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The Journey to

Nutritional Wellness with



Summer activities

GIFTS THAT GIVE BACK to the COMMUNITY RAISING a GLASS to FEMALE FRIENDSHIP Meet the founders of The Society of Beer Drinking Ladies



on the cover Molly Sanders

brings us on her journey to Nutritional Wellness, page 18

inspiration 5 8 20 26 30 41 46

New Zealand: A Land of Hope and True Solidarity Discovering My Roots: Read all about our Writer Kelly’s Ancestry History through Ancestry.com Get In The Ring: Real Talk with Female Wrestler Jody Threat Open Door Policy: An interview with Wychwood Open Door about food waste, community and the magical powers of a good meal Gifts That Give Back: Canadian owned businesses that all have a mission to help others in need A Shared Journey of Sisterhood: Exploring The Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto Inspiring Pay-it-Forward Instagram Accounts

beauty 16

Pesky Summer Skin Issues Solved!

friendship 23 Playing the Friendship Game: Making New Friends as An Adult in the Gaming Community 32 Finding Connections as an Adult, and the Magic of Friendship Apps 36 Raising a Glass to Female Friendship One Pint at a Time: We talk to Jaime & Erica, founders of The Society of Beer Drinking Ladies 2 FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM SPRING/SUMMER 2019


40 Remote Work is the Future, but so is Team Culture 44 Fighting Loneliness with Community Connection 45 Circles of Sisterhood: Healing in Community

wellness 6 7 10 14 15 18 24 34

How to start a community garden 15 of the best farmers’ market Loving & Listening to our Bodies with LaGree Instructor Leila Panjvani Where We Lack Connection, Weight Loss Groups Are Filling In Try Contributor Tabitha’s Asian Inspired Coleslaw Salad The Journey To Nutritional Wellness with Molly Sanders Bridging Loneliness and the Generation Gap, One Interaction at a Time Fun, Festive & Under $5: The best Spring & Summer things you can do for less than a cup of coffee!


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founder’s letter

Kat Leroux Founder

Sara Maginn Pacella Managing Editor & Writer

Jody McCutcheon Associate Editor

Writers Emily Rzeznicki Kelly Zemnickis Lauren Mackay Naima Karp

Jr. Writers Caitlyn Stewart Krista Hovsepian

Jr. Designer Virnell Walker

Photographers Jenny Vu Jenna Hum Micah Domingo

Contributors Kristina Bruce Lindsay Dent Shawna Patruno Tabitha Wills

Interested in being a Contributor? sara@futurefemalemag.com

Interested In Advertising? hello@futurefemalemag.com

Follow us on @futurefemalemag #futurefemalemag Future Female Magazine informs readers that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the articles of this issue belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual. Future Female Magazine has made a commitment to ensure that content in our issues are accurate on the date of publication. The views expressed in the articles reflect the author(s) opinions and are not necessarily the views of the publisher and editor. The published material, adverts, editorials and all other content is published with good intent for our readers. Future Female Magazine cannot guarantee and accepts no liability for any loss or damage of any kind caused by our publication and errors and for the accuracy of claims made by the advertisers. All rights reserved and nothing can be partially or in whole be reprinted or reproduced without a written consent.


What does community mean to me? Well, even before I started Future Female Magazine, I was searching for a community that would help me feel heard and supported when it came to my infertility struggles. Becoming a part of a community with other women going through the same struggles helped me advocate for my fertility health and ultimately helped me to conceive after three years of experiencing failed fertility medication, treatments, diets, and a miscarriage. Though this community was full of women I hadn’t met in person, it still impacted me the same way. Community is wherever you can find it, if you’ve got an open heart, the intention of helping others, as well as being open to being helped. When you look you will find that sense of community just about anywhere. Today, Future Female has been the ultimate sense of what I call community. Extraordinary women of different walks of life who are willing to put their stories, the challenges they face, and struggles out there in the hopes of touching the hearts of others. It’s been a more overwhelming response of unity that I could ever imagine. I hope you, as a reader, feel the essence of community as you read this issue as much as we do. Thank you for continuing to support real women in your communities and for reading our magazine.

Kat Leroux, Founder @katleroux


New Zealand: A Land of Hope and True Solidarity WORDS BY NAIMA KARP PHOTO BY RASHID UMAR ABBASI

Recently, New Zealand suffered a mass mosque shooting in the small town of Christchurch, where 50 people were killed and dozens more injured. In America, we send “thoughts and prayers.” In America, we try to sell a dream that is ultimately a pyramid scheme. We thought that Sandy Hook would be what blew the lid off. Years after those small children were ripped from their parents’ lives, we thought that the aftermath of Columbine’s second coming at Parkland High School would be our saving grace. Instead of receiving an infinite outpouring of support for these survivors, the NRA and conservatives went as far as to call them “crisis actors.” To take someone’s trauma and twist it into a political ploy seemed more than evil in the face of such a horrific event, but we weren’t surprised. Because America, meant to be our greater family, doesn’t care about its children. We’ve been painfully relearning this for years, the most recent moment being in the striking outcome of the New Zealand mosque shooting. The juxtaposition of Jacinda Ardern’s ideology against Donald Trump’s seems surreal - a well-postured Wonder Woman, her cape fluttering in the wind, with a small, orange villain in the background undermining every good deed she does. Islamophobia isn’t going away any time soon, but the way we react to it can. New Zealand has always been a hub of inclusion and acceptance. For that reason,

I wasn’t surprised to discover that the shooter was in fact from Australia, a neighboring country with a much darker history of oppression and racism. Many feared that the attack would give way to even more hostility towards Muslims, encouraging bigotry in a land where it had been virtually unseen in the past. But New Zealand’s reaction accomplished the opposite, acting as a shining beacon of hope even when New Zealanders hit their lowest low. The country found a way to redefine community and hopefully inspire others across international waters. People held hands and created a safe space for Muslims. They wore hijabs as a sign of support and a way to say: we will not “other” you or isolate you. Instead, we will embrace you and remember that you are part of us. You are an integral member of this family. New Zealand has been protecting its aboriginal members of society for years, and without hesitation, did the same for their Muslim brothers and sisters. In Ardern’s opening speech regarding the shooting, she greeted the masses with, “As-salamu alaykum”, the Muslim greeting which translates into, “Peace be upon you.” Perhaps if we encouraged more of these inclusive mentalities, the chance of radicalism and number of individuals who feel snubbed by society will dissipate. Then, society no longer becomes the enemy, but rather an ally for the individual in turbulent times.

Ardern’s swift and decisive moves after the shooting were unlike any we’ve ever seen in America. She banned the sale of privately owned, semi-automatic weapons. She banned the shooter’s manifesto. Going a step further, she paid for all of the victims’ funeral expenses and vowed financial support for their families. In the aftermath of the NZ shooting, one of the Parkland survivors committed suicide, as did a father of a Sandy Hook victim. To see another country take such immediate, drastic action while their own laughed at them must have felt more cruel than we can imagine. If your country becomes indifferent to you, do you start to become indifferent to your own life, letting your own feelings of low self-worth seep in until they’re unbearable? We can credit Ardern’s urgent, revolutionary call-to-action to a mostly left-wing country, or we can finally admit that the values of empathy and compassion play key roles in dismantling the horrifying epidemic of mass shooters that we face today. The shooter aimed to divide people, but ended up uniting them—proving that without a supportive community, a society means nothing. When we fully embrace each other, the enemy loses its power. The U.S government has a long way to go; but in the meantime, we can all channel Jacinda the Superhero in our day-to-day, fiercely standing up for the underdog and demonstrating acts of kindness wherever we go. It’s a matter of life and death.




community garden WORDS BY LAUREN MACKAY

It’s one of the great urban community building ideas of all time: secure a piece of land suitable for growing, put the word out, and see what comes. The best case scenario is a beautiful and sustainable shared green space that provides a nourishing growing area for neighbours to meet at, and collaborate in, for many years to come. The world of community gardening is as diverse as the communities that comprise and support them, but there are also several universal components to the experience. Everything starts as an idea and it’s important to dream long in advance of taking action. Once your community garden idea starts to take shape, you may want to reach out to nearby garden communities to discuss what worked and what didn’t for others who have already traveled this path. In fact, many Canadian cities have vast networks of gardeners, horticulturalists and permaculturalists that would be happy to connect. Recently, I sat down with Carolyn Smith, one of the leaders of Wildwood Community Garden in Calgary. One of the original members of this community garden, Smith shares her experience of how her community began to plan their project. “I’d spoken with a few neighbourhood friends who were interested in starting a community garden. Around the same time, I attended a local plant exchange where I met some others and we loosely gathered and began doing some research. First we began by touring other existing community gardens. We reached out to some local experts and Rob Avis of Verge Permaculture came to our neighbourhood to do a walkabout and discuss different approaches. We decided we wanted to engage an expert to help us design a sustainable system including wicking beds, swales (to hold water), and a food forest. We wanted to build a space where people could garden together, have an

area to gather, grow healthy, organic food for themselves and their families, and be able to share knowledge and ideas.” The logistical aspect of planning a community garden is immense. The most obvious part of this process is procuring the land itself. If you plan to grow food at the garden, a comprehensive environmental study should be completed beforehand. On site water access and management is another essential component of a long term garden. Next, the necessary permits and permissions must be obtained and, before you dig, you must call to have the utilities mapped to prevent any damage to underground utility lines. There are often funding sources that can be accessed through municipalities, community associations, and/or grants. Smith noted that while the work done at the outset of the project was tremendous, to research, plan, build, and execute the garden, in subsequent years the logistical work shifted to the practical running and maintenance of the garden. “When we were starting up, we were part of the Community Garden Resource Network, which was a great resource linking people from different gardens across the city. Typically, the leaders of each garden would assemble to share ideas, discuss their specific situations, assist others, and problem solve. It was interesting because we came to realize that regardless of the size of the garden, the particular setup or philosophical bent, we all struggled with similar things. This group allowed us to support each other and learn together, to take ideas back to our own communities, and try them out there. This group no longer exists, but it was a great resource while it lasted.” The creation of a community garden can be as laborious or simple as that particular community wants. Some communities have 60 plus beds, others have a dozen. Some func-


tion collectively and others suit those seeking a more individualized experience, where members can rent a bed, show up to garden and that’s it. Smith and her community chose to build their garden on permaculture principles, intentionally designing what naturally works in accordance with their particular land. Understanding that the health of their soil is essential, they are proponents of no-till gardening, green manure, and chop and drop practices. They keep their soil covered, protecting it. What they take from where they grow, they return, an approximation of how soil health is retained in nature. Alongside earth care, another significant permaculture principle is that of people care, the relationship between the gardeners is considered to be just as important, and reviewed and cared for as necessary. As anyone who has ever worked in a volunteer capacity knows, it can be difficult to maintain interest over the long term. Community groups can be tricky to manage due to disparate desires and outcomes, and conflict is bound to arise, but as Smith says, “we all have something to offer to the garden. Through the sharing of each gardener’s gifts, the community mimics the food forest. Some people attract pollinators, some people bring beauty, others grow food. Others still are communicators, like the mycelium underground connecting it all together; each person is a contributing piece of the working system. No one works in isolation.” When the community garden works, it is so much more than growing, it is the whole becoming greater than the sum of its parts. In a good season, the separation between humans and nature is lessened and we come to learn that there are no mistakes, only lessons leading us toward a greater understanding. @wildwoodcommunitygarden



best of the


JUNCTION FARMERS’ MARKET Saturdays from 9am – 1pm May-October, Junction Train Platform 2960 Dundas St West The mission of the Junction Farmers’ Market is to, “provide local, sustainably produced fresh foods in ways that build the community, support local food growers and producers, and promote access to healthy food for everyone who lives in and around the Junction.” TRINITY BELLWOODS FARMERS’ MARKET

One of the best things about having warm weather again is that it means farmers’ markets are back, and they’re all over the GTA! I go to the farmers’ market every weekend because the produce is fresh, it helps our local economy, and everything is usually cheaper than buying it at the grocery store. What’s not to love? If you’re looking for a market close to you read on to find your source for fresh and local produce!

