I Tried Being a Gluten Free Vegan (So you don't have to).

Day 1:

Breakfast: Green Smoothie

Lunch: Gluten free, dairy free pizza from Daiya

Snack: Smoothie

Dinner: Sweet Chickpea Baked Potato from The Diet Rewind for Vegetarians

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The food so far has been tasty. I had a green smoothie for breakfast and am making recipes from The Diet Rewind for Vegetarians and excluding any dairy or eggs in these recipes.

I have Celiac disease so I am already gluten free and I have to admit that this will make it a lot easier for me than someone who went from eating normally to excluding all gluten, meat and animal products, that might be a shock to the system.

It’s 3:00 pm and I am pretty hungry even after having another smoothie for a snack.

I did enjoy my Starbucks Latte today with soy milk which I would dare say is even better than with regular milk. At the grocery store today I found a gluten free, dairy free frozen pizza made by Daiya, although pre-made meals are not ideal for a vegan diet or any eating style for that matter but it’s just a fact that most people don’t have time to cook every meal of every day from scratch so I grabbed a few things for the week when I need something fast. I also found Amy’s microwavable meals which are vegan, gluten free, organic and actually entirely delicious.

Day 2:

Breakfast: Green Smoothie (Green Tropical Smoothie from The Diet Rewind is my fave).

Lunch: Leftover baked sweet potato

Snack: none (not hungry)

Dinner: Pea and Carrot Noodle Bowl from The Diet Rewind for Vegetarians

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It sure feels like I’m eating a lot of starch which is fine but even without meat and animal products I’m not feeling light and free like I suspected I might. As I learn more about vegetarian recipes I’m sure I would find more variety and less recipes that rely on a starch base (rice, sweet potatos, gf pasta etc)

Surprisingly with so many restrictions (all wheat products, gluten, meat, eggs, dairy) I’m feeling pretty free to eat a lot of great meals. This way of eating is getting me out of my cooking slump; you know those times when you have three options for dinner: Do we want chicken, beef or pasta? That’s how I have been feeling lately. I was getting way too reliant on just a few options which made cooking a drag.

I’m feel pretty bloated today and not really hungry at all.

Day 3:

 

Breakfast: Easy Latte from The Diet Rewind (made with coconut milk, tastes just like Starbucks) and oatmeal with apple and cinnamon

Lunch: Amy’s Green Curry Meal

Snack:  Hummus and veg

Dinner: Potatoes and Salad (was at mom’s and just didn’t eat the chicken)

I have found my breakfasts and snacks that I usually eat are GF and vegan already like smoothies, oatmeal, nuts, fruit and veg, hummus and crackers etc

So far I’ve been feeling consistently full and not like I am missing out. I really felt like my body would be “missing something” but I haven’t felt that at all. If anything I am feeling like I’m always full, bloated and heavy. I’m assuming this is from the rise in starches.

If I had to go out for dinner this week I think this is where I would find my biggest challenge and I refuse to live a life where I refrain from social events or other fun activities because of dietary restrictions I have placed on myself. This is what worries me about restrictive diets, not the health aspect as much as the social and emotional components.

Day 4:

Breakfast: Smoothie

Lunch: Black Bean Wrap from The Diet Rewind for Vegetarians

Snack: Hummus, crackers and veg

Dinner: Chickpea Salad with avocado, onion, carrots and vinaigrette

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Cooking at home is definitely making things pretty manageable. I planned my meals on the weekend, bought groceries on Sunday and in doing that prep my GF vegan meals this week have been quite straight forward. Jumping in without preparing would be a struggle.

My hunger levels are extremely low which is surprising with excluding meat but I am having a lot of cravings for fatty food like chips and French fries. Although overall I am definitely eating more vegetables when following this way of eating.

I have discovered that GF and vegan do not necessarily mean healthy. Hello fries, chips, pasta, GF bread, fake cheese products, alcohol, ‘fake’ meat products. It really can get out of hand if you don’t prepare for the week properly and research which foods a GF vegan would need in their diet to make sure that you are getting enough variety and nutrients.

Day 5:

The cravings are hitting hard today. I am getting very sick of chickpeas and beans, this is where doing more extensive research into vegan options would help. I’m sure there’s a lot more out there than I am getting into for vegan options.

We are planning a Father’s Day BBQ for this weekend and I am planning on getting GF buns and veggie burgers for myself to feel as included as possible. This is where diets and meal plans scare me, the effects they have on social lives, emotional connection to other people and being included are pretty drastic. We are a social society and a lot of these things surround food, this doesn’t mean you need to make bad choices in these situations but sometimes a girl just wants to be a part of the festivities. Restricting yourself to the point where you can NEVER take part is very dangerous in your relationship with food.

 

If I was serious about maintaining this way of eating long term I could see myself skipping meals or making unhealthy, prepackaged choices too often because it does involve a lot of cooking from scratch to make a satisfying meal but it also encourages me to eat more veggies and fruits throughout the day which is great.

I'm already sick of tracking all my meals...

Day 6:

Buying food for the BBQ today and having all these restrictions is really taking the fun out of it. First of all buying all my own stuff on top of the normal burgers, buns and sides is adding a lot of cost but it also feels a little sad.

I’m looking at veggie burgers in the store and honestly they have a lot more ingredients than the one ingredient of beef in the burgers the rest of the family will eat. I’m making an executive decision and I’m going to have the beef burger tomorrow night.

Day 7:

Well that was a good run, I loved so many of the vegetarian meals but I have been reassured that a lot of restrictions is not healthy for me (and most other people in my opinion). Other than allergies, Celiac disease or sensitivities I don’t see restricting food groups to look a certain way to be beneficial for anyone. Learning how to choose when to indulge in the foods you love without feeling guilt or shame is a valuable lesson that we all need to learn so that we don’t need to restrict like this.

 

Here’s what I learned from living a Gluten Free Vegan lifestyle:

LEAVE THIS BEHIND:

1.     Being fully restrictive about food with no leeway leads to negative emotions around food.

2.     I do not want to live a dieting lifestyle.

3.     I would rather eat things that make me feel good but have no “rules” about what I can eat so that I can be in control of my life and stay healthy and strong.

4.   No cheese ever? I just can't.

 

Here’s what you can take away from a Gluten Free Vegan diet that can help you:

TAKE THIS WITH YOU:

1.     Eating more fruits and vegetables is never a bad thing.

2.     We don’t need to eat meat at every meal to be healthy and get enough nutrients so branch out and try different things.

3.     Those who ARE Gluten Free or Vegan are determined and strong individuals and that is wonderful but this does not mean this way of eating is for everyone. We all need to do what is best for our bodies, everyone is different, so if you know someone who is a vegan or restricts their eating in some other way, don’t fault them. We cannot know what their body feels like so we cannot know what is best for them and vice versa. Focus on your own needs and you’ll do great.