Founder of Deliciously Ella
Ella gives us an insight into how her plant-based lifestyle began, and how you can follow in her footsteps
What instigated your decision to pursue a plant based lifestyle?
I got very unwell in 2011 when I was at university with a condition called Postural Tachycardia Syndrome, as well as Ehlers Danlos and Mast Cell Activation Disorder. The condition affected the functioning of my autonomic nervous system – I struggled to control my heart rate and blood pressure, as well as having digestive issues, chronic fatigue, a host of infections and a selection of other symptoms.
I spent a few months in and out of hospital, followed by months and months in bed taking a host of medication, which sadly didn’t work. I hit a real rock bottom, both mentally and physically, about a year later and started to look at other avenues to explore.
I became interested in the power of diet and lifestyle and began experimenting with plant-based cooking to see whether that, in conjunction with meditation, yoga, working with a nutritionist and a more holistic approach to my lifestyle could help manage elements of the condition.
It was a slow process but over the following few years the symptoms stabilised and I came off all the medication,
I also fell in love with plant-based cooking. As I started experimenting with this way of cooking I shared my creations on a blog, deliciouslyella.com. Somehow that took off, it grew organically, slowly at first before gaining speed and attracting over 100 million hits within the first few years. I then transitioned to social media (where we now have an audience of 2.5 million across our different platforms) then an app, then five best-selling books (including the fastest selling vegan cookbook ever), then a deli in London and now four ranges of food products in about 6,000 stores across the UK.
It’s been quite a whirlwind and every day I become more passionate about what we do and spreading a love of plant-based living.
How has this contributed to your overall wellness?
I’ve honestly never felt better. I do believe that there is no one size fits all though and we all come to things in our own time – being vegan tomorrow isn’t right for everyone and I don’t want us to be preachy or prescriptive as a brand.
Instead I just want to show how interesting and delicious this way of eating can be and in doing so encourage more people to just try eating more plants.
What advice would you give to people looking to integrate more plant based choices into their lifestyle?
Enjoy it. For anything to be sustainable it has to be enjoyable, so make sure it’s easy, delicious and abundant. Get creative, try new recipes and ingredients and never ever skimp on flavour.
A plant-based diet isn’t about deprivation, it’s about celebrating brilliant ingredients that are both good for our health and the health of the planet.
It’s also important to start slowly and sensibly, changing everything overnight is really hard, so instead think about making small swaps and changes throughout the week – meat free Monday or simply just more veg with every meal.
What is your vision for the future of ‘Deliciously Ella’?
We want to be the leading plant-based brand. It’s a big goal but I’m passionate about us getting there. For that to happen flavour always has to sit at the heart of what we do because that’s what makes this work in the long term, as does our community.
Our community guides all our decision making and I want to ensure that continues to be the case. We’re also passionate about ensuring that we’re always providing genuinely useful content, products and resources for our readers and customers so that we’re supporting them in living a healthier, happier life.