Thank You for Your Prom Donations

Thank you for donating to our Prom Dress Drive. Because of people like you, 393 dresses were collected to be distributed to girls in our communities throughout the coming weeks. We also collected over 70 pairs of heels and countless pieces of jewelry.

We are honored to partner with the The Ruby Room (Seattle), A Place Called Home (L.A.), The Princess Project (San Francisco), Cinderella Project (Calgary), You Wear it Well – Just for Grads (Vancouver) and The Magic Wand Project (Victoria).

Thank you again,



p.s. Check out some of the dresses we collected!


DSC 0515 300x168 Thank You for Your Prom Donations

Mothering the Mother: How You Can Support a Breastfeeding Woman

CDC breastfeeding study 300x300 Mothering the Mother: How You Can Support a Breastfeeding Woman

By Candice, our guest blogger from CherishChildbirth.com

Breastfeeding is a learned art, a conversation between the Mother and the baby’s body that takes patience and time to establish. In my 8 years of working in birth and postpartum I am happy to see more support than ever for breastfeeding women and their babies. However, with so much focus on how Mom is going to feed her baby our culture has forgotten the very important role of feeding the mother! Historically a new mother and her family have been given gifts of food by their neighbours. As the famous African Proverb says “It takes a village to raise a child.” If you are part of a new or expectant mom’s “village” or support network, this is how you can help her.

Breastfeeding is a labour of love, especially in the beginning, and it takes a lot of energy. 300-500 extra calories of energy a day actually! Up to 200 calories more than when a woman is growing a baby on the inside of her body. Many women are surprised to find that they are hungrier and thirstier while breastfeeding then they were when they were pregnant.

How can you help support Mom through nutrition?
Mom needs two things to make milk; sleep and nutrients. Making healthy meals for Mom can provide nutrients and allow her a chance to catch up on sleep instead of having to make her own meals.

If you are an expectant father or partner, keep in mind that when you go back to work, Mom will likely have a lot of time where she is alone with the baby. Usually women get around to feeding themselves last because the baby’s needs come first. The trick is to leave your partner prepared food that she can eat with one hand. This will give her an opportunity to eat while baby is eating.

Here are some examples:
1. Juice a fresh glass of fruit and veggies for her
2. Cut up veggies to dip in hummus
3. Wash and cut up berries or fruit
4. Prepare a wrap or a sandwich full of protein and veggies and leave it in the fridge
5. Keep a dish of nuts and seeds and a large bottle of water full at Mom’s nursing station

Here are some of my other favourite one-handed premade recipes for breastfeeding Moms:

  • Nursing Mama Cookies
  • Quinoa Bites
  • Easy Quiche


Family and Friends:
Organize a meal train with other loved ones to keep the nourishing love flowing to the mother for the first few weeks. Using this website enables people to sign up for a day and time that works for them and allows the family to make dietary requests: http://www.mealtrain.com/

Sourcing the food
When thinking about the ingredients focus on higher quality foods. Preferably select organic as they have the most nutrients (like the produce that SPUD offers!). Consider having the family’s groceries delivered, even if it is just the staples. This saves on time and avoids the temptation of last minute takeout meals.

Note: All of these ideas can support a new mother and her family whether she is breastfeeding or supplementing with formula. Time is precious to all new moms!


About the Author:
Candice has been working as a Doula and Childbirth Educator for 8 years. She has worked with over 200 families helping them during pregnancy, attending their births and helping with the adjustment in the postpartum phase.

Check out Cherish Childbirth Care for Doula services, prenatal education, breastfeeding support, family food preparation services, and placenta encapsulation.

Finding Your Post-Baby Fitness Groove

By Callie Camp, Dee Clarke and Melanie Osmack of Fit 4 Two®

Fit 4 Two 200x300 Finding Your Post Baby Fitness Groove

One of the most common questions asked by our prenatal fitness clients is ‘When can I start exercising after I’ve had my baby?’ While the answer will vary from woman to woman, here are the main points to consider when planning an active lifestyle with a brand new babe.

Body Readiness
Most women will still look and feel five months pregnant in the first few weeks after giving birth – don’t panic! If you’ve had a uncomplicated vaginal birth, you might be up for a slow stroll around the neighbourhood within the week. If you experienced a Caesarean birth or a more traumatic vaginal birth, it will take you longer to get out and about. Remember to check in with your healthcare provider. The SOGC (Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada) recommends obtaining medical approval at your 6-week post surgery assessment before resuming exercise. In all cases, the SOGC recommends that your lochia (post partum bleeding) should be complete or minimal, which may occur anywhere between 2 weeks to 2
months postpartum.

