How to Be a Gluten-Free Vegan

According to Jenni Rempel

So, you want to be a vegan… (Start here)

Though I am not strictly gluten-free myself, my Mom is gluten-intolerant so I am well aware of the challenges with avoiding gluten. After my mom was diagnosed I went gluten free (in addition to being vegan) for several months. For myself, I found the best way to do this was to eat mostly raw food and look at raw food recipes. Especially in the gluten-free dessert category, I think this is the tastiest and healthiest way to go (cashew cheesecake anyone?). Beyond that there are also many recipes for dishes that never contained gluten to begin with. Quinoa, rice, and lentils can be the base of many tasty meals.

Popular gluten-free alternatives to animal flesh include: tofu, tempeh (fermented soy bean… there are some great tempeh bacons out there), and veg based products (such as vegetable burgers). Avoid seitan (which is made from wheat gluten).

Like many dairy and egg products, most vegan alternatives are gluten free. Daiya Cheese (who now makes vegan-gluten-free frozen pizzas), all non-dairy milks, and the almond and soy based vegan yogurts on the market are all gluten free. Egg replacers like flax meal, apple sauce, banana and some packaged egg replacers are also gluten free!

Christine Norris, a gluten-free and vegan living specialist says…

When doing both [gluten-free and vegan], stick with fresh, whole foods and you won’t have any problem. When buying packaged foods, get used to reading the label. Major allergens are usually listed at the bottom in bold (i.e. milk and gluten, wheat), but not always.

Going to vegetarian restaurants helps eliminate half the trouble, and most will mark if something’s gluten freeon their menu. It gets easier as you do it more… also try sticking to non-American restaurants for a while, since most other cultures don’t use the same types of flours or have plenty of alternatives; i.e. Mexican food (vegan enchiladas, fajitas and tacos on corn), Indian food (most things are made with chickpea flour), Ethiopian (injera), Thai (vegan curry dishes), and Chinese (Mongolian stir fries). It’s best to make your own food when you can – it will save you money and frustration.

It should be relatively easy to be both vegan, and gluten-free, as both lifestyles involve reading ingredients thoroughly and being very conscious about what one puts into their body.

Here are some great blogs with recipes and info:

Eating out:

  • Raw food restaurant are usually 100% vegan and gluten free (check for and avoid honey and Nama Shoyu [raw soy sauce]). In Vancouver I love Organic Lives and Gorilla Food.
  • Sushi is also a great option (skip the soy sauce or bring tamari). Try standard veggie rolls, kappa rolls, avocado rolls and other veg-based options. Other Asian traditions also featured products made with rice flour and rice wraps that can usually be made gluten-free and vegan.
  • Indian food also tends to have a number of rice-based and curry dishes which are gluten-free and vegan.
  • Mexican food often has options for gluten-free corn based tortillas and tacos which can be filled with veggies, beans, rice, potatoes, salsa and guacamole. Mmm!

Cookbooks: (thanks to Genny B.  and Christine Norris for the recommendations)

  • Flying Apron’s Gluten-Free & Vegan Baking Book, by Jennifer Katzinger
  • Gluten-Free and Vegan Holidays, also by Jennifer Katzinger
  • The Gluten-Free Vegan, Susan O’Brien.
  • Genny says… I use the first cookbook about 90% of the time and I consult the other two books the odd time. Katzinger’s cookbooks are amazing because not only is it vegan but it’s also whole foods (healthy sugars and flours) and next to no binders. My fav is…
  • Babycakes NYC! http://www.babycakesnyc.com/books.html Yummy desserts! Learning how to bake is a great thing when you are a gluten-free vegan! It can be fun too!
  • Alison Kramer’s Great Gluten-Free Eats
  • Christy Morgan’s Blissful Bites (gluten-free options clearly marked)

A friend recently asked, why be vegan and gluten free?

While choosing to avoid gluten has no moral basis and is purely a health or dietary choice, being vegan is a social justice issue, an ethical stand point, and a firm decision to stand up to oppression. It is a moral position. Why be vegan AND gluten free? For health, and for the animals, and for the planet.

Overall vegan nutrition info can be found at http://vegankit.com/eat#nutrition, chooseveg.com and also nutritionfacts.org : )

Advertisements

Am I Living In Integrity?

3D Star Map

I sit now, reflecting on myself. Am I living in integrity? I am being my word?

I have spent the beginning of this week doing vegan outreach at my university. With a fellow animal advocate we have had a Pay Per View booth (see: http://www.mercyforanimals.org/paid-per-view.aspx).

