This month marks the 1st anniversary of my book baby YumUniverse—October is generally a big month in the publishing world for cookbook releases, so I’m celebrating my 1-year anniversary by devouring a bunch of preview copies of new books that are coming your way. It’s so nice to read through these gems knowing how excited the authors must be, and how they’re probably running on a swirly high of exhaustion, anxiety, joy and preparedness right about now. They’ve worked so hard, and they have special, life-changing know-how to share.
No one does this with more vibrancy, energy and pizzazz than author, founder of the Academy for Culinary Nutrition, and UnDiet champion Meghan Telpner. Her second book, The UnDiet Cookbook, just released this Tuesday and it’s a colorful publication that’s loaded with the kind of photography that makes you want to eat the pages. Meghan wants me to share a recipe with YU, and it was pretty much a no-brainer that I went with her gluten-free chocolate pancakes.
At the end of this post, Meghan and I chat about her best tips for UnDiet living so make sure you check that out, but first, heavenly breakfast.
Chocolate, Chocolate, Say It Twice Pancakes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes (or 5–8 minutes per set of pancakes)
Makes 8–10 pancakes
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup arrowroot starch
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 cup warm water
2 tsp arrowroot starch (optional)
1 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup organic unsweetened organic applesauce
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
3 tbsp coconut oil, heated to liquid
1 tbsp tahini
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup dairy-free semisweet chocolate chips*
*I didn’t have these guys on hand, but I did have a dark chocolate bar, so I chopped that up.
Make It Like So
1. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients.
The sifting is a bit tedious, but it does help with the pancake fluff factor. (You can skip it if you want, though.)
2. In a separate bowl, mix all the wet ingredients together. If your coconut oil is solid, you may wish to warm it over the stove to liquefy it. (Sometimes I’ll totally cheat and throw all the wet ingredients into the blender.)
3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mix, and then stir in the chocolate chips.
If you like your pancakes on the thinner side, add a little more water to the batter. It doesn’t take much to thin the mix, so be careful. You don’t want your pancakes to become a runny mess.
4. Heat your skillet to medium heat and dollop on some coconut oil or ghee. Scoop 1/4 cup of batter at a time into the hot skillet. Once you see bubbles start to form, it’s time to flip these babies over. The trick with pancakes is to keep the heat high enough to cook them through, but not so high that it burns the outside while the inside is left raw. Once you find the right spot on your stove, take note! Let the pancakes sit for 5 minutes before serving. This helps them firm up in the middle.
5. Serve with your favorite toppings. I love shredded unsweetened, dried, shredded coconut, ground flax, ground goji berries, and a drizzle of Special Syrup (page 205 in The UnDiet Cookbook).
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.
Q & A with Meghan:
HC: How would you explain your nutrition philosophy?
MT: Eat real food: which means avoid foods that had to pass through a chemistry lab to prove they wouldn’t kill us (immediately), and a processing factory where the really good stuff gets removed.
Flirt with farmers: As best you can, get to know the people who are bringing the food to your market or local grocery store. And if you don’t have any local farmer’s markets, get to know the produce manager, butcher etc. at your local supermarket. This helps ensure you get the best!
Labels are for tin cans—not our diets: Don’t get too attached to any one style or trend of diet as there’s a good chance that as you go through your life, what you eat will change in order to maintain a healthy life.
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HC: I couldn’t agree more. So, what’s one of your favorite health-boosting tips for newbies?
MT: Find three habits you can start doing today and keep doing daily, that will promote your health. This could include anything- drinking a big glass of water first thing in the morning, moving your body for twenty minutes everyday, making at least one meal per day fresh in your own kitchen. Everyone knows at least one thing they can do for themselves that will work towards improving their health. Write-it down, sign your name to it and do it!
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HC: Baby steps are the way—how do you think folks can best save time and staying prepared?
MT: Meal plan! It can be a pain for sure when you first get started, but it is the best secret weapon on the healthy eating game. I believe this to be so important that we included a meal plan in my first book, UnDiet and with The UnDiet Cookbook, we have meal plans available as the bonus with purchase when people register their copy over at theundietcookbook.com. Here’s what’s awesome about meal planning—once you do it for one month, you can take a month off and recycle the plan. Then you do another month and now you have two plans to choose from. I recommend having 3-4 that you can rotate through and change up for the seasons.
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HC: Recycling plans is the way to go. I encourage folks to do the same with the YU Meal Plan Subscription. So, when you started to focus on healthful foods, what were some of the biggest surprises you discovered about the lifestyle and yourself?
