local

Local Shopping Made Easy

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When looking to support locally produced or sourced products it can be a bit of a daunting task.  I can almost guarantee that if asked each one of you would LOVE to support more local businesses but cost and convenience would be factors that may lead you astray. This is something I know all too well as I made a commitment at the beginning of this year to support as much locally produced food products as I could. 

With a constant eye for business opportunities and growth I decided to turn one of my rental properties into a Saskatchewan experience on the short term rental site - Airbnb. The rental market was taking a massive hit and I thought I would use this as an opportunity to change things up and test these new waters. I love marketing so I created a vision board - on that vision board I asked myself what would set me apart and tell a story.  My Airbnb story would be exposing my guests to as much local goodness as I could. From the art on the walls to the soaps in the shower. Recommendations to locally owned restaurants and directions to our local farmer's market - complete with my fav things to do. Now a plan was in place but how to source all of this? Common grocery stores have few selections of Saskatchewan products and the convenience of trying to get to the farmers market just wasn't happening with a busy schedule. I knew where I had to go.....Sask Made Marketplace.

Road Coffee Co . and  Rock Paper Coffee Roasting Company  are always ready for brewing.

Road Coffee Co. and Rock Paper Coffee Roasting Company are always ready for brewing.

Everything was all there in one spot. It was perfect - I was able to decorate the walls with framed post cards from local photographers and artists. The coffee beans and teas that I provide complimentary to my guests are all local entrepreneurs. Even a collection of local cooking oils, jams, and an assortment of other treats are left for the guests to try. 

Three Farmer's,   Over the Hill , and  M&M Garlic  are ready for guests to experience. #local

Three Farmer's, Over the Hill, and M&M Garlic are ready for guests to experience. #local

Not only does Sask Made Marketplace have all the items that complete my local experience they are very knowledgeable about each of the companies they support. With freezers filled with local meats, perogies, and pizzas it truly is a one stop shop. The stores hours make it convenient to shop at and there is always something new being sampled. I'm a few months into this new venture and the guests adore these little local touches and I adore the convenience of going to one place. Match made in local heaven ;)

We sat down with Amanda from Sask Made and wanted to learn more about the business, their goals for 2018, and what we can expect to see at their booth in a few weeks at the Modern Woman Show. I see big things for this company! These women are certainly making a #supportlocal difference in our city.

Tell us about your business?

The SaskMade Marketplace is a Saskatchewan company partnered with local farmers, processors, and artisans to provide a wide range of unique, locally produced gourmet ingredients, grocery items, giftware, souvenirs, and gift baskets.

How did you get started?

The business was started as a medium to educate people about farm to fork and what it really means to support local. We wanted to become the local authority on food, which I think we have.

What inspires you?

Challenge and Change. I always want to be challenging myself and learning. Life is an opportunity to continuously grow and experience new things - I love that! 

What is your idea of a Modern Woman?

A Modern Woman isn't afraid to be who she is or do what she loves, nor does she pass judgment on other women. We need to support each other and understand that we are all going to make different decisions and take different paths in life; none of them are wrong. If you want to be a career woman, be a career woman. If you want to be a stay at home mom, good for you. No judgement. "Whatever makes you happy" is my motto.

What tips can you give to aspiring women entrepreneurs?

Women are stronger when they support each other so get to know other women entrepreneurs in your area. Join local industry and women-in-business groups.  In these organizations you will always find good advice and guidance when you need it. There are many people who have gone before you, so learn from them!

Also, never be afraid to ask questions or make mistakes. Two little pieces of advice we often give our friends and family but can sometimes forget to do for ourselves.

What is one piece of advice you would give yourself looking back?

It would be to trust yourself and do not hold back. If you want do something, do it now!

What is in the future for your business?

This year we are hoping to bring in some unique kitchenware, cookware and entertaining items to compliment our vast selection of gourmet groceries.  But we are always on the lookout for new grocery products and gift ideas to change things up!

As for a 2-5 year goal, we'd like to have a second location or expand our current store and add a complimentary space, like a cafe or bistro.

Who is someone that you find is a role model for women in business?

A particular person doesn't come to mind, but I respect any women who are out there changing the world and breaking down barriers. For example women in science and technology or agriculture, which are largely male dominated industries. It's hard work and not everyone can do it.

Tell us about you – what makes you tick, what are your hobbies, where would we find you on a Wednesday night? A Friday night?

Well I have 2.5 year old twin girls, so Wednesday evenings would find me at home hanging out with my family or maybe squeezing in a quick workout once the kids have gone to bed.

Friday's are a bit more exciting; I'm usually cooking dinner with my husband with a glass of wine or having friends over for appetizers and drinks. I love cooking, eating and drinking so anything that involves those makes me a happy lady.

If you could have any super power what would it be?

I would have the same super power as Magneto from X-Men. The ability to control metal would be amazing!

What will you be showcasing at the Modern Woman Show?

We will be showcasing all the wonderful food items that our local farmers grow and produce for us. I want to focus on some of the great gourmet cooking ingredients like oils , vinegars, mustards and sauces that anyone can easily use to create an amazing meal at home.

We will also have two of our vendors sampling with us, one each day. So make sure you stop by for a few samples!

Sask Made Marketplace can be found online www.saskmade.ca and shopping made easy at 1621 8th Street East. Come visit their booth and start your local journey with Sask Made at the Modern Woman Show & Expo on April 14th & 15th at Prairieland Park. 

To check out the little local airbnb and all the lovely companies we support visit our Instagram Page @stay_at_cas_hill 

Chantal

Meet The Sponsors: Barndog Productions

The Modern Woman Show & Expo is fast approaching and it just wouldn't be possible without the major sponsors that make it happen behind the scenes. Today I'm talking about Barndog Productions, SK's largest one-stop shop for audio, video, lighting, stages, and technicans; they are the force behind The Runway fashion show that makes the production so fabulous. (Well, aside from me of course. #hairtoss)

From the lighting to the set design, their attention to detail elevates this fashion show from any run of the mill runway stomp, to something that is a yearly event to attend. 

Modern Woman Show & Expo 2017

Modern Woman Show & Expo 2017

Perhaps I should stop here and disclose: This is my family's company. So while I can sit here and write all kinds of accolades, people may wonder if I'm bias. The answer is probably. My parents, Al and Cheryl Vickaryous, and their hard work have afforded my sister and I many securities in life that most people would take for granted. The thing with growing up in a family of small business owners you learn firsthand what a serious work ethic looks like. While I don't quite breathe, sleep, and eat at my desk like my dad, anyone who knows me knows I've been nose to the grindstone since I could first work. Entrepreneurship doesn't come easy, but its well worth the freedom. And by freedom, I mean we get to choose which 18 hours a day we work, but we don't answer to anyone. Except the government that is. #sigh

So why do we do it? Big shocker, I don't like anyone telling me what to do. In case you didn't know, my way is always the best way. Ha.

