Converting to a vegetarian lifestyle has proven to have serious health benefits like lowered risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers. With so many pre-made vegetarian meals available in the supermarket, it’s actually an easy transition to make – except if you have Celiac disease.
Let us preface that statement by saying that living a vegetarian AND gluten-free lifestyle is possible but only if you’re willing to make meals. If so, you’re in for a treat. There are plenty of blogs dedicated to exploring the idea of making this big dietary switch. We perused the blogs with the most traffic to bring you the list below of tips and words of cautions.
Make Everything From Scratch -
For full-time Celiacs, this is an obvious suggestion. Many chain restaurants are incorporating gluten-free meals into their menus but unless the meals can be guaranteed, don’t trust them. Even kitchen staffs with the best intentions shouldn’t be trusted because they might not be aware of the severity of your symptoms or of proper protocol for handling your food appropriately. Throw an all-veggie diet into the mix and you’re bound to blow their minds.
Vegetarian and gluten-free meals don’t have to be boring salads. Look for blogs with recipes that look simple and try a few to start. We recommend Gluten-Free Goddess for her full list of favorite recipes.
Eat Naturally –
Find foods that are close to the source as possible. We’re talking vegetables and fruits in all forms. The benefits are two-fold: the less you do to your food, the more nutrients you consume and the closer your foods are to the source, the more likely that they’re naturally gluten-free. Learn to love roasted carrots mixed with vegetables of every color. Enjoy the taste of baked apples with a brown sugar sauce and you’re set for life.
Substitute Flax Seed for Eggs –
This is a coveted vegetarian tip: when a recipe calls for one egg simply grind one tablespoon of flax seed in a coffee grinder and whisk into three tablespoons of boiling water. Stir together until gelatinous. Double the recipe for each egg needed.
Buy at Your Local Green Market or Swap Shop –
Purchasing produce from your local green market will also be kinder on your wallet but the food is likely to be more fresh and have less preservatives.
Protein Sources –
Many Americans look to chicken for a natural protein source. Vegetarians can try tempeh, sea vegetables, quinoa, nuts, seeds, lentils and dark green veggies. Athletes can also add soy, hemp or pea protein powders to smoothies and shakes for an added boost.
Words of Caution:
Only Trust Plain Tofu –
Plain tofu is naturally gluten-free. Don’t trust Garden Burgers, meatless nuggets, or Tofurkey because they all use gluten-full ingredients as binding agents.
Watch Your Health Carefully –
Maintaining such a strict diet can lead to health consequences if you’re not careful. Popular complications include low oil intake (especially necessary for pregnant women), poor protein intake (necessary for bones, muscles, hair, and skin to name a few), and low amino acid intake (amino acids are responsible for mood-stabilizing chemicals).
If you’re interested in following a vegetarian and gluten-free lifestyle, do your research first. The more knowledge you have, the more powerful and healthy you will be.