3 Deliciously Ella recipes that will avoid those 3pm binges
One day, in June 2011, I woke up feeling awful. I looked six months pregnant, I was exhausted, having heart palpitations and felt hungover. My symptoms got steadily worse over the next four months, but no one could figure out what was wrong. Eventually, I was diagnosed with postural tachycardia syndrome, a chronic illness that affects the autonomic nervous system (which controls body functions, such as the heart).
I tried conventional medicine for six months but it didn’t help. I was bedridden most of the time. So I took matters into my own hands. Overnight, I gave up gluten, dairy, refined sugar and meat and started eating a wholefood, plant-based diet. It took 18 months to feel well again and come off my medication, but it’s really worked. A plant-based diet has enable me to manage my illness and live a normal life.
BACK TO BASICS
We’re all different and it’s important to listen to your body and see a nutritionist if you feel something isn’t right. However, eating more vegetables and cutting back on processed food will help everyone. Processed food is usually made from low quality ingredients mixed with additives and preservatives to make it last longer. Healthy food takes more time, care and attention and may have a shorter shelf life. That’s not to say healthy eating has to be expensive – oats, bananas, carrots, rice, peas, herbs and spices can all be great value and make delicious and nutritious meals.
CHICKPEA AND SQUASH SALAD
For the salad:
* 120g butternut squash
* 1tsp paprika
* 1tsp dried mixed herbs (I use herbes de Provençe)
* Salt and pepper
* Olive oil
* 80g chickpeas, drained and rinsed
* 1⁄2tsp chilli powder
* Large handful of rocket (30g)
* 40g sundried tomatoes, chopped
For the dressing:
* 1tbsp olive oil
* 1⁄2tbsp apple cider vinegar
* 1⁄2tsp turmeric
* 1tsp honey
Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7.
Peel the squash, then cut it into small, bitesized pieces. Place on a baking tray, coat with the paprika, mixed herbs, a little salt and olive oil. Bake for 30 mins, until tender.
Place the chickpeas on a separate baking tray, sprinkle with the chilli powder, toss well to coat and bake for 20 mins, until firm but not too crunchy.
Mix together all the dressing ingredients and season with a little salt and lots of pepper.
Once the chickpeas and squash have cooked and cooled, mix them with the rocket and sundried tomatoes, then pour on the dressing and toss everything together.
Tweak it… If you don’t have any squash, try using sweet potato instead.
THE PERFECT GARDEN FRYUP
*2tbsp olive oil
* 1⁄2tsp cayenne pepper
* 1tsp dried oregano
* 1tsp dried thyme
* 2 garlic cloves, crushed
* Salt and pepper
* 6 chestnut mushrooms, very finely sliced
* 10 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
* Juice of 1 lemon
* 50g spinach
* 1⁄2 avocado
Pour the olive oil into a frying pan with the cayenne pepper, oregano, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper. Heat for 2 mins.
Add the mushrooms, tomatoes and half the lemon juice and cook for 3 mins, until the veg has softened.
Stir in the spinach. Let it wilt for a minute or so.
Pile the veg onto a plate – or a piece of toast – and slice the avocado on top.
Drizzle with the remaining lemon juice and season to taste.
CHOCOLATE CARAMEL SLICES
For the base:
* 150g almonds
* 125g pecans
* 400g medjool dates, pitted
* 2tbsp almond butter
For the caramel layer:
* 400g medjool dates, pitted
* 6tbsp (heaped) almond butter
* 2tbsp maple syrup
* 1tsp coconut oil
For the chocolate layer:
* 100g cacao butter
* 1tbsp almond butter
* 150g medjool dates, pitted
* 2tbsp raw cacao powder
* 24tbsp maple syrup (to taste)
Blend the almonds and pecans in a food processor for 1 min. Add the dates and almond butter and blend again until sticky. Transfer to a lined baking tin, pushing it firmly into the base with a spatula. Place in the freezer for 20 mins.
Put all the ingredients for the caramel layer in the food processor with 120ml water and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour over the base layer. Return to the freezer for 3040 mins.
For the chocolate layer, place the cacao butter and almond butter in a saucepan and melt over a low heat. Pour into the food processor with the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Spread over the caramel layer, then return to the freezer for 2 hours.
Store the sheet in the freezer. To serve, leave at room temperature for 15-20 mins to warm up a little, then cut into 16 squares.
Read more: Joe Wicks on the small changes that will make you leaner, fitter and happier
FIND YOUR BALANCE
Easy ways to introduce more plants into your diet today
Drink a green juice or smoothie every morning.
Stir all your favourite vegetables into your favourite pasta dish.
Cook up a mixture of vegetables and grains (such as quinoa and brown rice) on a Sunday, and add to lunch boxes with houmous and crudités throughout the week for quick, easy lunches.
All recipes extracted from Deliciously Ella Every Day by Ella Woodward (£20, Yellow Kite), out now. Recipes © Ella Woodward 2016. Photography © Clare Winfield.
You can visit Ella’s cookery blog at Deliciously Ella…