Anastasia Bogner is a freelance interior designer and single mom with a 10-year old daughter. She’s also busy launching a new hustle called Tarnished Chivalry, a leather and knit scarf line, proudly made in Toronto (she’s wearing one of her designs above). It’s a creative awakening fuelled by herself, her mom and most of all her daughter. “Daniela’s so passionate and our biggest cheerleader. She’s really the one who pushed us to do something special together. And it’s so important to me to show her how to create something from scratch.”
What she also creates from scratch—with equal TLC—is every meal in the house. “After I went through my divorce, I fell in love with my kitchen again,” she explains. “I started going to farmer’s markets and really started taking an interest in what I’m putting in my body. When you’re a mom, you have to look after yourself and when I became a single mom, I became even more mindful of being healthy and full of energy for my daughter.” Discovering the real food movement was admittedly a happy accident. “Years ago I had no energy and my strength coach asked me what I had for breakfast and I said Cheerios. And then he asked me, ‘Can you go to a field and pick a cheerio?’ And that’s who sparked my education about real food and that’s when I started to learn so much more about it.”
Over time, changing her diet became a personal journey. “I’ve discovered through trial what foods fuel my body best,” and Anastasia doesn’t use cookbooks or websites to make her preferred menu of organic greens and proteins. She relies on her Eastern European upbringing and the tips and tricks that she grew up with. “My mom was a stay-at-home mom and while she was cooking, my grandmother would be cooking dinner too. My education in the kitchen was simply watching them.” Most importantly, they taught her to pay attention to the best ingredients which is a habit that she appreciates today: “They would both go all over the city to find the proper ingredients. If it was a certain cut of meat that was needed and we had to go across town to get it at one particular butcher, well that’s how we spent our Saturday.”
What Anastasia made us for breakfast
Breakfast is action-packed with foods like bee pollen to help boost energy (what every mom is looking for) and is a rich source of protein-building amino acids.
Water buffalo yogurt is rich and dense (like buffalo mozzarella). A full-fat yogurt Anastasia buys at her local and organic butcher, she tops it with raw almonds, olive oil, bee pollen and salt and pepper. Also on the menu: Her homemade bone broth that simmers for at least 10 hours on her stovetop.
Snacks are never processed and always served whole. “How I eat really is a personal preference. I don’t try to tell anyone to plan their meals like I do but I do enjoy sharing what I know.”
Her pantry staples: Maldon sea salt, fresh ground pepper, garlic and olive oil. “It’s amazing how many flavours those few ingredients can add.”
She also takes a Chaga mushroom tincture. Quite bitter, it’s easier to swallow as a tincture than as a tea and it’s gaining a rep as a supercharged body booster.
Her good food ah-ha moments
Saying hello to her stores next door. “One of the first things I did was I stopped shopping for processed food and started shopping for real ingredients that I could cook myself. My meat comes from a butcher around the corner and fresh vegetables from local markets. And I totally understand this can be a difficult and time-consuming decision and I recognize I’m lucky to have all these good foods close by.”
Her diet is low carb and she’s not sorry about eating fats. “I’ve discovered I just feel better without them and this might be different for someone else. My morning starts with things I love: A full fat organic milk latté and a savoury breakfast which includes Euro staples like meats and cheeses. Fat isn’t evil you just have to manage your intake and pick good over bad fats. And fat sustains me longer than carbs do; I don’t get hungry as quickly or get cravings.”
She admits getting her daughter on board is a challenge. “Together we’ll eat greens and roasted chicken breast for dinner. She’s just discovered micro-greens which she really likes. I just want to teach her how to fuel her body in a healthy way. I’m a parent and I look after her safety when she crosses the street and I take the same care with her diet. She gets it but I’m also not super strict. I want her to enjoy herself at birthday parties or the movies. That’s part of being a kid and I wouldn’t want to take that away from her.’
The side effect: An all-natural high. “I have probably too much energy now and the real food movement has turned into a passion and community for me. An old neighbour of mine has moved and is raising grass-fed beef. They’ve opened my eyes to how animals and produce should be farmed ethically. I’ve learned to respect the simple things in life by cooking, getting your hands dirty and meeting the people who are raising the animals and growing food for us.”
ROOM TOUR Clean living in an open concept main floor
When she was looking for her home, Anastasia found what she was hoping for: “A modern take on a traditional Japanese design with clean lines, lots of natural light, privacy and a view of nature from every room.”
The front entrance is spare, giving art photography by her dad Ludek Bogner (a cinematographer by day) plenty of breathing room. Dip bench, B & B Italia.
“My house is like a little hidden secret smack in the middle of the city. The minute I walked through the door I was transported to a place of escape and comfort. To me, that’s the best gift a home can give you.” Thin K dining table and Joko arm chairs both Kristalia; Logic Triple Linear ceiling lamp, Artemide; and WGS dining stools, Gallotti & Radice.
To keep things pared down, Anastasia uses the art of necessity and appreciation to guide her. “Do I have a proper place to display and store it? Is there a function or need for the particular piece? Does it hold a meaning of importance? By asking these 3 questions, I can help curb the accumulation of things that can happen so quickly over a week, month and a year.”
Leather loungers are vintage hand-me-downs from her parents. “They bought them at The Art Shoppe over 40 years ago.”
“Living minimally makes sense for us. Everything that my daughter and I own has its place which makes cleaning up very easy. Not having a lot of things also frees up so much time to do other things and not feel stressed and overwhelmed by a mess that might be waiting for us when we get home. Like every child, my daughter does love her things and we have closets and drawers where she keeps all her treasures.”