The Journal

The Best of The Best with Shira McDermott of Grain


Follow Shira McDermott on Instagram (@shiramcd) and you’ll quickly find that you’re craving a salad. We’re not talking your average everyday salad here. Shira makes the kind of food that resonates on a soul level; hearty bowls with farmer's market greens, Canadian grains, and mouth-watering dressings. Wholesome, comfort food in the healthiest sense. Beyond putting together a beautiful Instagram feed of nutrient dense eye-candy, Shira is the Co Founder of Grain; a farm-direct company sourcing incredible Canadian dry goods. Golden Quinoa, Farro, Kabuli Chickpeas, French Lentils and Wheatberries...Grain offers some seriously delicious, Canadian sourced product. To stay up to date with Shira’s recipes and philosophies check out her food inspired website ‘in pursuit of more.’ Creator, chef, mother, runner…overall awesome woman. This is the “Best Of” with Shira McDermott.  

Daily Breakfast: Always coffee… that’s important. I can’t do anything until I’ve had my coffee. Lately, I’ve really been enjoying my home made chia pudding with home made nut has to be home made nut milk (cashew or almond). I’ll add seasonal fruit too.

What’s your philosophy on food: I tend to lean closest to a Mediterranean diet but having been a vegetarian for my whole entire life, I don’t eat anything that had a face.

If you could have dinner with anyone: My Grandpa on my mom’s side. He was a successful Jewish businessman who was very entrepreneurial. He left his home country of Poland before WWII and lost his parents in the concentration camps. He later went back to Europe after the war ended to rescue his younger sister (my great aunt) after she survived Auschwitz. He spoke eight languages and created a whole new life in Canada after the war, and thanks to him so did his sister, Hannah.  He passed before I reached adulthood. 

What’s been your most popular blog post: Hands down, my chickpea flatbread recipe has been read a ridiculous amount of times. I love that recipe. I discovered the recipe while I was in Provence in a cookbook in the Airbnb that we were staying at.

Having a family, what are your easy go-to food tips when you’re in a time crunch: This ones easy. Prep. It’s all about preparation. Invest a few hours every week in pre-cooking beans or lentils from scratch and making a good sauce or salad dressing to have on hand. Then veggie bowls are the easiest thing to throw together.

Can’t live without: Coffee. Bread. My cat.

Your Hero(s): I have an amazing circle of friends (which includes my husband). I feel lucky to have these people in my life. They’re tangible. I can call them if I need them. I can interact with them. I’m also always interested with Sages from the past that have made a difference, whether it’s poets, or Buddha or Gandhi. I love those stories and the lessons they teach us. Oh and my kids.

Best Advice you’ve ever received: I would probably say, there are two. Everything in life is about compromise. And. The best sales people are the best listeners. When you’re looking to connect with someone, you don’t get what you want by telling someone what you need. You get what you want by listening and finding how you can help them.

Best song to cook to: I have a live recording of a Ryan Adams and the Cardinals concert from Boston in 2009.

Best song to wake up to:  Don’t worry be happy.

Guilty Pleasure: Netflix…Nashville and Mad Men.

Favourite Song When You Were 16: I had such a range of musical taste back then…anything from Metallica to Van Morrison. I don’t remember too much about 16.

Top Books: I think the 7 Habits is essential. It is a foundation from which everyone should at least give himself or herself the opportunity to experience this book. It’s very rudimentary but also very difficult to read because it asks a lot of questions of you. If you put the work in there’s a lot that can come out of that book. Also, Wayne Dyer is amazing. At first glance, if you’re looking for something slick…he’s not your man, but his story is amazing. He’s someone that left a huge mark on the world.

Top Movies: If I could convince anyone to watch them with me…the Lord of the Rings movies.

Do You Have a Daily Practice: I need to run for meditation. I need time by myself, on the regular, outdoors to restore my mind. I need to maintain physical fitness and I work with affirmations whenever I can be mindful of it.

Who Would Play You in a Movie: Hmmm… I’m just going to say Jennifer Lawrence.

If You Had a Superpower For One Day: I would restore the Earth back to it’s original state and make sure that we learn from our mistakes.

Travel Spots: South of France, New York City and Tofino.

Running Route: The Lynn Loop or Seawall. The Seawall on an overcast day is unreal.

3 Things on Your Bucket List: Many of my immediate goals are business related and I can’t share those ;) I would like to run a marathon. I’ve been a runner my whole life and have never done a marathon. And a road trip down the California coast with my husband.

Where or When You’re Happiest: I’m at my happiest after a really long run. When I’m chilling in my house. In this order; I would’ve gone for a really long run on a beautiful Fall Day and would be settling down in the kitchen to make some food, with my family around and with some good music on. I’m pretty simple that way... Oh and also produce shopping at the farmers market.

Best Date Spot: Arms Reach in Deep Cove. That’s a wicked date spot. I would also say, sitting at the bar at Savio Volpe and Cinara downtown.

Go to Juice or Smoothie: It’s usually dictated by what’s most often in my house. Which is banana, nut milk, frozen fruit and greens.

Your Current Mantra: Its Food and Gratitude. And always support yourself first.