There aren’t too many markets in the north end of the city so if you’re in the neighbourhood this is one to check out.

Fridays 9am – 3pm, May-October 374 Sheppard Avenue East

APPLETREE FARMERS’ MARKET Tuesdays 3pm – 7pm May-October, 875 Dufferin St. “AppleTree is committed to promoting the fresh food movement in a fast-paced city” by “support[ing]...rural farmers, local producers, and artisans.” NORTH YORK FARMERS’ MARKET Thursdays from 8am – 2pm May-October, Mel Lastman Square 5100 Yonge Street

Wednesdays from 8am – 2pm May-October

This farmers’ market is in the parking lot of Sherway Gardens, which is great because there’s lots of parking available for all the people who come.

The mission of the Trinity Bellwoods Farmers’ Market is to, “support and increase access to fresh, local, sustainable, naturally grown and certified organic agriculture. To educate the community in the food they eat, the source from which it comes and how it is grown and/ or prepared. Trinity is farmer focused, favours slow food, not fast food, and eating at hearth and home.”

There’s a lot of parking available, so you’ll have an easy time carting your newly bought produce home. There’s also more than just produce for sale at this market. It’s well worth the visit!


Fridays from 8am – 2pm June-October, Sherway Gardens 1536 The Queensway


Saturdays, year-round, 5am – 3pm St. Lawrence Market

It’s the perfect spot to grab lunch if you didn’t bring anything from home since it’ll be healthy!


Tuesdays May-October, 3pm – 7pm Trinity Bellwoods Park


East York Civic Centre

If you work downtown this is the perfect spot to grab some groceries at lunch so you don’t have to make an extra stop on the commute home. STONEGATE FARMERS’ MARKET Tuesdays, 4pm – 7pm 194 Park Lawn Rd in the parking lot of St. James Anglican Church

This market is a bit smaller than some of the others on the list, but smaller can still pack a punch!

What’s great about this market is that it’s an easy stop on the way home from work to grab what you need for the rest of the week.



Saturdays 8am – 2pm, June-October There’s parking about half a block away from the market, but it’s worth the slight walk. It’s a rather large market, and there’s fresh produce, flowers, and baked goods for sale.

Wednesdays 2pm – 6pm 4709 Dundas St. W.



Saturdays, 7am – 2pm May-October GO Parking Lot. 1865 Weston Rd. This market has been open for over 40 years, so you know it’s a good one to check out. THE DISTILLERY DISTRICT MARKET Sundays 12pm – 5pm, Late May-Sept (check ahead on Facebook for schedule and cancellations) Everything that’s sold in this market is from 100 km (or less) away. They take local very seriously. You can find organic preserves, crafts, and cured meats.

The market runs all year round, but it’s only outside in the summertime.

Thursdays 2pm – 7pm, Spring-December (check with Facebook group for official start and end dates) Leslie Street and Lawrence Avenue East They have great produce, and in the summer time they also sell wine. What’s not to love? No matter where you are in the city there’s a market near you. Make sure you stop by one (or a couple) this season. Check with your local BIA to see which farmers’ markets are closest to you; you won’t regret it!





I’ve long known that my last name (Zemnickis) isn’t my father’s original last name. But no one seemed toknow what it was supposed to be or why it changed. To add to the mystery, my paternal great-grandfather changed the name before he disappeared. I’ve long wondered what the reason might be, was there a family secret that was to be kept hidden? I’ve long wondered what the reason might be, was there a family secret that was to be kept hidden? This would have been around the time of WW1, so was there a background he wanted to cover up? “We know that he wanted the family name to sound and look more Polish”, my dad Richard once told me. “But aside from that, it’s a mystery.” Then one day, my late aunt Aija discovered a photo of my great-grandparents and a name was written on the back:

Zemit. My true family name was re-discovered. Zemit. The question remained, why did he change it? Most of all, why did he disappear? I know that my great-grandfather, Juris Zemit, was a salesman so maybe there was a desire to become more accepted if his name looked more ‘common’. Having a coffee with my dad, he confided, “It was an open secret that grandfather was not faith-


ful, my grandmother was alone a lot because he was romancing all these other women”. Ahhh… so maybe Juris messed with the wrong woman and had to go incognito? My father didn’t grow up in a time or a home that encouraged family history chatter, so he’s at a true loss as to where his roots started. I decided that the only way to go, to see if there was something in my DNA to help uncover some clues was to go to the experts, and I got my DNA kit from AncestryDNA. My parents decided to participate as well. I started off feeling like I had a bunch of blank puzzle pieces and no idea what the intended image was to be. I’m not famous enough to be on an episode of Who Do You Think You Are? But what I was, and still am fascinated by, is also the mere discovery of who made me what I am, all these people before me coming together and forming my story decades before I took my first breath. I had started my tree on Ancestry years ago, occasionally adding to it over the years as I heard one story or another. Each time as I added to the tree and new potential matches appeared my heart skipped a beat… I’m going further down this rabbit hole and people that have been long forgotten are coming to life once again. My DNA test results were the first to come back, and despite


my belief that my dad’s grandfather had Jewish roots he was trying to hide, no evidence came back to support that. Genetically, I lean more towards my father with my DNA showing 79 percent Latvian, Lithuanian, Czech, Polish, Slovakian… and then heavily French and… Irish-Scottish. On the map that Ancestry provides, tracking my roots and ancestors’ movements around the world, there was a curious marker… I have ancestors who immigrated to America just before the turn of the century, 1900. Wait. What? Who the heck hopped a boat to America? I asked my dad. It was a shock to him too, and I asked him specifically because it seems that they left from Poland. My great-grandfather wanted to appear more Polish by changing our name. Since Nancy Drew is tough to track down, let’s go to Crista Cowan, Corporate Genealogist for Ancestry for some answers! “When looking for the origins of a late 1800s/early 1900s immigrant ancestor, there are three main steps to take. First, locate them in all U.S. Federal Census records. Available on Ancestry, these records will list the year of immigration and the naturalization status of your ancestors. Second, if they became a U.S. citizen, locate your ancestors naturalization record on Ancestry. These records will often list the birth place in the country of origin, document any official name changes that may have occurred, and list the date, the ship, and the port where they arrived into the United States. Finally, using that information, search the collection of passenger lists on Ancestry to find the ship manifest that documents your ancestors’ arrival. In that record you will see who they immigrated with and, often, you will also see the name and address of their nearest relative in the country they recently left.” As I looked closer, clusters of my DNA seemed to match parts of New York State and Michigan. “Well, did I ever tell you there was a large population of Latvians at Michigan at one point? That they went there for some reason?” All of a sudden the world I knew I was connected to shape- shifted. It gives me goosebumps. I wonder who went to America, what became of them, did they find what they were searching for?

That means of reinvention though is something I have discovered to be true in myself, that ability to go ‘well, okay… let’s start over’ is in my nature. My ego isn’t troubled by starting anew, it is what it is. The mystery of my great-grandfather still looms, but the discovery of his personal choices has been a discovery I didn’t expect. My DNA can’t reveal why the heart does what it does. (But it may give a clue as to why my dad has a connection to over 60 cousins he had previously been unaware of ! SIXTY.) Though I will say this- that in a sea of farmers and very nature-focused folk, I do take after him in the career angle; as does my dad, who eventually carved out a successful career in Canadian advertising. So that aspect of his life definitely continued on. As I hit a temporary wall in my father’s side of my family tree, my mother’s side is in full bloom. As I write this, I’ve gone back 13 generations on her side of the tree! I’m discovering names and people that I never knew of until today, and my mom’s results came back with a predominantly English/Irish-Scottish mix. I wonder who I’ve yet to discover… who is hiding in a photo or a tale someone might know about. I once told a friend that my mom comes from a French Huguenot background, the French Protestants who were persecuted and all but wiped out. “How your ancestors survived is a miracle!” he laughed as I told him. “You technically shouldn’t be here!” “We’re survivors!”, my mom countered. “We come from a long line of tough stock.” My mom’s right. My journey was born out of a complicated path, one that would provide material for a great soap opera or a stand-up set with all the romances and heartbreak and disappearances and leaving one land for another… and it’s a path that I am just scratching the surface of. This is a journey to be continued. Tune in next week… ;)

When my dad’s DNA results came back, we laughed. He appears to be 99 percent Baltic, 1 Percent Finnish… so there’s no hidden nationality there! No riddle to explain what happened to grandpa Juris. But this experience has gotten me to ask my dad more questions, and in doing so I’ve discovered the multiple marriages and name changes… all things my dad attributes to being pretty common during the war. “I mean, you could easily say you lost your wife. You didn’t know what happened to her”, my dad confessed. This is one thing Ancestry can’t really uncover for me, the decisions made on this side of my family to leave loved ones for new loves. Because my father came to Canada at the age of 11, during WWII, not with his mom and dad, but with his dad and the new woman in his father’s life. Grandmother Zelma stayed in Europe with my aunt Aija. “I grew up with a lot of anger at my father, and I didn’t see my mother again until I was in my 30s. She eventually found us in Montreal by means of a postcard that was addressed to me in Canada. That was it. I have no idea how it got to the rooming house I lived in. I still have that postcard, I should show it to you sometime.”



Loving + Listening to our bodies with






It would be great if the fitness community could resist the pressure to make fitness sexy. Models who represent fitness should embody health + wellness.

Today’s workout classes are all about fast results in the shortest amount of time. But where does holistic health have its place within an image-obsessed world of instant gratification? Protecting our bodies and mental health within a fitness framework is priority number one, and Lagree fitness instructor Leila Panjvani knows that better than anyone. She grew up in North York and always played sports throughout adolescence and college. But after graduating, she found herself at a loss when it came to finding a 9-to-5 desk job that fit. One night, her friend Marlon, a successful fitness trainer, took her salsa dancing and told her about a new workout launching in Canada. He wanted her to jump on board as a trainer. “I told him he was [mistaken] since I had no fitness background, but he claimed that my love for being active and ability to naturally motivate others was enough.” After Marlon pestered Leila for almost a week, she finally contacted Studio Lagree. She had never felt a burn quite like it. “My longest, toughest Ultimate Frisbee games were nothing compared to the leg shakes I got on the Lagree megaformer after just a minute.”


Originally, the Studio owners thought Leila would be too passive and quiet to teach the Hollywood-born workout. Little did they know, these thoughtful qualities would set her apart from the rest of the instructor herd. Six years later, she’s still with Lagree, teaching at three locations. Usually, workout classes like Lagree involve a bootcamp-style barrage of “no breaks,” “you can do anything for 30 seconds,” and “burn off that tummy.” Leila prefers to focus on encouragement, and avoids any language that might promote low self-esteem. “We only have one physical body, and it’s our vehicle to carry us around through different adventures in our lifetime. Healthy physical movement is tied to improved mood and immune systems, as well as better digestion. As a trainer, I try to cue in a way that gets people to value movement and even enjoy time spent in class. “The idea of a “bikini body” makes me sad and uncomfortable. It’s our job as trainers to rebuild trust and create a safe space. Why would I talk about body image, which snowballs into unhealthy mindsets, if I have this rare opportunity to talk to a room of people about [the] lymphatic system and building strength for stress-reducing posture?” Leila ultimately believes it’s about being healthier and having more energy to spend with the people we love. Over the years, she’s spoken to many clients who struggled with workout classes and the feeling of being shamed due to trainer demands in class.


