I discovered Meghan Telpner one day at Indigo. As usual, I was lurking in the healthy cookbook and diet section and her newly released book, "UnDiet" immediately caught my eye. I grabbed the colorful book, flipped it open and sifted through it for longer than I probably even realize. I could not part with it so I bought it and since that day, I have read it several times now-learning something new with each read. Her book is fabulous for beginners to healthy living or for those who are pros at the lifestyle. You can never learn enough. Undiet is full of essential information and recipes but most importantly, it teaches you how to UnDiet and live a happy and healthy life. I was so shocked and proud when I learned that Meghan is originally from Winnipeg (my small and central prairie town). Last spring, I took this nutritionista's Culinary Nutrition Expert online course through her Academy and it was life changing. I have learned most of what I know from this shining bright star of a being. When I tell people that raw honey works miracles on burns, that cayenne is the answer to scrapes and scratches, and that ideally every meal we eat should include a source of protein, healthy fat, and fiber, I get looks of confusion and interest. Everyone always asks me "how in the h-e- double hockey sticks do you know all of this stuff?" My answer is a) because I never stop wanting to learn and b) Meghan Telpner.
1. Hi Meghan! First of all, thank you for taking some time out of your busy schedule to chat with me! My first question for you is what inspired you to get into the nutrition field or were you always a cheerleader for healthy living?
My health! It wasn't good, at all. I have always been conscious of what I eat, I have always been active and taken care of myself, or so I thought. Looking back, however, I realize how unhealthy I actually was. I experienced three years of digestive symptoms that were diagnosed as everything from stress, hormonal imbalance, depression, and IBS. In 2006 I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, an autoimmune inflammatory bowel disease commonly believed to be incurable. I decided to change that. The decision to heal from an incurable disease, and succeeding in it, is what inspired me to do the work I now do. And this is pretty ridiculously awesome. I now get to work with other people, teaching those that want to inspire their communities, write books, coach programs, and cook up a storm!
2. That is truly amazing! So many people suffer from digestive orders and it’s so refreshing to hear that there is hope. You have accomplished so many amazing things guiding others into the awesome town way of life. You have written a best seller “UnDiet”, you offer online nutrition courses, you blog, you teach business targeted classes, you participate in giving health to charities in need, you are currently writing “The UnDiet Cookbook”, AND you boycotted the idea of retirement because you are living a life in which you do not want to retire from…was any of this planned? Did you have any idea how you wanted to help educate the world when you first started your career?
Wow! When you put it that way, I am doing a lot. My first career was in advertising so when I was younger and thought of my career- it definitely wasn't doing this!
Once I got healthy, studied nutrition and then kept learning, my goal was to find a way to share it in a fun, engaging, non-judgemental way. I want to inspire other people that they could fully take ownership over their health and live a really awesome life.
My goal was to share what I knew and what I was learning and so my business developed based on that one goal. I don't have a five year plan, and there's no way I could have told you this is where my business would be today, if you'd asked me five years ago. I think of things I want to do and I do them. Much of the inspiration for the work I do is inspired by my most amazing community. They tell me what they want and if it's in line with something I think I'd enjoy reading about, writing about, talking about, coaching, sharing and doing- then I do it. I definitely didn't have plans to build a whole school- but the Academy of Culinary Nutrition happened- and we now have graduates in over 25 countries.
And yes, originally I had planned to retire at 35 but instead just reframed what retirement meant to me. My husband and I travel a lot. If I can get away for a weeks every few months, that works great for me. We spent four months living and working abroad last year and that was amazing. Having the freedom to change the scenery when I need a break from the usual will keep me working until I'm 118!
3. I love all of that! Wouldn’t the world be a better place if everyone were required routine changes in scenery!? We would learn so much about the world we live in. I know your philosophy on labeling our diets but would you mind sharing with the rest of the world on what you think is important when it comes to labels, and why?
Labels are for tin cans! It's written right into my creed. I sincerely believe that labels should be reserved for tin cans and I advocate healthy eating whether it be vegan, vegetarian, raw, paleo, omnivore or whatever a person chooses. I choose to support people’s health, not mandate any one diet or regime, or expect that everyone should eat just like me. The way we eat, if we intend to stay optimally healthy, will change throughout our lifetime. It has to. A woman who is pregnant has different nutritional needs than a woman approaching menopause, or a woman in her twenties getting off the birth control pill. Everyone has their own unique needs.
4. Labels are indeed for tin cans! We place so much pressure on ourselves trying to fit into a certain category that we often forget about what really matters-our health. I hope that one day your creed becomes our way of life. If you could give your top 3 tips on how to stop dieting but rather live an “UnDiet” life, what would they be?
- Cook most of your meals, as home, from scratch.
- Drink mostly water, most of the time. And more of it!
- Be quiet! Everyday take some time to be quiet with yourself. Tune into how you feel and you'll start to recognize how certain foods make you feel. This will have a profound effect on your food choices and also your relationships, work, spending habits- everything!
5. Excellent advice! All very important things that tend to get swept under the rug. I must ask, what is the greatest reward for doing everything that you do?
It's two-fold. I love that I get to do work that I feel good about, that continues to inspire new creativity and that supports the life I am living. More than that though, the greatest reward is the emails, letters, presents, tweets and all that jazz from people who have taken the Culinary Nutrition Expert Program, read my book, or even just a blog post and have had profound positive change in their lives. Having the honour to be part of someone else's journey towards living the life of their dreams is the best reward of all.
Life with Meghan:
1. What is your/a favourite quote?
2. What are your hobbies?
In no particular order: cooking, riding my bicycle, foraging for wild foods in the woods, yoga, reading in bed, farmer's markets, travelling, beach-timing, crafting, and shaking a tail-feather.