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Food sensitivity - transitioning to plant-based

hist_dochist_doc Member Posts: 212 Member Member Posts: 212 Member
I’m hoping to gather some advice from those of you who have followed or made a gradual transition to a plant-based diet. I’ve been a vegetarian for nearly two decades and I also have a milk allergy. I have significant gastrointestinal issues and have worked closely with a specialist to narrow down the cause(s). Recently I had a food sensitivity test done and it was revealed that I have a high sensitivity to eggs. Note that this was a real allergen test conducted by a doctor, not a hocus pocus one where you essentially find sensitivities to nearly everything on the list. Basically, it found what I expected—issues with milk-based products and surprisingly, eggs.
In an effort to curb my suffering (I have extreme pain and bloating whenever I eat ‘anything’), I’m going to try and eliminate them and see if it helps. For those of you who made the switch, how did you go about it? I’m not too happy about this prospect as I was perfectly happy being vegetarian and had no intentions of eliminating more food groups. I would appreciate any tips and advice. Thank you in advance 😊

Replies

  • ej_mariesej_maries Member Posts: 45 Member Member Posts: 45 Member
    I'm not on a completely plant based diet but one called the Low-FODMAP diet. It's meant to help people figure out food intolerances. Might be worth looking into. Virtual hugs, I have IBS myself so know how much GI issues suck. Good luck 🍀🤞❤️
  • Laughter_GirlLaughter_Girl Member Posts: 2,253 Member Member Posts: 2,253 Member
    Hi! Unlike most who have posted, health issues were not my direct reason for eating plant-based. I was a vegetarian for roughly 12 or so years before switching. I began the plant-based journey after attending a diabetic seminar with a loved one that has it. During the seminar, the nurse practitioner shared how they could reverse diabetes by changing their diets. It was eye-opening for me, and I was the only person (only non-diabetic too) ready to start the challenge. Anyway, that coupled with watching the What the Health video, I slowly changed.

    Again, it was a slow process, but I went to the library and online to get ideas for meals and to learn how to read food labels so I would know what to look out for. I have had some non-vegan foods during the switch (mostly sweets periodically), but I am definitely more aware of what I eat.

    Although it wasn't my goal, after switching to a primarily plant-based diet, my allergies went away, and I no longer take medicine for them. That was a HUGE reward for me.

    Wishing you all the best with your health, and let me know if I can provide more info!
  • concordanciaconcordancia Member Posts: 5,317 Member Member Posts: 5,317 Member
    Hi! Unlike most who have posted, health issues were not my direct reason for eating plant-based. I was a vegetarian for roughly 12 or so years before switching. I began the plant-based journey after attending a diabetic seminar with a loved one that has it. During the seminar, the nurse practitioner shared how they could reverse diabetes by changing their diets.

    The nurse practitioner specifically said that plant based was THE way to reverse diabetes via diet? While it can work for some, it isn't the most efficient way to get there.

  • kshama2001kshama2001 Member Posts: 24,074 Member Member Posts: 24,074 Member
    @janejellyroll: thought you might like to help.
  • kshama2001kshama2001 Member Posts: 24,074 Member Member Posts: 24,074 Member
    I was inadvertently mostly plant based while on a small yoga farm in very rural Costa Rico. We had no refrigeration, and no dairy. Local farmers on horseback delivered rice and beans in giant canvas sacks. Our meals revolved around this. Fortunately, there was a wide variety of spices to help keep this interesting. We also had fruits and vegetables, mostly local. The local produce was AMAZING. The bananas were out of this world! I ate mangoes all day long.

    You have a much more diverse of plant-based proteins available to you - tofu, seitan, tempeh, etc. Also protein powder. I'm an omnivore, but I do try to reduce consumption of animal products, and have tried plant-based protein powder a number of times. I don't care for it. I suggest you get sample sizes so you're not stuck with a whole jug of something you can't stand. If artificial sweeteners are an issue for you, you may have a problem with stevia as well, so check for that in the ingredients.