Much of the time, pain is equated with success in a workout. Leila heartily disagrees, and instead believes in listening to our bodies as one of the biggest ways to get ahead in a workout. “When I tell clients to plank, they associate [with] the common version done on the hands and toes. [They] then associate success with looking like a specific shape, rather than with sensations that come with specific muscle activation. Listening to your body is the first step of conscious movement. I always encourage stretches and breaks during class. If you just listen to a trainer and power through pain, you can be hurting yourself and not getting the most out of your workout.” In a world of Instagram fitness celebrities, it can be hard to find a trainer who carries the same values as Leila. Fortunately, she has a strong community of friends that we can safely follow on IG for a range of approaches. “Kirsten (@doc.wishloff) is an athletic-movement specialist who has a very educational account. Scotty (@scotty.mac.yoga) is hilarious and a stickler for form. Jeff (@moorlife___) is wild and zen and holistically healthy to his bones. Stef (@namastefyoga) is thoughtful and challenging in her muscle-stacks. Jaffer (@jafferyoga) creates a safe space in his yoga classes and offers tons of modifications. Jesse (@oa_jbruce) creates empowered communities. JP (@ jpsurfyogi) is a huge reason why I love to teach with safety modifications. Ali (@alipaloheimo) truly understands the importance of body positivity.” Two ideas that Leila hopes will stop haunting the fitness community are those of shame and judgement. They show up in everything from what is expected of female athletes, to what fitness designers like Lululemon want their target customer to look like. “It would be great if the fitness community could resist the pressure to make fitness sexy. Models who represent fitness should embody health and wellness. As much as sex sells, it’s painful to see posters of women doing planks in front of fitness studios with an arch in their back to get their bum to stick up. “We need to join communities that are transparent about body image and ability issues, instead of creating a community that only accepts one specific type of person.” To find a fitness community that’s right for you, Leila suggests researching the images that various studios promote on social media, or in their bricks-and-mortar locations, and asking questions like, “Are the magazines by the couches addressing fitness or fashion?” and, “How does the person at reception describe the experience of this workout?” “If we can learn the benefits of strengthening certain muscles, we can feel proud and accomplished of our body for its work. If we can start to smile while working out, then it becomes a pleasure to attend classes. If we enjoy moving, then we will do it more often.” After Leila discovered how fitness empowered her and the communities she belonged to, she found a new way to empower less-privileged communities, via an organization called Women’s Global Health Innovations (WGHI). She was introduced to it by a Pilates client who shared her mission to bring innovative heath products to women and adolescent girls around the world. Leila was ultimately hired by WGHI, a company that has brought the first “bfree” menstrual cup to the market. “It’s the first anti-bacterial menstrual cup, which is a game-changer for anyone who can’t boil their cup between cycles. For girls who don’t have access to clean water, they can just wipe it clean and reuse. It’s the only cup I’ve used that doesn’t leak when I work out or go about my generally active day. Its top rim is petal-shaped for a better fit. WGHI is already working with local organizations in Kenya and Uganda to help bring sexual and reproductive health education to the young girls and boys who need it most. We’re also

now making partnerships with groups in Costa Rica and locally in Canada.” Leila reminds us that life is all about balancing a constant give-andtake of positive energy, which helps us inspires ourselves and the communities around us. The next time you head to a workout, don’t just think about how chiseled your abs might look. Instead, remember to smile, give yourself a hug, and value good health as you mindfully spend time with loved ones. Remember that your body type is just one aspect of a much bigger picture, and the less you fixate on body image, the more you flourish. As women, we need to stop going through life equating pain with success, even if the world tells us to. Loving ourselves is just as tough to accomplish as a sweat-soaked workout, so cherish these milestones equally.



Where We Lack Connection, Weight Loss Groups Are Filling in WORDS BY KRISTINA BRUCE Kristina Bruce is a Body Acceptance Coach who works one-on-one with individuals to help them more fully accept their bodies, so they can live empowering and fulfilled lives no matter what their size. Kristina can be found at www.kristinabruce.com

@kristinabruce_coach As we grow older it can become harder to make new friends. Our days are occupied with work and family, and we don’t often meet friends like we did when we were in school. It can be lonely, and as human beings we do well when we feel connected to others - especially when that connection includes shared values and interests. Enter weight loss groups. One of the similarities dieting companies like WW (formerly Weight Watchers) and Slimming World have in common (aside from selling weight loss), is that they offer connection. Whether it’s in-person group meetings or online forums, signing up for a membership provides a built-in community and support group. Weight loss groups are alluring because they connect people through a shared goal and common purpose - there is this feeling of ‘being in it together’. They also come with a ready-made cheering section to support and validate people when they meet their goal. Like any group where ups and downs are shared, real friendships are born from the inherent intimacy that comes with being vulnerable with others. It’s easy to see why these types of weight loss programs are so popular - they offer a forum where real emotional

needs can be met. But, is the common goal of weight loss how we want to foster social connections? We live in a fatphobic society that is judgmental of larger bodies, and weight loss groups by their very nature strengthen the stigma associated with being fat. It’s not sold to us that way, but the underlying message of weight loss programs is, ‘your body/life would be better if you lost weight’. The main thing connecting everyone in weight loss groups is an underlying sense of their bodies not being good enough or needing to be fixed. That’s a destructive mindset. Of course, that’s not how weight loss programs frame it. They sell their service as a means of helping people achieve health and well-being. Except, mounting evidence shows that weight loss itself does not improve health, rather it’s a change in health behaviours that improves health, regardless of body size. (Read Body Respect by Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor to learn more.) What about the people who do lose weight on these programs and feel good as a result? Unfortunately, keeping the weight off is almost impossible long-term. Research shows that of people who pursue intentional weight loss, 95 percent will gain all the weight back


within two-five years (Australian National Medical Health and Research Council). So, what happens when inevitably, the weight lost, comes back on? Likely, weight loss group members will be supportive and encouraging of their fellow comrades to get back on the wagon. But as we can see from the research, the pursuit of weight loss is a never-ending cycle. In order to keep the weight off, the amount of time and energy required can be all-consuming, and that’s what these groups end up encouraging - an all-consuming focus on body size. Instead of fostering engagement based on common interests that nourish the mind and soul, precious time is spent tracking points and sharing tips on how to make/keep one’s body smaller. Social connections are important and healthy for us. In a 2017 Harvard Health Letter publication, eight decades of research on social connection showed that those who nurtured positive relationships were happier, healthier, and lived longer lives. So, while weight loss groups can fulfill a need for connection, they lose their appeal when we see that the reason for being in one (the pursuit of weight loss) isn’t so positive after all.

What if instead of communing with the shared goal of weight loss, we gathered together with the intention of accepting all body sizes, rather than shrinking them? Body positive fitness classes are popping up all over Canada. Body Positive Fitness in Toronto and Big Girl YYC in Calgary offer environments where people can enjoy the pleasure and health-benefits of movement and connection with others, but in a place of size acceptance, rather than change. With all the free time that’s become available from not counting points and measuring food, what other interests could be pursued that fulfill the desire for positive social connection? Perhaps a knitting club, or tech club, or spending time giving back to your community through volunteer work. When we remove the pursuit of weight loss from our agenda and live from a place of body acceptance, we discover that the confidence we thought a thinner body would give us is available to us right now. With that confidence, we can connect with others who would love spending time with us, just as we are.



Coleslaw Salad Tabitha Wills (Lavoie) is a body positive ambassador and a culinary nutrition coach. She has a strong appreciation for the power that food has to heal us nutritionally, but believes that food holds no moral power. Her mission is to remove the morality of food, nixing the idea of “good” and “bad” foods while educating about the power we hold to manage our own stress through small, manageable changes in our life.


Spring is here — finally!


For most of us, it feels like that barbecue was never going to get fired up again after a long, cold, very snowy winter. But, here we are, so grateful to feel the sun’s rays on our faces once again and be able to socialize outdoors with our friends like no time has passed. Food, especially at potlucks and barbeque parties, has a magical way of making all of this happen so eloquently. Shared interests may bring us together, but the shared experience of the food we enjoy in each other’s company is the true pleasure. If potlucks make you shudder because you’re always stumped on what to bring, fear not! I’m sharing a really delicious salad that will truly knock everyone off their feet. I know, I know … isn’t the saying, “Nobody makes friends with salad”? Trust me when I say this bowl of deliciousness will absolutely prove those words wrong. It will take you no more than 10 minutes to make, which basically means you’ve achieved hero status. The best part? It’s incredibly easy to scale up if you’re heading out to a massive potluck or scale down if it’s just for a few intimate friends.

IN G R E D IE N TS 1 bag (340g) Kale Slaw 4 cups Baby Spinach, shredded 1 Red Pepper, diced 1 Yellow Pepper, diced 1 cup Bean Sprouts Green Onions, sliced Cilantro (optional) Peanuts, chopped (optional) 2 Limes, juiced

1 tsp Garlic Powder 1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes (more if you like spice) 1/2 tsp Ground Ginger 1/3 cup Sunflower Seed Butter (can sub for peanut butter or almond butter) 1/4 cup Plant-Based Milk (or water) 2 tbsp Sesame Oil

D IR ECT IO N S 1. 2.

3. 4.

In a large bowl place the slaw, spinach, red pepper, yellow pepper, bean sprouts, and onions. In a mason jar, combine the lime juice, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, ground ginger, sunflower seed butter, milk, and sesame oil. Put a lid on the jar and shake vigorously until the dressing is combined. Pour the dressing overtop the vegetables and mix to coat the vegetables in the dressing. If you’re using cilantro and peanuts, top with desired amount. Enjoy!



Shawna Patruno is a Skin Care Therapist, Facial Expert and Model with over 10 years experience in the industry. She recently started her own global facial and wellness business and has a goal to change the face of beauty and love the skin their in.







4 5

1 2 3

Penny Frances Watermelon Mask/Exfoliant $55, Pennyfrances.com Wild Hill Botanicals Firewood Toner $36, Aniseapothecary.com

4 5

Arbonne 10-in-1 Beauty Benefits CC Cream $52, Arbonne.com Fur Ingrown Concentrate $39, Aniseapothecary.com

Alumier Clear Shield Broad Spectrum Sunscreen, Alumiermd.ca


This pesky issue is caused by the higher temperatures and increase in humidity. In the summer people tend to break out more thanks to trapped dirt and excess oil.



Uneven skin tone and freckles are formed from exposure to the sun which causes your skin to create a darker tone of melanin to protect itself. Essentially, it’s a self-induced localized tan that you didn’t pay for!

To solve this problem ensure that you are exfoliating. Remember that sweat and oil can be hugely detrimental to oily skin and when pores get clogged with sweat and pollution it contributes to breakouts. In the summer months naturally oily skin can get even more oily as we tend to sweat a lot. I found that a great exfoliant helps, and recommend this Penny Frances watermelon mask/exfoliant to help keep your skin dewy, not oily when the heat hits. My second solution product is a miracle worker as it helps with breakouts and inflammation. It’s a super hero product – a toner from Anise Apothecary.






Rashes increase during the summer months due to the rise in temperature and excessive sweating. You can use Aloe Vera as a cooling, soothing, natural anti-inflammatory. Use pure Aloe Vera directly on the rash or irritated skin to reduce discomfort. I recommend using a fresh plant leaf if you can. Simply cut in half, scoop out the gel, and apply to the inflamed or irritated area.

Applying sunscreen daily is essential, and ensure it is a SPF 30 or more. This is non-negotiable!! If you have sensitive skin, like me, I recommend Alumier Clear Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 42 to keep your skin safe and breakout free. You will also need a regime to break up the damage and stop the progression, because even after you step out of the sun your skin pigment will continue to get darker. To combat this I recommend using a CC (Colour Control) cream like this Arbonne Product.

