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Im-Press-ed with The Book Club



Last week, I received three super fun emails, all requesting to chat with me, about my views and experiences on nutrition for various websites. It blows my mind that people take such an interest in what I am doing and what I have done with food. For me, it seems simple. Don't feel well? Then change what you are doing to break the patterns that have built said less desirable state of health.

Here is the interview from the acclaimed CBC Book Club. I sure did enjoy my chat with the delightful Hannah Sung (who I used to watch all the time when she was a VJ on Much Music). Here is the interview in full, as posted on the CBC Book Club site.

How to heal with food

Meghan Telpner
(seen in the photo at left) is a blogger and nutritionist. You may read her nutrition blog at the National Post online.I called her up for a chat and found out that if Meghan hadn't become sick with Crohn's disease, she never would have thought of going into nutrition.

"I got my degree in fashion. Then I went to Africa to travel and got sick there. I came back and got a job in advertising, working for three and a half years while sick. I met a doctor at a party and he said, 'You should be a nutritionist,' and I thought, "Oh God, no, I don't want to be a hippie in Birkenstocks," she laughs.

Not sure if she currently owns any Birkenstocks (doesn't everyone?) but the doctor was right. She did, in fact, become a nutritionist.

"I kept going to doctors and realized they weren't going to help me and figured I would resolve this myself. At the point when I was too sick to go to work any more was when I started looking at schools. Until I graduated, I went solely to try and figure things out for myself."

Now Meghan, who calls herself "95 per cent vegan," uses her hard-won nutritional education to help clients who come to her with health issues. She also does food preparation workshops. The best part is that through knowing how to eat right for her condition, she has been entirely symptom-free for three years.

I asked her about how our culture can get in the way of eating food for optimal health.

"I think our challenge here is that we try to eat for aesthetic reasons, which obviously hasn't had healthy effects on our emotional relationship with food or our physical relationship with food. And we've made our eating so complicated.

We look at our plates and don't see good food any more, we see ratios of protein and carbs and numbers in terms of fat or sugar. We've sucked the joy out of food โ€” and we believe more is always better. We try to work more and take on more, and eating has become an inconvenient thing that we try to do as conveniently as possible and it just can't be healthful that way. It's not healthy to eat in your car no matter what you're eating. In Europe, they have their siestas and go home for lunch, and when I was in Africa, you go home for lunch and you meet up with people and sit at a table and eat a meal and we don't do that any more," she laments.

On her site, she has videos and an e-book that came out of a blog she started writing the day after she was diagnosed with Crohn's.

I asked for her book recommendations around food and nutrition.

"The best books are the ones that are already popular. Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food is fabulous for making people see the simplicity and ease of health and food and how we've made it so ridiculous."

"Food Matters by Mark Bittman is great because it also gives recipes and isn't vegetarian, which is nice for a lot of people."

"Food Politics by Marian Nestle talks about how the food pyramid came about with the different boards and the dairy council. That's a good one that makes me angry."

"Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes debunks a lot of the myths around our beliefs around food."

Thanks so much for all the book recommendations, Meghan! As for me, I had a health issue that led me to naturopathic healing and eating a whole food diet and the book that helped me do it was Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition by Paul Pitchford. So there you go, Book Club. Now you have a starter-kit reading list, in case any of you are just getting into it!

7 Responses to “Im-Press-ed with The Book Club”

  1. Alex said…
    I'm so jealous of all your interviews! It must feel pretty cool to be a nutricelebrity :) By the way, I can't stop listening to "Bruises" by Chairlift...It's now on my fave list too. Ps. I just did a post on the Dr.Andrew Weil-Astragalus-FDA controversy...have you heard about it? It's so outrageous! It's the equivalent of arresting a j-walker when there is a murder happening around the corner...I'd really love to hear your thoughts though, so pop a comment on my blog if you get the chance! And spread the word!
  2. Ricki said…
    Great interview! Thanks for the book recommendations, too
  3. Amanda said…
    You held yourself well in that interview Meghan! Good on you. Appreciate the book recommendations as well. My friends have decided to support my "hippie" movement and buy me some gluten-free vegetarian cook books for my birthday. :)
  4. Great piece, Meg. Would you believe I've never read any of Pollan's books? At first I didn't want to buy his books because I already subscribed to his ideology (though I'm a huge advocate of his), and now I just haven't gotten around to it. I think I have Food Matters. Either that, or it's on my list of books to read. I know I have Kitchen Express that I won. I have a hard copy of Food Politics that I found at Value Village for $5 (amazon lists it at $41). The End of Food, the one by Thomas Pawlick (I haven't read the Paul Roberts book by the same name) was a huge eye opener for me. I think it was my gateway book into reading way too much about food issues that I sometimes wish I knew less about (now there's a great testimonial for him). If you like food adventure books (i.e. not nutrition), check out Bourdain's A Cook's Tour. I didn't see the show but as I was reading the book I looked up the accompanying episodes on YouTube. "In Bad Taste?" by Massimo Marcone of the University of Guelph was also a good read. Not the best writing, but good stories and insights. He wrote about civet coffee and other odd food discoveries. I read a library copy and then saw a copy at The Good Egg in Kensington Market that had better photos. [An aside: The Good Egg has a great selection of books, and drool-worthy Le Crueset cookware that's often on sale. I'd rather buy from them even though the bargain books section at Chapters and Indigo draws me in.] For Canadiana, I liked Apples to Oysters by Margaret Webb. I've met her a couple of times. She's cool. The book resulted in frustration though because I realized that I can't find packaged Canadian seaweed such as dulse anywhere. It all comes from Japan or the US.
  5. Meghan Telpner said…
    The gift that will give back to them too I'm sure :)
  6. Meghan Telpner said…
    Awesome reco's Andrea- now go post these over at CBC :)

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