What is a gluten-free vegan diet?

There’s a lot of talk about going gluten-free and herbal these days. You’ve probably been targeted by ads for some sort of snack or meal delivery service that offers gluten-free vegan diet options, enough to make you wonder if there’s anything to cut bread and pasta. ordinary. If random ads, influencers, and members of your monthly brunch group are gluten-free, why not you? In reality, there are legitimate medical reasons for removing gluten from your diet, but a vegan gluten-free diet may not benefit you unless you are one of those people. Let’s take a look at why someone might need to go gluten-free, what nutrients you might be missing, and what’s okay to eat.

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What is a gluten-free vegan diet?

If you follow a gluten-free vegan diet, you don’t eat anything that contains gluten or animal-derived ingredients.

Gluten is a type of protein found in wheat, which includes wheat berries, farro, durum wheat, semolina, spelled, small spelled, kamut, and wheat protein, which are used to make seitan and other types of plant-based meat. Gluten is like a stretchy binder that holds food together. Without it, dough for pizza, bread, flour tortillas, pasta and much more would fall apart, although there are many gluten-free foods these days that are almost indistinguishable from their counterparts. to gluten.

Bread and pasta are staple foods for many, but for the approximately 2 million people with celiac disease in the United States, the gluten they contain triggers an immune response. Celiac disease is an inherited autoimmune disease in which eating gluten can lead to painful bloating, diarrhea, or abdominal pain. Internally, gluten causes the body to attack the villi, the threadlike appendages of the small intestine that aid in the absorption of nutrients.

According to Celiac Disease Foundationif ignored, this condition can lead to a higher risk of coronary heart disease, small intestine cancer, iron deficiency anemia, and other autoimmune disorders, such as type 1 diabetes. Lifetime gluten is the only known treatment plan for celiac disease.

One may also avoid gluten due to gluten intolerance, also known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity. (NCGS). Eating gluten when you have NCGS can lead to bloating and abdominal pain, but it’s much less aggressive than celiac disease and doesn’t have the same long-term health effects. It’s not an allergy or autoimmune disease, and its exact causes are still unknown, but it affects about 6% of the US population.

If you suspect you have gluten intolerance, your health care provider can perform tests to confirm it, including testing you for a wheat allergy and asking you to follow an elimination diet where you avoid all gluten. If you don’t have a medical reason to avoid gluten, removing it from your diet won’t provide you with any nutritional benefit.

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Complications of a gluten-free vegan diet

The good news is that if you have to avoid gluten, you won’t be depriving yourself of any essential nutrients. But, since it is a plant-based diet, it lacks vitamin B12, which is found in meat, eggs and dairy products. This important vitamin is essential for the formation of red blood cells and DNA as well as the function and development of brain and nerve cells.

Vitamin B12 is added to some vegan products, such as fortified cereals, plant-based milk and nutritional yeast, but since this is not the norm, you may need to obtain your vitamin B12 from supplements.

It is recommended to consult your doctor or a nutritionist before making any major changes to your diet.

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What can you eat on a gluten-free vegan diet?

Figuring out what’s okay to eat on a gluten-free vegan diet is less complicated than figuring out what’s keto or paleo. It may seem like going gluten-free is about cutting out carbs, which provide your body with the energy it needs to navigate through life, but there are plenty of carb-rich foods that can be eaten.

All you have to do is avoid animal products and anything that contains gluten. It can be difficult to find some things – a gluten-free vegan pizza that you enjoy, for example – but it’s fairly unrestrictive, except in severe cases where you need to avoid any food that’s not made in a dedicated environment. gluten free.

allium: Onions, garlic, shallots, chives, green onion, leeks
Red peppers: Bird’s Eye, Korean peppers, serranos, jalapeños, Kashmiri, Anaheim, poblano, Scotch bonnet, habanero, gochugaru, red pepper flakes, chili powders
Drinks : Coffee, tea, juice, kombucha, wine, most ciders, coconut water, water
Fresh herbs: Basil, coriander, parsley, oregano, curry leaves, perilla, rosemary, thyme
Fruits: Apples, bananas, berries, melons, oranges, grapes, peaches, pears, lemon, lime
Legumes: Beans, lentils, peas, peanuts, edamame
Mushrooms: Button, portobello, shiitake, enoki, maitake, oyster, king oyster
Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds
Oils: Canola oil, extra virgin olive oil, walnut oil, sesame oil, avocado oil
Vegetable proteins: Tofu, tempeh, gluten-free vegan meats
Tubers: Potatoes, yams, jicama
Vegan cheese: Anything certified gluten-free – most should be
Vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery, cabbage, leafy greens, sea vegetables
Whole and ground spices: Black pepper, cumin, coriander, allspice, turmeric, paprika, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg
Whole grains: Oats, rice, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, teff, maize, sorghum

Packaged gluten-free foods are also fair game. These include gluten-free bread, wraps, pizza, pasta, 100% buckwheat soba, cereals, snacks, candies and chocolate. Most types of vinegar, miso paste, tamari, and many sauces are gluten-free.

Look for anything certified gluten-free, which means the product was made in a dedicated facility to avoid the risk of cross-contamination. This is safe for people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten intolerance. Sometimes even naturally gluten-free foods can trigger a reaction in people if produced on shared equipment with gluten-containing ingredients. For example, some rolled oats are not considered gluten-free for this reason.

What can’t you eat on a gluten-free vegan diet?

Gluten is quite common in food, especially in restaurants, but other than that there are no other major restrictions. Here is a general list of what to avoid:

Animal products: Meat, dairy products, eggs, fish, shellfish, honey
Drinks : Beer, ale, lager, stout, plus whisky, bourbon, and gin made from wheat, barley, or rye
Cereals and flours: Wheat berries, barley, farro, rye, spelled, flour, semolina, durum wheat
Packaged foods: Bread, bagels, pasta, wraps, cereal, frozen waffles, flour tortillas, pizza, pasta, ramen, udon, croutons, some vegan meats
Snacks: Pretzels, pita chips, crackers, cookies
Sauces: Soy sauce, barbecue sauce, vinaigrette, roux-based sauces

Remember: if you have celiac disease, NCGS, or a wheat allergy, you should always read the ingredient list to make sure a product is completely free of traces of gluten.

To learn more about vegan nutrition, read:
What is a Raw Vegan Diet? Is it healthy?
A Whole Plant-Based Diet, Explained
A Beginner’s Guide to Plant-Based Eating

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