When you live with food restrictions due to allergies and other health conditions that require a special diet, eating out can be extremely difficult. That said, I am happy to say that here in Vancouver, more and more businesses are becoming aware of this reality and are aware of the growing consumer market that they can benefit from when they offer allergy-friendly menu items as at least part of their fare. Because of my allergy-friendly book and the other work that I am doing to help increase awareness around the challenges of living with disabilities, including food sensitivities, many people have asked that I continue to share my discoveries of allergy-friendly gems in the city.
In addition to the terrific Fave Resto’s in YVR and awesome juice bars that I have previously written about, I would like to give you the head’s up about two more awesome local allergy-friendly resources that I have discovered since attending the Gluten Free Expo a couple of weeks ago. Being a great lover of the extraordinary, both of these wonderful local businesses not only serve delectable food that is gluten-free and also free of other allergens, but also offer something extra special that makes them stand out from the crowd.
Fortunately for those of us who live in the Vancouver area, more and more eating establishments are realizing that offering allergy-friendly menu items is just plain good business.
One of the local eateries in Burnaby that you definitely want to have on your radar is Quesava Kitchen. I love that when dining there, you can be rest-assured that everything they serve is gluten, yeast, preservative and grain-free. They also have a large and growing selection of menu items that are also vegan, including, samosas, perogies, wraps and pie crust. Even for those who are unable to visit their café, many of their products are also available in the retail market as well. Their next big plan is to significantly expand their vegan menu even more.
In addition to being gluten-free and offering a range of vegan and other allergy-friendly menu options, what really sets this restaurant in a class of itself is that it uses cassava root as its flour. Unlike most conventional gluten-free flours, as Dr. Joseph Mercola has indicated, cassava root has several beneficial nutritive (and non-nutritive) features. As a resistant starch that feeds the beneficial bacteria and also has a low glycemic index, using this non-grain flour may actually help reduce inflammation and also lower the risk of elevated blood glucose levels. This is especially of interest to those with blood sugar regulation problems such as those with diabetes or pre-diabetes, but would love to be still be able to enjoy their old favourite comfort foods. And believe me, no one feels like they are missing anything when they enjoy the delectable dishes that the Quesava Kitchen offers!
Well, what an unexpected surprise this restaurant turned out to be! When I was getting together with Jim Kavanagh from Brandseed Marketing after the Expo to talk about our shared vision to support the courageous and innovative businesses that are making a difference in the lives of those living with food restrictions, I found this restaurant and suggested we check it out. We were both pretty much blown away by the quality and affordability of the food, the friendliness of the staff, and the clean and refreshing ambiance of this seemingly mainstream Asian food establishment.
The commitment to community and to providing fresh clean real food that is ethically sourced, MSG-free and that can be modified to be vegan, gluten-free, and also accommodate other special dietary needs makes Noodlebox a must to check out. Even better is that they not only have four locations in Vancouver, but they also have five locations on Vancouver Island and four more in Alberta. The special touch of using fire to recreate the authentic Southeast Asian street food experience and the “farm-to-table transparency” adds one more reason to appreciate this very special restaurant.
We are truly fortunate to live in a city that has so many progressive, conscious, and courageous business owners who are willing to think outside the box of the standard North American dietary practices that I am so happy to support. There’s nothing like the gratitude of a food-restricted customer who discovers top quality establishments that are sensitive to the needs of the members of the community they serve.
Ask Theresa Nicassio PhD questions about health, psychology, life, food, parenting, wellness and whatever else you need advice on, by emailing her at Theresa@TheresaNicassio.com, with “BECAUSE YOU ASKED” in the subject heading. Feel free to sign your submission with a pseudonym of your choice (e.g. “Sleepless in Seattle”).