MT: That one diet really doesn’t fit all. I graduated from nutrition school believing very firmly that a well-rounded strictly plant-based diet was the best for everyone. After I was in a car accident, and my body wasn’t healing and my nervous system wasn’t recovering, I realized I needed more. My body was holding on to extra weight, I had developed cavities and I’d never had a cavity in my whole life, I was low in several vitamins and minerals. I chose to change up my diet to rebalance rather than load up on supplements. The changes I experienced were dramatic. I have since opened up to truly understand that we all need to tune in and decide what will work for us individually based on the stage of life we’re in, where we live and what is actually sustainable and makes us feel good. That’s ultimately what the UnDiet philosophy is all about.
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HC: So, you’re stranded on an island (with electricity!). What are your top three must have kitchen tools and appliances?
MT: Being stranded on a desert island with electricity would be a dream come true. Can we go there now? My blender—that’s obvious. And then I think I’d kick it with basics—a great knife, and my measuring cups and spoons so I can use my free time to write the follow up to The UnDiet Cookbook. I’ll call it The UnDiet Desert Island Cookbook. Creative, right?
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HC: Absolutely! I bet there’s quite a bit of inspiration there for you… Speaking of: what inspires you to stay on track day to day? Do you ever lose sight of your goals? And if you do, how do you get back on track?
MT: I’m excellent at staying on track. Maybe too good. I can focus and get things done anytime, anywhere. For me the challenge is often stepping away and letting things go. Whether I am on or off track—the best way for me to tune in to me and where I am, where I’m going and appreciate how far I’ve come is to take to the forest for a long walk.
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HC: Oh girl, you’re speakin’ my language. So, what 3 recipes from the new cookbook do you find make it into your personal menu rotation on the reg?
Dressed To The Nines Sweet Potato (page 173)
Creamed Mushroom Love Soup (page 113)
Balsamic Roasted Vegetables (page 151)—And with this one I’ll often mix up the veggies.
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HC: Well, now I know what I’ll be trying this week… Can you tell us about upcoming or existing projects are you working on?
MT: Well, I wrote this book called The UnDiet Cookbook (just joking…).
HC: Good one. [wink]
MT: Yes, my cookbook has been keeping me very busy as has my new school, The Academy of Culinary Nutrition where we’re working with students and alumni in 32 countries, training them to share the awesomeness of Culinary Nutrition around the world.
In the new year, I am launching a brand new program which is no-nonsense business coaching for health and wellness professionals that is not based on schemes and gimmicks but is really about how to build a seriously solid platform, connect with community, stand-out, be authentic and most importantly be effective. There are a lot of nonsense programs out there being offered by people who have yet to prove themselves as leaders in their field. I watch so many people in our field go out into the world with big hopes and dreams and but are following formulas that may have worked for one person but that aren’t right for them and so they don’t see the success they want. The field of health and culinary nutrition requires all of us to be doing our very best work and I am going to be working with my students and grads and anyone else who is interested in cultivating themselves as professionals in an ever-increasing area.
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HC: I’m sure the bloggers out there will want to know: how did you start adding people to your team to help you grow your business? When did you know it was time? Any tips for creating a solid team?
MT: I had my first assistant about two years after I started. It’s always a challenge finding people who are the right fit and it’s also a challenge learning how to manage, guide, and best work with other people when you’re so used to doing it all yourself. I am very fortunate with the small but mighty team I have right now- they’re absolutely the best.
Before you start building your team, aim to work like the best employee in your company. If you wouldn’t hire you, then you’re likely not ready to start managing someone else, yet. Figure out what parts of your business you are awesome at and do mostly that, and then make note of what you can delegate to someone else.
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HC: That is such good advice. You’re also lucky to be surrounded by a family who’s health focused. What advice can you give to people who are in the opposite situation? Particularly those sharing the same dinner table?
MT: We can’t force change on anyone. It can be tricky to watch the people we love knowingly do things that aren’t optimal for their health—but that’s their journey. There are kind ways to go about making our own choices, which includes not forcing them on anyone else. My guideline is to never offer information unless I am asked. When I dine with friends or family who don’t eat like I do, I usually just take care of my own food and phrases like “No thank you, I’m fine” usually suffice is something is offered to me that I don’t want to eat. There’s no reason to make a big hoopla about it.
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HC: I agree. Meals together should be about time spent with others, not what our dietary preferences are. So, anything else you’d like to share?
MT: Well—I think you’re the best and it’s really fun and awesomely inspiring to get to work in a field of such innovative, creative, generous, and successful people who are making a living following their passion while also contributing great things to the world. I love that we live in a time when anything we can dream up is possible.
Though food isn’t everything when it comes to our health, it’s a big part. When we can get our food values in line—we’re able to broaden our capacity to create great things. I am grateful to be able to be part of this community helping those that seek our guidance to fuel their greatest life!
HC: I’m such a fan of what you’re doing too Meghan—high five for another beautiful book and have fun with it all. Thanks for sharing with us!
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