Blogger Spotlight: Angela Liddon, of Oh She Glows

Join Food Network's Healthy Eats in discovering the best healthy bloggers around the web. Today we're talking to Angela Liddon of Oh She Glows.
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Angela Liddon is the woman behind the award-winning vegan blog, Oh She Glows. After years of struggling with an eating disorder, Angela decided to ditch the scale and pursue a happy, healthy lifestyle. She started Oh She Glows in 2008 as a way to share her story and renewed love of food. As a self-taught food photographer and cook, Angela is now working on her first cookbook, due out in 2014. She is also the founder of the website Green Monster Movement.
Tell us a little bit about the name of your blog.

The name represents the glow that comes from the inside when I’m treating myself well. When I was in recovery from an eating disorder my friend Leah told me I was glowing and that she could tell I was on a healthier path. Her words of encouragement always stuck with me and it became my goal to glow throughout the recovery process. When I was brainstorming blog names, I wanted something that was catchy and had the word glow in it. I first thought of 'She Glows', but I discovered that the domain was already taken, so I decided on 'Oh She Glows'. I'm really glad that I didn't go with 'She Glows' because I feel like Oh She Glows is a great fit. To this day, the name still has a lot of personal meaning in my life and I'm sure it always will.

How were you able to embrace and enjoy food after struggling with your eating disorder?   

Hard work, professional counseling, and learning to have fun in the kitchen were a few things that helped me. For so many years, I relied on processed diet foods because they were low in calories. Once I started learning more about nutrition and the amazing health benefits of eating real, plant-based foods, I was hooked. Not to mention, they taste so much better than anything from a package. I felt so great eating this way and it was all the motivation I needed to stay on this path. I now take great pride in making a lot of my own food. It's a labor of love.

What advice do you have for those seeking to start fresh with a healthy lifestyle?

My advice is to make small changes that will fit into your life. I've never been one to go cold turkey with things (and this was true for my gradual shift to a vegan diet), but I seem to have the most success with a slow and steady approach. Make a goal to include one new vegetable into your diet or try one new healthy recipe each week. Often we get into food ruts and forget all about the huge variety of nutritious foods out there. In my experience, it helps to focus on things you are adding to your diet rather than what you are taking away.

What can you tell us about your upcoming cookbook?

I'm currently working on my first vegan cookbook due out early in 2014. It will feature around 100 vegan (and many gluten-free) recipes with around 100 full-color photographs. I'm creating all of the recipes as well as the food styling and photography, so it's been a whirlwind year. I enjoy it immensely though and I can't wait to share the book with others.

What is your favorite ingredient to bake with?   

I love baking with almond flour and almond meal because it lends an incredibly moist and chewy texture to cookies and squares. It's also naturally sweet without the off-putting taste that some gluten-free flours can have. Plus, you can make it in your own kitchen if you have a high-speed blender. To make almond flour, add 1-2 cups of blanched almonds into a blender and blend on high speed until a flour forms. To make almond meal, add 1-2 cups of whole almonds into a blender and blend on high speed until a meal forms. Be sure to sift both varieties before using to ensure that you remove any remaining almond pieces.

What is the Green Monster Movement? Do you have a recipe suggestion for those new to green smoothies?

The Green Monster Movement is a website I created in 2009 after receiving such a positive response to my green smoothies that I created on Oh She Glows. After reading about Kris Carr's green juices in her book  Crazy Sexy Cancer, I decided to try and make something similar. However, I didn't have a juicer so I used my plain old blender. My initial creations were quite scary – hence, the name Green Monster. Thankfully I started making tastier blended green smoothies over the years. The name Green Monster stuck and my readers began sending me pictures and recipes of their own green creations. I collected so many submissions that I started the Green Monster Movement website as a place to showcase reader recipes.

Here’s the recipe for my Classic Green Monster Smoothie ; it's a great beginner green smoothie:

1-1.25 cups non-dairy milk (I like almond milk)
1 handful raw spinach (or kale if your blender can handle it)
1 frozen banana
1 tbsp almond butter, peanut butter, or coconut oil
1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)
Ice, ice baby

Blend all ingredients until smooth.

For beautiful food photography and delicious vegan recipes, you can follow Angela on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

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