Veganuary has grown in popularity over the last few years but how easy it is to be Vegan and have Coeliac, we talk new supermarket vegan gluten free products and also some tips on what to eat to make sure you get all the right nutrients
Trying Veganuary is more popular than ever this year, although I am not doing it myself this year I have dabbled with Vegan cooking and baking in the past and know so many people giving it a try whether just for the month or permanently.
Being gluten free and Vegan will no doubt add some other challenges into the mix but there are loads of Vegan food options popping up all over the place. Marks and Spencer have released 60 Vegan products this month however a lot of them aren't gluten free, my local store doesn't have a whole lot in but I did find a few gluten free options in there:-
Marks and Spencer No Chic'n Nuggets
Sweet Potato Falafel
No Chic'n Nuggets
No Chic'n Chunks
No Meat Mince
There are a few that don't have gluten containing ingredients but state they are not safe for Coeliacs so make sure you check for the gluten free label.
These were in all the fridge section but there may be more floating all round the shop.
Sainsburys have also got some new Vegan products in including veggie sausages and burgers, and don't forget you can get Promise Gluten Free Vegan bread from Sainsburys too, despite not being Vegan I have this bread a lot as it is one of the nicest. Also if you are lucky enough to have a Sainsburys that does the fresh in store baked gluten free bread, this is also Vegan and happens to be the best gluten free bread ever.
When there is a big event on you can be sure Aldi will get in on it in and they have a fabulous range of Vegan products in, a lot of which are also gluten free, but like always with Aldi you have to go digging through for some of it, however some of the products they have in though in their SpecialBuys section are as follows:-
Lazy Days Biscuits
Tilda Rice Packets
Meridian Peanut Butter
Hellmans Vegan Mayo
Srirachi Mayo Sauce
When you are following a Vegan diet it is important to make sure you get enough nutrients that you would usually get from meat, fish, egg and dairy. Protein and calcium are the biggest groups you need to make sure you replace along with omega-3, vitamin D and vitamin B12. There are other nutritional elements you also need to make sure you include but these 5 are the ones that get forgotten the most.
For protein there are loads of plant based alternatives to meat, some of the most popular though aren't suitable for a gluten free diet but there is still plenty of alternatives.
- Tofu, from soy beans, is a great alternative to meat and is one of the highest in protein along with edamame bean (otherwise known as soy beans). Soy is also rich in iron.
- Lentils are perfect for curries and soups and are high in fibre and iron as well as protein.
- Beans, most varieties of beans and chickpeas are really high in protein plus many other beneficial nutrients and they have been proven to control blood sugar and lower blood pressure.
- Peas are a fabulous little vegetable which is high in not only protein but B vitamins, iron, zinc and copper.
- Quinoa, an ancient grain which is gluten free, it is a great alternative to couscous or rice and is rich in protein, fibre and iron.
- Flax seeds can they be used in porridge or as egg replacer in baking. To make a flax egg just mix 1tbsp of ground flaxseed with 3tbsp of water and it will just almost gelatinous in texture. Flax is also high in fibre and omega-3 fatty acids.
-Nut butters, rich in protein and can be used in breakfasts, on sandwiches or to bake with.
When in comes to calcium nut milks have always been popular as they are also fortified, almond milk in particular is a great one as it is also high in protein but all nut milks or even soy or rice milk are great especially for calcium.
To ensure you get enough calcium though there isn't only nut milks to consider, leafy green vegetables are the highest calcium rich vegetables, spinach and kale are the best when it comes to calcium. Tahini, which is made from sesame seeds is also rich in calcium, some of the protein rich foods mentioned above, edamame beans and tofu especially are also rich in calcium.
For Omega-3 the best foods to have are chia seeds, sprouts, walnuts and flaxseeds, all of these can be worked into delicious salads, dips and breakfasts to make sure you get enough of this essential nutrient.
Vitamin D does mostly come from sunlight but we don't get enough in the UK so at some points in the year we do become deficient, especially during winter. The top ways to get enough vitamin D on a Vegan diet are fortified nut or soy milk (also calcium rich),mushrooms and tofu. Like with Vitamin D, B12 mostly relies on fortified plant milks.
Relying on a plant filled diet means you do have to be more creative in how you get all your nutrients in but there is no reason it can't be done and you also don't have to miss out on "junk" food. Just because you follow a Vegan diet doesn't mean you don't want to eat unhealthy stuff and these days pizza and pies are readily available, however cakes and sweet stuff isn't always as easy to obtain.
You may think free from aisles would hold egg free cakes but no, most if not all contain egg so you end up having to make your own. You may be daunted with the thought of no egg in a cake but there are alternatives to cake with eggs. Flax can be used as an egg as mentioned above or you can use oil as a replacement. Banana also acts as an egg replacement too. I have a few vegan cake recipes including Jamaican Ginger Cake
and super quick mug cakes including this Carrot Cake
If you need more ideas for vegan recipes
there are a few over in our recipe section from soups and main meals to cakes.
If you are taking part in Veganuary, good luck and enjoy finding new ways to enjoy food, let us know how you find being gluten free and vegan and your top tips for being both Coeliac and Vegan!