Madeleine Shaw: Be kind to yourself with your diet, as with everything

No time to cook from scratch every day, and still want to eat cake? You can master healthy eating - it's just about being kind to yourself, Madeleine Shaw tells Keeley Bolger

Madeleine Shaw – on a mission to improve our attitude towards food

NUTRITIONIST Madeleine Shaw is on a mission to improve our attitude towards food, especially in how we deal with so-called diet setbacks.

"The worst thing you can do is be hard on yourself and negative," says the 26-year-old, who counts Millie Mackintosh as a client.

"It's almost like that stress on your body counteracts any of the good stuff you're doing. For me, it's not just about the food you put on the plate, but the attitude you have to food and yourself.

"I want to start a revolution of people being kinder to themselves."

And that means putting that extra-slice-of-triple-chocolate-cake-shaped blip into perspective.

"You've got to tell yourself that this one meal isn't really going to change things," she explains.

"One piece of cake doesn't really put on loads of weight. Tell yourself that, and then get back to eating healthy with your next meal."

Being kind to yourself extends to expectations around cooking food from scratch, too. It's a great thing to do in theory, Shaw agrees, but whipping out the pans for every meal isn't always realistic.

"It's very difficult to make all your food," says the foodie and yoga fan. "On a busy day like today, I'll buy food out, but you can make good choices if you're grabbing something for lunch; there's always choice."

She believes that with a bit of planning, nutritious fuss-free meals can be achieved even during busy spells, and has devoted her new book, Ready Steady Glow, to just that.

Divided into "fast weeks and slow weekends", many of the meals take 20 minutes or less to make, but there are more time-consuming recipes too, for those who want to "make that stew, do some baking...", as well as a section detailing her basic yoga routine, and handy weekly meal plans.

Being busy is something Shaw can wholeheartedly appreciate. A year on from releasing her debut healthy-eating book, Get The Glow, life has moved up a notch.

Up until her teens, she admits she ate a "typical magazine diet of Diet Coke and low-fat yoghurt" to stay slim, but found herself riddled with digestive problems and energy slumps.

Things changed when she moved to Sydney aged 18 to study, and started working at a healthy cafe. Shaw admits her changes didn't happen overnight, but inspired, she trained as a nutritionist and returned to the UK with renewed zest, eager to share her knowledge via her food and lifestyle blog. She now has 217k followers on Instagram and 39k on Twitter, and as well as writing, does talks and supper clubs, and has collaborated on a string of projects, including a special healthy menu for Brown's Hotel.

So embedded is Shaw and fellow health blogger Ella Woodward's positive message that comedian Bella Younger has even poked fun at their approach in her popular spoof account Deliciously Stella, where typical posts about the benefits of munching on nutritious trail mix are accompanied with a picture of a bowl of assorted sweets, crisps and chocolate.

"I love it!" says Shaw with a laugh. "Bella is a fan of healthy eating. It's amazing how well she's done in such a short space of time."

The same can be said of Shaw, whose health and self-esteem have vastly improved since she started making changes.

"I felt much more at peace with myself; I realised that life was here to be enjoyed," she reflects.

"Quite a lot of the time, we're expecting ourselves to be everything, especially as women: you've to be the mum or the girlfriend and the business woman, but also remain feminine and beautiful.

"You don't you need to add your own self pressure. I realised that when I felt better about myself and put more time into me, I felt happier and it made my life better.

"It's not an overnight switch, but we could all do to be a bit kinder to ourselves."

Show yourself some kindness with these recipes from Ready, Steady, Glow...

:: Ready, Steady, Glow by Madeleine Shaw is published in hardback by Orion Books, priced £20. Available now


(Serves 2)

1tbsp coconut oil or butter

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1tbsp freshly grated ginger

100g wild or button mushrooms, chopped in half

450ml chicken stock

1tbsp tamari

2 star anise

1 cinnamon stick

1 large carrot or 2 small, julienned

3 pak choi, cut in half

4 eggs

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 two 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 seven minutes while you prepare the eggs.

Gently lower the eggs one by one into a pan half-filled with boiling water. Boil for five minutes for runny yolks and nine 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.


(Serves 2)

2 lamb rumps (about 250g each)

1tsp dried rosemary

1tbsp coconut oil or butter

Olive oil, to serve

Chilli flakes, to serve

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the cauliflower mash:

1 cauliflower, roughly chopped

1tbsp coconut oil or butter

1 onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1tbsp dried rosemary


Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas mark 5.

Trim off any excess fat on the lamb and score the top with a sharp knife. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle over the rosemary.

Heat a pan with the one tablespoon of oil or butter and cook the lamb fat side down for four minutes, turning it over every minute until browned. Pop it in the oven for 15 minutes then leave it to rest for five minutes.

To make the cauliflower mash, cook the cauliflower in a pan of boiling water for seven to10 minutes, until it is cooked through. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat the oil or butter in a frying pan and throw in the onion. Saute for three minutes then throw in the garlic, a big pinch of salt and the rosemary. Cook for another three minutes then leave to cool slightly.

Mash the onion mix with the cauliflower, scraping out all the spices and oil from the pan. Serve the mash and lamb together with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper, a pinch of chilli flakes and a big smile.


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