A Note from Ella, founder
I started Deliciously Ella in 2012, never expecting it to become what it is today. In 2011, following my second year at university, I suddenly became very unwell, and went from being a normal student to effectively housebound in a matter of months. I spent the next few months in and out of hospital having countless scans, tests and procedures. Eventually I was diagnosed with Postural Tachycardia Syndrome, alongside a few other syndromes. The condition affected the functioning of my autonomic nervous system. I struggled to control my heart rate and blood pressure, which meant that when I stood up my heart rate spiked at 150–180bpm (a normal heart rate is 60– 100bpm), my blood pressure dropped and I was so dizzy I couldn't move. It felt like my head wasn't connected to my body. I had chronic fatigue, brain fog, IBS, acid reflux, various other digestive issues, a host of infections, headaches, pain all over my body and a growing sense of depression and anxiety. It was a chronic, relatively invisible illness that meant I spent most of the next year in bed or confined to my house, taking all sorts of medications (peaking at 25 different types a day), none of which made a tangible difference.
I was only 21 at this point and the condition almost destroyed me. It unravelled everything I knew about myself and took me to absolute rock bottom. Rock bottom, however, changed my life. I knew I couldn't continue along the trajectory I was on; I was either going to give up or dig deeper than I thought I had the ability to do and find a solution. I chose the latter and began a period of research into what could help me. This took me into the science of nutrition, looking at the latest research on how our lifestyles and our food choices impact our health.
So, in May 2012 I changed my diet overnight, swapping my standard western diet - lots of quick convenience foods, not much fruit and veg - for a wholefood, plant-based diet.
Twelve years ago, the question of whether your diet could affect your health was not at all part of the mainstream conversation and there was a real lack of resources available. I couldn't find healthy, delicious, plant-based recipes, so I set about creating them myself and Deliciously Ella was born.
I was making it up as I went along, trying new recipes in my parents' kitchen and finding new ways to make simple foods taste great. I couldn't cook when I started, so I was jumping in at the deep end. If you're not a confident cook, then know that if I can get the hang of it, so can you. I promise it's easier than you might think!
Learning to cook took time, as did regaining my health. It was a slow journey initially, not an overnight fix. It often felt like two steps backwards, one step forwards, but I persevered in the knowledge that I had little to lose and over the next few months and years my health stabilised. I started to feel like myself again, and I've been off my medication for over eight years. I never take my health for granted now and my own experience is what drives me to grow Deliciously Ella, making a nourishing life as easy and delicious as possible.