Our dad has Celiac disease and when we were growing up the gluten-free options were seriously limited. His Sunday morning pancakes were so unpalatable even the backyard birds turned up their noses at the leftovers Dad threw out on the back porch. Fortunately, things have changed a lot since then. People are increasingly aware of the negative effects of gluten, even on those who don't suffer from Celiac. As a result, it's no longer such a big deal for us to find restaurants where he can easily order off the menu, or for him to go to someone's house for dinner. While those may seem like little things, they are actually a pretty big deal when you consider how much of our culture revolves around food. When you have a dietary restriction that prevents you from partaking in these traditions it can feel like you’re constantly missing out. It’s one of the most common concerns we hear from clients who are thinking about making lifestyle changes (and it's one we both had ourselves). That’s one of the reasons we’re such big fans of Meghan Telpner. Rather than focusing on the limitations of dietary choices she highlights all the ways you can continue to make food a fun, delicious, communal experience. Suddenly cutting gluten doesn’t feel like such a big deal when you still have the option to participate in social rituals that centre around eating.
We got our copy of Meghan’s new book The UnDiet Cookbook right before we left to spend Thanksgiving with our dad in Nova Scotia. As some of you may know, Amy was recently diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis which means she’s on a special Auto-Immune Paleo (AIP) diet. The diet not only restricts gluten, but all grains as well as dairy. Thankfully we knew these restrictions wouldn't be an issue since all the UnDiet recipes are gluten-free and dairy-free (and most of them are either grain-free to start, or have a grain-free option). It was the more obscure limitations of Amy's diet we were concerned about - including no nuts, seeds or nightshade vegetables on the elimination protocol phase of the diet. We were excited to discover that the recipes in the UnDiet Cookbook were easily adaptable to fit the AIP guidelines which meant we had lots of options to choose from when planning our Thanksgiving feast.
This is one of the things we most appreciate about Meghan's cookbook. Rather than being targeted towards a particular diet– paleo, raw, vegan, etc. – her book starts from the premise that pretty much everyone can stand to benefit from eliminating or reducing gluten and dairy (for our clients this is key since gluten has links to infertility, and both gluten and dairy cause inflammation which are implicated as causes of menstrual disorders - including dysmenorrhea, fibroids and endometriosis). Lots of the recipes are specifically nut-free, soy-free, grain-free, or raw, and even if they’re not, Meghan often includes modifications so that it’s easy to make them fit your specific diet.
The UnDiet cookbook includes a section at the back about entertaining. As we mentioned, sticking to your choices can be hard when you're faced with social gatherings. It can be tempting to either hide your new lifestyle or fall into the trap of preaching - neither of which are helpful. Thankfully Meghan has some great tips which we took to heart when we helped host Thanksgiving. The other section that was super useful on our trip was the one on planning meals for the road. We had a 14 hour journey from Nova Scotia to Amy's home in Boston which meant many snacks were in order. We're happy to report we made enough to last us the whole way! Not only did our bellies thank us, but our wallets were pleased too.
The winning recipe from our trip had to be the Baked Apples. Our dad has apple trees right on his property so we picked them just hours before popping them in the oven. To make it even better, we used maple syrup he tapped himself. It doesn’t get much more local than that! Oh, and we served it alongside homemade coconut ice cream (she's got a recipe for that too).
It goes without saying that we highly recommend picking up your own copy of UnDiet so that you can try out all the recipes, but to get you started we're including one of our faves. We’ve both experimented with smoothies over the years, but most concoctions barely keep us going. Usually by the time we get to the office we’re ready for breakfast number two. Apparently avocado has been the missing link! Kim is now obsessed with the I 💙 Blueberry Blend which is packed with nutrient-dense ingredients and super quick to make (she’s really not a morning person so that's important!)
Here's how to whip it up yourself:
I 💙 Blueberry Blend
1 cup coconut milk, almond milk, or water
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1 handful spinach
2 Tbsp hemp seeds
1 serving protein powder of choice
1 Tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut
2 medjool dates, or sweetener of choice
1 cup ice cubes
Make It Like So
Place all the ingredients in your blender. Blend until smooth.
Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Grain-Free, Raw
Prep Time: 5 minutes
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.
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Kim & Amy Sedgwick love to discuss sex, periods, and all the other things we’re not supposed to talk about. The co-founders of Red Tent Sisters and ecosex.ca, they’ve been featured in every major Canadian news outlet and have become a trusted resource for women seeking natural (effective!) birth control, a more joyful sex life, and an empowered journey to motherhood.