Ingrown hairs is another common issue that women and men alike suffer from in the summer. Always use water and a shaving cream, and remember to exfoliate to prevent ingrown hairs! When you do get an ingrown the Fur Ingrown Concentrate will help soothe your skin, heal the bumps, and prevent future ingrown. SPRING/SUMMER 2019 FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM 17


Nutritional wellness WO R D S B Y L AU R E N M AC K AY P H OTO G R A P H Y B Y J E N N Y V U




t isn’t for a lack of information, or even a lack of knowing what to do that prevents people from cultivating healthy nutrition habits. It’s the not knowing how to change and maintain habits that is the hardest. This is precisely the gap holistic nutritionist Molly Sanders, creator of Get Real to Heal (GRTH), is striving to bridge. It was while working as a technical writer when Sanders really began to become interested in the link between food and healing. Feeling underwhelmed by the work she was doing at the time, she decided to shift gears and enrolled in studies at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition. Noticing her own eating habits weren’t exactly what she would like them to be, she began to identify areas where she could improve herself and parlayed her own experience into developing a program that can be used to help others. “Our relationship with food is necessary. Eating is something we need to do three to five times a day, but beyond being essential to our health, the role of food in each of our lives is also cultural, celebratory - it’s unavoidable. There are many conversations we land in around food, without meaning to. I wanted to offer something that could help people truly heal.” Sanders’ Beyond Food Program is a 12-week program that offers a guided and supportive infrastructure allowing participants to tackle whatever health concerns they are interested in healing, for example, reducing blood pressure, managing type II diabetes, weight loss, addressing digestive disorders, binge eating, etc. The program is comprised of three four-week segments that work on the individual’s connection between food and the body, the mind, and the environment. “We are looking to create understanding of how particular foods work for your body, to examine the mental side of eating, your behaviours, and to take a good look at how the people and places in your life contribute to how you are eating as well,” says Sanders. The program is completed online, and all clients are given guidance developing, tracking, and maintaining a program that works for them. Each week includes a weekly education session by Sanders, delivered via video, and a session with a personal food coach (all coaches are holistic nutritionists). The program is self-led in the sense that everyone is guided to determine what they want their personal results to be, but also provides the support and accountability so many of us need to make change. The approach the coaches take is to ask lots of questions and then the answers reveal what you need. Food is tracked through a photo taking food app. In Sanders’ expertise, there are three areas to examine on the road to creating nutritional wellness.

THE BODY CONNECTION Many of us live in a state of disconnection to the body. Somewhere in our journey, we have lost the ability to know what feels good, what helps us feel well. The first four weeks of the Get Real to Heal (GRTH) program works to re-establish clear and conscious understanding around how your body feels when you eat particular things. “At the beginning, we focus on making the connection between what we eat and how we feel. When I eat protein, I feel like this. When I eat refined sugar, I feel like this. Once we begin to build a consciousness around how we feel when we eat certain things, we

can begin to plan to reinforce what we know helps us feel well.”

THE MIND CONNECTION Each of us have developed specific practices around eating. Our habits are formed by so many aspects of our lives. To truly make changes, we must delve into what we think and feel about food and how we use it. The second month of the GRTH program centres on addressing the emotional side of eating. Is fear causing you to eat? Do you experience food guilt? How can motivation become self-generating? It is during these weeks that we dig and uncover the baggage, the difficulties many of us have. We address whatever surfaces and remove it and then make sure you are set up for success.”


truly heal ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS Where we come from, how our families, and greater communities relate to food affects us profoundly. Did we have access to healthy food growing up? Now? The final four weeks of the GRTH program focuses on our relationship with our external environment and how it is impacting our relationship to food. “Many of us don’t even consider how the external affects our nutritional wellness - our experience with family, friends, roommates. But it all plays a huge role. We look at what’s working and what isn’t and strategize around what is preventing your success.” This final month looks at things like goal setting, meal prepping, etc. and sets clients up to be mindful of environmental aspects that can be harmful to maintaining their goals. Cultivating nutritional wellness is undoubtedly fraught with complexity. If you find yourself struggling or in need of support, considering some appropriate coaching may be right for you. “ We aim to provide the right supports and uncover what is blocking success in each particular case. There is a lot of power in taking the mystery out of the equation. I’ve seen people really transform their lives through food. We know that restriction and negative motivation doesn’t work long term. Many of us find ourselves in a place where we are working against our circumstances to try to succeed with our health goals. Even though 90-95 percent of people who come to me already know what actions to take, they aren’t set up to succeed. It takes something to turn this relationship around, but with the right support, it is entirely possible.”








From Cyndi Lauper as an early advocate in the 1980’s, to the celebration of the birth of women’s wrestling in popular culture through shows like Netflix series GLOW— all about The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling—the roles of women in fierce, competitive sports are growing. While the pioneer years of women in sports once reserved for men have mostly passed, women like Jody Threat are pushing boundaries and inspiring others to literally tackle athletic feats once thought of as inappropriate for ‘the fairer sex.’ Although she’s relatively new to the ring, Jody routinely takes on both male and female opponents with her furious talent and dedication. Watching Jody grappling inside the ring and greeting fans outside of it, one can easily tell that she takes her job as a wrestler and role model seriously. Her charm and ability make her a wonderful ambassador for women in the high-impact sports community. Just ask my seven-year-old daughter, who saw her first match featuring Jody earlier this spring, and now has Jody’s autograph proudly displayed on her bedroom wall. I in turn was fortunate enough to ask Jody a few questions.

Within the wrestling community in general, fans included, it has to do with a shared love for a niche passion. We understand the history, context, nuances, the jargon, and things an outsider wouldn’t understand. In the locker room, it takes a certain type of person to purposely beat their body up the way we do. We deal with a lot of things and situations that the average person would never encounter nor understand. I think it’s because we understand each other, we are there [and] have been there ourselves, we get it. So we can connect. A lot of times, [regardless of where we are,] we’ve crossed paths in a locker room with at least one person we can relate to, or at least [someone we share a mutual friend with]. There are always stories to be told, too, that help bring us together.

What drew you to the world of wrestling?

How do you train? How often do you practice?  What does a typical work day look like for you?

I am not a lifelong fan like most and didn’t grow up watching wrestling. About two and a half years ago on a Friday night in downtown Toronto, I walked into a random independent wrestling show and it was love at first sight. I think it was the energy from the ring that sparked my passion, and now it’s my life. What has kept me so dedicated is the fact that wrestling is something that keeps challenging a person, regardless of how long someone has been around. It challenges you physically, mentally, and creatively.

Professional wrestling involves a lot of travel for matches, but there is still this strong sense of community, no matter where an event is held. Why do you think that is?

Professional athletes are often turned to as assumed role models. How do you feel about this, and the young people watching you in the ring? Most of my life I’ve been in a “role model” position. I’m the eldest sibling in my family and I’ve worked with kids and youth for 15 years of my life. It’s very normal to me. I understand the responsibility that comes with the privilege.

There is no typical workday. It is never the same and varies wildly. The only consistency is when I am home; my dog and I share a morning walk to our local coffee shop. In the gym, I lift heavy plus add in some functional circuits and in-ring training. My training is all over the place at the moment, as I’m coming off being very sick for the last month. When I am disciplined and healthy, I am in the gym four to six times a week, in the ring one or two times, and I hit hot yoga weekly. In addition to that, I have an average of two to three matches a week.



What changes have you seen in the wrestling world since you joined it?

I’m very new to wrestling, been wrestling matches for about a year and a half. In that short time, I have noticed that there is an increase in meaningful opportunities for women.

Who are some of your wrestling role models? Why?

LuFisto (https://www.lufisto.com/), because of the battles this woman has fought and survived to help bring women’s wrestling and inter-gender wrestling to where it is now. I have so much love and respect for her. My other is Josh Alexander (https://impactwrestling.com/talent-roster/josh-alexander/) for his inspiring drive and perseverance.

Who are some of your favourite opponents? Why?

LuFisto: She’s just so cool and has done so much for women’s wrestling. Overall she is just so fun to wrestle. Alexia Nicole: We have great chemistry and I really love our dynamic and how our styles mesh. Holden Albright: He feels no hesitation about kicking my ass and will push me to my limits.

You care a lot about dogs. Can you tell me about some of your favourite charities that help out animals in need?

I am a big supporter of animal adoption and believe we should at the very least be considering adopting before shopping. TEAM Dog Rescue (http://teamdogrescue.ca/) is my favourite animal charity. They are a registered Canadian charity that provides safe havens for dogs while they wait for their forever home. I have two friends who foster for them all the time, and I have seen first-hand the amazing work they do. I try to support them financially whenever I can, as I am far too busy to be able to foster myself. @jody.threat



Playing the Friendship Game Making New Friends as an Adult in the Gaming Community WORDS BY EMILY RZEZNICKI

Will you be my friend? Yes, you. Lovely person reading this article. I enjoy books, film, radical feminism and yes, I am addicted to coffee. So, friends? Don’t worry, I don’t really expect you to accept me as your new bestie, but I think I’ve made my point - that was awkward and making friends as an adult is hard. As adults, our social lives become much smaller compared to in our childhood. Our worlds become more private and localized to our jobs, family, and the few hobbies we partake in. We have work friends, yoga buddies, and the local barista who makes our daily morning coffee, but these are all surface acquaintanceships. The prospect of finding new friends becomes especially difficult if you are a part of the community of people who perhaps have alternative interests, meaning if you’re someone who prefers a four hour, combat heavy session of Dungeons and Dragons to an evening of romantic comedies and a bottle of wine. Or, you would rather bring your group of friends to a new board game café rather than a new bar. For those of us who connect with the above, the question then becomes ‘where do I go?’ and ‘where are the other people like me?’ Toronto is a massive city with so much to offer for specific interests. In the last few years the city has blossomed with more and more venues that cater to the gaming community. The boom of board game cafés has allowed many independent businesses to open their doors to the gaming community and put their own unique twists into the landscape. BoardAgain Games is a vibrant and ever-growing board game business and community started by Michelle Isocianu, a veteran gamer herself, who decided she wanted to lead. “I got into games and wanted to share the love of them. There are so many new games coming out too, so it was important to make the events accessible so I can have more reach.”

Along with providing the newest releases of board games, Michelle wanted to make sure that the space she curated was inclusive and felt safe to everyone who entered. “I don’t think there are many events in the city that specifically brand themselves as inclusive. [ to those in the LGBTQ+ community] I think board games are for everyone, so I made a point to make the events more welcoming, and diverse. A lot of gaming spaces are dominated by men, so it was important for me to open my events to more women and queer folks for example, who don’t always feel welcome, or assume to be welcomed into the gaming communities.” Michelle runs a plethora of events and has outsourced other spaces across the city to help build onto the community BoardAgain Games has established. “I run drop in game nights every Wednesday at Away Café (680 College street), Queer Nights, Polyamory Toronto Game Nights, and many others.” Michelle feels that it is a duty to find like-minded proprietors and is not shy about giving those spaces a platform within her own customer base. A few other establishments she recommends include, Quiche Games who also run inclusive events, ProtoTO, and for anyone who wants to check out larger gaming conventions Michelle recommends Breakout Con. ”They have made a serious effort in being inclusive and accessible, sharing the goal and mission that board games really are for everyone.” Of course, within any community, there are always hurdles to overcome. While the Toronto gaming scene has made strides to be more welcoming to everyone who wishes to participate, the system isn’t perfect. And there are those who feel reluctant when it comes to inserting themselves into the community for the first time. But Michelle believes that things have improved, “There is always room for improvement, we are not completely there yet, but I feel optimistic by the groups I’m involved with and hopefully the popularity of my brand means that things are moving in the right direction.” As adults it is daunting to immerse ourselves into a world that we are not entirely familiar

with or have neglected for a part of our life. It is even more intimidating to enter that world and attempt to connect with new people in hopes of developing new friendships. You are not alone. People who have at one point never played a table top adventure are now becoming Dungeon Masters and running their own games in the many cafés across the city. It just takes that first step of allowing yourself to try something new and enjoy yourself while doing it. For Michelle, the advice she gives to curious adults is simple, “Try it out! There is a board game for everyone! Board games are a great way to meet new people and share an activity together in a safe and fun environment. Many people come on their own to my events and leave with new friends, creating a nice group of regulars who see each other week after week and connect socially.” If you need further incentive, Michelle has begun to expand on her goal to make sure BoardAgain Games is accessible to everyone by tackling the issue of café fees. “I’m attempting to gather more support on Patreon, which would make it possible for me to allow folks who can’t afford paying to play, to come and play for free! It is expensive to live and play in the city, so I’d like to encourage those who are more fortunate to help more marginalized folks enjoy a safe, fair, and accessible gaming experience.” Do you ever feel a burning desire to take on the persona of a heroic warrior and battle your way through fantastical lands? Have you ever wondered how apt a detective you would be? Or, do you want to crush your friends with your extensive trivia knowledge? If you answered yes or even a maybe to any of the above, it’s likely time to go to a board game café. With so many establishments, conventions, and local communities, the prospect of finding new personal connections is easier than ever. Why hold back? Just don’t go chaotic evil too fast!



