Being gluten-free AND vegan can be a challenge!!! I’ve been there. At first it’s really, really hard and it makes no sense!!! Before it starts to make sense there are a few things you need to get your head around.
My name is Julia from over at https://www.frifran.com/. FriFran shares healthy, quick, easy, delicious, no-nonsense, gluten-free, vegan recipes and lifestyle tips for busy people. I’ve been vegan for over 25 years and gluten-free for over eight… Times have changed since I became vegan AND gluten-free and life is easier (though sometimes it might not feel that way).
Here are my totally gluten-free and vegan tips and a great curry night meal plan.
Gluten-Free AND Vegan – The Basics
The top tips are coming but first here’s some basics
- Being gluten-free and vegan is CHALLENGING – it definitely does get easier
- It’s a steep learning curve, you’ll make mistakes, we all do but don’t beat yourself up about it
- Gluten is the name for the proteins found in wheat, barley and rye
- Gluten is present in lots and lots of staples; bread, crackers, pastry, cakes…
- If you do not need to be gluten-free DON’T be gluten-free. It is not healthier, better for you nor will it make you uber fashionable
- Eating out is getting easier and easier – however, don’t be too complacent. Asking a few questions of the staff will enable you to work out if they really understand vegan food and whether your food will be vegan
- Gluten-free and vegan off-the-shelf food is becoming easier to get hold of, supermarkets have improved their offerings enormously in recent years
- Support small businesses!!! There are lots of fabulous small businesses providing fantastic GFV cakes, biscuits, cookies, cupcakes and more.
Small businesseslike Rachel’s Cake Delights who provide a great ‘through your letterbox’ subscription box.
10 Things You Need To Know If You Are Gluten-Free AND Vegan
This is the list I drew up for myself having done this the hard way!!! It’s not an exhaustive list but it will start you thinking about things slightly differently and make your life easier…
- Be prepared for the onslaught of questions from friends, family and strangers… ‘but what DO you eat?’. Accept it as genuine interest and respond in good humour
- Do your research. Understand your nutritional needs and how you’ll meet them. Be particularly aware of your B12 (supplements are essential for B12), iron, calcium and protein
- There are LOTS of things you think must (for sure!) be vegan and they aren’t. Many crisps/ chips have milk in the flavourings and most GFV bread often contains egg/ dairy (and most of it tastes like damp cardboard)
- You need to read the ingredients on EVERYTHING you buy – in the UK and Europe look out for ingredients in bold (allergens including milk and gluten)
- Oats are technically gluten-free but the processing and milling (in the same place as flour) means most oats aren’t gluten-free (unless labelled as such) – NB oats contain a protein avenin, which is similar to gluten that some people with coeliac disease and sensitivities cannot eat
- Be super careful with cross-contamination at home (if your home is not gluten-free) – don’t share a toaster, chopping boards or utensils (spreads can get crumbs in them)… Have separate cupboards etc. if you can
- Grains like millet, quinoa and buckwheat (not related to wheat, it’s a grass) a fabulous and work great as sides and in baking
- If you accidentally eat gluten and feel unwell. Ride it out, look after yourself. There is no magic wand that will make you feel better
Cooking foryourself is the way to go (check out some recipe ideas in the menu below). If you cook for yourself you’ll know exactly what went in your meal, you reduced the risk of cross-contamination and you saved money on crappy tasting ready meals (this doesn’t rule out treats!!!)
- Make the most of small businesses who are catering to your dietary requirements. I live in London and there are loads of cafes restaurants, market stalls and other small businesses that I am safe eating from. London is great but so are lots of places around the UK, Europe and the world. If you live somewhere a little smaller or remote and the local provision is small smaller mail order businesses like Rachel’s Cake Delights are fabulous.
Gluten-Free AND Vegan – Curry Night Meal Plan
Want to cook for yourself more but not quite sure where to start or are a tiny bit daunted??? How about this meal idea for a huge curry night. Four impressive and easy dishes you can share with friends and family and four dishes to add to your repertoire!!!
Spicy, Aromatic Lentil Soup is delicious and wonderfully light and full of flavour. Great for warming you up in winter. Makes a great lunch too.
Vegan Korma is perfect for curry night!!! I love this dish. Great with plain rice and poppadoms but I especially love it with biryani (see below).
Chana And Gobi Biryani – I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this dish, especially with Vegan Korma but it’s also fabulous on its own. This is a fail-safe rice recipe and it works every-single-time
I love salad served with a big meal and Asian Slaw with Cumin Aioli goes so well with everything here but I also love it as a sandwich filling (it’s seriously good!).
Dessert? Today let someone else do the hard work. Spoil yourself – maybe with some cupcakes.
For more totally gluten-free and vegan recipes visit https://www.frifran.com/recipes/.