Gluten-Free, Slow-Carb, and Vegan
July 22, 2014 3:12 PM   Subscribe

Greetings All: I have been reading up on transitioning to a vegan diet and there are so many things to think about. One of the best comments I received from someone on a previous post is that eating vegan does not equal being healthy necessarily. So I have been reading some books about eating a healthy vegan diet. I would also like to avoid gluten and somehow work on making this a slow-carb diet if at all possible.

That being said, getting started is kind of overwhelming me. I don't want to turn this into paralysis by analysis, but I do want to start preparing some meals that are healthy and at the very least vegetarian. I was hoping that others could make some recommendations as far as a practical shopping guide for me to get started with this endeavor. I know that I am going to need to prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the first few weeks and that I will need something to snack on as well. Could someone give me some easy recipes to get started with as far as the three meals go? The last thing I want to do is to get started on this transformation and be eating even more unhealthy than I have been. I am roughly fifty pounds overweight, so this is a really important thing for me to get right.
posted by nidora to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Eating both vegan and gluten free is going to be much harder than either of them on their own- and has the easy potential to make this incredibly overwhelming. Is the vegan diet a bigger goal for you?

How comfortable are you cooking? What sort of supplies do you have now?
posted by Nimmie Amee at 3:25 PM on July 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Going Vegan is much more important than the gluten free component!
posted by nidora at 3:28 PM on July 22, 2014

I'm a carnivore who has nonetheless followed Oh She Glows for years and even incorporated many of the vegan recipes into my normal rotation. She started leaning gluten free in the past couple of years and there are tons of great resources and recipes there.
posted by telegraph at 3:30 PM on July 22, 2014

Best answer: Appetite for Reduction and Vegan for Life are your answers on the vegan end of things. AFR for recipes and VFL for making sure you don't accidentally give yourself a nutritional deficiency with overly enthusiastic dieting or give up veganism because you feel crummy and think animal protein is the answer when really you're just not eating enough calories or you've suddenly increased your fiber intake by 300%.

Some easy food ideas that meet your criteria:

- hummus or other bean dip + veggies for lunches or snacks
- quinoa stir fried with cashews, pineapple, peppers, shelled edamame, etc for dinner (there's a great recipe for this in Veganomicon)
- tofu scramble, oatmeal/quinoa/other porridge + nuts, apples with pb or almond butter are all good breakfast choices
- soup is always a great option - gazpacho and such for summer, lentil or split pea for winter
- black bean burgers are great over salad with avocado
- hearty salads: chickpeas/lentils, quinoa/other grains, kale/spinach, almonds, plus your choice of crunchy veggies and herbs dressed with lemon + olive oil + s&p make great packed lunches. They're also pretty much infinitely variable.
posted by snaw at 3:31 PM on July 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

I think the recipes on Deliciously Ella are very close to, if not exactly, what you're looking for.

(I can't vouch for how they turn out b/c I'm allergic to pretty much everything she uses, but they certainly look nice and uber healthy!)
posted by DestinationUnknown at 4:27 PM on July 22, 2014

So, I bookmarked this a while ago: Buzzfeed's Clean Eating Challenge - "The [two-week] plan is low-carb and gluten-free with an emphasis on lean protein (no red meat) and fresh produce."

And I found it from this AskMeFi question: Healthy Food for Dummies

(Also I bookmarked this from an answer on the same question: The Stone Soup - because the blogger provides a lot of variations on her recipes for vegetarian/low-carb/gluten-free, etc.)

Now, I'm an ovo-lacto vegetarian, so I could not do that plan as written (and it wouldn't be feasible for me to do so anyway, since I'm not just feeding myself) but I bookmarked it because it has some great meal ideas that are easily made vegetarian (for instance, here in Ontario I buy President's Choice vegetarian chicken breasts (frozen) and use them in many recipes that call for chicken).

Meat substitutes have really come a long way in the past decade - much tastier now and healthier. They make it easy to throw together something simple & balanced - I do find it easier to focus on eating healthy if I don't have to do anything complicated. Of course the caveat is that they are processed food, but it's important for me to get enough protein and they help me to do that without piling on calories or carbs (I prefer to eat low-carb - it works better for my body when I do).

Anyway, reading your question, it struck me you could use those links as a nice jumping-off point, especially if you're not already vegan. It would give you ideas for low-carb/gluten-free meals that you can transition to vegan as you get more comfortable with your meal-planning abilities.

Oh, here's another thought I just had for getting meal ideas: EatingWell's 28 Day Vegetarian Meal Plan and vegetarian/vegan recipes. Their recipes are healthy, tasty, and while I wouldn't call them dead simple they're usually not complicated.
posted by flex at 8:17 PM on July 22, 2014

Also, as flex suggested, you might want to see what you think about fake meats. I like a lot of them, and think they're handy for adding some extra protein when you don't feel like beans/tofu/tempeh for dinner.

My favorites are: field roast sausages (great just fried up, also fantastic on pizza or pasta), gardein nuggets and burgers, and beyond meat "chicken" strips (really good for tacos and on salads).

Smoked tofu is also a great staple to keep in the fridge. It makes great sandwiches and is wonderful sliced onto salad.
posted by snaw at 8:19 AM on July 23, 2014

I am insanely fond of 101 Cookbooks by Heidi Swanson. Her recipes are delicious, healthy, and very handily tagged (by category, including vegan and gluten free, ingredient, and season). She's also written a number of cookbooks.

Breakfast delights:
  • porridge, especially steel cut oats. Can be topped with non-dairy milk of choice, chopped & toasted nuts, fresh or dried fruit. Mixing in spices while cooking is great, too. I make this in a programmable device (slow cooker, rice cooker, etc), but you can also make up a big batch at the beginning of the week, portion it out, and just heat up what you need for one meal. Barley can be an interesting, though chewy, change.

  • For a fancier breakfast, I love the scrambled tofu from Vegan with a Vengeance.

  • Lunch & Dinner:
    Never underestimate the value of a bowl: protein+green+carb (often optional) Dressing/marinade/spices/onion, garlic, ginger as needed/desired.
    You'll find plenty of these on the 101 Cookbooks and also in Appetite for Reduction by the same author as Vegan with a Vengeance and the Veganomicon (take the low fat advice with a grain of salt; the recipes, though, are good).
  • Cornbread, spicy beans, collard greens

  • Brown rice, tofu fried in coconut oil, sauteed veg (like bok choi, broccoli)

  • Fancy pants salad with all the fixings (two+ kinds of lettuce, tomato, cucumber, carrots, olives, roasted red peppers, etc) + beans/nuts/soy or nut cheese

  • Sauteed chard or kale or other leafy green + tempeh (barbecue is great as it hot wing style)

  • posted by carrioncomfort at 11:46 AM on July 23, 2014

    Response by poster: Thank you everyone for some great ideas and book recommendations!
    posted by nidora at 3:20 PM on July 23, 2014

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