A gluten-free revolution.
Something has happened to Cape Town since I last visited. I believe it’s called a gluten-free revolution. Where-ever I turned during my Christmas holiday, I seemed to be bombarded with offerings of gluten-free this and gluten-free that. Everything from Muesli at the local supermarket, to gluten free biscuits and cakes at coffee stalls in Bay Harbour Market (www.bayharbour.co.za – well worth a visit!).
This came as a huge surprise – but was rather handy – as in December, when feeling very stressed and run down, I decided to give up gluten for a while to see if it might help me feel better. It’s not the first time I’ve done this. I gave up gluten for about 8 years before having my boys because I came to the conclusion that it really didn’t agree with me. Then after my pregnancies it seemed to be a bit better – and gluten slowly drifted back into my diet. And there was of course that little voice in my head: “This gluten-free thing is a fad! Everyone on a gluten-free diet is a hypochondriac!” So I though I should join the normal people – the grounded sensible ones that are well mannered and eat everything placed in front of them. Thought I should stop being high maintenance. I had after all started to prefer room temperature water (which lets face it is the kind of thing celebrities who get their every wish catered for ask for..)
Well, it’s become clear that I’m just not one of those people who can happily eat anything they want and still skip down the street. So after months of feeling tired, lethargic and having a migraine every two or three weeks, I decided to give it up again. The result – no more headaches! Which is amazing. I can’t say I’m bounding out of bed in the morning – I’m not sure that ever happens once you have kids (lets face it!) But I am not getting the migraines and am feeling much more energised – so very, very pleased about that – and totally worth the effort of not eating gluten. So as a result – and also because I simply love food that not only tastes great, but also makes me feel great. I spent some of my holiday trying out a few places which are leading the way in Cape Towns’ healthy eating revolution.
Two of which I wanted to share with you because they are truly AMAZING!
Skinny Legs Luxury Cafe
This little cafe on Loop St is charming and eclectic. It’s very simple – all the chairs and tables are different and look like they have come to retire in peace at this lovely cafe. The service was great. It has that health food vibe and offers things like quinoa porridge and green smoothies (which I had -pics 1. & 2.) – but also offers more traditional luxury cafe menu items like a wonderful barrista style coffee and croissants. My other half had scrambled egg on rye with avocado (pic 3.) and my son Finn had traditional oat porridge with honey and milk. No fuss – just like he likes it. And he discovered that one of his teeth is at last wobbly – so great result all round!
A major bonus of going to Cape Town at the moment is the exchange rate. With 24 rand to a pound – the whole breakfast for 4 of us which included 2 smoothies, 2 fresh apple juices, 4 plates of food, 2 coffees, a green tea and a bottle of water came to the equivalent of £19.50 – Not bad!
The NÜ Health Food Cafe
The food at Nü Health Food Cafe on Somerset Rd, Green Point, is right up my street. The location and cafe is not as charming at Skinny Legs (much more modern), but if you are looking for the leading edge of healthy eating, this is where you should go. I could happily have gone here every day for breakfast during my holiday. They have an amazing selection of juices and smoothies, best gluten-free bread I have ever tasted, and the very trendy chia seed porridge. Do check out their menu on the website link.
On the pictures above you can see the the ‘Smoked Salmon Open Omelette’ with gluten-free toast. Watch out for the green chillies hidden under the smoked salmon! The drinks pictured are the ‘New Me’ Smoothie with blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and low fat plain yoghurt which went down very well with my other half. The green one was mine (of course!) and as you can see disappeared fast. It’s called the ‘Alkaliser’ and is for people who like a green juice with little sweetness and appreciate the rocket-fuel effect of a really green alkalising juice. I was buzzing all morning.
Nü is my top recommend for the food alone. For overall atmosphere and a hint of luxury Skinny Legs comes out tops.
Do let me know what you think if you decide to give them a go!