Kiran Branch chats to food blogger Ella Woodward of Deliciously Ella about learning to cook, overcoming illness and creating delicious yet healthy recipes
For those of you who have overindulged over the festive season, been burning the candle at both ends or simply hope to embark on a healthier lifestyle in 2014, then join us and take a (green) leaf out of Ella Woodward’s book. Founder of our new favourite blog, Deliciously Ella , the glossy posse simply can’t get enough of Woodward’s quick, easy, healthy and down right delectable recipes, not to mention her addictive video tutorials. GTG’s Kiran Branch sat down with the aspirational nutritionist-in-training to talk about overcoming illness via a diet overhaul, learning to cook and the delicious recipes that may just have converted us to a full-time healthy lifestyle.
Firstly, what made you decide to start your blog?
I started my blog as a way of healing a rare illness, Postural Tachycardia Syndrome, which I was diagnosed with in 2011. The illness left me bed-bound and I suffered with heart issues, stomach problems, constant pain, crazy fatigue and a whole host of other symptoms. I tried conventional medicine for about six months, but sadly I didn't have much luck with it so I turned to diet, deciding to cut out all gluten, dairy, sugar and meat from my life as well as anything processed or refined. I hit a huge hurdle pretty quickly though - I couldn't cook, not even a little bit! So I started a blog to encourage me to experiment in the kitchen and make something that seemed so restrictive into something so fun!
What’s your favourite aspect of blogging and are there any downsides?
There are so many upsides! More than anything I love being able to connect with so many amazing people, honestly every email and comment I get from my readers makes me so happy! Knowing I'm inspiring others to take control of their health is just incredible. Luckily I can only ever find one downside, which is that it's hard to go offline and sometimes it's nice to disconnect just to reenergize yourself, but otherwise I love it so much.
How do you balance blogging with other interests or jobs? Do you ever go off-line?
I'm very lucky as the blog has done so well, it now is my job so fortunately I don't have to struggle with that balance. Going off line is tricky though and I don’t manage it very often.
How much of a techie are you?
Not at all! I'm absolutely horrible with technology!
What is your personal food philosophy? Are there any food groups/types that you avoid?
My philosophy focuses on celebrating a positive attitude towards food. I really believe that healthy eating is never about deprivation or starvation but instead it’s about creating a new mindset. A mindset that embraces all the delicious foods we should eat and all the amazing things that we can do with them. In doing this we can love food, love snacking and love our bodies all at the same time.
How has eating healthily impacted on you personally? Do you ever find it difficult to stick to it?
It’s had the most incredible impact on me, as it let me take control of my illness and get my life back! Eighteen months after starting my healthy eating journey I was able to come off all of my medication and now feel incredible. I love the way I eat so much that it’s not hard to stick to at all as it really doesn’t feel like a chore or obligation, it’s a passion!
How do you create new recipes? Is it a trial and error process?
I spend a lot of time playing in my kitchen, which I find so relaxing!
Have you had any cooking disasters?
Luckily nothing too terrible, I adjust my recipes a lot as I make them so fortunately things never turn out too badly at the end. I’m waiting for the day that something really messes up though, I’m very sure it will happen.
How do you decide which recipes to feature on your blog?
I feature anything and everything that I love!
What are your three favourite recipes?
Sweet potato brownies, cinnamon and paprika sweet potato wedges and roasted red pepper and paprika hummus
If you kept a food diary, what would a typical day look like?
I always have a smoothie for breakfast, I just love how much energy they give me. Lunch is then normally a mix of quinoa or buckwheat with whatever veggies I have in the house, things like crispy kale and rocket, avocado chunks, cherry tomatoes, roasted squash, plus some hummus and often either sunflower seeds or pine nuts. My dinners vary the most but I love things like baked sweet potatoes with nut cheese, rainbow stir-fry’s with buckwheat noodles, brown rice pasta with homemade pesto or mounds of roasted veggies with avocado cream. To snack on I’m obsessed with raw brownies and dates dipped into almond butter.
Which ten ingredients do you use most often?
Almond butter, dates, spirulina (for my smoothies), blueberries, bananas, avocados, sweet potatoes, almonds, raw cacao and quinoa
What five things are always in your fridge?
Hummus, almond milk, spinach, kale and berries
Where are your favourite places to buy ingredients?
Borough market for anything fresh and planet organic for all the dry goods
Which three kitchen appliances could you not live without?
My Vitamix Blender , £459.95
My Vegetable Spiralizer for making zucchini noodles, £29.95
Where are your favourite places to go when eating out?
What advice would you give to those considering a healthier lifestyle?
Start slowly, making small subtle changes is so much easier than anything extreme. I also think is so important never to deprive yourself, snacking is an amazing thing – just reach out for healthy things!
What are your favourite cookbooks and/or books relating to health?
I love Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr, £12.21, The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, £10.39, The Beauty Detox Solution by Kimberly Snyder, £7.00, Honestly Healthy by Natasha Corrett and Vicki Edgson, £10.56 and â€¨ The Green Kitchen by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl, £25.
Who are your favourite bloggers?
What does the future hold for your blog/vlog? Are there any exciting developments in the pipeline?
I have so many exciting things coming up! There’s an app out in January 2014 and a book in 2015, both of which I can’t wait for! I’m also teaching cooking classes and studying as a nutritionist.