Gluten Free / Meat Free Monday / Musings & Contemplations / Vegan

My thoughts on trying out a Vegan and Gluten Free diet plan

I started a 3 week gluten free and vegan diet at the end of June mainly because I wanted a bit of a detox. My discipline had been lacking over the last few months and I found myself introducing a bit more junk into my day, sometimes without realising I was doing it! I felt that by setting myself a structured diet plan I would have focus on the foods I wanted to eat and I’d have a good reason to say no to the ones I didn’t want to eat! I also was interested to see how I would feel reintroducing wheat and gluten after the 3 weeks because I have often thought I may be intolerant to it!

It’s been really interesting and although I have had a few days not following it strictly (either by lack of planning or by lack of willpower) I have felt a lot of health benefits! I instantly lost a bit of weight, I did not feel uncomfortable after meals at all during the 2 weeks I did strictly follow the diet whereas before I would sometimes experience bloating or an uncomfortable heavy feeling after eating. I have also felt more energetic and I have felt happier consistently which sounds like a strange side effect to a change in diet but I feel like my head has been clearer and I really think it may be down to eating whole foods.

When you say “Vegan AND Gluten Free” to people they tend to think you are crazy, and don’t get me wrong it has been restricted especially when your not preparing your own food at home, but I have not gone hungry and I have eaten a wide variety of foods! Being forced to eat natural, whole foods means you are naturally eating low GI like beans and lentils which keep you fuller for longer.

One time I accidentally went off track was at a gig when a friend came back with a round of beers as the bar had no cider, I decided to drink it anyway and interestingly my stomach was very painful almost instantly after finishing it. I felt sluggish and uncomfortable with sharp pains in my gut, this made me even more determined that I may be intolerant to wheat and gluten! I have cut beer out completely (which is probably an all round good decision) and moved onto Cider  as my pint of choice if we are at a pub. I’m not quite ready to cut alcohol out completely!! :)

Another time was purely me being self indulgent! I bought Scott a lemon tart as a treat whilst I was out with friends however he didn’t eat it. The next day we shared it even though it was very much neither vegan or gluten free! It was delicious but again it didn’t make me feel good afterwards! I think for me this is enough evidence that I should have a proper allergy test to investigate my relationship with wheat and gluten further.

On a more positive note, I have been sharing photos of the meals I have been eating over the past few weeks on my facebook and twitter. The feedback has mainly been “that looks yummy!” which just proves that this diet is full of delicious options.

Some of my favourites have included:

A variety of healthy Breakfasts includingBasil Tofu Scramble with avocado or Apricot and Flax Porridge or my new fave Vanilla French Toast (recipe here)

Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day and I really thought I would have missed my usual eggs after a few weeks however I haven’t! In fact it’s kind of gone in the opposite direction, the thought of rich scrambled eggs makes me feel a little sick. I’m not saying I will never eat an egg ever again but for now I am really happy having lighter vegan foods.

tofu scramble

My Version of a Vegan and Gluten Free “Cooked Breakfast”, perfect for a lazy sunday! Avocado, Grilled Tomatoes, Baked Beans and Basil Tofu Scramble

porridge

My Weekday breakfasts have consisted mainly of Gluten Free Buckwheat Porridge made with Almond Milk and topped with Ground Flax and Fresh Apricot.

vanilla

I couldn’t resist trying out a Vegan French Toast recipe (my first ever try of french toast). I used Gluten Free Fruit Loaf and added blueberries and strawberries for added flavour!

I always try and pack a lunch for work, not only does it save money but it stops me eating rubbish packaged foods when visiting a shop whilst hungry! I love showing off my creative salads and I always feel great after some food! A whole day at a desk is made easier with the knowledge you have some beautiful homemade food to look forward to! Packed lunches for me consist of things like Mexican Chopped Salad, Roasted Vegetables and Quinoa or Gluten Free Pitta breads filled with Roasted Aubergine, Sundried Tomatoes, Avocado and Watercress.

mexican

This is one of my new fave lunches, so healthy and really filling. My tortilla chips went soggy because I put salsa on them but still yum!

quinoa

This was going to be a blog recipe but it really is just roasted veg stirred into quinoa with some balsamic vinegar. So delicious though!

pitta

Gluten Free didn’t quite curb my carbs! But I filled my pittas with loads of veggies and served it with a Carrot Salad

