Hi, I’m Rhian Williams! I make easy, undetectably vegan + gluten-free recipes, including healthy comfort food and naturally sweetened desserts using plant-based ingredients.
I started my blog after having to drastically change my diet when I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2015, and aim to create recipes that fit a wide range of dietary requirements for those with food allergies and intolerances.
If you’re new to Rhian’s Recipes and want to know where to start, you can subscribe to get my 10 Gluten-Free Vegan Bread Recipes cookbook, Healthy Vegan Meal Plan and 20 Most Popular Recipes cookbook.
Or you can check out these round-ups of my most popular recipes:
- 100 Vegan Recipes Using Pantry Staples (Gluten-Free)
- 30 Gluten-Free Vegan Bread Recipes
- 35 Vegan Gluten-Free Dinner Recipes
- 30 Vegan Gluten-Free Cake Recipes
- 40 Easy Vegan Lunch Recipe Ideas (Gluten-Free)
- 34 Vegan Breakfast Recipes (Gluten-Free)
- 28 Vegan Freezer Meals
Firstly, I’m so glad you’re here! Thank you so much for checking out my site and reading my posts, it means so much to me 🙂
Time for some fun facts!
- I’m half Japanese and half British
- I speak 4 languages (English, Japanese, French, Spanish), I’ve also studied Portuguese and Italian and am currently learning Korean
- My favourite book is One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez’
- My favourite genre of music is reggaeton
- I am a graduate of the University of Cambridge
- I lived and worked in France for a year while I was at university
- I live in Buckinghamshire (near London) in the UK
- I also do a bit of work as a freelance journalist, and have written for publications such as UK national newspaper The Independent
- I am currently working on a novel about female friendship!
Another not-so-fun, but still important, part of my life that we should discuss is that I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2015 after being very unwell for quite some time – scroll down to learn about what ulcerative colitis is, if you don’t know already.
It’s important to discuss here as it’s a big part of why I started my blog!
Why I started Rhian’s Recipes
Dietary changes can alleviate the symptoms of ulcerative colitis, and being careful with what you can eat can help avoid flare-ups (though this isn’t true for everyone).
One food group that many people with ulcerative colitis avoid is dairy. When my doctor recommended me to cut out dairy products (along with a whole host of other foods that were aggravating my symptoms), it came as a huge shock. Being diagnosed with a serious chronic disease aged 21 and having to take 10 pills a day paled in comparison to the realisation that I would never again be able to eat whatever I wanted.
I had never read ingredients on packets, and once I began to start shopping for food to fit this new diet that ulcerative colitis had been imposed upon me, I realised that I would never be able to eat any of the things I had eaten in a previous, carefree life.
The biggest hurdle I had to overcome was the inevitability that food would be an inherent part of almost every social situation: time and time again, I found myself sat with an unappetising piece of fruit watching others eating a decadent chocolate cake or luxuriously creamy cheesecake. I found the experience isolating, and strangely enough, I found it even more alienating than being ill.
People would ask me if I was allowed to ‘cheat’ or ‘just have a bit’, but clearly didn’t understand that I was eating this way not to just ‘feel better’ or ‘be healthy’, but to avoid those hellish symptoms, as well as the terrifying possibility of surgery.
Social media only made me feel worse – I scrolled through Instagram with a new set of eyes, lingering on ‘food porn’ shots of foods that would never pass my lips: impossibly cheesy pastas and cookies with caramel oozing from the centre.
So, I decided to take matters into my own hands and try to recreate those foods I missed in a way that would suit my new diet. Although it definitely took me a couple of years of trial and error to hone my craft, I quickly discovered that I loved experimenting with cooking for alternative diets.
I realised that certain foods made me feel much healthier than others, and I began to transition to a plant-based diet.
A lot of my recipe development process is inspired by Japanese cuisine, which I’ve learnt from my Japanese mother. Japanese food offers different and interesting naturally vegan and gluten-free alternatives that a lot of people don’t already know about, so it has helped me expand the boundaries of vegan and gluten-free cooking. I try my best to use ingredients that are easily available outside Japan.
As I discovered these new recipes, I felt a compulsion to share them with others in similar situations. So, harnessed by the power of the internet, I became excited by the possibility of being able to share them with people all over the world.
I was given extra confidence when some of my vegan recipes won recipe competitions for omnivores, including the Readers’ Recipe Swap competition ran by UK national newspaper The Guardian. For example, my Vegan Peanut Butter Jelly Blondies and Vegan Toasted Sandwich recipes were both winning entries despite being judged alongside recipes using ‘conventional’ ingredients!
