Gluten-Free and Vegan
Gluten-free happiness without dairy, eggs & animal derivatives.
I’m a celiac who’s been gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and beef-free for over ten years. I’m not strictly vegan—but most of the products I buy and use are vegan, as they align with my inability to process dairy and eggs. I seek out the vegan designation on almost every package I toss into my grocery cart.
Many people don’t understand what it means to have celiac disease until they actually go gluten-free and live the lifestyle. The same holds true with veganism. The vegan diet automatically rules out four of the top eight allergens—dairy, eggs, fish and shellfish. Being vegan means not eating or using animal products or byproducts of any kind. It’s living every day avoiding cruelty to animals and animal exploitation.
It incorporates every aspect of life, including:
What you eat. No meat and no animal byproducts (think gelatin, honey, dyes made from insects, vitamins and medications that contain lactose).
What you drink. Some beer and wine are finished or clarified using fish bladders or gelatin. Some bar-made cocktails use egg to create foaminess and texture.
What you wear. No leather, wool or fur (think jackets, purses, shoes, even the band of your new Apple watch). All makeup, beauty and skin care products, including makeup brushes, must be free from animal derivatives.
What you own.No down comforters, leather-bound journals or leather car interiors, beeswax candles or other animal-derived products.
Those who are both gluten-free and vegan have a longer list of items they avoid—but many vegan celiacs will happily tell you the gluten-free vegan diet is completely doable.
When it comes to gluten-free vegan eating, remember, plants are your friends. Fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and certain grains are naturally gluten-free and vegan.
If you’re gluten-free and want to go vegan, here are some products and ingredient replacements to help get you there without feeling deprived.
The standard vegan diet can contain meat substitutions made from seitan. Unfortunately, seitan is made with wheat gluten, so it’s off the table for celiacs. If you’re looking for a meat alternative, try tofu. If you can’t tolerate soy, check out jackfruit. This “meaty” fruit mimics the texture of meat. It can be shredded or chopped and added to your meals, just like meat. Take a look at Upton Naturals’ line of jackfruit products or The Jackfruit Company—but check each product for its gluten-free status before buying. Beyond Meat recently launched the Beyond Burger, a gluten-free burger made with beets and peas that looks and tastes like ground meat. Perfect for the grill.
It’s easier than ever to find gluten-free vegan alternatives to dairy products. So Delicious Dairy Free makes a coffee creamer in several flavors to replace your non-dairy creamer (which contains dairy in the form of sodium caseinate, a milk derivative). Both So Delicious and Coconut Bliss make gluten-free vegan frozen desserts without dairy—really delicious! You won’t miss your favorite dairy-full ice creams. Follow Your Heart offers refrigerated vegan ranch and Caesar salad dressings. Follow Your Heart’s sour cream is a must-buy for nacho and burrito lovers. Daiya offers “cheese” shreds to make your gluten-free pizza cheesy and your vegan “cheezecake” rich with flavor. To replace your whey-based protein powder with a vegan alternative, try a gluten-free protein powder that uses pea protein from BioChem, Garden of Life, Nutiva, Orgain, Sunwarrior or Vega.
If you’re missing an omelet or a scramble in the morning, you can easily make it vegan and gluten-free. Follow Your Heart offers VeganEgg, a gluten-free vegan substitute made with algae that tastes and looks like the real thing. Bob’s Red Mill and Ener-G sell egg alternatives for easy gluten-free vegan baking.
Try Sophie’s Kitchen’s vegan crab cakes. They’re made from Konjac root.
Vegans who eat honey are nicknamed “beegans.” If you want to steer clear of honey, Bee Free Honee is made from apples and tastes like the real deal. You can also use agave nectar as a sweet substitute for honey.
According to Barnivore, an online guide to vegan alcohol, Redbridge and Green’s from Merchant du Vin are the most readily available gluten-free beers processed without animal-derived products. For Canadians, tasty Glutenberg beers are listed as vegan. If you’re in the Pacific Northwest, don’t miss Ground Breaker Brewing, a Portland-based brewery and gluten-free restaurant that makes vegan, gluten-free beer.
Check out Red Apple Lipstick for gluten-free, vegan makeup products, including lipstick, eye shadow, mascara, blush, bronzer and balm. Gabriel Cosmetics, Inc. is certified gluten-free, 100% vegan and certified as cruelty-free by the Leaping Bunny Program. Afterglow Cosmetics is certified gluten- free and is certified by PETA and Leaping Bunny to be free from animal testing; however, a handful of Afterglow products contain beeswax.
Managing editor Erica Dermer is author of Celiac and the Beast: A Love Story between a Gluten-Free Girl, Her Genes and a Broken Digestive Tract.