As a diagnosed coeliac, the idea of someone restricting their diet of their own free will seems at best, crazy. Why, if you can eat freshly baked croissants, would you not relish the opportunity to devour them?
But London is in the middle of a wellness revolution. Think yoga, green juice, quinoa and juice cleanse’s – check out Welltodo London for a taste. I for one have been quietly watching this over social media. Countless instagrammers posting pictures of pimped up porridge with weird ingredients. Plant based tweet ups and spiralised vegetable noodles, thousands desperate to attend @deliciouslyella breakfasts. But it all comes with #glutenfree #grainfree #dairyfree… and so it catches my interest.
This weekend, all the excitement culminated in #Farehealthy. A whole day devoted to what I call the positive health movement. Talks, producers, sampling, yoga classes, clothes, foods and drinks to try – and it seemed to be all gluten free. I had to go. I needed to discover first hand whether there was anything to be learned from these passionate, positive, healthy cooking and eating tweeters. I also, to be honest, wanted to see whether all this beautiful, healthy food tasted any good.
I booked in for two talks. One by Vogue’s long time food columnists Hemsley + Hemsley: London sisters who champion nutritious home cooked food free from grain, gluten and refined sugar, and largely responsible for the current spiralising trend. The second was a lucky early booking for the blogging and app sensation Ella Woodward also known as Deliciously Ella. Focused on healthy eating in a largely vegan, gluten free way she is inventive and passionate about good food. Each of the talks was fascinating… too much for one post, so will share more on another day
The event itself was truly inspiring and exciting. I was surprised. A packed shabby chic pub in Ladbroke Grove was bursting at the seams, with a lot of fresh, young, lycra clad girls as I expected. But everyone was super friendly, passionate and there were even some fellow coeliacs to chat with too. I met and discovered a great bunch of new producers including divine distinctive bakes from London baker Pearl and Groove, new super food cereal Qnola, good for you truffles from Sweet Virtue, and awesome lunch options including bone broth, energy balls and granola (all GF) from the Good Life Eatery, plus raw food restaurant legend Nama Foods.
I hear that plans for next years event are already under way, and I will for one will be there with bells on. For being diagnosed with coeliac disease, a life without is forced upon you and despite feeling well for it, a life of “free from” food lies ahead. The difference with this wellness revolution, whilst it is extreme and focused on health, it is a positive move. People are actively seeking to improve their health, gorging on vegetables in their purest form, are inventive, passionate and have a fantastic can do approach to living without gluten. I for one look forward to exploring more of this new side to the gluten free community, and sharing it with you with each discovery I make.