Born and raised in Vancouver.
Went to UBC.
Graduated to change the world, no one wanted me to, so I went back to school and took a year of Education at UBC – became a Home Ec and Drama teacher - taught for three years.
Moved to Toronto to pursue my acting career.
Landed a spot in the Second City Comedy Troupe.
Worked with the comedy troupe for 2 years.
Acted in commercials, TV and film.
Got a part as the TV cook on a TV series called Harrowsmith Country Living for 4 years…I think it was 3 or four!
Nominated for a Gemini Award.
Started writing cookbooks after Harrowsmith was over
Started on BT.
And since then I have written seven cookbooks with number 8 coming out in May called Peace, Love and Fibre.
Won best cookbook at the Cuisine Canada awards now called Taste Canada for Ultimate Food for Ultimate Health with Liz Pearson = it was the first healthy cooking cookbook that have ever won Gold.
Won People Choice for The Vegetarian’s Complete Quinoa Cookbook with the OHEA at Taste Canada.
I am a Guest Expert on Cityline and Breakfast TV.
I am a keynote speaker.
And that’s about it.
How long have you been involved with OHEA?:
I forget how long I’ve been a member!
I was the Conference Coordinator for two years many years ago.
Why did you keep your OHEA membership?
I believe its important to support our association and its members by shining a light on who we are an as organization and what we can do to help individuals.
How has being a PHEc positively impacted your life?:
It has introduced me to smart, creative forward thinking people within our association who are like minded in their belief that we can make a difference in this world
What led you to join OHEA?:
Barb Holland introduced me to OHEA and Joan Ttooulias, Michele McAdoo and Amy Snider were all integral in why I stayed a member.
Where do you see the profession going over the next five to 10 years?
I hope that the profession embraces social media going forward. I believe we need to tell our story and the facts, because if we don’t others will and it might not be the truth nor the facts. With all the incorrect information circling through social media we need to stand up and be the voice of reality.
Share a piece of work:
I wrote this blog post in October 2015
It totally fits in with the new food guide. For the original post, click here.
The Big Picture
I believe that we have become so fixated on the minutia of eating that we have forgotten the big picture.
We need to get in touch with the basics.
You know ~ fruits and vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, fatty fish, lean protein, heart healthy fats, unsweetened yogurt, eggs and don’t forget to get enough sleep, go for a big walk every day and make time for friends and family.
I believe that demonizing foods as evil is the wrong approach.
How about we put sugar back where it belongs, as an ingredient in treat foods. Let’s face it, no one needs to eat cake, cookies, ice cream and donuts every day. They are treats, something you eat very occasionally, and then to be enjoyed, not scarfed down. I’m all for a fabulous slice of chocolate cake but I want to linger over it, loving every minute until my next birthday.
Let’s stop avoiding entire food groups which in the long term can or may compromise your gastro-intestinal health. Your GI is unique to what you eat. Eliminating a food group because someone told you that it would reduce your bloating can or may make the situation worse, unless you’ve been diagnosed with a medical issue like celiac, gluten or lactose in tolerances by a specialist in that specific area. Don’t let Dr. Google diagnose you. Self-diagnosing is dangerous on so many levels. See a doctor.
As a food disappears from your regular eating pattern the ability to digest it properly does too. We’ve lost billions of healthy bacteria in our GIs by eliminating the foods that provide that healthy good bacteria as well as the foods that feed that good bacteria. Want to eliminate bloating, eat a balanced diet which includes protein, vegetables and whole grains, eat slowly, drink enough water during the day to help make your BMs on the softer side and go for a walk. If that doesn’t help, go see a doctor.
Let’s stop throwing our food away. Statistically we throw out 40% of the food we buy. It’s not just you wasting your hard earned money, it’s the impact of food waste on farmlands and our environment. Think of the wasted natural resources like land and water, the wasted man hours, the waste of fuel to bring the food from the farms to our tables. It’s a huge problem that rarely gets talked about.
Let’s get back into our kitchens armed with back to basic foods & ingredients and get cooking. Let’s teach our children how to cook. Not only will this impact our health, but learning how to be creative with leftovers because you know how to cook reduces waste from farm to fork.
I still believe that the rise in type-2 diabetes and heart disease is linked to the demise of mandatory Home Economics classes that taught generations “how to cook”. Without these basics skills we are doomed to forage our local grocery stores for pre-packaged items.
How about spending more time walking than sitting? There’s another throw-back lifestyle choice that is an easy way to get your body moving the way it was meant to move. You don’t need to join a gym, but you do need to get moving.
As humans we are always looking for an easier way, but many of us have chosen supplements over food, popping pills instead of eating a balanced diet. As a result we are over supplementing ourselves with high doses of “file in the blank” without paying heed to the possible long term consequences. Check out the National Cancer Institute’s Guidelines specifically about Vitamin E and beta carotene and lung cancer
Your body was never meant to be given massive doses of supplements, it was meant to process healthy foods to get its nutrition.
Let’s stop vilifying one food and giving another food hero status. Sure some foods are more loaded with the good stuff, but if we ate a variety of foods we would be getting all of the good stuff.
Let’s focus on the big picture.
To quote Richard Beliveau PHD “It’s not what you eat once a week, its what you eat three times a day.”
So head into your kitchens and eat fruits and vegetables (Check out EatHalfYourPlate it’s a great resource), whole grains, beans, lean protein, nuts, seeds, fermented foods, unsweetened yogurt, eggs, healthy fats and the very occasional treat. Let’s go for a walk every day. Let’s make time for face to face conversations with family, friends and colleagues. Let’s have some fun and lighten up.
Because to date there is no magic bullet in pill form.
The only magic bullet that I know of is called a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise.
Now, I’m off to eat an apple and later I’m going for a walk.
Mairlyn Smith, P.H.Ec.
The Ontario Home Economics Association, a self-regulating body of professional Home Economists, promotes high professional standards among its members so that they may assist families and individuals to achieve and maintain a desirable quality of life.