The following interview opens a new series here at Orgali: interviews with regular people that do amazing things in the field of healthy nutrition and lifestyle. It does not matter if one of us is vegan or another one is omnivore. Or if they follow any other nutritional diet. We can all learn from each other, as what binds us is our desire to helping our families and ourselves to eat a little better today than we did yesterday.
Today I would like to introduce you to Angela Liddon. She lives in Ontario, Canada, with her husband Eric, their soon-to be-born baby girl and their cat Sketchie. Angela is an amazing recipe-creator and she is the brain behind the well-known food website “Oh She Glows”. She also takes amazing photographs of all the delicious recipes that she posts on her website.
I contacted Angela recently as I wanted to host a giveaway with her first cookbook “Oh She Glows” (I am sure there will be many more coming). This is a great cookbook that features over 100 vegan recipes. Chapters/Indigo selected the cookbook as their Top Book Pick of 2014 and it was also the most pre-ordered book of 2013 on Indigo/Chapters. Additionally, it has been on Amazon.ca and Amazon.com’s Bestseller book list for weeks. One of the things that I like about this cookbook (and about Angela’s approach in general) is that Angela does not use fake foods to replace the foods that she avoids eating. Instead, she creates mouth-watering easy-to-make recipes using real and easy-to-find foods. In addition, all the recipes published on her blog and in her cookbook have been tested by her carnivore-eating husband, her family, and her friends – all of whom give the recipes an enthusiastic thumbs-up.
My family and I are not vegan. However, I made many delicious meals and desserts from Angela’s website and now from her first cookbook for my family along the years and they always enthusiastically devoured them.
Angela happily agreed to the interview and here we are, with a Questions and Answers session with Angela. Interspersed with the questions and answers you will find some of Angela’s mouth-watering photographs.
1. Angela, tell us a little bit about yourself. Who were you at the beginning, when you first started “Oh She Glows”?
When I started my blog in 2008 I was unhappy with my career as a researcher. I knew deep down that I made the wrong decision career-wise, but I just thought it was too late to change after getting my Master’s degree and spending countless years in school. So, I started my blog as a hobby and a distraction. To be honest, I didn’t think it was something I would stick with for more than a couple weeks! I fell in love with it though and my passion came alive again. I wrote about my journey to health and recovery from an eating disorder. In the process, I connected with some amazing people. In the past few years my love for recipe creation and food photography (another recent passion) has taken over and now I focus more on recipes with stories of my life mixed in. I now have over 500 recipes on my blog and a hot off the press cookbook called The Oh She Glows Cookbook. It’s been quite an amazing journey! I never would’ve guessed that this passion would eventually turn into a full-time job, but I’m so glad I chased a dream and kept the faith.
2. When did you decide to focus on eating real, simple foods and remove processed food from your diet? Was there something that triggered this way of living?
I suffered from an eating disorder for about 10 years of my life, so for many years I lived off of low-calorie diet foods that were heavily processed. I wouldn’t even call it real food! I used to eat fat-free butter spray, zero-calorie salad dressing, and frozen diet dinners. Things like that. All that time, I had no idea how amazing I could feel simply by changing what I put into my body! When I started my blog in 2008 I started experimenting with a plant-based diet. It was a very gradual process and not something I set out to do. I just wanted to get my feet wet and explore some recipes I found online. Well, as it turned out I fell in love with a whole food diet and how energetic it made me feel. There was no turning back after that and it was great motivation to stick to a healthier lifestyle and not fall back into old patterns.
3. What is one of your favourite kid-friendly dishes from your cookbook?
I’ve heard that my Crowd-Pleasing Tex Mex Casserole (p. 149), Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bites (p. 235), and my Classic Glo Bars (p. 215), Broccoli & Cashew Cheese Quinoa Burrito (p. 159), Chickpea Salad Sandwich (p. 105), Taco Fiesta Crisps (p. 85), many of the smoothies and desserts, and the Maple Cinnamon Apple & Pear Baked Granola (p. 39) are all big hits with kids.
4. What is one of your favourite kid-friendly dishes from your website (from 2013 or 2014)?
5. Do you have any tips on helping parents make tasty meals and still stay on budget?
I’m a big fan of cooking multiple servings and enjoying the leftovers the next day. It saves money and prep time. I also recommend stocking your pantry so you always have healthy foods within reach. I have a large pantry section in my cookbook detailing all the ingredients I keep handy in my pantry.
6. Please finish this sentence: “One of my big life lessons was when…”
I gave myself permission to walk away from something that made me miserable. I used to have the mindset that if you made a decision you stuck with it, but I’ve since realized that it’s totally normal to try out different careers in life! When I left my previous career as a researcher, I was terrified, but ultimately it was the best decision I could’ve made. My whole life has changed as a result. Since then I’ve learned to value my own happiness and not put it off due to fear. If something isn’t working, I now take active steps to change it. This doesn’t always mean walking away from something; it could be as easy as being open to changing things up to create a better situation.
7. Sometimes life gets in the way and we eat less healthy for a while than we would like to. What do you do to get back on track?
I start my morning off with a Green Monster (a green smoothie) packed with veggies (such as kale, cucumbers, celery, etc) and fruit (like frozen blueberries or bananas. One of my current favourite smoothies is my Green Warrior Protein Smoothie which I developed for my pregnancy.
8. Besides making and photographing amazing recipes, what is the thing/activity that makes you happy and you could not live without?
Moving my body! I’m not one to sit for long periods of time. I’m my happiest when I’m moving my body, getting in regular exercise, and busting out a good sweat. Right now I’m enjoying a strength focused prenatal DVD and lots of long walks now that spring is here.
9. What do the words ”Oh she glows” mean to you?
It means being good to myself so that my happiness radiates from the inside out.
Thank you so much Angela for this interview! And thank you for inspiring and helping us to start or continue our journey towards health. You did a fantastic job with this cookbook and I am looking forward to many more.
This giveaway is open to anyone, no matter where you are. It is my absolute pleasure to gift this to you.
Please see below the 3 ways to enter this giveaway.
Receive up to 3 entries if you:
- Subscribe to the Orgali blog by email. You can see the link to subscribe (green rectangle) on the right side on this page.
- Mention this giveaway on your Facebook page and let me know you did this in the comments section.
- Let me know in the comments section what your child’s favourite dessert is.
The giveaway closes on Friday June 20th at 8:00 am Mountain time. A winner will be chosen using a random number generator and announced on the blog on Friday the 20th. I will contact the winner by email once I post the result.
The giveaway is now closed.
The winner is Laura Meadows. Congratulations Laura!
Please note that the cookbook has two covers which can be seen in the first collage. The cover with the parfait is for Canada. The cover with carrots is for the United States.