Laura Wilson, founder of the hit health blog Keeping Healthy Getting Stylish , is a trained health coach whose personal weight loss story, encouraging and motivating blog posts plus great recipes have won over the Glossy Posse as well as many a health conscious reader.
GTG sat down with the self-confessed foodie to talk about her blogging journey so far, personal food philosophy, weight loss and favourite recipes.
Firstly, what made you decide to start your blog?
I started my blog as a way to keep myself motivated and on track after losing four stone. It started as a place for me to keep a record of what I was eating and how I was feeling, but has grown into so much more than that!
What’s your favourite aspect of blogging and are there any downsides?
Definitely connecting with other people. The emails I've had from readers who have said I've inspired or helped them in some way have been fantastic. I guess the downsides are when you get the occasional negative comment, but I try not to focus on the very rare nasty comments and remind myself of all the positive ones!
How much of a techie are you?
I would say I'm quite a big techie, I could not live without my iPhone, iPad and iMac, Apple all the way! I also love my tech for keeping fit such as the Fitbit and Polar F4 heart rate monitor
How do you balance blogging with other interests or jobs? Do you ever go offline?
Since I started my blog four years ago it's grown into a career, something I feel very blessed about! That does sometimes make me feel like I'm constantly online, but I do make an effort to have one day a week where I take a break from it if I can.
What is your personal food philosophy? Are there any food groups/types that you avoid?
Eat whole foods (in their most natural state) most of the time, and don't demonise any foods. No food is 'good' or 'bad' - it’s how much you eat of it that dictates that! I find that a lot of us get caught up in black and white thinking which can lead to restrictive / binge-like behaviours. I would say eat whole foods as much as possible, but don't feel guilty for having a slice of cake occasionally. Remember that food can feed your soul as well as your body, it should be something that is enjoyed! I don't avoid any food groups all together, but I do minimise the ones that I know don't work for my body, for example refined sugar. Getting to know what works for your body is key.
How has eating healthily impacted on you personally? Do you ever find it difficult to stick to it?
Healthy eating has completely changed my life, I've lost over four stone in weight so I'm not only healthier, I'm a lot more confident as well. I don't find eating healthily that hard to stick to, it's become such an ingrained habit! The times that are challenging for me are holidays and Christmas, I'm a foodie so I get easily tempted by delicious foods. What keeps me coming back to healthy eating is how it makes me feel. A few days of eating less veggies and I start to feel bloated and lethargic. Healthy food makes me feel so much better.
How do you create new recipes?
I try and keep a list when I come across something that inspires a recipe idea. I was very lucky in the past as most recipes turned out fine so there wasn't much trial and error. Now I'm trying to be more professional with my blog I do take more care with my recipes and test them out even more before posting.
Have you had any cooking disasters?
Nothing major thankfully, although I have painted the kitchen ceiling with smoothie when I've forgotten to put the lid on my blender!
How do you decide which recipes to feature on your blog?
I try and think about what my readers would like to see, as well as recipes that reflect my food philosophy. I do like experimenting with unusual ingredients, but at the same time I hate recipes that have lots of ingredients and complicated steps so I try and keep it simple. Recipes that are packed with flavour and look beautiful are my priority!
What are your three favourite recipes?
My Berry Baked Oatmeal is definitely a fave, I also love my Winter Superfood Salad and my Pear, Ginger and Dark Chocolate Chip Cake is an amazing healthy treat!
If you kept a food diary, what would a typical day look like?
I'm in a really good groove with my eating at the moment which was needed after Christmas indulgences, so a typical day would be like this:
- Warm water and lemon as soon as I wake up, followed by my supplements taken with a glass of water with some aloe vera juice and apple cider vinegar added to help my digestion. I also have one cup of organic coffee.
- Breakfast would be a green smoothie with spinach or kale, some fruit and a scoop of grass fed whey protein to help keep me full. I also love porridge and eggs with avocado for breakfast.
- Lunch would be a big salad or some veggie packed soup, lentil soup is my favourite right now!
- For snacks I like raw nuts and seeds, or if I'm home, a green smoothie. I also drink lots of cups of green tea and rooibos tea with almond milk during the day.
- For dinner I have some good quality chicken, fish or beef (I get organic) with lots of vegetables. I love making a cottage pie packed with veggies and using mashed cauliflower or sweet potato instead of regular potato.
- Most week nights I'm too busy for dessert, but on a weekend I like berries and greek yoghurt, raw chocolate or healthy 'ice cream' made with frozen fruit and protein powder.
Which ten ingredients do you use most often?
Spinach, eggs, coconut oil, unsweetened almond milk, apples, oats, tahini, coconut flour and a green veggie like broccoli or Brussels sprouts.
What five things are always in your fridge?
Spinach, greek yoghurt, apples, unsweetened almond milk and organic ground coffee.
Where are your favourite places to buy ingredients?
I love going to the Grainger Market in Newcastle for fruit and veg. My local farm shop is amazing for locally raised meat and the most amazing free range eggs.
Which three kitchen appliances could you not live without?
My Vitamix, my hand blender and my food processor!
Where are your favourite places to go when eating out?
Whenever I'm in London I always make a beeline to Whole Foods to get something from their hot bar. I also love Inspiral in Camden for their amazing raw foods. We often visit Brighton too, and I love Foodlilic. I don't often eat out that much when I'm home, so when I do I make it a treat. I love a good thin crust pizza from an Italian restaurant!
What advice would you give to those considering a healthier lifestyle?
Make small changes so you don't feel overwhelmed, all those changes add up! Try drinking more water one week, eating more vegetables the next week etc. I think it's really important to get away from 'all or nothing' thinking and something I call the 'diet mentality'. Everything should be sustainable and something you can carry on happily for the rest of your life! Make lifestyle changes instead of going on short term diets.
What are your favourite cookbooks and/or books relating to health?
My favourite cookbooks are the Leon series of books (I love to go to one of their locations when I'm in London). One of the first healthier cookbooks I ever used was Sophie Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights and the River Cottage Veg Every Day. I've read a wide range of books on health and nutrition, with many of them coming from completely different angles e.g. Kris Carr's Crazy, Sexy, Diet, Kimberly Snyder's The Beauty Detox Solution and Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint.
Who are your favourite bloggers?
For healthy living I love the recipes on Pure Mamas and Green Kitchen Stories , closer to home I love Salad and Sequins and have met Tamzin a few times which is lovely. I also enjoy reading a lot of lifestyle blogs, I've met the lovely Christina who writes paperbagblog which I love, as well as A Beautiful Mess . A new blog I've started reading is the Self Help Hipster .
What does the future hold for your blog? Are there any exciting developments in the pipeline?
I'm always working on making the blog bigger and better, I can't help but keep tweaking things! I'm planning on releasing a new e-book soon with lots of great healthy recipes. I'm also just about to start working with Alpro on creating seven fabulous smoothie recipes!