Bridging Loneliness and the Generation Gap, One Interaction at a Time WORDS BY SARA MAGINN PACELLA Going back not too long ago, several generations of a family would live under one roof, or at the very least, near each other. Thanks to globalization, technology, and careers that moved miles beyond the old family business model, we are afforded wonderful choices as to where we work and live, and how we do so. A part of the common definition of North American success means owning your own home. While this independence is a wonderful thing, it has separated families, with generations of people now making contact virtually, with less face-to-face contact, and sometimes oceans between them. The expression “It takes a village to raise a child” is well known, but it shouldn’t just end there, because we all need our community, our village, whether we’re two years old, 22 years old, or 102 years old. For whatever reason, in recent years, ageism seems to be a big factor in the way that various groups interact with one another, whether it’s within the workplace, a local community, or a family unit. We’ve been spoon-fed a “generation war” of sorts, in which millennials and baby boomers are pitted against one another and begrudge each other their respective entitlements. With roughly one-third of the Canadian population having reached their golden years, both millennials and Generation X’ers face a challenge that previous generations have not known: living in an age in which both our children and parents may require a great deal of support and care. This can be a huge undertaking for all generations involved. Perhaps it’s time to stop carving out different segments of the population by age and instead allow them the time and space to thrive together. Growing up and growing old seem to be increasingly lonely times, but there is no real reason why it has to be this way.

Non-Familial Intergenerational Interactions For around 20 years, the design of non-familial intergenerational interactions—the concept that both young and old can bring value, vitality, knowledge, energy, and joy to each other’s lives—has been gaining momentum and is being integrated into a variety of places. Shared-care facilities place senior citizens alongside college or uni versity students and daycares for newborns and toddlers, offering 24 FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM SPRING/SUMMER 2019


to work in senior homes, with sick children, and with disadvantaged youth in the community. In a nutshell, I’d like to give Henry the chance to share his love of people with those that could benefit from it the most. My hope is that he’ll help people forget about their pain for a little while, provide a happy and love-filled distraction during a stressful time, or simply reduce loneliness and give people something to look forward to.”

Taking the Time to Speak up and Volunteer Consider these types of programs when you are looking for care for your children and elderly. We can improve the quality of everyone’s lives by working together.

regular, shared activities to bring people together—whether music classes, crafts, board games, or more. Studies have found that these types of community-driven initiatives provide wonderful benefits, with blossoming friendships and increased self-esteem for everyone involved. A 2013 Japanese study found that bringing together different generations allows young children to develop their social and emotional skills, while allowing older generations to enjoy company, stave off loneliness, and reap additional rewards of lowered blood pressure, delayed mental decline, and a reduced risk of disease and death. Intergenerational interactions have also been shown to increase the number of smiles and conversations held by older adults. Other studies have revealed that children who have more exposure to older generations are less likely to be perpetrators of ageism, setting up younger generations to take better care of and show more respect for their elders.

Paws for Preventing Loneliness Owning pets isn’t just about companionship: it’s also tied to many health benefits. Exposure to animals has been linked to reduced blood pressure, decreased cholesterol levels, increased opportunities for socialization, decreased feelings of loneliness, and more. Many senior citizens can no longer care for pets because of mobility issues or rules that prevent pet ownership where they live. Yet this hasn’t stopped

therapy dogs from becoming a huge value-add to many communities as more and more animals are being integrated into programs and enriching lives. Andrea Van Wieringen, who is currently in the process of having her dog Henry train to become a therapy dog, says, “I watched him build relationships with my young children and was in awe when it was evident that my kids had each developed a love and bond with Henry. Henry is just over two years old now and is first on the scene if one of my kids is hurt or upset. He will calmly make his presence known by sitting at their feet or laying his head in their lap. This is Henry’s way of providing comfort and it works. It also comes naturally. His presence, in times of angst, provides a distraction and has a way of diffusing hurt feelings or lessening the pain of a scraped knee. It’s this quality, the unconditional comfort that a dog can provide, that really drew me to the idea of putting Henry in a therapy-dog role and helping others.” By sharing Henry’s love for people, Andrea is hoping to make a difference in her community. “The therapy dog volunteer organization that I am interested in focuses on serving the sick, elderly, and lonely populations,” Andrea adds. “I feel that people in these groups can greatly benefit from the company and love of a dog. If Henry is accepted into the program, he will have regular (typically weekly) visits with his ‘clients,’ enabling a relationship to be developed. My hope is that he’ll get the opportunity

Donations of time and money are needed by many local organizations that work towards providing better, richer lives for all of us, young and old.

“I watched him build relationships with my young children & was in awe when it was evident that my kids had each developed a love and bond with Henry.”


open door



Wychwood Open Door first opened its doors to the mid-town Toronto community of St. Clair West in 1986. A daytime drop-in centre, the organization has served an average of 39,000 meals every year, offering up breakfast and lunch three days a week to those who are homeless or socially isolated. I recently met with Sue Ellen Metcalfe (SE), Wychwood’s Chef and Kitchen Manager, and Kiera Toffelmire (K), Senior Manager of Programs and Community Relations at Second Harvest, for breakfast at Emma’s Country Kitchen to talk food waste, community, and the magical powers of a good meal.

FF: How did you find your way to Wychwood Open Door? Sue Ellen: I was working in a Drug and Alcohol Rehab Centre, and the food budget I had per person was 55 dollars a day. And I thought, these people are struggling to get better—what about those on the street? So when the opportunity came up to be at Wychwood, I applied. But I had no idea it was going to be as tough as it was. When I walked into the kitchen, we had 50 pounds of potatoes and some canned goods. So I started from there, no spices, and built the kitchen! It took a good six months to get everything sorted out and stocked so we could feed people properly. Keira: I live in the neighbourhood, so I knew about Wychwood just from being in the community. And then when I joined Second Harvest and started doing some site visits, I met Sue Ellen and fell in love with Sue Ellen! Fell in love with the work they were doing. I was visiting so many drop-ins at the time, and I had never seen the quality of meals served at a drop-in as I did there. I told Sue Ellen this is way better than anything I ever make myself !

FF: Sue Ellen, you really have incredible meals that you prepare for the guests at WOD. The first day I volunteered, you were celebrating

Family Day and that was an amazing turkey dinner you made up! A feast! Where else have you cooked? SE: Well, I have over 35 years’ experience, cooking in kitchens all over the world. I’ve cooked in Paris, Milan, Venice… I’ve cooked for Jamie Oliver, I’ve cooked for Pavarotti! And I cooked for Pavarotti in Canada, when I had my restaurant in Port Hope. K: Sue Ellen has—I mean, we have supportive volunteers, but Sue Ellen has singlehandedly transformed [WOD] and the program. The quality of meals that are served [has improved], and we’ve seen lasting health implications. SE: We have a guest who cannot be sheltered because she can get so violent. She does self-medicate and she’s a diabetic. She’s fine with me, absolutely fine. When I first started there, the cops came in on a regular basis! FF: It just shows the power of nutrition, of a good meal. Also how you treat people and interact with them. You’re treating them as a guest, not like “Person One.” SE: We have respect for each other, in the kitchen as well. If you have a problem, you take it up with the person first and you have one crack. Then I deal with them! We are a family, we’re very supportive of each other. By and large, I have the same volunteers I started with. Our dishwasher, Jim, started when I did and I couldn’t live without him. K: And you’re very careful about the nutrition! X amount of calories, all the nutrient boxes that you need to tick are there. And that thoughtfulness when you’re working off a shoestring budget to serve as many people as you can? I am inspired by it. SE: You come bake with us at Christmas! I have pictures! (Laughs) But you know, you don’t always make lasagne with noodles. You can make it with zucchini or eggplant, little things like that. I can plan a little bit now, but before [I] was always [cooking] on the fly. I started to invent dishes, because I didn’t have enough. But we usually try to offer two choices, and we have a variety of meals each week. I don’t repeat myself. [Leading up to] Christmas, we’d SPRING/SUMMER 2019 FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM 27

put five or ten dollars aside each week and I bought filet minion. So we did that with gravy, Yorkshire pudding, fresh pies. The whole nine yards. It was exciting to see how happy they were!

FF: Tell us about how WOD helps other agencies with food assistance. SE: We help two other agencies to survive. We help a spot that’s open on a Tuesday, because there’s no kitchen open on a Tuesday in this neighbourhood. If I’ve got cabbage and carrots coming out of my ears, I give them five to ten pounds so they can make the basics. Soup, et cetera. When we had no money and Food Rescue wasn’t around, I shared bread. Or when we got 215 live fish in and we didn’t expect it to be live and had nowhere to process it, I contacted a place that could help us, and a partnership [began]. We swap back and forth with places like the Good Shepherd. Some places will just call me directly. I’ll travel up to 100 kilometers. K: You used to be a lawyer, right? What made you shift into becoming a chef ? SE: I always loved cooking. When I went to university, I supported myself by becoming a housekeeper and a cook. Then when I got very ill [working as a lawyer] and realized this was no way to live, my brother asked me, “What do you really want to be doing?” And I said cooking. I continued doing some legal work and one of the people I worked for, we partnered and opened my first restaurant. I never looked back. [The] contribution to society is huge.

FF: What is Food Rescue? Who can access it? K: It’s a platform that Second Harvest built in the last year. It puts our model online. Emma’s could register for it and make a profile, and then any non-profit or charitable organization that has a food program can register for it, too. So it’s kind of like an e-Harmony for surplus food! They’re then matched up, based on how far they’re willing to travel to pick up the surplus foods. Sue Ellen’s been an early user of this program, and has forged a relationship


with No Frills in Mississauga where she picks up food. SE: I pick up at six AM every Thursday morning. And they’re the only agency I know that gives meat on a regular basis. Like today, I picked up 200 pounds of meat.

FF: Otherwise, it would all get thrown out? SE: For the particular No Frills I go to, when they have an advertised sale, they will not reduce below the sale price. So rather than reduce the price, they’ll throw a product away. K: Fifty-eight percent of all food produced in Canada goes to waste, and of that, there’s 32 percent that is still edible. There are various reasons that food is thrown away, like [the one] Sue Ellen mentioned. Food also comes to us because of misspelled labels or misspelled packaging where they can’t release it or market it! SE: For people who have allergies, the liability is just so horrific. They can’t sell it. K: And one that makes me so sad, we started receiving over 50,000 pounds of potatoes from PEI that were rejected on the retail level because they were half an inch smaller than the retail specs require. But they were perfect. It’s just [unbelievable]!

FF: What surprises you most about the people who come to Wychwood for a meal? SE: It shouldn’t surprise me, but the sense of entitlement. And if they get mad at you, they walk away hungry. But you have to feed everybody the same, and it’s not your fault if somebody hasn’t eaten for three or four days. It’s hard to say no sometimes, because literally, we don’t have scraps. K: We have started a user-experience survey of folks who access the program there, and so far over half of our guests are homeless or in a shelter semi-permanently. So you’re struggling, you don’t know where your next meal is coming from necessarily. And you’re going to be “hangry” and it does trigger some anger, violence. But through the meals you serve, you do feel that sense of community.

