What do you look for in a cookbook? Do-able, nourishing recipes you can feel good about eating and sharing, gorgeous photography that makes your mouth water, a strong point of view that gives you a real sense of the person and the expertise behind them? The UnDiet Cookbook by nutritionist Meghan Telpner is all that (oh yeah!) and much more. Okay I’m gushing I know, but when you’re in love, you want to sing it from the rooftops! And I heart this book. Meghan’s philosophy is all about making plantiful (that is to say, plant-based) choices and living a more joyful, vibrant, intentional life. “Let’s aim to wake up feeling happy and feeling good, and to do what we can to make that happen,” Meghan writes, “whether that means dining on green juice, smoothies, and incredible salads, or having a night of celebration where we raise a glass to those we love most and indulge in a treat without attaching the word cheat to it.” Huzzah!
But don’t mistake that for a free pass to smoke the occasional cigarette or binge on toxin-laden junk food. “The all things in moderation concept is broken,” Meghan says, “and there are some things that really need to fall into the never ever category.” When we know better, we should do better, since the choices we make affect other people and the planet.
All of Meghan’s recipes are gluten- and dairy-free, with variations for nut-free, soy-free, grain-free and protein-powered lifestyles (e.g. from animals raised in a sustainable, cruelty-free way without antibiotics and hormones).
I made four recipes, starting with the cucumint lemonade in the first photo. The combination of fresh mint, lemon, cucumber and honey was refreshing and spring-y, perfect for an at-home spa day. I only wish there’d been a suggestion for something to do with the cucumber and mint pulp, and would probably leave it in next time instead of putting it in the compost.
The sacred scramble was next up, with tofu, spinach, green pepper, onions, turmeric and sea salt tossed together for a quick breakfast, lunch or dinner. The recipe also called for sundried tomatoes and red pepper, only I’d forgotten those at the grocery store. (What’s good for memory loss?) It was light and satisfying, the tofu a refreshing change from eggs (‘tho you can use those instead) and the tumeric giving it the warmth and depth to make it a comforting dish on a cold winter’s day.
The sweet potato zucchini hash brizzles are ridiculously good. I used up my zucchini in the first batch so you’re seeing kale in the second batch here, which we enjoyed just as well. They’re like baked latkes and delicious with apple sauce and hot sauce (‘tho maybe not at the same time).
And last, the creamed mushroom love soup. Onions, celery, carrots, mushrooms and turmeric are pureed into a thick and satisfying potage (a fancy word for thick soup) that I’ll be making again and again.
Meghan also shares recipes for a number of planet-friendly beauty products, from the teeth-happy toothpaste to the seaweed ocean soother mask. There are chapters devoted to travel and entertaining (I really like Meghan’s theme-based menus, ranging from taco night to a kids’ party) and a number of strategies for living in tune with yourself and the planet, making it a comprehensive guide to the UnDiet lifestyle. (That said, I haven’t read Meghan’s first book, UnDiet: Eat Your Way to Vibrant Health, so I can’t compare the two.)
Thoughtful and playful at the same time, The UnDiet Cookbook is an informative and entertaining read. Meghan lives by the credo, “Today is the day, make it ridiculously Awesometown!” Her enthusiasm, encouragement and zip-i-dee-doo-dah zest for life will make you say “I want what she’s having!” and thanks to the book, you can.
For a chance to win a copy of The UnDiet Cookbook, leave a comment below. For additional entries (one per day), tweet the following and leave me a link to your tweet in the comments:
#Win The UnDiet Cookbook from @RandomHouseCA & @trysmallthings! Today is the day! Make it ridiculously Awesometown! http://wp.me/p4xBed-123
The giveaway is open to Canadian residents (excl. Quebec) 18+ and ends at midnight EST on February 21, 2016.
Good luck everybody!
Update February 22, 2016: Congratulations Angela M!
Penguin Random House Canada sent me a copy of The UnDiet Cookbook in exchange for an honest review. All photos and opinions are my own. I love sharing my favourite books with you!