I’ve been working in the field of health and nutrition since 2007 and in that time, though not a long time, a lot has happened in the world of health, organics, food freedom and choices. Mainly- it’s become popular to care and to ask for choice. It seems simple enough. I would like to eat food and use products that don’t have chemicals added to them.
This inspired my UnDiet approach to choosing great food, and living an awesome life.
UnDiet is about knowing that every choice counts. This isn’t about counting calories and fat grams but knowing what we’re eating, washing our clothes in and smearing on our skin. It’s about tuning in to how our lives make us feel. When we make choices that serve the best version of ourselves, the math equations are removed from the plate, the benefit in every bite piles high, we feel great, and we look great. The UnDiet approach is about tuning in to our health as individuals, as a community and as part of planet that feeds and nourishes us.
Choosing organics is part of that.
I am often ask whether organic food matters, and whether we need to eat all organic. My approach has always been to offer information and let my readers and students decide. And so, let me tell you a little story about strawberries. I write about this in The UnDiet Cookbook, my new book due out this fall. I noticed that nature’s perfect candy was making my eyes swell shut. But not just any strawberries. It didn’t happen with the organic ones I picked up from Jesse Sosnicki, one of my favourite organic farmers. It only happened with conventionally grown, chemical strawberries.
It turns out that conventional strawberries have become one of the most heavily sprayed crops. In one review by the USDA Pesticide Analysis Panel, it was concluded that fifty-four pesticides, including nine known or probable carcinogens, twenty-four suspected hormone disruptors, eleven neurotoxins, and twelve development or reproductive toxins were found on conventionally farmed strawberries. It likely wasn’t just my eyes swelling shut. What about the health of the farmers spraying our food with phenoxyacetic acid herbicides, organochlorine insecticides, and organophosphate insecticides, all of which are linked to increased risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma? What about the communities downstream from these farms? What about the waterways that carry these chemicals into the oceans creating dead zones where neither fish nor plant-life can survive?
We live in a culture where it’s considered normal for a woman to use over 125 chemicals in her morning beauty routine, much of which washes down the drain into our water supply. Our cars are deodorized with chemicals that are known to disrupt hormones in both men and women, and we coat our babies in lotions made of waste products from the fuel industry.
Thinking about our food and lifestyle choices as narrowly as just what’s on our plate is missing the point of what being healthy means. There’s no need to stress over kale. I eat lots of it. I skip the non-stick pans and the chemical-filled nail polish. I flirt with my farmers and laugh at the ridiculousness of the seriousness of all of this, and maybe that’s what matters the most.
Let’s bring the joy back into mealtime. Let’s feel good about what we’re buying and form connections with those we are buying things from. If UnDiet living is about tuning in, creating our own rules, breaking free from what we think is expected of us, and instead making choices that invite us to rock our world, and live an awesome life- then let’s just do more of that.
And maybe then, we’ll make the time to sit down and enjoy a delicious dinner together that we can all feel great about.
Enjoy these simple recipes that can be made with some of our own homegrown best!
Balsamic Roasted Vegetables
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 40–45 minutes
Serves 4–6 as a side
4 beets, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4-5 loose cups Brussels sprouts, ends cut off, outer peel removed, and cut in halves or quarters
3 cups shredded cabbage
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
5 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
1/4 cup coconut oil, avocado oil, or organic ghee
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped (optional)
Make It Like So
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Place all the veggies, including the onion and garlic, in a large mixing bowl and toss with the oil and salt. Transfer to a glass roasting pan or a parchment-lined cookie sheet and roast for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and mix in the balsamic vinegar, and stir vegetables around. Sprinkle the walnuts over top and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the veggies are tender.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
Dressed to the Nines Sweet Potato
Protein Powered (option)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 45–60 minutes
4 organic sweet potatoes
2 Tbsp avocado oil, coconut oil or organic ghee
1/2 red onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
one 14 oz can organic beans of choice, drained and rinsed*
6 cups greens, trimmed and sliced into ribbons
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon Make-Your-Own Sambal (page 206 in The UnDiet Cookbook), red pepper flakes, or your favorite hot sauce
- Hemp seeds (protein bonus)
- Toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds
- Fresh sprouts
- Tempeh bits (prepared as with TLT Deluxe Sandwich, page 83 in The UnDiet Cookbook)
- Tahini Dressing (page 194 in The UnDiet Cookbook)
* Make it Protein-Powered!
Swap the beans for 1 lb pastured, organic protein of choice such as ground beef, chicken, or turkey. Cook the meat just until browned and then use in place of the beans.
Make It Like So
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Scrub the sweet potatoes and prick them in a few places with a fork (this gives them room to breathe as they bake). Place them on a baking sheet and bake until soft all the way through, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- While the sweet potatoes are baking, heat the olive oil in a medium pan and add the onion and garlic. Cook until soft. Add the beans and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from the heat and stir in your greens (the heat will wilt them). Add your lemon juice, sambal, and sea salt to taste.
- Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven. To serve, slice each sweet potato through the middle and top with beans + greens mix and your optional add-ons.
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
Recipes excerpted from The UnDiet Cookbook: 130 Gluten-Free Recipes for a Healthy and Awesome Life by Meghan Telpner. Copyright © 2015 Meghan Telpner. Photography Copyright © 2015 Maya Visnyei and Catherine Farquharson. Published by Appetite by Random House, a division of Random House of Canada Ltd., a Penguin Random House Company. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.