About Elisabeth Winkler

Elisabeth Winkler

I am a journalist and food campaigner, based in Bristol, UK.

My health depends on what I eat. That is not my head telling me – it is my digestion. Health is individual; we all have different needs, so working out what suits your gut is vital.

One thing we know for sure: if you want to eat well on a budget, you have to cook from scratch.

For eight years I was editor of the Soil Association magazine and now help organic and green companies, and social justice causes, with their communications. More at Winkler Media.

Successful communications depends on writing words in a way others can understand. Do see Winkler’s Writing Rules – endorsed by the Guardian.

I am a member of the National Union of Journalists and subscribe to its Code of Practice. I am also a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Scroll down for my mini-CV.

Real Food Lover

I began this blog in January 2008. It was shortlisted for the Guild of Food Writers 2009 awards.

What do I mean by real food? As close to nature as possible. I want mine grown organically - without chemicals and with respect, as close to my home as possible. And wholefoody and unprocessed too, please.

I eat mostly plant foods including grains and pulses.

I vibe with the vegans but expect to see dairy, fish or meat recipes too. As long as the produce comes from wild or organic creatures.

I am allergic to tomatoes and red and green bell peppers (which for some reason pervade most vegetarian food. Why?). Eating wheat blows my stomach out.

Because of my colicky gut, I learned early on how eating the right food is linked to well-being. This led me to embrace hippy food. It somehow suited my digestion.

Aged 15, I used to hang out in Seed, the legendary macrobiotic restaurant. During the late ’70s, I worked at the Birth Centre, in the then-East-West Centre in Old Street, London, which had a macrobiotic restaurant. (I will never forget the person who spontaneously paid for my dinner when I was standing in the cafeteria queue, heavily pregnant. Pay it forward indeed).

Everything is connected. Do one positive thing and it has an intricate knock-on effect for the greater good.

I am passionate about food grown well. It both supports human health and the planet. Everything is connected.

Natural farming nourishes the soil, conserves water, nurtures wildlife and bees, and respects farm animals’ innate behaviour.

Chemical fertiliser is banned in organic farming. Its manufacture is oil-greedy and greenhouse gas-forming. And unnecessary. Compost and rotations do a better job of fertilising the soil and replenish it too.

Industrial processed food uses cheap ingredients and expensive marketing to pretend unhealthy food is good for you

I avoid supermarkets because they are the manifestation of industrial food systems. I am fortunate to live in a vibrant part of Bristol with five independent shops in walking distance stocking organic food and one organic farm shop.

Elisabeth Winkler mini-CV

I started my journalistic career in 1985 as a National Childbirth Trust teacher writing for Parents magazine.

I have been published in all the UK broadsheets and most women’s magazines writing widely on, for instance, relationships for the Independent on Sunday; survivors of genocide for the Mail on Sunday; survivors of child sexual abuse for Options; the lives of Simone de Beauvoir and Sartre for Marie Claire. I have interviewed my fair share of big names including Boy George for The Sunday Times Magazine.

From 1999-2000, I had a weekly political column in the Bristol Evening Post, titled Earthmother. 

From 2001 to 2009, I worked at the Soil Association magazine, as editor of Living Earth, news editor for Organic Farming and editor of Mother Earth.  I am steeped in organic history and its wise principles.

An early adopter of social media, I launched the Soil Association on Facebook  and Twitter in 2008.

Contact me

Follow me on @ewinkler on Twitter. Email me: elisabeth. winkler @yahoo.co.uk or use the contact form at Winkler Media.

Or leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you.

73 responses to “About Elisabeth Winkler

  1. Geraldine Winkler

    I fear we are going to forget what food should taste like and we dont have any control over what we eat.

    • I think that it is often mitigated by an appreciation of something really simple, using quality ingredients and we can re-connect to how lucky we really are if we can afford to eat well. I’m often inspired by cookery writing and Jane Grigson’s vegetable cook book. Tonight it was white parboiled potatoes sautéed in olive oil and butter with malden sea salt and chopped parsley…

  2. Dear Elisabeth,

    You left your hat behind.

    The chocolate was irrelevant, possibly detrimental, to the cheesecake you had. You should have had a slice of each, the other one (although slightly sweet is profound – one of the few things I can’t work out how to improve). As the Cafe works at the moment, the food is at it’s best about 12.00 – 12.30; after that I am keeping a lot of things warm that don’t really like that treatment.

