Matrix Blog

Ella Enchanted

Jan 011
Matrix2Ella WoodwardImageFINAL
Celebrity food blogger Ella Woodward changed her food and her lifestyle to get healthy, but it's no surprise she became more beautiful, too. Here's how she did it.

“My hair never really grew as a child,” writes celebrity chef  Ella Woodward, on her famous food blog, Deliciously Ella. The 25-year-old has been touted as the next Nigella Lawson in the U.K. and is almost as famous for her stunning good looks as she is for her recipes. But that wasn’t always the case. “I was pretty much bald for a long time and looked way too much like my brother,” she remembers. “And then when it did grow my hair was always just so limp, so I’m pretty happy to have healthy hair these days—now it’s quite thick and grows really fast, which feels like a miracle.”

So what’s her secret? Well, it turns out that her recipes are so much more than just delicious. Five years ago, after a lifetime of indulging in a typically Western sugar-, dairy-, and gluten-heavy diet, Woodward became suddenly very ill. It took four months and endless rounds of tests to finally get a diagnosis: Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), a rare autoimmune disease marked by a breakdown of the autonomic nervous system.

            The diagnosis brought both relief and despair, and Woodward spent many months bedridden and depressed watching terrible TV and eating candy. A wakeup call came when an attempted romantic getaway ended with her being brought home in a wheelchair and hooked up to an IV.

            Determined to make a difference, Woodward took to the Internet and found inspiration in the story of Kris Carr, an American author and wellness activist who had managed her cancer in part through a plant-based, whole foods diet. Motivated by Carr’s example, Woodward adopted a gluten-, dairy-, and refined-sugar-free diet and started her blog to help others help others heal themselves through nutrition.

            “1 in 5 Americans, or 20% of the population, suffers from a diagnosed autoimmune disease,” says Deana Gunn, a certified integrative nutrition health coach and owner of Three Kinds of Kale. And that number does not include the millions of Americans who are undiagnosed. “I see people all the time in my practice who exhibit symptoms of autoimmunity,” says Gunn, who was diagnosed with Celiac disease in 2009. “It took time, but I benefitted first-hand from dietary and lifestyle changes. Not only did I gain more energy, sleep better, lose weight, see an improvement in my mood, and experience less brain fog and anxiety, but I also benefitted in some more superficial ways. My hair got thicker. My skin became more luminous. The white lines on my nails cleared up. I was anemic and had high cholesterol before I was diagnosed,” says Gunn.  “Once I started eating food that was right for my body, that all changed, without pharmaceutical intervention.”

Gunn admires Woodward’s approach to healing and supports her message of healing through food. “Hippocrates is credited with the mantra, ‘let they food be thy medicine,’ and I couldn’t agree more,” Gunn says. “The body has a remarkable ability to heal itself given the right support.”

Photo Credit: Sophia Spring

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