Gluten free AND vegan?! Can you even eat anything? The simple answer is; yes. A lot. More than you’d probably think. Sure, sometimes it can be a bit of a faff. In terms of going out for a meal I usually have to look at the menu or ring up and inquire beforehand, my question always phrased as ‘Do you have anything that is gluten free AND vegan?”. It’s become a bit of an inside joke between Joel and I, so it’s good we can make light of the situation. Other times it can be a bit on the annoying side is planning a day out; I can’t just pop into a Greggs, a Pret, or grab a meal deal from Tesco, so my snacks on a day out usually consist of Trek bars, nuts, falafel-esque things, and an immense amount of crisps (lucky me). I’m just so used to it at this point though that planning ahead is part of my standard day. The highlight of my year is when Subway started doing gluten free/vegan bread, (about 85% of GF bread isn’t vegan) so that’s always a great option now.

 

Over the last 4 years, I have noticed an immense growth in supermarket foods, and cafe/restaurants that offer options for my dietary requirements, so it really has gotten a lot easier as time moves forward. I know some people who are Coeliac, and said that when they were in their young adult years they had to make their own bread, and eating out wasn’t even an option, so I feel very lucky that I have such easy access to a huge variety of things. As the years pass, more and more people (statistically many more women than men) are going GF for health reasons, and veganism is at it’s all time high. Veganism has increased by over 100% in the last 5 years, and round 14% of the global population now identify as vegans.

 

Now, as you can imagine, companies are starting to see that investing in the GF and vegan market is probably a bright idea. Lots of companies who produce strictly vegan foods are bringing out new, amazing products each day, whilst even big meat companies such as Richmond and Heck have branched into offering vegan alternatives as they KNOW they will be loosing out on a lot of revenue. Not all companies are quite as bright as that though, as some companies are trying to get laws brought in which will ban plant based companies from being allowed to label their products with terms such as milk, cream, butter, or anything that “originally” stemmed from the dairy industry. How miserable! I really hope that they don’t allow it to pass. 

 

The hospitality company that I used to work for is definitely a forward thinking company in this particular sense, and it’s something I’ve loved about them since I started working for them over 4 years ago. I wasn’t vegan at the time, but the extensive GF menu they offered blew my mind; it made me feel like I was a normal person due to how many choices I had. Bristol as a whole is known for being huge in the vegan scene, and as more common gluten intolerances and allergies become, companies are needing to offer options to cater to as many customers as possible. If gluten free and vegan options aren’t offered, a lot of business will be lost.

 

Even though lots of places are moving forward with this approach, there are still plenty of restaurants closed to the ideas of expanding not only their personal knowledge and understanding of the gf/vegan community, but also WHY so many people are making these choices. I think this stubborn mentality is only going to negatively impact them as a business, and if you have this mentality that we are ‘picky’ or ‘annoying’, and veganism is ‘wrong’ and ‘WHY DON’T YOU JUST EAT A BURGER’, I don’t want to give you my money anyway 🙂

 

I found a couple of Facebook groups the other year which have made a huge impact on my life. Friends, family, and colleagues of mine have joined these groups after my recommendations, and at times they’ve actually been real life savers. I never thought I would ever say that! I’ve asked all sorts of questions; restaurants to visit in Cardiff, independent bakeries, sustainable clothing brands, all natural and vegan makeup companies, and so many more, all along the lines of “GLUTEN FREE VEGAN RECC’S PLEASE!!!”. People are so happy to help others who are in the same boat, so I recommend seeing whether your local town/city has any of these groups for you to join. If they don’t, why not start up your own?!

 

 

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