    Will work out better systems in time – The Owl can only improve.

    Yours, Neil

  3. I think that too many people are living on cheap food and that there isn’t really information about food people should be eating.

    People should be spending more money on good food and if needing to, cut out expenses such as game consoles or smoking, both ridiculously expensive habits.

    They don’t realise the consequences in the long run.

  4. Thanks, Matthew. I agree: people need information about healthy (and tasty!) eating. May I pick your brains? I am looking for ways to give people that sort of information. What would be the best way to reach the people you know?

  5. Hello Elizabeth, and hooray for your blog! So lovely to see what you’re having for dinner… isn’t the web amazing??! Very best wishes to you from California xx

  6. Hi Elizabeth,
    I came across your blog while looking at what other people were writing about food, I am currently in Italy studying gastronomy. Photography is an important hobby of mine and I found that some of your images reduced the overall quality of your site. The most striking problem is the background image you’ve used for the main header, that really is unappetising I’m afraid. If you’d like help or advice, you can find my email address here http://hhoffman.wordpress.com/about/
    Henry.

  7. Henry is right! His comment has inspired me to take another image for the main header. O, the shame. I can’t wait to have a new pic up that will gain Henry’s approval….Better get busy with the digital…

  8. Dear Elisabeth, (Sorry for writing Elizabeth above)
    Please don’t be ashamed – I’m sure you were trying to do your best. I’ve been surprised by my own unconsciousness to my photo work in the past.
    I replied to your comment on my page but I wasn’t able to reply to an email that came from the system about your post – the email address was @yahoo.org which doesn’t sound right.
    Henry.

  9. I love food too. But what is wrong with me? Everytime i see a foodie thing, i think of the 40 million children who die of hunger every year. I don’t mean to be a killjoy. But as Woody Allen said, just knowing one person in the world is dying of hunger, puts a crimp in my style…or something like that. This is no reflexion on your own brilliant compassion. I know you care as much as i do. Just that any food – whether home grown, organic, local, mass produced — makes me crazy if everyone can’t have it. I can hardly bear to go into a supermarket, and the upmarket local organic food shop is a nightmare!
    Same with water. Everytime I run water from the tap I think of those dying from thirst, or who have to drink polluted water, and that I am so lucky…that it comes out of my tap so effortlessly.
    I remember when there was a flood because of huge snowfalls disrupting the pipes, here in the rural enclave of Mountain Dell in N Arizona. We squeezed little bits of water out of sponges. We ate the snow. But at least I wasn’t suffering from survivors’ guilt. At last, I was one of THEM…the disenfranchised, suffering masses.
    Yours, Crazy-guilty in Flagstaff, AZ

  10. Hi Elisabeth,
    Thanks for visiting my blog too! I like your about me. I remember the days of “England swings”, a very exciting time in the US as well. We were always watching what was going on in England! It is fun meeting someone that knows what macrobiotic is. I will definitely be back to visit and added you to my blog roll.

  11. Hi Elisabeth,

    Would you be interested in taking part in a food blogging event I’ve organised to raise awareness of conditions in the broiler chicken industry? Full information and details of how to participate are available at http://amerrierworld.wordpress.com/2008/06/26/let-them-eat-chicken/

    My very best wishes,
    Kate.

  12. Hi Liz

    I love the blog, hope to see you in Bristol sometime. Launching Totterdown Cook book in Sept will let you know when. Lots of interesting foodie stuff going on.

    Francine x

  13. Hi there, just popped onto your site and reminded me of a key offending item I saw in Quebec city. These 81 were lit up as part of a light show for the city’s 400th anniversary:

    http://images.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3284/2600690772_5314e21c12.jpg%3Fv%3D0&imgrefurl=http://flickr.com/photos/29156810%40N00/2600690772/&h=350&w=500&sz=87&hl=en&start=2&tbnid=ktx3p1eKC3C4kM:&tbnh=91&tbnw=130&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dsilos%2BQuebec%2Bcity%26gbv%3D2%26ndsp%3D20%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN

    and these in Montreal are from where our fluffy white bread comes through from the Canadian prairies.
    It all comes down to a Canadian flour miller based in UK who started importing this stuff to make our sliced white. Can’t remember the full story, but it was quite a thought that these 2 groups of silos feed us and the world with their surplus.