Let Fatigue Be Your Guide
The first month or so as a new mama can be extremely exhausting and overwhelming. It’s called “the 4th trimester” for a reason! Getting proper rest is crucial to exercising safely. Without it, we depress our immune systems, feel clumsy and uncoordinated, and put ourselves at risk of injury or sickness. Aim for 8 hours of accumulated sleep, if you connect all your naps together. Listen to your body.

Loosey Goosey Joints
Who knew that the hormone relaxin was going to hang around for so long postpartum? Odds are that you may still be experiencing a bit of joint laxity several weeks or even months after baby’s arrival. Avoid excessive stretching and strenuous cardio to prevent unnecessary injury.

Check in with your Core
Some women will have no problems reconnecting to their core postpartum whereas others may feel like they are beginning from square one. Just like each pregnancy is unique, so is each postpartum recovery. Focus on rehabilitating from the inside out. Rehabilitation of the
pelvic floor and abdominal muscles is important for re-developing the strong core stability needed for parenting a new baby. It also reduces incontinence, prevents lower back ache and improves self-esteem. Avoid high impact exercise to give the pelvic floor a chance to recover.

Regardless of whether you have a vaginal or Caesarean birth, most women have some degree of diastasis recti (aka abdominal separation). It is not painful, so you may not know you even have it. It’s important to have your healthcare provider assess you in order to determine which core exercises are most beneficial and which ones could make your condition worse.

A certified pre and postnatal fitness specialist can then recommend appropriate exercises to help heal a diastasis.

Getting Your Ducks in a Row
Even the most serious athletes can be caught up in the newborn triathlon of ‘Eat, Sleep & Poop’, making establishing a regular fitness routine quite a challenge. Having your diaper bag packed, water bottle and yoga mat placed by the door the night before your workout can make your mornings go much smoother.

You’re in Good Company
Finding childcare in order to exercise can be a huge obstacle on your path to fitness. Attending a postnatal baby-friendly fitness class with other new moms allows you to get a workout while attending to baby’s needs. It also gives you a reason to get out of the house and a way to connect with other like-minded moms. Be patient with yourself and your baby. It took 9 months to grow your baby, getting back into shape won’t happen over night.

Fit 4 Two® has been connecting moms and moms-to-be through health and fitness since 2003. Contact us at www.fit4two.ca for a free trial class pass.*
*New participants only please.



“Toxin Toxout”: Organic Food is Better for You. Period.


You’ve likely seen some recent headlines questioning the usefulness of organic food.  “Pesticide residue found on nearly half of organic produce” the CBC reported in a prominent story last month.  Cue the accusatory “organic food is pointless and expensive” stories from grumpy conservative pundits.

No surprise, really, that after a half century of pumping crummy poisonous pesticides into the environment even the most carefully grown organic food occasionally has a dusting of the stuff.  Not only is this not news, it’s well-established that organic food has less pesticides on it than non-organic food.  A more important question for organic advocates and SPUD consumers is this:  Does the eating of organic food result in less pesticides in the human body?

This is one of the issues that Bruce Lourie and I set out to investigate in our new book “Toxin Toxout:  Getting Harmful Chemicals out of our Bodies and our World.”

There are something like 80,000 synthetic chemicals in commerce today.  Many of these chemicals have reached measurable levels in our bodies.  Nasty toxins like BPA in plastic; parabens and phthalates in cosmetics;  volatile organic chemicals in paints; and yes, pesticides in food, are all clearly linked to increased rates of diseases like breast and prostate cancer and childhood asthma.

But all is not lost!  There are solutions to this problem.  And in “Toxin Toxout” Bruce and I focus on a handful of damaging chemicals that – though they are commonly encountered in daily life — can be largely avoided through more careful consumer choices.  We tell this story through conducting (occasionally entertaining) experiments on ourselves as giant human guinea pigs, and on some other intrepid volunteers.  With the help of a posse of global scientific experts we designed a series of activities that mimicked the daily experience of millions of Canadians, measuring our urine levels of a variety of chemicals throughout to see if they were affected in real time.

The most complicated experiment we undertook was related to organic food.  We recruited nine kid volunteers, and measured levels of organophosphate pesticides (like malathion) in their urine every morning for twelve days.  For the first four days the kids ate a non-organic diet.  In the second four days they ate nothing but organic food, and then returned to their non-organic diet for the last four days.  The results were striking.  Upon switching to an organic diet the levels of cancer-causing pesticides in the bodies of the children were cut by two-thirds.  They then doubled once the organic diet was given up.  The changes in pesticide levels were not only dramatic, they were rapid.  Levels started to decline within hours of an organic diet being adopted.

