Pursuing a passion for travel while living gluten free is no easy task, but that’s exactly what Carrie Veatch, founder of For Gluten Sake– a new globally-focused gluten-free app – is inspiring others to do.
Focused on 100% gluten-free restaurants around the world, the app is a one-stop-shop for travelers, especially those with celiac disease, who don’t want to worry about cross-contamination.
“I am here to advocate that you can live a life on purpose, regardless of your current circumstances,” says Veatch.
She stumbled upon the idea for the app in 2017. At the time, she was searching for a 100% gluten-free places across the globe. While lots of sites had good information, there wasn’t one place to find 100% gluten-free restaurants internationally.
“What I wanted was to find all these gluten-free places and not only list them, but also highlight them in more depth,” says Veatch. “And what do we do when we can’t find something we desperately want? We create our own!”
Truly a labor of love, the app is the result of countless hours of seeking as many 100% gluten-free restaurants across the globe. Right now the app lists over 1,200 gluten-free restaurants, places, food trucks and more in 49 countries. Users will be able to review those places and add 100% gluten-free establishments not already in the ever-growing database.
Specifically, For Gluten Sake will be a locator app for all the dedicated gluten-free spots around the world. It will feature photographs of all those places along with videos, giving travelers a glimpse behind the scenes. The app will be available on both iPhone and Android in early July. Veatch said a date isn’t set yet, but is tentatively hoping for the second week of July.
“This will be the premier app to find all the dedicated gluten-free food trucks, bakeries, breweries, restaurants, and more around the globe since it will be updated in real-time as places open and close,” says Veatch. She adds that more than 200 people signed up to become beta testers for the app in less than 12 hours when the call first went out.
Veatch is not only compiling all of those places in the app, she’s also going to tell the stories of the restaurant owners, chefs and others who make international travel a little easier for those who have celiac disease.
“How did they have the courage to take the leap and jump full time into this gluten-free world?” she asks. “Why did they decide to quit a corporate job and pursue what might have started as a hobby?”
One of the stories that Veatch enjoys highlighting is a 100% gluten-free bakery in Alabama. Located in Hunstville, the Mason Dixon Bakery is the state’s first-ever gluten-free bakery and bistro.
Husband and wife Taylor and Ashley Ramirez opened the Mason Dixon Bakery in 2013. Diagnosed with celiac disease while an undergrad in college, Ashley used lessons learned in her Ph.D. chemistry program to start experimenting with gluten-free recipes. Eventually, she could fool even the harshest gluten-free critics.
Veatch says in a TEDx talk Ashley participated in the bakery owner posed this question to the audience: “Are you living free?”
That resonated with Veatch, whose business, For Gluten Sake, shares the same name as the app.
“The tag line for my business is “be free For Gluten Sake” and this felt like the perfect story to highlight because Ashley and her husband have pushed through the fears in order to ensure that they are living freely,” says Veatch.
The mission is one Veatch takes seriously.
In 2011, she was completely overwhelmed after receiving the call from her doctor that confirmed she had celiac disease. After a brief cry in her car, Veatch said she became determined to make her mark in the gluten-free community.
For Veatch, her business is all about three things: gluten-free food, community, and travel. She has a message for others who may think their carefree travel days are over following a celiac disease diagnosis.
“I want to use my voice in the gluten-free fight,” she says. “You are not alone. It will get better. It does get better and there is an amazing community to help you, myself included.”
The app is the latest project Veatch is working on. On her website, she has compiled a robust resource for those with celiac disease. Tips on gluten-free basics, voices from others dealing with the disease, interviews and much more are all available.
Veatch invites anyone with an interest in gluten-free travel or a willingness to connect with others dealing with celiac disease to check out her website. She’s especially grateful to all those who helped make the For Gluten Sake app a reality.
“To each and every store owner and dreamer, I applaud you,” she says. “Thank you, thank you. I’m coming to a city near you. And I cannot wait to tell your stories and share your gluten-free goodness with the world.”