SE: It is a community! And there is a sense of gratitude.

FF: Do some volunteers find the experience overwhelming? I know the first day I was there, I felt very heavy in a way. I cried when I went home. SE: I’ve had people break down and cry, it’s so emotional for them. It’s a shock. When you’re serving food to them, you take in a lot of their pain. But you have to absorb it and bounce it back. K: There’s a calm that I haven’t seen at most other drop-ins. And I have to say, Wychwood is a smaller organization and it struggles for funding year after year. Yet, Sue Ellen, you’ve managed to reduce the food budget! It was at 50,000 dollars and now it’s, like, 20,000 dollars? And the quality of the meals has increased dramatically! And the partnerships! SE: I’ve had to struggle. So if people didn’t turn me down, why should I turn them down? K: You do want to be able to serve everyone. Everyone deserves a good, healthy meal. For more information on Wychwood Open Door, visit: http://wychwoodopendoor.com To learn more about how we can make changes to food waste in Canada, visit: https://secondharvest.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/AvoidableCrisis-of-Food-Waste-The-Roadmap-by-Second-Harvest-and-VCMI.pdf



www.ca.cuddleandkind.com cuddle+kind Doll, $94 CAD

Meet Lucy! One of Cuddle+Kind’s many beautiful hand crafted 20’ dolls that are made with natural, high-quality cotton that are safe, soft and cuddly. Cuddle+Kind are super proud that every doll is lovingly handcrafted by incredible women artisans in Peru, providing them with a sustainable, fair trade income. Their dream for cuddle+kind is to make a tangible, positive impact on childhood hunger with every doll purchased, 10 meals are provided to children in need around the world through their respected giving partners.

Hello I Am Enough Bag, $40 This Hello I Am Enough Bag is a kind reminder to show the world you are celebrating your self-talk! This denim-lined zippered bag is great for ANYTHING - great travel organizer, go to a party (wristlet), diaper bag, tech and supplies! This bag has a polyester textured canvas shell with a brass YKK zipper and vegan leather pull. Amanda Lederle (The Founder) created CreateBeing, a company that focuses on mental health awareness through creative expression and self development. With a portion of their product sales that go to Canadian charities that help end the stigma of mental illness, it is one of the many ways they support their community.




www.journeytree.ca Mother Bracelet, $48.50

Journey Tree Jewelry This bracelet was created to celebrate mothers on all of their journeys. No matter their age, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, mother figure etc, this bracelet is meant to be gifted or purchased for yourself as a constant reminder that the wearer is loved, appreciated and supported more than they could ever imagine. Our mission is for each wearer to be able to represent their individual journey showing them how strong they are and to also wear in in support of others on their various journeys. Each bracelet is lovingly made with specific stones to help with your struggles.

Plexus Lean Whey, $39.95 Plexus Lean Whey Meal Replacement Powder has 24 grams of satisfying, muscle-maintaining whey protein, along with 24 vitamins and minerals (including 5-MTHF methylated folate), These deliciously smooth flavours (Milk Chocolate, Creamy Vanilla and Vegetarian Chocolate Mocha will satisfy every craving and kick hunger to the curb! Every bag of Plexus Lean sold contributes a donation equivalent to 14 meals to Mary’s Meals. Donated from Misty Flynn,York Region Plexus Representative


Have a Product You’d love to Feature? Email us at hello@futurefemalemag.com to get your product featured in our next bi-annual issue. *Must be a Canadian business/product in order to qualify and must be able to send product at least 3 months prior to publication.



Finding Connections as an Adult, and the Magic of Friendship Apps WORDS BY NAIMA KARP We live in a world where we struggle to make connections because we’re taught to make comparisons and be at war with each other. So why not find solace in normalizing the haven of adult friendships, while constructively expanding our social circles? When you’re a kid, you easily fall into sisterhoods through various childhood and teen milestones. Your high school or college squad might always be close to your heart, but as the realities of adulthood emerge, keeping in touch and seeing each other frequently becomes more difficult. Some get married and start their own families, some lose their friends in the wake of a tough break-up, and others pick up and move to new cities where they don’t know anyone. Gone are the days of friendship facilitators like roommate assignments, crushes on teachers, and co-ed parties that offer alcohol as a social lubricant. Adult friendships don’t happen so naturally, and require a more intentional attitude, just like dating entails.

ple isn’t always easy, and social anxiety can get the best of us. Even if you do manage to find an acquaintance, it’s not always a given that you have the tools, confidence, or time management skills to make it happen. However, going out of your comfort zone when you’re well equipped can be very rewarding. The alternative? Open yourself up to the debilitating effects of loneliness, which can be as terrible for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Before you ask it, no, hanging out with your romantic partner does not fulfill all the complex social needs that you have. A powerful way to create lasting relationships can be through workout classes. It’s a weekly commitment that takes the time management pressure off friendship allowing you to catch up over a cup of coffee afterwards. Another popular option has arisen thanks to technology. Our phones are a huge way in which we isolate ourselves in little bubbles, but they’re also untapped resources for po-

apps are Bumble BFF, and Hey! Vina. Bumble BFF is a mode that you enter within the Bumble app, allowing you to find friends in a chosen kilometre range who are also looking for a new girl gang. You can suss out their vibe, see if you have similar interests, and make instant plans to meet up. If you’re not single, don’t fret - your profile won’t show up in the dating mode of the site. Hey! Vina was created to empower women around the globe and establish strong friendships while breaking toxic stereotypes of female competitiveness. This app allows you to find others with specific sets of goals and offers interactive quizzes and engaging articles for members to bond over. As someone who’s met a few friends using Bumble BFF, I endorse these digital communities, but it takes some getting used to. The first meeting always has an initial layer of awkwardness, but it’s often broken quickly by a sense of girl-power tinted camaraderie. The app doesn’t guarantee an instant, mag-

It’s easy to wallow at home reminiscing on the good times - connecting with new peo-

tential and meaningful friendships. Right now, the most popular friendship

ic recipe for chemistry, just like dating apps don’t. But summing someone up based on



We live in a world where we struggle to make connections because we’re taught to make comparisons and be at war with each other. So why not find solace in normalizing the haven of adult friendships, while constructively expanding our social circles? When you’re a kid, you easily fall into sisterhoods through various childhood and teen milestones. Your high school or college squad might always be close to your heart, but as the realities of adulthood emerge, keeping in touch and seeing each other frequently becomes more difficult. Some get married and start their own families, some lose their friends in the wake of a tough break-up, and others pick up and move to new cities where they don’t know anyone. Gone are the days of friendship facilitators like roommate assignments, crushes on teachers, and co-ed parties that offer alcohol as a social lubricant. Adult friendships don’t happen so naturally, and require a more intentional attitude, just like dating entails. It’s easy to wallow at home reminiscing on the good times - connecting with new people isn’t always easy, and social anxiety can get the best of us. Even if you do manage to find an acquaintance, it’s not always a given that you have the tools, confidence, or time management skills to make it happen. However, going out of your comfort zone when you’re well equipped can be very rewarding. The alternative? Open yourself up to the debilitating effects of loneliness, which can be as terrible for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Before you ask it, no, hanging out with your romantic partner does not fulfill all the complex social needs that you have. A powerful way to create lasting relationships can be through workout classes. It’s a weekly commitment that takes the time management pressure off friendship allowing you to catch up over a cup of coffee afterwards. Another popular option has arisen thanks to technology. Our phones are a huge way in which we isolate ourselves in little bubbles, but they’re also untapped resources for potential and meaningful friendships. Right now, the most popular friendship apps are Bumble BFF, and Hey! Vina. Bumble BFF is a mode that you enter within the Bumble app, allowing you to find friends in a chosen kilometre range who are also looking for a new girl gang. You can suss out their vibe, see if you have similar interests, and make instant plans to meet up. If you’re not single, don’t fret - your profile won’t show up in the dating mode of the site. Hey! Vina was created to empower women around the globe and establish strong friendships while breaking toxic stereotypes of female competitiveness. This app allows you to find others with specific sets of goals and offers interactive quizzes and engaging articles for members to bond over. As someone who’s met a few friends using Bumble BFF, I endorse these digital communities, but it takes some getting used to. The first meeting always has an initial layer of awkwardness, but it’s often broken quickly by a sense of girl-power tinted camaraderie. The app doesn’t guarantee an instant, magic recipe for chemistry, just like dating apps don’t. But summing someone up based on their elevator pitch of a bio blurb isn’t fair, and forces you check your own judgmental tendencies - it takes an in-person meeting to really understand someone’s energy. The first acquaintance I met up with had more of a party persona, while I had more of a homebody nature, but we still shared a joint

and commiserated about similar struggles we face at our jobs. Another girl simply asked to go out for a coffee, but it was clear once we met up that she had very recently gone through a tough breakup and was looking for some emotional support and company to distract her from the heartbreak. We didn’t know each other, but I held her hand and nodded as she cried it out, remembering my own past romantic encounters gone sour. As women, we face an ongoing fight in being pushed aside by society, but the silver lining is that we all have an empathetic ear to listen to each other with, sharing stories that band together a community of she-warriors. It’s our obligation to reach out to fellow women around us who mirror our struggles in different lights and from different backgrounds, sharing our vulnerabilities. Make some new gal pals and send them a text every couple of weeks to check in. It might lead to a weekly brunch, a monthly book club, or a needed shoulder to lean on when you’re in a rut.



Lindsay Dent hails from Brampton, Ontario and is the founder of Pink Crown Creative, where she inspires and motivates entrepeneurs and small business owners to launch, market and grow their business through a variety of marketing and social media strategies. Let’s connect, collaborate and conquer your business goals!

@_lindsaymitchell @pinkcrowncreative

Toronto in the summer is my favourite! The island, the markets, the festivals! There are so many incredible things to look forward to in this beautifully vibrant city. With the heat and excitement of the summer months upon us, sometimes it can cause extra pressure to want to be out every single night enjoying the vibes of the city without breaking the bank. I have gathered some fun ways in which you can still get the 6ix experience you are hoping for without having to spiral into the broke summer blues before Canada Day hits.

MUSIC Music is an incredible way to bring people together. Shake it with your besties, and bop to the beat with a few free activities that will have you grooving’ to the sounds of the city this summer.



Movies Under the Stars

vocal, piano, jazz, dance, chamber and world music – September until May – Tuesday -Thursday – free admission Richard Bradshaw Amphitheater

Harbour Front Centre & Yonge Dundas Square. Catch a flick under the stars at the Harbour Front Centre – free admission – or get the thrill of watching big stars on the big screen while watching some Hollywood favourites at City Cinema –June to August - free admission every Tuesday night – Yonge and Dundas Square

Beaches Jazz Festival July 5-28th - free admission

Indie Fridays multi-genre concerts every Friday – June to August. free admission - Yonge and Dundas square

ENTERTAINMENT Toronto is known for the buzz of its entertainment. Here are a few ways to capture that buzz and feel a part of the excitement without totally splurging. Woodbine Race Track Watch heart thumping horse racing and get classy at the Woodbine Races: (minimum bet is $2)


Shakespeare in High Park Bring your own lawn chair, blankets, picnic and beverages for a fun evening of retellings of some of Shakespeare’s most famous plays with Shakespeare in the Park. This summer you can catch - the battle of sexes is on full display with a comedic tale of love and desire, Much Ado About Nothing, and the timeless story of morality and power, Measure For Measure. - pay what you can – July 4th – Sept 4th High Park

The AGO Browse some inspiring pieces at the Art Galley of Ontario - every Wednesday from 6-9 pm – Free admission - The AGO


Snap Pics at Graffiti Alley

Taste of the Danforth

Take an impromptu photoshoot and amp up your Instagram feed in Toronto’s graffiti alley – located in The Fashion District runs south of Queen Street West from Spadina Avenue to Portland Street beginning at 1 Rush Lane

Gettem’ to the Greek and taste and experience being Greek for the weekend at the Taste of the Danforth – August 9th – 11th – Greek food lovers

NATURE Toronto isn’t just a concrete jungle, there are many incredible spots to seek out nature and escape the heat and bustle of the big city. Here are a few inexpensive ways to get active in T.O. Sail to Toronto Island & Ride Around

Toronto Veg Festival - Enjoy free samples, cooking demos and live music at the Toronto Veg Festival – Sept 6-8 – Free admission –– Harbourfront Centre

Great Food any day at St. Lawrence Market Window shop and taste some delicious local samples at the St. Lawrence Market - 93 Front St E.

