It’s Femme Feature time! And this week we got down and dirty with Urban Forager and Nutritionist Meg De Jong! Meg is originally from Oakville, Ontario but made the move to Vancouver 8 years ago to study Kinesiology at UBC. From there she studied to become a Registered Holistic Nutritionist at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. She is now the head nutritionist at The Practice Studios which is a whole life studio, that focuses on many different aspects of wellness. She offers 1-on-1 coaching to help clients reach their health goals, in house cooking sessions, she hosts monthly workshops on various nutrition topics and has an instagram feed that is literally drool worthy!
Her biggest passion aside from educating people on the use of food to nourish their bodies, is growing food. She spends most of her spare time on Salt Spring Island where she and her boyfriend have an amazing garden and grow TONS of food. Meg also goes back east quite often during the spring/summer months to help manage the vegetable gardens at her family’s farm. Growing food and crafting up new recipes with seasonal produce feels like pure bliss for her!
How did you get started in nutrition?
It's so crazy but pursuing nutrition happened so naturally for me. I struggled all throughout high school with severe anxiety and a bad eating disorder. After finishing my UBC degree I decided I wanted to put away my confusion with food once and for all. I never thought I would work as a nutritionist - but after loving studying it so much - it was a no brainer that I needed to at least try. Here I am today, loving my work more than I ever thought possible!
What is an urban forager?
Haha great question - I call myself this because I started noticing the mass abundance of foods growing on this earth- even amongst cities, especially Vancouver! I decided it needed to be put to use which is why I do my best to forage whatever foods I find around. Some of the amazing things I urban foraged this past summer, amongst the city streets include; raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, salmon berries, pears, apples, figs, nettle, and so much more!
What is your vision for the future of food and health?
I love this question because the more I work in the field of nutrition, the better I feel I can answer. I could probably go on for pages about this topic but I'll keep it simple! I would love to see people TRULY in touch with the food they are eating - being mindful of where it came from, the farmers who grew it, the farming practices used (ex. organic/ conventional/ Integrated Pest Management, etc.), the effect it has on their body, and how it makes them feel. I think it's time we drop the diet labels and have an "Eat to Nourish" mentality for both our own bodies and the planet. I recently wrote an e-book on my philosophy on around this topic! You can find it here!
I think the future of food needs to go back to small scale and LOCAL farming. Don't get me wrong, I love a good slice of Avo Toast, coconut products, and all the other goodies we can’t grow here in the PNW - but I think we can all get way more creative about what we can do with foods that grow in our region. This will help to dramatically cut down global carbon emissions, allow developing countries to be free of corruption from big western corporations, and help us to see the importance of preserving the precious land we live on. Not only that, I think when we eat more locally it's easier to feel truly in touch with what we are putting into our bodies - nature’s cool that way! For us here in the PNW I think we can all consume more Wild fish, different types of Seaweeds, and seasonal produce.
What is your favourite ingredient to cook with at the moment?
That's a tough one! I think I have to say ginger, especially for this time of year! I made the most delicious ginger oat cookies the other day. And I have been using fresh or dried ginger root in everything from curries, soups, teas, and I even made ginger molasses bliss balls that were unreal!
What is your go-to comfort meal when you’re feeling like you need a little extra food love?
This is a no brainer for me! It is hands down a Buddha Bowl with brown rice, finely chopped raw cabbage and kale, oven roasted yams and cauliflower, all drizzled with a generous amount of my creamy homemade tahini sauce. And always dark chocolate for dessert as it’s my the optimal comfort food :)
What is your favourite quote?
"Nothing happens to you, everything happens for you."
You can stay up to date with Meg's mouthwatering and inspiring ideas about food, nutrition, and foraging on Instagram at @megdejong.nutrition.
The GirlTribe Crew
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