I’ve always loved to cook but was always quite a safe chef. Living in London, working as an actress meant life was busy. Always here, there and everywhere. Pretty non-stop. About 17 Years ago whilst performing in The Graduate, I realised that my immune system wasn’t great and the stress and pressure of working in the West End had quite an effect on the way I felt. Back then being wheat-free was not the thing to be, however, after having a few intolerance tests, I decided to cut it out for a while to see if it made any difference to my energy levels and bloated stomach. The results were incredible and I felt transformed. No more tummy pain or IBS symptoms at all. A much clearer head and although I still put so much pressure on myself, I definitely felt body better.
So I set about cutting out pasta, bread and cakes. Living wheat-free and gluten-free back then was rather tricky. The alternatives were tasteless and it took me a good few years to find anything I liked. It’s been quite interesting seeing how the wheat-free industry has grown. There are a trillion brands out there offering free-from foods and flours and they were my life-line for Years to be honest. However, what I failed to realise was that yes, these products may well be wheat and gluten free but in order to create these foods, other ingredients were popped in them. Mainly sugar and other grains like corn, rice, quinoa to name but a few. Most people can stomach these other grains but a lot of research has been made to suggest that these substitute grains are no better than wheat.
So what do you do when almost every product out there isn’t any good for you? You start cooking and baking for yourself! Not only do you know exactly what goes into the food but its way more cost effective. It does take a bit more time but it is so worth it in the end.
It’s taken me Years to perfect recipes and many melt downs in the kitchen to be honest. Being creative is amazing but it does mean I cook in a rather haphazard way sometimes. ‘ A little bit of this, a little bit of that’. But when it works, my gawd it works. That feeling of feeding yourself and your family a brand new creation that they actually love, is the best feeling in the World.
The past Year has been wonderful. My food journey has taken a rather amazing side-step, one I never imagined I would take. My health and healing has played a huge part in getting even more creative. I dream of food and what herbs and spices to add to a dish. Thinking up recipes has taken over my life and I’ve never felt so inspired as I do right now. I’m often asked if we actually eat the food I photograph and the answer is yes, of course. That to me is what it’s all about. It isn’t for show, it’s about having the confidence to open your cupboards and fridge and create a dish out of simple ingredients, throwing some creative love at them and not being afraid of experimenting.
I may have cut a lot of food out but what I’ve gained in doing so is immeasurable.