How I Learned to Undiet My Life
I was never a cook. It just didn’t matter to me. That is, it didn’t matter until it had to – until my health, and the direction of my life, depended on it.
In 2006 I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. This autoimmune disease of the digestive tract is commonly believed to be incurable. After dealing with digestive issues for years and seeing dozens of practitioners and doctors, to have the grand finale of this diagnosis left me with little hope that anyone would be able to help me. And so I took on the challenge myself.
At 26 years old, with a promising career in advertising, I left work to focus on healing (with the number of sick days I was taking, it was my only option). I got to know my kitchen – and began reading everything I could on autoimmune disease, digestive healing, stress, and emotional wellbeing, along with both conventional and integrative treatment options. I eliminated all the foods that could potentially exacerbate my condition and indulged in the foods that were believed to be healing. This was surprisingly freeing. I no longer had to fear food, or spend hours grocery shopping to read all the labels. Most of what I was eating didn’t have labels. It was simply whole, real, unprocessed, chemical-free food.
I began meditating every day, and committed to a regular yoga practice. I released my attachment to being who everyone else needed or expected me to be, and the result was that I fell into myself. I felt like I was suddenly exhaling after holding my breath all my life. Within a few months, I was more than just symptom-free from this disease; I was healthier than I could ever remember being. I have remained symptom-free since then.
I did one simple thing: I UnDieted my life.
The UnDiet philosophy is about looking at the world through a fuchsia-coloured lens, finding the awesomeness in any given moment, and using that perspective to know that we each deserve the best of the best in everything we do. I tuned in. I paid attention to my life – the things that made me feel good, and what made me feel bad; and that included food, work, relationships, and media. I began to recognize and experience happiness at a totally different level.
And that is ultimately what inspired me to head back to school to study nutrition, so that I could understand what I had achieved with my health. I took this in-depth foundation in holistic nutrition into my kitchen and began developing therapeutic recipes, which evolved into classes.
That directed me to the work I am now doing with the books I have written, and as the founder and director of The Academy of Culinary Nutrition. My goal from the start has been to share this knowledge and teach everyone who seeks my guidance how to be their own best teacher.
UnDiet living frees us from the barriers and worries we create around our health. Here, the first focus is on enjoying our food, connecting with our friends and family, getting a good night’s sleep, moving our body in ways it wants to be moved, and finding passion in the work we are doing.
UnDiet was born from my own experience. I was sick, and left essentially on my own to figure out what to do. My first book, UnDiet: Eat Your Way To Vibrant Health, is a lifestyle guide that helps readers find their way back to health, and invites them to become their own best health expert.
The UnDiet Cookbook takes those foundational principles and invites the lifestyle into the kitchen, to our dinner parties, tea parties, picnics, early mornings, late nights, and even our home spa. The recipes in The UnDiet Cookbook invite us to celebrate life and, in the process, the sweetness of healthy and awesome living.
The following recipes were 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.