Culture Street

We are delighted that Ella Woodward joins us today to chat about eating her way back to health.

Woodward is the author of must-read food blog, Deliciously Ella and the number one bestselling book Deliciously Ella (January 2015), which broke records on publication as the fastest-selling debut cookbook of all time. She is the go to health-food guru.

“More than anything I want the blog to show how easy and delicious healthy food is – it’s so much more than bland salads and iceberg lettuce. It’s all about sumptuous desserts, delicious dips, raw treats and rainbow bowls of incredible veggies, all made with nature’s most natural ingredients. Everything here will nurture and love your body, leaving you feeling incredible,” says Woodward.

The picture of health, she has just released her second book and found time to open a new deli in London with her fiancé.

Woodward has recently been selected by Debrett’s as one of 500 of Britain’s most influential individuals for having helped shape the way we live today.

Deliciously Ella Every DayHer latest book, Deliciously Ella Every Day, is available now. You can buy the book here.

What inspired you to set up your blog Deliciously Ella?
In June 2011 I woke up one day just feeling awful – my stomach looked like I was six months pregnant, I was so exhausted, was having heart palpitations and general hangover feelings. Over the next four months these symptoms got gradually worse as I went in and out of hospital seeing way too many doctors and having countless tests. No one could figure out what was wrong and at this point I would loose my vision when I stood up, couldn’t eat anything without pain and could barely get out of bed. Eventually I was diagnosed with Postural Tachycardia Syndrome, which is a chronic illness that affects the autonomic nervous system, affectively breaking it down so that most systems in your body don’t work as they should – so I couldn’t regulate my heart rate, circulation, digestions, immune system etc. I tried conventional medicine for about six months but sadly this didn’t help and I was still bed-ridden most of the time so I decided to heal with food. Overnight I started eating a wholefood, plant based diet but didn’t know how to cook so started writing a blog as an incentive to teach myself! It took me eighteen months to feel well again and come off my medication, but it’s really worked!

How did you eat your way back to health?
I was inspired by other people who were managing their own illness through diet and lifestyle, especially a woman called Kris Carr. I thought if it worked for them it could work for me! I just focused on natural foods, lots of veg and being kind to myself.

Three top tips for healthy eating …
1. Enjoy your food – no matter what you’re eating, whether it’s kale or pizza, appreciate each bite and savour every flavour. Food should always be fun!
2. Don’t look at healthy eating as a diet – it’s a lifestyle and an awesome way of living, so don’t deprive yourself or spend hours being starving as this won’t make you happy or healthy. Remember we’re not counting calories or portion sizes.
3. Eat a rainbow – try and make each meal as colourful as you can, not only will this give you the best array of vitamins and minerals, it will also make your plate look more beautiful and appetising. We all eat with our eyes first so it will make your meal more delicious too!

What can we expect in your book Deliciously Ella Every Day?
Lots of simple, accessible recipes that make healthy eating delicious but easy to do – I focus on everyday ingredients, that we’re all familiar with already like carrots, brown rice, spices and oats rather than fancy super-foods. It’s about making comforting, nourishing meals like curries, stews, brownies and porridge but with a healthy twist! There are quick everyday suppers, big batch meals, on the go meals and lots more in there.

Tell us about the Mae Deli?
It’s my favourite place! It’s bringing the food I love to everyone and it’s amazing to see people enjoy it. So much of what I do is virtual so I love having a space to bring the things I love to life. It’s a joint venture with my fiancé, Matthew, and it’s so fun sharing it with him.

How has healthy eating changed your life?
It’s really affected every aspect of my life from the way that I think about food to how I treat my body and how I think about the environment and the world around me. I really love living this way and wouldn’t change it for anything!

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