Welcome to day 8 of Vegan MoFo! That’s right, we’ve made it through the first week of gluten free vegan blogging! Today we’re up to letter F in our A-Z of gluten free veganism and I’m focussing on frequently asked questions about being both vegan and gluten free.
Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, barley and rye. Oats also contain a protein similar to gluten. It can therefore be found in any food made using flour such as bread, biscuits, cakes, pasta and breakfast cereals among other foods.
2) Why do some people avoid gluten?
Gluten can be difficult for many people to tolerate. Many people are intolerant to gluten which causes them stomach pains and digestive problems. Coeliac disease sufferers have a more severe reaction when they eat gluten as it causes their immune system to attack their intestines. This can cause long lasting problems including stomach problems, anemia and other nutrient deficiencies among others.
3) How do you eat when out and about?
Eating at restaurants or when out in general can be difficult. I’ve found that the key is to find somewhere that is already vegan and ask them about gluten free options. Always call in advance if you can to make sure they can cater for you. Pizza Express is my go-to restaurant as they’re available all over the place and they will make gluten free vegan foods if asked. If I can I usually take my own food when I’m going somewhere so I can be confident that I have something to eat. I’ve been known to buy pre-packaged salad too though and dump half a tub of hummus on top!
4) Is it true that I can’t share cooking utensils with people who eat gluten?
If you are gluten intolerant then the likelihood is that you’ll be fine sharing (although you should do what’s best for you). People with coeliac disease have to be extremely careful that no cross contamination occurs between gluten containing foods and their own safe food. This is because the tiniest bit of gluten can cause a reaction. If you are a newly diagnosed coeliac it is best to replace your cooking equipment and keep anything new as just for gluten free cooking. Many materials can absorb the gluten and therefore contaminate your food. If you share a house with other people who still eat gluten then make sure that you keep your cooking equipment separate and don’t share any foods such as margarine or mayonnaise as crumbs can easily find their way in!
5) How can I tell if a product is gluten free/vegan?
It used to be extremely difficult to avoid gluten and find foods suitable for different diets. Now in the UK it says on the back of packaging whether the food has any allergens in, including wheat, gluten, eggs and milk. It won’t say here if the food has meat in so make sure you read the full ingredients list!
For more information on coeliac disease, gluten free living or veganism please check out the links below:
Do you have any questions about gluten free veganism?