I’m not a big cook, the idea of slaving away for hours on end in a steamy kitchen doesn’t really do it for me. That being said, since I got pregnant last year my I decided to be miles more considerate about what I was putting into my body. The ingredients themselves overtook pre-packaged products that made promises of being low in fat and only 90 calories. I now would champion something organic, full-fat and raw over a semi-skimmed, sugar free and filled with ingredients that would make Wikipedia wince. I am hopeful that in the near-future I will be able to become 100% pescatarian with absolutely no dairy or meat other than wild, organic fish in my diet. It’s been an eye-opener reading through different cookbooks that teach you that being vegan, healthy and clean doesn’t involve eating copious amounts of kale and snacking on seeds (thanks but no thanks). These are a few of my favourites that really got me excited doing my weekly shop and preparing healthy meals for me and my family (my daughter follows my diet to the T!).

Deliciously Ella: Awesome Ingredients, Incredible Food that you and your Body Will Love

No list would be complete without Deliciously Ella. It seems that she’s almost pioneered a rebirth in veganism. It no longer conjures up images of dreadlocked women breastfeeding their nine year olds wearing hemp trousers they bought from a recent trip to Kerala to discover themselves. These are meat and dairy free recipes but miraculously easy; I regularly make her faux-chocolate mousse and the spiced squash and chickpea stew was a real winner in my house, even to my meat-obsessed husband. These recipes can easily be tweaked with a little organic chicken or whatever tickles your fancy but it’s remarkably reassuring to make something where you’re not missing meat.

Deliciously Ella’s new book Made with Love is sitting tight in my Amazon cart waiting to join my bookshelf as we speak.

SIDE NOTE: Sadly my experiences at the Mae Deli weren’t quite as wonderful as I would have hoped.

The Art of Eating Well, Hemsley & Hemsley

This is hands down my most used, treasured and favourite cookbook. The recipes are simple, the food is clean, the ingredients are simple and the results have made me want to apply to be on an episode of Come Dine With Me. The Art of Eating Well is a chronicle of healthy recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner with a few snacks sprinkled in between. Nothing about these recipes make me hands sweat and reach for my phone to open Quiqup and order Shake Shack. Bottom line, this is as essential as a kettle in your kitchen.

Eat. Nourish. Grow, Amelia Freer

2015 was the year Sam Smith got himself a better bikini body than most girls I know. The woman who was singlehandedly responsible for this is Amelia Freer. Her no-nonsense book advocates cutting out sugar, dairy and gluten. There aren’t a whole load of recipes but she carefully breaks down what should be in your fridge and kitchen cabinets along with examples of patients that she has treated (including one of an over-tired, stressed mother who reaches for the easiest, fastest thing she can find to eat…sound familiar?). It’s incredibly informative, WHY shouldn’t you eat sugar, Amelia will tell you. WHY is gluten so crappy for your body, buy her book and she’ll let you know.

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