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Five top tips for eating out (vegan and gluten free style)

Today I’m choosing to work from the Bendigo Corner Store café today (which p.s. have the best traditional chai in Bendigo, actually I would go as far as saying for anywhere I have tried) and thought I would share my tips on how to eat out, gluten free and vegan – mostly. There are days where I may slip up, but hey that’s ok. Most of the time I choose a plant-based, gluten free, wholefood diet for the health benefits and as they say, everything in moderation.

  1. Coffee (chai) time: I choose the Bendigo Corner Store Café for my traditional chai – loose-leaf chai leaves brewed with almond milk. I was having soy, however, there is a lot of debate around about soy and dealing with my own personal hormones issues, I have cut it out of my diet to see how I feel.  It is about bio-individuality – one person’s food can be another’s poison.

Other places I love for a traditional chia are Cortille Café, Cafe Twenty 2, The Boardwalk at Lake Weeroona and The Old Green Bean. Some places are still unfamiliar with a ‘traditional chai’ so I ask for loose-leaf chai brewed with milk. If they cannot brew the milk in the pot with the tea, I ask for warmed milk on the side – much more creamy and warming this way, particularly this time of year.

If you are a coffee drinker, perhaps try de-caff or half strength to see how you feel. Your digestive system may or may not tolerate caffeine. Again, keep in mind bio-individuality.

  1. Breakfast: I love a savoury breakfast and attempt to steer away from the sugary carbs.  Vegetable stacks, fritters or a good old vegetarian big brekky: Mushrooms, avocado, wilted spinach, tomatoes, homemade baked beans – yes please. Cheat day – throw in a few hash browns please! Again my choice for breakfast is the Corner Store Café and The Boardwalk at Lake Weeroona. Both do great vegetarian options. Just hold the eggs and I ask for gluten free bread. If gluten free is not available, sourdough is my next choice (provided it’s made without eggs). I do not have a gluten intolerance, however, choose to avoid gluten to help with my digestion and hormonal health. With sourdough, during the fermentation process, good bacteria breaks down the gluten proteins, reducing or even eliminating the gluten all together. Be mindful that different gluten levels can have a range of effects on different digestive systems. Did I mention bio-individuality!?
  1. Lunch: Salads or soup are my go to, or again any vegetable fritter/stack. Dressing to the side and hold the diary.  If I am feeling naughty a side of gluten free bread or sourdough please. The aforementioned cafés as well as Percy and Percy are great lunchtime (and breakfast) options.  Bendigoians look out for the new Bendigo Wholefoods Café opening soon in Lyttleton Terrace. Excited about this!
  1. Dinner: I love Indian for dinner. Some curries are cooked in animal fats, so just check with the chef. Any of the vegetarian options can be tailored for a vegan diet – anything tomato based with chickpeas or lentils is always a winner. I’ve stop eating naan bread, however, I now choose a roti bread as they aren’t cooked in animal fats. Again if in doubt just ask. I am yet to find an Indian place that does brown rice, any tips, please comment below.
  1. Drinks: Water is my go to when out, however, if I am feeling like a little cheeky I opt for a wine or vodka and water. Note: some wines have been processed with egg, just ask to see the bottle. For bars/restaurants that are a little bit fancy I recommend Rocks on Rosalind (great dessert too – not too many vegan options though), Wine Bank and The Exchange. For something a little more low key The Bridge Hotel (outside when it’s warmer), GPO, The Rifle Brigade Hotel or Tap house.

What are your tips for eating out?  Any favourite places in Bendigo or elsewhere that serve wholesome, fresh meals?

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