Celebrity Health - Angela Liddon

A photo of healthy food blogger Angela Liddon

Glowing with health

Liz Parry speaks to Angela Liddon, founder of the healthy food blog Oh She Glows about her passion for the plant-based diet

Five years ago, self-trained chef Angela Liddon started the blog ohsheglows.com after a 10-year battle with an eating disorder. Her aim was to spread the word about her journey to health and the powerful transformation that food can make in our lives. Today, Oh She Glows attracts millions of visitors every month.

Q: Tell us about your journey to health and what prompted you to follow a plant-based diet.

Angela: "I struggled with an eating disorder for over 10 years of my life. For so long I was miserable, unhealthy and unable to appreciate all the great things in my life because I was so consumed with the disordered way of thinking. I look back on those years and I wish I could get them back because I missed out on so much. In my early- to mid-twenties I started to get on a healthier path when I sought counselling and started to make simple changes in my life. I stopped counting calories, weighing myself obsessively and instead I focused on how I felt each day. Did I feel happy and healthy? Then I knew I was on the right track. Did I feel irritable and depressed? Then I knew I had to make some changes. The eating disorder mindset was so ingrained in me it took a long time to get my mind back to a healthy place, but eventually I made a lot of progress. Like many women, I still struggle with negative thoughts about myself and my body, but now I’m able to refocus my energy and treat myself with compassion, exercise because I love how it makes me feel (rather than punishment), and surround myself with other women who are healthy body image role models. That last part is key!"

Q: How has eating a plant-based diet transformed your health?

Angela: "First and foremost, I have so much more energy than I used to have! My skin also has a nice glow to it now and my weight is more balanced. I don’t have to obsess over calories any more. I didn’t realise how great I could feel until I started eating this way."

Q: How did you make the transition to a plant-based diet/way of life?

Angela: "It was a very slow and gradual transition. I didn’t cut everything out cold turkey and because of this slow transition it felt less intimidating. I started by swapping one product at a time (like almond milk for cow’s milk). It gets so much easier once you find good alternatives for your previous favourite foods."

Q: When did you begin your blog, and did you ever imagine that it might become as hugely popular as it now is?

Angela: "Not at all! To be honest, I didn’t even think blogging was something I’d stick with for more than a couple of weeks. To say I was shocked when my readership grew and grew is an understatement. I still have trouble comprehending that over one million unique people visit my blog each month. It feels surreal."

Q: You have recently had a baby. Did you enjoy good health throughout the pregnancy?

Angela: "Yes, I was lucky to have a healthy pregnancy with minimal complications. I didn’t change much to my diet aside from being more mindful of eating a balanced diet, as well as taking supplements regularly (prenatals, B12, iron, calcium, and omega-3/DHA)."

Q: Tell us about your new cookbook and what inspired the recipes that are featured in it.

Angela: "My first cookbook, The Oh She Glows Cookbook, is a New York Times Bestseller. It features over 100 plant-based recipes (including 85 gluten-free recipes) using real, whole food ingredients. The book also contains over 100 full-page, full-colour photographs that I photographed as well. The recipes are inspired by foods that I eat in my actual life – the staples I can’t live without as well as many special occasion recipes that are great for potlucks and the holidays."

Q: Do you grow your own fruit and vegetables?

Angela: "I used to have my own vegetable garden in an old house, but we moved and I haven’t had the space to build one. Hopefully some day!"

Q: Do you have a favourite recipe? If so, which one?

Angela: "My 15-Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta and my Classic Green Monster Smoothie are my two favourites."

Q: Do you enjoy exercise? If so, what kind?

Angela: "I love exercise! My favourite way to get in a good sweat is an outdoor stroller run with my baby. Now that it’s summer I love to get outside as much as possible. I also do basic strength exercises in the comfort of my own living room (things like lunges, squats, arm exercises, ab work, etc)."

Q: What plans do you have for the future?

Angela: "I’m currently working hard on my second cookbook which is due out early autumn 2016. I also hope to start creating recipe video tutorials again in the near future."

The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon is priced at £16.99 and published by Penguin Random House.

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