Woah there, so many buzzwords all in one sentence. 

Plant-based? Gluten-free? With ice cream in-between? Next thing you know, it’ll be all “antioxidants this” and “superfoods that.” But no, it won’t – we promise it’s not like that. This isn’t a cooking show, weight-loss commercial, or even an Instagram ad. 

This is going to be informative, helpful, and relevant. No marketing gimmicks or mumbo-jumbo here. Just the good stuff.

So, is all plant-based ice cream gluten-free? Here’s the scoop. 

Hold On, What Is Gluten Again?

“Gluten-free” gets thrown around a lot. But what is gluten, anyway?

Gluten is a protein naturally occurring in wheat, barley, and rye. Oh, it’s also in the derivatives of these grains too (including malt and brewer’s yeast, BTW).  

Gluten acts as a binder to help food maintain its shape, kind of like glue. You know how eggs act as binding agents in cooking and baking, giving the whole creation strength and stability? Gluten basically does the same.

Gluten is especially important in bread making because not only does it hold all of the ingredients together, but it also helps the dough rise. (#LearningMoment: gluten traps gas bubbles during the fermentation process, which gives the bread its unique, fluffy texture.) This is why “gluten-free” products are relatively… flat. 

Why Is Gluten a Bad Thing?

It’s not!

Gluten is only a “bad thing” for those with Celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or wheat allergies. 

Celiac disease is a genetic autoimmune disease where gluten causes inflammation and can damage the small intestine’s lining. Gluten sensitivity is exactly what it sounds like; the body reacts negatively to gluten, resulting in discomfort, bloating, gas, etc. Wheat allergies – which, yes, differ from gluten sensitivity – is the body being allergic to wheat rather than sensitive to gluten (which is a component in wheat). 

Then why does everyone hate on gluten? Well, gluten and wheat usually come entangled with products that are high in carbohydrates, like bread and baked goods. And whether we like it or not, diet culture is still alive and well, and diet culture (unfortunately) tries to steer us away from carbs. Boo. 

Basically, people aren’t hating on gluten itself; gluten is just a scapegoat for avoiding carbs. 

In fact, gluten can offer us some “benefits” (we’re using this term lightly) of its own. Wheat, barley, and rye, which are the carriers of gluten, are all whole grains. There’s a considerable body of research linking the consumption of whole grains with improved health. Whole grains are a pure source of energy, lead to higher levels of satiety, and are a good source of natural fiber (hello, gut health). Gluten also acts as prebiotic fiber and helps feed the “good” bacteria in our stomachs.

The takeaway: unless you have one of these three conditions, gluten isn’t a bad thing. 

And Wait, What Is Plant-based Ice Cream?

Plant-based ice cream is the hot, mysterious, new kid in town (in the frozen dessert aisle). 

Plant-based ice cream is the same as vegan ice cream, which you’re likely familiar with in light of its recent explosion of popularity. Plant-based, vegan, and dairy-free ice cream is all ice cream made from any kind of milk except cow’s milk (or goat milk… if you’re into that). This just means that there are no animal products or animal derivatives used as ingredients. 

Oh, and there are different types of dairy-free ice cream too. We should also note that dairy-free and lactose-free are not the same things either. 

Lactose is a sugar that naturally occurs in (dairy) milk. Since lactose comes from animal milk, dairy-free products will not have lactose in them. “Lactose-free” indicates the lactose component has been removed during production, but it is still a dairy product. Dairy-free = lactose-free, but lactose-free ≠ dairy-free. 

For those following a vegan diet, looking to avoid dairy, or merely exploring new things, stick with products clearly labeled as vegan or plant-based, just to be safe. 

What Is Plant-based Ice Cream Made From?

Plant-based ice cream is made from any type of milk that doesn’t come from an animal. 

The most common plant-based ice creams are made from almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk, and soy milk. 

Eclipse plant-based ice cream, on the other hand, is different. It’s special. Here at Eclipse, we started by looking at the composition of regular milk, then rebuilding it from the ground up, using nothing but plants. Every ingredient in Eclipse ice cream has come straight from the earth and Mother Nature herself. 

