How to follow a Gluten-Free Vegan Diet

Need to how to follow a gluten-free vegan diet? Whether you’re following a vegan diet and have to go gluten-free, or you’re living gluten-free and are considering a vegan diet, this post is for you.

Concerns and considerations are discussed in this post to help people have a better understanding of what following a gluten-free vegan diet might look like and how to do so while avoiding nutrient deficiencies.

Table of Contents

What is a Vegan Diet

A vegan diet is considered to be a diet that excludes all animal products. A vegan diet is not to be confused with a plant-based diet. Some people often take it even further and refuse to use any product sourced from animals.

Meaning, those following a vegan diet only eat food from plants. They eat nothing from animals. Meaning, no dairy, no meat, lard, and more.

Is a Vegan Diet Gluten-free?​

Is a vegan diet gluten-free? No!

If someone says that they are vegan, that does not mean they are gluten-free. The same goes for the opposite. If someone says they are gluten-free, that does not mean they are vegan. I can’t tell you how often people get the two confused.

Again, people who are vegan don’t eat animal products, gluten is not an animal product, thus it’s not restricted in a vegan diet. The same goes for those who need to eat gluten-free, gluten is a plant, and thus vegan food does not automatically equal gluten-free food.

Nutrient Deficiencies and a Vegan Diet

When removing any food group or most of any food group, nutrient deficiencies can always be a concern. In this case, when you remove all animal produts there are some nutrients people should be aware of that might not be as abundant as they’d be in a normal diet.

Some of the nutrients of concern include:

  • Zinc
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin B12
  • Calcium

Again, this is a reason why working with a dietitian is important. A dietitian can help you determine what diet is best for you and how to balance is appropriately so you’re not missing any key nutrients.

Vegan Diet Facts - How to follow a Gluten-Free Vegan Diet​ - Tayler Silfverduk, celiac dietitian

Why Follow a Vegan Diet?

There are many reasons why people follow a vegan diet or live a vegan lifestyle. A vegan diet can be good for you health, the environment, and prevent animal cruelty.

A Vegan Diet for Health

A plant-based or vegan diet can be healthy. There is a lot of research out there supporting a plant-focused diet as a way to support multiple health conditions.

For instance, plant-based diets have been suggested to help metabolic syndrome, glycemic control, heart health, blood pressure, lipid health (think cholesterol and triglycerides) and more.

It’s important to note that when considering making big changes to your diet, like eliminating all or limiting most animal products, you should always consult your doctor or a dietitian if possible. Just like there is no one size fits all for clothes, there is no one diet that fits all in nutrition.

Plant-Based for Sustainability

A vegan diet is often touted for its environmental friendliness. Research suggests that a vegan diet can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

However, it’s also suggested that a flexitarian diet or a vegetarian diet can have similar impacts with less nutrient deficiency concerns. So if you’re considering a vegan diet to support the environment, you might consider other plant-focused eating habits as well. Again, a dietitian can help you figure out what’s right for you!

A Stand Against animal Cruelty

A lot of people go vegan to prevent the exploitation of animals. A lot of people take the route of veganism to stand against animal cruelty.

Gluten-free Diet Facts - How to follow a Gluten-Free Vegan Diet​ - Tayler Silfverduk, celiac dietitian

Defining a Gluten-Free Diet

A gluten-free diet means just that, a diet free from gluten. Gluten is a protein found some grains (remember the acronym BROWS, barley, rye, sometimes oats, wheat, and spelt).

Why Eat Gluten-Free

Just like there are a variety of reasons as to why someone might consider a vegan diet, there are a lot of reasons why someone might need a gluten-free diet.

The main reasons would be because of health conditions. Autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s disease often can be managed with a gluten-free diet. On top of that, conditions like non-celiac gluten-sensitivity and celiac disease might require a gluten-free diet as well.

Make sure you ALWAYS consult your doctor and dietitian before removing gluten from your diet. Going gluten-free before celiac testing can impact the accuracy of your test results.

Nutrient Deficiencies on a Gluten-Free Diet

There are several nutrient deficiencies to watch out for when following a gluten-free diet. Here are some common nutrients of concern when following a gluten-free diet that I see:

  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin D
  • Calcium
  • B Vitamins (including B12)

You can check out my post all about 5 Common Gluten-Free Diet Nutrient Deficiencies if you want to learn more about these nutrients and why there’s a risk of deficiency.

