Any­one ca­pa­ble of dou­ble-tap­ping prob­a­bly knows what Hazel Wal­lace throws to­gether for mid­week din­ners and how much she loves a quick at-home HIIT ses­sion. But it turns out there are many things The Food Medic was keep­ing close to her chest – un­til now

Women's Health (UK) - - CONTENTS - words GE­ORGIE LANE-GOD­FREY and NIKKI OS­MAN EL­LIS PARRINDER pho­tog­ra­phy

Five medic-ap­proved recipes from Dr Hazel Wal­lace

Hazel Wal­lace cel­e­brated her 27th birthday with 27 burpees – al­though we as­sume cake made an ap­pear­ance at some point, too. This prac­tice has be­come some­thing of a tra­di­tion for the junior-doc­tor-turned-well­ness-in­flu­encer – just one of those she cheer­ily shares with 211k In­sta­gram fol­low­ers as part of her al­most-con­stant showreel of daily life.

It’s this kind of trans­parency that’s earned @the­foodmedic such an in­vested fol­low­ing, and why Hazel is about to pub­lish her sec­ond book in as many years,

The Food Medic For Life, which is not only brim­ming with sim­ple (no, re­ally) recipes that feel as in­dul­gent as they are whole­some, but also in­cludes de­tails of Hazel’s per­sonal life that she’s pre­vi­ously cho­sen to keep pri­vate. ‘It’s all well and good telling peo­ple what to do, but if you’re not liv­ing and breath­ing that ad­vice your­self then no one will be able to re­late to you,’ she says, of­fer­ing those in the room home­made oat and ba­nana cook­ies that she prepped that morn­ing ahead of a day of meet­ings and in­ter­views. ‘And I wouldn’t be in this po­si­tion if it wasn’t for my per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence, so it felt like the right time to share my story – curated prop­erly and pub­lished in a book rather than up­loaded in an on­line post.’

The 27-year-old’s story refers to her teen years, when a nor­mal fam­ily meal took a tragic turn. ‘My dad had a mini stroke there at the din­ner ta­ble, which led to a larger stroke a week later that killed him,’ she ex­plains. ‘He’d been di­ag­nosed with high blood pres­sure and bor­der­line di­a­betes – so had mul­ti­ple risk fac­tors – but he’d started eat­ing more healthily and go­ing to the gym, so it came as a com­plete shock.’

Hazel re­counts this time as sow­ing the first seed in her mind to be­come a doc­tor, but in re­al­ity, she had to nav­i­gate the grief that tore her fam­ily apart. ‘I was 14 and I didn’t grieve his loss for many years be­cause I could see my mum griev­ing and she needed me to look af­ter her and help around the house as my dad would have done. A year or so later, when I think I sub­con­sciously felt she was get­ting bet­ter, it was my turn to grieve. But I in­ter­nalised every­thing: I threw my­self into school, with­drew from my friends for two years, stopped eat­ing and even wash­ing my­self.’ It was only when the teenager’s mum came to her, cry­ing with worry, that Hazel vis­ited her GP. Her health wasn’t in dan­ger, but she needed to gain weight. ‘It was a slow process, and the fo­cus was on eat­ing

any food rather than the health­i­est foods, but I ex­pe­ri­enced first-hand how food could act as medicine,’ she says. ‘It was def­i­nitely a wake-up call and made me think, “What the hell am I do­ing? I’m young, I can go to uni­ver­sity, I have so much to live for,” rather than be­ing a 17-year-old girl who hoped her life would end.’

That turn­ing point de­liv­ered more than one hell of a men­tal pep talk: Hazel packed her bags, moved out of the fam­ily home and earned a de­gree in med­i­cal science from the Uni­ver­sity of South Wales, be­fore go­ing on to study medicine at the Uni­ver­sity of Cardiff.

De­railed as most stu­dents are – ‘noo­dles, pizza, a lot of cider’ – Hazel felt like she wasn’t quite liv­ing the life she’d soon be pre­scrib­ing to her pa­tients. So she launched her dig­i­tal per­sona, and in the five years since has built up a loyal com­mu­nity who love her no-non­sense ap­proach to nutri­tion and do-them-in­y­our-pjs work­outs. ‘I’m a big be­liever in every­thing in mod­er­a­tion,’ Hazel ex­plains. ‘I’ll have two squares of choco­late but I don’t need to de­mol­ish the bar; I en­joy a glass of wine but I’m not out at the week­end booz­ing all the time. It’s about hav­ing a lit­tle bit of every­thing.’

Amen to that. Turn the page to get an ex­clu­sive look at some of Hazel’s favourite healthy recipes from her new book.

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