“Gluten-free vegan? What can you eat?”
“Gluten-free vegan? What can you eat?” is what people say. Actually you can eat just about any fruit, vegetable, or nut, and most of the kinds of grains, but people who eat a lot of bread, meat, and cheese don’t want to realise how easy it is to assemble a good non-gluten vegan meal. They want to imagine gluten-free vegans are deprived, malnourished, and constantly longing to eat the same things they do.
The reversal can be ironic. When people look at a sickly undiagnosed coeliac who eats “balanced meals” with lots of wheat and dairy products, and consequently is either skinny or flabby and listless and a drag to be around, they don’t ask “What does s/he eat?” When they look at a healthy mature coeliac who’s adjusted to a gluten-free diet, and consequently is stronger and faster than many teenagers, then they want to know what that person eats. If they notice that that person is also a vegan or vegetarian, “Good lord, what DO you eat?” is likely to be screamed across the table.
The key to success is, of course, to cook your own food. Your friends can reciprocate by doing other things. You become the cook for your crowd. A cookbook collection is fun to show off. Here is a lovely shiny one: Decadent Gluten-Free Vegan Baking by Cara Reed
Smoothies are a trendy hipster food item. You score points for trying trendy, hip, new recipes when you serve smoothies. With practice you can make good frozen-banana-based smoothies in a cheap blender; but true smoothie aficionados will recognise the flavours that blend in smoothly only in a high-powered blender like the Vitamix
But that’s only the beginning. An industrial-strength blender can be used to texture vegetable proteins so that you can make gluten-free vegan substitutions for meat, bread, and cheese, from fresh raw foods, at home.
Vegan Milk in a Vitamix
“Milks” are among the easiest things to make. Blend roasted unsalted cashews with water (Cashew Milk Recipe) to the consistency of dairy milk. This is cashew milk. It tastes different from dairy milk (better, I say), but it can be used like milk in recipes or served to people who drink milk. Almond milk, which offers less fat and more calcium, is made the same way. Grinding almonds to a smooth soluble meal will destroy a cheap blender; it’s more efficient if you have a juicer or grinder, but it’s not hard for a Vitamix.
Gluten-free breads will never have the springy, yeasty texture of wheat bread. I make sandwiches with crumbly GF bread in the middle, tomato or onion or peanut butter between, and leaf lettuce on the outside. However, gluten-free bread will have a more refined, less mealy texture if made with a mix of dry rice, corn, or oat flour and cooked, wet rice, corn, or oats, which are ground up together in a blender.
For the hearty, heavy quality of a bread-meat-cheese meal, two easy alternatives are a big pot of thick, spicy bean soup (this does not always need to be chilli) or a lavish stir-fry with lots of nuts and/or tofu and/or mushrooms.
If you have a serious blender, however, you can make nut and bean loaves. They won’t taste like ground-up cows or pigs. They will taste like ground-up nuts, beans, potatoes, and other good things, and some of them are absolutely scrumptious, especially with tomato sauce. You can convert garden tomatoes, basil, oregano, garlic, and peppers into hot, spicy tomato sauce in minutes in a Vitamix blender.
Eventually most of us will want to start doing these things. Personally I like crunching carrots, and even almonds—still; I’m beginning to foresee a time when this may change. Some people younger than I am already prefer their carrots and almonds shredded. Serious vegans should not have to give up eating almonds. With the Vitamix blender, we won’t have to do that. We can make our raw foods smooth.