Gluten-free diets are gaining wide popularity recently. People go gluten-free because they are gluten-intolerant or because they are looking for the benefits that a gluten-free diet offers. Coming down to the basic definition of gluten, gluten is a protein found in wheat and other related grains(like barley and rye). Foods like soups, processed foods, salad dressings, and natural flavorings made using gluten-containing grains contain gluten in varying levels.
The key topic of discussion of this article is a gluten-free vegan diet and how to choose a healthy one.
Why Should You Avoid Gluten In Your Diet?
As we mentioned at the start of the article, people avoid gluten because of medical reasons or because they appreciate the health benefits that a gluten-free diet offers.
Wheat allergy, Coeliac disease, sensitivity, and gluten intolerance are some of the medical reasons why people avoid gluten-containing foods. When it comes to certain people, their bodies cannot digest gliadin, a protein in gluten. Taking gluten-containing foods even in minimal amounts will cause an adverse reaction in their body.
In addition to avoiding even the slightest amount of gluten foods in their diet, they have to take adequate care to avoid cross-contamination from chopping boards, shared utensils, and more.
Even though they don’t have any medical issues requiring them to follow a gluten-free diet, many choose to go gluten-free because they feel better when avoiding gluten foods.
How To Find Out If A Food Item Contains Gluten?
All it takes is a quick scan of the food item’s label to find out if it contains gluten. As it is one of the top 14 allergens, the food safety rule requires labeling it on the food package.
If a product has to be labeled gluten-free, it must be safe for use for people with Coeliac disease, which means it should not contain more than 20ppm gluten.
What Foods To Eat In A Vegan Gluten-Free Diet?
A vegan diet is devoid of all kinds of animal foods. Gluten is primarily contained in plant foods like wheat, barley, and rye. This means that people following a gluten-free plant-based diet have to cut down on more foods than people that follow a vegan diet.
Here are some of the foods that can be included in a vegan gluten-free diet.
Wheat, barley, and rye aren’t the only options you have in grains. There are many gluten-free grains and other alternatives that can be added to your vegan gluten-free diet. They include:
- Potato flour
- Almond flour
When cooking with gluten-free alternatives, keep in mind that the recipes would require more water than recipes made with gluten-containing ingredients.
There is no need of worrying if you will be able to enjoy pasta because there are several vegan pasta options. For maximizing the health benefits, go for pasta made from rice, chickpeas, quinoa, mung beans, and lentils that have higher protein contents and come with lesser processing.
Bread And Crackers
You can make gluten-free bread with alternatives like buckwheat and chickpea. When it comes to crackers, you can go for buckwheat crackers and oat crackers.
What Benefits Does A Vegan Gluten-Free Diet Offer?
A vegan gluten-free diet offers several health benefits. But for that, you should add the right foods like whole grains, healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, pulses, and beans to your diet. Here are the benefits of a balanced vegan gluten-free diet:
- You will not miss out on any essential nutrients by avoiding gluten-containing foods.
- Lower saturated fat content promotes heart health.
- Phyto-nutrients in the diet offers protection against several diseases
- Improves gut health
- The rich antioxidant content of the diet helps fight inflammation
How To Overcome The Challenges Associated With Choosing A Vegan Gluten-Free Diet?
Making a major diet change will not be easy at the start. Here are some tips that will help you overcome the potential challenges associated with switching to a vegan gluten-free diet:
Discuss with your family and friends: Telling your family about your diet choice is important. Take time to explain to them about the vegan gluten-free diet you are following and the reason why you chose it.
Possibility of cross-contamination: Cross-contamination is a serious issue if you have avoided gluten foods for medical reasons. Prepare your food in a separate area and if needed you may use separate utensils.
Know that meat alternatives may contain gluten: Foods like burgers, nut roast, and sausage may contain gluten. It is important to study the label thoroughly to ensure that the foods you buy from stores are gluten-free.
With proper planning, you can reap all the benefits of a vegan gluten-free diet. For that, you will need to do some research on healthy gluten-free alternatives and how much of each to be added to your diet.