Take in the #views with a scenic ferry ride to the Toronto Island $7.87 for adults, $5.16 for students, and seniors, $3.80. Take a stroll or cruise around the Toronto Island on a bike and take in some of the city’s most breath-taking views - Single bikes are $10 deposit, $8 first hour and $4 per half hour after that.

Swim Your Worries Away in a Public Pool Cool off in five of Toronto’s public pools: Donald D. Summerville Olympic Pools, Monarch Park Outdoor Pool, Sunnyside Gus Ryder Outdoor Pool, Riverdale Park East Outdoor Pool, High Park Outdoor Pool – free admission

Sugar Beach Picnic Pack a delicious picnic and a cooler full of cool drinks and head on over to Sugar Beach to catch some rays

Waterfront Nature Walk, ride, run, or rollerblade along the paths of the waterfront

Yoga in the Centre of the City Namaste outside in the centre of it all with Yoga in the Square – every Monday June – Sept – free admission – Yonge and Dundas Square

Day Trip to the Bluffs Take a day trip to Toronto’s not so best kept secret and have a relaxing beach day at the Scarborough Bluffs

High Park Zoo Prepare for a nice hike and check out some furry friends at Toronto’s High Park Zoo. Take a glimpse at animals such as the bison, sheep, emu, llamas, and the infamous capybaras. – free admission

Gardens Aplenty Take in the sights and smells of Allan Gardens Conservatory, an indoor botanical garden that has six different green houses - free admission

FOOD & DRINK Come hungr y and prepare to explore some of the mar vellous tastes our city brings out in the summer. Take a tour around the world with some of the best food and drink festivals and events this city must spoil our taste buds with. SPRING/SUMMER 2019 FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM 35




When you’re looking for something that doesn’t exist, there is a potential to build it yourself. After noticing a lack of female representation in the local beer community, Erica Campbell and Jaime Dobbs set out as a part of the five founders of The Society of Beer Drinking Ladies (SOBDL). Together, they run events (called ‘bevies’) that bring women together to celebrate, build each other up, and enjoy craft beer. Five years into their journey, it’s clear that not only ‘if you build it, they will come’, but ‘if you build it, you can change the face of the Toronto beer community.’

What inspired you to form The Society of Beer Drinking Ladies? After working in craft beer and meeting a few ladies working in the industry, we were inspired to create a space to bring more of us together to chat beer, our experiences, and to inspire other women to join the industry. Seeing yourself reflected in a job or career helps you to imagine yourself in that role. Seeing more women selling, brewing, and drinking beer helps to solidify our relevance in the craft beer industry. 36 FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM SPRING/SUMMER 2019

What has surprised you about the response from Toronto women? Initially, we were shocked at how quickly the Society grew. But now it’s just great to see the kind and welcoming environment that has sprung up in such a huge city. It’s a beautiful sight to see women of all walks of life drinking and laughing together.

How is the female craft beer community unique compared to other Canadian craft beer events/associations? The energy at our events is unique. There’s something special that can only be experienced by attending our festival. I attribute it to the feminine energy that’s not usually dominating our society or our environments. When that energy is in abundance, it’s almost tangible. Our events allow that energy to flourish.

Why did you feel it was important to carve out this space for women only? Have you had any pushback on this? Most of the men we’ve interacted with love what we’re doing, believe in what we’re building, and support us in a variety of ways.

We allow men as guests to our bevies at midnight, and they’re welcome to work at our events and attend our beer dinners. Anyone who doesn’t understand the need for this space is likely the reason this space is necessary.

into more cities.

What are some common misconceptions you’ve found specifically related to women and their enjoyment of beer?

The major misconceptions are that either women don’t like beer at all, or not as much as men do, or that the beers women like are light and fruity and sweet. This is as absurd as saying women don’t like parsley or men don’t like cake. Of course, everyone’s taste buds are different and varied, and this extends to tasting beer. There have been studies that explore the idea that women are better tasters than men, evolutionarily. We are all on our individual beer path. Some of us can’t get enough hops and others have jumped on the sour train. Mainly we want a well-made, tasty, fresh beer, just like anyone.

How has The Society of Beer Drinking Ladies evolved and grown over the past five years?

We started out with five founders, and the five of us wore every hat we could make fit in order to get the job done. Now, five years later, we’re run by two of the original founders, a crew of five multi-talented ‘coordinators,’ and a roster of ‘volunbeers’. We’ve hosted the biggest all-ladies beer festival in North America with an attendance of over 1200. We’ve added a performance element to our events with our Ninkasi Revue, where we feature an all women– identified line-up of comedians, singers, dancers, and entertainers. And in 2019, we’re releasing our first beer at the LCBO. Brew 0001 will be a Blood Orange Saison we made in collaboration with Henderson Brewery.

How has your involvement with The Society of Beer Drinking Ladies shaped your views on the need for community among women? Our events have shown us that when women come together, a unique and beautiful environment is created. There’s a stereotype that women can’t work together, or that we’re catty or competitive, but this community has proven that we all grow more when we’re propping each other up. And that is the spirit the SOBDL promotes.

Can you tell me about your affiliation with the Canadian Women’s Foundation, and why The Society of Beer Drinking Ladies chose to donate to this valuable cause?

There’s a lot of women in need in Canada, and the Canadian Women’s Foundation (CWF) is working dynamically with a lot of different groups of women on an array of issues. We’re a diverse group, Toronto is a diverse city, and we wanted to work with a company with diverse interests.

The Society of Beer Drinking Ladies gets many requests for expansion to other cities. Why have you decided to keep your focus on Toronto? We expanded last year to Ottawa and have held two bevies in Canada’s capital. And in November of 2018, we held our first bevy in the city of Hamilton. We’ve had a great response from the ladies in these cities and with time, we would love to see the SOBDL expand

What are some of your favourite stories about the people you’ve met and experiences you’ve had at your events over the years?

It’s a proud feeling when [I learn] women—who I assumed had been friends forever—met recently at a bevy, enjoyed a beer together, and became great friends. Also, the women that attend alone are an unexpected source of pride. It’s great to know we’ve created a space where women are comfortable being themselves, breaking out in dance to a favourite song, and even walking up alone to a group of women and asking, “What are you drinking?”

What are some of your goals for The Society of Beer Drinking Ladies in the next few years? We’ll be building up our crew and our lady beer squad in both Ottawa and Hamilton as we continue to hold events in these cities. We’d like to expand our Good Tap program, currently at C’est What in Toronto, that raises funds for the CWF with each pint of women-brewed beer. But you’ll have to join our mailing list to learn all our secrets. We’re also excited to be launching our new website, www.ladiesdrinkbeer.com.

What have been the most rewarding/challenging things about founding and running The Society of Beer Drinking Ladies?

It’s a huge amount of work but we thrive on a challenge. Any time we’ve helped in some way to get someone a job in the industry, it’s always a great feeling. It’s very rewarding to hear, ‘Where has this been all my life?!’ And women thanking us for creating this community is truly the biggest reward. And of course, there’s the magic moment at the bevy where we finally get a chance to look around, see what we’ve built, and just take in all the fun and friendship, dancing, and cheers-ing.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to attend a bevy for the first time?

Come! You’ll find your people. And if the hesitation comes from thinking you don’t like beer, come find me and I will find the beer for you!

What are some of your favourite beers and places to enjoy craft beer in the GTA?

Toronto is full of amazing bars and restaurants and breweries, so there’s no shortage of places we could name right now. But as east-enders, we love to treat ourselves to Maple Leaf Tavern on a semi-regular basis. Lake Inez is another east-end favourite, and Left Field Brewery will be seeing even more of us (if possible) when we brew our collab with them in Fall 2019. SPRING/SUMMER 2019 FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM 37


Elora Brewing Elora Borealis PATIOS IN TORONTO TO ENJOY A BEER

Broadview Hotel BEER FOR A BBQ

Henderson’s Symington Saison BEST LOWER ALCOHOL BEER



Sawdust City Golden Beach Pale Ale BEER FOR SLOWLY SAVOURING

Indie Ale House Spadina Monkey FAVOURITE BEER + FOOD PAIRINGS


Stout with mushrooms on ribeye steak


Remote Work is the Future, but so is Team Culture WORDS BY NAIMA KARP Brick and mortar offices are dwindling, while digital workforces are thriving, indicating that remote work culture is the way of the future. Offsite offices maximize efficiency and lower costs, allowing the freedom of self-starters to thrive without being micro-managed. The concept of a physical office is increasingly becoming an outdated way of managing employees. Having remote options lets workers travel the world, find additional communities in a co-working space, or finish that memo in their PJs over a bowl of cereal. With shorter commutes and heightened flexibility, the perks of productivity and frugality seem endless. On the other hand, it’s easy to isolate ourselves in a bubble, when it comes to remote work. This isolation can encourage a feeling of loneliness that has become more prevalent with work-from-home options. Some find a physical office fosters procrastination, while others miss happy hours with co-workers and office birthday cake. While it can sometimes make communication straightforward, expressions and tones become increasingly hard to read in print. Fortunately, there are strategic tactics that both employers and employees can integrate so that they thrive in this environment and still feel a gratifying sense of teamwork and connection. A few years ago, it would have been considered a treat to ‘work from home’ a few days each month. With the rise of remote

work culture, the opposite should soon be trending. Having a few designated monthly ‘in office’ days can help fight the potential of loneliness and other negative mental health effects. Destination workplace retreats can accomplish the same. This physical team contact also makes your virtual connection easier to maintain. Social stimulation can be essential for productivity, and ultimately encourages workplace friendships and better connections, which facilitates more growing opportunities. Another key to fluid communication is choosing the right programs. Slack is one of the most popular virtual office tools, and for good reason. It records everything, allowing for transparency while avoiding unfair instances of office politics. It also opens the door to essential ‘watercooler chat’ with news, pop culture, and jokes, thanks to differently themed channels. For video conferences, programs like GoToMeeting offer a more full-fleshed experience than Google Hangouts, especially for larger team meetings. Going remote has its benefits as well as its shortcomings. While skipping out on a commute can lower stress, there are other aspects of the digital workplace shift that we must address, as a society. With the rise of robot workers, companies are expecting their existing workers to work harder, faster, and longer, thanks to the option of working from home. But even as


we rely more on tech, we need to make sure not to abandon the idea of connection, which helps us to empathize and feel humanity for our fellow colleagues. The mental health aspect of remote work culture is one with close connections to our world’s denial to properly address social media obsessions. These issues cause a serious sense of loneliness, although it is hidden under the guise of digital social connections. The reality is, sometimes we need the warmth of a back pat or kind smile to truly communicate empathy. Sitting in a room by ourselves with a screen can provide a certain freedom, but it also imprisons us to an extent. When working remotely, employers need to check in with their employees more than ever, and we’re not talking micro-managing. Asking the simple question, ‘Are you ok?’ can do wonders when as a manager you find yourself in murky waters, wondering why productivity isn’t as high as it could be. The key is for both employers and employees to start seeing companies as communities. Working remotely involves a lot of trust, rather than focusing on a single-minded goal of success. This trust is established in professional and personal contexts which organically arise in the office but require a bit more thought in a digital workforce. Hopefully, these emerging strategies aid in bolstering that trust and a stronger foundation for the future of remote work.


