Photo of Mairi Buhler

Mairi Buhler

I was born and raised on the North Shore and have been fortunate enough to continue living here into my adult life. I live with my husband and my three cats. Professionally, I work as a Registered Dietitian in a Diabetes Centre in the public healthcare system. Outside of my professional job I volunteer worth with a local cat rescue organization, Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association (VOKRA). Helping my clients successfully navigate the health care system and animal rescue are my two passions in life.

I am taking this challenge primarily because I spend most of my work days talking about food with my clients, many of whom are unable to afford food. I am not talking just about healthy or ideal food, but rather just adequate food, healthy or otherwise. “Adequate”, meaning people do not go hungry or end up malnourished. Many of these clients also rely on local food banks or community organizations that offer free meals once a week and, even then, it is often not enough. It should be noted that my clients not only live with Diabetes but they often also have concurrent heart disease, kidney disease, cancer or other co-morbidities that require specific “nutrition therapy”.

Sadly, I often see these clients discontinuing their medication just to be able to feed themselves and their family which comes at a very high cost. In the world of chronic disease, nutrition is not enough. It also goes hand in hand with shelter, good hygiene, medication, physical activity and mental health support. All it takes is for one of these treatment modalities to fail to cause a domino effect. I like to think that in a country as progressive and wealthy as Canada, the one thing we can try to do is guarantee residents an adequate amount of healthy food.

In summary, I am taking this challenge for my clients, to help raise awareness about food insecurity in general, and this campaign in particular. By participating, I also plan on sharing my experience with family members, friends, and colleagues with the hope that in a few years we will have thousands participating and working towards creating sustainable solutions to food insecurity.

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