Cheryl says she does it for the fame. Al says he does it for the chicks. 

But, I digress.

The business was founded in 1987 when owner and then professional musician, Al, decided to come off the road to be with his family. A tour bus isn't really a the best place to raise a kid, although it probably laid the groundwork for how cool I am. He started with one small audio system in our home, renting it out to local bands,  growing business organically from there, eventually having his wife, Cheryl, leave her full time job to join him as the business became larger. The most common question...  Where did the name come from? It was after our very first family dog, Barney, who sported the nickname "Barndog". That dog also ate the entire interior of our car. #funfact

Since then, they have grown to the only company of its kind in Saskatchewan that can offer all requirements of event production in one place without subcontracting or outsourcing to other businesses. With a community minded mission statement and an actual brick and mortar storefront and warehouse, Barndog is accessible to all customers to come in and discuss their needs with experienced techs, physically see what they are getting, and ensure that all aspects of their rental or event are managed and operated as required. 

They handle everything from  small rentals like speakers for house parties, weddings, business events, to large music festivals across Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and everything in between; they are truly a one-stop shop for event production. They also provide installations for businesses, churches, arenas, and schools so that clients are able to have their buildings equipped with their own in-house systems. Or, if you are me, a house that can be heard from downtown if necessary. My neighbours may or may not hate my guts.

Their portfolio includes large scale events such as The Saskatchewan Jazz Festival, both the Juno Awards and Canadian Country Music Association Awards Fanfare, Dauphin's CountryFest, The Saskatoon Exhibition, Cameco Cares, and Rock The River to smaller community events like Word On The Street,  the Police Day BBQ, and many, many more. 

In addition to Modern Woman, they are sponsors of the Saskatoon City Hospital Foundation's Festival of Trees, the Children's Discovery Museum, the Saskatoon Royal University Hospital Foundation's Gala, SaskCountry Christmas, the Small But Mighty childhood cancer fundraiser, and of course, they lend their time to many local dog rescues. (I come by my dog lover status honestly.)
 

Barndog came to be involved with The Modern Woman Show & Expo working in conjunction with me in my position as the co-ordinator of the yearly fashion show, and are proud to support an event that showcases so many driven, hardworking entrepreneurs all in one place. 

VIP tickets to the fashion show on April 14, 2018 are available online at www.modernwomansaskatoon.com. Come check out the amazing stage, sound, and lights that make this show a must-see courtesy of Barndog Production's sponsorship. 

You can visit them at online at www.barndog.ca or in person at 149 Jessop Avenue in Saskatoon, SK. 

Until my next post friends, keep on keepin' on!
Katie
xoxo

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Sometimes the only way out (of a style rut) is through…

Earlier this year I found myself fully entrenched in unfamiliar territory - a deep style rut. I wasn’t feeling particularly jazzed about anything in my closet, although it was bursting (literally) with options, and I found myself recycling the same dull pieces over and over again with very little enthusiasm or variety. As someone who inundates herself with fashion via profession, hobby and extracurricular activities, the thought of exuding less-than-inspirational personal style was both terrifying and foreign to me and yet, here I was, in a giant pile of Nothing To Wear.

Walking into any closet filled with clothing you love should bring joy and excitement, because you have carefully curated and feel thrilled about each piece, but I suddenly found myself opening the door with dread and shutting it quickly while running away in a cold sweat. It became clear I needed to adapt some hard and fast rules to overcome this style slump I had fallen into and find my way back to me again. For anyone else with a paddle in this same boat, I hope I can provide some starting tips to help a fellow sister stay afloat - and authentic - in a sea of fast-paced fashion.

Start with the visual

Pinterest

Pinterest

Whether you go the old-school route of ripping inspirational photos from fashion magazines or fire up a new Pinterest board, start collecting some kind of visual collage and make specific notes detailing why each look is appealing to you. Maybe it’s the way a shirt is tucked into a pair of jeans or how a skirt is styled, or a particular color combination that you find cool. Slowly but surely you’ll see some common themes start to emerge in the images you are drawn to. 

Take inventory

InStyle Magazine

InStyle Magazine

How often - and easily - do you forget exactly what you have in your fashion arsenal? Do you ever stumble across things with tags still on them, or buy something new only to find 3 similar items already hanging in your closet? This is where taking detailed inventory is going to be your saviour - but first, it’s gonna kill ya. Go through everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, down to the random friendless socks in your laundry room. Make an itemized list - or a spreadsheet if your closet's a real disaster. Toss out anything that looks completely whack or worn-out and then survey what the rest of the swamp looks like. Do you need 12 black tees that are essentially the same? Do you even like the color fuchsia? How many pairs of heels do you own versus how many you actually wear and feel comfortable in? This is when you’re going to employ some ruthlessness and take stock of everything that is no longer serving you, regardless of how on trend it is or how much you purchased it for. If it ain’t you, it ain’t you, babe.

The only way to truly find out what you’re gravitating toward, along with the aforementioned Pinterest vision board of your chicest self, is to keep a style tracker. A journal, if you want to be basic. Record everything you wear over a 2 week period. Put a star beside outfits you felt especially sassy in and specific pieces that provoked compliments from others. Put an “X” beside anything you felt less-than-stellar in after you left the house. See what patterns emerge and jive them with your Pinterest themes. 

The purge

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Now that you’ve accumulated a large haul from your closet of things that no longer work for you, allow them to find a new life**. Pull out any mint-condition business attire, including shoes and accessories, and box them up for Dress for Success. Host a clothing swap with your girlfriends for your trendy designer pieces that are in excellent condition, or try your hand at selling them on cool platforms like @ourclosetcleanout on Instagram. For anything remaining, check with the Salvation Army and local women’s shelters to see what kind of clothing donations they are currently accepting. 

**Exception: things with sentimental value, things that you truly love and could never part with, limited edition pieces, expensive things that you’re saving because they are dry clean only and that doesn’t work with #momlife -- ARCHIVE. Hang them in black zippered garment bags with a tag on the outside detailing what each item is and store them with love. Don’t be THAT ruthless, girl!

Make it intentional

Skeptical about this quote's source but the words ring true enough!

Skeptical about this quote's source but the words ring true enough!

