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'I had really bad IBS, but changing my diet helped'

By Keeley Bolger

Published 25/06/2015

Healthy glow: Madeleine Shaw
Healthy glow: Madeleine Shaw
Summer salad
Lemon Sole

Chef and nutritionist Madeleine Shaw's diet plan doesn't just help her clients become healthier in the kitchen - it's improving their relationships too.

"One of the things that comes up all the time, is that people on the programme say they're less irritable," reveals the 25-year-old, laughing.

"They say, 'My boyfriend or my husband or my partner, or whatever, is so happy because I'm less of a moody cow.'"

For Shaw's most famous client, former Made In Chelsea personality Millie Mackintosh, it's her luminous skin that's drawing attention, not the inadvertent marriage counselling. The pair worked together before model Mackintosh married rapper Professor Green in September 2013, and have remained friends ever since.

"Millie's always asking for tips because she's always doing photo shoots and looking glamorous, so I'm always helping her with that kind of stuff," says Shaw. "But she's an easy client to work with. She's pretty naturally beautiful."

Hiring Shaw as a nutritionist may not be realistic for all of us, but at least her first book - Get The Glow - ensures we can try her methods at home instead.

"The programme's really holistic," says Shaw, who laughs as she explains how her boyfriend often has tester recipes "shoved down his throat".

"It looks at cutting out sugar, eating healthy fats and also thinking positively - not only about your health, but about food," she adds of the book, and her approach to fuelling body and soul.

"It talks about mindfulness and meditation to combat stress. The last chapter is called Live Your Glow, which is of huge importance to me. it's not just about these six weeks, it's about living it long-term."

Shaw is radiant, positively glowing with health, but she admits she hasn't always had such a balanced approach to eating, describing her previous relationship with food as "torturous".

Up until her late teens, she says she ate "a typical magazine diet of Diet Coke and low-fat yoghurt" in a quest to stay skinny, assuming that low-fat options were healthy alternatives to their full-fat counterparts, but found herself constantly counting calories and lumbered with a raft of digestive problems and energy slumps.

That all changed when she moved to Sydney aged 18 to study, and started working at a cafe where, she recalls, "everyone was healthy and gorgeous".

"I had really bad IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), so everything I ate, I felt bloated and tired," explains Shaw. "Working at the cafe transformed my diet and my attitude to food. My energy levels have been much higher and I just feel like I can experience life to the maximum, which sounds super cliched but really is true."

With her IBS under control, her skin and hair "transformed" and a newfound confidence to boot, Shaw trained as a nutritionist and returned to the UK with bucket-loads of energy, keen to share her knowledge via her food and lifestyle blog. Soon, her reputation spread, and a roster of clients and social media fans followed. She puts the programme's popularity down to its positive outlook.

"People think a diet plan is going to be really boring and plain," she adds.

"When it's like that, you start to hate food and hate dieting, so this programme's about enjoyment.

"Every meal is delicious. I think you should enjoy everything you eat, you shouldn't have to put yourself through something (torturous) because you think it's healthy.

"I hope it's something people really take on and think, 'This is something I can do forever'."

If you'd like to give your meals and vitality a boost, above are two Get The Glow recipes to try at home.

  • Get The Glow: 100 Delicious And Easy Recipes That Will Nourish You From The Inside Out by Madeleine Shaw, Orion Books in hardback, £20 (£10.99 for eBook). Available now

Lemon sole, Pancetta, Peas salsa verde

(Serves 2)

150g runner beans, ends cut off

2 nectarines

30g watercress

30g rocket

100g parma ham

50g feta cheese, cubed

2tbsp sesame seeds

3tbsp honey and mustard dressing (see instructions below)

Salt and pepper

To make the honey and mustard dressing, mix up:

(Makes enough for 8 servings)

8tbsp olive oil

Pinch salt

1tsp English mustard

1tbsp runny honey

Pop the beans into a pan with a little water and a pinch of salt, and steam for five minutes.

Cut the nectarines into eighths, put them on a griddle pan over a medium heat, and grill for two minutes on each side.

Put the watercress and rocket into a bowl and mix them together.

Scatter the rest of the ingredients over the top, then pour over the dressing and finish with some cracked black pepper.

Summer salad

(Serves 2)

50g flat-leaf parsley

50g basil

100ml olive oil

1tbsp capers

1tbsp cider vinegar

1tsp mustard

2 lemon sole fillets

4 pancetta rashers (or Parma ham)

1/2tbsp coconut oil

100g petits pois

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

Salt and pepper

Make the salsa verde first by blending the parsley, basil, olive oil, capers, vinegar and mustard. Blend until you have a smooth paste, and then set aside.

Salt and pepper the fish fillets and set them aside.

Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and grill the pancetta for one minute on each side, until crisp, then set aside.

Heat the same pan with the half tablespoon of coconut oil over a medium to high heat. Wait until the oil starts to bubble, then fry the fish for two minutes on the first side, then one minute on the second. Put the cooked fish to one side.

Throw the petits pois into the pan and saute them over a medium heat with the lemon juice for a few minutes, then serve to the side of the fish with a smear of salsa verde, the pancetta and a sprinkling of lemon zest.

Belfast Telegraph

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