Our ice cream is made from just six simple ingredients: oat, corn, potato, cassava, organic cane sugar, and non-GMO canola oil. Using this “milk” (our ~ secret sauce ~) to create our base, we make ice cream that’s so unbelievably creamy that it’s indistinguishable from dairy ice cream. 

So, Is All Plant-based Ice Cream Gluten-Free?

Unfortunately, not all plant-based ice cream is gluten-free. But neither are all “regular” ice creams. 

Gluten sneaks itself into (all types of) ice cream in not so obvious ways. The first way this usually happens is by cross-contamination in manufacturing facilities. There is usually a statement that goes something like “made in a facility that also processes X, Y, and Z.” This indicates that there may be trace amounts of a certain allergen, so depending on your body’s relationship with gluten, it’s best to err on the side of caution. 

The other reason ice cream may not be gluten-free is because of additional ingredients (the fun stuff) added to the base. Think of flavors like cookie dough, cheesecake, and cookies and cream. You get what we mean – flavors with gluten-containing ingredients. 

Again, if your body doesn’t like gluten, don’t mess with it. Pay close attention to labels to ensure your ice cream experience is nothing less than entirely delightful. 

Why Choose Plant-based Ice Cream?

There are a few reasons people choose plant-based ice cream. 

Of course, there’s the fact that milk isn’t intended for humans, anyways. But we’re not here to try to change anyone’s views or lifestyle. Really, to each their own, and we respect this. 

That being said, we’re still going to go over some reasons why people choose plant-based ice cream – let’s all keep an open mind. 

Healthwise, dairy is repeatedly linked to poor skin conditions and digestive issues. It takes about two seconds to hop on Google and see millions of people talking about having happier, glowing skin after cutting out dairy. There are also people with lactose intolerance who steer clear of dairy for obvious reasons (ice cream is good, but it isn’t worth the discomfort from gas, bloating, diarrhea, etc.)

And then there’s the environmental aspect. A vegan diet may be the easiest, most significant way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet. Plant-based products save acres of land, gallons of water, and tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Here at Eclipse, we’re proud to be working towards creating a more sustainable, responsible, and humane food system. 

Plant-based ice cream may also help with weight loss…. But, this one is kind of a trick. You’ll see all over the internet that anything plant-based helps with losing weight. We’re going to keep it real with you: many plant-based ice creams made from dairy-free milk are lower-calorie because these milks tend to be much lower in calories. But these lower-calorie alternatives create ice cream that’s watered-down, has a strange texture, and lacks creaminess (because of the lower fat content). If the ice cream isn’t delicious, then what’s the point anyways?

We could also just back up a few steps and simply say, “why not plant-based ice cream?”

Your Best Bet: Eclipse Plant-based Ice Cream

All in all, Eclipse ice cream is what you’ll want. Trust us. 

Our ice cream is good by design. We’ve made the first plant-based dairy products that are indistinguishable from conventional dairy. There’s no sacrifice on taste, texture, or functionality. Our ice cream isn’t a dairy alternative; it’s a dairy sequel.

Anything dairy can do, we do better. We started with the signature must-have flavors: chocolate, vanilla, and cookie butter. Eclipse is even free of most common allergens, with these three signatures containing no nuts, soy, or lactose. *Our chocolate and vanilla contain trace amounts of gluten and are not celiac approved. Please exercise caution if you have any allergies or sensitivities.

The signature flavors were just the beginning. Next, we began our Chef Collection, which features exclusive collaborations that are all plant-based, chef-crafted, and 100% delicious. Every pint from our Chef Collection donates proceeds to the charity of chef’s choice. 

The takeaway? Not all ice cream is gluten-free, and if you haven’t already, you’ll want to go ahead and give Eclipse plant-based ice cream a try. Don’t just take our word for it – CNN, Forbes, and the San Francisco Chronicle love us too. You can read their glowing reviews herehere, and here

External Sources

The Gluten-Free Diet | BeyondCeliac.org 

Gluten: How Does It Work? | Modernist Cuisine

Wheat & Gluten Allergy | Symptoms & Treatment | ACAAI Public Website 

Whole Grains | The Nutrition Source | Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health 

Sales of Vegan Ice Cream Have More than Doubled in Five Years, Driven by Increase in Obesity and 
Awareness of Health | Vegconomist | the vegan business magazine