Vegan Guide for Gluten-Free & Soy-Free Diet

Gluten-Free Diet

basket of veggies

More and more people are switching to gluten-free diet without even knowing what actually gluten is and which ingredients contain it. Gluten is a type of protein contained in wheat and other cereals (but not all cereals) and it can also be found in many products such as mixed spices, salad dressings, vitamins and even lip balms.

Some people choose this type of diet because it is healthy and popular today but there are also those people who have to switch to it because the doctor prescribed it after the diagnosis of celiac disease (organism intolerance to gluten). Whatever the reason is, they have to know that is not easy (nor cheap) being on gluten-free diet. Being on this diet requires to get informed, to open new horizons, to discover new ingredients and bring them to the meals, to balance the meals properly. Being creative and informed when choosing food is very important.

Like we said, it is not easy when it comes to turning to this diet, especially for those who have to do it against their will, but it could be much easier if you start look at it from a positive angle. Here are some useful advices that will make your switching to gluten-free diet easier:

Get informed

Badly planned switching to gluten-free foods can be very dangerous, which means you could supply yourself with inadequate quantity of carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. So, buy yourself a good literature and learn all you need to know.

Pay attention while shopping

Take a walk through the grocery stores and you’ll notice there are more and more shelves dedicated to gluten-free products including cookies, crackers and cereals. While shopping, examine the product labels and look for a mark that says it contains no gluten. Even processed products may also contain gluten. Even if it is specified that it does not contain gluten, check the content of the product. If it contains ingredients with starch, such as potato or beans, they have to be complete and include all the fibers, and nutritional substances.

Gluten is not found in all cereals

There are cereals that naturally don’t contain gluten. These are rice, corn, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, millet, sorghum and oats. These cereals contain gluten only if they are contaminated with wheat during processing. Gluten-free cereals are recommended for daily consumption because they contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. If you want to eat these cereals and to make sure they really do not contain gluten, it is the best for you to buy them from a reputable manufacturer.

Gluten-free diet is more complex

It is not enough only to exclude gluten-free ingredients from your diet, it is also necessary to include the other foods that will make up a wide range of nutritional value that you get from foods with gluten. For example, if you excluded white pasta or rice from your diet, replace it black rice or quinoa. You can substitute food with gluten with fruits, vegetables and nuts. If you stick to the basic rules of a healthy diet, gluten-free diet can be good in every way because it encourages you to think more carefully about what you eat and to plan meals in advance.

Which ingredients are allowed to eat and which to avoid?

Like we said, always read product labels. Also, take a look at this list, it is very helpful.

Soy-Free Diet

We all know soy is a great source of protein but there are lots of doubts about  advantages and disadvantages of this ancient plant today. For years, most of the “alternative” and “mainstream” medias have recommended soy and its products (tofu, soy milk, sauces, puddings…) as a good substitute for meat because it contains a wide range of high-quality protein, fatty acids, fiber, isoflavones and other substances that promise health and vitality.

The customer “boom” began in 1999 after the U.S. agency FDA (Food and Drug Administration) allowed manufacturers to claim that soy products might reduce the risk of heart disease. Since then the consummation of soy has increased significantly and today the soy is used more than ever all over the world. But among experts there is a considerable disagreement about the beneficial effects of soy.

Anyhow, some soy benefits are sure: soy is a rich source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids and a whole range of useful herbal ingredients, so called phytonutrients. It is said that soy improves the health of the bones and reduces the risk of osteoporosis. Several studies have shown that regular consumption of soy may reduce the risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer and uterine cancer (although some experts don’t agree with this statement).

As for the disadvantages of soy, it is known that consuming too often soy and soy products can lead to infertility both men and women. It can change the course of the menstrual cycle and reduce sperm quality. Also, one of the main reasons soy can be considered dangerous lies in the fact that its grain contains high amounts of aluminum.

There are so much more advantages and disadvantages of soy, but all in all, nobody can’t say soy is not a healthy ingredient (unless you consume it too much). So, switching to the soy-free diet is not necessary (or more healthy) unless you are dealing with soy allergy. Since soy allergy is among the 10 most common food allergies, many people are forced to switch to the special diet. Our vegan guide is written to give you good advices and explanations about everything you need to know about soy-free diet.

Most common question: What is soy lecithin?

Lecithin is organic substance found in some plants and animals (it is mostly found in soybeans, egg yolk and the human body). It is a perfect emulsifier that allows incompatible ingredients of relatively stable emulsion to stay together. In the food industry, for example, it is used as an emulsifier in the production of chocolate and margarine. Lecithin is listed among ingredients on almost every label of a food product, drug or dietary product. It is inevitable component of all foods that are dissolved in water or other liquids.

Why lecithin is good?

Lecithin plays an important role in the functioning of the nervous system and helps to maintain normal cholesterol levels. Lecithin is used to decrease triglyceride levels in atherosclerosis as well as to prevent myocardial and the narrowing of the blood vessels. It is also useful against obesity and alcohol abuse because it prevents fats to accumulate in the liver. Lecithin regulates digestion and reduces the feeling of bloating. All in all, it is a very useful medicine that has so many functions and has no adverse effects.

Are people with soy allergy also allergic to soy lecithin and soy oil?

Since lecithin don’t contain soy protein, most people with soy allergy don’t have negative reactions to soy lecithin and soy oil. But, it is all individual; some people are more sensitive to soy than others, so everybody should consult his own doctor in order to find answer to this question.

Which ingredients are allowed to eat and which to avoid?

Here is an useful list of soy ingredients to avoid when following a soy-free diet.