If you’re wondering how to thrive on a gluten free vegan lifestyle, worry no more. Here I will attempt to answer the most common questions I get asked, paving the way for you to also benefit from fitness and health while avoiding gluten, meat, fish and dairy (etc.).
Table of Contents
1. If I Want to Change, Should I go Vegetarian First or Vegan?
Firstly, the most important thing is that you must follow your own path and take it step by step, and quite often that may mean going vegetarian first and vegan later. For some people, they go all the way to vegan straight off.
For me now, after all my life as a vegetarian, the answer is clear that vegan is the only way for me to live in alignment with my beliefs. And like so many other people who become vegan, I’m left wondering why I didn’t do it sooner, why I didn’t learn quicker.
I’m now aware that the dairy and leather industry are at least as cruel (or crueler than, if that’s possible,) the meat industry. When I was vegetarian I naively believed that we could use the dead bodies of animals to make leather without causing suffering: I thought leather was a by-product.
I thought we would evolve to be more kind, more loving & more humane. Instead, we’ve evolved to be more barbaric and more desensitised. We’ve turned animals into products. Living breathing beings who have the same right to be on the planet as we do, condemned to lives of suffering and misery beyond our wildest imagination.
But it’s really important to realise that as humans, we can’t take a step bigger than the reach of our legs: it’s impossible to hop from the UK to Australia in one leap. You have to take millions of steps to cover those kind of kilometres, and the same is true of any kind of deep learning journey.
One step in the right direction is more important than a hundred steps with no direction, so just go ahead and make a change, any change in your habits. Do what you can and keep learning while you make the changes.
I want my lifestyle to be as close to 100% vegan as possible, but in today’s world that is extremely difficult if not impossible, so I do what I can and I keep striving to discover more information, source more ethical and sustainable products.
It’s a learning curve which I will be on for the rest of my life unless some catalyst comes along to change our human experience as we know it. In the meantime, I and you and everyone else who wants to make a change, has to accept that we can do our little bit but we can’t get it all right. There will always be more to learn.
2. What are Your Reasons for Being Vegan?
When I meet an animal I meet another living being with emotions of love, joy, hunger, fear, loyalty, compassion, curiosity, anxiety and more. Just like us. I see eyes shining from a living being.
I’ve never been able to understand the double standards of being horrified by cruelty to a dog yet ok with cruelty for food. Survival is one thing but we aren’t talking survival here, we’re talking atrocities. We’re talking mass production. Robotic systematic cruelty so that a person can have the flavour of meat on their plate.
We didn’t evolve to eat like this; we’ve been programmed by our upbringing & society to eat this way! No child wants to eat their bunny and no wild human being in history sat down to a meal of steak, chicken, pork, filet or turkey every meal of the day as they do today.
And no animal in history was more abused than the modern day animal born into the mass meat market. To answer the question honestly, I would have to write a whole book, because there are more fundamental reasons to be vegetarian or vegan than I could list.
But in the name of simplicity there is one answer I could give which would give an idea, though normally, the person asking the question isn’t actually interested. They’re just asking in a kind of OMG, why on earth would you give up meat? kind of way.
But there’s one really simple answer:
I hate cruelty & suffering.
If I don’t want to cause suffering, I would be a hypocrite to support it by paying an industry to inflict it.
When I look into the eyes of an animal I see a fellow living, breathing soul and I wonder how could I wish to harm that being?SGE
And that goes for all animals I’ve ever met in my life. So for me they simply don’t represent food. I’ve never ever looked at a steak and thought yum and I’ve never felt I was missing out or wished I could eat anything I’ve chosen not to eat.
Apart from this major reason there are a thousand others ranging from every single reason in the book. In a nutshell, saving the animals, saving the planet, saving my health, living in peace with a clear conscience.
I’m very, very happy being a vegan.
I respect life of all forms. I will walk around the ants to avoid stepping on them, because they are alive too, so why would I want to walk over them?
3. Why Don’t You Eat Fish?
As a vegetarian or as a vegan, this question is almost a non-question. Fish are alive. They are creatures. Therefore, if I don’t eat living beings, why would fish be any different?
I know some people say I’m vegetarian but I eat fish but I’ve never understood why.
I see fish as animals and they’ve never looked anything like a food source to me. I’ve always hated the sight of a fish being pulled from the sea or river with a hook through its mouth (a hook through it’s mouth, I mean really. . . ?) only to be placed on the side, thrashing for air until it dies.
I don’t know how anyone can view that as normal. For me, fish and seafood look even less edible than meat, if that’s even possible.
4. Why don’t Vegans Eat Eggs?
Vegans don’t believe in eating eggs because even if you have a happy chicken in your garden, the chicken and egg industry behind it is hideously cruel. To get the chicken to your garden you are supporting the chicken industry (unless it’s a rescued chicken).