How to follow a Gluten-Free Vegan Diet​ - Tayler Silfverduk, celiac dietitian

How to follow a Gluten-Free Vegan Diet​

Above I explored both a vegan and gluten-free diet. Hopefully, now you have a solid understanding of both. So if we compare the nutrients of concerns of both we can gain some insight on nutrients that someone considering a gluten-free and vegan diet might want to focus on.

Gluten-Free and Vegan Diet Nutrient Deficiency Risks:

Vegan Foods that Aren’t Gluten-free:

  • Tofu or Tempeh (can be seasoned, flavored, or marinated with products that have wheat)
    Seitan (it’s always made from wheat)
  • Other Meat substitutes (can contain gluten ingredients)
  • Dairy Alternatives (some dairy-free milk can have unsafe additives like malt extract)
  • Miso (can be made with or from wheat)

Naturally Gluten-free and Vegan Foods:

  • Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
  • Canned Fruits and Vegetables (if they are in just water and salt, watch out for unsafe additives)
  • Beans, lentils, and legumes (canned or dried without seasoning, watch out for cross-contact)
  • Nuts, seeds, and nut butter (watch out for seasoning and cross-contact)
  • Gluten-free grains (rice, amaranth, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, sorghum, teff)
Gluten-Free and Vegan Recipes, How to follow a Gluten-Free Vegan Diet​ - Tayler Silfverduk, celiac dietitian(3)

Gluten-Free and Vegan Recipes

If you need to follow a gluten-free vegan diet, gluten-free vegan recipes will likely be helpful. Below are some gluten-free and vegan friendly breakfast, meals, and desserts.

Gluten-Free and Vegan Breakfast Recipes:

Need some gluten-free and vegan breakfast options? Below are some of my favorites!

  • Vegan Breakfast Nachos – a fun and easy twist on nachos, vegan breakfast nachos are an awesome gluten-free vegan breakfast option.
  • Garlic Pinto Bean GF Toast – Originating from Britain, beans on gluten-free toast a delicious protein-packed vegan breakfast options.
  • Gluten-Free Blueberry Crisp – This gluten-free blueberry crisp recipe has vegan ingredient swaps and is delicious. Not only that but it sports 3g of fiber per serving making it a fiber rich gluten-free breakfast.
  • Simple Grain-Free Granola – This gluten-free and grain free granola recipe is also vegan. Not to mention it’s delicious.
  • Rice Porridge – This is a great grain-free, gluten-free, and vegan breakfast option. It’s delicious, satisfying, and easy to make.

Plant-Based and Gluten-free Meals:

Need gluten-free and vegan lunch and dinner ideas? Here are some:

  • Soy-Free Tofu – This soy-free tofu was one of the first recipes I published on my website. It’s made from chickpeas and the perfect gluten-free vegan protein option for any meal.
  • Spicy Creamy Carrot Soup – Need a cozy vegan hot soup? This carrot soup is full of flavor and super simple to make.
  • Air-Fryer Falafel – Are you a huge fan of falafel? This gluten-free and vegan falafel is perfect for you.
  • Vegan Buddha Bowl with Peanut Sauce – Hummasapiens Buddha bowl is gluten-free and vegan. Not to mention, like all of her recipes, it’s delicious.
  • Vegan Gluten Free Quinoa Paella – A vegan and gluten-free twise on this spanish classic, this recipe will not disappoint.

Vegan Gluten-free Dessert Recipes:

Gluten-free vegan dessert options are endless. Below are just some of your options!

  • Vegan Caramel Chia Pod – This is a nutrient dense yet delicious dessert. It’s got a vegan caramel that’s super yummy and easy to make.
  • Carrot Cake Energy Bites – Got a hankering for carrot cake but don’t want to do all the work of making one? These Carrot Cake Energy Bites are easy to make, gluten-free, and vegan. You can’t lose with them.
  • Peanut Butter S’mores Fudge Bar – A delicious no-bake gluten-free vegan dessert recipe. This is a must-try!
  • Easy Baked Cheesecake – This cheesecake recipe by the Minimalist Baker is gluten-free and vegan. If you have a craving for cheesecake, you’ve got to try this recipe.
  • Easy Vanilla Cake – This vanilla cake recipe is vegan and gluten-free. Perfect for when you’ve got a birthday to celebrate or if you just want a slice of cake.

Work with a Celiac Dietitian