From starting her food blog, to her biggest kitchen mishaps, and her advice on healthy eating—Angela Liddon shares all.
Payge Woodard: Tell me about when you started cooking? (First thing you learned to make, who taught you, any kitchen mishaps).
Angela Liddon: Before I started Oh She Glows in 2008, I had no culinary experience whatsoever. My cooking knowledge at the time included microwaving frozen meals and fat-free popcorn. I’d been struggling with disordered eating for over 10 years, and relied on diet, and processed foods—I rarely ever ate real whole foods. Once I taught myself how to cook during recovery I learned how to prepare delicious food that was actually good for me. It was the beginning of a positive relationship with food.
As for kitchen mishaps, I’d say my biggest kitchen disaster was the time I tried to create a salted caramel pie. The caramel bubbled over and scorched the bottom of my oven! I didn’t have an oven liner on the bottom, so I had to chisel away the hardened caramel for hours. Needless to say I haven’t attempted it again since. Second place goes to the time I dropped a huge glass bottle of maple syrup. It smashed into a million tiny pieces and I had to clean every last sticky piece of glass off my kitchen floor and counter.
Did you make up your own recipes as a kid?
Not unless you count using the Easy Bake Oven! I didn’t start experimenting with recipes until I was 25, but I remember helping my mom in the kitchen now and then as a kid. She’ll never let me live this down, but once I was helping her with a recipe that called for frozen peas so I popped a can of peas in the freezer to make “frozen peas!” Thankfully, my cooking knowledge has improved a lot since those days.
Did you see yourself turning your love of cooking into a career or did you have another job in mind?
When I started my blog in 2008, I was working as a researcher after gradu- ating with a master’s degree in social psychology. So, I was certainly on a different path! I thought it was too late to change my career after spending seven years in university, so I started the blog as a fun hobby on the side. I honestly didn’t think I’d stick with it for more than a few weeks, but I absolutely fell in love with what I was doing. I never would’ve guessed that this passion would eventually turn into a successful business, but I’m so glad I decided to chase my dream.
You started your Oh She Glows website when you were recover- ing from an eating disorder. How do they connect? Why did you start it, and how did it help?
I started Oh She Glows because I wanted to share my story of recovery and hopefully inspire others to get on a healthier path too. I was tired of feeling worn out and unhappy all the time, so I started to experiment with real, whole foods instead of the processed, low-calorie diet foods I had been living off of. As I fell in love with the delicious food I was learning to make, I shared these recipes on the blog as well as my experiences along my journey to health. It became very therapeutic for me! I also connected with so many readers from all over the world who wrote me to say they were going through the same struggles and that my story had helped them on their journey.
What was your first blog post like and what went through your mind while writing and posting it?
It was October 31st, 2008 (Halloween!) when I hit publish on that first post talking about my morning workout routine, my hubby Eric, and our cat Sketchie. It was just an assortment of what my life looked like at the time—living in a condo in Toronto, working full-time as a researcher, and starting my newlywed life with Eric.
Tell me how you grew the website from those early days.
Oh She Glows grew organically over time. In the beginning, I posted three times a day, so I think the high frequency of content as well as my open writing style and sharing my honest opinion helped grow my audience fair- ly quickly and consistently.
Your slogan is “glow from the inside out.” How do you feel food can help us do that?
It represents that time in my life when I ate so many carrots I was literally glowing orange from the inside out. Okay, that was a bad joke, but it actually really happened! To me, “glowing from the inside out” is a reminder that true beauty comes from within. If you’re happy and energized it will radiate on the outside too. Filling my body with wholesome, nourishing food helps me feel that glow inside, plus provides me with a lot of energy to fuel my busy days.
How did you get into veganism, and why?
My transition to plant-based eating happened slowly over time, but once I made the connection it was really life-changing. Instead of focussing on calories or diet foods, I shifted my focus to a positive one—nourishing my body with whole foods and being good to myself. Around the same time I started transitioning to a plant-based diet, I started to learn more about factory farming. From there, my lifelong love for animals took over and it became more than just a way of eating for me. It’s been so exciting to see how popular plant-based diets and veganism have become over the past decade.
What did you notice when you switched to a vegan diet? Plant-based foods help me feel energized, healthy, and they give my skin a nice glow! When I eat too many processed foods, I notice a big drop in my energy levels and mood.
What advice do you have for wom- en who try to eat healthy but struggle to stick with it?
I always say it’s best to ease into it so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Don’t expect perfection (my diet certainly isn’t perfect!) and focus on the foods you are adding to your diet rather than tak- ing away. Start slowly and try one new recipe each week. I still make room for the foods I love that aren’t necessarily “healthy” because I believe there is room for everything in a balanced diet.
Do you have a favourite unhealthy snack?
Homemade vegan cookie dough or fresh baked cookies! What could be better?
What’s next for you?
I’m currently working on my third cook- book and I honestly couldn’t be more excited about it! The topic will focus on what my readers have been asking for the most—more delicious, easy-to-prepare healthy entrées and main dishes, as well as savoury sides. I think it’s going to be my best cookbook yet.
More Inspiration: Check out this great article on healthy eating tips for the whole family.
Author: Payge Woodard is a freelance journalist living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Passionate about learning to dig deeper into a story, she recently completed her master’s in investigative and data journalism at the University of King’s College. When she isn’t working on a story, you can find her watching reruns on Netflix. She is a regular writer for Optimyz Magazine.