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wildpotato's avatar

Suggestions for a restricted diet?

Asked by wildpotato (15121points) July 19th, 2009

I am trying to switch to a veggie-plus-fish diet (still eating eggs and small amounts of milk and cheese). The problem is that I have a very easily upset stomach, and my GI has forbidden me to eat most veggies (including asparagus, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, green peppers, onions, radishes, corn, cucumber, broccoli), many fruits (mangoes, melons, bananas, avocados, apples), and worst of all, all legumes (tofu, lentils, falafel, peas, peanuts and peanut butter, cashews). This cuts me off from many of the protein-rich staples of the veggie diet, and I find myself eating a lot of fish and babaganoush.

Does anyone have suggestions for alternatives to some of the things I mentioned that are easier on the digestion, or things I might add to my diet that I haven’t thought of? I would love a peanut butter substitute – I tried tahini paste but it’s sooo dry. Has anyone tried tempeh? I have heard that it’s a preparation of soy curd that’s easier on the stomach than tofu, but it’s really hard to find.

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33 Answers

BBSDTfamily's avatar

You did not mention red beans or rice…. if you can eat those, the combination gives you all the amino acids you need. Be sure you take a good multi-vitamin as well.

You may find (like I did when I stopped eating dairy) that part of your problems is dairy, and maybe it would relieve your upset stomache to quit eating red meat and dairy. Can you drink protein shakes? Smoothie King has them half off everyday 5pm-7pm and the Strawberry Yogurt Delight comes w/ protein powder w/ no extra charge. That’s what I do!

wildpotato's avatar

I can eat white rice but not brown. And unfortunately, all types of beans are included in the legume category. I have been tested for lactose sensitivity, and that is not the problem – though cutting down on the dairy has helped somewhat. I have already stopped eating red meat. Hm, protein shake is something I hadn’t thought of; thanks!

I heard that multivitamins don’t really work because you need to get vitamins through natural food sources for them to absorb correctly. But if you and others have found them helpful, maybe that’s a bunch of claptrap.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@wildpotato If you get a good multivitamin they will work correctly. You won’t get protein from a mult-vitamin, however.

skfinkel's avatar

Almond butter is delicious—can you use that instead of peanut butter?

YARNLADY's avatar

With that many restrictions, you should ask your GI for a list of things you can have, rather than what you can’t. What is a GI, anyway? Maybe now is the time to ask for a referral to a dietician.

wildpotato's avatar

@skfinkel I asked around about almond butter, but was told that it is dark, thick and gloopy, and not at all like peanut butter. But I’ve not yet had any first-hand experience, so I will have to give it a try, thanks!

@YARNLADY a GI is a Gastrointestinal physician. Mine has given me a referral to a nutritionist, but I have to wait to get up the money because my insurance counts the visit as unnecessary. So in the meantime, I’m fluthering for answers :)

Darwin's avatar

Have you tried almond butter or hazelnut butter? They are both tasty and creamy, but not quite the same as peanut butter. And then there is Nucella (hazelnut butter and chocolate), which is almost as good as Nucita, a rival brand. We can get Nucella in our regular grocery store, but we get the nut butters at Sun Harvest, a more organically oriented store.

And multi-vitamins are helpful, although I suggest you take them with food. My sister, a long-time vegetarian, takes a multi-vitamin daily.

There are some other sources of protein. Bulgar, a form of wheat, contains 17 grams of protein per cup. Oat bran contains 16 grams per cup, and white rice contains 13 grams per cup. Boiled spaghetti contains 8 grams of protein per cup, and Quinoa contains 6 grams per cup. One serving of oatmeal includes 6 grams of protein.

And you may not need as protein as you think. According to this site you need 0.45 grams of protein per pound that you weigh, so, for example, a 154 pound man would need only 73 grams of protein a day. The site also has some examples of menus that work.

Basically, as long as you eat a varied diet containing grains, eggs, fish, and dairy, you will get enough protein. Grains, fruits and vegetables that you can eat will add vitamins and fiber. As long as your weight remains stable, you should do fine.

