Eating Clean with Family in Saskatchewan: Road Trip Days 9-12

Eating Clean with Family in Saskatchewan: Road Trip Days 9-12

In the second week of our North American Roadtrip, we finally made it up to Canada through the central province of Saskatchewan.  We ended up stopping for the night in the capital of Regina before driving further up past Yorkton, but I didn’t get any photos because by that time it was 10pm, and we were cranky!

If you are new to this series, I started in Las Vegas and to this point, have posted my journey to Phoenix (AZ), Santa Fe (NM), Fort Collins (CO), and up through eastern Wyoming and Montana. I’m currently much further east, in Toronto, so there will be plenty more posts in this series as I cover my travels! Along with the scenery, I’m sharing how I eat healthy and stay fit in the most unlikely of places and situations.

This is my Vegan MOFO #3.400x84_g2

Now back to my current photolog…

Agriculture is the predominant industry in Saskatchewan and farming is the backdrop to life, even for those who don’t make their living off the land. Canada relies on this region for wheat, oats, flax seed, barley, and canola. Being above Montana and North Dakota, it’s at the north end of the Great Plains and still very flat with rich black soil.

11. Saskatchewan canola fields
Canola fields, a major crop seen frequently along the Saskatchewan roadside

On our Saturday morning drive from Regina to Yorkton, we were lucky to catch a farmers market sign while driving through a small prairie town.

9. Saschatchewan Fort Qu'Appelle farmers market 3
Quickly pulled over when we saw this farmers market sign along the road – sometimes a moment’s instinct pays off!

We pulled over and found a market with at least as many booths as our markets back home, but with far more selling produce! There were also a lot selling really unhealthy pastries and jams which we avoided in favor of the fresh stuff.  Later we found out that Regina has a great Saturday morning farmers market we should have hit up before we left. Oh, well – can’t go to all the farmers markets in the world… Or can I?

9. Saschatchewan Fort Qu'Appelle farmers market 2
Farm stand at the Fort Qu’Appelle farmers market – good local Saskatchewan produce with lots of potatoes and beans.

Saskatchewan has lots of provincial parks dotted throughout with tons of campgrounds. Despite the flat grassland appearance of the prairies, these parks are studded with forest, marshland, and lakes. Beautiful nature, however, it was also the first time on this trip we entered mosquito country! In spite of this, Saskatchewanians love their RVs and trailers which is obvious when you visit these parks. We joined them by staying with family at Good Spirit Lake Provincial Park.

Our family has a cabin with some land near the lake, and we got to sleep in a pop-up trailer (donated by another wonderful family member) in their backyard. It was actually totally comfortable with a Queen-sized bed with a heated mattress. My first time camping in that level of style!

9. Saschatchewan popup camper lodging
The backyard of our family’s lake cabin where we stayed in this luxurious popup tent trailer

We had access to a kitchen which we shared with the other 6 people staying there plus the extra 5 family members that stopped by each day for meals. Luckily, we got to plug our cooler in and avoid the already-crowded fridge. When it comes to food, we travel heavy, and we kept our “pantry” stash in the corner of one of the bedrooms.

10. Saskatchewan dinner on stovetop
Cooking in the cabin’s kitchen – reheating some sweet potatoes and sauteing onions, mushrooms, and spinach

We were living with meat-and-potatoes folk, and they didn’t eat much in the way of plant foods. Us three vegans (Jay, me, and my sister) told everyone not to worry about us because we are great at taking care of ourselves in the kitchen.

So we set out to Yorkton and its grocery store about a half hour drive away to get some food reinforcements. Stocking up on fresh produce allowed us to eat healthy our entire stay.

10. Saskatchewan grocery shopping comparison
No comparison between my grocery haul and the woman in front of me

I hope it’s not rude of me, but I always find it really interesting to compare my grocery store purchases to those next to mine on the conveyor belt. See the divider bar between my food and the woman ahead in line? I thought the contrast between all my healthy organic produce and her bread, chips, and other processed junk food was almost comical! The Standard (North) American diet in action.

Then, right after thinking that, I felt like a total food snob. It’s not like I’ve always eaten healthy, after all. Everyone starts somewhere.

Anywho, this is how we managed to eat all our own meals and keep it healthy and pretty similar to what we eat at home. Each morning began with a green smoothie, and I ate lots of  garbage disposal salads, throwing in whatever I had around. Here are some examples:

10. Saskatchewan lunch sweet potato and salad
Lunch – boiled sweet potatoes with salad of spring greens, mushrooms, tomatoes, and mustard
9. Saskatchewan lake cabin salad made in kitchen
Same travel popup salad bowl, but new ingredients for an entirely different salad. Romaine, tomatoes, corn, beans, and salsa.

