By Terri Smith –

“It was just one of those things where you know that it was meant to be,” says Marilyn Allin of Green Tree Health and Wellness with a smile. She describes the whole experience of buying the business 11 years ago and moving out to BC as one of those times where, “You just put one foot in front of the other even though you don’t know where it’s going to take you, and everything falls into place.”

Photo by Karen Powell, Quesnel Cariboo Observer.

In 2008, Marilyn was living in Ontario feeling like her life was on hold when she Googled, “health food store in BC” and saw that River Valley Health Products in Quesnel was for sale. A registered holistic nutritionist (RHN) with reflexology (RAF) certification as well, Marilyn had been working in health food stores in Ontario for a while, but she wanted a change, as did the owner of what would become Green Tree. He had been running his business for 12 years and was ready for something different.

This is something Marilyn understands well. After 11 wonderfully successful years, Green Tree is now for sale again. She says it is time for something new; she wants to spend more time with her parents and just see what life has in store for her next.

Her business and industry have changed over the years, she says; people in the last decade have become ever more aware of GMOs and synthetic supplements and are wanting better products. As a nutritionist, she has also always loved teaching people how to eat properly and to understand their individual body’s needs, and she has begun to see a greater number of people realizing that they need to be their body’s own representative.

She also says that while people are becoming more aware of what they don’t want, there is such an overwhelming amount of information on the internet that people are left feeling confused and overwhelmed. She also mentions the trouble of high-profile people promoting a product and having that product become a new fad. For instance, when Oprah mentioned drinking oolong tea as an appetite suppressant, there was suddenly a world-wide shortage of oolong tea.

“People struggle with knowing where to turn or what to do,” she says. “I’m a firm believer in not changing your whole eating program overnight; it’s overwhelming and frustrating.” When people come to her with a new eating plan, be it doctor’s orders or the latest trend, she councils that they not do it all at once. “Pick one or two things to change and try that out first to see how it goes.Once you have a routine, add a few more changes.” Changing your whole diet at once is hard on you and your body.

For maintaining general good health, she likes intermittent fasting. This gives the body a rest from digesting and metabolizing. She has a product she recommends from a company called Innotech that provides the electrolytes your body needs for a healthy fast.

I ask about other products she carries that she loves the most—I want to know because I am one of the people she has been talking about, the ones with way too much information and complete confusion about what may actually be helpful. “Serrapeptase,” she says, immediately. And then, “Anti-inflammatories are big because of arthritis or pulled or strained muscles or food related inflammation or chronic pain, but Serrapeptase can really help.”

Serrapeptase, in case you didn’t know, is the enzyme that helps silkworms break down their cocoon when they are ready to emerge. Marilyn recommends taking it on an empty stomach so it is most effective, and says she is always available to talk to customers about how to get the most from this great product.

Marilyn truly loves what she does, but she feels that even when you have found your calling it is important to stop before you don’t enjoy it anymore. She says, “It’s time to let someone else step in and give the place a boost with their own ideas and their new life and new energy and new focus,” she says. “Quesnel can only benefit from that.”

She has noticed that many other people here are retiring and moving on to do other things right now. She sees this as a positive thing for our community, a chance for it to be infused with new life as the younger generation steps forward.

I am excited for her, and I feel like I have met a kindred spirit. As I buy some Serrapeptase and head out the door, I find myself wishing I had gotten to know her sooner.

An erstwhile market gardener and mother of goat, Terri lives on a small farm near Quesnel, BC. Here she gardens, makes art, writes about local food, teaches workshops, and works at Long Table Grocery as Guardian of the Vegetables.


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