When most people decide to switch from a standard diet including animal products to a vegan diet, they’re fortunate enough to have many options to fill the gaps left by the removal of items they were previously accustomed to. There’s an abundance of vegan burgers and faux meats out there, along with cheese substitutes, non-dairy creamers, and some truly exquisite baked goods as well.
If you have a package of veggie burgers, faux chick’n patties, or other cruelty-free meat substitutes nearby, check the ingredients on the label: chances are that wheat gluten or vital wheat gluten protein is among the first few ingredients listed, which rules that out for anyone with gluten intolerance—this stuff can make us violently ill and have long-lasting ill effects on our health. Gluten likes to hide in all kinds of places that most vegans wouldn’t think of: sure, it’s in any baked good made of wheat, rye, spelt, kamut, or barley, but it also lurks in most varieties of soy sauce (except gluten-free tamari), granola, roasted nuts, soups, baking powder, baked beans, bouillon cubes, and many other places as well.
It can hide in blanket terms like “seasoning” or “food starch” without going into detail about exactly what it is that comprises all of that, so don’t be shy about contacting a company and explaining to them that you’re gluten-intolerant so they’ll let you know whether their foods contain it or not.
We’re very lucky in one great sense: every day, I’m discovering fantastic gluten-free (GF) vegan products on the market, and they’re of such spectacular quality that it really doesn’t feel like anything is being missed out on at all. I also cook a great deal, and more and more people are sharing their recipes in forums and blogs all over the place.
You can go vegan on a GF diet—many people have, and are thriving—so it’s absolutely possible to do. If you’re already being vigilant about the absence of gluten in your diet, you can just extend that vigilance to include the absence of animal-sourced products as well. You won’t be relegated to a life of just lentils and rice either! Do a quick web search for “gluten-free vegan recipes”, and you’ll be delighted and amazed at just how many mouth-watering, gorgeous options there are to dive into. Pizza! Vegan pho with rice noodles! Apple crisp! The options really are staggering, and wonderfully so.
There’s very little out there these days that doesn’t have an awesome GF, vegan substitute, and with a bit of research and creativity, you can enjoy some of the most incredible foods you’ve ever eaten—all without any animal products, or evil, ouchie gluten.