CAN you imagine the scenario? Ice cream? No. Cake? No. Milk? Only soya or almond.

I can’t have any dairy, at all.

I found out I was allergic to dairy when I was 14 years old. People are not always born with allergies but can grow into them like I have.

Before I knew about my allergy I kept getting very poorly, went very pale and kept fainting, and no doctor could figure out why this was happening to me due to nothing showing up on blood tests.

After I had an ambulance come out to me because I wasn’t responding from fainting, my parents decided to book me an allergy test to see if anything showed up.

At this point, anything was worth a try.

From the test I was told I was allergic to dairy. I decided to cut it out of my diet as I use to eat a lot, but I would give anything a try.

After three days of not consuming any I was back to my normal, energetic self and I had enough energy to participate in sports again.

I used to find it quite difficult when going out for meals as I was scared of consuming dairy as restaurants were not particularly strict.

Six years later, I am a lot more confident going out for food as café and restaurants now know the severity of allergies.

Allergies and intolerances are becoming more accessible in cafes and restaurants.

They can affect people in different ways, they can make you feel poorly, faint and in serious cases people can die.

While more and more coffee shops are offering alternatives to milk, Caru Coffi in Whitchurch goes that extra mile to ensure that all potential customers are catered for.

Owner of the Green End coffee shop, Rebekah Cummings, says that it is all about giving people options when it comes to their morning caffeine (or non-caffeine) fix.

“We’ve got oat milk, soy milk and coconut milk, with oat milk probably being the favourite,” said Rebekah.

“Local company Harry’s Hot Chocolate is vegan and gluten free too. We do fruit teas too and all our frapes can use our milks.

“It’s a unique selling point, it’s all about giving people options.”

Rebekah, and the other staff at Caru Coffi, say it’s not just making sure customers are catered for, they are also keeping an eye on the environmental side of things too.

“We use bamboo knifes and forks, and our cups are double walled so we don’t need to use a paper sleeve. And waste is turned into biofuel.

“We’re always thinking of things to do. If you do have any dietary requirements, just come and ask us.”

Meanwhile, Nicky B’s coffee shop in Watergate Street is another independent business that goes above and beyond to make sure all customers are catered for.

“We do gluten and dairy free, as well vegan, said owner Nicola Brayne. “Everything basically.”

“We’re also very green, so we do recyclable cups, paper straws and that sort of thing.”

Nicola adds that the amount of people seeking alternatives to milk, dairy and other products has increased over the years.

“We do vegan and veggie pies and scones too,” she added.

“I used to run a coffee shop years ago around the corner and we didn’t ever do anything gluten free, it’s certainly not as rare now.”

If you want to learn more about food allergies in the United Kingdom, you can head to or book an appointment with your GP.