Welcome to Kitchn's series My Healthy Morning, where we show you how one person greets the day in a way that makes them feel their best. Each post will chronicle how that person defines healthy for themselves, and the habits and recipes that make their morning a little bit better.
Ella Mills is the U.K.-based entrepreneur behind a wildly successful plant-based empire. You most likely know of her blog, Deliciously Ella, where you can find recipes that are accessible and delicious, or her Instagram account, which has a staggering 1.1. million followers thanks to double-click-worthy photos, inspirational quotes, and pics of her dog Austin. She also runs three London cafes, has a line of healthy breakfast bars and granolas, and recently published her third cookbook, Natural Feasts: 100+ Healthy, Plant-Based Recipes to Share and Enjoy with Friends and Family.
But what most impresses us about Ella is not her crunchy orange, coconut, and vanilla granola (seriously, so good) or her sweet potato and chickpea stew (definitely #miraclemeal material). In person, Ella is completely humble, down-to-earth, and as confounded by golden milk as we sometimes are. She's the kind of person who confesses to making and eating an entire tray of energy balls.
Between geeking out over Karlie Kloss sightings and the awesome absurdity of Cafe Gratitude, she shared with us what healthy means to her and what her morning routine looks like.
What Does Healthy Mean for You?
I'm a big believer in the idea that a healthy lifestyle is one that helps you feel your best, and to do that you have to find the right balance for yourself as an individual. It's so important to find something that feels enjoyable too, or else it won't be sustainable. Eating well isn't about being on a diet or depriving yourself.
For me, healthy is about following a plant-based lifestyle. My journey started as a reaction to an illness that I was diagnosed with in 2011. It's called Postural Tachycardia Syndrome and it had a pretty devastating effect on my life, both mentally and physically.
I started reading and learning about diet and lifestyle, and the way that these factors can help manage illnesses. I cut out processed foods from my diet and took up a whole-foods, plant-based diet. It wasn't easy — I was a real sugar monster and I couldn't really cook! I had never eaten quinoa, kale, or almond milk before and I certainly didn't think about reading ingredient lists on foods.
Change also didn't happen overnight. It was two years until I was able to manage the symptoms of the illness and I also started seeing a nutritionist and following an exercise program from my doctor, both of which really supported my process.
It was a big challenge, but it was single-handedly the best decision I've ever made. I started recording what I was eating and my kitchen experiments, which helped turn a negative experience into a positive one.
Now, I'm all about celebrating the foods I do eat. I use herbs and spices to add lots of flavor to plant-based recipes and try to make healthy eating a little more exciting!
My Healthy Morning Routine
During the week, I go to yoga first thing every morning. It always helps me get into a positive mindset for the day, no matter what I'm worrying about. I go to a studio at the end of our road, normally from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.
I go home for a quick shower and then walk to work with my husband, who's also my business partner, and our dog, Austin. We have breakfast at one of our cafes on the way to the office. It's a great time to catch up on plans and key things that we're working on.
I love smashed avocado with sun-dried tomatoes and arugula on crunchy rye toast, or a bowl of hot almond milk porridge with homemade fruit compote and coconut yogurt.
After that, I'm ready to start my day!
Thank you for sharing your healthy morning with us, Ella!
Deliciously Ella's new book is now available at bookstores everywhere and online: Natural Feasts: 100+ Healthy, Plant-Based Recipes to Share and Enjoy with Friends and Family, $15