The Big Picture

an apple is sitting in the sun

Let’s get back to the basics

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, dairy products, eggs and don’t forget to get enough sleep, go for a big walk every day and make time for friends and family.

I’m tired of the new bad guy on our plates. 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 intolerances 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 all the food groups, 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, dairy products, 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.

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14 comments on “The Big Picture
  1. Noel says:

    I TOTALLY agree with you and that is the way I eat. One thing I applaud is that Cityline never has people on the show touting dubious supplements while the Marilyn Dennis Show (formerly the host of CityLine of course) has them on her show almost every single day and none of what they say has any basis in science.

  2. Gerry Cool says:

    Bravo! How about a cross country tour to promote this amazingly simple concept. As food prices increase consumers need to hear this message. They also need to learn how to provide healthy meals on a budget.
    How about a Mairlyn Smith/Jaimie Oliver Canadian tour. You can stay at my farm in Alberta!
    Love you, your message and how you deliver it!

  3. Mairlyn says:

    Thanks Gerry,
    Great idea! Now all we have to do is convince Jamie Oliver that he should hang out with me!
    Peace, love and fibre,

  4. Mairlyn says:

    Hi Noel,
    I love that Cityline keeps it real too! I’m so lucky to be a part of this wonderful TV show!
    Peace, love and fibre,

  5. Eva Meriorg says:

    Right AGAIN!!! and really – we need to get Food Skills and basic Nutrition back into classrooms! ASAP!

  6. I love your message, your honesty and your passion for whole health. It’s infectious and it’s needed now more than ever. You’re a true life changer. Now let’s go eat apples together!

  7. Mairlyn! This is such a great reminder. I am the MOST unhealthy little food blogger and an apple and a walk is exactly what I need.
    Loved meeting you at FBC2015… you are such a gem. Hope the eye continues to heal perfectly! xo

  8. Well said! If Jamie doesn’t work out, call me – we can do a PHEcky tour to end all tours.

  9. Mairlyn says:

    A PHEcky tour to end all! That would be excellent. Thank you for sharing the blog post, we are all in this together!
    Peace, love and fibre,

  10. Mairlyn says:

    Thanks for commenting! The FBC was so hectic I feel as if I didn’t ever really have a sit down with anyone. Health is about little steps in the right direction. Keep going, its a journey that will make you feel fabulous!
    Peace, love and fibre,

  11. Mairlyn says:

    Thanks for your supportive words and for all that you do as a PHEc. We are in this together, all of us. I just ate an apple with peanut butter!
    The walk is later!
    Peace, love and fibre,

  12. Mairlyn says:

    I so agree with you Eva. We need to make a difference, now, before its too late.
    Peace, love and fibre,

  13. This is such a great post. I fully agree with much of what you say and often find myself saying similar things! I constantly talk to my students and staff about the importance of eating real food in balance and as part of a healthy lifestyle.

  14. Mairlyn says:

    Thanks Jennifer,
    It really is about balance and real foods. As teachers we are in this together!
    Peace, love and fibre,

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