Ever had the feeling that you missed a trick? Well when I read that an entrepreneurial individual that goes by the name of Holly Taylor, a Chef, Nutritional therapist, and Chemistry graduate had started her own 'Free-from' restaurant right here in the UK...I had just that feeling! ‘Free-from’ foods have taken a lot of flack in terms of taste and palatability, often because of the lack of bounce and fluffiness usually attributed to ingredients such as gluten. Gluten free food is one of the main focuses of Pure Taste, but it also caters to the ever growing Paleo diet/lifestyle which requires people to eat and drink foods that can ultimately be hunted or gathered, and that are as natural as you can get.
The opening and closing of businesses is inevitably governed by customer demand, if enough consumers want it then there’s every chance it will be a success. So far Pure Taste is a part-time venture, but current demand will no doubt make this a full-time job soon enough! You see public demand for a Gluten free diet has been given a significant boost in recent times in part because of a rise in the prevalence of Coeliac disease, but also because of better methods of diagnosis. Approximately 125,000 people have been diagnosed with Coeliac disease in the UK, which equates to approx 1 in every 100 people. This number is on the rise with more and more new diagnoses every year, with estimates from 2003 seeing just 1 in 250 people being diagnosed with the disease.
The sudden increase in Coeliac disease cases is largely attributed to improvements in diagnoses because new procedures have enhanced the identification of the auto-immune disease. This is very positive because previously the symptoms might have been overlooked by health practitioners. All too often Coeliacs were wrongly diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), conditions that have very similar symptoms but are by no means the same!
‘Free-from’ diets have become fashionable
To further increase the demand of gluten free restaurants, famous public figures including world leading tennis players such as Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, as well as pop stars such as Miley Cyrus, Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham. The thing is this, gluten free foods are historically bland and lack a pleasing texture to most, mainly because of the lack of gluten which boosts the elasticity of foods, so opening a ‘top end’ restaurant selling ‘free-from’ cuisine was a massive undertaking! However, the Chefs chemistry and nutrition background seems to be helping if these dishes are anything to go by:
Other factors increasing demand for a ‘Free-from’ restaurant is the similarities that the Paleo diet seems to have with a Gluten free diet. This is because grains, wheat, barley and rye (all of which contain gluten either directly or indirectly through potential contamination during milling etc) are largely avoided in the Paleolithic way of eating and drinking. The Paleolithic diet (Paleo diet for short) involves eating food and drink that the Pelolithic man might have been able to consume some 10,000 years ago. There is some lee-way afforded here, but generally the consumer should try to eat some or most of the following:
-white and red meat
-organ meats such as liver and kidney
-fruit & vegetables
Please be aware that I do not agree with excluding total food groups at any time, but this is the Paleo way, and it is proving to be VERY popular! Those following a Paleo diet have had to get accustomed to not consuming foods which were only readily available AFTER agricultural developments, these foods include:
-legumes (beans, peas and pulses)
-processed oils such as sunflower oil
In terms of the norms for British cuisine I think most would agree that this is (at least initially) quite restrictive for people, and if you’re following a Paleo or ‘Free-from’ diet you’ll appreciate how frustrating it can be trying to 1.) describe what the diet is, and 2.) what specifically is and isn’t allowed to be eaten whilst following this regime. Attention to detail for a Paleo diet is quite remarkable because it considers everything from the type of veg one is allowed, right through to the type of oil the meat is cooked in! A restaurant such as Pure Taste caters to all of this!
So to those of you who are following specialised and ‘free-from’ diets, this might prove to be a nice surprise for you, maybe this will lead onto similar restaurants opening making the ‘eating out’ experience a lot less traumatic for those who have specialised diets.
Pure Taste, (2013). A pop-up with a difference. Opening the UK’s first gluten-free and paleo restaurant. Retrieved, 19th December, 2013, from discount supplements