Plant-Based Diet – Introduction
If you suffer with celiac disease or an intolerance to gluten, gluten-free eating is a mandatory diet that enables you to feel well. You simply have no choice but to avoid the protein called gluten found in wheat-related grains for such health reasons.
One of the ways that you can enjoy a gluten-free lifestyle is by eating a plant-based diet. However, many plant-based items might include gluten. Having said that, if you apply common sense, you can enjoy gluten-free plant-based food.
Let’s find out how.
The great thing regarding the diet is that it is based on whole plant foods. This includes beans, lentils, vegetables, pulses, fruit, plus herbs and of course spices. All of these are naturally gluten-free, as you would expect. However, whole grains are also one of the leading food groups on that list of plant foods you should eat for a balanced diet.
So whether you are doing plant-based or conventional eating, you simply need to substitute the grains containing gluten for the gluten-free grains, i.e., quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), brown rice and wild rice, buckwheat, amaranth, and millet.
Also, a lot of other products that are used in this form of eating contain gluten. These are products that give your food flavour and depth. If you didn’t use them, your meals could be incredibly dull!
Again, substitute the products for gluten-free ones. It is that easy.
Wheat, rye, barley etc. Already covered above.
Pasta and noodles
Bread, rolls, etc.
Always apply the golden rule, check the labelling. Then, check out the products in our shop.
Whatever you do, avoid cross-contamination with food containing gluten in your home. Ensure the products you purchase are certified as free from gluten, i.e., not prepared in an establishment where gluten products are also made.
Here are some products that are always welcome in the storecupboard for someone following a gluten-free, plant-based regime. Some of these may surprise you:
Plant-Based Diet – Food you Should Eat
Veg and tubers – this is pretty obvious. Any vegetables that you can lay your hands on are good for you – carrots, spuds, parsnips, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage – get them all in you. Better still, grow your own. You don’t even need a veg plot or garden – some pots on the balcony or patio will give you plenty of carrots and potatoes, and you can grow runner beans up against a wall.
Take a look at the Grow Your Own Secrets for a huge list of what to grow and how to grow it.
Herbs – if you want to add lots of flavour to your dishes, do yourself a big favour and grow some herbs on a windowsill or balcony. There is nothing like the taste of fresh basil, chives, thyme, rosemary, or some chervil to add that little extra flavour to our food.
Chickpeas – a wonderful legume, and highly beneficial to your health, concerning digestion, etc. You can use these in a variety of ways. Have you ever had chickpea curry? Delicious. And, of course, they are used in hummus. Try them on salads and in soups too. By the way, you can use chickpea flour instead of wheat flour. It is a great alternative, rich in nutrients.
Of course, you should attack all the other legumes too – kidney beans, mung beans, soybeans, adzuki beans etc. so many to choose from!
Flaxseeds and chia seeds – these contain omega-3, which your body needs. Note: always grind up these seeds, as this releases the benefits. Without going off on a tangent, flaxseeds have been used to help prevent cancers (although I have no hard evidence regarding this).
These seeds are amazingly versatile and can be added to just about anything you like – sprinkle onto yoghurt, put them in smoothies, use on salads, rice dishes, add to porridge and baked goods.
Almonds – Like flaxseeds and chia seeds, can be used in anything – baked goods (almond flour) toppings on cakes and salads. Toast them for a snack (you can buy ready toasted almonds) or eat them raw. Many products are derived from almonds – almond milk, butter, oil, flour, etc.
Lentils: These are so versatile and a vital ingredient in a plant-based diet. Use them instead of meat in spaghetti bolognese, add to soups, etc.
Quinoa (keen-wah) – use cooked on salads. Some eat it instead of porridge, adding fruit, nuts, yoghurt etc., as a topping. Try it instead of meat in tacos (although we prefer lentils for that). Add to stews and soups. And, of course, you can make quinoa flour to use in cakes and crumbles.
Peanut butter – in our view, an essential addition to a plant-based diet, as peanuts are rich in protein and healthy fats.
Nutritional yeast – creates a cheesy flavour for your food. Contains lots of nutrients and is high in fibre. It is the same type of yeast used for beer making and bread making. Note: only take in small amounts. Large amounts could actually cause minor digestive problems or a flushed appearance in the face.,
Buckwheat – use it in place of carbs like rice, potatoes, pasta, couscous. It makes a great side dish for stews and curries or with salads instead of couscous, rice, and bulgar wheat. Buckwheat is exceptionally beneficial to your health too.
Tofu – made from dried soybeans that have been soaked, then crushed and boiled up. Tofu is a good source of protein. Make sure you only get the plain tofu, not the product that has been seasoned. It is an excellent meat substitute, or you could whip it up for a smoothie, put it in soups and salads. It is highly versatile.
Nuts and seeds – any nuts and seeds are good for you when taken in moderation. It’s a part of the Mediterranean diet – go to any bar or restaurant (in non-Covid days) and you will see the floor littered with peanut shells and sunflower seed husks. They love to snack on them.
Microgreens and sprouting seeds – now here is something that you may not have thought of. Microgreens and sprouting seeds are jam-packed with nutrition. In fact, microgreens (baby greens) are far more nutritious than their bigger versions.
They are so easy to grow, and even the kids can join in, as the seeds sprout so fast. Within 7 – 14 days of sewing the microgreen seeds in trays or putting the sprouting seeds in jars, you can harvest your crop to sprinkle on salads, put in sandwiches or eat as a snack. and you can decorate your food with them too like they do in fancy restaurants. What’s more is that they are really cheap to buy and grow, as you don’t need many seeds for a whole trayful of highly nutritious greens.
We grow radish, sunflower, coriander, pea shoots, spinach, broccoli, basil, rocket etc. Try them yourself. They are available on amazon:
PLANT-BASED DIET SUMMARY
This list is by no means exhaustive. However, it gives you an outline of some great, healthy things that you can spice up a plant-based diet and make it far from boring. And when you put together a lifestyle plan of plant-based eating along with gluten-free, you create a wonderfully healthy way to live your life, pain-free and full of energy!
Would you like 160 plant-based recipes? Visit our SHOP and download your copy.
Also, check out the excellent burgers we make, using the Easy Mix Burgers product, available in our shop!
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