    You are probably already well aware of this, but if you increase fiber, do it gradually, or your gastro-intestinal system will complain vociferously ;)
  • PAPYRUS3PAPYRUS3 Member Posts: 9,674 Member Member Posts: 9,674 Member
    I suppose the 'good' thing is that there are so so many options/alternatives now.

    @janejellyroll mentioned so much of what I basically was going to comment on...

    I guess try and look at it as a new adventure that is exciting! Plant based recipes are super good. It'll just take time to get use to it.

    At least you know what has been affecting you - a relief I'm sure in that sense.

    Hugs:)

  • Laughter_GirlLaughter_Girl Member Posts: 2,253 Member Member Posts: 2,253 Member
    Hi! Unlike most who have posted, health issues were not my direct reason for eating plant-based. I was a vegetarian for roughly 12 or so years before switching. I began the plant-based journey after attending a diabetic seminar with a loved one that has it. During the seminar, the nurse practitioner shared how they could reverse diabetes by changing their diets.

    The nurse practitioner specifically said that plant based was THE way to reverse diabetes via diet? While it can work for some, it isn't the most efficient way to get there.

    Nope. However, she did have multiple examples of how people reversed it that were on insulin or the standard meds that diabetics are given in the USA. In addition, these folks exercised as well. Her presentation was primarily focused on a plant-based diet though, which I was grateful for. In my community, if a person is diagnosed with diabetes, the only option they receive for treating it is medication. People don't know they can beat it because it's not talked about.

    The two diabetics I know personally that reversed diabetes used diet and exercise. Although neither went completely vegan, both stopped eating poultry, pork and beef and significantly reduced the dairy and eggs. Both only consumed some fish (salmon). Although plant-based is not the only way, it is an option. I just wish people knew all of their options. It really saddens me.
  • kshama2001kshama2001 Member Posts: 24,074 Member Member Posts: 24,074 Member
    [snip]

    Lots of people say to focus on what you can have rather than what you can't. I suspect this may be more difficult for you than the average plant-based person, as this is not a voluntary shift. But finding new recipes to try may help you feel better about this change. Even if you don't like commercial dairy alternatives, there are easy things you can make at home, like cashew cream, that will sub for dairy ingredients and lack the kinds of aftertastes that some people don't like in the commercial alternatives. This past week I made a chickpea alfredo using cashews, almonds, and miso as the base for the sauce. I don't think for a moment that anyone would taste it and think that it was a dairy alfredo, but I think lots of people would taste it and think that it tasted good. So the way you eat will be DIFFERENT, but it also has the potential to be quite good. One of the reasons I encourage you to look to the vegan community for recipes is that a lot of plant-based resources are going to be layering on additional restrictions like being oil-free or low sugar and I think taking too much out of your diet is actually not a great way to make the change (but if you're already eating in that way, then it's probably not a big deal for you).

    Good luck!

    @janejellyroll: chickpea alfredo recipe please!

    Along these lines, Kripalu's vegan Squash-a-Roni could never be confused with Mac and Cheese, but I really enjoy it. (If you are sampling before putting in the oven, not to worry - needs to be baked to get the great taste.)

    I didn't bother to spring for umeboshi vinegar and just use ACV. However, leaving out the miso will greatly alter the taste and I do not recommend it.

    https://kripalu.org/resources/kripalu-recipe-squash-roni
  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Member, Premium Posts: 25,744 Member Member, Premium Posts: 25,744 Member
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    [snip]

    Lots of people say to focus on what you can have rather than what you can't. I suspect this may be more difficult for you than the average plant-based person, as this is not a voluntary shift. But finding new recipes to try may help you feel better about this change. Even if you don't like commercial dairy alternatives, there are easy things you can make at home, like cashew cream, that will sub for dairy ingredients and lack the kinds of aftertastes that some people don't like in the commercial alternatives. This past week I made a chickpea alfredo using cashews, almonds, and miso as the base for the sauce. I don't think for a moment that anyone would taste it and think that it was a dairy alfredo, but I think lots of people would taste it and think that it tasted good. So the way you eat will be DIFFERENT, but it also has the potential to be quite good. One of the reasons I encourage you to look to the vegan community for recipes is that a lot of plant-based resources are going to be layering on additional restrictions like being oil-free or low sugar and I think taking too much out of your diet is actually not a great way to make the change (but if you're already eating in that way, then it's probably not a big deal for you).

