Vegan food allergy crisis

topic posted Mon, February 23, 2009 - 6:37 PM by  Birka
So, I've been vegan for 5 years, vegetarian for 10 years before that. Here's the problem:

I am allergic to soy, which I have done fine with. Somehow, I've developed a severe peanut allergy, and am starting to show symptoms of other allergies to legumes and nuts. I'm not sure how much longer I can remain vegan and survive.

But I don't want to not be vegan.

Does anyone know of any really useful alternative protein sources? Solutions to the problem? I can go on shots and such, but many of the allergen preventatives are animal tested or animal derived. This is such a pain in the butt.

I suppose I'm writing because the depression of this is simply hitting me so hard, I don't know how to deal with this.
posted by:
  • Re: Vegan food allergy crisis

    Mon, February 23, 2009 - 6:42 PM
    What other legumes are you showing signs of allergy to? If beans are an issue, I'm not sure what else you might be able to get as a viable protein source.
    • Re: Vegan food allergy crisis

      Mon, February 23, 2009 - 6:55 PM
      exactly. So far the legume that is giving me problems is Garbanzo beans/chickpeas. I'm okay at this time with black beans, kindey beans and lentils, but I"m starting to wonder how much longer they will work for me.

      I'm going to try switching to primarily tree nuts, but rotating them with the few beans that are left. Maybe a rice protein supplement will also help. Food rotation seems to be the best option, but I don't know. grrrrr
      • Re: Vegan food allergy crisis

        Tue, February 24, 2009 - 12:10 AM
        Protein is in all fruits and vegetables. You don't need any nuts or legumes to get more than enough protein. Most americans get far too much protein on a daily basis. A diet that includes lots of raw fruits and veggies will provide more than enough protein for you.

        How much protein are you trying to achieve daily?
        • Re: Vegan food allergy crisis

          Tue, February 24, 2009 - 6:48 AM
          just enough to live with, really. The big concern here is I a do enjoy exercising quite a bit. If I have to cut back on my athletics in order to remain vegan, i will do so. I suppose that I've been living in the shadow of protein combinations for a long time, so I wonder how that whole 'complete' protein thing works. I do enjoy quinoa a lot, so I suppose that will become a hard staple in my diet, along with other protein rich grains such as spelt. I don't have any idea as to percentage of protein I am trying to have in my diet, but I am mostly concerned with having a large enough pool of foods to rotate to avoid any further allergies.

          Soy, peanuts, garbanzo beans, rye, and slight wheat sensitivity make for an aggravating diet, but it isn't impossible. I'm thinking, perhaps, I should do further research into raw diet again, as the foods in that system seem to be free of the things I"m allergic to, or at least provide a lot of alternatives.

          Sorry I was so dramatic in my initial post, but dang! I've been sick for months, just had an allergy test, and there were so many food items in that thing that I reacted to that I'm just cranky about it.

          Thanks for the input!
          • Re: Vegan food allergy crisis

            Tue, February 24, 2009 - 1:10 PM
            Food combinations for complete protein comes from thinking in the past. I've read numerous times one does not need to be concerned about "complete proteins" made by combining rice and beans, for example, or seeds and nuts, as another example. Beans have plenty of protein all by themselves. Rice has enough protein all by itself, and so on.

            Sprouts are also something you can think about, they are high in protein, and you could grow them easily yourself indoors next to a window. Some sprouts are grown from legumes, but perhaps your food sensitivities would not react the same to sprouted legumes as they do to the plain ones. And seeds can be sprouted, too, quite deliciously.
          • Re: Vegan food allergy crisis

            Fri, September 10, 2010 - 1:26 PM
            Birka don't worry, you are not going to suffer from a lack of protein from not being able to eat beans or nuts, but if you do try to go raw vegan you may experience as I have that my allergy to nuts does not exist when I eat them and most everything else raw. Somehow the raw foods seem to increase my ability to digest especially when I do a raw green smoothie ala Victoria Boutenko ( )every day. She has proven how the digestive system is rejuvenated in it's ability on raw green smoothies so that may be why so many people have recovered their health on them. When you have truly healed your digestive system you quit having Leaky Gut Syndrome and then no undigested foreign proteins get into your blood stream and cause the allergic reactions that are so common nowadays. As for sufficient protein go to this video at about the 3 minute spot and see what she is showing: And when you eat as many of these foods raw as possible then the proteins are undamaged and more usable by the body so that you end up requiring less food to cover your protien needs as the rda for protein was figured on cooked foods at about 75 grams a day whereas when aquired from raw sources the body only seems to require about half that much. Also if you will do some Skilled Relaxation (preferably 20 minutes twice a day) every day it will help your gut to heal also. You can go to to learn more about this. This is the time of year I used to get Severe hayfever before I went raw vegetarian and now I don't get it anymore not to mention the pain in my gut I used to get when I ate nuts. I still hardly ever touch beans as they are even harder to digest raw but at least when I do (cooked) they don't cause more than mild symptoms. Also if you do become able to eat raw nuts try to avoid peanuts as they are extremely high in mycotoxins just like corn. You can read about that in the book "The China Study". But remember there are still an amazing variety of foods left to eat out there so don't get discouraged!
            • Re: Vegan food allergy crisis

              Fri, September 10, 2010 - 1:28 PM
              Forgot to mention that the food combining for getting complete protein has been proven to be uneccessary as the body tends to get what it needs for combining over a period of several days. : )
  • Ula
    offline 1

    Re: Vegan food allergy crisis

    Fri, March 20, 2009 - 10:43 AM
    Sorry to hear about your plight.

