Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
So, you’re thinking you want to try being vegan and gluten-free. We aren’t going to tell you how easy it is. We are going to give you information on what a vegan gluten-free lifestyle is about (#healthbenefits), including answers to questions we’ve picked up along the way and trusted resources to continue learning.
We’ll give you a variety of easy, affordable, and (#delicious) vegan gluten-free meal options from our very own kitchen. We offer recipes for vegan gluten-free breakfasts, lunches, desserts, and options you can make in 30 minutes or less. If we tried it and loved it, we’ll share The Vgn Way recipe with you.
Vegan...Gluten-free...Vegetarian...Plant-based... What does it all mean?
Most people associate veganism with plant-based foods, and that’s true. Think of the basis of any plant-based, vegetarian, or vegan gluten-free eating as a lifestyle for the purpose of eating fewer animal products and more vegetables, fruits, and whole foods. However, while all vegan, vegetarian, and plant-based options include plants, there are important differences that you’ll want to understand.
Let's get into it! We’ll cover what you can and cannot eat on a vegan gluten-free meal plan and explain how it can change your health for the better.
What are the benefits of a plant-based diet?
A plant-based diet looks to include a majority of food that comes from plant sources. But a plant-based meal doesn’t always mean without meat. A plant-based diet allows for small portions of animal products – meat, dairy, eggs, and honey – but is mainly focused on “whole foods” which are fresh and not processed.
In addition to the motivation and possibility of losing weight (which let’s admit is an appreciated result for most of us), another outstanding benefit is the improved health outcomes associated with consuming more plants and whole foods. Eating a well-balanced, plant-based diet increases your intake of many different vitamins that keep the body healthy.
What's the difference between vegan and vegetarian?
A vegan meal will be 100% plant-based with no animal products – so it will not include meat, poultry, fish, seafood or any animal-based products such as eggs, dairy, or honey. A vegetarian meal will be plant-based – it will not include meat, poultry, fish or seafood – but can include eggs, dairy, honey, and wheat.
It's important to note that there are several specific “types” of vegetarian lifestyles. One variation is pescatarian, which is vegetarian but with the addition of seafood. Another variation is flexitarian, which is mostly plant-based meals but allows meat and dairy products in moderation.
In addition to the health benefits, “veganism” is often a moral imperative to protect animals out of respect for animal rights, and/or to protect the environment, and/or for religious reasons. You can find additional information at the Wikipedia site on veganism, about everything from its origins and philosophy to vegan meal rights and legal protections.
What is vegan gluten-free?
A vegan gluten-free lifestyle, like that of The Vgn Way, involves vegan meals that also strictly avoid the grains that contain gluten. A vegan meal will be 100% plant-based with no animal products. A vegan gluten-free meal will be vegan and also does not include wheat, rye, barley or any non-certified gluten-free oats.
A gluten-free diet pairs well with a vegan lifestyle because an easy way to avoid the risk of gluten contamination is to eat from vegan food groups. Vegan foods like the unlimited variety of fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, and nuts tend to be naturally gluten-free.
Those who decide to go gluten-free typically do so to avoid the effects of gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance. A gluten-free diet is typically associated with a genetic autoimmune related medical condition known as celiac disease. It can also be necessary for a wheat gluten intolerance that may occur without testing positive for celiac disease or a wheat allergy.
Wheat is hidden everywhere and included in lots of processed foods for many reasons, often as a filler, preservative, or stabilizer. The signs and symptoms can range from bloating, headaches, and feeling tired… to abdominal pain, indigestion, and skin problems… to joint pain, neuropathy, anemia, osteoporosis... and even depression.
We get it. This subject is complicated and symptoms of gluten sensitivity can be complex. The Celiac Disease Foundation offers a quiz to help you discover your risk for celiac disease. The Celiac Disease Foundation can also help you decide if you should be screened for gluten sensitivities.
Is a vegan gluten-free lifestyle doable?
Preparation, preparation, preparation. We can’t say it enough – the key to going vegan gluten-free is preparation. We encourage you to think of a vegan gluten-free meal plan as less of a diet and more of a lifestyle. If you’re considering this lifestyle change it's probably because you’re tired of not feeling well. Many people wonder if a vegan gluten-free lifestyle is doable.
You may not know how to make a vegan gluten-free meal. That’s what we’re here for at The Vgn Way. We'll guide you with options we've taste tested and loved. Try our easy and affordable recipes featured on the website, and follow The Vgn Way on Instagram as we share our vegan gluten-free journey.
