*Note: This page is still a major work in progress, but please enjoy what I have so far 🙂
Being vegan and gluten free can be difficult. There are so many different brands of things to try and it can be difficult to find the best one. Below I will review the products I use in order to get all the essential nutrients I need to thrive, as well as tasty treats, breads, flours, and more!
Hopefully, this will save you the time and money of experimenting and trying to find the best brand. If there is something that you don’t like though, feel free to keep searching brands and let me know what you discover! Who knows, I may not have discovered it yet and may love it!
I order a lot of the supplements from iherb. First time buyers can use my code LWZ362 for a discount on shipping.
- Flax Seeds – I try to get about a tablespoon of flax seed every day as a way to get omega-3’s in my diet. I’m not really sure what the difference is between golden and the brown kind, but when baking, the golden lends a nicer color and the flax I buy is a good price so I keep buying the golden. If you buy these make sure to buy the ground kind as they digest better. Also, make sure you store them in the fridge or freezer. If you buy the whole flax seed, they don’t need to be refrigerated as they stay fresh longer, but then you would need to grind them yourself. For me, storing a bag of ground flax seed in the fridge is much easier. Also, the link to the flax seeds is not the exact brand I get because I buy them at Root’s market, a local store. However, this brand is really good and for a decent price if you want to order it off iherb. To use this you can sprinkle it in oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, or add it to smoothies.
- Chia Seeds – These have a great ration of omega’s 3, 6, and 9. They are great little seeds that absorb liquid so help keep you full for a longer time. I usually add a teaspoon to a tablespoon to overnight oatmeal. If you like thick oatmeal, they really soak up all the liquid and make the oatmeal really soft. You can also add them to smoothies and make chia pudding with them. Check out some of my recipes or search around on the internet and you’ll find tons of recipes. Once again, this is not the brand I get, I usually buy a bag for the cheapest at Costco, but this is a great brand for the amount and price on iherb.
- Hemp Seeds – These are a great source for omega’s 3 and 6. These are the seeds I use the least, but every once in a while I will add them to smoothie, yogurt, cereal, salads, or soups.
- Maca Powder – Maca is a vegetable plant. I started using this when I started getting acne breakouts. It helps balance hormones and I have noticed a major difference in my skin. (Although I added several other things to my diet so I can not say whether this supplement alone helped). Maca powder also contains amino acids and essential minerals and boosts energy. I cycle this supplement, meaning I use a teaspoon daily for 4 weeks, then take a break for a week. Maca is an adaptogen so this supplement works best by rotating it so your body doesn’t get used to it and stop working. There are also two types: gelatinized and raw. Both are vegan, but I heard gelatinized digests better. I have tried both and haven’t noticed a difference. I usually add a tsp of this in my smoothies or with oatmeal. Otherwise I’ll mix it with peanut flour to create a peanut frosting for waffles or muffins. Sometimes I’ll sprinkle it in cereal or yogurt. I think it has a strong flavor though and mixes best in smoothies.
- Spirulina – This is a supplement I really need to start using more as they say it’s basically a multi-vitamin. It is known to support cardiovascular health and eye & brain health and boost energy and immunity. It comes from the sea and is a member of the blue-green family, but is not technically and algae. It is actually cyanobacteria, a bacteria that has chlorophyll and uses the sun as an energy source. For more information read this link. I use this in smoothies and some baked goods, which probably isn’t as ideal since it is then heated. Just make sure you get the brand I linked to because it doesn’t come from areas of polluted water. Also, this has a very strong flavor so I recommend starting with 1/2 tsp and eventually adding no more than 1 tsp daily. You can also buy this in tablet form.
- Sunwarrior Blend Raw Vanilla Protein – This protein powder is amazing. It is raw so it doesn’t contain any weird artificial ingredients. It is sweetened only by stevia and not artificial sweeteners. It blends well, does not give a chalky taste, digests well without causing stomach upset, and gives a great vanilla taste. I have also noticed it really thickens my smoothies. Sometimes I have to add a little extra liquid if I want to drink my smoothie with a straw. It also bakes really well, though that is probably not an ideal way to use it since I’m sure the heat damages some of the nutrients, but sometimes I want a protein filled waffle or cookie. This is great for vegans who workout a lot and may need a little more protein than normal. I also eat mostly fruit so using this helps me maintain a good protein intake. Since it is pretty pricey, depending on what else I eat in the day (like if I eat more protein heavy meals) then I may only use 1/2 scoop in my smoothies. I have also added this to overnight oatmeal, chia puddings, baked goods, cereal, and yogurt. Just make sure to adjust your amount to what your adding it to. For example, 1/2 scoop in oatmeal and chia puddings and 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon in cereal and yogurt.
- PlantFusion Phood – This product is very similar to the Sunwarrior protein powder, except it is a whole food meal shake that includes more than just protein but also vitamins, minerals, omega-3s, probiotics, enzymes, and a phytonutrient blend of greens. The vanilla flavor is also very similar to the taste of Sunwarrior. This product is great if you are looking to get more nutrients than just protein powder. However, Phood does have some ingredients I am not thrilled with like inulin and it does contain more grams of sugar. It also appears to be the same price as Sunwarrior, but it has half the servings. Even though there are some drawbacks, I absolutely LOVE this product because of the range of nutrients you get. And for me it actually comes out to about the same price as Sunwarrior since I only use 1 scoop at a time instead of the 2 scoops that counts as a serving. I figure for a supplement this is all I need since I do get plenty of nutrients from real whole foods and just use this as an addition to my diet, especially on days when I feel like I may need the extra boost in nutrients.