  14. hello :o) i like your new look!!! xx

  15. Hi Elisabeth,

    I really enjoy your hearted writing and muses.
    I was wondering if you have some kind of feed that I could subscribe to so that I don’t miss a thing :-) I could’nt find one myself.

    Cheers, Dalit

  16. I ate a cube of organic beetroot at the Organic Food Festival last week and it was so sweet that it was amost a completely different product to the pre-packed beetroot in vinegar from the supermarket. People who say they cannot taste the difference between intensively grown produce and organic are liers!
    Claire

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  18. Wonderful, informative, comprehensive and engaging website with some superb links, well done! I’ll be pointing a few friends in your direction.

    Emma

  19. nice website!
    lovely!

  20. ps i love the photo at the top of this page LOVE IT!

  21. Hey Elizabeth,

    Sorry if I’m posting in the wrong bit of your site – but I couldn’t work out where else to put it!

    I’ve just been hearing lots of scary things about Codex Alimentarius – the international initiative to regulate how food is produced and what nutritional supplements can be sold.

    With your marvellous connection to the Soil Association, do you know much about it?

    I don’t know how to link to it, but I was watching a YouTube clip about it, by Dr. Rima Laibow MD from the Natural Solutions Foundation, which is apparently a non-profit organisation dedicated to educating people about Codex Alimentarius.

  22. I have been reading the scary things about Codex Alimentarius too.

    However the Soil Association says Codex Alimentarius is a set of guidelines only. In contrast, organic standards are enshrined in EU law. And so has more clout than guidelines.

    Also IFOAM (the international federation of organic agriculture movements) has been an official NGO observer at the last 10 years of Codex talks. And IFOAM seems reassured…

    This scary article is interesting – seeing Codex as a neo-con ‘con’ to control populations. At the end, the author concludes:

    “If you really want to make a difference: support local organic farmers, grow your own food, and of course…Watch: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil”

  23. Is there a way to contact you? I can’t see an e-mail address. Thanks.

  24. An amaZing value! Tx EliZabeth for sharing.
    Kindest regardZz,
    MuZz+afa

  25. You learned about food and health when you were a teenage hippy (and oh so much more too)

    ….formative years those for me too… they are the brain laying pathway years apparently…..

    I’ve been deeply into the effect a good diet has on my mood as well as my health for quite a while now…I don’t think you can make a separation really …its been my cause to champion actually…. there is so much evidence to support this idea too…refined foods are the cause of so many afflictions and definately have an adverse effect the integrity of our skin and our minds (ie an observation in that well known celebrity ‘booky wook’ mentioned people having skin like ready break wrapped in cling film…….oeuwf)…. it was an enjoyable book despite the imagery though.

    I am currently reading a book called ‘The Ultra Mind Solution’ which goes into the science of how we process our food and the importance of making sure we have all the right vitamins and amino acids to work in harmony with our individual systems. By assimilating the right nutrients we make the precursors required to convert the chemicals to amino acids in our brain and body. As the amino acids are the facilitators of our emotional responses and hormonal responses they really are worth keeping tabs on….they take these messages around our bodies and are responsible for everything we feel…..and you don’t just feel with your mind you use your whole body!

    So real food is the way to be real is my take on it.
    …. Another theory I subscribe to is that a lot of mental illness could simply be a physical reaction to foodstuffs …. our health system doesn’t support holistic diagnosis because its funded by the drug companies who treat the symptoms they have invented for us…….

    How did you find out that you were allergic to the things you no longer eat?

  26. I hate tomatoes but I didn’t know it was an allergy until Craig Sams (he of Green & Blacks fame but essentially macrobiotic) told me. I thought I was a fussy but he said it’s the most common allergy after dairy. Talking of dairy, I had instinctively swerved away from milk. A kineseologist diagnosed lactose-intolerance. With sorrow I stopped eating cheese, cream and butter. But worth it from my gut’s point-of-view.