Now that you’ve cleared out the clutter and know what you want to be rocking every day (for me, it’s high-waisted mom jeans and either a vintage sweatshirt or a cozy cashmere sweater), own that sh*t like Beyoncé. My friend Katie (also a fellow MWS blogger, you’re likely familiar with her hilarity) once dropped some solid advice during one of our many fashion convos: “Make it intentional”. Whatever your style is - and, I’ll admit, I’m saying this especially loud for those who say “But I just wear yoga pants!” - make it intentional!! Sticking with the yoga pants theme, this totally CAN be a style. Hell, get 7 different pairs and make it your weekly rotation! Just take the time when you’re getting dressed to make whatever you’re wearing a cohesive head-to-toe outfit. Lead Pilates, located on Joseph Okemasis Drive, builds their entire merchandising aesthetic on the idea of gym-to-street athletic wear so, if this is your jam, go see the girls there for some style tips and definitely check out their annual fashion show, which is essentially a crash course in gym-to-street styling done incredibly right. Think yoga pants with cool moto stitching paired with a cute knit sweater, a fur vest, ankle booties and a beautiful leather bag, plus a few cool-girl details that are easy to add like a choker and a chunky watch, and suddenly are you *just* wearing yoga pants? I think not, my friend. As for my mom jeans and sweaters, I always do a front-tuck with my shirt and roll or push my sleeves up, plus I add my standard stack of rose gold jewelry (earrings, necklace, rings, watch & a few bracelets), I play with color in the wash of my denim vs. the color of my top, and then I’ll choose things like jacket and shoes depending on the overall look - a bomber and Adidas classics for a sporty look when I’m running around in mom mode, a leather jacket, sparkly socks and heeled booties for when I’m heading out to the meet the girls. The idea is to build a go-to style around things you already know you love to wear and simply add in the details that make it uniquely you to pull it all together.

5 different looks, all featuring leggings, that look fab. You could swap any of the heels for flats or tall boots or sneakers and STILL look fab.

5 different looks, all featuring leggings, that look fab. You could swap any of the heels for flats or tall boots or sneakers and STILL look fab.

If you do need to shop…

While you shouldn’t have to shop outside of your own wardrobe to get reacquainted with your authentic style, inevitably you will need to replace some things or want to splurge on an item you covet. For this, I offer two rules that I swear by:

  1. Do your research to find out where you can find your favourite brands locally and then source them out and befriend the salespeople or manager like long-lost kin. Shopping local is better than online for a ton of reasons and, in this particular instance, it’s going to allow you to try on anything you may have been eyeing up online to see if it actually works on your frame and if the material and craftsmanship is good quality and worth the spend. Plus, when your local salespeople become your BFFs, they start to know your style so well that they’ll set aside brand-new items just for you or go the extra mile of contacting their brand reps to custom order for you. If you’re a really good customer, they may even keep you in mind when purchasing new stock for the store. (Shout-out to my girl, Mackenzie, who runs Two Fifty Two Boutique and does all this and more for me! Seriously, go see her, she’s THE BEST.)
  2. When you do find something you like, whether it’s a splurge item or not, use the Rule of Three. My lovely friend and ultra-amazing stylist to many, Kate Matthews, taught me this trick that works every time when deciding “Should I??”…can it be styled 3 different ways? If you can think of at least 3 different ways to style something (bonus points for more!), then by all means, treat yourself!! But if you can only think of one occasion to wear that sparkly sequinned mini dress or cobalt blue faux fur jacket, remind yourself that you can appreciate an aesthetic without adopting it as your own personal style.
3 ways to style a camel cardigan / Blogger: Brighton Keller, brightontheday.com

3 ways to style a camel cardigan / Blogger: Brighton Keller, brightontheday.com

So, to my fellow ladies who may be feeling the heavy pulls of a style rut, breathe deeply a sigh of relief because the remedy lies within your own closet and it involves feel-good exercises like donating clothing, taking note of what makes YOU feel most beautiful, freeing yourself of any pressure to keep up with the trends, and knowing every day that you’re putting your most authentic self forward, whether you’re off to the grocery store or the Met Gala. And, when the time comes to treat your fabulous self, go to Two Fifty Two Boutique and say that Mandy sent you.

xoxo

M.

The Fabulously Unfit Girl's Guide To Health & Wellness: don't you put it in your mouth

Hey homies! For this post I teamed up with my pal Kalli Youngstrom of KY Fitness & Nutrition to chat about bullsh*t marketing when it comes to "healthy" foods. This is something that really cheezes me off, and I'm thrilled to be able to colloborate with Kalli to bring some awareness to some of the crap that is lurking on your grocery store shelves. Kalli is a Certified Personal Trainer, Weight Management Specialist, Nutritionist, and IFBB Pro. I, on the other hand, have absolutely no business telling you about what to eat and what not to eat, but I'm going to anyway. So listen up. 

How many times have you been wandering through the aisles, reading labels (like you've been told to) and chosen things because you can immediately recall the ad telling you the product is a healthy choice, or because that product has a bunch of things on the package that say "Trans Fat Free!", "High In Fiber!", "A Good Source Of Vitamin C!", or my personal fav... "GLUTEN FREE!" Contrary to what these claims would have you believe, you shouldn't necessarily shove these products in your piehole.

Everyone is trying to make good choices for themselves and their families, but its super hard when companies create ad campaigns for products that primarily serve to increase the buckaroos in their bank account, rather the health of their customers. 

OK...we all know sugar is the devil incarnate. This is not news. Too much sugar can cause all kinds of greebly sh*t to shake down in your body, and things will likely be bad news bears in the long run. 

What people don't realize is how MUCH sugar is in all these processed foods, along with the equivalent of Santa's naughty list of other crap lurking within. Kalli and I set out to comb the aisles for some of the worst offenders for brainwashing consumers. 

Activia Yogurt 

Kalli's Info: The marketing behind this product is to “Take the Activia challenge.” which is Activia twice a day for 2 weeks. I would recommend a non-sweetened alternative, which will provide you with the same (if not more) benefits in relation to gut health and help you steer clear of the 2 teaspoons of added sugar that is in each single serving yogurt. 2 yogurts a day = 4 teaspoons of sugar, not far from the recommended 6 maximum teaspoons by the American Heart Association. Opt for 2% plain Greek yogurt for more protein to keep you fuller longer. If you’re worried about added fiber top with flax or chia for fiber + healthy fat.

My 2 Cents: Activia challenge? Let me get this straight... they are challenging me to purchase enough product to eat their yogurt twice a day for two weeks? Clever. As much as I love being challenged to an eating dual, I'm gonna pass on this one. 

#thanksbutnothanks ... however, I do challenge you to try the "prune" flavour and not gag. 

#thanksbutnothanks ... however, I do challenge you to try the "prune" flavour and not gag. 

Light/Fat-Free Cool Whip

Kalli's Info: Marketed as a healthier alternative to traditional Cool Whip and whipped cream, the lack of dairy in this “whipped topping” is concerning. Not to mention the lack of almost any natural ingredients that are recognizable to the general consumer. Stick with whole foods that you and your body recognize. Indulge in some homemade whipping cream from time to time by whipping 33% cream with stevia and vanilla,  you’ll save on the added sugars and your body will thank you for avoiding the preservatives that keep this product “fresh for two weeks in the refrigerator.”

