When I was thirteen years old, I was scouted to become a model. Shortly after, I signed with a Toronto-based agency that was known for launching “new faces.” What followed were years of jet-setting to places like Tokyo, Singapore, Milan, Paris, Auckland, and New York—all before I turned eighteen. Modelling helped me gain confidence and become more independent, and it shaped who I am today, but it came at a cost.
I was taught that my self-worth was tied to how I looked, regardless of how I felt. Throughout my career, I was under constant pressure to lose weight by whatever means possible. The idea was to follow a low-fat diet and intense workout regimen with the hopes of fitting into standard-size sample garments for shows. This consisted of eating foods that made me feel hungry and deprived. In extreme cases, when I had to lose extra weight quickly (such as before fashion week), I would restrict myself further by going on detoxes like the Master Cleanse or Cabbage Soup Diet. These fad diets caused me to have headaches, low energy, and uncontrollable food cravings. This led to cycles of binge eating and subsequent weight gain—putting me right back where I started. While low-fat diets may have short-term benefits, they don’t work over the long term. After several years of yo-yo dieting and feeling terrible, I decided to quit modelling once and for all.
I began soul searching for a happier, healthier way of life. I moved to Brooklyn, New York, where I was introduced to a thriving local food community. I started shopping at farmers markets, became friends with entrepreneurs who had small food businesses, and learned about new things like urban farming and beekeeping. This planted the seed for what would become an enduring passion for healthy food and sustainability. One day, a friend brought me to a seminar on Ayurveda, traditional Indian medicine. This is where I first learned about ghee and its benefits. I was fascinated and taught myself to make it at home shortly after. I started using it in my everyday cooking: for frying eggs, adding to smoothies, and smearing on toast. I fell in love with its buttery flavour and the nourishment it provided. This was the beginning of a new way of thinking about fats and a lifelong affair with ghee.
Eager to learn more about Ayurveda and sustainability, I travelled to India to work on an organic farm. There, I found myself surrounded by people from around the world who were just as keen as I was to connect with food in a meaningful way. I loved working the land and felt a sense of total freedom in the fields, but the place I found myself drawn to the most was the farm kitchen. I learned how to cook simple Ayurvedic recipes, such as kitchari, with fresh ingredients like turmeric, ginger, ghee, and vegetables grown on the farm. After several weeks on the farm and travelling throughout India, I became homesick and felt the desire to go home to Canada and plant my roots.
I enrolled in nutrition school in Toronto to become a certified holistic nutritionist, but the universe had other plans for me. The summer before school began, I was showing a friend how to make ghee, and he jokingly suggested that I start a company called Lee’s Ghee. I took his suggestion to heart and began selling mason jars full of organic ghee at a local farmers market. I didn’t really consider that this summer gig might have the potential to turn into a full-fledged business. When school began, the teachers and students found out about my ghee and wanted to get their hands on it. At the same time, I was getting phone calls from retailers who had heard about what I was doing and wanted to stock it on their shelves. I felt a powerful pull to follow this path, so I put school on hold and scrambled to find a commercial kitchen to fill all the orders that I was receiving. I had no business degree, no money, and frankly no idea what I was doing, but I felt that I had finally found my calling. I decided then and there that I would do whatever it took to pursue my passion.
Since then, the business has grown in ways I never could have imagined. The company evolved from being called Lee’s Ghee to Lee’s Provisions to encompass other product lines, such as our line of Good Fat Blends made of coconut oil and ghee and our organic tulsi wellness teas—with many more products launching in the future! I’ve worked tirelessly to create a business that nourishes people with good fats, supports farmers using sustainable agricultural practices, and gives back to causes I believe in. I have convinced hundreds of stores to carry my products, sold thousands of jars of ghee across the country, and educated many about the benefits of eating good fat. But I am not slowing down now—the next step is to convince the entire world to eat good fat!