Andrew Olson, aka One Ingredient Chef, wants to get you thinking about what's in your food

Special thanks to Andrew Olson for collaborating with us for this post!

Andrew Olson is know as the One Ingredient Chef due to his commitment to using unprocessed foods in his recipes.

"What we have for dinner affects every corner of our lives; from physical health, to mental wellbeing, to relationships, and so much more. Alarming rates of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and a host of other physical and mental problems have been our rewards for choosing fake, fast, processed junk instead of real food. We have turned our backs on the foods that lead to vibrant health and it has cost us dearly "

In fact, changed attitudes to food have also been an environmental issue. As a result of cheap-and-fast cuisine, as well as the easy accessibility of food in supermarkets, around 30% of food we buy is wasted. This costs Australia alone an estimated $5 billion every year. Discarded food also produces methane as it rots in landfill, adding to the greenhouse gasses that speed up the process of global warming.

But Andrew doesn't just look at the issues surrounding food. He also recognises food's "tremendous power to do good in our lives."

"When we make the simple choice to eat real ingredients, food works to support our health rather than destroy it. The natural compounds in whole foods strengthen our blood vessels, zap damaging free radicals, brighten our moods, and give us energy that lasts all day. Real food has real power, and the fact that these ingredients are the freshest and most delicious substances on the planet makes it seem all the more absurd that we would ever choose to eat anything else."

Food is power, and we decide with every bite we take whether that power is working for us or against us. One Ingredient Chef was created to put the power of food back on your side.
- Andrew Olson

"What, specifically, is wrong with our food system? That answer came to me one afternoon after I stopped by a local sandwich shop to pick up a "fresh" and "healthy" veggie sub. As I sat at my desk back home and took the first bite, one of the banana pepper rings caught my eye. Something was off. It was just too… bright. Literally, it was almost glowing.

To find out what was going on, I navigated to this restaurant's website where they publish the ingredient list for all their meals. It was horrific. The 10+ page document loaded and I was staring at an endless list of ingredients that looked like they belonged in a chemistry lab instead of a kitchen. Azodicarbonamide, disodium guanylate, and even a dash of silicon dioxide. The worst part of all, my suspicions about the banana peppers turned out to be correct. They were not "one ingredient" on this list, oh no, banana peppers occupied an entire section of the list with a total of 10 different ingredients to their name:

Banana peppers, water, distilled vinegar, salt, calcium chloride, sodium benzoate, sodium metabisulfite, yellow #5, natural flavors, polysorbate 80. One pepper. Ten Ingredients."

Image: Shutterstock

"I spent the rest of that afternoon dissecting the ingredient list. In total, the sandwich I was eating contained 114 different ingredients in every bite. One hundred and fourteen! Looking at this list, it suddenly made sense to me how "food" could have become so deadly. Our bodies were simply not designed to ingest these types of chemicals that have replaced real food."

"It became clear to me that there was only one solution: stop eating anything that is not in its natural state. That's when I got the idea for The One Ingredient Diet: Eat plant-based foods that start out as one whole ingredient you can hold in your hand."

"You see, if you eat only whole foods – by definition – you remove the processing, the industrialization, and the dangerous food additives. When you hold an apple in your hand, it is obviously a whole unprocessed food. There's no processed sugars or additives. You don't even have to think about it. An apple is just an apple. Imagine that."

Andrew's mission to get people eating real food again is just one voice in the global movement to reconsider our link to nature and the environment. For example, this school in Vietnam is using an on-site farm to teach kids about the importance to respect the environment, eat healthy food and cultivate the land responsibly.

Growing your own food, even if it's just a pot of herbs on your window sill, instills a true sense of the value of food. It's also a great way to reduce carbon pollution emissions that occur in the food supply chain, areas including transport, processing and food waste. It also makes a surprisingly powerful statement about reducing our reliance on others for basic sustenance.

Read more about the One Ingredient way of eating and how it has changed Andrew's life for the better.

Check out some of Andrew's delicious recipes!

Meat-free Thai Red Curry

Quinoa Breakfast Skillet

READ THIS NEXT: This Guy Spent Six Months Making A Sandwich And All Its Ingredients From Scratch

Images: One Ingredient Chef

1 Million Women is more than our name, it's our goal! We're building a movement of strong, inspirational women acting on climate change by leading low-carbon lives. To make sure that our message has an impact, we need more women adding their voice. We need to be louder. Joining us online means your voice and actions can be counted. We need you.

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