- So Delicious Greek Cultured Almond Milk Yogurt – I used to love Greek yogurt because of the thickness. Most vegan yogurts are super liquidy. Yuck! This one is so thick, you will need to stir it for like literally 5 minutes, but trust me it is so worth it. Super creamy, thick yogurt! And trust me you want to stir this because otherwise it will taste gross, kinda filmy? Also, I have noticed that a lot of vegan yogurts of a ton of sugar in them. This plain one has only 6 grams and if you want more sweetness, you can always add your own like adding some stevia. Since I usually mix my yogurt into overnight oats, smoothies, or make smoothie bowls by adding tons of fruit, the plain works perfect for me. Sometimes I even add peanut butter. However, if you want a flavor I have tried a lot of the others and they are good but they contain 12 to 13 grams of sugar. My favorite flavor is the vanilla though. Another reason why I love this brand of almond milk yogurt is because of the amount of protein. 7 grams of protein in the plain flavor and 6 grams in the other flavors! The protein is so high because they do add pea protein which gives it a distinct flavor. If you don’t like that, try the yogurt below. Other benefits of this brand: they each contain 7 grams of fiber, 30% Vit D2, 30-35% Vit B12, 30-35% calcium, and more!
- So Delicious Greek Cultured Coconut Milk Yogurt – I find the coconut milk yogurt to be more creamy and have less of the grittyness from the almond milk yogurt since it does not have the added protein. However, that means this brand only has 2 grams of protein instead of the 6 or 7 grams. If you don’t need the extra protein though, this might be a better option for you. It still needs to be stirred very well, but it will be smoother. Just like with the almond milk yogurt I recommend the plain flavor and adding your own sweetness or adding the yogurt to smoothies, oatmeal, or mixing it in a bowl with lots of fruit and toppings. The plain contains only 2 grams of sugar while the other flavors contain 11 or 12 grams. There are no other major differences between the almond milk and coconut milk yogurts. The calories, fat, sodium, and carbs are all about the same. You can click on the links to see if the yogurts fit with your needs. Other benefits of this brand: 8-9 grams of fiber, 30% Vit D2, 30-35% Vit B12, 30-35% calcium, and more!
If you are looking for other vegan brands of yogurt you can check these out, but I find them to be too liquidy and they don’t have as a great a nutritional profile as the So Delicious brand. The soy yogurts have a good amount of protein, but they are high in sugar and low in fiber. The Almond Dream brand, in my opinion, has no good health benefits.
- Nugo Bars
- Luna Bars
- Silk Original Pure Almond Milk – This almond milk was my favorite. When I first became vegan, I had a huge sweet tooth for unnaturally sweet things. I recommend this brand if you’re just transitioning to a vegan diet or just want to stop drinking milk made for baby cows. However, I know like the unsweetened kind. It has less sugar and calories, but still has all the other health benefits as the original almond milk. If you find it not to be sweet enough, you can start with the original almond milk and slowly start cutting back on that and adding some of the unsweetened in. For example, pour a cup with about 3/4 original and 1/4 unsweetened. Eventually get down to 1/2 of each. Then 1/4 original and 3/4 unsweetened. Eventually you’ll love the unsweetened. If you are buying this just to add to smoothies or baked recipes however, I recommend using just the unsweetened. Fruit sugars will make your smoothie sweet enough and baked recipes have sugar included in them. Whatever you decide to purchase, make sure it is this brand because it contains B12 (not all brands of almond milk do) and being vegan this is one of my main ways to get this supplement.
- Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Rolled Oats – I go through a lot of oats and this brand is the best price. Since I cannot taste a difference between gluten free rolled oats of different brands, I like to stick with the cheapest.
- Coconut Oil – I absolutely love this stuff. I use it mostly for baking by adding it to cookies, brownies, or muffins that call for oil. I also saute kale in it or roast potatoes or veggies with it. I try to use at least 1 tsp everyday (though I’ve been severely slacking) because I believe it helps my skin, to become softer and reduce inflammation, but I’m not sure as I’ve added other things to my diet as well. I buy this at Costco because it has the best price for the amount. Trader Joe’s has the next best price I’ve seen. Just make sure to buy unrefined extra virgin coconut oil.
- Nutritional Yeast – I use this as a “cheese” replacement, although it doesn’t taste anything like cheese. It actually gives a nutty flavor. I use this to ensure I get enough B12 (I didn’t add it to my supplement list though because I use this mostly when a recipe calls for it. I probably should use it more though). I usually sprinkle this on top of pasta or veggies. I also have a few recipes on my blog that use nutritional yeast to make a “cheese sauce”. You can search around and find lots of recipes. Also, you can get smaller containers of this at local health food stores, but I use this a lot and sometimes in large amounts so I found buying in it bulk is the best for the price.