Eat Plants To Eliminate Allergies
So often, people email me asking if they can be plant-based if they have allergies — and the answer is yes. It doesn’t matter what your allergy is or how many allergies you have, you can be plant-based. It takes a little creativity at times, but it’s possible.
For those with common allergies, especially allergies to things like corn, soy and wheat, eating plant-based tends to be much safer since animal feed contains many common allergens that can trigger a reaction.
The basis of a plant-based diet is whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables and limited amounts of nuts and seeds. While tree nuts, peanuts, wheat/gluten and soy can be part of a plant-based diet, you don’t have to eat them if you have an allergy to them. Other allergies to specific plant foods, say mangoes, onions, or broccoli, can typically be worked around.
I find when dealing with allergies, the first thing you need to do is switch your mindset to “abundance” and not “deprivation.” Think of all the foods you CAN have, not what you’re having to give up.
I had a client come to me recently. She was allergic to roughly 20 different plant foods, including all legumes (beans), all nuts (including peanuts), and gluten. She insisted there was nothing she could eat. I asked her to sit down and start writing a list of foods — fruits, vegetables, grains, whatever, that she isn’t allergic to. She got tired of writing before she ever came close to finishing.
She said to me one day: “I guess my diet really isn’t that limited after all.” The problem was she had been concentrating so hard on the foods she was allergic to that she couldn’t see all the foods she could eat.
She’d ask me things like, “but if I’m allergic to all nuts and legumes, where will I get my protein?” I’d tell her how protein was in ALL foods and even if she ate nothing but potatoes all day, she’d still exceed her daily protein needs.
The trick to dealing with allergies is to first make a list of all the foods you can have. Then make a list of good substitutions for foods you are allergic to.
For example, if you’re allergic to cauliflower — use potato. Or if you’re allergic to tomatoes, use red bell peppers instead. It can be a lot of trial and error, but you can also find a wealth of information online or by getting in touch with me.
Allergic to nuts and seeds
This allergy is generally easy to avoid on a plant-based diet. In most recipes, nuts and seeds are a garnish or added in and leaving them off won’t destroy the recipe. You can omit them without running into any issues. If you want to make a creamy sauce, use white beans or tofu instead.
If you’re only allergic to one item, say, peanuts, you could try using a tree nut like almonds, cashews or almond butter instead.
Allergic to legumes
In many recipes, you can leave off the legumes without much trouble. For example, if a stew calls for a can of white beans, the stew will be fine without the beans added. Instead of black bean enchiladas, try making sweet potato and kale enchiladas. Be a little creative!
Allergic to soy
You can usually leave edamame off any recipe it’s called for. If you’re not allergic to beans, you can try using beans instead of edamame. Beans and vegan yogurts (rice, coconut or almond-based) can also stand in for tofu, depending on if it was a firm or silken tofu called for.
Allergic to wheat and/or gluten
I find gluten and wheat are also fairly easy to avoid on a whole foods plant-based diet. There are some whole grains you have to avoid, like barley or couscous — but quinoa, rice, millet or any other gluten-free grain can generally be substituted without issue.
Brown rice wraps and corn tortillas are easier to come by and a great alternative to their white flour counterpart.
If you’re thinking of changing to a plant-based diet to eliminate any allergies, get in touch today and we can discuss a diet plan suitable for you.