My 2 Cents: WTF is this stuff? I guarantee your great-granny wouldn't even be able to pronounce the things in this, let alone would have ever used them in her delicious cooking. This product is an awesome option for anyone looking to incorporate a variety of jacked up ingredients in their diet. 

Beef Jerky

Kalli's Info: A “healthy” grab and go as a quick and easy protein source, but with more sugar than protein in the majority of store bought jerky, the consumer may not be getting what they’re paying for. Double check the serving size as often the serving size in comparison to the package can be misleading. If you’re reaching for an easy protein filled snack for the road opt for a jerky with no sugar added, make your own at home, or opt for an alternative like hardboiled eggs or sugar free protein bars. 

My 2 Cents: Dagnabbit, I am guilty of believing this was a good grab and go. Fake news. Might as well dump some syrup on your steak. Find a friend who shops at Cabela's. They likely think making jerky is fun and you can get it from them. 

Vitamin Water

Kalli's Info: With the second ingredient listed being sugar, it’s no surprise that one bottle of this “vitamin enhanced” beverage comes in at 32 g of sugar. For comparison, a can of Coke comes in at 39. With no fat, fiber, or protein in this drink, one bottle of this will likely cause a quick spike in blood sugar leaving the customer hungry and tired soon after. Get your vitamins through whole foods that will keep you satisfied longer, naturally include the fiber you need for beneficial digestion, and if you need to supplement use a multi-vitamin without added sugar in it. 

My 2 Cents: Some assh*ole came up with a way to sell sugar water to people and make them think they are doing a big healthy. Genius... and horrible. Don't touch this. 

Yessss... I've always wanted a way to justify chugging Kool-aid as an adult!!

Yessss... I've always wanted a way to justify chugging Kool-aid as an adult!!

Coconut Oil Cooking Spray

Kalli's Info: Most would be surprised to see the bottle with the label “100% coconut oil” also includes isobutane and propane on the label. Although these are “normal” additives in cooking sprays, avoid the propane and use 100% cooking oil out of the jar, or search for a label that has only 1 ingredient, coconut oil. 

My 2 Cents: Save the propane for your BBQ and buy a non-stick pan. Good news! You can also just put some regular coconut oil in the pan if you want to. 

Fruit + Veggies Juice

Kalli's Info: Although there is no added sugar in the fruit and veggie juice on the grocery store shelf, a small serving of this juice contains 25 grams of sugar and only 2 grams of fiber. It’s recommended that you opt for whole fruits and veggies instead. The natural fiber that is in fruits and vegetables add many health benefits, along with keeping your hunger at bay. A fruit and veggie juice with no fiber is likely to have the opposite effect, quickly spiking your blood sugar and leaving you hungry soon after. 

My 2 Cents: An evil genius devised a way to market "healthy" sugar water to, what I would bet, primarily moms trying to feed their kids their more fruits and veggies. The worst kind of assh*le marketing. Boourns. 

Apparently "plus veggies" means inserting a picture of a carrot on every bottle... *eyeroll emoji*

Apparently "plus veggies" means inserting a picture of a carrot on every bottle... *eyeroll emoji*

Protein Bars

Kalli's Info: With more carbohydrates than protein in almost all of the bars on the normal grocery store shelf, many of these bars include as much added sugar as a chocolate bar and are better to be swapped for a sugar-free version. There are many options on the market, such as Quest bars, that include sugar free options... some even being naturally sweetened if you prefer to avoid artificial sweeteners. Read the label and ensure that you’re getting more protein than carbohydrate and steer clear of added sugars. 

My 2 Cents: Might as well buy a Snickers. 

Special K Nourish

Kalli's Info:  Marketed as “Simply good, no artificial flavors or colors.” and “A high source of fiber.” High is a relative term, with most people needing around 25-30 grams of fiber today, 4 grams of fiber per serving is a long way from a daily recommended intake. With 43 grams of carbs and about 7 different types of sugar listed in the ingredient list I would recommend starting your day with a more natural carbohydrate source that will keep you fuller longer and keep your blood sugar down. Remember when reading cereal boxes that the listed serving size is likely not what goes in your bowl. Try weighing out a serving v.s. eye balling it and see if you’re eating more than you really know.

My 2 Cents: This sh*t is the worst. "Nourish" yourself with a big ol' bowl of all the sugar in town. Except don't.

Because... quinoa. 

Because... quinoa. 

Green Goddess Juice

Kalli's Info: With a title and visual emphasis on green, its surprising to note that the first 4 types of juices included in this green juice are actually fruit juices, some of the fruits most naturally rich in sugar out there, such as pineapples, banana, and mango. Although there are beneficial vitamins and nutrients in the juice and more “green” ingredients listed towards the very end of the label, 250 calories and 50 g of sugar would be much more satiating and appetite suppressing in the form of whole foods. Get your greens in a salad or make your own green juice with greens being the main ingredient. 

My 2 Cents: 50g of liquid sugar does not a Goddess make. Big no nos. 

Olive Oil Mayonnaise

Kalli's Info: Although there is olive oil in the mayo, its not the only oil included. Avoid the added inflammatory oils and make your own mayo using whole eggs, olive or avocado oil, and lemon. Did you know that most mayos have sugar added as well? The second ingredient in this mayo is sugar. 

My 2 Cents: There are lots of surprises in this mystery goop. Olive oil is a good time, but this is not. 

Fiber One Bars

Kalli's Info: With sugar as the first ingredient and sugar listed in a variety of forms at least 8 times on these fiber focused bars I recommend getting your fiber from a better source. The beauty of whole natural foods is that they naturally include the fiber your body needs! We shouldn’t have to add fiber to our foods. 100 calories from your favorite fruits and veggies can add the 5 g of fiber that these bars do while avoiding the laundry list of sugars and unrecognizable ingredients. 

My 2 Cents: Might as well eat some oreos wash them down with a tiny bit of your grandpa's metuamucil. Sorry folks. 

Now BIGGER chocolate chips!!! #healthy

Now BIGGER chocolate chips!!! #healthy

So there you have it. The sad thing is, we could have gone on all day with this!! There is so much garbage out there geared toward getting you to spend your money on things that are supposed to benefit your health. IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT!! We rely on companies to provide accurate information to us, but unfortunately its rarely the case. Business is business, and business doesn't always have the consumer's best interest at heart. We've all been duped by marketing time and again. (I had a Slap Chop, how 'bout you??)

When I shop, with a few exceptions, I try to stick to the perimeter of the store. I'm sure you've heard that a million times, but its still the best advice out there. With boxes and boxes of things that can live on the shelf well beyond the zombie apocalypse, it's best to stick to stuff you can pronounce, and that your old-timey granny would likely approve of. 