I started my blog because I wanted to banish the feelings of overwhelm, frustration and isolation that come with leading an alternative diet, and wanted to create a community where those people could feel at home.
As my blog has developed over the past few years, I have increasingly come to recognise that what people are looking for are classic recipes that they used to love in a previous, omnivorous life.
Here are some examples of my undetectably vegan + gluten-free takes on much-loved classics, that I hope will make people forget that they miss the real thing:
And so it makes me beyond happy when readers tell me that my blog has been a source of inspiration for them, and that they have used one of my recipes to make a birthday cake for their toddler with allergies, or for their friend with coeliac disease who had never managed to enjoy dessert before.
Not only can leading an alternative diet feel isolating as food is such a big part of all social situations, but it can also be overwhelming and frustrating as you have to try harder to think of what to cook and eat, and at first it will seem like all you’ll be eating for the rest of your life is plain rice and boiled carrots.
It can also be inconvenient, because even when you’re busy, tired and hungry, you don’t always have the option of grabbing a ready meal, getting takeout or going to a restaurant. And it can get tiring always having to think about what you can eat that’s easy to make, healthy and delicious.
So, I felt compelled to create a solution and made my Easy Dinner Recipes Cookbook – it’s an ebook with 30 completely NEW recipes never before posted on the blog. They’re all vegan + gluten-free, and use simple, plant-based ingredients.
There’s a wide range of different types of dishes and cuisines, so dinner never needs to be boring again! You can find out more about the cookbook here.
The other half of Rhian’s Recipes
This is my boyfriend Jacob and he helps out with a lot of the stuff I do behind the scenes on the blog, like making the website, sorting out the technical stuff and helping me make ebooks. He also made the Blogging Tips section of the website!
Some fun facts about Jacob:
- He’s half English and half Hong Kong Chinese.
- He works as a doctor at a hospital in Oxfordshire.
- We’ve been together since our first year at university, 7 years ago!
He’s also an enthusiastic taste-tester, so you can be rest assured that all my recipes are doctor-approved 😉
And, by happy coincidence, fulfilling my mission of sharing my creations with the world has enabled me to create a business that lets me work from home in a way that accommodates my health.
But my blog would be nowhere without all your love and support, so thank you so much for reading my posts, making my recipes, leaving kind comments, sending me emails and engaging with my posts on social media. I am eternally grateful.
In return, I promise to keep learning and improving my craft, so that I can share the most delicious recipes possible.
Keep in touch
If you have any questions about anything or any suggestions for what you’d like to see on my blog in the future, please feel free to get in touch with me at [email protected] – I’d love to hear from you!
If you’d like to work with me, you can check out the options here.
What is ulcerative colitis?
Ulcerative colitis, which is an Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) like Crohn’s Disease, is a lifelong condition that takes the form of flare-ups and periods of remission. It is an auto-immune disease, which causes the colon lining to become inflamed and ulcerated. The cause of the disease is not yet known, but it is thought to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Not to be confused with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), IBD can be diagnosed by colonoscopy and requires serious medical attention.
There are many different types of medication available, which can help to alleviate the symptoms of flare-ups and induce and maintain periods of remission. However, the only currently known medical cure for ulcerative colitis is surgery to remove the colon, which in itself has numerous complications.
Unfortunately, many cases of ulcerative colitis go undiagnosed as the symptoms can be confused with other conditions such as IBS, or even food poisoning. Here are the symptoms to look out for:
- Diarrhoea with blood and mucus
- Abdominal pain
- Extreme fatigue that doesn’t go away with sleep
- Tachycardia (increased heart rate)
- Loss of appetite and nausea
- Weight loss
- Dehydration and malnutrition
Nutritional information, in the form of calories, has been provided for all of my recipes. Whilst I aim for this information to be as accurate as possible, I cannot guarantee that it will always be completely correct, as calories can vary depending on what brand you use, and there are natural variations between different food products. Therefore, if having exact nutritional information is important for you, I would definitely recommend that you calculate it yourself, with reference to the exact products that you’re using.
Although I make recipes that are vegan and gluten-free, if it is necessary for you to eat this way for medical reasons for example, I would definitely recommend that you double-check that each of the products you use are suitable for you or the people you are cooking for, to eat. This is because ingredients used in products can vary between brands and different countries.
I have included links to recommended ingredients in some recipes – although I have made done my best to ensure these are all vegan and gluten-free, if you do have any specific dietary requirements or allergies, I kindly ask you to also check for yourself before making any purchases.
If you’d like to use any of the recipes, content or photographs from my site for your website or publication, please consult my Copyright Notice.