Wholefood heaven

{ Fresh produce, wholesome cooking and a dash of indulgence are Martyna Angell’s key ingredients in her recipe for healthy living. }

Martyna Angell, of The Wholesome Cook, is just what her name implies: an angel, of the whole food cuisiner and healthy living advocate kind. Since the award winning blogger’s inception into the foodie blogging space in 2010, which simply started as a way to collect recipes, The Wholesome Cook has gained huge momentum due to Martyna’s honest approach to food. This is backed by an awareness of catering for a variety of intolerances and dietary lifestyles, within an approachable framework of balance.

“Initially, I was just sharing simple recipes from my childhood, or entries of things I had cooked for dinner parties, for instance,” explains Martyna. As her flare for creativity in the kitchen became increasingly apparent (showcased on the blog, epitomised by mouthwatering meals made with abundant produce and only real foods), the requests came pouring in.

“Soon I was being asked by many of my family members and readers to adapt the recipes to the various intolerances many of them had been riddled with,” she says.

Despite taking on the role of creating recipes that fit the mould of being gluten free and refined sugar free, you won’t find any prescriptive diets or one-size-fits-all approach on the blog and pages of her first book by the same name. As a graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, Martyna is a qualified health coach whose wellness philosophy is informed by the principle of bioindividuality: that we are all unique and need to find what works for our own bodies.

Buckwheat Garden Salad

“It’s all about making a lifestyle change for the long term that suits you,” Martyna explains. “It is how we eat now – the bioindividual way.”

As far as The Wholesome Cook goes, restriction is also out. Instead, it’s about a good measure of balance between being healthy and the occasional indulgence, says Martyna. So what exactly does this mantra mean?

“It revolves around eating clean whole food that’s best for your body, most of the

time. I like to call it the 90/10 rule,” she explains. “Eat clean food that is right for you, 90 per cent of time, indulge in the other 10.” But this ratio doesn’t have to be rigid either. “My husband, who works in the city and is required to attend catered meetings, calls his the 70/30. You get the idea, right?”

In The Wholesome Cook book, Martyna has seamlessly woven together her popular whole food recipes and beautiful food photography with a host of useful health information and practical knowledge, including a 21 day Elimination Diet Meal Plan.

“It really is a balanced wellness guide with a flexible approach that’s fit for everybody. I wanted to include the 21 day Elimination Diet section in the book to help readers get back to the basics of eating real food and help pinpoint any trigger foods that may have an effect on their overall health – making it about the best lifestyle for them instead of an ‘eat this but not that’ book.”

While strong consideration for food allergies and intolerances clearly informs Martyna’s approach to eating, she warns against jumping on the bandwagon without proper cause “because it is trendy”. Instead, seek the advice of a nutritionist or dietician first.

Raspberry and Pistachio Cheesecake Squares 2-2

The Wholesome Cook also makes a strong point that healthy living is for everyone and it doesn’t have to be expensive.

“Buy organic fruit and veg from the bargain corner, pad meals with more veggies, stock the freezer with seasonal produce and opt for secondary cuts when it comes to buying grassfed meat. Going meat free 2-3 times a week is not only light on the wallet, but helps lift the pressure off farmers to produce more and more meat.”

Embracing at least a couple of meat-free days of eating every week is something Martyna practises herself with pleasure, seeking out inspiration from vegetarian bloggers and chefs alike.

“I absolutely adore how Yotam Ottolenghi has elevated vegetables to a whole new level and love Hetty McKinnon’s salads,” she gushes. Indeed, many of the recipes in her book are meat-free or can be adapted to fit a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.

Family is also a great source of inspiration for Martyna and has played a pivotal role in shaping her way with food today.

“I am inspired by my mum who instilled in me the passion for cooking from scratch and experimenting outside of my own cuisine, my likes and usual ingredients,” she says. “Now, watching my own family actively seek out time in the kitchen, helping out and experimenting with their own cooking skills and flavours and being open to trying new things when we travel, is so rewarding and inspires me even more to keep tasting, cooking and loving all things food.”