    I read an article about food allergies a few years ago. I wish I could remember where I read it so that I could point the way, maybe I'll find it later. Any way, basically it said that if we rotate the foods that we eat in three day cycles we have a much smaller chance of ever developing an allergy to any particular food. It also said that all foods have something that is bad for us to some degree. But our bodies being the awesome organic constructs that they are can usually filter out the bad and incorporate the good. And I would say that our bodies do a pretty good job of it too. So, a super simplistic version of this would be maybe you have rice on Monday, corn on Tuesday, wheat on Wednesday, and then on Thursday you can have rice again. Once again, that's super simplistic. Also because every food has something different to offer us nutritionally, it might not be a bad idea to get a variety of different foods anyway, and not get stuck in the same old menu. This is, according to the article, another reason it might not be a good idea to consume too many prepackaged foods. Almost every label you read contains corn, soy and wheat.

    Hope things turn out well.
    • Re: Vegan food allergy crisis

      Fri, March 20, 2009 - 10:43 PM
      They are going well at the moment. I do a fair amount of rotation, and rarely (if ever) eat prepared foods or even eat out. The only thing which currently limits my variety is a time+$ constraint on my part, which means that I am freezing a lot more food now so I can incorporate some rotation.

      I'm finding that if I avoid the food that is a problem for me for a few weeks, I can sneak in a meal with it, and then wait a few weeks before chancing it again. Again, this is very small quantities, and not a good idea for anyone who has severe allergies. but for now, it seems to be okay.

      I know that in theory I can do better without protein, but there are other things at stake here that maybe don't come into everyone's idealized food scenario, but I am not able to currently afford a full on raw lifestyle, and given my metabolism, I do better with proteins than carbohydrates (whatever form they come in). It is just how my body operates - now, I was raw for a year and a half, and it was amazing. The fact that I did so well on it made me sad when I could no longer manage that between the cost and time constraint. But I will say that Spelt is really fabulous for proteins and keeping me full and making me feel great. So is quinoa. I love grains, and I love rotating them,and those that sprout well, I do love my varieties of sprouts.

      Thank you, everyone, for your suggestions!

      • Re: Vegan food allergy crisis

        Mon, May 4, 2009 - 7:43 AM
        Hey! How are you doing?

        Protein comes from pretty much everywhere and incomplete proteins are made complete when combined, but they don't even have to be eaten at the same time since you body stores it. It's good that you love quinoa, it's got more (complete) protein in it pound for pound than beef! Hemp seeds and hemp seed protein powder are also spectacular for complete, raw organic protein - and it's cheap! (if you get it in the right places, or online. I suggest Ruth's Hemp Protein Powder - I make it into my own "sludge of life" every day with ground flax, and some almond milk and/or agave nectar so that it is yummy - experiment with it - a wonderful balance of omegas and protein and iron and other vitamins and minerals). Eat lots of seeds. Seeds are abundant in so many nutrients, including protein. Seeds IMO are the most underestimated and undermentioned food group.

        Protein isn't even what you should be concerned about. Make sure you're getting enough iron. There are many good sources of vegan iron, especially if you eat your stuff raw (it doesn't have to be expensive.. just don't cook it! Dark greens, seeds, etc.. Omegas are important - flax is super cheap and has more omega 3 than (most) anything else (except for chia but that's not cheap). Eat it ground and in smoothies or on salads and in energy balls with dates etc, since when it's ground it's more easily absorbed by your body.

        Eat red star nutritional yeast and/or take a vegan B12 supplement. It's the same exact molecule as found in nature. B12 is just the element cobalt (find the best cobalamin, I forget which one it is right now) ..turned into B12 in your system by bacteria. We would be getting it in nature if we were rolling around in the dirt and stuff, from the cobalt there.. The omnivores are getting supplemented in B12/cobalt too, just it's injected into their livestock and put into livestock feed. It's only fair that we get it too ^^

        I hope this can help some :-)
  • Re: Vegan food allergy crisis

    Wed, May 6, 2009 - 6:20 AM
    Hi everyone!

    Thanks for checking in.

    Things are well, here. I've managed to stabilize the allergens and iron issues a bit. It took a few weeks to get used to not eating what I had become used to, but really, it's working out.

    How I've managed to switch it up: I'm on a pretty intense rotation regime. At first it was a pain in the ass, but now it is kind of fun. I enjoy a lot of great things on a daily basis. Lots more greens than before, and even before all of this I did eat a lot of greens. I've managed to curb the weight loss that I initially had with the switch over by increasing the amount of fats and such in my diet. Lots of rotation seems to be key here.

    I'm not on allergy shots yet, but I'm considering it for the summer when I will be touring and traveling and such. WIth the exception of soy, nothing is 'shutting me down'. So I am eating a lot of grains (medium grain brown rice, tons of quionoa) and such. It's working out for me, I just have to approach things differently. Like I said, it's fun, because I am getting to really enjoy and learn about new ingredients I'd not spent time with before.

    Thanks for the help and information!

  • Unsu...

    Re: Vegan food allergy crisis

    Wed, October 14, 2009 - 11:01 PM
    You might try getting on milk thistle. It's an herb that can help your liver out. It has helped people with other allergies that I know of, but I'm not sure about food allergies.

    Sprouts have a lot of protein. Spirulina. You can't be allergic to all beans?

    Quinoa is a complete protein...

    Good luck!

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