In the world of food blogging (and professional journalism too, let’s be honest), there are a lot of spurious health claims from those who simply don’t know what they’re talking about. I’ll resist the urge to list some of the examples that usually make me cross-eyed (in disbelief and shock) and just say instead that it makes me angry to see people disseminate downright rubbish which, in some cases, could do harm to those who take it at face value.
So it’s an enormous pleasure to introduce Food To Glow, a healthy food blog written by someone who really does know what she’s talking about; indeed, she runs professional nutrition workshops for cancer patients as a day job. Kellie Anderson is committed to sharing nutritional advice that is accurate and targeted to help readers improve their health via their diet. The big plus is that Kellie’s recipes are not only good for you, they look and taste fantastic too, proving that food doesn’t have to be bad for you to make you glow with happiness.
Hello and welcome, please introduce yourself and tell us a little about the kind of content you share.
I’m so bad at this, Kavey… I am an ex-pat American cancer health educator and recipe developer blogging on healthy global food made with fresh, seasonal British ingredients. My recipes tend to be those for those with adventurous tastebuds, but I try and give alternatives for those with milder palates – my current obsession with Korean food notwithstanding. I also usually have a long-winded preamble where I try to be vaguely humorous as well as give some nutritional chat. I think only my Dad finds me funny. I try and sneak in the occasional terrible pun just for him.
Food To Glow is mainly ‘plant-based’ (I hate that phrase but most people know what it means) and savoury, but I do post the occasional sweet treat, usually – but not always – with a healthy tweak. If it is a ‘full-fat’ recipe then I will just say to eat a smaller portion! I don’t do diet food, but the health educator in me feels compelled to keep the portion sizes and sugar content in check. But no one has to listen to me, of course.
Although I’m an omnivore, many of my recipes are naturally vegan, as that is the way my family and I tend to eat most of the time. Many of my non-vegan recipes will have vegan alternatives, as well as gluten-free and soft food diet options where appropriate.
Is there a story behind your blog’s name
I wanted my name to represent what I hope my blog offers: healthy, colourful food that makes you feel good. But I do have to spell it out if I am telling someone the name as it sounds a bit like Food To Go. A different proposition altogether…
Why did you choose to blog about healthy food?
I started my healthy recipes and nutrition blog to reach people who couldn’t attend one of my cancer nutrition workshops. People on my courses would ask if I had information and recipes for their friends and relatives elsewhere who were either going through cancer treatment, or wanted guidance on how they could help protect themselves from cancer. Now when people come to the blog they see healthy colourful recipes, and most people don’t know what I do ‘in real life’ unless they read my bio. The cancer aspect isn’t in your face but is there if anyone wishes to know more.
Does blogging about healthy food and nutrition present any particular challenges?
The only challenges to blogging about healthy food and nutrition are that I almost have too much to say, and need constantly to rein in not only my enthusiasm for the subject but also my word count. I have got better though. I can’t even bear to read over some of my earlier posts. Too cringey. Oh, and like Elizabeth over at Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary, my pet hate is the short daylight hours up here in Scotland. By March it gets much easier not to take terrible photos., but right now we have a short window of opportunity and I am usually at work for it…
What are your earliest memories of cooking? Who or what inspired you to cook?
My earliest cooking memories are not in my mother’s kitchen (although she was a fantastic home cook), but in my grandmother’s. She and my grandfather had a big farm outside of Nashville Tennessee, and she cooked almost exclusively with produce from the farm. She even made butter and cheese from their small herd of dairy cows. Some of my most vivid memories are of helping out during the school holidays, sorting the late-summer harvest: picking corn, lots of varieties of beans, watermelons, tomatoes; grading tomatoes by size on a huge battered trestle table (some were absolute whoppers); stringing beans and podding peas; helping out with canning and preserving. By the time my sister and I went back to school in late August, my grandmother’s larder and ice house would be lined with bright colourful jars of stewed tomatoes, squashes, pickles of all kinds, jams and jellies. I think that I might have subconsciously chosen my blog name through these colourful memories. Although I loved her ways with produce – and a perfectly ripe tomato straight from the vine is still my best-loved food – my favourite food memory is her light and flaky homemade biscuits – the savoury American kind that don’t really have a UK equivalent. Heavenly, and very buttery. Unfortunately she never wrote down her recipe. That has probably saved my waistline.
Which food or ingredients could you not live without?
The ingredients that I currently can’t do without are – in no particular order: lemons, good olive oil, some kind of bitter green, levain bread from Peters Yard bakery (one small loaf a week. When it’s finished, it’s finished), avocados, matcha tea, tortilla chips (the cheapest plain ones, ie the 49 pence ones), whole spices, cooked grains and beans in my freezer, thick Scottish heather honey and kimchi. But it will change I’m sure once we warm up here. Or I will add more must haves because I am naturally very greedy.
Which food writers / chefs do you find most inspirational and in the same spirit, are there any particular cookery books you cherish above the rest of the shelf?
I love Diana Henry’s books, and I think I have all but one – I even have her ones before I knew who she was, if you know what I mean (her book for M&S). With her it is not just about the recipes, it’s about her exquisite sense of place and her warm writing style. It draws you in like the best fiction. But it is real, and it is food.
If I were coming for dinner, what would you cook for me?
Well, I know you are into far-east food like myself, but as you are a bit of an expert on Japanese food I would veer over to South Korea. We would start with a giant carrot and kimchi pancake (kimchi jeon) each, with loads of spicy mayo, then follow it with a veg-loaded spicy tofu japchae (a kind of Korean stirfry – but better). We would be too full for pudding but I might make a stab at some matcha ice cream. Typing this is making me hungry! Come on up to Edinburgh so I can make this for you!
What are you absolutely loving cooking, eating, doing right now?
Because it is cold I am really into my lunchtime soups and noodle dishes just now, but four days out of seven we will have something spicy-ish for dinner. Mostly Asian influenced, but sometimes something more typically British (my shepherdess pie for instance) and just dollop some Sriracha on it. My daughter and husband wouldn’t forgive me if we didn’t have a variety of hot sauces in the cupboard.
What’s the single most popular post on your blog?
Weirdly it not a food recipe, but a drink one. It is for Spiced Golden Turmeric Milk, and is something I drink a lot of in the winter months to ward off chest infections and keep my joints from aching too much. It is just my spin on an Ayurvedic traditional medicine recipe to reduce inflammation, but with extra tasty bits to enhance the bioavailabilty of the active ingredient, curcumin.
Can we give a little extra love and attention to a post you love but didn’t catch the attention of your readers in the way you hoped?
Most of my first-year posts are unloved (except by family and close friends, and sometimes not even by them!) but my very first recipe is special and is one I should make more often because it is so flipping delicious – Quinoa and Smoked Mackerel Fishcakes. I have 17 comments on it, which probably represents the sum total of those who have seen it. I have very few non-vegetarian recipes on the blog, and this is my favourite. But terrible, terrible harsh photos.
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Blog URL http://kelliesfoodtoglow.com
Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Food-To-Glow/1449568475292519
Twitter handle @foodtoglow
Pinterest profile http://www.pinterest.com/foodtoglow/
Instagram handle @food_to_glow
Enjoyed this interview? Read the rest of my Meet The Blogger series, here.