A Q&A with Madeleine Shaw

How did you get into healthy living and what does a healthy lifestyle look like for you?

I moved to Australia when I was 18 for university and I instantly fell in love with their lifestyle. Morning runs on the beach, surfing and exercise is a way of life out there and I got totally involved. Before I moved to Australia I had an awful diet. I lived off rice cakes and diet coke as I thought that this was healthy. My skin was dull, I felt constantly tired and was bloated all the time. I began eating like the Aussies did – lots of fresh fruit and veg, and organic grass-fed meat. I fell in love with food again, my skin began to glow, my bloating went down and I had endless amounts of energy. I began working in an organic cafe in Bondi where I learnt to properly prepare and cook food. When I moved back to the UK I started a blog and haven’t looked back! To me a healthy lifestyle is all about doing what makes you happy. I eat the way I do and keep active because it makes me feel amazing – however I wouldn’t ever say no to an almond croissant. I’m all about keeping it real and having a sense of balance.

A lot of people are experiencing digestive issues these days; how did this way of eating help you and do you have any advice for anyone else experiencing problems?

The bloating I talked about earlier was actually due to IBS. Gut health isn’t a sexy topic and people often see it as a taboo, however so many people actually suffer from digestive issues it shouldn’t be something to shy away from. When I was out in Aus, I noticed that even though I’d cleaned up my diet I still had bad bloating. I did a bunch of allergy tests and found that I had IBS. I was also intolerant to gluten and dairy which didn’t help with the bloating. I’ve been eating lots of gut healing foods like kimchi, sauerkraut and pretty much anything fermented. I also take probiotics which promote healthy bacteria in the gut to break down the food. It’s really helped me and I don’t feel bloated as often as I used to which definitely boosts my confidence!

What are your favourite restaurants?

– in London

Spring in Covent Garden. The food is super fresh so the menu changes depending on what’s in season.

– in the world?

The Ground in Sydney. I miss it so much and always go back there when I’m in Sydney.

Both of your books are about getting the glow – what are your top tips for achieving this?

  1. Drink lots of water to get your skin glowing- at least 2 litres a day.
  2. Eat protein for breakfast. Skin-loving scrambled eggs with avocado gives you a boost of healthy fats and omega-3’s.
  3. Don’t diet or deprive. Healthy eating is a lifestyle, not a diet. It should make you happy! Focus on crowding in, not cutting out. You will be filling your plate with lots of delicious veggies, fresh fruits, healthy fats, good-quality meat and fish, gluten-free grains and nuts and seeds. You’ll find that you don’t think about food as much, that you can sit back and enjoy your life.

Where does the inspiration for all of your amazing recipes come from?

I get inspiration from all around. I love recreating something I’ve eaten in a restaurant, or looking at people’s favourite desserts and mains and putting my own healthy spin on it. I’ve also got so many cookbooks where I like looking at different flavour combinations and seeing how I can make a unique, healthy dish with these flavours that people can whip up quickly!

What is your favourite sweet treat or dessert?

My favourite dessert is a chocolate brownie. You can’t go wrong! I’ve got the ultimate pistachio and raspberry chocolate brownie recipe in Ready Steady glow.

What are your top 5 store cupboard essentials?

  1. Quinoa – Super easy to add to any dish.
  2. Eggs – I eat eggs for breakfast every day.
  3. Porridge oats – I like using in porridge, granola, or even making flour with it for sweet treats.
  4. Almond butter – make a sauce with it, pop a dollop on your breakfast or spread onto apple for a tasty snack.
  5. Almond milk – I drink so much almond milk every week that I have to keep lots of supplies in my cupboard!

Did you ever imagine that you would have your current career?

I knew when I got back from Australia that this is what I wanted to do but I didn’t ever imagine that people would love my recipes this much! I’m a big believer that hard work pays off – I love my job and wouldn’t want it any other way!

How important has social media been for you and the health food world in general?

I think it’s been so important. It helps people get inspiration for tasty, healthy food and encourages everyone everyday. Instagram has been the reason my recipes have been so popular and it’s played a big part in getting me where I am today.

What advice do you have for other people hoping to launch their own company / blog or follow their dreams?

There’s only one you and you will bring something to this world that no one else has.

What is your proudest moment so far?

There’s been a few defining life moment for me. Releasing my first book was such a proud moment, and I think launching my app Glow Guides was another one of those moments. Anything that I put out into the world has so much effort and love behind it that I feel proud when the final thing comes together.

What are your hopes for the future?

I’m working on book 3, and I’ve got some other projects in the pipeline too… My biggest hope is to keep making recipes, inspiring and helping people to live a healthy lifestyle!

See lots more of Madeleine’s lovely recipes and blog posts over on her website and click here to get the recipe for her Butterbean and Almond dip.