Transitioning to a gluten-free (GF) lifestyle can be challenging for most people, but when you also follow a vegetarian diet, things can be even tougher. But living the green and GF life doesn’t have to mean being relegated to a life of boring food. On the contrary! It’s easier than you think to eat healthy, nutritious and delicious foods while following these two dietary restrictions. It’s just about making smart, easy substitutions for the foods you enjoy, minus the gluten.
One of the reasons many people think it’s hard to eat GF and vegetarian is that they are searching out processed convenience foods that meet those two criteria. Look for crackers and other snack foods that are rice based, rather than wheat-based choices. There is a tendency for vegetarians to lean on carbohydrates that contain wheat gluten, such as breads, crackers, pasta etc. which obviously won’t work for a GF diet. You can still have crackers and pasta, you just have to seek out gluten-free versions. Quinoa pastas are also a high-protein, gluten-free choice. Sprouted grain breads are another option if you do not have a severe gluten allergy, as they give the same satisfying bread texture and taste, but without the bulk of the gluten from wheat flour. Instead of flour tortillas, switch to corn.
It’s important to be cautious when you use premade sauces such as ketchup, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Not all brands are gluten free, as many of these commonplace convenience products contain thickeners. Do some research to find out which brands are safe for you to eat.
If you like hot cereal in the morning, you may have been used to reaching for a bowl of oatmeal. Although some brands of oats are GF, not all are. Again, it’s important to do some research to find out what you can safely eat. Alternatively, you can switch up your oats for a rice-based breakfast cereal or even grits.
In terms of eating vegetarian while eating gluten free, there’s really good news on that front. First of all, vegetables do not contain gluten, so you can load up your plate with a rainbow of colorful, delicious vegetables of all varieties without concern. Be careful when it comes to how you dress your vegetables, though. Many commercial sauces, dips and salad dressings contain gluten. The safest bet is to make your own homemade GF salad dressing. Homemade dressing is easy to make and much tastier than commercial dressings.
The great news is that there are an increasing number of places to buy gluten-free products, from speciality markets to even the regular grocery store. The trick to changing the way you eat is to do some research to find products and recipes that you can enjoy. Check out websites such as onlyglutenfreerecipes.com, which are a treasure trove of recipes for those who follow a gluten-free diet, both vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. Being a gluten-free vegetarian doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy delicious, nourishing, healthy food.