A Shared Journey of Sisterhood Exploring The Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto



“I lost my identity at one time and it was this Centre that brought me back. It got me back on that red road and reconnected me with my ancestors. It taught me what I should be doing with my life.” These are the words of Natasha Halovich. She and I are sitting in the kitchen of the Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto (NWRCT) as she recounts her story of how she became involved with the Centre, not only as a client but now as one of their most dedicated volunteers. Natasha, originally from Alberta, arrived in Toronto in 1992 and sought out the Centre in 2014. A decision which she tells me, she has never regretted. “At a certain point, it’s about wanting more, striving for more and they [the NWRCT] give you the foundation and the tools. You have to do the leg-work, but they guide you.” As Natasha tells me her story, I realize it reflects the journeys of so many of the other Indigenous women who walk through the Centres’ doors. From person to person the details may differ, but the history is one that is shared among all the women and that history is what inspires a sense of community rather than one of division. I understand the importance of that sense of community more so as I sit down and speak with Pamela Hart, who became Executive Director of the Centre in 2018. She outlines for me exactly what these women face and why they seek out the Centre. “The women who come to the Centre are often faced with social, economic and 42 FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM SPRING/SUMMER 2019

political marginalization, racial stereotyping, discrimination, and the loss of culture and community. Many are faced with poverty, unemployment, inadequate housing, homelessness and fragmented families or relations. Several of our women are simply seeking a sense of community - a safe place to come and be around their sisters.” Pamela and Natasha are both emphatic about the goal of the Centre, which at its core serves to provide a safe, judgement free space which will allow its members to thrive as a sisterhood and escape the stereotypes and stigmas that may be placed upon them from those outside of Indigenous communities. “The community is united, strong and resilient, but the community is also hurting. The struggles are indicative of a community in pain and in the process of healing from issues which are direct impacts of past colonization, a legacy of residential schools, racism and modern-day colonization.” explains Pamela. She continues, “Our over all goal is to provide resources and support to urban Indigenous women and their families. The NWRCT delivers culturally relevant programs and services that empower and build the collective capacity and self-sufficiency of Indigenous women.“ The NWRCT offers a plethora of services and supports for women and their families including access to traditional ceremonies such as drumming circles, full moon ceremonies, beading circles, and sharing circles. As stated in the NWRCT’s annual report, “Many clients of the Centre have been displaced and disconnected from their culture and spirit. Reconnection through ceremony and traditions while honouring their spirit provide Indigenous women in Toronto with the opportunity to heal, grow and find their rightful place in society.” The Centre has traditional healers for both group or one on one counselling as well as trauma support teams offering crisis support and case management for those facing or fleeing abuse, sexual violence, or human trafficking. They also provide Trans/two-spir-


it programs and support. The NWRCT has made it an integral part of their work to welcome those in the LGBTQ+ community and support all self-identifying Indigenous women, cisgender, transgender, and two spirited people. When it comes to mandates involving areas such as dress code for more traditional ceremonies the NWRCT has adopted more modern and inclusive protocols so that those from the LGBTQ+ communities feel safe to participate. Natasha says, “We have a more laid-back approach to those types of things which I think opens us up to a lot more and invites more people in. You shouldn’t have to wear a skirt to know who a girl is. We are a lot more open, which brings in a mix of community members and that is what we want- the diversity”. Other services provided on site include housing support, employment services, education and tutoring as well as family supports and community advocacy. These services and more are the culmination of a community which above all strives to give Indigenous women a space to gain back their dignity and sense of purpose af-

ter it has been stolen from them. Both Natasha and Pamela understand what it is like to push back against concentrated adversity. As I sit in their kitchen and hear the women and their children arrive for the daily community lunch, Natasha explains it from her perspective. She has been on both sides and knows what it feels like to be cast aside in today’s Eurocentric minded society, who tend to forget that these women are our fellow citizens and not just people we can look past. “I need people to understand that these women, these women are somebody. They’re somebody’s mother, sister, auntie, daughter- they’re humans.” The NWRCT operates from Monday to Friday between 10AM and 4:30PM. They encourage anyone who is interested in volunteering or donating to stop by in person to get more information. You can also visit their website at www.nwrct.ca to see what is currently happening within the community. Miigwetch (Thank You).



Fighting Loneliness with Community Connection WORDS BY KRISTA HOVSEPIAN


e’re more ‘connected’ now than ever, yet many of us feel lonely and left out. This literal disconnect has prompted studies investigating the impact of isolation on our health. While we’re fortunate to live at a time where technological advancements keep us up-to-date on the lives of loved ones around the globe, we simply can’t give up face-to-face interaction IRL. Recently, the global health service company Cigna revealed almost half of American adults report feeling isolated or alone. Two out of five people surveyed report feeling as if their life lacks meaningful relationships, and one in four rarely feels understood. Some interesting data also emerged: older people aren’t more likely to feel lonely, and loneliness doesn’t always correlate to factors like relationship status or time spent online. Many reported loneliness even when surrounded by others. This trend comes at a high cost: lonely people have a higher risk of chronic disease and death - even after controlling for factors like smoking, alcohol, and overall health. The loneliest among us tend to have higher heart rates, higher blood pressure, and more atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries) than those who have a solid social support system. They also show greater incidences of depression, inflammation, insomnia, and stress. If the key to feeling healthier and more connected isn’t as simple as using an app, how do we go about easing the ache? Having lived in several densely-populated-but-lonely cities, I’ve experienced this phenomenon

first-hand and can attest to the fact that the missing link is community. The real problem isn’t that we’re not around other people, it’s that most of us have major compassion, connection, and physical touch deficiencies. Building even a small community that encourages deep bonds to be forged - consensual hugs and unconditional support included - might just be the cure to at least some of what ails us.If you’re not as close to people as you’d like to be, set aside some time to reflect on what’s missing and how you can potentially work within the framework of what you’ve already got going on. Is there someone you could recruit as a workout buddy… and could you suggest trying out some classes together (yoga, CrossFit, dance)? Do you love to read? Play cards? Why not search for a local book club or game night meet-up?Virtual hubs like Meetup.com and Bumble BFF are popular options, but I’ve found that connecting with people the good old fashion way reaps the greatest rewards. I know it can feel overwhelming to think of going up to a total stranger as an adult, but trust me, it’s not as hard as you think. I’ve made the closest friends by chatting people up after seeing them in the same yoga class four or five times in a row. By finally signing up for that improv class and bonding with classmates over facing our fears together. By sincerely complimenting the neighbour I always pass in the lobby (Nice shoes! Cute dog!). Most people are receptive if we’re coming from an open-hearted place. The good news? We’re not awkward teenagers


hoping for a seat at the popular table anymore. If someone fails to toss the proverbial ball back - or if after taking a few classes together, you realize it’s not a great fit give yourself permission to move on. We’re not going to vibe with everyone and that is okay. Trust that you’ll eventually find a community of like-minded people who will welcome you with open arms. If the studies are right, that bodes well for your heart health and that youthful glow!Not having much luck in person or feeling app-averse? Check out your local library for free classes and social groups. Start your own meetup that focuses on something you’re passionate about, then spread the word! Many supermarkets, health centres, community centres, and even condominium buildings have community boards - tack up a few flyers and try posting online as well. When you find a class or activity you like, suggest that ‘the regulars’ meet for a healthy meal or something fun outside of class. If you don’t know any of your neighbours, I recommend baking something delicious and knocking on a few doors to share. This approach alone has led to some great friendships… and feeling connected to the people around you feels so, so good.


Circles of Sisterhood: Healing in Community WORDS BY LAUREN MACKAY


f you’ve ever stayed up late into the night chatting and giggling with girlfriends, losing track of time, if you’ve ever closed your eyes and dreamed of being part of a sisterhood, it would appear now is your time.

two, but women certainly weren’t circling in public. It was, and in some places still is, considered subversive, too much an affront to the masculine power structure to be considered mainstream.

All around the world women are coming together to gather in sacred spaces, meeting for a variety of practices, the shared purpose to listen to each other, to remember our ancient selves, to speak the things that have long been unspeakable and, in doing so, to heal and reclaim what was lost long ago.

Over the past decade, a return to the ancient rituals has been a draw for many. In the face of deteriorating connection, many of us are seeking ways to reconnect and the advent of the modern ancient circle, a re-envisioning of intentional and ritual practice has been born. There is the Red Tent Temple Movement, a variety of Moon lodges and temples, goddess temples, yoga based women’s circles, art circles, storytelling circles, a gathering of practically any description, women meeting together regularly and growing strong through their vulnerability.

Women’s circles have existed for thousands of years. Land-based cultures would have maintained moon-based practices. Women gathering together around a fire, sharing food and stories, and worshipping their Goddesses and Gods is much more the norm for humanity than what we have seen in recent history, when such gatherings became hidden for fear of persecution. In the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries, the traditional women’s circle morphed into quilting parties and church groups who sat for tea. During the 1960’s and 1970’s, consciousness raising groups emerged as a new brand of social advocacy, and yet another branch of circles aligned themselves with spiritual exploration through the psychedelics of the day. The 1980s’ brought a wave of fitness and sell from home product circles. The 1990’s drew out a specific rebel girl, to the extent that we all knew one or

In recent years, intuitive healer and artist, Dana da Ponte, began running Moon Sisters, sisterhood circles for women from her home studio in the foothills west of Calgary. Women seeking spiritual and artistic exploration sign on and meet bi-monthly for 10 months in da Ponte’s art studio, or for those who aren’t in Calgary, she runs a circle online. “What women carry is often disproportionate, it’s emotionally heavy. So many of us are comfortable giving but awkward with receiving, we don’t have familiarity with asking. Because of that many women are emotionally and spiritually depleted. I want to change that.”

Da Ponte created her circles based upon what she was looking for when seeking support in her own healing journey. “I tried a lot of different places and spaces, but nothing felt right. I knew I wanted and needed a safe, gentle, patient and kind space. I could share with other highly sensitive people to slowly unravel what I needed over time, so that’s what I created. Over the course of almost a year, we can go deep, both individually and with each other. In sacred circle, women become sisters. They give and receive support that doesn’t exist in society. You get a different nutrient when you are vulnerable in a sacred community. “This journey is about discovering ourselves, our own power and getting comfortable being in it. It’s about healing the deepest parts of ourselves through connection to each other and nature. But it’s also just fun. The best moments are when things get a little bit wild and everyone lights up, all of us just little wild lights, it’s magic. Healing is good on your own, but it is exponentially better when you are held by other women.” Is there part of you whispering for a place to explore yourself ? Do you ever find yourself seeking a sisterhood? They are out there and growing in numbers. Maybe it’s time for you to claim your own space in a circle. @danadaponte




Pay-it-Forward Instagram Accounts WORDS BY LINDSAY DENT




Celebrates the people, ideas, and movements that are changing the world. They are home of The Good Newspaper and The Sounds Good Podcast.

This organic and philanthropic matcha tea company has a new exciting goal is to produce inspiring content & connect their products to philanthropic purposes.

An apparel company that is changing the world one random act of kindness at a time. 100 percent of their profits go towards mental health & community initiatives.

This Toronto based apparel company, known for their infamous Toronto hype brand ‘Toronto vs Everybody’ donates five meals for every garment purchased.

The Giving Keys employs people transitioning out of homelessness. Their motto - Embrace Your Word, Pay It Forward.

Thepositivereport.com inspires positivity, empowerment & happiness through weekly kindness challenges & sharing what is good in the world.

Shoe company that matches every pair of shoes purchased with a new pair of shoes for a child in need. #oneforone

This account shares news that is actually worth sharing.







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