When in doubt, talk to a professional... and by professional, I don't mean consulting the Google Machine to read a plethora of god-knows-what articles written by various interweb "doctors". Find a real life doctor, nutritionist, naturopath, or health coach and make sure they have some edumacation. 

We are thrilled to have Kalli holding a sold-out workshop at The Modern Woman Show & Exhibition this year. There are gifts in the door-crasher AND fashion show swag bags from her so make sure to get there early and check it out. Also, did I mention you can see her strutting her stuff during The Runway fashion show as a model? Pick up your VIP tickets to the fashion show at www.modernwomansaskatoon.com! See all the spring styles at Prairieland Park on April 22 at 6:30pm. Hosted by Chantel Saunders and DJ Kush, its sure to be a great time! 

Until next time, my fellow Modern Women, don't let the marketing campaigns dupe you, and don't you put those icky products in your mouth!
Katie xoxo


 

The Power of a Modern Woman: Jess Tetu with Lia Reese Canada

Photo courtesy of deMo Photography

Photo courtesy of deMo Photography

What do you do when you come across a strong inspiring female who encompasses the qualities you see in a community leader? 

You have coffee with her then fast forward 3 years and consider her a friend, mentor, and very lucky to have her as a major sponsor of The Modern Woman Show & Expo.  

Meet our friend Jess Tetu, founder of Lia Reese Canada, the owner and operator of 3 award winning spas - Just For You Day Spa located in Regina, Saskatoon, and Lloydminster.  Jess is a entrepreneur educator, volunteer, a philanthropist, and chair for the annual SABEX Awards. She has been nominated and the recipient for countless awards including being nominated for the upcoming YWCA Women of Distinction Award for Entrepreneurship.  

Over the last few years I have had the pleasure of being a client at Just For You Day Spa in Saskatoon. The Saskatoon location is found conveniently just off 8th street and boasts a relaxing atmosphere, great technicians and staff, and a product area that competes with your high end department store. Jess worked with the industries best to create Lia Reese Cosmetics, Lia Reese Botanicals, Lia Reese Body, and Asher Ty for men. 

Lia Reese represents finding your inner & outer beauty, strengthening self-confidence, self-worth & encourages authenticity. At Lia Reese, we strongly disagree with animal testing and give our heartfelt 100% guarantee that absolutely no animal testing is performed in the development or creation of our products.
— Jess Tetu, Founder of Lia Reese Canada

If you're in the market to relax and treat yourself to a spa service I would highly recommend booking in at Just For You Day Spa. Just over a month ago I booked my best friend Leslie and myself for pedicures and the experience was nothing short of perfection. The pedicure room showcases a comfortable setting, soothing massage beds, and is great for accommodating large groups! The technicians were professional, knowledgeable, and made our time at the spa relaxing (Gisele was so great!). We were given countless options for polish, including the option to have a signature JFY pedicure with a take home REBEL polish. We both left there in a blissful state and even joked that we were not going to leave ;)

On your way out it is hard not to resist the urge to check out all the great displays of makeup, skincare, and body products. Just take a looks at a few of the items you can find within the Lia Reese Canada brand.

Photo courtesy of deMo Photography

Photo courtesy of deMo Photography

Lia Reese Cosmetic Lipstick & Extreme Lipstick

  • Extreme pigment
  • Full coverage
  • Long lasting
  • Packed with the antioxidant vitamin E
  • Contains natural vanillin extract 
Photo courtesy of deMo Photography

Photo courtesy of deMo Photography

Lia Reese Body

The body collection includes 9 botanically scented washes, butters, and souffles. With the power of shea butter, vitamin E, and sunflower oil you will be sure to find a favorite among one of these scents:

  • Cocomo
  • Sweet Lavender
  • Island Breeze
  • Orange Dreamsicle
  • Berry Lovely
  • Pineapple Mojito
  • Apple Pie
  • Canadian Maple
  • Citrus Meadows
Photo courtesy of deMo Photography

Photo courtesy of deMo Photography

Elly Mayday Collection by Lia Reese Canada

Limited Edition Elly Mayday Lipstick Collection for Lia Reese Canada

Collection includes 4 lip colours: Aylesberry / Canadian Girl / Hayloft / Sweet Pea

  • Extreme pigment
  • Full coverage
  • Long lasting
  • Packed with the antioxidant vitamin E
  • Contains natural vanillin extract 
  • Made in Canada

To learn more & shop Lia Reese Canada visit their booth at The Modern Woman Show & Expo this weekend - April 22nd and 23rd at Prairieland Park. Special guest and international model, Elly Mayday will be visiting fans, signing autographs, and speaking on the Lia Reese Stage at 1:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Saturday April 22nd and 1:00 p.m. on Sunday April 23rd. You will be able to shop the Elly Mayday Collection and all of the Lia Reese Canada products at the event! 

Women in BIZ - a Rock Star panel of local women entrepreneurs

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Behind every successful woman is her story. We have gathered a panel of brilliant trail blazers within our community of women entrepreneurs. On Sunday April 23rd at 1:00 p.m. join us as we chat about how they began their journey, what inspires them, and tip and tricks for those with the entrepreneurial spirit.  

  • We are storytellers.
  • We are inspiration.
  • We are knowledge.
  • We are powerful.

Who should run more of the world? Women. Until then, enjoy the guidance of some awesome women who lead fiercely and fearlessly.

Here are the power houses on our 2017 panel:

Jana Danielson

Owner of Lead Pilates

As the owner of Lead Pilates, Cycle & Fitness and Lead Integrated Health Therapies, Jana has worked to create unique business devoted to providing clients with the latest trends in health and fitness and therapies including Chiropractic, Physiotherapy, Naturopathic Medicine, Reflexology and Massage Therapy. Jana is dedicated to an all-around healthy lifestyle and shares this passion with her team and clients. Jana went from teaching Pilates out her basement studio to opening a studio in 2010 on Taylor Street to just this past summer, expanding her Pilates studio to launch a unique organization that integrates multiple movement therapies under one roof.

Jana completed her Bachelor of Commerce and Masters in Business Administration Degrees at the University of Saskatchewan. Jana worked as a Business Consultant before making a career change into the wonderful world of Pilates. She was certified thorough the Pilates Core Integration Program in 2008 and since then has completed certifications through Physical Mind, is PMA Certified and in 2013 joined Balanced Body as a Faculty Member. She is also a CoreAlign Master Instructor.

 

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Mackenzie Firby

Owner of Two Fifty Two Boutique

Mackenzie Firby was raised on a farm near Kenaston, Saskatchewan.  After the completion of High School, Mackenzie moved to Saskatoon where she obtained her Bachelors of Commerce at the University of Saskatchewan in 2003.  Mackenzie was then employed at SaskTel and Hershey as a Sales and Training Representative. She shone in her positions and was awarded various awards within both companies.