And finally I have also had some really nice Dinners over the last few weeks with plenty of varieties of ingredients and lots of different colours on my plate. Evening meals included Jambalaya with Salsa and Green veg, Moroccan Tagine and Green veg and Gluten Free Pasta bake with…….Green veg! I always have something green on my plate in the evening, it makes me feel like I am ending the day on a good note.

jambalaya

Jambalaya! Great served with spicy salsa and greens :)

pasta bake

I really enjoyed having a bit of gluten free pasta, I kept my portion size down and tried to fill half my plate with veg at all times!

tagine

I really like tagine and it’s something a bit different to have as a midweek supper, really easy to make and you can freeze leftovers!

I found that following this diet naturally lended itself to three proper meals with only one or two snacks. I had such a huge variety of foods at each meal and was aware of keeping everything balanced to make sure I get enough protein etc so I didn’t feel the need for much more food. Snacks I have eaten were mainly nuts and seeds, apples, cherry tomatoes, plain popcorn, the occasional gluten free pitta with some peanut butter and plenty of crudités and salsa.

Because I did find myself falling back into old habits slightly after 2 weeks I gave myself a weekend off completely and then got back on track today. After one day where I ate bread, pasta, cheese, wine and chocolate (I know, I know, I didn’t just fall off the wagon I got run over by the wagon twice!) I felt so depressed and fat and just awful! It reminded me that these changes I am making, and the journey I have been on pretty much since starting this blog, are a lifestyle I am building which will last forever. You have to be realistic and accept that there will be days where you do just eat rubbish but I also want to feel and look amazing most of the time!

Another observation I found (I’m nearly done I promise!) is that eating well these past few weeks has encouraged me to start exercising properly again. When you feel great on the inside you want it to be reflected on the outside! Also by exercising regularly it makes those junk days less of a problem because you can work it off!

So yes, vegan and gluten free….it’s something I have enjoyed very much and I will take the ethos forward with me in my diet. I don’t feel the need to label myself as vegan and gluten free quite yet but I definitely have realised that wheat, gluten and animal products are really not necessary for an enjoyable and balanced diet! :)

About these ads

27 thoughts on “My thoughts on trying out a Vegan and Gluten Free diet plan

  1. Pingback: Fresh and Herby Salsa Verde | veghotpot

  2. Pingback: Curried Puy Lentils with Plum Tomatoes and Spinach | veghotpot

  3. I used to be a bread and potatoes girl…I used to weigh a LOT more than I do now ;). Even as a vegan you can still be big. I dumped white flour, white bread, white rice etc and then I stopped eating most grains that contained gluten. Not because I was gluten intolerant but because I wanted to see how my body reacted. I have started eating juk (Korean rice porridge) for breakfast but predominately made with pumpkin. It’s delicious and sweetened with date paste its a really tasty way to start the day. I add some cooked black beans and it sets me up for ages and gives me heaps of energy and no glycemic slump. Glad your detox helped :)

    • Indeed, when I first went vegetarian I dropped weight because I was really focusing on eating beans/ lentils etc but then I just started eating carbs for a while and I realised juct simply cutting out meat doesn’t automatically mean weight loss! :) Your breakfast sounds interesting!!!

      • I am now in the process of making up all kinds of pastes using date paste. I cooked up (steamed) some chestnuts and have made chestnut puree out of them. I used half to mix with date paste and it tastes lovely, sort of like that chestnut cream that you can buy. I am going to do the same thing with black beans and aduki beans. Then I am going to make some tahini out of some black sesame seeds that I recently bought and am going to mess about with a wealth of juk recipes that I found online. And people say that veggo’s are “boring” in what they eat ;).

  4. Very interesting to read about how you’ve felt after being (mostly ;-) ) GF and vegan. Looks as if you’ve eaten a wonderful variety of yummy foods! Though I’m not GF, I do feel better if I go lighter on foods containing gluten.

  5. A good round up of meals there. I do my own baked beans in winter, I’ve got the recipe down to a tee, finally, (recipe somewhere on my blog) and it works out much cheaper than buying them (I used to buy organic ones/sugar free) but overall I find breakfast a difficult meal. The vanilla french toast was interesting, not sure whether I will try it though. Back in olden days when we made it with egg, it was called eggy bread.

