Why Everyone should take the Culinary Nutrition Expert Program

Culinary Nutrition Expert Program

I want to tell you about this awesome culinary nutrition expert program I took last year, and how I went through the program from the comfort of my own home. Meghan Telpher’s CNE Program is not just great for people like me who already have a nutrition background, but it’s an amazing program for anyone who wants to take their health and cooking skills to the next level. Registration is now open for the September 2017 cohort.

As many of you know, I am a graduate from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition, and I’m passionate about healthy living. From the very beginning I knew that what got me excited about nutrition was the practical part of creating delicious healthy food. There was however a lack in education around this from my nutrition schooling. That’s why when Meghan Telpner introduced the Academy of Culinary Nutrition I was thrilled to finally have something to fill the gap!

In 2015 I graduated from Meghan’s program as a Certified Culinary Nutrition Expert with Honours. Deciding to invest in my education and take this course was one of the best decisions I could have made for my health and my business. I just can’t say enough about it!

I have taken a number of different culinary/nutrition courses, but this one by far was my favourite! Here’s why:


1 – Meghan is AWESOME. Seriously! 

I have been attending classes with Meghan going way back when she used to hold them in person in her Toronto studio. I’ve even been on two of her retreats abroad. Her energy is amazing, and I’ve been a huge fan from day 1.

An extremely important factor for me is that I can always count on Meghan to pass on knowledge that is completely in line with my own nutritional morals and beliefs. I never have to question ulterior motives, or wonder if she’s done enough research… if you’ve followed Meghan at all, you’ll know she digs deeper into topics than most would even dare! She’s an incredibly knowledgable person, and has written 2 best-selling books: UnDiet and The UnDiet Cookbook.

Undiet Cookbook

Undiet Books

2 – Cooking, Recipe Building & Nutrition Knowledge – All in One

I have a background in holistic nutrition, and wanted to take this course to improve both my personal culinary skills and add value to my business offerings. This course can benefit anyone who wants to learn more about simply eating healthy, understanding the nutrition behind the food we eat, and teach us how to make better nutrition decisions.

I loved how this course not only taught simple healthy meals, but also explained WHY each ingredient was so good for you. When you have this understanding of how your food is fuel and can heal your body, then you start to consciously choose to eat this way rather than grabbing processed food. Here are a few recipes I did during the program:

CNE collage 2

3 – Better Planning & Organization 

Honestly, this is the KEY to healthy living – PLANNING AHEAD. And although I knew this already, we didn’t learn in nutrition school how to properly meal plan or organize our kitchen effectively. In the CNE Program, Meghan takes you through simple, easy steps to make planning your week a breeze. Not to mention once you’ve got it down pat, you can teach others how to do it as well!

kitchen organization

4 – My Business Took an Unexpected Turn – For the Best!

I didn’t realize just how much this course was going to affect my business, but what a great surprise that was.

Before this course I lacked direction with my business, and the confidence to try new things. While working through the assignments in this course, I decided to research plant-based local catering companies. I had always assumed there must be plenty, and they’re all doing it well! I very quickly realized that there weren’t many to choose from, and not all of them follow the more strict nutrition guidelines that I would have in place.

This lit a fire under my bum, and I got really excited! I decided to create a catering company, one that I would have hired if it had already existed.

Now 1 year later and my mom and I run the company – Nourished Body Catering. It’s doing SO well and being received greatly by the community. I wouldn’t have looked into this avenue, had it not been the push from this program and the support from my peers.

Nourished Body Catering


5 – Amazing Amazing Community of Friends

Yep I said it twice, I just can’t stress it enough! I don’t know what I’d do without this Tribe! I can’t even begin to tell you how priceless this piece of the program is. As soon as you sign up, you are immediately part of this amazing tribe of healthy, happy, and supportive friends. In the CNE private Facebook group we have great discussions, offer constructive feedback, give support to our peers, and share valuable information.

Today is the Day

6 – Convenient, Online and At My Own Speed

If anyone knows me, they know I’ve got A LOT on the go. I get really excited about life and what’s out there to explore, that I end up juggling SO many things at once! I like being busy though, it keeps me moving and motivated. Luckily this program fit with my crazy schedule!

The entire program is online, and I was able to watch the videos and work on the assignments when I found the best time to. Now don’t get me wrong, this course is one of the hardest courses I’ve ever taken in my life. There are still dates when assignments are due, and I had to keep organized and on top of my work. But the payoff in the end after completing this program was priceless. I’m glad I pushed through and got it all done!

Online CNE Videos

7 – I’m now part of the team! 