    I dig what you are saying about brain pathways – formative years indeed…

  27. Have you tried goats milk, butter and cheese …..my body tolerates goats produce much better than cows …..cows milk makes me feel heavy and lethargic and cows cheese congests my mucus membranes. The protiens in goat dairy products are slightly different to cows and the calcium in it is more readily assimilated. I have read somewhere that too much soya protien is not so good for you as it contains phyto oestrogens which can upset the body’s natural hormone balance……but I am not sure what they mean by too much as balance is the operative word, moderation and a balanced diet therefore shouldn’t upset a healthy system.

  28. Hi Elisabeth – such a Joy to find your great website.
    Best Wishes
    Diane

  29. Hi Elisabeth,

    Really enjoying the blog.

    I am holding a chilli cook-off, on July 2nd, in the run up to American Independence Day, at All Star Lanes Brick Lane, London’s most authentic all-American venue. Would you like to enter the competition?

    Entrants will be competing for the title of ‘All Star Lanes Chilli Champ 2009’, with the chance to have their award-winning chilli on the All Star Lanes menu.

    It is promising to be a memorable event, with a notable panel of judges including Dominic Midgely, William Sitwell, Tom Pemberton, Simon Davis, and New York comedian Andrew J. Lederer. We are looking for entrants, and of course people who would like to come just for the sake of it.

  30. Hi Elisabeth
    Found you via Natural Products. What’s the best email to reach you on?
    Carl

  31. Hi

    I just wanted to note on the contribution of this community here. It’s amazing.

    I wanted to give a little something back myself

    There is a site that has been extraordinary helpful to myself and some associates of mine. That site is OnlineComputerHelpers.com and they offer online help computer repair

  32. tks for the effort you put in here I appreciate it!

  33. Hi Elisabeth,

    GREAT BLOG! And thanks for the shout-out on twitter. How come we haven’t met yet????

  34. Hi Elizabeth,

    How does one get in touch with you?

    I would love to know if you would be willing to do a review on any of our chai tea blends, specially our Kukicha Masala Chai, as a Macro oriented guy myself, I know you might like it.

    It is currently served at Souen Macrobiotic Restaurant in NYC.

    Send me an email!

    Ricardo

  35. Hi Ricardo

    I have just looked at your website, and left a message.

    I love the idea of sampling and reviewing your chai. I have only once been able to buy loose chai here in the UK. It is usually stocked as a tea-bag – simply not quite pukka!

    Looking forward
    Elisabeth

  36. Hi Elizabeth,

    Great article on Real Bread.

    if you’d like to be added to our press list, please drop me a line.

    Kind regards,

    Chris

  37. Thanks, Chris, that’s great.

    I am signed-up to the Real Bread campaign.

    Great website – helps you find real bread in the UK.

    http://bit.ly/kXob6

  38. Linked to you through Stephen Sez. He posted anew Oct. 17th.
    Attended London School of Economic. Worked for Amnesty back when they where on Fleet St. pre Noble.

  39. Hi Elizabeth – I just tried to email you, but the e address you gave me at Shambala doesn’t work – cd you email me yr new email address – best regards – john

  40. Hi Elizabeth – tried to email you recently and the e address you gave me at Shambala no longer works – cd you email me yr new e address – regards – john E Smith

    • Hi John – thank you. Strategic Book Publishing, have sent me a copy of your new book, Food, Herbs, Health & Healing.

      Thank you for making your expertise as a Classical Herbalist so instantly accessible. I am learning so much about the healing uses of herbs and spices; including the history of ancient traditional healing systems. You have the knowledge of an academic yet you write for the layperson. What an achievement.

  41. I’d like to ask an open question to all readers of Elisabeth’s blog.
    Are there a few food writers out there who can tell me if I can turn my love of home-cooked food and enjoyment of crafting a sentence into paid work?
    Naive maybe, foolish even, but not impossible surely?

  42. Hi Elizabeth – my book “Food, Herbs, Health & Healing” is available through the publisher http://www.StrategicBook Publishing.com or through Amazon (just key in title and it will show up) same applies with my earlier book “100 Herbs of Power” – the latter can be found also on You Tube.
    Glad you’re enjoying – happy new year – john

  43. Bonjour,

    Je suis Marc Ares, je suis le fondateur de ares web studio
    A bientot

  44. Hello Elizabeth!
    I am very glad to have met Maud and yourself at our hostel. i haven’t browsed your blog too much yet, but i will definitely be looking on to you for some good advice. I told my boss, Roma, about you, and she tells me she was just thinking recently how she might be able to use some of our latest technological advancements in communication for our goals here at the Capital View. :)

    I’m looking forward to keeping in touch,

    Kevin

  45. We looked at your website and are very impressed with the content of your newsletter
    and the products and concepts that you offer.
    Our goals and visions as members of the medical community are very much in alignment.