What about the cost of eating vegan gluten-free?
A vegan gluten-free lifestyle doesn't have to be expensive. We often hear talk about the prices at "high-end fresh format” grocery stores like Whole Foods, Harris Teeter, and The Fresh Market, to name a few. High-end stores can be pricey but, if those grocers are out of your price range, there are other stores available. Here at The Vgn Way, we love Trader Joe’s, Aldi, and Costco. Check out our Trader Joe's Vegan and Gluten-Free Grocery List for our recommended goodies and pantry staples.
Shopping the perimeter of the store, where the fresh produce, vegetables and bulk grains are, is considerably less costly than shopping the interior aisles with the prepackaged, prepared, and processed foods. Also, consider the cost of poor nutrition. A plant-based diet helps you stay healthy and avoid the costly healthcare tests and treatments often associated with poor health. Medical care, insurance premiums, co-pays, prescription refills, and out-of-pocket health care costs that can occur as a result of poor nutritional habits aren't exactly a trip to savings island.
Can I modify a vegan gluten-free diet?
Absolutely! The Vgn Way is not a place of judgement. Shad is strictly vegan, and Nija is a plant-based flexitarian with gluten sensitivity. Here at the Vgn Way we encourage you to do what makes you feel good, strong, and healthy.
"Ironically enough, before Shad and I were a couple most people already thought I was vegan. I’ve used the term flexitarian to try and explain my preference, but my diet is plant-based not vegan. I agree with Shad’s beliefs but it’s not always 100% practical for me to be vegan 100% of the time. My diet is 90% vegan, but on occasion I do have dairy, fish or poultry. We choose not to feature any animal products [on The Vgn Way] because we want to showcase the full wonderful range of satisfying vegan eating. However, we want The Vgn Way not to be a place of judgement but a place where all are welcome to enjoy vegan gluten-free recipes whether it’s Meat-Free Mondays, Vegan, Vegetarian, Pescatarian, or Flexitarian. Some veggies are better than none."- Nija of The Vgn Way
Will I be hungry eating vegan gluten-free?
Well, if you’re a “carbitarian” (a primarily carbohydrate-based eater) who prefers pasta, fries, and grilled cheese sandwiches over vegetables and whole fruits - the odds are you’ll probably be hungry. If you’re eating only salad greens - chances are you’ll probably be hungry.
The bottom line is that a variety of plant-based foods is key. The body needs the right mix of protein, carbs, and fat to sustain itself between meals. The good news is that dietitians and nutritionists agree that a well-planned, plant-based diet has all the natural sources of nutrition the body needs to run efficiently and effectively, while also feeling full and satisfied.
To be healthy and strong, be sure that your sources of food include calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B-12, iodine, iron, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and protein. On a well-planned vegan diet, it is much easier for the average person to maintain dietary guidelines than you may think. A lot of plants have protein, and a variety of plant-based foods – such as beans, nuts, seeds, avocados, tofu, legumes, whole grains, whole fruits and vegetables – meet the daily dietary guidelines provided by the U.S. Departments of Health & Human Services.
Will I get enough protein from vegan gluten-free meals?
One of the most common concerns we hear is how vegans get enough protein. When you include a variety of plant sources throughout the day, a well- planned vegetarian diet provides sufficient protein from plant-based foods according to The Mayo Clinic, a recognized leader in the education and research of patient health outcomes.
Our resident dietician, Tywana Ishman, says "The amount of protein needed by someone who consumes a completely plant-based diet is pretty much the same as someone who eats animal-sourced proteins". In her article on vegan protein sources, Ishman summarizes the pros and cons of a vegan diet, the daily recommended amount of protien, and plant-based protein options. She also answers the question of is soy protein is good or bad for you.
How do I get started on my vegan gluten-free journey?
You can find resources here on The Vgn Way! To start, check out The Vgn Way’s Ultimate Vegan Gluten-Free Grocery List & Product Guide.
After your grocery haul, come back and try our vegan gluten-free breakfast recipes, easy vegan gluten-free lunch recipes, and vegan gluten-free dessert recipes. Don’t have a lot of time? Try our vegan gluten-free meals in 30 minutes or less.
More from The Vgn Way
- Easy Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Quick Bread (Southern Style)
- Strawberries And Cream Breakfast Quinoa Bowl
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- Easy Vegan Gluten-Free Quiche
- Great Vegan Gluten-Free Recipe Websites (2021)