Gluten free, vegan, vegetarian and raw food

You can’t turn on the TV at the moment without a programme popping up about changing our eating and drinking habits. So let’s get a few things straight.

Should we all make the big jump to improve our health? Do we have to change the contents of our cupboards and throw out all the sugar loaded products? It’s my job to talk food and find out what is hot. One thing I have learned over the last few months is, that many of the fellow foodies on my food tours are changing their eating habits after having watched the ‘sugar and fat’ programme. I decided to make some essential changes to my diet after my last visit to India. Even minor changes can make a huge difference. Food is my passion, but how to stay fit and keep the pounds off. For me, a few tweaks inspired by the Ayurveda diet helped. The internet gives you a huge resource, but it is best to seek some professional help.

I love vegetarian food, but I am certainly not an expert on this so I have decided to ask one of the local experts on this. Barbara, also known as the Rocking Raw Chef, popped up in the local food scene a few months ago. I certainly can say that she has taken Cambridge by storm.

Barbara posted the other day an alternative mayonnaise on her blog and it looks absolutely scrummy. I cannot wait to try it!

Find the recipe here.. 

Cashew Mayonnaise

Vegan, Raw, Gluten free and vegetarian restaurants.

Where to find the specialists in Cambridge?


CB1 – The Cyber Café in Mill Road.

More info here.

Pop up restaurant for vegetarian an vegan food Curly  Kale Cafe


Gluten free

Many places offer gluten-free options these days. Not many around, who make it the focus of their offering. Wouldn’t it be nice to go to a restaurant and there are no restrictions on the menu? Check out these 3 gluten-free specialists in Cambridge.

Tradizione in Mill Road

The owner of Tradizione is a qualified gluten free pizza and pasta chef. Creating gluten-free pizza’s is very difficult. Check out his delicious Salami and coppa, which are gluten-free too. The Coppa is one of the best I have had!

More info


Almost all their meat dishes are gluten free here. Al their bread is gluten free and almost all their sauces. Just 1 sauce and a few of their meat courses are not suitable for ceoliac diets Their food is delicious so a real treat if you have to follow a gluten-free diet.

More Info

The Lick Caribean food

You can find them on the market. All their food is gluten-free, apart from he Roti bread.

More info

Vegetarian food

The Rainbow Cafe is tucked away in a cellar just of Kings Parade and specialises in Vegetarian food.

New kid in town The Wandering Yak. Delicious vegetarian street food.

Pop up restaurant for vegetarian and vegan Curly Kal Cafe.

Although not specialists, the following places are amongst our favourites for vegetarian options.

Raw food

The Rocking Raw Chef at the Free Press or at home

Gluten-free dessert from the Rocking Raw Chef[

Vegan, Vegetarian or Gluten-free…

“I’ll go one better and add…raw!” OK, I can hear you now. “You mean salad and carrot sticks, right?”

Nope. None of my food is cooked – but that doesn’t mean it can’t please a serious foodie (just ask my taste buds, who are relentless in their pursuit of pleasure).

We’re talking Senegalese ‘UnPeanut Soup’…’Green Thai Curry with ‘Rice’…Tortilla Chips…Creamy Chocolate Pudding…shall I go on?

I wanted to share with you why I went from eating vegetarian to eating exclusively raw vegan, and how, far from feeling deprived, I feel totally amazing.

I’m not saying you have to do the same, but I think if you take a look at the food delights that you can enjoy, as well as the amazing benefits of eating this way, well, I’m hoping you may be tempted to come and join me for a meal so you can try it for yourself.

So what’s ‘raw food’?

Raw food, sometimes called ‘living food’, is defined as any food that has not been heated to above 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius). It can be chopped, blended, marinated, dehydrated till crunchy, fermented, sprouted, or simply heated gently. So you can chop and blend veggies, add spices, and heat gently for a ‘living’ soup. And as we’re using veggies and seeds rather than flour and pastry, most raw food dishes are naturally gluten-free.

Senegalese Style Peanut soup
Senegalese Style UnPeanut soup

Are we talking raw meat too?

Nope. Raw food cuisine typically uses nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, edible flowers, superfoods such as maca and spirulina, seaweeds, natural sweeteners, sprouted beans and grains.

In addition to soups and smoothies, you can make cereals, dips, pickles, curries, crackers, nut milks and cheeses, chocolates, cookies, ice creams and more.

Chocolate cake
Chocolate cake

What’s so important about raw food?

Raw food retains many of the digestive enzymes that we need to maintain good health, as well as much more of the minerals and vitamins – and therefore the vitality that is ‘built in’ to natural foods. It’s a bit like eating sprouts versus eating cooked beans: you still get some goodness in cooked food, but the sprouts will have that extra bit of vital life force inside them that has been activated (through exposure to water and light) to tell the seed ‘OK wake up, it’s time to start becoming a plant’. And that light energy makes all the difference to our health when we are absorbing it on a regular basis.

Think of an onion: if you plant a raw onion, it will grow. If you cook it and then try to plant it, it will rot (note: this is just to make you think! I’m not suggesting we are rotting if we eat cooked food – just that it isn’t as ‘alive’).

I was a vegetarian for years and felt lighter for sure – but when I started eating raw food, my vitality went through the roof!

I also noticed clearer skin, no aches and pains (which I had had previously), less need for sleep, no afternoon ‘slump’ ever, and I just felt better overall and more alive. Plus it’s great for looking younger – I was 52 at the time of my picture.


How much raw food do I need to eat to feel a difference?

The answer to this one is easy. More than you’re eating now! For most people, adding in one fully raw meal a day – even if it’s just breakfast – can make a big difference.

So are you saying we all need to eat exclusively raw food?

Definitely not. After 14+ years of self-experimentation and training from many raw foodists, doctors, nutritionists and others, I can tell you that there is no one ‘right way of eating’ for everyone. There just isn’t. What I will say is to listen to your body – it will guide you better than anyone.

Want to try it for yourself?

I serve a variety of dishes at the Free Press pub every Sunday night from 6 to 9 pm. The menu changes every week, but if you want to see what’s on offer for a particular week, the menus are posted at my Facebook page.

I look forward to seeing you there!


p.s. Wine is fermented so it’s Raw food too!

For more information about Barbara’s work with living food including free recipes and tips, visit

Disclaimer: The information in this article is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice. It should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. Your health is the sum total of all your life choices and appropriate professional care and guidance should be taken as you make changes to your diet. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your healthcare provider.

Gerla de Boer

Gerla de Boer is the founder of the award-winning Cambridge Food Tour in Cambridge, UK. She is a globetrotter foodie and always keen to get under the skin of a city or country she visits. She likes to get off the beaten track to get to know the latest food, fine local produce, visit their local markets and check out the hot places to eat in town. These experiences she takes back to Cambridge to create amazing food tours and events. Connect with Gerla on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram