Welcome to Deliciously Ella. This blog lies at the heart of everything I do; it’s where my love of food, cooking and taking care of myself started, and where I laid the foundations to start building a business within this space. I started writing it in 2012, it’s grown and evolved massively over that time and along the way it’s created a community of like-minded people that I absolutely love, so I hope you enjoy what you find here too.
Have a wonderful day,
My Own Health Journey
To give you a little history on me, the blog and why I do what I do, this whole journey started as a reaction to an illness that I was diagnosed with in 2011, called Postural Tachycardia Syndrome. The illness had a pretty devastating effect on my life, both mentally and physically. Physically, my autonomic nervous system struggled to function properly which meant that I couldn’t control my heart rate and blood pressure properly (my heart rate would go from about 60 when I was sitting to 180 or so as soon as I stood up!), I also had a whole host of other issues form terrible stomach problems to constant headaches, lots of allergic reactions and chronic fatigue – so I spent almost all my time on my own in bed. I had just turned twenty at this point, and I felt so alienated from my friends, I really struggled to get my head around what was happening and I cut myself off from everyone and allowed myself to sink into an incredibly unhappy place. I was taking a lot of medication, but sadly it didn’t do much for me.
After a while I realised that I needed to try and help myself as much as I could. I started reading and learning about diet and lifestyle, and the way that these factors can help manage illnesses. I was incredibly inspired by what I was finding and decided to change the way I was living to see if it would help. I cut out processed foods from my diet and took up a whole-foods, plant based diet.
Changing the way that I ate was so hard. It was a massive change for me, as my student diet had revolved around ice cream, chocolate, cereal, pasta and a whole host of other processed foods. I was a real sugar monster and I couldn’t really cook! I had never eaten quinoa, kale or almond milk before and I certainly didn’t think about reading ingredients lists on foods. Over time (about two years) I was able to manage the symptoms of the illness and eventually come off all the medication. I’d simultaneously started seeing a nutritionist and undertook an exercise program from my doctor, both of which really supported this process.
It was a big challenge but it was single-handedly the best decision I’ve ever made. I started recording what I was eating and my kitchen experiments right here, in a bid to push myself to learn more. I also desperately needed a hobby to help my mental state, so this site served two purposes and hugely helped me to become who I am now. Sharing what I was learning was my way of turning a negative into a positive and it’s been truly amazing to see so many people enjoy the recipes. More than anything I want to use this space to show how easy it is to create beautiful, nourishing, and most importantly: delicious meals from simple, natural ingredients.
What I’m Doing Now
I never expected the blog to grow into what it is now and it’s crazy and incredibly humbling to know that millions of you are reading it and enjoying it. The community that we’ve all created here and across the social media platforms have enabled me to do more than I ever thought I could, I am so grateful for all of the engagement.
After seeing the traction the blog was getting, I decided to create an app, that launched in February 2014. The night before the app came out, I studied the top 200 food and drink apps on itunes and saw at #200 was a very random app specialising in incredibly niche recipes. I hoped that I may be able to the top that, but woke up to see it at #1 and couldn’t believe my eyes. Following the success of the app, I released my first cookbook in January 2015, which went on to be the fastest selling debut cookbook ever and has now been published in 16 languages around the world. My second and third book also debuted at #1, which is a dream come true!
I started this process with very little self confidence, especially after my illness, which really knocked me back. The whole process has been incredibly humbling, inspiring and has allowed me to grow hugely as a person. I never thought I’d be a business woman or an entrepreneur, but by the start of 2015 I knew I wanted to take this all further.
In summer 2015, my now husband, Matthew, and I, started to talk a lot about what we could do together. We wanted to create a socially and environmentally responsible company that we hoped could start to change the conversation and perception around natural food. We started by opening a space, the MaE deli, in December of 2015, which has been amazing and one of the highlights of my career. We loved it so much that we’ve decided to do a few more, endeavouring to make several very unique spaces with varied offerings. We don’t plan on this becoming a chain, just great spaces to show people how delicious and fun natural foods can be. All of our spaces use compostable, biodegradable packaging, and we pay absolutely everyone in our team the London living wage and above. We don’t cut corners on anything we do and we hope that we can inspire others to follow this example. We’ve got three delis now and have done two pop ups, which we’ve loved.
At the same time as opening our deli in Marylebone, we started to look at the product space. After I’d changed my diet, I realised very quickly that so many ‘health’ foods were full of additives and that there was space for more companies who were focused solely on natural ingredients and a bit more honesty. So, Matthew and I started work on our next project, which was bringing our energy balls – the most popular recipe from the blog, books and the deli – to you all through retail.
The energy balls first appeared on the blog back in 2012 and they’ve been the most popular recipe ever since, as well as the best selling item in our deli. Finding compostable, recyclable packaging for them was a challenge but we did it and they launched into shops in August 2016. At the moment they’re sold in Waitrose, Starbucks, Ocado, Sainsburys, Holland and Barrett, WHSmiths, Whole Foods, Selfridges, Planet Organic and lots of independent stores. We’re working on bringing them to more places as quickly as we can, while also starting work on the next line of products to launch this summer. Our aim is to get them in as many places as possible, so that you can find natural snacks wherever you are to make eating better more accessible, while also sharing the recipes for them all so that there’s real transparency in what you’re getting and you can make them at home too.
The company is growing quickly. In 2015, before the deli opened, I had a team of four. A year later Matthew and I have a team of about seventy people and it’s growing quickly, which is mad but incredibly exciting. Everything we’ve done has all come from the support of the community here, and for that I’m so grateful. We want to do the best we can for you, so please engage with us here and across any social media – what you think means everything to us.
My Food Philosophy
Deliciously Ella is all about celebrating what you can do with delicious, plant based ingredients. My recipes are vegetarian, wheat and refined sugar free, but it’s not about diet or deprivation, there’s no one size fits all, and everything I do can be adapted to suit you.
I eat the way I do as it helps me manage my illness, but I don’t want Deliciously Ella to be prescriptive in any way. Recent research has shown that only 27% of people get their 5-a-day in the UK, and I hope that the way I can help is by providing the most interesting, delicious ways, to add more fruit and vegetables in to your diet. My values are: Natural, Simple, Honest, and I hope that comes through in everything I do. That can range from trying to create delicious recipes with a limited amount of well known, readily available ingredients, to sharing the recipes for our products we sell in grocery stores.
I hope you enjoy reading and thank you for visiting xx