Like most of the experiments in our book, we didn’t know whether this organics experiment would work.  But it did. Big time.

We conducted other investigations for “Toxin Toxout” looking at the reductions in chemicals in the body as a result of using greener cosmetics and less-toxic products elsewhere in the home.  And we delved into the whole weird, wacky world of detox therapies to try and figure out what works, what doesn’t, and what’s outright snake oil.  The results of our work are the most fact-based and detailed look at the toxins in the human body – and what to do about them – currently available.

It’s only fitting that SPUD provided the delicious snacks at the Vancouver launch of “Toxin Toxout.”  Though our book talks about many chemicals, the chapter on organic food was probably my favourite to write.  The evidence is clear and we need to trumpet it every chance we get:  Eating organic food dramatically lowers levels of cancer-causing chemicals in the body.  Eating organic is a critical component of improved health and a better life.

Rick Smith is co-author of “Toxin Toxout:  Getting Harmful Chemicals out of our Bodies and our World.”  Find out more at www.ToxinToxout.ca



Greening our Printing

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Have you noticed something different about the Garlic Press? Full colour! When we switched from black and white to colour printing, we also upped our sustainability game. Our new Kyocera colour printers have the lowest energy requirements and emissions in the industry. They use vegetable oil based inks and our cartridges are reusable (most conventional cartridges aren’t even recyclable). Our printers are ISO certified and part of the energy star and Ecosys programs. So take a moment and enjoy our new look!


A Personal Note of Thanks from SPUD CEO, Peter van Stolk

On behalf of the SPUD team I would like to thank the hundreds of people who purchased fresh turkeys or $100 gift cards this holiday season. This year’s tally is in, and I’m extremely proud to announce that we’ve donated 744 hot meals to wonderful organizations fighting hunger in our communities.

2013 has been an incredible year, and we’ve got even more ambitious community outreach plans for 2014. It’s amazing what we can do together—thank you again for your support.

Keep smiling,

Sig PeterVanStolk 300x226 A Personal Note of Thanks from SPUD CEO, Peter van Stolk
Peter van Stolk, CEO

thanks email logos 300x132 A Personal Note of Thanks from SPUD CEO, Peter van Stolk

Vancouver and Vancouver Island, You Deserve a Huge Thanks!

131003 BTS WrapUp BlogImage BFL Check 600x400 1 Vancouver and Vancouver Island, You Deserve a Huge Thanks!

We’re tremendously proud to announce that, with your help, we raised $11,342 so the hard-working team at Breakfast for Learning can keep doing what they do.

“On behalf of Breakfast for Learning, I want to thank SPUD and everyone who helped raise such an incredible amount of money for Breakfast for Learning through its back to school campaign. These results show what a community can achieve together. This support will provide an estimated 8,750 meals to students in need of nutrition. Congratulations and thank you for helping children attend school well-nourished and ready to learn!”  - Samantha David, Executive Director, Breakfast for Learning

Read the full story

Pumpkin: The Super Squash

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Pumpkin: The Super Squash

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie-Liscious!

With the new season in full swing and Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s quite easily my favorite time of year. Roasted root vegetables, steaming bowls of hearty soup, and fields chock full of winter squash. Winter squash comes in all varieties. Acorn, Butternut, Spaghetti, and the list goes on. But I’m shining the spotlight on Pumpkin. Read the full story

Calgary, You Deserve a Huge Thanks!

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131003 BTS WrapUp BlogHeader 600x400 2 Calgary, You Deserve a Huge Thanks!

On location at Brown Bagging For Calgary’s Kids.

We’re tremendously proud to announce that, with your help, we raised $6,621 so the hard-working team at Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids can keep doing what they do.

“The back-to-school partnership with SPUD.ca and BB4CK has provided an excellent opportunity for customers who are already making the choice to use local groceries to also support our local kids. We are well aware that adequate nutrition is one of the most important steps in ensuring kids are healthy and able to learn. BB4CK would like to thank SPUD’s customers for choosing to help these kids become as successful as possible!”

- Melissa Cooney-Burk, Executive Connector for BB4CK

Read the full story

It’s National Kale Day!

131002 NationalKaleDay BlogImage 600x400 Its National Kale Day!

Happy National Kale Day!

In light of National Kale Day, we thought it would be fitting to do a SPUD spotlight on kale. This leafy green has been creating quite the culinary commotion this past year which is surprising as kale isn’t a new veg. In fact, it’s quite the opposite! Kale has been growing in garden beds throughout the world for years, but is only recently being recognized as the ‘Queen of Green’. Read the full story