How to go vegan when you've got coeliac disease

Coeliac disease means your diet is limited, so going vegan could feel like a daunting task.

For the one in 100 that have the disease, eating even traces of gluten can scar the gut and cause serious health issues, including small bowel cancer and Hodgkin lymphoma.

But with more of us going vegan – the number of UK vegans increased by 40% between 2020 and 2021 – is it possible to go plant-based, and thrive as a coeliac?

Dietician and nutritionist Reema Patel, from Dietitian Fit & Co told that coeliac individuals don’t need to shy away from a vegan diet.

Reema told ‘Choosing to have a plant-based diet if you have coeliac disease can seem difficult at first, but there are plenty of gluten-free options to choose from.’

Remma gave us the low down on how to make the transition to plant-based if you’re also gluten free.


Grains are key to any diet – especially a gluten-free vegan one.

They provide great health benefits including reduced risk of some diseases – which is especially important for those with coeliac disease, as their immune systems will be weaker than the average person.

Reema said: ‘Include grains such as quinoa, corn, different types of rice, flax, millet, buckwheat, and sorghum, which are all naturally gluten-free.

‘You can also include oats, though be sure to choose oats that have a gluten-free label, to ensure they have not been contaminated.’

Supplements coeliacs should be taking:

The main supplement those with coeliac disease will need to take is Calcium (around 1000mg a day) and Vitamin D.

They may need supplements for iron, folate, iodine, omega 3 (from algae supplements) and Vitamins B6 and B12 if they are going vegan but it’s always best to check with a blood test first before supplementing.

Fruit and Veg

Your five-a-day keeps the doctor away and, in this case, the more the merrier.

‘All fruits and vegetable are naturally gluten free,’ says Reema. ‘As are beans, nuts and seeds, which are fantastic to include into your diet.’

Pasta sauces made using pulses are a great way to get them into your diet – you could try a lentil Bolognese. But made sure you pick a pasta made with rice flour, which is a good gluten-free (GF) alternative.


It’s the most important meal of the day, so make it a good and balanced one.

You might think you have to avoid pastries, bread, cereal and muffins – all the delicious morning treats – but M&S, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons all offer great GF substitutes for the above if that’s what you fancy.

Pancakes are a great GF and vegan option for breakfast, as long as you make them with a plant-based or nut milk, GF flour and no eggs.

A full English breakfast is also easy to make GF and vegan – just use a GF plant-based meat substitute for bacon and tofu for the eggs.

Reema said: ‘If you enjoy cereals or granola for breakfast, choose a gluten free labelled option, or make a naturally gluten-free granola at home, with a variety of nuts and seeds.

‘Or how about a chia pudding to get a boost of fibre in the morning?’

Lunch and dinner

Protein isn’t just for gym-goers, we all need a good healthy dose of protein in our diets and going vegan can make this a bit trickier.

‘Replace gluten containing grains with naturally gluten-free alternatives,’ said Reema.

All the above mentioned grains are naturally gluten free – the main ones to avoid are wheat, barley and rye.

She added: ‘It also helps to choose a high protein vegan side such as tofu or tempeh, and serve with plenty of vegetables to create balanced and tasty meals.’

It’s also important to note that you should check the back of meat substitutes and specifically branded vegan products as many do contain wheat or barley products.

Vegan meat substitutes that are gluten free:

  • Quorn Vegan Chicken Free Slices 100G – buy for £2.40 from Tesco
  • Linda Mccartney Vegetarian Tomato & Basil Meatballs 292G – buy for £2.50 from Tesco
  • Linda Mccartney 6 Vegetarian Chorizo & Red Pepper Sausages 270G – buy for £2.50 from Tesco
  • Tesco Plant Chef 6 Herby Bangers 300G – buy for £1.35 from Tesco
  • Oumph! Plant-Based Kebab Doner Style 280G – buy for £3.50 from Tesco
  • Tesco Plant Chef Meat Free Chunks 300G – buy for £1.75 from Tesco

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