I hope that my food philosophy inspires you to love your plants and really love your food! I’ve also included all the answers to my frequently asked questions. I love all your emails and I can’t tell you how inspired I am hearing all your stories, but my inbox is just over flowing like crazy, I’m getting thousands of emails every week and really sadly I just can’t keep up with them all. I’ve put together all the questions that I’m normally asked below with really thorough answers. The questions cover everything from measurements to equipment, plant protein, supplements, nut allergies, loosing/gaining weight, eating healthily and socialising, starting a blog and everything in between! So please have a thorough read of everything below before you email me – thank you so much!
For me there are two fundamental philosophies for healthy eating – firstly, this is absolutely not a diet and you really shouldn’t think of it as one, it’s never about deprivation or starvation but instead it’s about creating a new mindset and a new way of life. It’s about embracing all the delicious foods that you should eat and all the amazing things that you can do with them. Secondly, I believe that the concept of healthy eating should embrace a diet of pure, unprocessed, unrefined plant-based foods. You can eat as much of these things as you like as your body absolutely loves them and can process them so easily. This means that your digestive system works a million times faster and more efficiently, allowing you to easily process and breakdown everything that you put into your body, which in turn will fill you with an amazing new energy.
So what should you eat?
All of Mother Nature’s goodness! Embrace all fruits and veggies; whole grains – quinoa, brown/wild rice; all beans and legumes – chickpeas, lentils; potatoes – sweet and regular; all nuts and seeds; superfoods like goji berries, hemp, flax & chia seeds; dried fruits etc. Almond milk makes the best dairy alternative, and actually contains more calcium, while quinoa, almond and brown rice flours make the best baking materials. Honey, dates, pure maple syrup, ripe bananas and date syrup make the best replacement for sugar, and are really just as sweet and cacao makes the best chocolate recipes ever while loading you up on superfood nutrition. Dried fruits dipped in nut butter make the best candy replacements and frozen blended bananas make the perfect ice-cream substitute. There are ways of making all your favorite foods healthy, you just have to learn how. But remember with everything I’ve mentioned here that if anything contains weird additives then it’s not going to have the same awesome effect on you, store brought non-dairy milks are a great examples of this as they all contain the most bizarre ingredients. So, make your own, it’s the easiest thing in the world, tastes delicious and gives you more goodness than you can imagine! Also you should always cook everything with coconut oil or olive oil and use things like hemp oil and flaxseed oil for cold dressings – never use things like vegetable oil, vegan butters and sunflower oil – these are nasty and processed and don’t contain any of the good fats!
So what does this mean I eat less off?
This may seem like a long list at first but trust me the list of all the awesome things that you’re adding in is even longer! To really thrive you should say goodbye to the following as they’re all incredibly acidic and your body works best when it’s alkaline, they’re also really hard to digest which means they suck your energy and slow down your digestion:
▪ Refined sugar, including all candy, fizzy drinks and almost all chocolate – don’t worry you can buy amazing healthy chocolate and make your own incredible treats using raw cacao
▪ All other refined foods – white rice, white flour, white pasta etc
▪ Anything with chemicals, additives and flavorings, including natural flavorings as trust me these are anything but natural!
▪ Almost all supermarket products that are labeled as ‘healthy,’ such as dairy free butter, gluten free rolls and pizzas, soymilk and soy yoghurts, store brought almond milk etc – these items tend to be full of weird additives and chemicals that your body cannot digest, they’re really not much better than the gluten/dairy alternatives.
▪ Meat, fish and eggs – you don’t have to cut these out totally if you don’t want to, but try and reduce your intake!
How to start?
I think it’s all about starting slowly, just making one small change a day is amazing – adding in one new serving of fruit or veg a day is fantastic, some sweet potato wedges or guacamole make an insanely delicious addition to any meal and they’re such an easy place to start. Whizzing up a smoothie in the morning is incredible too as it always starts you off on the right track for a positive day, while giving you an abundance of goodness and energy. Making small changes every week over a few months will result in huge changes but you won’t feel overwhelmed by them!
What are my pantry staples?
