Is Vegan Gluten-Free Diet Possible?

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A bowl full of nutritious leafy greens, legumes and other vegetables

If you are vegan and gluten intolerant, your diet and lifestyle must be modified. But is vegan gluten free diet possible? 

Yes, it is. Both these diets are significantly compatible. You do not have to starve yourself or be deprived of essential nutrition if you follow this combined diet.

Is vegan gluten free diet safe and healthy?

A gluten-free, vegan diet is your only option if you are a vegan diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. To have a safe and healthy vegan, gluten-free lifestyle, include healthy, whole foods compatible with both diet forms.

Difference between gluten-free and vegan diets

A vegan diet is followed for ethical and environmental concerns. A gluten diet, on the other hand, is observed for health reasons. Before we get into the differences between the two diets, here’s a brief description:

Gluten-free diet

This is a diet followed by people who are intolerant to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten can cause mild to serious health problems for people with celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and wheat allergy.

Vegan diet

A vegan diet is for people who follow veganism [1]Nature Portfolio: What makes a plant-based diet? a review of current concepts and proposal for a standardized plant-based dietary intervention checklist, which is an ethical practice. Its followers refrain from using or consuming animal-derived products, including food, clothes, accessories, and cosmetics. 

The difference

A vegan diet eliminates all animal-sourced foods. A gluten-free diet allows the consumption of the same. Ensure that these foods do not contain/have not been contaminated with gluten.

Foods to eat on a vegan gluten-free diet

Many people have switched to a vegan diet to avoid animal abuse in the last few years. Meanwhile, celiac disease and gluten sensitivity have become real health issues for many. 

Being a vegan with celiac disease demands special attention to what you eat. So, here is a list of foods gluten-free vegans can eat.

  1. Grains: Quinoa, brown rice, wild rice, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, oats
  2. Fruits: Apples, oranges, bananas, pears, grapes, berries, melons
  3. Vegetables: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, spinach, cauliflower
  4. Lentils/Legumes/Nuts: Beans, lentils, peas, peanuts, nuts and seeds, tofu
  5. Non-Dairy Milk: Almond milk, tofu milk, oat milk, coconut milk
  6. Beverages: Black coffee, green tea, lemon tea, herbal tea, coconut water

Foods to avoid on a vegan gluten-free diet

Following a vegan and gluten-free diet cancels out a large number of food items. These include

  1. Meat: Beef, deer, lamb, pork
  2. Seafood: Salmon, tuna, shrimp, crab, oysters
  3. Poultry: Eggs, chicken, turkey, duck, ostrich
  4. Grains: Wheat, rye, barley
  5. Sauces and Condiments: Barbecue sauce, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, honey (non-kosher for vegans)
  6. Beverages: Beer, wine, malted beverages, beverages with honey

Benefits of a vegan gluten-free diet

People globally opt for vegan and gluten-free diets due to a combination of ethical/environmental concerns and health issues like celiac disease. However, this combined diet has many benefits.

1. Prevents chronic diseases

Yes, going gluten-free and vegan reduces the risk of many chronic diseases like heart health issues, obesity, cancer, and type II diabetes.

Animal products like meat and dairy have been observed to increase cholesterol levels. So when you follow a diet that is both vegan and gluten-free, your cholesterol level decreases [2]National Library of Medicine: Cardiometabolic risk factors in vegans; A meta-analysis of observational studies significantly.

2. Relieves symptoms of celiac disease

This diet automatically alleviates the symptoms of celiac disease [3]National Library of Medicine: Celiac Disease by healing the lining of the intestine. Supplementing the gluten-free diet with healthy, vegan foods will speed up gut healing.

3. Aids in weight loss

This diet is ideal if you are struggling with obesity and want to shed extra kilos. This diet eliminates all processed foods as well as fatty, unhealthy animal-based foods. Meanwhile, since you consume more fresh, whole, plant-based foods and less processed/baked foods, your calorie intake decreases automatically. This helps you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

4. Rich in antioxidants

Most vegan foods are high in antioxidants [4]PubMed: Antioxidant status in vegetarians versus omnivores. These antioxidants reduce the risk of many diseases by preventing inflammation in the body. The benefits of this translate into a range of benefits impacting both mental and physical health. 

5. Increases energy

Lethargy is a common problem among people with gluten-related disorders. This is because a damaged gut is incapable of absorbing essential nutrients from food. 

Eliminating all gut-damaging gluten-based foods ensures that the gut is better capable of processing nutrients. When you supplement this with healthy, fresh vegan foods like fruits, vegetables, and nuts, you are bound to feel more energized.

Drawbacks of a vegan gluten-free diet

There are some drawbacks to following a vegan, gluten-free diet. Few are listed below:

1. Lack of nutrients

As this diet eliminates many food groups, you may not get all the nutrients your body needs. For example, you may not get enough vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, and calcium if you don’t consume eggs and dairy. 

Gluten-free diets are notoriously low in fiber. If you are a vegan on a gluten-free diet, you will have to take special care to incorporate fiber-rich foods into your diet.

2. Risk of diabetes

You may miss essential nutrients like magnesium [5]National Library of Medicine: Magnesium and type 2 diabetes, chromium, and fiber, all of which are linked to better blood sugar management. Restricting foods rich in these micro and macro nutrients can increase your risk of type II diabetes. 

So if you have diabetes, it’s important to speak to your doctor before following something as restrictive as a gluten-free, vegan diet.

3. Expensive

Both vegan and gluten-free lifestyles are expensive since the foods allowed in both are often hard to come by and priced higher. This is because the food products consumed in both diets need special manufacturing facilities. These facilities require regular cleaning and testing of the facility and machinery to ensure there is no risk of cross-contamination.

People who should avoid vegan gluten-free diets

For those with celiac disease or other gluten-related disorders, gluten-free products can reduce symptoms and prevent adverse long-term health effects. However, both gluten-free and vegan diets come with challenges of nutritional deficiencies. So here is a list of people who should not try this diet.

  • Not recommended for pregnant women and children as they need to get enough nutrients.
  • Not suitable for people with anemia, as they need iron-rich foods.
  • People with diabetes should speak to a healthcare professional before choosing this diet.
  • Seek medical guidance before starting a vegan, gluten-free diet if you are dealing with certain conditions like bone health issues or eating disorders.

Vegan gluten-free dining

Socializing on this diet seems complicated, but it is not impossible. Here are some things to remember while dining out on this diet.

When ordering, be specific about your requirements, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Some restaurants may not have many vegan or gluten-free options, but most kitchens are willing to make some adjustments to their dishes. For example, if a dish contains meat, the chef may be able to prepare it without meat or with a vegan protein such as tofu.

When it comes to dessert, always inquire about the ingredients before ordering. Many desserts contain gluten or may be made with milk, so they are not suitable for vegans and/or gluten-free dieters.


A vegan diet is a choice, whereas a gluten-free lifestyle is a necessity. If you are a vegan with celiac disease, following a gluten-free, vegan diet is your only option. There are plenty of gluten-free, vegan cookbooks available online. However, it is always a good idea to consult a certified medical professional before starting any diet, particularly one with as restricted a food list as the vegan, gluten-free diet.

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