So this is how it began: Bought Deliciously Ella, loved it. Got curious and thought it might be worth buying Madeline Shaw’s ‘Get the Glow‘ book, loved it. Thought I might as well complete the collection and buy Davina’s ‘5 Weeks to Sugar-Free‘… so I did. Now I have all three books and I thought it would be a good idea to review and compare them for you, my lovely readers, in one place. So I am (FYI I would grab a cuppa, it’s a long one!).
Deliciously Ella by Ella Woodward
The one thing that I think puts people off healthy eating of the really really healthy type, is all the weird ingredients that are perceived to be expensive and difficult to find, and Ella addresses this. She actually introduces the book really well and you get a real understanding of her situation and why she eats like she does. Ella also outlines in the beginning her key ingredients that she uses through many of her recipes so you can make a list and get stocking. For me this did delay getting started on her recipes but what I did do was go through the book highlighting the recipes I wanted to try and the ingredients I needed. I then went through the list on Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s online and made a note of who stocks what, who does it cheapest, and what I thus need to source from health food shops. it takes some time but in the long run, it’s going to save you so much time. Ella also recommends places such as Amazon to purchase ingredients but unless you are going to live religiously by her recipes and book, you don’t need to buy anything in such quantities to make it worth it. Up to you though!
So far I have tried three of her recipes and these were the ones I was keenest to try most.
…And her baked beans which you can see on my Instagram (that Ella ‘liked’!!).
The fresh spring rolls are so easy to make -essentially it’s raw vegetables in rice paper wraps, but the mango dip is what really makes the recipe sing and this is a great meal for lunches at work. FYI, the wraps can be bought cheaply in Asian supermarkets.
The brownies are delicious and the dates pick up the sweetness. They are not as heavy as normal brownies and neither as chocolatey but this is why they are different and notably healthier than your regular brownie. When making them, I had yet to track down raw cocoa so (as Ella advises), I just increased the measure of normal cocoa powder. This does of course increase the sugar count but I think this can be forgiven at this time. Also, my blender struggled to really mix the potato and dates together and thus was not the lovely runny creamy mixture desired. To rectify this, I added a little bit of water into the brownie mixture which did the trick. I definitely recommend giving these a try though!
Ultimately, I found both Ella and her book very likeable and I love that she doesn’t preach her lifestyle; you either follow it fully, or you take what you want. This is a great book to get started on if you want to lead a healthier diet and her YouTube channel is well worth watching too.
Madeline’s book is mostly driven by a 6-week plan which aims to rid your diet of refined sugar. The first part of the book, along with Madeline’s personal journey, is split into 6 chapters to outline what you should be doing and achieving in each week. The rest of the book is crammed with recipes; you really do get a lot for your money here food wise. Unlike Ella whose diet is plant based, Madeline does involve meat in some of her recipes and although some of the recipes do involve the odd health ingredient like Tamari, her meals for the most part are just loaded with vegetables and nuts. Madeline strongly recommends (as does Ella), that yes some of the recipes are time consuming, but so much can be prepared beforehand. However, what I would say is that if you’re going to follow the plan, I don’t think some of the breakfast recipes are that practical if you work full time as few will have time to eat before work or (like me) will eat breakfast in the office.
Overall, I really like Madeline’s recipe ideas and this book works well alongside Ella’s for that variety.
Of the three, if I am honest I was doubtful about Davina’s book as although there is no doubt she is a health nut, she is possibly just a mouth piece for the Nutritionists she is guided by… a bit like Lucy Mecklenburgh’s Be Body Beautiful (review here), but that’s not to say I don’t think this is a good book, it is. I think for the everyday person that just wants to cut sugar as much as possible and get some really good healthy recipes on the table, Davina’s book is brilliant for this and her approach to healthy eating is effortless, there is nothing in this book you can’t create yourself with relative ease.
However, what I would say is that the 5-week to sugar-free plan her book is seemingly built upon, appears almost as a side thought in the back of the book; whereas it’s the clear focus in Madeline’s. But this can be forgiven as her recipes are so good, you forget you’re supposed to be following or doing any kind of plan.
There is no doubt that buying and following at least one of these books would be worth your while but I do personally like the mix of all three as together they offer some fun ideas. Ultimately though, all three books do essentially just change the what you cook and what you cook with such as integrating the regular use of coconut oil. You do also become a lot more conscience and aware of sugar and where it appears. That being said, the easiest thing you can do for yourself and your family though is just don’t have the crap stuff in the house to begin with, simples! In all seriousness though, even if you don’t actually want to cut sugar or completely change your diet, what these books offer is the opportunity to do some different things using relatively simple, staple ingredients.
It’s impossible and unrealistic to completely remove refined sugar from your diet, it’s in too much unless you completely overhaul everything you eat and buy which is do able… I just am not convinced with how sustainable it is. I also don’t want to cut it completely along with other key food groups such as dairy as I don’t think it’s necessary. When you start banning things from your life, the heavier you are more likely to fall from the wagon, not to mention how awkward dining out with friends and family becomes. Also, at weekends I don’t think there is anything wrong with a treat or two such as cake over a coffee and a pudding after dinner; life really is too short to not enjoy the odd treat! The secret is of course to have and do everything in moderation allowing diet and exercise to complement and work with each other. Why more people don’t live by this amazes me.
I think it also needs saying that healthy eating is going through a huge movement at the moment, everyone seems to be on board which is why it is all the more important to find things you can integrate and stick with for the long term rather than eventually getting bored and abandoning everything.
- Reduced my sugar intake during the week where possible (work birthday’s can be a nightmare!)
- Increased my intake of nuts and seeds into my daily diet such as carrying around fruit and nut mix, adding walnuts and chia seeds to my yoghurt in the evening and so on.
- Swapped white rice for brown
- Swapped fruit yoghurt for natural/Greek yoghurt which I add a bit of honey to (& nuts).
- Joined a local gym -as you know I already play hockey (during the winter) and go for walks in the evenings and weekends, but the gym is just an added option for exercise and a way to keep me in check.
I hope some of you will have found this post helpful. How about giving one of these books a go and making some of the recipes for lunches at work? Let me know also if you already have these books and what you think of them.
Until next time xFollow