Wellness blogger and food writer Ella Woodward appears at Wimbledon BookFest (running 29 Sept-9 Oct 2016) on 1 October to discuss how her holistic diet radically improved her health. The Resident catches up with her to find out more about all things Deliciously Ella ahead of her appearance…
Words: Madeleine Howell
Ella Woodward has fast become a household name since leaving university in 2013, having published the UK’s biggest selling debut cookbook Deliciously Ella in 2014, closely followed by Deliciously Ella Every Day.
There’s clearly more to the entrepreneur and author than her model looks and plant-based diet: the daughter of former Northern Ireland secretary Shaun Woodward and Camilla Sainsbury, she married Matthew Mills this year and together with him co-founded The Mae Deli, which she tells me has been a ‘massive learning curve’ and a ‘real business lesson’.
Despite her positive, go-getting outlook, there have been challenges, such as the inevitable criticism in the media – not that Woodward is likely to let it worry her. ‘There is always going to be some sort of criticism when you put yourself out there in the public eye,’ she tells me. ‘I’ve learnt that it’s best to take it with a pinch of salt and focus on the positive feedback instead.’
Woodward is keen to distance herself from the ‘clean eating’ label, and admits that she is always chasing the elusive work/life balance. Challenges aside, it seems that nothing can stop the rise and rise of Deliciously Ella – as we found out…
How does Deliciously Ella Every Day differ from your first book?
The two books are definitely connected and are both written around the same ethos of using plant-based and nourishing foods which makes you feel your best. Deliciously Ella Every Day specifically focuses on quick and easy meals, using simple ingredients, so it’s perfect for busy people seeking healthier options.
What can we expect from your third book?
I’ve just finished writing my third book and in the process of shooting for it now which is so exciting. It’s going to be called ‘Deliciously Ella with Friends’ and it’s full of fun recipe ideas for parties, entertaining and to share with friends and family. I’ve also got a mini-book coming out in September, which is all about smoothies and juices.
What are your new products like?
We are so excited to be launching a Deliciously Ella range of energy balls. It’s something we have been working on for so many months, so it’s amazing to see it all come together and to finally be able to talk about it. There are going to be three flavours – cashew and ginger, hazelnut and raisin and cacao and almond – all of which are so delicious. I wanted to create a simple and easy snack which can be accessible to everyone, perfect for an energy boost when you’re on-the-go.
How would you sum up your clean eating philosophy?
I actually hate the word clean and avoid it at all costs. We shouldn’t categorize food as clean or dirty. For me it’s about eating natural, non-processed food and eating in a way that makes you feel your best. I don’t like to put labels on things, for me it’s not about restriction, diet or counting calories.
Would you say a holistic diet and healing foods can improve your energy levels?
Everyone reacts to foods in different ways and what works for one person may not necessarily work for another. I found that focusing on lots of plant-based food really helped me with my energy levels. I actually find that doing exercise and trying as much as possible to manage stress levels and make sure I get some sleep really helps too.
Everyone reacts to foods in different ways and what works for one person may not necessarily work for another. I found that focusing on lots of plant-based food really helped me with my energy levels.
It’s been a big year so far – what have been the biggest challenges?
It’s been a crazy year so far, with so many awesome opportunities, but it has been hard managing and juggling all of them – with the smoothie book, new cookbook, book tour, energy ball products, skincare range, The Mae Deli and lots more going on. I try to put all my energy into all of these projects to make sure that they are the best they can be, so it can take a toll on your personal life and is a challenge to maintain that work/life balance, which is something I’m always trying to work on. My honeymoon was an absolute dream. It was so amazing to be away for the wedding with our closest family and friends to celebrate.
What’s next up and what else have you got lined up for the rest of 2016?
There are lots of exciting things which I’m working on at the moment and can’t wait to share more about soon. My Smoothies and Juices book is out in September which is a collection of all my favourite smoothie and juice recipes. I’m also so happy to be launching a really beautiful skincare range with Neals Yard. I’ve been working on this for almost two years so I’m so happy to be announcing it! There’s going be a facial cleanser and moisturiser, using natural ingredients.
See deliciouslyella.com for more recipes and tips. Click here for the full Wimbledon BookFest line-up