I’m repelled by the egg industry because of its shameless treatment of chicks (who are often ground up alive). The wrongness lies in the industry rather than the act of eating eggs (in my opinion) and if there are happy chickens running around laying unfertilised eggs then the act of consuming them is not directly causing harm.
However, the male chicks in the industry are the ones who get put onto a conveyor belt and either ground up alive or gassed in a gas chamber because we humans don’t have a use for too many cockerels.
If you’re going to sell chicks for the egg laying industry, to produce the happy hens in the garden, you have to get rid of the cocks somehow, and so they are slaughtered. In fact it’s such an interesting question that gets asked time and time again, so I wrote an entire post on whether vegans will eat eggs if free ranged.
Some vegans do eat eggs and some vegans eat the eggs of chickens who have been rescued from horrible conditions and given a good life in the vegan’s garden.
We used to have chickens and they were pets, additions to our family. The largest hen, Madam, was a giant, and she used to stroll into the kitchen to say hello or ask for a treat! I never stole their eggs, I just collected the abandoned ones. If a hen became broody, she would sit on her eggs and hatch her chicks.
I loved Madam and her companions and I have nothing against people keeping chickens but I am disgusted by the chicken and egg industry in general.
Personally I don’t eat eggs because I refuse to support the egg industry and also I’ve never been keen on eating eggs anyway, so it’s no big deal for me to stop buying them . . . and I don’t have my own chickens.
5. Why Don’t Vegans Eat Cheese?
I used to love cheese. Tasty caprese salad, Old Amsterdam, blue cheese, soft cheese, young or mature, I loved it all. But I was blind. I just carried on believing that I wasn’t harming the cows, as though there were a veil over my face and until I removed that veil I just didn’t see.
Until I did, and when I realised the true horror that the dairy industry inflicts, then I knew I would never again want to eat cheese. Nowadays, give me a caprese salad made with vegan mozzarella any day!
The mother cow has just as strong a motherly instinct as we humans do, yet we take her baby off her within the first two days (average). While that may sound sentimental to some, to me it sounds like torture.
I just don’t rest easy thinking of the mother calling for her baby and going through all that stress just so I can take her baby’s milk for my cheese.
In addition to the crazy, disgusting notion that we steal a baby’s milk, there is the well documented fact that cow’s milk isn’t healthy for humans.
Cows’ milk is a perfect growth-food-formula for a baby calf who will grow up to weigh around 700-800kg but we humans don’t have that profile and the milk is not suitable for our needs. Dairy is highly inflammatory as well as being at the top of the top 5 allergens of all foods.
6. What do You Eat in Non-Vegan Friendly Restaurants in Spain?
This depends where you’re based. I live inland in Andalusia and as a gluten free vegan I struggled to find interesting food (or anything) when I’m out and about. But I have to say that it’s getting so much better all the time.
When I first came to Malaga 26 years ago, a jacket potato didn’t exist in the eateries, now it can be found in Malaga in a few places, even in a traditional chicken restaurant you will find the best jacket potato with a side of veggies.
The only thing is that as the Spanish people don’t eat the skins, they aren’t prepared for eating so I have to waste my favourite part of the potato! Such good value in this local place!
Seriously, at the time of writing, this meal will set you back a mere 6€!! In the photo you can only see a little bit of the veggies, which came on a separate plate.
In our small village of just 3000 inhabitants, we have a tapas bar which caters for gluten free. And because they know me, they always come to the table and tell me what they can offer me that’s vegan on that day.
Normally, in small villages, the options for eating will be a tomato salad, or a mixed salad, which is often just a big pile of lettuce with a few things on top for garnish (very boring). However, if you visit the coast, then you’re looking at a different ball game altogether.
Even in a chiringuito (bar/restaurant) on the beach, I was able to order this mixed salad, which was extremely tasty. It was the only thing on the menu which I could order, but I’m used to that.
Sometimes it will mean ordering (yet another) plate of chopped tomatoes, but that’s one thing which is always available. Just ask for insalada de tomate.
To be honest, yes it’s true that eating out can cause problems, partly because I don’t like to always be making things complicated for other people, and for sure there are some restaurants where I can’t get a decent meal, but I’ve never, ever wished I could eat the stuff that other people eat.
I love my food 🙂
7. What’s the Best Way to Become Vegan or Vegetarian?
Everyone has their own way of doing things, but my advice would be to start by incorporating more veggie-type meals into your lifestyle and letting everyone you cook for get used to your delicious veggie meals.
Keep increasing the amount of veggie meals you make until you feel totally at home cooking without meat and it isn’t a big thing or a challenge.