    I make up salad pots for my partner every day, usually two different ones so he has variety. One of the staples is roasted pepper salad, the usual salad leaf and salad mix, sometimes avocado, olives, and as we like pickles, gherkins and silverskin onions. It’s not always vegan so I might add say part of a quorn steak or a vegetarian sausage (Cauldron). Pieces of cooked (fried) tempeh would also work well.

    One of the links on your post above talked about a visit to a dietician last year. I’m really dubious about the quality of advice you get from dieticians. They are obsessed with protein. I don’t think half of them realise that protein is present in a number of vegetables, particularly the legumes, and that you also get complementary proteins depending on how you balance your meals. Most western diets have far too much protein. A friend of mine went on a high protein diet – I mean, this was in fashion 35 years ago! – and in the end she went back to her normal diet and felt much better.

    Your food looks excellent and I think your idea of lots of greens for every meal is laudable (I say this because we didn’t have any last night). Anyway, I must off to make up some salad pots.

    • Really interesting you said that about dieticians because the guy I went to see just kept on and on about protein. He wanted me to eat fish and eggs every morning followed by chicken etc. It’s just too much, especially when I’m not a particuarly active person!

      I love pickles and gherkins etc! They’re a great way to jazz up a salad :)

      • This protein thing is so old hat. It’s like when my mum was brought up with the five important things to eat – fish meat eggs cheese milk. Dear me. You would think people would have moved on in 50 years but apparently not. The only change seems to be chicken and fish instead of red meat. Yawn. I truly think that many vegetarians/vegans know far more about a balanced diet than so-called dieticians.

        When my mum was diagnosed with diabetes, she got a diet sheet. It was appalling. It was the most basic drivel I had seen for some time, plus there was no detail, plus there was no healthy eating advice, no recipes, just nothing, and this was for woman who was nearly 80 who had recently been widowed and she got one sheet of A4 that had zilch to say. I’ve read far better advice on the internet from people who have diabetes, eg eat chillies, legumes etc

        The activity aspect is interesting. I’m not very active at the moment :( so yes, we eat less. Or lighter. Or whatever. Yesterday, I had fake salami and salad for lunch and pizza (lots of it) for tea.

        There are so many great vegan blogs out there, if you need advice or whatever, I’d be asking them first. Or people who have been vegetarian/vegan/gluten free or whatever for 20 or 30 years and are still healthy. There are plenty of us out there. I’m not GF but I’ve not eaten fish or chicken in years. Eggs from my own chickens yes, but as they aren’t laying, no eggs. It’s my one slip from being vegan.

        Do you use tempeh? tofu? seitan? staples in my fridge.

        • I’ve eaten more tofu than normal recently but I’ve never tried tempeh or seitan!! Think I need to learn how to make it because I can’t find where to buy it in the uk!

          I have learnt so much from other bloggers in the 2 years I’ve been writing my blog. My interest in nutrition and health (and cooking) has just grown and grown :)

    • Lots of things like bean stews, veggie bakes etc are great and easy to make :) I found it was only when I was out and about all day that it became difficult to find foods to eat from the shops!

  6. This is a ll so true, well done for sticking it out. The whole detox/ retox thing works both ways, Ive been on the receiving end of both (had a wicked comedown after giving up coffee, thought my head was going to implode!) We went to Dublin for a day filled with Guiness and fried stuff a while back and a similar thing happen, I felt like death warmed up. We are trying to stick to a happy medium, this month its full on raw vegan health vibes, but generally, little treats are amazing, big treats too! A bottle of good wine is worth a shabby morning after, no question. Great article, lovely looking grub, cheers! Happy days, lee

    • I definitely agree, treats are good :) and that’s an interesting point of view about the side effects of both giving things up and over indulging! A happy medium is a happy place to be! Loving your raw month so far by the way! So inspiring x

  7. So interesting to read this post, I really enjoyed it!

    I definitely have a feeling that I need to be more mindful in my eating, so this was well timed, too.

    • I have found that just making small changes such as including more greens or cutting out bread have helped me take larger steps without really realising it! Really glad you enjoyed the post, good luck with the healthy eating :) x

  8. As a gluten-free vegan person, I can say that life is good and the junk food isn’t that bad for you. /noms guacamole and corn chips. :)

I love hearing what you all have to say!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s