▪ Apple cider vinegar
▪ Brown rice
▪ Cacao powder and cinnamon
▪ Coconut oil and coconut milk
▪ Dried fruit: figs, dates, apricots (unsulphured – they’re always brown not orange)
▪ Fresh fruit: bananas, berries, apples, limes and lemons
▪ Fresh vegetables: spinach, kale, avocado, tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, courgettes (zucchini)
▪ Gluten free flours: brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, ground almond, ground flaxseed
▪ Gluten free pasta: brown rice, quinoa
▪ Hemp powder and seeds and chia seeds
▪ Home made granola
▪ Lentil, black beans & chickpeas
▪ 100% pure maple syrup
▪ Nuts: almonds, cashews, brazils, pecans, walnuts
▪ Nut butters: almond, cashew, pecans
▪ Olive oil – high quality organic extra virgin
▪ Rice cakes and gluten free bread (I use a brand called Biona – http://www.goodnessdirect.co.uk/cgi-local/frameset/script/search.html?query=biona+bread&snar=)
▪ Seeds: pumpkin, flax, sunflower
What kind of cup do you use to measure everything?
I use a standard coffee mug to measure everything, which is 3 by 3 and a 1/2 inches!
What equipment do you use in the kitchen?
I use a blender, food processor and a spiralizer. I use the blender for smoothies and soups, the food processor to crush nuts and make things like hummus, nut butter and energy balls and I use the spiralizer to make zucchini noodles.
I have these ones:
My Food Processor
My Vegetable Spiralizer
If you’re looking for a cheaper option, I used to use this Food Processor/Blender Set which works really well and is very inexpensive.
Where do you get your protein from?
I make sure that I eat some plant protein at every meal, as it’s very important for energy! We’re not taught to think of plant sources as great protein sources, but they’re really amazing. The best sources are: lentils, beans, chickpeas, hummus, quinoa, buckwheat, nuts, nut butters, tahini, chia seeds, hemp seeds and powder, bee pollen, maca, spirulina, dark green leafy veggies. For breakfast I have nut butter, spinach, spirulina and chia seeds in my smoothie. I then have a mix of the others with my lunch and dinner.
Do you take any supplements, where do you get your B12 from?
I don’t take any supplements, but I do have really good quality spirulina, maca and bee pollen in my smoothie every morning to get my B12. If you would rather take a B12 supplement then that’s great – this is a personal decision!
Do I have to follow a strict plant based diet to get the benefits?
Absolutely not, you can make a big difference with small changes. Just changing one meal, adding in a couple more portions of fruits and veggies or cutting out some gluten or refined sugar will help your body. We’re all different too so you have to find what works best for you. This is just a guideline that you can pick and choose from; it’s just here to inspire you to eat more plants!
I’m allergic to nuts, what can I do?
It depends on the recipe. In the raw recipes, like raw brownies and energy balls you can use ground sunflower seeds. In baking you can replace the nuts with buckwheat/brown rice flour. In smoothies you can either omit the nut butter or use some tahini or coconut oil
What do you eat everyday?
I don’t share my day-to-day food, there are meal plans on my app, which should give you a guideline. I do have a smoothie every morning for breakfast and then lunch and dinner vary depending on what I’m doing.
How can I eat this way if I’m really busy?
I’m really busy too and I promise it’s actually easy! Smoothies are the best breakfast and they take less than five minutes to make, you can then just throw the blender in the dishwasher and take the actually smoothie with you in a water bottle so that you can drink it on the go. If you have a look at my healthy eating on the go post it may inspire you with ideas!
Can I have a calorie count on a recipe?
I don’t look at calories; all calories are not equal by any means so measuring calories isn’t a great way to eat. An avocado certainly is not the same as a chocolate bar! Instead focus on counting how much goodness you’re eating!
Can I loose weight eating this way?
Absolutely, eating a wholefood, plant-based diet is an amazing way to get to your natural weight. Taking out gluten, processed food, animal products and refined sugar allows your digestive system to work a million times better so everything will be digested faster and more effectively which allows you to loose weight. Don’t focus on counting calories or fat, focus on eating three proper meals a day filled only with goodness and you’ll see amazing results.
I want to gain weight, is it possible to put on weight eating this way?
