Delicious Alchemy’s founder, Emma Killilea, is back with her second instalment about her Coeliac diagnosis and how Delicious Alchemy came to be…
I am often asked how I came to set up Delicious Alchemy, which was 9 years ago now! The idea came to me one summer’s day after I’d walked through a wheat field.
When I took my boots off afterwards, I found itchy swellings, like insect bites, on my ankles. Then I spotted the kernels of wheat in my sock and made the connection – wheat gives me welts.
Could wheat be the cause of my problems?
I thought, if this is what it’s doing to my skin then what is it doing to my stomach? I gave up wheat immediately and within a week my health had improved enormously. I used to get pains in my stomach after eating and they disappeared immediately. In fact, the whole digestive process was easier than it had been in years. I also used to get mysterious hives on my face and they went within a few days.
These symptoms had crept up on my slowly, over many years. It was only when they disappeared that I realised how bad they’d become.
After a month I looked fantastic, my skin had brightened, I no longer had pains in my abdomen and I had a lot more energy … which meant I was smiling more!
People really noticed the difference and commented on it. It made me extremely happy to feel so much better.
A wheat free diet is for life, and it’s challenging!
After falling off the wagon a few times and enduring the painful reaction, I quickly realised this was a diet I’d be on for life, not just a few months.
However, I was finding a wheat free diet very challenging. This was back in 2003 and there was a severe lack of wheat and gluten free foods available. Those that were on the shelves were totally inferior to the food I was used to eating.
I thought, ‘I know I can do better than that’ and the idea for Delicious Alchemy started to develop. I was working in video games at the time but I’d reached the end of my interest in that career path and was actively thinking about changing. This was the idea I’d been waiting for…
And just like that Delicious Alchemy was born
Of course I knew very little about food, except how to cook it well. I thought, aside from making the choice and quality of food better for people on a restricted diet, what do I want out of a food business? The answer was, “I want it to be big!” So the only option was to re-train in food, develop a range and get selling!
I lived in Derbyshire at the time and there was a fantastic university course just up the road in Sheffield.
It was too far to commute every day so I sold my lovely, hard won house, bought a doer-upper near Sheffield Hallam University and started my second degree in Food Marketing Management there. It was the best thing I ever did – great university and an excellent degree.
While I was at Hallam, I was diagnosed with Coeliac disease and as it turns out I have both a severe wheat allergy and Coeliac disease, which is pretty common. So my diet became gluten free, not just wheat free.
Delicious Alchemy: improving the lives of people on restricted diets
Since 2004 I have put every penny into Delicious Alchemy and thankfully the risk is paying off. The company is thriving and we have amazing customers with incredible stories that I love to hear about.
More important than anything is that the gang at Delicious Alchemy is doing what I originally set out to do, which is to improve the lives of people on a restricted diets, day by day.
Cheesy but true folks!