    Good luck!

    @janejellyroll: chickpea alfredo recipe please!

    Along these lines, Kripalu's vegan Squash-a-Roni could never be confused with Mac and Cheese, but I really enjoy it. (If you are sampling before putting in the oven, not to worry - needs to be baked to get the great taste.)

    I didn't bother to spring for umeboshi vinegar and just use ACV. However, leaving out the miso will greatly alter the taste and I do not recommend it.

    https://kripalu.org/resources/kripalu-recipe-squash-roni

    https://food52.com/recipes/82091-vegan-alfredo-sauce-with-chickpea-recipe
  • hist_dochist_doc Member Posts: 212 Member Member Posts: 212 Member
    Thank you, everyone, for your replies. I apologize for not responding sooner. My three-year-old came down with a fever yesterday and that has occupied my time.
    I have been reading up on vegan resources and making that transition. As a vegetarian I do consume many of those products now; I just wasnt thrilled to learn that I now have to cut out eggs because they were a central part of my diet. I know others have to make changes for more serious conditions and I need to not be a baby about this. 😊

    @ej_maries thanks for the suggestion. My doctor put me on the low FODMAP diet last year as a first stage of trying to figure out what was going on. I don’t have IBS, but two other conditions—gastroparesis and a form of colitis. When my normal methods of dealing with those issues was no longer working, we had to start at square one. I tried the low FODMAP for several months but it didn’t help. I do appreciate your suggestion and it is right on track with what my doctor initially “prescribed.”

  • kshama2001kshama2001 Member Posts: 24,074 Member Member Posts: 24,074 Member
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    [snip]

    Lots of people say to focus on what you can have rather than what you can't. I suspect this may be more difficult for you than the average plant-based person, as this is not a voluntary shift. But finding new recipes to try may help you feel better about this change. Even if you don't like commercial dairy alternatives, there are easy things you can make at home, like cashew cream, that will sub for dairy ingredients and lack the kinds of aftertastes that some people don't like in the commercial alternatives. This past week I made a chickpea alfredo using cashews, almonds, and miso as the base for the sauce. I don't think for a moment that anyone would taste it and think that it was a dairy alfredo, but I think lots of people would taste it and think that it tasted good. So the way you eat will be DIFFERENT, but it also has the potential to be quite good. One of the reasons I encourage you to look to the vegan community for recipes is that a lot of plant-based resources are going to be layering on additional restrictions like being oil-free or low sugar and I think taking too much out of your diet is actually not a great way to make the change (but if you're already eating in that way, then it's probably not a big deal for you).

    Good luck!

    @janejellyroll: chickpea alfredo recipe please!

    Along these lines, Kripalu's vegan Squash-a-Roni could never be confused with Mac and Cheese, but I really enjoy it. (If you are sampling before putting in the oven, not to worry - needs to be baked to get the great taste.)