Mackenzie realized there was a need for a high-end women’s clothing store in Saskatoon. In 2014, after over a year of research and preparation, Mackenzie opened Two Fifty Two Boutique. Two Fifty Two Boutique carries world renowned brands including Eileen Fisher, DVF, Kate Spade and Vince among many more.

In 2016 and 2017 Mackenzie was honored to be a YWCA Women of Distinction Award nominee in Entrepreneurship. Two Fifty Two was the recipient of two 2016 SABEX Awards, Customer Service and New Business Venture.  They were again nominated in 2017 for Customer Service and Community Involvement. Mackenzie was also nominated for the 2016 ABEX Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Community involvement and having a positive effect in our city and province are extremely important to Mackenzie. She believes in supporting local charities and events as a way of giving back to the community that has been so supportive to her and TFT. Mackenzie is involved and regularly attends charitable events, donates items for fundraising and has in store promotions that support local charities including: The Saskatchewan Cancer Agency, Ronald McDonald House, The Heart and Stroke Foundation, Dress for Success, Hope’s Home and numerous others. Mackenzie has also had speaking engagements at the University of Saskatchewan, on Global and CTV TV and various Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce events.

 

Mandi Newman

Manager of Operations at Vendasta Technologies

Mandi Newman is a typical Type A personality. She’s a lover of lists, calendars and organization — even her closet is color-coded. After graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Regina in 2010, she joined the sales and finance world with Scotiabank. She is now the Manager of Operations at Vendasta, and looks forward to building her career within the growing Saskatchewan Technology sector!

Vendasta’s platform empowers agencies and media companies to grow their sales of marketing solutions for small and medium-size businesses. Their system identifies hot leads who are interested in the products you offer and allows you to provide scalable tools at the right price and service model when businesses are ready-to-buy. Vendasta has won many awards including: 

SABEX Award - Business of the Year 2016

SABEX Award - Growth & Expansion 2016

Deliotte Tech Fast 50

PROFIT 500 ranking of Canada's Fastest-Growing Companies

Flow Magazine "Best Places to Work in Saskatoon" 2016

 

Candace Ippolito

CEO & Owner of SaskMade Marketplace

Candace Ippolito was raised on a cattle operation near Kisbey, Saskatchewan and remains active in the livestock industry.  An animal science graduate from the College of Agriculture, U of S, Candace is a committee member of Canadian Western Agribition, and an active 4-H alumnus.

SaskMade Marketplace is a specialty grocery store focused on the best in local ingredients. SaskMade connects consumers with farmers through transparency & education of food production. They have created meaningful conversation about where food comes from by offering farm fresh produce & meat, take home ready meals, uniquely Sask ingredients and many more pantry staples, snacks & treats. Join SaskMade today to taste the local difference. Buying local - Good for the community, Good for the soul.

Paula Collins

CEO and Owner of Masala Model & Talent

Established in 2000, MASALA Model & Talent is a Saskatchewan based full service agency providing representation for models, actors, singers & dancers for local & international placement. Masala provides professional services for to clients across Canada & The U.S. from fundraisers to major productions.

The MASALA School of Professional & Personal Development courses enhances confidence/self-esteem in modeling & acting to healthy body image, peer pressure, posture/poise, personal hygiene, etiquette, public speaking, job preparation & professionalism. Paula holds weekly classes to promote confidence, poise, along with a focus on workplace and social etiquette. You can find Paula engaged within the community and supporting other local women entrepreneurs.

We hope to see you on Sunday April 23rd at 1:00 p.m. for an informative and interactive seminar with these ladies!

The 'Modern Woman' Food Bank Challenge

Could you live off $32 dollars a week for food?

As a prudent planner and control freak I thought I could do this without issue. I spent the weeks leading up to this challenge thinking and re-thinking how I could demonstrate that a proper meal plan and budget could make this more than possible, but I ended up being part of an experience I wasn't at all prepared for.

But first, some things you should know...

Recent statistics (and a CTV news segment that inspired this blog post) reported that over 18,000 people utilize the Saskatoon Food Bank every month, with over half of those people being children. I wanted to find out why that figure was so high. In a casual conversation, someone suggested that in a city of roughly 255,000, as a statistic, 14% of the population living below the poverty line wasn't as bad as some places. However, I looked at it not as a statistic, but as 18,000 individual people... and that seemed like a whole lot of people. People that couldn't be pigeonholed into a certain demographic. Students, seniors, working families, those collecting social assistance or disability, and a variety of people who have just simply fallen on hard times due to any number of circumstances.

I did some digging into the data reported by HungerCount, a comprehensive study of food bank use in Canada, and found that Canadians visited food banks 14,000,000 times in 2014 with an average of 310,461 recipients each month being children. Yikes. Numbers are numbers, but I wanted more information - not just statistics, but a perspective from someone who could address the problem on behalf of the people utilizing the food bank right here in Saskatoon.

I was very lucky to correspond with Deborah Hamp, Director of Operations and Engagement for the Saskatoon Food Bank who was about to provide me with more insight.

I learned that there are four sizes of hampers available depending on how many people the hamper is designed to feed, and that the monetary value can change daily depending on what is available. A food basket is designed to last 2-3 days and can be accessed every 14 days. These baskets can contain soups, bread, lentils, oatmeal, canned protein frozen meat, pasta or rice, fresh produce (when available), and milk for children until 17 or nursing women. Deborah explained that the obvious key issues with the high usage of our food bank are inadequate social assistance rates, supplements for low-income seniors, and other income assitance such as disability. However, a bigger issue still is that wages for many low-income earners cannot keep up with the cost of living.

As I recently heard Bernie Sanders say, "Jobs should lift people of poverty, not keep them in it."

True dat, Bernie. The idea of "working for a living" has never been more untrue for a lot of people in low paying jobs. So what is happening to cause this problem among working people?

Well, think about it. People are working unskilled jobs that can't pay them enough to compete with increasing expenses, so there is consistenly a shortfall. Shortfalls that inevitably lead to crippling personal debt, increased government health care spending, increased social isolation, and increased incidence of mental illness such as depression and anxiety. Listen up people, you would be depressed too if had been eating the same thing for a week, if you didn't know where your next meal was coming from, or how you were going to feed your child a nutrious diet. People are quick to judge though, we've all done it.

So then, how do we elevate the quality of life for Canadians living below the poverty line? Well, HungerCount's findings suggest that affordable housing initatives, investments into education, and to improve support systems for low income families with children. But sadly, this is altogether easier said than done because, just as the people who utilize the food bank are multi-faceted, so are the solutions to each individual sitution. Plus, in a global economy that is sketchy at best - where does the money come from? In my discussion with Deborah Hamp, I then asked how people can help at a personal level, and she said the most powerful way to help begins with education.