Since graduating and starting my own business, I had the opportunity to come back to the Academy of Culinary Nutrition and join the team. I am now a program coach, and absolutely love supporting and coaching others along their culinary journey. It is incredibly gratifying to be involved with this wonderful community and all of the amazing and diverse people it attracts. 

CNE Program Coach

Disclosure:  Throughout this post there are convenient links in place to guide you to the program sign up page. These are in fact affiliate links, and although it does not affect you, it helps me out a little bit! (I get credit/commission if anything is purchased). I believe in this program 100% and everything I’ve said here is my honest opinion. I would never promote anything I didn’t truly whole-heartedly believe in. If you have any questions about this program, feel free to reach out to me in the comments below. I will answer the best I can.

Apples with Almond-Cinnamon Dip

Apples and Dip

Apples with Almond-Cinnamon Dip

  • apples, as many as you want, cored and cut into slices
  • 3/4 cup almond butter
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. Combine almond butter, almond milk, maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla extract in a blender and blend until smooth
  2. Serve with apple slices
  3. Enjoy!

apples and cinnamon

apples and cinnamon snack

Raw Spiral Veggie Salad

Spiralized Zucchini Noodle Salad

Spring is here! And for me that means incorporating more fresh raw dishes into my diet. I like to eat a combination of both raw and cooked foods, and vegetable dishes of all different colours. Just like this spiralized veggie dish!

Do you own a spiralizer? If not, that’s ok. You could make this salad using a julienne peeler, or julienne the vegetables by hand like in this video.

But if you have a spiralizer, pull that bad boy out of the cupboard and have some fun with it! You can spiralize a number of different vegetables, from zucchini, carrots, beets, sweet potato, broccoli stalk, cucumber, jicama, apples, … even onion!

Check out the recipe below, but feel free to get creative and add any other raw vegetable you like. This sesame dressing pairs well with just about anything!

Raw Spiral Veggie Salad

  • 1 zucchini, spiralized
  • 1 carrot, spiralized
  • 1 cup shredded purple cabbage
  • 5 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • a few sprouts
  • seeds: I used hemp hearts and pumpkin seeds
  • sesame vinaigrette
  1. Layer the above ingredients on a plate. Sprinkle seeds on top. Drizzle with Sesame Vinaigrette (recipe below)

Sesame Vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • pinch or two red pepper flakes
  1. Add all ingredients to a jar and shake well, or to a blender and combine


To enhance your own culinary skills, check out Meghan Telpher’s Academy of Culinary Nutrition program below! Whether you want to make a career of this, or just strengthen your cooking skills for the home, this program is for everyone.

Golden Turmeric Tea


Turmeric Powder

This recipe is not only easy to make, but so incredibly good for you. The main ingredient in it is Turmeric powder. The active ingredient in turmeric is called curcumin. Curcumin is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory herbs, and has many other benefits including:

  • anti-oxidant properties
  • anti-inflammatory properties
  • anti-microbial properties
  • improves the cardiovascular system
  • improves brain function
  • supports joint and muscle health
  • boosts detoxification of the liver
  • promotes healthy mood balance
  • promotes healthy radiant skin
  • promotes weight loss

Turmeric has a very mild flavour and can be added to many dishes easily without changing the flavour profile of the dish. Just be conscious of surfaces and utensils you’re using with it, as the yellow stains! My Vitamix container is now a slightly beige colour from using turmeric in my smoothies. 

There are many variations of turmeric tea out there, and feel free to play around with different added spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. Studies have shown that black pepper greatly increases the absorption of curcumin in the body, so I usually try to pair the two in my recipes.

This recipe is here is very easy to make. You will end up with about 1 1/2 cups of turmeric “paste”, which can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. You will only need about 1/4 tsp. of paste in each drink, so you’ll have plenty of paste left over to continue to drink this healing drink throughout the next couple of weeks (or share with family and friends).

The turmeric paste will look like this:

Turmeric Paste


And now for the recipe!

Turmeric Tea

  • 1/2 cup turmeric powder
  • 1-2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  1. Add turmeric and 1 cup water to a small saucepan, on low heat, and simmer only. Simmer for 7-10 minutes, stirring in more water from the 2nd up of mixture if it seems dry. 
  2. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in the coconut oil and black pepper. Mix well, and allow to cool.
  4. Store in a glass jar. This will keep in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.