    I didn't bother to spring for umeboshi vinegar and just use ACV. However, leaving out the miso will greatly alter the taste and I do not recommend it.

    https://kripalu.org/resources/kripalu-recipe-squash-roni

    https://food52.com/recipes/82091-vegan-alfredo-sauce-with-chickpea-recipe

    Thanks!
  • AthijadeAthijade Member Posts: 2,521 Member Member Posts: 2,521 Member
    hist_doc wrote: »
    Thank you, everyone, for your replies. I apologize for not responding sooner. My three-year-old came down with a fever yesterday and that has occupied my time.
    I have been reading up on vegan resources and making that transition. As a vegetarian I do consume many of those products now; I just wasnt thrilled to learn that I now have to cut out eggs because they were a central part of my diet. I know others have to make changes for more serious conditions and I need to not be a baby about this. 😊

    @ej_maries thanks for the suggestion. My doctor put me on the low FODMAP diet last year as a first stage of trying to figure out what was going on. I don’t have IBS, but two other conditions—gastroparesis and a form of colitis. When my normal methods of dealing with those issues was no longer working, we had to start at square one. I tried the low FODMAP for several months but it didn’t help. I do appreciate your suggestion and it is right on track with what my doctor initially “prescribed.”

    You are NOT being a baby about this. Having to make such changes can be hard. When I was diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis and had to go on a strict diet, I cried multiple times in the grocery store. It's HARD to deal with a new restriction like this. So don't beat yourself up for feeling sad and depressed about it.

    I can't speak about going vegetarian or vegan because my food restrictions make it nearly impossible to do so and get the nutrients I need. I do enjoy going meat free for some meals though! I find Asian and Indian to be the easiest to make vegetarian/vegan. Same with pasta. If you can have soy, it's even easier (I MISS tofu so much, but when I tried to add it back after the strict IC diet phase, it made me so ill).

    Try to stay positive, but again, it is okay to be upset about it.
  • PAPYRUS3PAPYRUS3 Member Posts: 9,674 Member Member Posts: 9,674 Member
    I'm sure you've looked into alternatives already for eggs. I've heard this one is really good:

    'JUST Egg, Cholesterol-Free, Plant-Based Scramble'
  • hist_dochist_doc Member Posts: 212 Member Member Posts: 212 Member
    PAPYRUS3 wrote: »
    I'm sure you've looked into alternatives already for eggs. I've heard this one is really good:

    'JUST Egg, Cholesterol-Free, Plant-Based Scramble'

    Thank you! I didn’t even know something like that would exist. I happened to buy flaxseed powder the other day and noticed that could be used. I appreciate the recommendation.
  • hist_dochist_doc Member Posts: 212 Member Member Posts: 212 Member
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    [snip]

    Lots of people say to focus on what you can have rather than what you can't. I suspect this may be more difficult for you than the average plant-based person, as this is not a voluntary shift. But finding new recipes to try may help you feel better about this change. Even if you don't like commercial dairy alternatives, there are easy things you can make at home, like cashew cream, that will sub for dairy ingredients and lack the kinds of aftertastes that some people don't like in the commercial alternatives. This past week I made a chickpea alfredo using cashews, almonds, and miso as the base for the sauce. I don't think for a moment that anyone would taste it and think that it was a dairy alfredo, but I think lots of people would taste it and think that it tasted good. So the way you eat will be DIFFERENT, but it also has the potential to be quite good. One of the reasons I encourage you to look to the vegan community for recipes is that a lot of plant-based resources are going to be layering on additional restrictions like being oil-free or low sugar and I think taking too much out of your diet is actually not a great way to make the change (but if you're already eating in that way, then it's probably not a big deal for you).

    Good luck!

    @janejellyroll: chickpea alfredo recipe please!

    Along these lines, Kripalu's vegan Squash-a-Roni could never be confused with Mac and Cheese, but I really enjoy it. (If you are sampling before putting in the oven, not to worry - needs to be baked to get the great taste.)

    I didn't bother to spring for umeboshi vinegar and just use ACV. However, leaving out the miso will greatly alter the taste and I do not recommend it.

    https://kripalu.org/resources/kripalu-recipe-squash-roni

    https://food52.com/recipes/82091-vegan-alfredo-sauce-with-chickpea-recipe

    Thanks!

    Thanks for the recipes. Fortunately I love to cook so I’ll try these suggestions.
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