So I decided to do just that. I wanted to do something to better educate myself and others about what it's like to experience food insecurity.

I designed a project based on similar challenges taking place all over North America, but adjusted the numbers to reflect the numbers here in Saskatchewan as best I could. I based this calculation on what the Saskatchewan monthly allotment for a single person on assistance would receive monthly, took away half for other necessities (soap, cleaning supplies, medication, toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, etc.) and then divided by 4 to get an estimate of a weekly food budget. I realize that number may vary depending on the other expenses that could occur in a month, and the food budget could end up being slightly or not-so-slightly less depending on an individual's personal expenses. It is also noted that with an entire month's installment of money more savings could be accrued with bulk purchases as opposed to a single week's allotment, but for our purposes, a week's estimate was what we were going to work with. After speaking to a few people that either receive this benefit or work in this industry, I felt this number was fairly accurate and similar to what the other challenges presented in terms of a budget.

I needed some minions for this project so I asked some "modern women" to help me out. I'm so proud of these people for accepting this challenge whole-heartedly, and taking it so seriously with nothing to gain except a greater knowledge about themselves and others. We were very lucky to have each other as a support system via a Facebook group chat, where we could talk about our experience throughout the week. Many people in this situation wouldn't have that kind of support. There were laughs, frustrations, anger, and sadness as we all got a very small glimspe into a life of food insecurity. Our experience was only 7 days, but this is a long-term reality for too many people.

The rules were simple:

  1. Spend no more than $32 on your food for the week.
  2. No use of your previously purchased items that can be very pricey and likely to not be in your fridge or pantry. We were to treat it as a worst case scenario that left you starting from scratch; condiments, cooking sprays, oils, coffee, tea, or spices. It all had to be in the budget. We allowed random condiment packages collected from fast food places, because no matter your income - I'm pretty sure everyone has those atrocities laying around, and truly, if you wanted to go so far as to go grab them from somewhere, you could.
  3. No use of expensive convenience appliances - no Actifrys, Vitamixes or Keurigs,etc.
  4. Friends could not take you out for lunch, cocktails, or bring you Starbucks. Those living well below the poverty line often experience social isolation due to lack of funds and the challenge attempted to reflect that.
  5. You could not participate in unlikely workplace situations such as events with expensive dinners or office luncheons.
  6. Most people have family, so if you were invited for a gathering and offered a meal, you could have it - but you had to be invited and couldn't ask them to do so.

It wasn't easy. Not even a little bit. I actually really recommend everyone try this for a week. It should change your perspective, and if not... well, you're an asshole. Ok, just kidding, but I can't imagine it wouldn't.Meet the Challengers, have a peek at our grocery baskets for the week and what everyone had to say about their experience...

 

JENNA ROUFOSSE - REALTOR®

 

I am accustomed to a fairly comfortable lifestyle, which entails my trusty Keurig machine, my Culligan machine, a fridge, pantry and freezer full of food, and dining out on a frequent basis. Due to my job, I spend a significant amount of time wining and dining my sphere, past clients, and new connections.

I went into this challenge thinking – how hard can this be? I was very wrong. My strategy was to purchase as many “filling” items as I could, which included the items below. Needless to say, the change in diet, and for the most part, drastic increase in carbs, and lack of protein and fresh produce, hit my body hard. By the end of the week, I felt very ill, sick to my stomach, and I was both mentally and physically exhausted. I was emotional, very moody, and quick to anger. My motivation and drive to do anything was at an all time low. This is even evident in the diary I kept for this challenge – by the end of the week, my accounts are brief and to the point. I found it difficult to pay attention, focus at work, and I felt cognitively slower to react to everything. I could even feel my confidence diminish slowly as the week progressed. We were asked to weigh ourselves both before and following the challenge, and although my weight did not fluctuate at all, I felt like I had gained at least 10 pounds, and it was affecting me mentally. I just felt unhealthy, and by the 7th day, I could hardly find the motivation to even leave my house. Obviously, I could see how this was affecting my job, which demands a very high level of energy. I also found this challenge difficult as I do much of my prospecting through active meetings with past clients, new connections, and my sphere, which generally occur at coffee, lunches, and/or dinners.

 

I took a lot away from this challenge. It was incredibly eye opening, and allowed me to see things in an entirely different light. I think that the most important thing that this has taught me is that even though there is “financial help” for those in need, and I use that term lightly after this past week, it is not nearly enough to provide someone with the nutrients and diet that is needed in order to function and live a normal life on a daily basis. I think that the results of this challenge are HUGE – we can see a correlation between diet and motivation, mental, cognitive and physical functions, and the ability to function on a daily basis in its most general sense. If our aim is to help those in need, the current system, standards, and expectations need to be re-evaluated.

 

 

 

MACKENZIE FIRBY - Owner of Two Fifty Two Boutique

When grocery shopping, I usually purchase what I feel like eating with little emphasis on cost. I usually do a small bit of comparison on price but if I really want something I will purchase it regardless of the cost. I belong to many social groups and attend many events where I eat out- I often find that I ate at a restaurant or at an event almost every day of the week. I had not thought about what a luxury these two points were until doing this challenge!

I completed the challenge without cheating. There were many times that I was tempted but knowing that I could “go back to normal” after the challenge kept me going. It is a harsh reality knowing that there are numerous people in our community that this is their diet and nutrition every day.

 

The first few days of the challenge were ok- I felt quite normal physically and emotionally. It was almost like a diet plan- I didn’t want to cheat. By about Tuesday, Day 3, I started to feel sluggish. I had little to no energy and no drive or focus. By day 4 I had developed a dull headache that would not subside. I was tired of eating the same few items and I was hungry before going to bed. Day 5 and Day 6 came and I was in rough shape. Headache, energy zapped and I was hungry by afternoon and before bed. By the end of the challenge I only had some rice and oatmeal left- no fruits or veggies or protein. In total, I lost 5 pounds on the challenge.

 Before doing this challenge, I never thought about the impact of a proper diet and nutrition. It really opened my eyes and has made me more aware of what people face on a daily basis. The tired, sluggish feeling, lack of focus and the jitters were all effects I felt and I am sure that anyone eating like this on a regular basis would feel the same. Going forward I know that I will be much more aware of what I am spending on food and what I am eating. I really feel for those that do not get proper nutrition and I will make every effort to assist those in need whether it be donating to the food bank or by giving a monetary gift to any organization that assists those not able to afford nutritious foods.

