Tips For Living a Healthy, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian & Vegan Lifestyle

by Junko Barker, guest author 

Junko Barker is a foodie and gluten-free vegetarian living in Salt Lake City, UT. In addition to being a full-time graphic designer, she is the creator and writer of; a website focused on gluten free, vegetarian and vegan lifestyles. She creates vegan/vegetarian recipes and does food styling and food photography.


I have been a vegetarian/vegan on and off for most of my life. I find being vegetarian is much easier than being gluten free. Avoiding meat is relatively easy— you just don’t eat meat.  People tend to assume being vegetarian does not provide adequate nutrients, but that’s not necessarily true.

Here are some facts many people aren’t aware of:

40% of people in India are vegetarians.* That’s 399 million people! In the United States,

Vegetarians are usually healthier and tend to live longer than meat consumers.**

I stopped eating meat mainly for health reasons, but there are so many other reasons to be a vegetarian/vegan. Whatever the reason people become vegetarian/vegan, I do love the fact that no animals have suffered and lost their lives in order to sustain my life.

Whether or not you eat meat, avoiding gluten adds to the complexity of everyday life.  Gluten is everywhere. It is hidden in all sorts of places you would never think to look.

However, I found some simple solutions to avoid both gluten and animal-derived ingredients: choosing whole foods that are fresh and alive. In other words, choose to eat fresh vegetables and fruits, and avoid processed food if possible.

One of the biggest benefits of choosing to eat fresh vegetables and fruits (that is, other than increased vitality and health) is there are no hidden animal-derived ingredients or gluten to worry about. There is no need for carefully skimming though product labels or trying to guess what caramel flavoring or dextrimaltose is made from.

I encourage people to purchase locally grown produce from a co-op, CSAs (community supported agriculture), and farmer’s markets. There are so many benefits to doing this: for one, they offer the freshest produce you can get your hands on. Unlike the produce you get from supermarkets, much of the produce from farmer’s markets is picked that day or the night before. The produce found at most supermarkets, however, is most likely picked unripe and will be a few days to a week old by the time it reaches the store. In some cases, depending on the item, it can even be a few months old, and many of the beneficial nutrients will have been lost in the process.

Furthermore, by shopping at co-ops, CSAs, or farmer’s markets, you are supporting your local economy and agriculture. This brings vitality to your community, —and, you get to know the farmers who grow your food personally!  Locally grown produce is also not transported across the country or the world, reducing the consumption of carbon-based fuels and helping to keep pollution to a minimum. In short, supporting your local farmers is energy efficient, environmentally friendly, and more sustainable for the long term.

Although I call myself a foodie, and I experiment in my kitchen from time to time, it is not unusual for me to eat a huge bowl of fruit or an unadorned green salad for dinner—especially in the summer and fall months when a menagerie of fresh produce is available. It’s so simple: it’s just a very refreshing, cleansing, satisfying, and luxurious way to nourish my body. Better yet, there are no greasy dishes to clean afterwards!

Whatever your particular lifestyle, I believe all people can benefit from eating more fresh fruits and vegetables in their daily lives. It is more kind to the earth, easier, and a healthier way to live.

*European Vegetarian Union
**Five ways vegetarians live longer.


Thanks Junko!

For more tips on living a gluten-free, vegetarian / vegan lifestyle follow Junko!



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On July 5th, 2013, posted in: CeliacCorner Blogs by
6 Responses to Tips For Living a Healthy, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian & Vegan Lifestyle
  1. Nice post, and I’m going to check out your website, too. I’ve been a vegetarian since before I learned I had celiac and had to go gluten-free, and there are all kinds of fresh (literally) and creative dishes that are both GF and veg-friendly. Still haven’t gotten around to joining a CSA, but I want to…

  2. Junko, nice to meet you. Thanks for sharing your experience living glutenfree and as a vegetarian. I’m both as well, and feel so much better for it.

  3. has been serving the needs of people who require a gluten-free diet for many years in our brick-and-mortar shop in Brooklyn, New York. Our presence in the community has reinforced our passion for always providing our customers with the freshest, most high-quality gluten-free products available.

  4. Vegetarian is the way to be!!!!!!!

  5. Thanks for the tips. I am a recently diagnosed celiac and have been thinking alot about becoming a vegetarian as well. I think now is the time.

  6. Hey [Junko Barker] –

    Your last post [Tips For Living a Healthy, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian & Vegan Lifestyle] was freaking awesome. I have gone ahead and added your stuff to my Feedly account. Please keep me updated if you post anywhere else.

    Keep rocking –


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