    We are a Healthy Publications Company.
    We have collaborated with doctors to create a series of books and cookbooks,
    centered on healing todays most prevalent medical conditions using proper diet and nutrition.

    Our best-seller is a book called 30 Day Diabetes Cure.
    Check out our website at http://www.30daydiabetesgone.com.

    Our internet marketing strategies have superior conversion rates.
    Our creatives are tested and include videos. We have been very
    successful in joint venture partnerships. This book converts remarkably
    well, and has converted as high as 14% and generated
    over $400/thousand emails sent. Our second best-seller
    Arthritis Interrupted has converted as high as 9%.

    We are contacting you regarding the possibility of a joint
    venture partnership. We currently have partnerships with
    other large Newsletter and Health sites and we can provide
    you with their names and mailing stats. These joint partners have
    been very happy with the results of selling our products to their lists!

    If you are interested in the working together, please send me an email
    with your contact information and the best time to reach you!
    Lets collaborate and make a difference together!

    Sincerely,

    Vj Khalsa
    Marketing Program Manager
    Brainstorms, Inc.
    vj@brainstorms.biz

  46. This is the 2nd occasion I have come across your blog post in the last couple weeks. Seems like I ought to take note of it.

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  50. Please let me know if you’re looking for a article writer for your site. You have some really great posts and I feel I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d love to write some content for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please blast me an e-mail if interested. Kudos!

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  58. Elisabeth Hi,

    We have met on Twitter.

    I have visited your site, and have added your details to our directory, here at The Organic Home, http://www.theorganichome.co.uk

    You will find your entry in the ‘Blogs’ – ‘Food & Drink’ category of the directory, and do please check that your entry and details are good for you, and also please let me know if you wish me to amend your entry.

    I wonder too if there is a way we might cross-promote our businesses?

    If you would return a link, that would be fantastic, as Google loves shared organic links…

    Warm Wishes

    Mark Golding
    http://www.theorganichome.co.uk

    • Hi Mark

      I got immersed looking at The Organic Home – it’s a fascinating mix of the spiritual and personal with an organic shop. The Organic Home is on my blogroll (in fact I think you were already on there), I have said hi to The Organic Home on Twitter and I look forward to connecting more.

      I see you are based in Brighton, a much-loved city. Bristol is as groovesome but we miss Brighton’s sea.

      Keep up the good work
      Elisabeth

  59. My spouse and I stumbled over here coming from a different page and thought I should check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to exploring your web page for a second time.

  60. This blog is more interesting than the usual foody type blogs that can be found on here. I will be keep dropping by. Thanks for Writing Rules and Blog Tips. I have blogged for a year or so now, and have just started out writing fiction (well a couple of short tales) and am building up my writing knowledge base so any information is very welcome. Thanks also for the follow on Twitter too. Tony (@tony_huby)

    • Many thanks, Tony. I appreciate.

      I do not see myself as a foodie so I am relieved to hear your feedback. I like food. I don’t like faffing around in the kitchen or posh restaurants. I just want real food. Is that too much to ask, world!?

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  62. Maude winkler Reid

    love you mumma big time xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  63. I’m a keen letter writer, and would like to know if there is anyhow of creating a letter writing community via this. Creative letter writers writing to creative letter writers the world over. I’ll reply to all those who wish to write and not just receive. 51 Lavender Sweep, London SW11 1DY. England

  64. Hello Elizabeth,

    I wanted to get in contact with you about a fun little campaign from Tropical Sun. It would be great to collaborate with your blog, feel free to check out the video: http://youtu.be/lMr94K1yh6c

    If you could get in contact with my via my email, that would be brilliant.

    Kind Regards,
    Patrick

  65. Dear Elisabeth, I saw you had subscribed to me on Youtube and was interested to note you were not a skeptic! Hello and thanks for the contact – I presume you saw my Placebo song and liked it?

  66. Hello! I can’t believe I’ve never stumbled upon this blog before. Am looking forward to a good few hours when I can really explore it. Thank you for your work and committment.

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