I’ve been a huge fan of Meghan’s for a long time – And now she has a fabulous new cookbook, The Undiet Cookbook (fabulous title, right?). The healthy tenants of her method are great for any level of health-achiever – I know you’re going to love Meghan!
SU: What turned you onto a healthier way of eating?
Don’t all kids dream of growing up to make their own almond milk and grow alfalfa sprouts in their window?
My first love was actually fashion. I have an undergraduate degree in fashion and following graduation from university, I packed up and went to travel Africa. This experience contributed to a health crisis. Three years later, by the summer of 2006, while I was working in advertising, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, an incurable autoimmune inflammatory bowel disease. The conventional treatment is usually a combination of medications and surgery. Having done my own research, I was inspired to try something different. I started to explore my kitchen and taught myself how to cook with real food, I read tons of books on nutrition, took up a regular yoga and meditation practice and went for acupuncture. And I healed. Within a month all of my symptoms were gone and to this day, have not returned.
It was this experience that inspired me to go back to school to study nutrition- and pursue the work I now get to do- inspiring my readers, and students to live the most healthy and awesome life possible.
SU: When did you decide that you wanted to teach others to cook?
Knowing how to feed ourselves, you’d think, would be one of the first things we‘re taught. For many of us, it’s the last, and we only learn when we need to. After graduating from nutrition school I realized that there was a huge gap in the nutrition training- which is understanding how to use food, on a daily basis in a practical way, to really fuel our lives. I wanted to offer cooking classes that weren’t focused on one ‘label’ of diet but really encouraged my students to tune in to what their bodies need and design a lifestyle that is sustainable, healthful and delicious for themselves. This is, in essence, what the UnDiet philosophy is.
What started as six people around my kitchen table has quickly grown to a global tribe of students with the Academy of Culinary Nutrition who are excited about learning, cooking and perhaps most importantly, sharing this information within their own communities.
SU: What is your eating philosophy?
My food philosophy is to eat real food. That means food that bypassed a chemistry lab and processing factory. There is nothing added to it, nothing taken away and where any processing happens in my own kitchen. My eating and living philosophy is to UnDiet!
SU: Describe a day in the life of Meghan?
A whole day? Every day is very different- and I love that. Routines are tricky for me, as I rarely stick to them and do my best to allow the inspiration of the day dictate what I do. One thing that is fairly typical is my morning routine.
Mornings are a very sacred time. Living right downtown Toronto, the morning is the rare time when it’s actually still quiet in my world.
First thing I have a tall glass of water mixed with lemon juice and cayenne. I then sit and meditate for 20 minutes. I aim to get my exercise in during the morning, which is either yoga at home or I head out for a ralk. A ralk is like a run but mostly just involves walking. And in the winter, when time permits, I’ll pop into our infrared sauna (the best purchase of our lives!) for 30 minutes. Before I shower, I dry brush my skin- so great for circulation and really just forces the skin to wake up and smile for the day. Most mornings I drink a hot elixir drink, or a fat and protein rich smoothie like the Brain Fuel Smoothie from The UnDiet Cookbook. And then off to work I go. My kitchen is about a twenty minute walk or ten minute bike ride from home.
SU: Tell us about your new book?
I’m very excited about this one! 130 recipes which are all gluten and dairy-free. As I don’t mandate any one dietary style beyond eating real food, I took on the challenge of creating recipes that can be easily modified to suit everyone. The recipes are all plant-based but also offer grain-free and protein powered options, nut-free options and soy-free options.
The photos are beautiful- my photography and styling team was amazing and the book, I think, really embodies the joy and vibrancy of the UnDiet lifestyle.
No matter what I am writing, I am constantly thinking about who is on the other side and how the information will land. My intention is that my readers will get it and understand for themselves- this way I don’t have to say eat this, don’t eat that.
I do my best to provide the information with the what’s the why’s the how’s in place, and let them decide what they’re ready to pick up and run with.
I want my readers to feel empowered that they are part of this shift.
SU: If you were stuck on a desert island for a year, what 3 foods would you take with you and why?
I would take sunflowers! I know they’re not directly a food but they’re beautiful and that’s important. Also, the seeds! We can eat the sunflower seeds for super protein and fat, and we can sprout them to enjoy sunflower sprouts- rich in chlorophyll, enzymes. And then we could likely build a sweet home with the stalks!
Is there anything coconuts can’t do? We’ve got sugar, we’ve got oil, we’ve got an awesome fiber rich snack from the meat. And then we can make super cute boots out of the husks, and a bra from the shell!
Because fair-trade, organic chocolate is the best thing there ever was.
SU: If money was no object (like you just won 50 million is the lottery), what would you do?
I’d probably keep doing exactly what I was doing, but have a kick-butt tribe to help with the stuff I don’t like doing or aren’t very good at. I’d probably also probably buy an island that had a freshwater spring, a farm, and maybe it would be in a special spot in the ocean that isn’t affected by rising sea levels, temperature changes or radiation. You’re all invited!
SU: What is you all-time favorite quote?
“Courage and cheerfulness will not only carry you over the rough places in life, but will enable you to bring comfort and help to the weak-hearted and will console you in the sad hours.” – Sir William Osler
“Blessed is this life, and I’m going to celebrate being alive.” – Brett Dennen
Toronto based author and nutritionist Meghan Telpner, brings her healthy and awesome life inspiration to fans across the globe. As founder of the Academy of Culinary Nutrition and author of the bestselling UnDiet: Eat You Way to Vibrant Health and The UnDiet Cookbook, she is fast creating a revolution in health and wellbeing. Inspiration is waiting at MeghanTelpner.com and follow her daily #UndietLife adventures @meghantelpner