Megan Hallett aka The Plantbased Londoner is a practising IIN certified nutrition and holistic health coach, a nutritional therapist in training, recipe developer and brand new cookbook author. We caught up with Megan to learn what her book is about and how we can all find The Happy Balance.
Megan is also a huge woman’s health enthusiast, creating recipes and guiding women on how to achieve hormonal balance, inspired by her own health journey with PCOS. You can find out more about Megan on her website | Instagram and pre-order The Happy Balance before it’s release on May 30th.
What’s Your Why? Who is your book trying to help / support?
The idea behind the book stems from the fact that in today’s world, we all seem to have some type of underlying hormone imbalance. From the more severe endocrine syndromes to the everyday ailments such as painful PMS, stubborn acne and bloating. The book gives you a holistic blueprint of how to live your life in balance, body and mind. The recipes themselves are all plant-based and focus on getting more plants into your diet, with the option to add to or adapt depending on the way of eating which makes you feel your very best.
What do you stand for?
I stand for women taking their health into their own hands and doing something about those annoying issues that we have all been conditioned to believe are so normal!
When I first went to my doctor about my PCOS, I was simply handed the pill to mask my symptoms and promote a regular menstrual cycle. Many years later, along with a lot of trial and error, I have become obsessed with balancing my hormones naturally, through real, whole foods and important holistic lifestyle practices.
How did you make sure you kept yourself accountable whilst writing the book?
This was a tricky one for sure, as I wrote the book during that scorching summer we had last year! All I wanted to do was be outside, yet was refined to my boiling hot kitchen, perfecting every recipe. What kept me sane was thinking about was how grateful I was for the opportunity and the fact that any woman struggling with her health would benefit from the book, if even in the smallest way. It also helps to plan your day as if have a 9-5 office job. Start and finish your writing at the same time every day and take regular break intervals outside.
Did you have any content you repurposed from existing recipes / blog posts?
Yes and no. Every recipe in the book is unique to the book, and you won’t find it anywhere else. However, I definitely took inspiration from previous recipes I have done and loved, further developing them and making them as perfect as they could be.
How did you find the right publisher agent?
I was lucky that my commissioning editor at White Lion Publishing (Under Quarto) came to me with the idea after she had found my website and Instagram. I knew from our very first meeting that I wanted to publish with them. Our ideas and philosophies around promoting a holistic approach rather than creating a faddy diet book aligned so wonderfully.
What did you learn from them?
It’s all in the details! My joy comes from being in the kitchen and writing recipes, whilst the nitty-gritty details drive me a little insane. There was a lot of back and forth towards the end on perfecting the finishing touches, which I now see make the book what it is. I’m so grateful to have a team and an amazing editor who was relentless in making sure every recipe made sense and every paragraph read well.
What is the book you would recommend that everyone reads and why?
I have two. Eat up by Ruby Tandoh and WomanCode by Alisa Vitti. These books couldn’t be more different but will serve you so well regardless. Eat Up reinforces how food is so much more than what’s on your plate. It’s about the experience, memories and the people that you share it with. It very much presents food as a form of happiness, which I’m all about. WomanCode is the ultimate woman’s health bible, and I urge every woman, whatever age, to read it.
What is the most worthwhile investment (time, energy, money) that you have made?
My camera and my photography degree. During my time at uni, there were countless eye rolls on how on earth I was going to use it this degree when I left. But lo and behold, I use it every single day. Regardless that only a small part of my income comes from food photography alone, it acts as an amazing vehicle for what I want to say about food, health and wellness. It’s got me noticed by my publisher, health coaching clients and has allowed me to make a job out of recipe development.
What was the most challenging aspect about writing a book?
Being overly influenced. This may sound odd, how can you be overly influenced? Whilst writing – I read so much. So many other cookbooks, articles on women’s health and so much content written by elite food writers. Whilst it was all amazing, I had all these different audiences in my head that I was trying to satisfy, making it hard at times to figure out how complex I wanted the recipes to be along with the tone of voice for the bulk text.
Within that, being conscious of the reader’s mental health was major for me. So avoiding certain words and fear mongering was always at the back of my mind. My younger self needed a book all about the amazing foods She should be eating, rather than stressing her out about those to avoid.
What is the thing you wished you knew when you started?
Don’t waffle and get straight to the point! You can add the fluffy, funny bits after, but it is so much harder to take them out once you’ve become so attached to your own writing.
What would you tell someone thinking about writing their own book?
If you’re writing a cookbook, give your recipes to everyone and anyone willing to test them. This is essential in the process of writing amazing recipes as the way you’re used to cooking could be so different from someone else. This also allows for different types of equipment and ingredient substitutions to be made. This can apply to anything you write. Give it to anyone who will read to ensure that it makes sense outside of your head. You’ll be surprised just how willing those around you will be to help.