CHANTEL HUBER - Co-anchor CTV News Saskatoon

 

When I was asked to be part of the Food Bank Challenge and live off $32 in food for the week, I thought, ‘sure no problem'. I would just be buying for me and no one can budget better than this gal who’s an expert shopper and can see a sale miles away! So, when I set off to do some shopping for the challenge, I did my research first, as I always do when hunting for a bargain. It wasn’t until I got to the store that I actually had to pull out my phone and use my calculator to make sure I wasn’t adding in my head wrong! I actually had to make multiple trips and to different stores to make my dollars stretch. When I had finally found everything I thought I needed, I went home proud I had stuck to my budget. Then, the week began and reality started to hit.

 

At first, the hardest thing for me, as trivial as it sounds, was not being able to grab a coffee mid morning or midday at Starbucks or Tim’s. It’s a habit I’ve been accustomed to and it was hard to remember I couldn’t just indulge if I was out or wanted to meet friends or coworkers for a coffee. As the week went on, I felt more hungry and had fewer choices for food. With a busy schedule, it was hard to preplan meals with very few ingredients. By the end of the week, I felt really low energy, tired and irritable and didn’t feel like eating anything I had left. I kept my workout schedule in tact because I wanted to experience what that felt like but also because it helped boost energy levels despite a lack of nutrition. By the end of the week, I started to feel nauseous and was counting the hours until the end of the food challenge. I was really noticing the lack of protein and fresh vegetables, even though everything I bought was relatively healthy. I didn’t buy any junk because it was cheaper.

The biggest thing I took away from doing this, was the realization of just how much food or a lack of it and the proper balance of foods impact your physical and mental state. I always knew of this, but to experience it was a different story. I realized how fortunate I am for what I have. I hope by doing this challenge, it raises awareness for others that hunger is a real issue in our community and if we all find ways to do what we can, whether it’s donating to the food bank, helping serve a hot lunch at a local school or helping someone we know who is struggling, hopefully we can each make a difference.

 KAREN MARTIN - Store Manager of Home Outfitters, Saskatoon

 

The initial shopping experience was a huge shock for me. I had to make decisions between certain foods-a loaf of bread or a box of crackers- I went with the crackers and glad that I did because there were many days when that’s what got me through. There was not enough money for both tea and yogurt, so I went without tea (my little bit of daily caffeine-that I was used to) for the week.

I shopped at Dollarama and Walmart, but realistically if I only had $31 for food, I probably didn’t have bus fare and unless I lived within walking distance to these two places, I would have to buy my groceries at one or the other. Neither place offered the best quality in product-but it was all I could afford.

I started out the week feeling like I could stretch this food out for the week, but as I was having less and less food left, my thinking certainly changed. I didn’t throw out the leaves from the celery-thinking I could fry them and throw them in my soup for anything extra. I started slicing the cheese super thin and rationing it, but then I was starting to feel quite hungry.

 

I work at a job that requires quite a bit of physical movement, so it definitely was not enough to keep me working to my full capacity. I had headaches, felt bloated and quite frankly a bit depressed about the lack of variety that a strict monetary diet like this gave me. I started to no longer look forward to eating because it was really just something to stop the stomach from feeling so horrible.

Even though it was only for a week, it was definitely an eye opener and brought awareness to what a lot of people in our city must deal with everyday. I strongly believe that in order to help people with life’s basics, we need decent affordable housing. When this market is so out of balance with everything else, there remains nothing for the simple basics of food and water.

 

KATIE MARTIN - Makeup Artist/Esthetician; Modern Woman Staff & Blogger

 

I organized this challenge to raise awareness for the Saskatoon Food Bank and to educate our readers about food insecurity. I truly thought with proper planning it wouldn't be that hard. I tried to shop smart with the budget I had to work with, planning for at least 1-2 servings of protein a day, 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, and 2 cups of coffee (albeit instant... barf) per day. The rest I had to go for satiety over my usual choices of complex carbs and ended up with a lot of bread and pasta. I've heard several people argue that "you can buy rice and beans in bulk and eat healthy on a budget". Ok, I wish those people would actually try that. Not only will eating nothing but rice and beans get old fast, but lack of variety in your diet is not only unhealthy due to zero variance in micronutrients, but its super depressing. So, I have to respectfully disagree with those people.

The first few days weren't that bad because I had most of my food to pick and choose from. However, right from the get-go the instant coffee upset my stomach and the margarine I could afford made me gag from the taste... "I Can't Believe Its Not Butter?" Believe it. It isn't. I was desperate for real coffee but I was still in good spirits.

 

Mid-week I was really starting to get that gross feeling when you eat too much sugar, even though I hadn't had any sweets at all. I wasn't sleeping well, I was more than a little irritable, my emotions were starting to run rampant and I was having a hard time focusing at work. I had started skipping meals due to lack of appealing food despite being physically hungry. Full disclosure alert: I have bi-polar disorder. I rely on routine and consistency, and it never occured to me that this project would affect me so drastically. By Thursday, I was all over the place. I was sleeping about 4 hours a night and when I wasn't mad about nothing, I was near tears over nothing. Friday (Day 6) was one of the worst days I can recall in a long time for not being able to manage my thoughts and moods. But, though my husband begged me to throw in the towel, I told him that there were so many people out there who suffer from mental illness that don't have the option to just throw in the towel. How many people can't succeed mentally because they don't have to means to care for themselves physically? How many children are being told they have a variety of behavioral or attention disorders when perhaps some of these behaviors could (at least partially) be due to a poor quality diet? I truly have no idea, but it definitely raised some questions for me. Nope, I was not throwing in the towel... I was determined to finish the challenge.

Saturday I went to work all day and while I felt physically drained I was in a bit better spirits because I knew it was the last day. By the end I felt defeated, physically and mentally unwell, and had lost 7 pounds despite feeling like I gained 1000. For the sake of giving readers the best account of my experience that I could, I tracked my diet via My Fitness Pal. I found I was eating between 1100-1500 calories a day, 60-70% coming from (not-so-complex) carbs and was below the recommended amount for protein, fat, fiber, many essential vitamins, and drastically below in iron and calcium. I realize that part of my struggle was the shock of going from a nutritious diet to something quite the opposite despite my planning, but nobody should have to treat their body less than optimal because of food insecurity - short or long term. Everyone in our community deserves to have access to a healthy, well-balanced diet. We definitely need more affordable housing to offset the high cost of living, community supports including educating the public about food insecurity, to provide accessible and quality education to people living below the poverty line about proper nutrition and how to prepare healthy meals, and we need to inform the public about how to get involved by donating and volunteering. We are all one community, and hopefully this inspires everyone to do a little bit more.

So there you have it. Please take the time to reflect and be grateful for all the good things in your life and never take them for granted.

Change can begin with helping just one person.

You can find the Saskatoon Food Bank at 202 Ave C S and visit their website at www.saskatoonfoodbank.org for information on their most wanted items for donation or how to volunteer.

Peace out Saskatoon... go be nice to each other.

Katie