Roasted Beet, Maple Pecan & Orange Quinoa Salad

Roasted Beet Orange Maple Pecan Salad

This is the perfect transition salad from winter months into spring. Combining comforting roasted beets with the fresh citrus taste of orange, and the sweet crunch from the maple pecans. This is a really beautiful combo! The orange infused quinoa is a different take on your usual plain quinoa with a somewhat nutty flavour. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

Roasted Beet, Maple Pecan & Orange Quinoa Salad

maple pecans

maple pecan beet salad


Vegetarian Pad Thai


vegan pad thai

I absolutely love Pad Thai, but I prefer to make it at home and have control over the ingredients that go into the sauce. I came across this recipe on one of my fav sites to follow, Pinch of Yum, but adjusted it slightly and made it egg-free and peanut-free. You can further adjust the sauce recipe to make it more sweet or more spicy if you like. I find this recipe has a really nice balance of both. 

Spiralizing the vegetables was the best part! It’s really so much fun. Before today I didn’t know you could use this machine on onions and red peppers, but you learn something new every day!

If you don’t have a spiral slicer, you can simply use a julienne peeler, or julienne by hand like in this video. Check out my spiralized vegetables using my spiral slicer below:


Spiraled Vegetables


So quick and easy!

Now to make the sauce, I simply shook the ingredients together in a mason jar. You can use any jar you have with a tight lid, or a blender.

Pad Thai Sauce


The julienned/spiralized vegetables are first added to the skillet to lightly cook.

spiralized vegetables


And then the noodles are added and lightly tossed with tongs to combine.

pad thai brown rice noodles



You can eat the pad thai as is, or garnish with nuts, herbs, and/or a slice of lime.


Vegetarian Pad Thai

  • 4 ounces brown rice noodles
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 red pepper
  • half a yellow onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 tbsp. grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup cilantro and green onion, chopped

For the Sauce:

  • 3 tbsp. coconut sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp. vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp. white vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. tamari
  • 1 tsp. chili paste (sambal oelek)
  • 1/4 tsp. miso paste
  • pinch black pepper
  • 1/4 cup water
  1. Place the uncooked noodles in a bowl of cold water to soak.
  2. Spiralize the zucchini, red pepper, and onion into noodle-like pieces. Spiralize the carrots if they are big enough or cut them into strips.
  3. Shake up the sauce ingredients in a jar.
  4. Heat a tablespoon of grapeseed oil over medium heat. Add the veggies – stir fry with tongs for 2-3 minutes or until tender. Be careful not to overcook them as they will get soggy and heavy. Transfer to a dish and set aside.
  5. Add another tablespoon of grapes oil to the pan. Drain the noodles (they should be softened by now). Add the noodles to the hot pan and stir fry for a minute, using tongs to toss. Add the sauce and stir fry for another minute or two, until the sauce starts to thicken and stick to the noodles. You may need to add a “slurry” to thicken the sauce if it isn’t happening on it’s own. Do this by mixing 1 tbsp. arrowroot starch with a bit of the sauce, and mix into a paste. Add a bit of this paste to the pan at a time, and combine with the rest of the sauce until it starts to thicken. Don’t add too much at once, or the sauce may become too thick.
  6. Add in the vegetables, toss together and remove from heat.
  7. Plate, and sprinkle with cashews and fresh herbs.
  8. Serve and Enjoy!
Recipe originally from: Pinch of Yum blog


Orange-Cranberry Smoothie

Orange Cranberry Smoothie

If you remember orange Creamsicles, this smoothie tastes just like one!  I wanted to incorporate cranberries, a more winter seasonal berry into a shake, and the combination with the oranges turned out just delicious. I used a fermented vegan protein powder from Genuine Health but feel free to use any that you like.

Orange-Cranberry Smoothie

  • 3 oranges, peeled and sectioned
  • 3/4 cup cranberries
  • 1 tbsp. goji berries (optional)
  • 1 cup almond milk (or other nut milk)
  • 1 tsp. raw honey, to taste (optional)
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder 
  1. Blend all ingredients until smooth
  2. Enjoy!

Orange Cranberry

Orange Cranberry Smoothie



Pomegranate-Fig Salad


Pomegranate Avocado Fig Salad

This is a great salad for any time of the year, but the colours here with the greens and reds are so festive it was perfect for the holiday season! If you happened to make the last recipe posted, Holiday Canapé’s, and you’ve got leftover balsamic figs then you’re already 1 step ahead in making this salad!

Pomegranate-Fig Salad (Serves 1)

  • handful mixed greens (I used a garden blend, and added arugula)
  • 1 inch piece of cucumber, cut lengthwise in 4 and then sliced
  • 1/4 – 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 4 cherry tomatoes, cut in 4
  • 1 balsamic fig, cut into small pieces (recipe found here in previous post)
  • couple of tbsp. pomegranate seeds
  • 1 tbsp. hemp hearts
  • 1 tbsp. pumpkin seeds
  • Dressing: 3 tsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. balsamic, dash salt, dash black pepper
  1. Place the greens on the bottom of the dish.
  2. Toss on the cucumber, avocado, tomatoes, fig and pomegranate seeds.
  3. Sprinkle on top hemp hearts and pumpkin seeds
  4. Mix the dressing together (I put mine in a small mason jar and shake vigorously). Pour dressing over the salad.
  5. Enjoy!

