If you're here to learn more about the similarities and differences between following a vegan diet and a gluten-free diet, you're in the right place! It doesn't matter if you're a brand new newbie to either of these diet choices, or if you're a seasoned veteran, we hope to answer any questions you have about whether or not eating vegan means you're eating a gluten-free diet too. So, without further ado, let's get going!
Is Vegan Gluten-Free?
That's a great question that we are going to answer throughout this post. It's not just a simple yes, or no answer. In fact, eating a vegan diet is completely different than eating a gluten-free diet. However, you can mix the two and eat a gluten-free vegan diet and still have plenty of delicious recipes and foods to enjoy every day!
By the end of the post, you'll understand the differences between the two different lifestyles and how you can combine them to follow a diet that meets your dietary preferences and lifestyle choices. Keep reading through this whole post to get some of our reader favorite recipes that are safe for vegans and safe for those looking to eliminate all gluten from their diets.
What Are The Major Differences Between The Two Diets?
Following a vegan diet takes a vegetarian diet one step further. Vegans do not eat any meat or consume any products made by animals or animal byproducts. So, just like vegetarians, they do not eat meat, like chicken, beef, pork, poultry, seafood, etc. They also do not eat things like eggs, honey, dairy, etc.
Vegans eat a lot of plant-based foods and tend to follow a whole food plant-based diet to ensure they get the proper amount of health benefits that others would normally get from eating meat.
If you're new to veganism, there are plenty of vegan recipes for you to start making on our site to make your new lifestyle change easier.
Following a gluten free diet just means you're avoiding all food that contains gluten. Don't worry, this doesn't meat you're limited to boring options, luckily, nowadays, there are plenty of gluten-free options to buy at stores, and a lot of gluten-free recipes to make at home! Plus, there are many naturally gluten-free foods to enjoy.
In fact, you can find many gluten-free recipes on our site here!
One important thing to note that is a common thing between the two diet choices are the fact that many processed food companies have found ways to "hide" gluten and non-vegan things in foods. It's extremely important for you to learn the alternative names that are commonly added as preservatives, additives, or just flat-out "hidden" in many processed foods at various grocery stores.
What Is Gluten?
The dictionary describes gluten as "a substance present in cereal grains, especially wheat, that is responsible for the elastic texture of dough. A mixture of two proteins, it causes illness in people with celiac disease."
In simple and easily understandable terms, gluten is a protein that can be found in anything that contains wheat flour, rye, some oats, or barley.
Is Gluten Bad For You?
Gluten itself is not bad for you, but it can cause problems for your body if you have certain conditions, diseases, or sensitivities. Specifically, if someone has an autoimmune disorder, like celiac disease and they eat gluten-containing foods, their body will have an immune response when it tries to process the gluten. They'll often end up with abdominal pain and various other unpleasant side effects not just limited to the digestional tract.
You don't have to have a wheat allergy to want to follow a gluten free diet. There are many other health reasons why eliminating gluten can be beneficial. A few of these instances are non-celiac gluten sensitivity like a gluten intolerance, when you have autoimmune diseases or other disorders where your body responds poorly to certain types of food and you need to follow various special diets.
Are Vegan Foods Gluten-Free?
The simple answer for the questions "are vegan foods gluten-free", is no. Not all vegan foods will be gluten free guaranteed. But, there are many, many, many plant foods that vegans will eat that are naturally gluten free- like leafy greens, natural peanut butter, vegetables, fruits, a variety of beans, etc.
It's important to keep in mind if you're looking for pre-made processed vegan products at the store, a lot of them will contain gluten in some way. Sometimes it'll be used as a thickening agent or an additive. Always read the labels and learn the real meaning of all of the ingredients used.
Alternatively, the same thing can be said with many processed gluten-free products. Sometimes they'll have non-vegan ingredients used, like cheese, other dairy, eggs, etc. as alternative ingredients to the regular gluten containing ones, or just used as other ingredients in the recipe.
How to Prepare for Both
The biggest suggestion I can make is to start reading nutrition labels. Learn all of the various names of gluten and wheat flour. Then learn all of the alternative names to meats, animal by products, etc. That will help you when you go ot the store and start reading labels.
You can't just rely on the product marketing to ensure that something is gluten-free or vegan. While the gluten free section of many stores have expanded wildly over the years, there will still be more gluten-free options you can find throughout the store as well.
Eating both gluten free and vegan does not mean you have to avoid the refrigerated sections of stores either. You can find various brands that are gluten free and have vegan options as well. Instead of cow's milk, there are other dairy-free milk, yogurt, and even cheese options out there that are both vegan and gluten free.
I also recommend going through every cabinet, fridge, and freezer you have. Toss or donate the items that you can no longer have while following these diets, write down what you would use on a normal basis so you can find safe alternatives. Don't forget things like salad dressing and condiments. Soy sauce will need to be replaced with coconut aminos or tamari sauce.
I would also encourage you to track your meals for a little while to amek sure you're getting enough protein, minerals, vitamins, and healthy fats. Remember to read every ingredient list and don't be afraid to ask the internet about any ingredients you're unsure of!
What Do Gluten-Free Vegans Eat?
There are plenty of options for Gluten-Free Vegans to enjoy for every meal. of the day! Here are some of our favorites:
- Vegan Gluten-Free Pasta or Zoodles with Arugula Pesto (vegan option listed) are both great options when you're wanting a belly filling, hearty meal for both gluten-free and vegan requirements.
- Here's a whole roundup of gluten free cookies that have vegan options as well (on most recipes- always check the ingredients on other sites recipes to be sure as they can change things without notifying others)
- One of our favorite vegan gluten-free breakfasts are these gluten free pancake bites that have a vegan alternative right in the post for you!
- For dinner, instead of traditional bread, you can use a gluten-free bread, or make side dishes like black beans or gluten-free risotto.
- For any meal that contains some sort of meat, you can use your favorite meat substitutes or simply omit that portion to create a vegan option of your recipe.
- For various meals, anything that typically has gluten-containing grains, swap out for gluten-free grains, gluten-free oats, or other safe options.
- When it's cold out, always check soups for gluten and non-vegan ingredients, if you want to make your own, try this Roasted Pepper and Potato Soup!
These are nowhere your only option to eat when following both a vegan diet and a gluten free diet, these are just of our popular recipes we enjoy and want to share with you.