Yes you can absolutely gain weight in a healthy way just as you can loose weight, just focus on eating big portions, as this kind of food is very easy to digest so you will need lots of it. I would eat lots of the following at every meal: healthy fats – avocados, coconut oil, nuts, nut butters, seeds and olive oil; lots of starchy fruits and veg – sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, beetroots, bananas, mangoes; lots of grains – brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa; and lots of beans/legumes – chickpeas, beans, lentils. If you have a good mix of them all at least three times a day that will really help. Then try to have a snack two or three times a day, things like rice cakes with nut butter and banana, hummus and crackers, dates and dried fruit.
Do you drink alcohol?
Because of my illness I don’t really drink as my body just doesn’t react to it, I’ve also found that I feel so amazing and energised these days that I don’t really want it. If I do drink I drink good quality vodka on the rocks with some lemon juice, it’s delicious and very pure. Saying that if you love your wine then enjoy it, don’t feel guilty about drinking it – maybe just drink a little less!
Can I repost your recipes on my blog?
I’m so sorry but sadly you can’t repost the recipes, I work really hard to create them and hope you understand that I want them to stay here!
Do you only eat organic food?
I eat a mix of organic and non-organic. I try and eat the ‘dirty dozen‘ organic – so celery, tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach, potatoes, berries and then I don’t stress over the other things. If you can’t get anything organic then don’t worry, it’s not a big deal!
How do I eat this way on a budget and is this way of life expensive?
Focus on seasonal fruit and veggies, lots of grains like brown rice and beans/pulses/legumes – those are all super cheap and make an amazing base for any meal! For smoothies use frozen berries, bananas and spinach plus things like oats – all of which are really inexpensive. One of my favourite dinners is ready-made brown rice (which I make big batches of on Sunday night) cooked with black beans, a chopped tomato, some tamari and wilted spinach with a mashed avocado. It takes me five minutes to throw together, tastes amazing, costs very little and fills me with goodness! I find that on a day to day basis eating this way is actually much cheaper than eating a ‘normal’ diet, as meat and processed food is much more expensive than seasonal veggies. Baking is more expensive but if you only bake once a week or so then it all evens out. I also think that investing in your health is the best thing that you can do and what you eat really does determine how amazing your health is!
Why don’t you eat peanuts?
The main reason that I don’t eat peanuts is that they’re especially susceptible to mould and fungal invasions and are particularly linked to one mould that produced aflatoxin, a known carcinogen (linked especially to liver cancer). So it’s not that I think eating peanuts every now and again is bad, but I eat a lot of nuts/nut butter and so in that quantity it’s not great to be eating peanuts.
Can I have the temperature in Fahrenheit?
I’m so sorry but being English I don’t work in Fahrenheit, all the temperatures are in Celsius. There’s a great conversion website that you can use here though.
What do you do when you’re with friends?
In restaurants I order all the sides! I know it sounds silly but the sides are normally amazing – so I get a plate of roast potatoes, roasted veggies, steamed spinach and anything else that they have. Italian restaurants are great as they always have lots of veggies, as do Thai restaurants. I’d say that Chinese restaurants are probably the hardest and I do try and avoid going there! I often cook for friends too as I found that was the best way to introduce them to this kind of food and now they all love it and make it themselves! To start with I was pretty awkward about the way that I eat and very conscious of the fact that it was different to a lot of people but now I’m very open about the whole thing. I’ll go round early do a dinner and cook with my friend to make sure there’s something I can eat, or else I’ll bring something with me. The most important thing to remember is that you have to do what makes you feel best, if you feel happy and healthy you’ll be much better company!
What is your skin care routine, do you only use natural products?
Yes, I only use natural products as we absorb about 60-70% of what we put onto our skin straight into our bloodstream. I’ve written a whole post on natural beauty here, which talks about everything from skin care to make up, deodorant, toothpaste, haircare and everything in between!
Do you exercise?
I do, I try to get some movement in my day everyday as it’s so good for the body! I then do exercise five times a week or so. I love yoga, pilates and walking. I also go to the gym for some sweating once or twice a week!
I want to start a blog, do you have any advice?
