People

Published: March 2, 2022 | Updated: March 4, 2022

All the ingredients of a Hollywood blockbuster as James achieves dream of his own cookbook

James Wythe: “This is honestly a dream come true for me.” Picture: Clare Winfield.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

It has all the ingredients of a Hollywood blockbuster let alone a new cookbook.

On March 3 a long sought-after dream became reality when fully qualified health coach, author and professional food blogger James Wythe ticked off another achievement.

The 32-year-old who found love, built a healthy living business and amassed a huge global audience after fighting his way back from crippling illness saw his first cookbook published.

Healthy Living James is now on sale at Waterstones, WHSmith, Amazon and 500 branches of Sainsbury’s.

The book contains 80 recipes, each one gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and mainly plant-based but with easy options to add in meat or fish.

James, who has 195,000 Instagram followers and a further 98,000 on TikTok, signed the deal with Headline Home, part of the top publishing group Hachette UK, a year ago.

He said: “I then spent months and months coming up with recipe ideas.

“Testing them, tweaking them, sharing them with family to get feedback until I had 80 recipes that I was incredibly proud of and that I knew would help so many people to eat healthier, no matter their skill level, energy level or lack of time.

“It’s a cookbook that’s going to get used and dirty.

“It’s packed with recipes you’ll make, and want to make, time and time again.”

It was December 2010 when James’ life took a dramatic – and frightening – turn.

As featured in Dorset Biz News, the then 21-year-old went to bed after a meal out with friends but found he couldn’t get up the following morning.

He would remain bed-bound for the next two years, unable to communicate, eat, sleep, tolerate light or sound, watch TV or look at his phone.

After six months of tests James was diagnosed with ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) and told there was no cure.

But, on the advice of a nutritionist, he cut out all gluten and dairy from his diet and very slowly began to get better.

Cooking became his daily challenge and the incentive to get out of bed three times a day, learning all his skills from scratch.

Six years ago James decided to begin a blog, sharing the recipes he was creating and to try and help others looking for gluten-free and dairy-free recipes.

Healthy Living James now attracts 300,000 page views a month and has a social following of 350,000.

In a remarkable twist, James’ poor health led to not just the creation of a successful business but also to meeting, and then marrying, his future wife.

Luise had heard about James’ plight through mutual friends and started to visit him.

Day after day, week after week and month after month she sat patiently by his bedside as he struggled to get better.

James said: “She never failed to come and see me and that’s when our relationship developed into something more serious.”

The couple, who live in Bournemouth, married in 2018.

A year after starting his blog James attempted to get a publishing deal for a cookbook but was turned down on the grounds that he wasn’t ready.

James said: “I definitely didn’t agree with them at the time.

“It felt like a crushing blow and I wondered if that was it for me.

“But I picked myself up, continued to create content which I enjoyed making and, three years later, I was approached directly by two publishers asking if I wanted to write a cookbook.”

After writing a book proposal four publishers subsequently made offers with James choosing to go with Headline Home.

The Healthy Living James cookbook comprises seven chapters:

  • Breakfast & Brunch
  • Lunch On The Go
  • Weekly Staples
  • Store Cupboard Dinners
  • Batch Cooking
  • Sides
  • Desserts

Features of the book include a photo of every recipe, simply laid out ingredients and method sections broken down into bite-sized chunks and a FAQs section at the bottom of each recipe.

James said: “I’ve created a cookbook to cater for all, no matter your allergies or food choices.

“No judgement or preaching, just accessible recipes for all to enjoy.

“That’s why I’ve opened this recipe book up so that you can use whatever flour, milk, cheese, meat or fish you want.

“Healthy Living James is the book that I needed when I was struggling with my health,

“I’m super excited but also a little nervous.

“This is honestly a dream come true for me.

“Since starting my blog in August 2016, it’s been a massive goal of mine to release a cookbook.

“That dream is finally becoming a reality.”