As the number of vegans grows worldwide, so does the number of people who can’t tolerate gluten. Some people refrain from gluten because they believe that it causes them to gain weight while others have varying degrees of allergies or sensitivities to gluten.
There’s more to keeping to a healthy and balanced vegan diet without including gluten-products in your meals than a game of online blackjack. It takes planning, preparation, and a commitment.
If you plan to eat a plant-based diet, but you can’t tolerate gluten which is also found in many of the plant foods (wheat, barley, rye, etc) you must find other foods to meet your body’s needs. You need to look for ways to get key nutrients such as fiber, calcium, iron, zinc and vitamin D that most vegans get from the gluten-grains.
You can, however, build a healthy food plan that eliminates foods with gluten and allows you to maintain your vegan diet. Some ideas include:
Get a good blender or juicer and you can juice just about anything. Some fruits and vegetables have few nutrients but most are powerhouses of vitamins and minerals. You can make fruit juices, vegetable juices or combinations. One trick involves pouring in some tahini to thicken the juice and add iron, protein, fiber, copper, selenium, zinc and calcium. The tahini should be unseasoned and full grain – it’s made from sesame seeds.
Drink the juice with some rice crackers to bulk up your meal.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Just because you’re vegan and gluten free, there’s no reason that you can’t enjoy some sweet treats. All you need is a good source of gluten-free oats (be careful that they are marked in a way that indicates that they haven’t come in contact with wheat or other grains) and you’re good to go.
- 2 cups oats
- ½ cup brown sugar (the kind that packs well)
- ½ cup oil
- ¼ cup grated coconut
- ½ cup walnuts
- ½ cup chocolate chips
- ½ cup raisins
- 1 Tbsp ground flax seed mixed with ¼ cup water
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- Pinch salt
Mix together, form into balls, place on a baking sheet and bake in a medium oven for 20 minutes.
The chickpeas in this salad fill you up while the other salad ingredients provide color, texture and taste. The chickpeas will taste best if you prepare them yourself, as opposed to buying canned or frozen – simply soak them in water overnight and then boil them until they’re soft. You can prepare enough for several meals at once and then freeze them, taking them out as needed.
You can build a salad as you like but some ideas include cabbage, lettuce, grated carrot, grated beets (don’t cook them – grate them raw), cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, green beans, sweet potato (cubed and baked), etc.
Add pumpkin seeds for texture and a blast of iron, calcium, zinc and magnesium or sunflower seeds for fiber, vitamin E and vitamin B6. Better yet, put in some of both.
The dressing can be a simple olive oil/salt/lemon juice vinaigrette or some flavorful tahini.
There’s no need to give up on that vision of a hot, nourishing, delicious stew just because it will be meatless. Much of the taste of a good stew comes from the seasonings and the sauces, all of which you can enjoy in your warm savory and robust stew.
- Dice one onion, one carrort and four cloves of garlic. Saute in 4 tablespoons of olive oil with 1 tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Turn off the flame when the mixture starts to soften and the onions are translucent.
- Layer a half a cup of brown rice on top of the onions/garlic/carrots and, on that, ¼ cup cooked red or black beans.
- Peel and dice one potato and one large sweet potato and lay it on top of the beans.
- Cover with water
- Add 4 Tbsps soy sauce and 4 tbsps red wine.
- You can either cook it over a low flame for several hours immediately or allow it to sit in the refrigerator overnight and then cook it the next day.
- After it has simmered for at least 4 hours (more is good), it’s ready to eat.
Quinoa is a superfood and should be a central part of any vegan diet. It’s high in antitoxidants and provides protein, iron, fiber, minerals and vitamins. They include magnesium, manganese, flate, phosphorous, calcium, copper, zinc, potassium, and vitamins B1, B2 and B6 along with traces of vitamin E and B3.
There are many ways to make a quinoa salad – almost any fruit or vegetable goes well with it. The trick is to prepare the quinoa properly – add an extra 3 minutes to the preparation time and you’ll see the difference.
To prepare quinoa, rinse the dry quinoa well until the water runs clear. You can use one color or mix different colors – quinoa comes in beige, red and brown/black.
Shake off the water and then dry fry it in a pan. Once the quinoa dries, you’ll start to hear popping sounds. After a few minutes of popping, turn the fire off and cook the quinoa. You need double the amount of water for the amount of dry quinoa that you intend to cook (2 cups of boiling water for 1 cup of quinoa.) Add the quinoa to the boiling water and allow it to cook. Shut off the fire under the pan when the water has absorbed all of the quinoa and it’s nice and fluffy in the pot.
Now you can start to add your salad ingredients. Some ideas include diced (pre-cooked) sweet potatoes, cranberries, pineapple chunks, apple, crushed almonds, mint and parsley.
Serve it as-is or add a simple dressing of apple cider vinegar, orange juice, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.