooms and take a heavy dose daily of 11:11, which is a tincture of 11 super mushrooms dual extracted. I put four droppers in my morning elixir along with other superfoods and adaptogens, with a homemade nut or seed milk or coconut milk. I really look forward to this beverage and it keeps me sustained until lunch usually.

I haven’t tried Plant People’s Be Calm capsules yet but intend to get them when i’m in Cali later this month.

Jerico Mandybur is Miss Grass’ resident Weed Witch. The best-selling author, modern spiritual guide, and former editorial director of Miss Grass, is our go-to source for all things tarot, magic, and witch-related.