Can you go vegan if you have celiac disease?
So what is celiac disease? Celiac disease (also spelled coeliac) is a form of gluten intolerance that involves the immune system attacking the gluten and the lining of the gut. This, in turn, leads to damaging the gut wall and may cause nutrient deficiencies, osteoporosis, anemia, and digestive issues.
Gluten is the general name for proteins found in grains such as wheat, rye, and barley. It’s commonly found in bread, pasta, cereals, cookies, cakes, and beer. Of course, there are gluten-free options available, but they’re not as easy to find. Unless you have celiac disease or wheat allergy, gluten should not be a problem.
A gluten-free diet is pretty self-explanatory: It's a diet on which you don't eat gluten. This means that products containing wheat, rye, or barley, must be eliminated from your diet. Products that contain traces of gluten are also off-limits.
Along with avoiding these grains, other grains such as wheat bran, wheat germ, durum flour, bulgur, and other grains containing gluten are off the menu.
The vegan and gluten-free diet.
A vegan diet often consists of a variety of foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Except for those with a gluten allergy, most vegans do not exclude gluten from their diet.
To cut out animal products along with gluten can feel like an overwhelming task, but it is possible to thrive and get enough nutrients on a vegan diet even if you have celiac disease.
Gluten-free vegans may notice that they have to eliminate more than certain grains containing gluten from their diet.
Some plant-based milk is made from oats or can contain flavorings that contain gluten. Gluten is often included in mock meats and other vegan processed food such as cookies, crackers, dressings, soy sauce, and marinades. A majority of what has to be excluded from a vegan, gluten-free diet is processed food. What is left to eat is mostly whole-foods.
What to eat as a vegan with celiac disease?
Grains such as rice, corn, flax, millet, sorghum, quinoa, oats, and buckwheat are gluten-free and should be included in a vegan diet. However, note that oats are often contaminated by gluten, so look for the gluten-free label when purchasing oats.
Besides grains, there is a diverse range of gluten-free, vegan foods to include in your diet. Staples such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, lentils, nuts, and seeds are naturally free from gluten. Instead of eating cereals for breakfast, aim for a bowl of oatmeal, chia pudding, or soygurt with homemade granola. For dinner, replace pasta with rice, beans, or lentils, and add some tofu or tempeh on the side. Instead of focusing on processed foods, eat whole foods.
Since more and more people are choosing to eat gluten-free, more and more gluten-free products are hitting the shelves. Gluten-free vegans still have plenty of options when it comes to processed vegan food. Daiya offers vegan and gluten-free cheese, Beyond Meat offers mock-meat, and if you’re looking for pasta, there's plenty made from gluten-free grains in your local grocery store.
If you’re looking for gluten-free vegan treats, then you’re in luck because here at The Goodness Project we offer a Gluten-free Vegan subscription box to help you discover new, gluten-free, natural foods that you might love.
If you’re looking for inspiration on what meals to cook on a vegan diet with celiac disease, there’s a lot to find online. Pinterest is full of delicious-looking recipes, and bloggers such as Minimalist Baker, and Vegan Richa have plenty of recipes suited for gluten-free vegans.Such as these delicious recipes from the Minimalist baker:
One pot gluten-free minestrone
Vegan apple pie crumble bars
Easy vegan gluten-free pizza
Apart from these online recipes, there are several gluten-free vegan cookbooks available for purchase.
For example, this gluten-free vegan cookbook that stores more than a hundred recipes, or this Gluten-Free & Vegan for the Whole Family cookbook by Jennifer Katzinger.