Gradually increase the frequency of meat-free days and always feel excited by the amount your achieving, not focussed on the times you eat meat, but on the times you succeed. At the same time, keep reading about veganism and the production of meat.
Watch some of the excellent vegan movies and if you can get your family to watch with you, all the better. There’s so much evidence out there, with increased exposure to the information your resolve will grow stronger.
Try not to jump over to processed vegan foods as they can be pretty expensive, often unhealthy and can cause weight gain. It’s better to rely on natural fresh produce and reserve processed foods for the odd occasional treat.
Don’t try to force it and don’t beat yourself up. Instead, feel pleased with every new thing you learn, every step you take along your chosen path and every delicious meal you make that fits your dreams.
You may like to take a look at my guide to starting a vegan lifestyle.
8. How Can We Change the World by Going Vegan?
I hope for nothing less than a complete change in world ethics. Maybe there will be some form of natural catastrophe to shake up the whole of humanity and reset the button.
But short of that, the only hope we have is that the vegan community grows exponentially, spreading respect for life and peaceful living as the new way of being. One thing’s for sure, even if nobody decides to save the animals, but instead they opt to reduce their meat intake for health reasons, that reduction in demand will help to reduce the emissions which contribute to the climatic crisis that the planet is now going through.
I would think that once people realise that these living beings called animals share our ability to feel emotion and that they deserve the same respect as we demand for ourselves; then they will realise that the animals shouldn’t be mistreated and tortured in the name of profit; and then the world will become a better place.
Torture should quite simply not be an option. Full stop. One day we will look back on this time and children will stare at the history books wide eyed and ask, Why didn’t people do something?
9. I Want to Help Spread the Vegan Word. Can I Start My Own Food Blog?
Yes, you can. Absolutely 100%, you can start your own food blog. There are some basic things you should ask yourself before you start. Are you prepared to learn? Do you enjoy overcoming challenges? Will you keep on blogging even when you’re not getting readers at first?
Starting a blog is an exciting project and can become a passion. Yes, you can make money from your blog, but I would suggest that if you go into it looking to make money in the beginning, you’ll be more likely to give up. If you treat your new blog as a business plan for let’s say 5 years into the future, then you’ll keep at it and give it your best right up until it starts gaining traction.
When I started out blogging, I was looking for a way to create an online business and I kept finding places online that offered the world after a sign-up, but then with lots of up-payments.
Most were so expensive and full of promotional gimmicks and wild promises about how to make millions by spending tons of money on their products. I knew that it would be impossible for any site to offer to make me a millionaire just by me paying an extortionate fee.
And then I found Wealthy Affiliate and I’ve never looked back. I love Wealthy Affiliate’s platform where you learn how to blog or become an affiliate marketer. You can join for free to see whether it’s something for you. I loved it immediately so I took the first month for 19$. I figured that if I didn’t want to carry on I wouldn’t have lost anything (19$ in return for 5 weeks learning wouldn’t count as a loss in my book).
But of course I soon upgraded to yearly membership because I knew that blogging was something I wanted to keep doing. I did underestimate just how difficult managing a website can be at times, and just how long the journey might take, but I still wanted to keep going forward.
Wealthy affiliate is a place to get an education about affiliate marketing and building your own website. It’s also a hosting service, technical support service and online social hub.
If you want to build your own blog, Wealthy Affiliate‘s the best place to get you started in my opinion.
10. Conclusion on a Vegan Gluten Free Lifestyle
I can’t think of anything more contradictory than living a life based on love and peace and then sitting down to a piece of meat for dinner.
When you go vegan, you’ll feel liberated from that contradiction in your life. Not only that, you will know that you’re contributing to an action being taken to try and undo the damage we’re doing to the planet.
It’s such an exciting place to be and so full of learning, that I’m sure you’re going to love it.
Going gluten free is a matter of health. Gluten is difficult for the human digestive system to utilise and if you’re one of the millions of people who suffer any side effects whatsoever after eating gluten (tiredness, brain fog, stomach cramps, diarrhoea etc), then you’ll feel so much better when you eradicate it from your diet.
For some of us it isn’t an option to eat gluten because it will make us so ill if we eat it that we cannot function in our daily life, yet for others, giving up gluten will make them feel better but with a less defined effect. And for yet others, cutting out gluten can be a preventative choice.
If you do want to eliminate gluten from your diet, you may be interested in my guide to going gluten free.
I love, love, love my life and my food. I like cooking without recipes and throwing a bunch of food together to make an incredible feast. I hope I can help anyone who would also love to live this lifestyle, so if that’s you, please get in touch!
If you have an opinion on any of the above or a question you’d like me to answer please post it in the comments section. And do come and follow me on Instagram @loveveganliving