Truly, Deliciously Ella: Blogger Sensation Ella Woodward On Healthy Living And The Very Best Veggies

Deliciously Ella On Superfoods & Her Three Simple Tips For Living More Healthily

Ella Woodward 6

by Edwina Langley |

If you know what a spiraliser is, consider yourself a quinoa queen, and can't start the day without chia pudding, you will know who 'Deliciously Ella' is.

'Deliciously Ella' is the penname for 23-year-old Ella Woodward, the healthy eating blogger responsible for bringing us Deliciously Ella, the blog, and Deliciously Ella,__ the cookbook - the one which topped the UK best-selling charts and secured the highest number of sales for a debut cookbook in its first week, ever. As one does...

It all began though, alarmingly, with an illness. Ella was diagnosed with Postural Tachycardia Syndrome in 2011, which 'devastated' her life, coming with a number of crippling symptoms including chronic pain, heart palpitations, stomach issues, headaches... and so it went on.

She found medication largely ineffective, and one day, decided to take matters into her own hands. She attempted to cure herself from the inside out, putting herself through a dedicated plant-based diet – embracing veganism with gusto and waving goodbye to all things meat, fish, dairy and gluten. Having lived previously on a diet of mostly peanut butter, chocolate and Ben and Jerry's, this was some new eating regime... but it rapidly delivered results.

Ella's symptoms subsided and gradually she started getting control of her life back. She kept a blog of all the recipes she invented to keep her diet interesting, a site which appealed to all-manner of foodies, from vegans to healthy eaters, and those looking to get in shape.

Skip forward four years, and her blog has 75,400 subscribers. Readers return time and again to check out her emporium of online, easy and drool-inducing healthy recipes, from Spiced Apple and Cranberry Cabbage, to Cashew and Vanilla Butter, and Sweet Potato and Chickpea Stew. Somehow, she makes veggies look good...

Not satisfied with just a cookbook and blog though, last December Ella and her fiancé Matthew opened a deli in London's Marylebone. Named 'Mae' (after both their names) it now sells all-manner of coffees, teas and vegan dishes, with sides of salmon and chicken for the non-vegan visitor.

Set to release her second cookbook – Delciously Ella: Every Day - this week, Ella has also collaborated with natural cleaning product company 'method'.

Here, we caught up with the health food sensation to talk about this collaboration, healthy living in general, and how to achieve it...

Grazia: The deli looks amazing! How has it been going?

Ella: It's been good, I mean, it’s a massive learning curve. The main aim was to be accessible. We wanted people who love really healthy stuff to come in for a salad or sweet potato wedges, sesame slaw, kale, or the avocado dip – but for people to also find Thai chicken curry with brown rice. I wanted something that was really nourishing and really healthy, across the board.

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Ella's method-Inspired Grape And Almond Soup

Grazia: Some of your strict vegan followers have taken umbrage to you serving meat and fish in your deli. How do you respond to them?

Ella: This isn’t Deliciously Ella, it’s a collaboration. Mea is 'Matthew and Ella' (Matthew’s my fiancé) and it's completely 50/50. The reason it came about is that we wanted somewhere that we could both go together. He’s not vegetarian, he loves healthy food, but he wanted to eat chicken. Many friends and family are like that. My mum’s vegetarian but the rest of the family aren’t. If we sit down for a meal together, we have my kind of food but also grilled chicken and salmon too. That's what I wanted to create – and also reverse the traditional menu. Instead of vegetables being 'on the side' (a bit disregarded) we’re all about vegetables. But if you want, you can get a side of chicken.

Grazia: How did your collaboration with method come about?

Ella: My mum always used natural cleaning products. When I started changing the way I ate, I became more interested in the way I was living the rest of my life. So, from beauty to how I clean my home, I [wanted to do] them in the most natural way I could. Not to the point where I was making my own rememedies and cleaning my house with lemon juice, though!

Grazia: Method cleaning products are made using natural ingredients, such as pomegranate, which have inspired some of your recipes. What are these recipes?

Ella: Grape and Almond Soup, a Salad with Buckwheat, Carrot, Orange, Pomegranates and Herbs, and a Clementine Granita.

Grazia: If there are three things a person could easily do to make their lives healthier where food is concerned, what would you advise?

Ella: Adding one new healthy thing a day. So often, healthy eating is associated with taking everything away. People think of it as a diet; it's not a diet it’s a lifestyle. And it's so important to remember that. Adding an extra portion of fruit or veg to every meal, but keeping everything else the same, will mean 21 extra portions a week. That’s a lot.

Number two would be: easy peasy swaps. So brown rice not white rice. Anything like that is so easy.

Third thing: to enjoy it. I think food becomes so stressful for people and they get so het up with this concept of being perfect and 'healthy' being associated with that. But it's not, it's about enjoying stuff. Make it work the best you can and if you can make healthier choices, amazing. But when you can't, don’t beat yourself up about it.

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Ella's method-Inspired Clementine Granita

Grazia: Do you have a favourite superfood?

Ella: I hate the word 'superfood'. Because for me, healthy eating is about carrots, oats, brown rice, spices...

Grazia: What are your top vegetables?

Ella: Avocado, sweet potato – like roast potato wedges with a bit of maple syrup and cinnamon – and I love peas. A pea puree, with lime, olive oil and mint.

Grazia: Tell us about your new cookbook...

Ella: It's out [this] week. And it’s focused on 'every day' – trying to make [healthy eating] accessible for your life. It includes very easy things – a chapter on weekday suppers, with things like pasta Arrabiata and big batch stuff, like chickpea curries; you chop a couple of potatoes, put everything in a pan, cook it for an hour and then have dinner for 10.

Grazia: You make it sound so easy! Do you spend all day cooking?

Ella: I do spend a lot of my time cooking – and a lot of my time eating [laughs].

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Ella Hard At Work In The Kitchen

Grazia: We know you like yoga. Do you exercise a lot?

Ella: I do like to exercise four or five times a week. I did a half marathon last year and it was an amazing feeling, but I hated running more than I could possibly tell you. It taught me quite a lot, about forcing something on yourself. I wanted to do it (I was running for charity) but I got to the point when I was like: "this is exactly what I'm trying to tell people [not to do]. If it's not working for you, change it.".

Grazia: What's up next?

Ella: I'm getting married in April. And I’m doing a book tour in the States, literally the week before my wedding!

Grazia: How stressful... and yet you seem so chilled. How do you do it?

Ella: I know it's crazy, and I feel like I’ve got a lot going on between now and then. But if it made me really, really stressed all the time, I wouldn’t do it.

The new pomegranate collection is available exclusively in Tesco, priced at £3 for multi-surface cleaner + washing-up liquid + £2.49 for hand wash. **method range is available at stores including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose, B&Q, Homebase, Ocado.com, Robert Dyas, small independents and online: methodproducts.co.uk

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