Do you need a food cheerleader in your life? Someone who will urge you to make good dietary choices? Someone who gets excited about vegetables? Meghan Telpner and her bestselling book, The Undiet Cookbook: 130 Gluten-Free Recipes for a Healthy and Awesome Life, may just be what you need to create a bright spot in your kitchen.
At the age of 26, Meghan Telpner was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. The doctors offered little hope. “Following my gut (literally!), I started doing loads of research, avoiding any studies or articles that said that a cure was impossible. There was no room for that. I immediately began putting into practice new lifestyle habits that included what I ate, and how I moved, breathed, slept, and thought. Within a few months, Crohn’s and I parted ways. Through UnDiet living, I effectively healed a disease that I was told would be with me for life. I cured the incurable.”
Following this experience, Telpner went back to school to study holistic nutrition. She is the founder and director of the Academy of Culinary Nutrition where she offers nutrition training for life and works with students from all over the world. Telpner writes, “My commitment to helping you achieve your optimal health (and my own) keeps me reading and practicing every single day.”
Written in a conversational tone common to many contemporary food bloggers, Meghan Telpner’s Undiet Cookbook is easy to read and infectious in its enthusiasm. She thoroughly explains her healthy lifestyle and way of preparing and eating nutritious foods and it’s all illustrated by vibrant photographs.
It’s as if she’s doing a cheer in your kitchen when she writes, “UnDiet is looking at the world through a fuchsia-colored lens, seeking and creating the joy, fun, and vibrancy that comes with living a healthy life. At its core, UnDiet is a simple, effective, bright-side-of-the-road way to achieve optimal vibrant health and live the life of our dreams. Can I get a “Hey, Now!”?”
The recipes are not specifically vegan, vegetarian, macrobiotic, raw, grain-free, or Paleo; most fit into any and all of these categories, or offer modifications that make them work for whic ever method of eating you like to follow. Telpner writes, “I am not a trained chef. Not even close. I don’t have fancy tools, fancy skills, or a fancy culinary degree. I learned to cook when I absolutely had to, and the biggest shock was not that I was good at it, but that I also loved it.”
The UnDiet Cookbook is organized into these sections with most containing more than 15 recipes:
- Decadent Drinks
- Begin with Brekkie
- Dips, Crackers, and Snacks
- Soups are Super
- Win Friends with Salad
- The Main Event
- Condiments, Dressings, and Special Wonders of the UnDiet World
- Don’t Dream It’s Over Dessert
- UnDiet Beauty Care
- UnDiet Entertaining
True to Telpner’s claim that she doesn’t use fancy ingredients or equipment, I found the Creamy Zucchini Hummus on page 97 very easy to make. It’s a unique hummus with no beans and is good with crackers, chips, or veggie sticks. Similarly, the Tomato and Olive Tapenade on page 98 was quick to produce and had a very nice flavor.
In good cheerleading form, Meghan uses the section on entertaining to encourage you to inspire your guests to eat healthy. She writes, “If your newfound UnDiet lifestyle is different from the way your loved ones usually eat and live, it can be tempting to keep your new favorite foods a secret and cook up the usual fare you know will be well received. But don’t pass up on this opportunity to thrive on the challenge of sticking to the healthy side of the tracks and to inspire your friends and fam to make some healthy living changes of their own. Note that I said, “inspire”. That’s the key. We want to inspire, not preach, judge, force, demand, or throw a tantrum when we see the people we love most eating the foods that we know are causing them the very same pain they keep complaining about having.”
Six different menus using recipes from this book help you plan your next soiree:
-The Fun Family Taco Night
-The Afternoon Gathering
-The Healthy Brunch
-The Kids’ Party
-The Girls’ Spa Night In
-The Holiday Celebration
Each themed party plan contains a prep schedule with things to do a week before, two days before, the day before, and the day of the dinner.
You can see Meghan Telpner in action on her website as she explains her UnDiet lifestyle: www.meghantelpner.com. “The old paradigm of counting calories and fat grams has faded. As we UnDiet together, we will chart new waters in very old, traditional seas. We are going to kick it old-school and get back to the basics of good, fresh, simple, awesome food and inspired living.” It’s a message many of us need. — — by Lisa George, RFT Book Editor, Latigo Ranch, Kremmling, Colorado; Photos by Hannah George