So what exactly does this whole food guru’s day on a plate look like? Martyna usually starts her morning with a water based mixed vegetable, fruit, nut and seed smoothie.

“I try to pack as much nutrients as I can into the morning drink so from time to time I add whole food powders such as greens and maca, Sometimes, when my digestive system feels sluggish after a weekend of overindulging, I add about half a cup Greek style yoghurt to boost my probiotic levels and get me going.”

Breakfast is around 10am and generally involves eggs with veggies, yoghurt and seasonal fruit or porridge in the cooler months. Martyna enjoys a later lunch at around 2.30pm and this is the main meal of the day, following the tradition of her Polish heritage.

“It’s usually a big mishmash surprise salad of sorts – with baby spinach, avocado, shaved fennel, roasted veggies, sauerkraut, cayenne pepper, egg or canned or smoked fish. Mackerel is one of my favourites and is a great source of omega3. Sometimes it’s simply leftovers from the family dinner the night before or a piece of grilled fish with some greens, which is often enjoyed outside in the sunshine to get some vitamin D.”

Her last meal of the day is no later than 6pm and is purposefully light. Think miso soup with vegetables, a few rye crispbreads with various toppings or a small portion of the meal she’s prepared for the family.

The beauty of eating The Wholesome Cook way is that you’ll not only enjoy delicious whole food meals, you’ll also be tuning into your unique body, doing what makes you feel good and improving your health. You can even savour the occasional indulgence sans-guilt. With a recipe for living that is beneficial for wellbeing, fun and attainable, it’s easy to see why so many people want a little piece of Martyna Angell’s whole food heaven for themselves.




Martyna Angell Wholesome Cook (2)


1. TEFF FLOUR – a wonderful gluten-free seed flour that I absolutely adore (it makes great cakes and sourdough starter – the recipes for which are in the book).

2. HERBS – fresh, dried and also frozen, I keep whole turmeric and ginger roots in the freezer and grate them into anything from tea to soups. Dill and parsley freeze well chopped. I have two big Tupperware boxes of dried herbs and spices which form the basis of my Clean Spice Mixes in The Wholesome Cook book.

3. BERRIES – fresh in season, and organic frozen when out of season. I also grow a couple of blueberry shrubs in our garden that produce beautiful organic berries in summer.

4. VEGETABLES – the whole rainbow variety that’s good for eating raw and cooking. They are great as a snack, quick salad, soups, stirfries and we always try to fill more than half of our plates with veggies.

5. FERMENTED VEGETABLES – homemade sauerkraut and dill pickles – again, both recipes are in the book and we are obsessed. They might seem trendy, but before you roll your eyes and call me a hipster, know that I learnt to make sauerkraut when I was 12 and fermented cucumbers used to be my after school snack so they are not new to me. My stepson loves drinking the brine which is a fantastic gut health tonic.

6. FATS – I alternate between a good pure butter, olive, macadamia and coconut oils for cooking and baking.

7. EGGS – always free range. They are great as a snack, quick breakfast or protein and eye health booster for many dinners and cakes.

8. YOGHURT – because it is a quick and healthy alternative to ice cream cravings, helps keep things in the gut moving and tastes delicious on anything from sweet porridge breakfasts to nachos (instead of sour cream)!

9. CACAO POWDER – for making delicious cakes, treats, chocolates, homemade yogo (yes, that one is in the book also) and smoothies.

10. RICE SYRUP – because it is a fructose-free sweetener that I’m happy to use in baking and dressings and leave the fructose intake reserved for real fruit.

Martyna’s book, The Wholesome Cook (Harlequin MIRA), is available in Australia at Dymocks, Collins Booksellers, Big W, Target, Kmart, selected independent booksellers and online at Angus + Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia or harlequinbooks.com.au. In New Zealand the book is available from The Warehouse, Whitcoulls and select Paper Plus stores. RRP $49.99

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