I really love home-cooked vegetarian meals, but I also enjoy my chicken and steaks too!  So when people talk about healthy eating, I tend to become a little guarded because I don’t want to have to give up the foods I love to eat. For me, food is one of life’s greatest pleasures and I enjoy trying different recipes and cuisines.

The other day when I was doing some research on this topic, I came across a fascinating article in The Telegraph about a woman called Ella Woodward, who was struck down by an illness that doctors were unable to diagnose for months.  She saw a neurologist who diagnosed postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, which affects the autonomic nervous system.  But the diagnosis was not the end of it. She was put on steroids, which weren’t making her feel great, and she was taking 28 pills a day, which made her feel hopeless.

Even with these medications, she was still exhausted all day, rarely leaving her room at the University of St Andrews, where she was studying History of Art. After a severe attack in January 2012 Ella had had enough.  She came across a book by Kris Carr, who had stage four cancer that doctors could do nothing about. She says ‘Kris became vegan, cut out sugar and processed foods, and she is now well and healthy. I thought if her diet could help her with cancer, surely it can help me.’

Inspired by Kris Carr, Ella became vegan and made her diet gluten, dairy and sugar free. She laughingly says ‘The problem was that I hated fruit and vegetables. I was a complete sugar monster and I didn’t know how to cook. So the next morning after making this resolution, I was pretty nervous. I didn’t know the first thing about healthy food.’

As I continued to read the article, I was fascinated by her discovery of healthy recipes because of her serious concern for her health.  I never cared much for the vegan or raw food philosophies, but after reading Ella’s story, I feel so inspired! Her recipes, such as courgette pasta, avocado on gluten-free toast and gluten-free pancakes sound delicious and are so easy to make! Here is an easy and delicious recipe of hers if you feel inspired!

Sweet Potato Brownies

Ingredients

⅔ cup ground almonds

½ cup buckwheat flour (brown rice flour will also work)

4 tbsp raw cacao

3 tbsp pure maple syrup

Method: Pre-heat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4, then peel the sweet potatoes. Cut them into chunks and place in a steamer for about 20 minutes, until they become really soft. Once they are beginning to fall apart, remove them and put them in the food processor with the pitted dates and blend. Put the remaining ingredients in a bowl before mixing in the sweet-potato and date combination. Stir well.

Spoon the mixture into a lined baking dish 10x20cm and cook for about 20 minutes, or until you can pierce the brownie cake with a fork and bring it out dry. Remove the tray from the oven and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes. Voila!

My whole paradigm about food has now changed. I actually feel more open-minded about healthy recipes and I’m ready to experiment to discover new ones. I hope you are too J