I often have patients who have allergies and/or intolerances to certain foods. Sometimes, it’s even me that suggests that they eliminate specific foods from their diet. In either case, people tend to have challenges because they feel as if they are giving something up. For those with gluten intolerances, they often miss bread. But it does not have to be this way! You can have food intolerances and still have your cake and eat it too!
This week, I visited Strawberry Blonde Bakery in Ottawa and they are gluten-free, vegan and nut-free. I interviewed Jacqui, one of the owners, for tips on business, specialized diets, etc.
Q: What are some of your biggest business challenges?
A: We had quick growth and with that comes the challenges of maintaining good quality control, staying on budget and proper staffing.
Q: How do you come up with different recipe ideas?
A: Our best ideas come from our customers. We ask customers what they miss most since going vegan or gluten-free. If one of our staff eats out and finds something delicious, then they try to re-create it allergy free.
Q: Do you have any allergies/dietary restrictions?
A:I first started eating a vegetarian diet and has now transitioned into a vegan diet. 5 years ago, we started getting lots of request for gluten-free baking so we decided to go allergy free throughout the bakery.
Q: What is the best part of your job?
A: I love working with my best friend everyday! Being my own boss is nice. My favourite part is the looks on kids faces when they come in and their parents tell them they can eat whatever they want to eat. Side note: it can be quite a challenge for parents who have kids with food intolerances, to find alternatives that kids will eat.
Q: What advice do you have for people just starting out with an allergy free diet?
A: Shop at natural food stores, substitute for the foods that you already know (i.e. veggie burger instead of meat) and as you become more familiar, you can explore more. Try the bread made here...haha. There are gluten-free options of bread that taste great!
Q: What are your goals/visions for your business?
A: Our goals change however, we would like to eventually open up a second location and perhaps add a cafe component to serve sandwiches.
Q: Last question, what advice would you give to your younger self?
A: Be patient with yourself, things will happen when they happen and you don’t have to force it. When I was younger, I wanted to know how everything would work out before I began. Eventually, I had to take a leap and found out that the net would follow. Learn to let go of things. Trust others and delegate.
Thank you so much Jacqui (& Claire) for the interview. For yummy gluten-free, vegan, nut-free treats, visit http://www.strawberryblondebakery.com/
Dr. Amanda is a non-traditional chiropractor who focuses on Neuro-Optimization in Ottawa, Canada.