I know it may sound like I’m lying but I honestly have no idea how my blog got so big! It all just grew naturally – it took about six months to a year to gain a real following and eighteen months to be really big. I’ve found that probably the most important thing are the photos, as that’s what draws people in. Also once you’ve got good photos you can add them to sites like foodgawker.com, which is great for getting new visitors. Otherwise I think it’s just about being authentic and sticking – write about something you love and don’t be afraid to show your personality, making it personal is great. I’d also say that it’s very important to focus on just one topic, so that the blog is specialized so that your readers know what to expect. Finally blogging regularly is important as otherwise your readers may forget to come back!
I started my blog on wordpress, which is great and then had my site custom designed last year once it really started to grow.
How did you get started, can I do this as a career?
I started with a simple wordpress blog, which just grew by word of mouth into what it is now. After a year I had my site custom designed to look like this. I now have an app, teach cooking classes, give talks and I’m writing a cookbook. At the same time I’m studying to be a nutritionist at the College of Naturopathic Medicine in London, which I love and couldn’t recommend more. If you love nutrition and healthy food then I couldn’t recommend starting with studying more, as it will give you the best foundation to start from.
What kind of camera do you use?
I use a canon 650D, which I love!
How did you heal your PoTS
I would say that my illness was in remission – on a day to day basis I have no symptoms but I am careful to continue to eat well, sleep well and exercise every day. It took me about eighteen months after changing to a totally plant based, whole foods diet (with no gluten, dairy, refined sugar, meat, anything processed) to feel well again and I started really slowly – it absolutely wasn’t uphill the whole way either but it was the best thing I’ve ever done! I combined the diet with daily exercise (starting with just ten minutes walking a day, building up to exercising five times a week for about an hour – yoga, pilates and some gym). I also saw a naturopath at the Hale Clinic who did wonders with supplements to support the areas of my body that weren’t working – this was really essential to the process and something I couldn’t recommend more if you’re struggling with an illness. If you’re looking for initial inspiration I couldn’t recommend Kris Carr’s book Crazy Sexy Diet more highly, it’s all about healing through food (she had stage 4 cancer) and it’s beyond inspiring!
What kind of PoTs did you have?
I have PoTS in association with EDS 3 and mast cell activation disorder, it is suspected that the illness was brought on by glandular fever (mono).
What are your favourite restaurants in London?
Borough Market - my favourite place in London, the best fresh produce you’ll ever see plus amazing olives, artichokes, hummus, sundried tomatoes etc. Great organic smoothie/jar called Total Organics attached to a great salad bar plus an amazing stall selling vegan burgers with pesto potatoes, as well as the best hummus ever from the arabic stall.
The Good Life Eatery - probably my favourite place to eat in London – their food is absolutely amazing! It’s very small so can be a bit tricky at peak times but so worth a visit. I especially love their signature salad with kale, sweet potato, lentils, pomegranates and a tahini/nutritional yeast dressing and their goodness bowl – just delicious. Lovely interior too and a great atmosphere.
The Wild Food Café - one of my favourites, the best raw food and a lovely atmosphere. A little too ‘hippy’ for some people with its communal tables but I love it. They make an especially awesome raw pizza and insane desserts! All vegan with gluten free options for everything.
Roots and Bulbs - my favourite juice and smoothie place, it’s in Marylebone and it’s just such a winner! Their Boss smoothie and the G1 juice are my favourites.
Mildreds - the coolest vegetarian place in London, carnivores love it and again makes vegetarian food seem awesome. Not all gluten free/vegan but amazing options, I love the stir-fried asian vegetables with brown rice, so delicious!
Tibits - fantastic place for everyone, amazing vegan/gluten free options and a great lunch spot. They have a huge buffet and you fill your place with whatever you fancy and pay by weight. Really delicious and inventive salads.
Manna - a great vegetarian restaurant, works well for everyone as it has a lovely interior and makes vegetarian food seem accessible – not all vegan/gluten free but lots of great options. Especially nice for dinner.
Vantra – a delicious vegan place, cute atmosphere but like wild food cafe it’s more alternative. Fantastic food though and an incredible lunch buffet, which is perfect if you’re on the go!
So embrace all of mother nature’s goodness, throw away anything with additives, learn to love food, love snacking and love your body and I can guarantee it will love you back! You won’t believe how fast your body will metabolize foods when you do this and how much energy you’ll have. Just remember that just because something is marketed as healthy or sold in a health food store, it doesn’t mean that it’s actually healthy!