It might sound like a difficult lifestyle to choose: that of veganism mixed with a gluten-free diet. Some might ask you, 'But what will you eat?!’ However, if you are sensitive to gluten, then you should not hesitate to go ahead with your idea. Here are some tips to help you.
- Woah, there’s Gluten in That!
Common gluten-packed foods include pasta and bread. However, there are many other foodstuffs that contain gluten, such as canned soup, spice mixes, pastries and chocolate. Often, products that don’t contain gluten will contain animal products (for instance, gluten-free crackers that have animal rennet in their ingredients), which makes things a little more difficult. It’s therefore important to scrutinize all your products to be sure that they are free of both gluten and animal-derived ingredients. Bear in mind that products listed as 'wheat-free' do not necessarily mean they don’t contain gluten. They might contain barley or rye, two gluten offenders!
- Top up on Vitamins
Being gluten-free and vegan might result in you lacking some important nutrients. But don’t despair - you can boost their intake just by focusing on the right foods that prevent you from missing out on vital vitamins.
- 1. Vitamin B12 can be gained from fortified cereals.
- 2. Vitamin D can be found in sunlight! Spend a bit more time in natural light to give your levels a good boost.
- 3. Calcium can be found in leafy greens such as spinach and kale, as well as tofu.
- 4. Iron is found in amaranth and legumes.
- 5. Vitamin B6 is located in chickpeas and bananas.
- Yes, the Diet is Healthy!
As long as you are gaining important nutrition from your vegan and gluten-free diet, you can enjoy the health benefits of this lifestyle. A vegan-gluten diet will result in the intake of more fruits and vegetables, which will definitely boost your well-being. Added to this, you can cut out a lot of processed foods that are bad for you. Choosing to go gluten-free and vegan can open you up to foods that you might not have thought of before, such as ancient grains, which is also healthy from a psychological point of view (think of how many people end up in junk food ruts!).
- Lifestyle Changes
Of course, it’s not just a dietary change that occurs with this decision. Did you know there can be gluten found in other products, too? These include cosmetics, medications and vitamin supplements. Changing all of them to non-gluten varieties can feel overwhelming, so try to make the change slowly.
- Be Gentle on Yourself
Some might say that it can be beneficial to go cold turkey on your previous lifestyle when you become vegan and gluten-free, but baby steps are the way to go because this will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed. As with any major lifestyle change, easing your way in helps you adjust quicker and will be easier to maintain in the long run. If you consume something that you didn't realize had an animal or gluten ingredient in it, don’t beat yourself up! Start again, wiser.
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.