Across from our booth was the SFU Lifeline Club, the pro-life (and quick to mention anti-abortion) club on campus. When speaking with the students at the booth I really began to question myself on this issue. I began to question myself in general.

For many years I have not even admitted that I ever enjoyed the taste of meat. “It is the spices and seasons that made it taste good” I would say. Much like the defenses that carnist ideology brings up…

“to eat the body of another sentient being, we have to block our awareness and shut down our empathy.” – Melanie Joy via http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=7vWbV9FPo_Q#!

I would deny and put up a “vegan wall” against animal products. I think in some ways I have to. I have to put up a wall and “imagine”, forcing myself to remember the torture and pain that animals experience, the ill-health effects of animal products, and the environmental degradation… it is a mental exercise (though admittedly, it has gotten easier and become more of an unconscious thing that I no longer have to work at as actively as when I first went vegan).

Though non-vegans also practice a similar tactic (I believe) to avoid thinking about where their meat comes from, I feel as if i am acting a bit defensively. Perhaps I am in denial about what “tastes good” to me in order to do what I think is right.

These are the places I feel out of integrity:
Fair Trade – When cocoa or cacao is an ingredient in a (vegan) product I am not always inquisitive as to the source. This also applies to coffee and tea. I don’t drink them very often but I am not always conscious about the source. I think this is an easy thing I can “correct” to try and live more in integrity.
Electronics – Though I have done research on the assembly production of electronics I have bought (I wrote a paper and researched the Foxcon suicides), I have only briefly heard about the minerals and potentially horrible conditions and harvesting of these minerals in third-world countries. This is an issue I have had trouble finding information about and do not have any clear solutions for.
Clothing – Though I have been buying only articles Made in Canada/the USA and well researched companies which do not use sweatshops overseas, I have not been buying exclusively organic cotton and materials free from pesticides and the pollution of conventional cotton production. I did another research project on this industry and I am very ashamed of the production process of many textile products. I suppose I could buy more second hand products. Hmm. I shall consider this further.
Driving – I have been getting rides and driving with friends so often lately. I miss my bicycle commuting, my bold action against the fossil fuel industry.
Abortion – As I outlines in my previous post, I have not given this issue adequate consideration.
Organics – Why am I “die-hard” about the consumption of animals when the use of pesticides and other chemicals is also destructive to the environment, bad for health and kills insects and other species.

Thinking about these issue, I also started to reflect on self-destructive behavior. Where did this idea come from? What is the difference between self-care and self-harm? So many questions…

Jenni’s Vindictuve Vegan Rap (It’s Annotated)

Chicken slaughter

Right now I am two weeks away from finishing my main summer course: The Semester in Dialogue, topic: Sustainable Food Systems. I have been very sad and frustrated lately engaging so frequently with what is happening to animals. We have to write a weekly reflection so last week I wrote this vindictive and annotated rap. Enjoy.

With what feeds us

There is no feedback loop

Hundred of boys and girls are raised on slop:

Oliver, J. (2010). Jamie Oliver’s TED Prize wish: Teach every child about food [TED Talk]. TED. Retrieved from: http://www.ted.com/talks/jamie_oliver.html

and stoop down

Five people drowned in poop:

Foer, J. (2009). Eating Animals. New York: Little, Brown and Company. p. 177

Pig soup, 100,000 feet wide

or more

and what’s in store?

Not just stool in a pool but stillborns and drool

And blood and hair and piss is in there

But please, don’t mention that to me

I don’t want to know where the body I eat could be from

Or where it goes

Nobody knows

how many million lives are taken

And for what?

Our health is at stake and

Fulkerson, L [dir.]. (2011). Forks Over Knives [Film]. USA: Monica Beach Media.

For steak we make such sacrifice

Workers injured and jarred on the line

Foer, J. (2009). Eating Animals. New York: Little, Brown and Company. p. 132

That never stops

As the slaughterers never stop

To think

Or if they do

they keep on buying in

To stories about protein and taurine

Making them strong

So many sing along

With the sad songs of

Charbroiled or tin foiled

Milk is spoiled

Cows are coiled and branded

Castrated after birth

Balls chopped off

Tails ripped, horns merc-i-o-s-ly

Ronald McDonald you can come at me

Please leave the kids alone

They have a right to know

The taste of fresh

A burger is not the best

Way to educate a generation

About food

To teach them

Respect, now don’t be rude

Eat your dinner

Sing a song for the winners

But don’t mourn the deaths of

Animals in the depths

Of the factory that they call a farm

They facility where they shit and are born

Baby chicks ground up at birth

Mercy for animals. (2009). Undercover Investigation at Hy-Line Hatchery [Video Footage]. Retrieved via: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=JJ–faib7to

The cost off eggs might bankrupt your purse

If we value life like we value what we like

If it “tastes good” that doesn’t make it right

And I vow to stop it with all my might

These babies being taken on their first night

Michael Ableman, Personal communication, May 11, 2012.

