Iowa City, Iowa
Alicia Diehl is a certified Master Gardner, Nutritional Therapy Practioner (NTP), Foodie and Wellness Advocate. She’s a proponent of healthy lifestyle choices and good nutrition.
IN THE KITCHEN WITH ALICIA DIEHL
Tell us about yourself:
I’m a foodie, master gardener and wellness advocate who truly believes that health starts in the kitchen. I love sharing nutrition and healthy lifestyle advice to encourage others to live their best lives.
How did you get involved in cooking?
I’ve loved to cook for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a household where we pretty much ate a standard American diet (think processed, low quality, easy to prepare foods.) When I was in first grade my Abuelita came from Peru to live with us temporarily as my mother transitioned back to working full time, she took over a lot of the cooking and it changed how I looked at food. She used fresh ingredients to make meals from scratch, they were so full of flavor and I remember feeling so good after eating them. She also used a lot of ingredients I wasn’t familiar with and I was mesmerized, I loved spending time in the kitchen with her. By the time I was 10 I was waking up extra early to make homemade pancakes for my family to avoid having to eat my Dad’s gross boxed pancake mix.. HA! As a teen I became interested in health which naturally led me to learning about nutrition, I remember spending money I earned babysitting at Whole Foods to buy things that were different and more wholesome than the foods we already had at home. I learned that nutrition was one of the greatest ways to make an impact on your health and it’s something that I still believe to this day. In college I started working at fine dining fusion restaurants and I was exposed to cuisines from around the world, I loved trying to recreate dishes at home. This was also when the local food movement was in its infancy and as a nature lover/outdoor enthusiast I was naturally very curious to learn more about where our food came from, I knew food didn’t just show up at the grocery store. One day I was waiting tables and a farmer that we sourced some of our vegetables from showed up with the most beautiful heads of lettuce, she was suntan and had a bunch of dirt underneath her nails, I couldn’t stop thinking about her, the next time she came in I asked her some questions and by the following summer I was an intern on her farm. I spent my early 20’s working on small sustainable farms and was a certified master gardener by the time I was 25. In my late 20’s I took my interest in health and nutrition a bit further and became an NTP (nutritional therapy practitioner) and that’s where I am today.
Describe your cooking style:
Simple, seasonal and nutrient dense. Meals don’t have to be fancy or complicated to be delicious, this is especially true if you’re using high quality ingredients. I appreciate ancestral traditions and believe mother nature knows best which is why I love to grow my own and use all those homegrown ingredient in my recipes.
How did you learn about grass-fed meats?
One of the first restaurants I worked at served grass fed and pasture raised meats. But it wasn’t until I started working on small sustainable farms in 2006 that it all sunk in, I went from being a vegetarian to a conscientious omnivore who recognized that eating meat was vital to my health and an important part of ecosystems on sustainable farms.
What is your favorite recipe featuring grass-fed meat?
Oh that’s hard, I have so many favorites and they definitely change with the seasons. I recently created my Sneaky Sloppy Joe recipe and Im quite proud of it. Organ meats are so good for you but most people don’t like how they taste, these sloppy joes are so full of flavor and they taste just like the real thing, even the pickiest of eaters will enjoy them!
You’re stranded on a desert island; luckily, you’re stranded with your top 5 ingredients and one must-have kitchen tool:
Grass-fed Butter, Salt, Chocolate, lemons, and our Traeger grill. This is assuming there will be animals to hunt for protein and plants to forage for fruits and vegetables. 🙂
Best cooking secret/tip/piece of advice you’ve learned:
Once upon a time I used to avoid cooking with very much fat because I had that silly belief that fats made you fat. So glad I learned otherwise! Fats are an essential part of a nutrient dense diet, don’t fear fat and your food will be 1,000x more delicious because you don’t.
Favorite Quote for Culinary Inspiration:
“You are what you eat from your head down to your feet.” My fiancés Great Grandmother from Lebanon used to like to say (in a cute Lebanese accent), “more butter, more better” I would definitely agree with that!
Anything else you want to share?
I’m transitioning my business at the moment so I don’t have an active website but keep up with me on social media where I share my day to day activities that are nutrition and health related and so much more. I’ve got fun things planned so stay tuned!
Enter To Win!
Enter to win our June 2021 Wellness Contest for a chance to win $150 bundle of farm fresh food.
Contest runs from June 1 – 13, 2021