Pomegranate Avocado Fig Salad


Holiday Canapés


I recently catered an open house and made up these cute little canapés, which were a total hit! These would be perfect to make for one of your holiday events. 

Gluten-free, and dairy-free, they are sure to please any of your guests and friends.

The “cheese” portion was made from a white bean blend, and you wouldn’t know the difference! There are three different options here for toppings, but feel free to get creative and come up with your own! They include: Balsamic Figs and Chives; Apricot Jam, Thyme & Pomegranate seeds; and Grape Tomatoes with Chives and paprika.

What you will need as a base:

  • Mary’s Gluten-free Crackers as a base
  • White Bean Cream “Cheese” (Recipe below)

White Bean Cream “Cheese”

  • 1 19oz. can white beans (cannellini or navy beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. tahini
  • 1/2 tsp. cane sugar or sweetener of choice (I don’t think maple syrup or honey would work well in this recipe)
  • a dash or two of salt & pepper (to taste)
  1. Add all ingredients to the food processor and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides every so often when needed.

Topping Option #1: Grape Tomatoes, Chives or Parsley & Paprika

Depending on how many pieces you are planning to make, will decide quantity of following ingredients.

  • Grape tomatoes, cut length-wise into 4 pieces
  • Chives cut about 1 inch in length
  • OR instead of chives use little pieces or parsley leaves
  • Sprinkle a little bit of paprika (you could use other spices of your choice)
  1. Take 1 cracker, and spread on about 1/2 tsp. of white bean dip in the middle of the cracker.
  2. Take 1 section of the grape tomato and place it in the middle of the bean dip, pressing down slightly
  3. Place the chive or parsley beside the tomato.
  4. Sprinkle on the paprika
  5. Repeat process for as many crackers as you’d like


Topping Option #2: Apricot Jam, Thyme & Pomegranate Seeds

Depending on how many pieces you are planning to make, will decide quantity of following ingredients.

  • apricot jam (I found an organic jar at the local grocery store)
  • thyme, leaves removed from the stem and finely chopped
  • 1 pomegranate, seeds removed (See video for easy method to remove seeds)
  1. Take 1 cracker, and spread on about 1/2 tsp. of white bean dip in the middle of the cracker
  2. Spread about 1/8 tsp of apricot jam on top.
  3. Sprinkle on a few pieces of minced thyme
  4. Top with 2 pomegranate seeds
  5. Repeat for as many crackers as you’d like


Topping Option #3: Balsamic Figs & Chives

  • 1 cup dried figs, stems removed
  • 1 1/2 cups balsamic vinegar
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • pinch of sea salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • chives, cut into 1 inch pieces
  1. In a small sauce pan, add all ingredients except for the chives.
  2. On medium heat bring the ingredients to a simmer, and then cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat
  3. Allow to sit and “pickle” for 2 hours at room temperature. (To keep this dish raw, skip the cooking process and just combine the ingredients in a bowl and let them sit at room temperature for 1 day to allow for pickling).
  4.  These will then keep good in the fridge for up to 1 month.
  5. Take a fig and cut into small, 1/4-1/2 inch pieces (see picture below for reference)
  6. Take 1 cracker, and spread on about 1/2 tsp. of white bean dip in the middle of the cracker
  7. Place one of the fig sections into the middle of the dip
  8. Stand a piece of the chive up beside it, leaning on the fig slightly
  9. Repeat for as many crackers as you’d like




If you want to label these dishes like I have done in the first photo (this way you don’t have to keep explaining to your guests what is in each!), here is a link to my downloadable file I left them as a Word document so you can edit the text if you came up with your own creation!

Breakfast Parfait


Breakfast Parfaits are really easy to make, and you can get creative and change the toppings as the seasons change. It’s now the winter season, and so we don’t have fresh berries, so these berries were simply frozen berries that I thawed ahead of time. Feel free to use any fruit that you like or is in season.

Coconut yogurt is a really great dairy-free alternative to regular dairy yogurt. It is high in good fats, and is cultured and so a great source or prebiotics which helps with gut bacteria balance and improving digestion.

Breakfast Parfait

  • Yoso Coconut Yogurt – Vanilla or Unsweetened
  • granola cereal (homemade is always best)
  • fresh fruit – I used pomegranate seeds, and frozen berry mix
  1. In a clear class, layer about 4 layers of alternating coconut yogurt and granola
  2. Top with the berries
  3. Enjoy!