Going Vegetarian On A Gluten-Free Diet Is Possible And Delicious
Discovering you have a gluten intolerance or celiac disease can be a life-altering diagnosis, especially for vegetarians or those who are considering going vegetarian.
While it might pose a few more difficulties, you should know that a gluten-free vegetarian diet is entirely possible. Though it may appear to be overly restrictive, there are in fact many wonderful vegetarian gluten-free recipes available. The key to making a vegetarian gluten-free diet work is understanding what you cannot eat and surrounding yourself with an abundance of food that you can.
Where Do You Start?
Vegetarian gluten-free recipes do not contain either gluten or animal products, but identifying these ingredients isn’t always as simple as it sounds.
For starters, animal products sometimes like to hide in foods that you wouldn’t always suspect such as soups, dips, and gravies, which are often made with chicken, beef, or veal stock. Likewise, items like soy sauce, certain alcohols, and even some pickles (those pickled in malt vinegar) contain gluten.
The Issue of Vegetarian Meats
Another issue you run into when going on a gluten-free vegetarian diet is the many faux meats vegetarians use to replace protein, like seitan, are primarily made of gluten.
As a gluten-free vegetarian, you’ll have to avoid these foods, but the good news is there are still many ways you can get your protein. With options like tofu, quinoa, amaranth, legumes, green vegetables, eggs, and cheese, the number of protein-packed vegetarian gluten-free recipes you can make is endless!
It Takes Some Getting Used To
As time goes by, you will quickly learn what foods you can and cannot eat and discover your favorite brands, meals, and alternatives along the way. But even if you have the best intentions and all the determination in the world, don’t underestimate how easy it is to fall back into old habits.
Clean Out Your Pantry
If you’re serious about sticking to your gluten-free vegetarian diet, you might want to give your fridge and pantry a complete overhaul and get rid of any foods that might tempt you. Afterwards, replenish your kitchen with items you can build a healthier menu from, including the proteins listed above, fresh vegetables, rice, and gluten-free breads, pastas, and flours.
While a stocked kitchen and healthy gluten-free vegetarian recipes are a great way to ensure you stick your diet, understand that you will be eating out eventually and get comfortable with ordering out according to your food restrictions.
Don’t be afraid to ask for ingredient lists or substitutions; not every restaurant you go to will have gluten free vegetarian options on the menu, but most chefs will be accommodating if you ask.
There are many reasons to consider going on a gluten-free vegetarian diet. Though it might not always be simple, if it’s something you’re really passionate about or need to do for your health, the benefits will almost always outweigh the work.