Cookbook review written by
Healthy Starts Here! is available for purchase through our online store or at local bookstores
Born in Vancouver (BC), Mairlyn Smith wears a variety of hats that include home economist, teacher, cookbook author, actor and comedian. Healthy Starts Here! (published by Whitecap Books, $29.95 USD) is her newest cookbook to be released. It includes over 140 recipes to help guide you through adopting a healthy lifestyle that is meant to be more of a long term commitment rather than just another diet fad. This book provides readers with an informative yet still lighthearted approach to eating healthy. Mairlyn’s signature comedic flair instantly puts you at ease, making the whole process of altering unhealthy eating habits less overwhelming. You’ve got someone in your corner and she won’t let you down!
Each chapter is organized around a particular nutrient-rich ingredient, and features nutrition breakdowns and diabetes food choice values for each recipe. It took me some time to get used to this particular style of recipe organization, as I tend to prefer when a book is broken down into different meal types or seasons. But that’s just me.
Geared towards busy families, the recipes in Healthy Starts Here! are all based around eating seasonal and locally grown foods. Each recipe highlights kid approved recipes and seasonally appropriate meals that use minimal ingredients but with each one providing maximum flavor and maximum nutrient content.
Something I’ve learned from this book? Trust Mairlyn. When she says that only soft silken tofu will work with the chocolate mousse…listen to her. When she says the Organic Traditions brand of cocoa nibs are the least bitter…listen to her and learn from my mistakes.
I love all of the personal anecdotes that are guaranteed to have you rolling on the kitchen floor laughing, but you will also walk away with an increased knowledge and awareness of food nutrition. Who says learning can’t be fun?! Helpful tips and tricks are scattered throughout the book, including ways of retraining your sodium-addled taste buds, effective and healthy grocery shopping techniques, and the truth behind legumes and flatulence. Yup – that’s right.
With only three recipes in this book calling for salt, you might think that the flavour of the food will suffer. Not the case! Through the use of carefully selected herbs and spices, the recipes in Mairlyn’s book are big on flavour but in a healthy way. When cooking from this book at no point did I ever feel like I was being deprived or having to eat ‘blah’ diet food. Everything tasted great and I felt great.