While veganism and gluten free eating may appear similar, they are two distinct nutritional approaches. Vegans abstain from all animal products while gluten-free adheres to avoiding foods containing wheat, barley, or rye.
Both diets offer their own health advantages. Veganism is often recommended for those with celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity and wheat allergy; gluten-free eating may also benefit those suffering from these or other autoimmune diseases.
Gluten-free dieting involves eliminating foods containing gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. It has become most commonly linked to celiac disease; however, those who experience wheat gluten intolerance without genetic autoimmune disorder may need to follow this diet as well.
Success on a gluten-free diet depends on reading labels carefully and adhering to stringent guidelines. Avoid anything that contains wheat, rye or barley in any form (including flour, pasta, bread and even beer).
When following a gluten-free diet, it’s important to be mindful of everything you eat. Many chips are made with wheat flour or rye flour in their coating, and most sauces use wheat flour or other wheat-containing ingredients as thickeners.
Though many of us assume that most snacks and condiments are safe for a gluten-free diet, it’s important to check labels. Some items, like ketchup or mustard, may contain traces of dairy or eggs in their ingredients list, while seasoning blend mixes may have hidden milk or egg components.
As a general guideline, only purchase items with either “gluten-free” or vegetarian/vegan symbols on their packaging or product labels. Furthermore, make sure any baking mixes you purchase use gluten-free flours.
Vegan and gluten-free consumers have plenty of great choices when it comes to grains like rice or quinoa, or legumes like chickpeas. Not only are these great sources of fiber and protein for your diet, but they’re easy to cook in various ways as well.
Vegan-friendly meat alternatives have also been designed with gluten-free requirements in mind, so you don’t need to worry about compromising your diet when enjoying your favorite burger or sausage.
Restaurant servers typically know which dishes are gluten-free and which aren’t. If you have a large group or special event coming up, be sure to inquire ahead of time what is on the menu so that you won’t end up cross-contaminating your meal.
Be mindful of hidden gluten ingredients in many common foods, such as pizza crust, breadcrumbs and pasta. Be extra vigilant when preparing dishes using high heat or other cooking methods like frying, sauteing, stewing or boiling since these processes often produce gluten.