Born and bred Londoner Madeleine Shaw, author of Get the Glow and Ready, Steady, Glow! is a refreshing example of someone who has embraced the wellness craze without taking it too seriously. She reveals her take on healthy eating and shares her favourite recipe from her latest book.
Could you sum up your food philosophy?
It’s pretty simple. Ditch the junk and eat your way to health using wholesome food with loads of flavour. I’m a strong advocate for focusing on the good stuff, rather than beating yourself up about the bad. I believe in “crowding in”, not cutting out.
Why are we being constantly encouraged to cut out gluten, then?
Some of us really do eat too much bread, pasta and cakes. I don’t think gluten should form the basis of every meal but at the same time it doesn’t need to be classed as an evil ingredient. I had intolerance tests done a few years ago and I resulted as positive. At the time I didn’t even know what gluten was, but I started to eliminate it from my diet. I was tested again six months ago and I’m no longer intolerant to it, so I have reintroduced it. But it’s all about moderation.
What about so-called natural sugar? Should that be avoided?
Just because something is made with maple syrup doesn’t meant it can be eaten every day. It’s still sugar. However if you are going to have a treat, it’s better to have one that is nutrient-packed instead of a lemon slice, for example.
What do you love about London?
I love the variety of this city: the different people and the different opportunities for work. I don’t love the dirt, pollution and traffic.
What London food trends are you excited about?
My Rocco Forte Nourish menu at Browns Hotel in Mayfair, where I often host supper clubs, is worth checking out! Packed full of delicious, fresh ingredients, the menu also includes a range of healthy cocktails – what every Londoner wants surely? There seems to be a new health food cafe opening in London every day, which is fantastic, many of them vegan. I’m not a vegan myself but it’s great to see such a focus on sustainable food. I’m also loving the poke bowl trend from Hawaii. It’s really fresh and colourful and totally delicious.
What’s your go-to form of exercise?
Yoga. I started practicing when I moved to Australia aged 18 and I fell in love with it. So much so that I started training to become a teacher. Yoga is great for strength and keeping me relaxed.
Have you always been a health-addict?
Not at all. My parents divorced when I was 15 and soon after that one of my best friends died. I was in a bad place, not looking after myself and eating badly. I never had a serious food disorder but I didn’t really care about myself or my body. I was a Londoner after all and I liked to party. I turned 18 and went travelling in Australia, where everyone is into healthy living. That is when I was inspired to start looking after myself.
What are you working on at the moment?
Well, I am starting to think about my third book. I’m also studying to become a qualified nutritionist at the College of Naturopathic Medicine. Eventually I would like to have my own clinic. But for now I am pretty busy, what with my blog, my role as a host on Endemol’s health food channel Wild Dish and my collaboration with Brown’s Hotel.
What five ingredients could you not live without?
Coconut oil, eggs, buckwheat, chickpeas and almond butter.
What is your favourite recipe?
Definitely my Heartwarming Pho recipe. I love pho for supper; it’s a Vietnamese-inspired soup with plenty of heartwarming veg. This is the perfect light meal for a cold night when you’re looking to get loads of vitamins in one hit. (See recipe below)
Madeleine is a nutritional health coach, qualified yoga instructor, bestselling cookery writer of ‘Get the Glow’ and ‘Ready Steady Glow!’ and creator of the Glow Guides App. Follow Madeleine on Instagram: madeleine_shaw_
Heartwarming Pho (Serves 2)
1 tbsp coconut oil or butter
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
100g wild or button mushrooms, chopped in half
450ml chicken stock
1 tbsp tamari
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 large carrot or
2 small, julienned
3 pak choi, cut in half
1 red chilli, finely sliced, to serve
2 spring onions, finely sliced, to serve
Heat the oil or butter in a pan, throw in the garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds, then throw in the mushrooms and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Pour over the stock, tamari, star anise and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Throw the carrots and pak choi into the soup to cook for a further 7 minutes while you prepare the eggs. Gently lower the eggs one by one into a pan half-filled with boiling water and boil for 5 minutes for runny yolks and 9 minutes for hard-boiled. Drain and hold under cold running water to stop them cooking and to cool them enough to peel. Ladle the soup into two bowls, slice the eggs in half and place on top of the soup. Throw the chilli and spring onions over the soup to serve.
When you come across the cinnamon stick or star anise, remove them, they are there to add flavour to the soup but not to be eaten.