Boys in the grinder

Mercy for animals. (2009). Undercover Investigation at Hy-Line Hatchery [Video Footage]. Retrieved via: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=JJ–faib7to

Girls stay behind and lay eggs for a few years

Then we’ll chop of your head and eat you with a beer

After we bleed you out

Boil you down

Pump you with water, salt and

Foer, J. (2009). Eating Animals. New York: Little, Brown and Company. p. 131

Ship you round

Wish I knew how it started

Wish I knew why

The whole thing

Makes me cry

I pray at night

For the souls who can’t fight

For those who “don’t know what they do”

Luke 23:34, New American Standard Bible, 1995

In that respect Jesus knew a thing or two

Father give us forgiveness

Mother please don’t grieve for us

Escape! It may be the only way

For us to leave this place

And have our space

To roam free

The animals and me

If we escape through a fence or a rope in a tree

The Peace Abby. (2011). Emily the Sacred Cow. Massachusetts: The Peace Abby. Retrieved from: http://www.peaceabbey.org/tour-guide/emily-the-cow/

We’ll go perhaps to a kinder place

No guarantee but at least we can be

How, and Who we want to

Bees, give us your honey from your hive

It can infect our babies but keeps adults alive

Lewis, N. (2010). Why Honey is Not Vegan. Vegetus. Retrieved from: http://www.vegetus.org/honey/honey.htm

Right?

Spoonful every night

It’s digested and spit up fifty times

Lewis, N. (2010). Why Honey is Not Vegan. Vegetus. Retrieved from: http://www.vegetus.org/honey/honey.htm

And to make your home we’ll ship you a pound at a time

Mark Winston, personal communication, June 1, 2012.

Mr.honey bee

Who came from overseas

Lewis, N. (2010). Why Honey is Not Vegan. Vegetus. Retrieved from: http://www.vegetus.org/honey/honey.htm

All for that tasty treat for me

So I ask

who are the animals?

The ones we force to be cannibals

Eating ground flesh and bone from other mammals

PETA. (2010). Drowning, Cannibalization, and Other Reasons Not to Dissect

. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Retrieved from: http://www.peta.org/b/thepetafiles/archive/2010/10/11/drowning-cannibalization-and-other-reasons-not-to-dissect.aspx

born in crates

Sherrow, M. (2011). Pigs suffer while Smithfield takes its time. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Retrieved from: http://www.peta.org/b/thepetafiles/archive/2011/12/09/pigs-suffer-while-smithfield-takes-its-sweet-time.aspx

beat with a cane

bred together

as we chose

and they lose

their ability to

copulate

Foer, J. (2009). Eating Animals. New York: Little, Brown and Company. p. 113

the turkeys I mean

but not the humans consuming

meet your meat

instead choose something sweet

that doesn’t cost a life

with a slip or a knife

or a baby

or give diabetes to some old lady

Fulkerson, L [dir.]. (2011). Forks Over Knives [Film]. USA: Monica Beach Media.

make a choice

use your voice

cause the producers tell me

it’s supply and demand

Mark Robbins, personal communication, May 31, 2012.

but i’m not asking

so I want to know what can

I do

other than refuse

and ask you

to join me to

to stop this war

this holocaust

by beasts

who want something to wear or eat

don’t be one more

make a choice at the store

please don’t tell me

that you’re an omnivore

and that this is the only way

‘cause its sick

with a twist

and if you’d look at the pics

PETA. (2012). Graphic. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Retrieved from: http://www.peta.org/tv/videos/graphic/default.aspx

I bet you’d agree

that this policy

is better left in the past

if we want the Earth to last

before it’s filled up with smoke

and greenhouse gas

passed

by cows and pigs by hundred thousands

millions

Foer, J. (2009). Eating Animals. New York: Little, Brown and Company. p. 43

each year

multiplied by artificial insemination dear

DeJarnette, M. and Nebel, R. (n.d.) A.I. Technique in Cattle. Select Reproductive Solutions. Retrieved from: http://www.selectsires.com/resources/fertilitydocs/ai_technique_cattle.pdf

if I put my hand up your rear

would you say that nature’s right is here?

and lets be clear

grass fed saves no steer

just open the door

and you think that’s enough for

a life given in exchange

hung upside down on a rack

deranged

kicking and screaming

after a bolt to the brain

Foer, J. (2009). Eating Animals. New York: Little, Brown and Company. p. 226

it might miss the skull and leave him in pain

but that’s okay

that’s just the way

we feed the world today

the price we pay

for some bacon and a burger, kay?

it’s easy, hey

fast food

for the mood

of the high school brood

come on dude

you can choose your food

pick your fate

make your name

live in honor and stop the pain.