I even cooked some of my salads for variety.

At the top of the plate is leftoer napa cabbage salad cooked with corn, tomatoes, black beans, and salsa. At the bottom is dry-sauteed onions, mushrooms, daikon radish, and potato skins. Finally, some yellow beans and corn from the barbeque. Not pretty to look at, but tasty and very filling.

10. Saskatchewan dinner corn, beans, sauteed veggies and salad
One of my cooked veggie dinner plates with napa cabbage salad, dry-sauteed veggies, green beans, and corn.

My portions were massive compared to the omnivores in our group and I felt like a binger every time I sat down to eat with them. Still, I think I represented fruit and veggies well, especially with the little girls who had never seen salads that big before!

Why my eating was dialed in:

  • I had zero temptation!

    Everyone who wasn’t eating similar to me was cooking huge hunks of meat which I find unappetizing and thus not tempting in the least.

  • I cooked/prepped all my own food

    Since we were 1/2 hour away from the nearest small town, there was absolutely no eating out and I had full control of what I ate.

Fitness and activity was another story. I’m used to an hour of high intensity workout almost every day of the week, and I definitely lowered my standards while I was in Saskatchewan. We did walk to the lake (a short 5-minute deal) several times and Jay and I did some fun sprint races (he always won) back and forth in the sand along the tiny beach. Mainly we did a lot of visiting and catching up with our wonderful family, which was exactly what I wanted to do. Here are the few activities I fit in for the week:

Went running with my sister and her boyfriend one morning. Good cross training, and very nice to run through the lakeside greenery in the early hours. Luckily, we outran the mosquitos!

Joined a couple of cousins to bike ride around the park.

And then we got to do one of the best workouts you can do at a lake – canoeing and kayaking! We drove over to nearby Lake Madge where our family procured several boats for us to take out on the lake.

10. Saskatchewan dock Lake Madge
Lade Madge, nearby to Good Spirit Lake, where we got to exercise our arm muscles
10. Saskatchewan kayaking canoeing
That was such a good upper body workout. Loved kayaking!

Fitness: Not so dialed in

What I Did over 4 days

  • Ran once for 20 min
  • Biked once for 20 min once
  • Kayaked and canoed once for a couple hours

My crappy excuse for not enough exercise

  • Stayed up late visiting with family so I was too tired to work out in the morning.

What I could have done

I could provide all kinds of great excuses, but the bottom line is that I didn’t prioritize exercise.

  • The last time I visited Saskatchewan, I did a HIIT-type metabolic circuit workout on the back patio every morning before the family woke up.
  • I had no space to work out in my bedroom, and everyone was asleep and I didn’t want to wake them. So I went outside on the back porch and did circuits every morning without fail even when the sun started hitting me and it was getting hot.

Remember these next words because they are important:

When you prioritize something you will find a way.

I had this entire yard and even a mosquito-free screened-in back patio that I could have done a similar circuit workout on, but I chose to be lazy. At the same time, it’s okay to occasionally give in to laziness! You just have to acknowledge that is what you are doing then get back on track when the right moment arises.

11. Saskatchewan fruit bowl on cabin patio
Back patio of the cabin, great mosquito-free place for a fruit snack of apples and blueberries

Next up on my healthy roadtrip: Winnipeg where delicious home-cooked and restaurant meals, visiting with family, and a lack of a regular exercise routine put me to the test.

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Now your turn. What’s your favorite healthy family tradition that revolves around food? How do you stay active when hanging out with family? Leave it in the comments.

This is another What I Ate Wednesday.

More Unforgettable Insight

4 Responses to Eating Clean with Family in Saskatchewan: Road Trip Days 9-12

  1. I’m from San Diego – grew up going to Saskatchewan every 2 years….I am a vegetarian for 15 years trying to go Vegan – I had to laugh because I’ve been in that Yorkton grocery store! Thanks for all the good ideas.

    • Hi Nadine, that’s funny. Nice to know there are people in this part of the world who know where Yorkton is! Good luck with your veg journey – glad I could play a supportive role in it. 🙂

  2. I’m from San Diego – grew up going to Saskatchewan every 2 years….I am a vegetarian for 15 years trying to go Vegan – I had to laugh because I’ve been in that Yorkton grocery store! Thanks for all the good ideas.

    • Hi Nadine, that’s funny. Nice to know there are people in this part of the world who know where Yorkton is! Good luck with your veg journey – glad I could play a supportive role in it. 🙂

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