Are you thinking about skipping your bacon habit for something a little leaner and greener—say a kale farro bowl with chickpeas? You are certainly not alone. There’s no doubt about it; plant-based eating is hot! This eating style tops just about every diet and food trend list in the country. In fact, a recent report found that veganism jumped 600%. According to Nielsen, 39% of Americans are trying to eat more plant-based foods.
One of the beauties of a plant-based diet is that it is based on whole plant foods—beans, lentils, vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices. These are all naturally gluten-free! However, whole grains are also one of the main food groups on that list of whole plant foods. There are a few gluten-containing whole grains (all forms of wheat, rye, and barley) there are plenty of gluten-free whole grains on the list, including buckwheat, brown rice, wild rice, sorghum, amaranth, millet, and quinoa. If you base your eating style on whole plant foods, it’s quite simple to eat a gluten-free plant-based diet; all you do is swap out gluten-containing grains for gluten-free grains.
Plant-Based Foods That May Contain Gluten
Watch out for popular plant-based foods, which may contain gluten. Check the labels and look for the gluten-free certification just to make sure. Since the grains wheat, rye, and barley can’t be enjoyed on a gluten-free diet, they may be an ingredient in many plant-based foods—even the flavoring or sauces may contain these ingredients.
What Do Gluten-Free Vegans Eat?
If you’re on a plant-based diet, you can also be gluten-free. Here’s what you can eat:
- Gluten-free whole grains, including wild rice, brown rice, quinoa, millet, and others
- Corn and corn-based flours and syrups
- Legumes, including lentils, beans, and soy-based foods like tofu and tempeh
- Nut milks, such as soy milk, almond milk, and macadamia milk
- Dairy-free chocolate made from cacao and nut butter
- Flour made from nuts, such as almond flour
- Other flours like rice flour, coconut flour, cassava flour, and tapioca flour
- Rice noodles
- Nori (dried, edible seaweed)
- Oils, including olive oil, vegetable oil, and coconut oil
A note about oats: Oats are a gluten-free whole grain, and that’s true whether you’re eating rolled oats, steel cut oats, oat bran, or oat groats.
Before beginning any diet, consult a nutritionist who can help you actualize your health goals. If you’re looking to begin eating a gluten-free vegan diet, learn the foods you’ll need to eat in order to get the right vitamins and minerals.