I am Protesting Palm Oil

This week I committed to boycotting Palm Oil.

The following websites have great information about why and how we can and must reduce palm oil consumption: Life Without Palm Oil, Liberation BC, Orangutan Protection, Say No To Palm Oil.

In short…

Up to a hundred species are now becoming extinct every day (Rainforest Rescue)
Did you know that  the production of palm oil is one of the main drivers of deforestation,  as vast tracts of rainforest are daily cleared to make way for palm plantations?
 Far from being old hat, protection of the rainforest is now critical.
In Indonesia, it is estimated that 98% of the forest there will be gone in nine years and that orang utans will have become extinct in the wild. Now, fewer than 400 Sumatran Tigers remain in the wild
Deforestation also destroys the lives of tribal peoples and worsens climate change dramatically, whereas when left, undisturbed tropical forests are absorbing nearly a third of all CO2 emissions.
 Palm oil is extracted from the fruit of the palm plants (not to be confused with coconut palms) and it is now in half of supermarket products.It is even used in vegan products. including cakes, chocolate, soaps, make-up etc.The Vegetarian Society has this month agreed to bring up the palm issue with its manufacturers. – Via

Today I wrote to the following companies respectfully requesting that they eliminate the use of Palm Oil (often labelled as Palm Fruit Oil) in their products:

Here is an example of a letter I sent:

Dear BLANK,

My name is Jenni and I have been an avid consumer of your products since I became vegan three years ago. It really means a lot to me that you produce products which support a plant-based lifestyle. I ahve especially enjoyed your delicious BLANK product.

I recently learned that the production of palm oil causes much damage to the environment and the habitats of many animals in Indonesia. Habitat destruction is a major threat to the Orangutan population. I was deeply moved by this news. I was very disappointed to see palm oil listed on the ingredients of PRODUCT NAME. I have resolved to boycott palm oil and sadly, for the time being, I am not able to allow myself to purchase or consume your products.
I would like to respectfully request that you eliminate the use of palm oil in your products. I would happily pay more for an alternative that does less damage to the Earth.  I appreciate your attention to this matter and I look forward to enjoying palm oil free products from you in the future.

Mahalo!
Jenni Rempel

If I get any responces I will report about them here, and I will also e-mail them to sw@naturealert.org

Yay animals!

Letter Writing Works!

Recently I attended a lovely Liberation BC letter-writing volunteer night. We wrote letters to politicians and media outlets in response to animal rights issues.

There was a room full of awesome vegans and I can’t remember the last time I laughed that hard.

They introduced me to this guy and his vegan music videos:

SO FUNNY! I can’t find it now but my favorite one included him singing

I’m vegan ’cause animals are my friends and I want people to stop murdering my friends!

I was also reminded how lucky I am to have a vegan penpal!

The best part was right at the end of the night. I found all of these awesome animal hats that some little kids must have made in the recycling bin. I wore one all the way home. Tiger Jenni. Rawr. This week I got a letter back from city council saying they received my letter about banning Shark Fins and they are passing it around to all of the councilors and the mayor! Cool!

I’ve decided that it isn’t enough to value something and reflect that in the choices I make and how I live, if I want to create change I need to communicate with the world and share my knowledge, to be a voice for the voiceless : )

UPDATE: It looks like local politician Fin Donnelly, is advocating for sharks and recommending a nation wide Shark Fin ban! Awesome! Check it out here: http://www.findonnelly.ca/node/388

I met Sarah Kramer

Sarah Kramer is a stylist, inspiring vegan author whom I had the pleasure of meeting at an animal fundraiser. The event was held at Karmavore, an awesome local vegan shop in New West that I am falling in love with. I have two cook books by Sarah: How it all Vegan and The Garden of Vegan. Neither have pictures but they have some great recipes. The part I like best about her books are the personal stories and lifestyle tips she includes.

Check out her website here: http://www.govegan.net/