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Meghan Telpner is a Toronto-based nutritionist and holistic lifestyle consultant. Her Making Love In The Kitchen video series will bring you tips on how to prepare healthful, nutritious goodness from whole foods. Visit her site for more love. On September 15th, Meghan we will be kicking off a 5 Days Vegan group challenge.  Until then, Meghan will be sharing benefits of transitioning to a plant-based diet.

I am not referring to big fat, smelly, dripping with grease burgers covered in cheese, bacon, fried onions, all cozied up between two slices of spongy white bread. As if. The only thing a burger like that would do for us is make us fat, smelly, greasy and spongy. We are what we eat.

Let's pretend you ate a diet that consisted mainly of fresh and alive plant foods, as you would with  a more plant happy way of eating, even if for just a couple of days a week. Perhaps you might feel more fresh and alive.

If we eat bad foods that are fried, greasy, high in animal-based saturated fats like burgers, chicken wings, and cheese and/or heavily processed, high in salt, and nutrient deficient, we will have a greater amount of free radicals circulating in our bodies. Free radical damage makes our insides old and beaten, thus makes our outsides look old and beaten.

One of the easiest ways to look and feel younger inside and out, is to get more of the good stuff. More of the anti-oxidant rich plant based fruits and veggies, whole grains, nuts and seeds and spices that not only help kick the back-sides of the free-radicals but also add in the nutrients that make our skin look young and fresh- selenium, zinc, silica, vitamin C and of course, the good fats. An added bonus is that fruits and veggies are packed to the brim with water. H20 baby cakes. H20.

Our skin, the largest organ of our body, can be a great indicator of what's going on inside, how well we are digesting and absorbing the good, and eliminating the toxins and waste. No amount of face lifting, botoxing, creams, powders, cover ups or exfoliants can ever replace or over ride the absolute, tried and tested benefit of simply eating well.

Who wants a burger? These ones are rich in manganese which helps fight free radicals, are low on the glycemic index so don't fluctuate blood sugar, are rich in fiber, mix in a little hide-and-seek game with the veggies, are gluten-free and of course, totally amazingly vegan! You know you could eat like this for just five days.

Buckwheat Sweet Potato Burgers

1-1/2 cups (375 ml.) dry buckwheat (kasha)
3 cups water
1 tsp sea salt
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 Tbsp toasted sesame oil or extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
2-3 leaves of kale
1 large carrot, grated
2 large sweet potatoes, cubed, steamed or boiled until tender, and mashed
1/4 cup almond butter, tahini or almonds ground in a coffee grinder or magic bullet
2 Tbs tamari or soy sauce

Preheat oven to 350
Dry-roast the kasha in a pot for 5 minutes, stirring now and again.
Add the water and salt and bring to a boil over high heat.
Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until water is absorbed and kasha is soft, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile- saute onion in 1 Tbsp. of oil over medium heat until softened then add celery and carrots. Add kale, cook for additional 5 minutes.
Stir everything together (don't forget the tamari!).
Keeping hands moist, form into patties and place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
Bake burgers for 20 minutes on one side, remove from oven and turn over. Bake for another 20 minutes until lightly browned and slightly firm.
If you really want to, I suppose you can fry them up, but just know that I'll be giving you the evil nutrition eye.

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