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Merthyr man turns life around and launches town’s first plant-based eatery

St Tydfil Shopping Centre is delighted to have welcomed Plantbased Natural Foods to its Indoor Market, which has launched the first vegan and gluten-free friendly takeaway in Merthyr.

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Owners and couple Mark Evan Oakley and Natalia De Celis were joined by renowned Welsh actor William Thomas, who has had starring roles in Gavin & Stacey, Doctor Who and Torchwood, to officially open their new venture on Monday 28th October. Mark and Natalia are looking forward to bringing something new to the town and educating customers about the benefits of a plant-based diet.

The menu includes falafel wraps, pittas, flat breads and freshly prepared salad boxes, as well as freshly made rolls, vegan friendly and gluten free cakes, snacks and drinks.

Having previously battled alcohol and drug addiction and suffered from bipolar, anxiety and depression, Mark decided to make extensive changes to his lifestyle and embarked on a plant-based diet three years ago. Not only has his mental health improved, but he has also shed six stone in weight.


Mark commented:

“I am a walking advert for the benefits of changing to a plant-based diet. We have vegan and gluten free options and everyone assumes it’s going to be boring and tasteless, but we’d like to encourage people to stop by and give it a try.

“I’d like to say a big thank you to JOW Carpentry, which has done an absolutely fantastic job, and Lyndon Thomas and Jo Steele for their continued help with business plans and support. Also, thanks to Haines Roberts Global Media who are doing an amazing job with our marketing, and to Lance and Tracey from the Meanwhile Project who helped me with funding.

Julie Calderbank, Operations Manager at St Tydfil Shopping Centre, added:

“Our Indoor Market is full of independent traders and unique businesses and we’re delighted to welcome Plantbased Natural Foods. It’s brought something brand new to the town and we’re certain it’s going to become extremely popular.”

Plantbased Natural Foods is located in St Tydfil Shopping Centre’s Indoor Market and is open Monday to Saturday between 9am to 5.15pm.