YARNLADY's avatar

Pumpkin or other squash makes a very delicious butter-like spread, and there are many different kind of squashes to eat Are they allowed for you?

edit added: I also don’t see carrots on the list.

wildpotato's avatar

@YARNLADY Oh, I forgot to add squash! yeah, they’re a no for me as well. And of course I find all this out right after my bf makes a huge batch of his delicious carrot-and-butternut soup… Carrots are ok for me, but you can only incorporate them in so many ways…maybe I’ll start digging through old Iron Chef episodes.

@Darwin I also forgot to add bran to my list of restricted stuff – oatmeal, seven-grain cereal, grits, all bad. I’ll ask about quinoa and bulgar. Rice and pasta are great, but they get old quick. Thanks for the hazelnut butter tip! I have had Gnutella (another kind of hazelnut and chocolate spread) but thought it too sweet for an everyday substitute. I’ll look for hazelnt on its own now that I know it exists.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

I make a damn fine batch of pistachio butter now and again. It’s pretty easy to make, three ingredients, (roasted pistachio nuts, sugar, and either very light olive oil, or sunflower oil) and it keeps well in the fridge. All you need is a good electric grinder to chop the nuts fine.

nikipedia's avatar

This is a tricky one! It sounds like you are going to need to focus your protein efforts in fish, eggs, and acceptable nuts: pine nuts, macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, walnuts, pistachios, and the already-mentioned almond come to mind. Also, maybe make an effort to include acceptable forms of dairy—is yogurt okay? Sour cream, cream cheese, creme fraiche?

Outside of proteins, sounds like time for some adventures in vegetable-land. Can you eat spinach? Beets? Potatoes? Sweet potatoes? Chickpeas? Artichokes? Those are some of my staples…wikipedia has a list of nearly 200 vegetables that might be useful.

Good luck! Sounds like you have some very interesting culinary times ahead of you.

wildpotato's avatar

@nikipedia I am a huge nut fan, yes. I was worried that the pistachio might also be a legume in disguise, but Wiki says not. I will try adding more of those. More yogurt is a great idea, especially the stuff with lactobacillus. I am nervous about sour cream because of the active bacteria in it – or maybe I have a misconception about what sour cream is. Beets, potato, yam, and sweet potato skins (but not insides), and chickpeas (these are legumes) are all banned. I love artichokes had a steamed ‘choke just earlier today, mmm but they have very little substance. I will look into spinach.

Darwin's avatar

Neither the pistachio nor the cashew are legumes. However, I notice that I am mildly allergic to pistachios and I cannot eat cashews at all. Both nuts are members of the Anacardiaceae or Sumac Family, which is the same plant family that contains poison oak, poison ivy, and poison sumac. Be careful with both those nuts, in case you are sensitive to chemicals in that family. BTW, mangoes are also in that same family.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@Darwin mangoes are related to poison ivy? Wow, I would have never guessed that. I learned something new today. That’s why I love to fluther.

wildpotato's avatar

@Darwin Oh, awesome! I am so glad I was misinformed about the cashew; that really opens up my options. Unless I am sensitive to them in the allergic way; I will bring this possibility up with my doc. But I ran around Minnesota all last summer looking for morels and got dozens of ticks, but was never bothered by the poison ivy my friends suffered with. We speculated that I am actually less sensitive to it. I suppose an allergy test would shed light on the issue.

Darwin's avatar

I wish mangoes and cashews weren’t related to poison ivy. I love them but dare not eat them or even handle them.

cookieman's avatar

The all natural almond butter from Trader Joes is delicious. Just remember to refrigerate and stir.

Also, another vote for Nutella.

And try stuffing your artichokes with steamed white rice for a little more substance.

Capt_Bloth's avatar

Apple butter is a wonderful substitute for peanut butter. Coconut meat helps with digestion as well as plums, and coconut water is very good for you, full of vitamins. Carnation instant breakfast is cheap and full of protein.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

@Capt_Bloth: Can carnation instant breakfast be mixed with something other than milk or soy milk?
Also, IMHO, apple butter is delicious, but it is nothing like peanut butter at all!
@wildpotato: Can you drink rice milk? I suppose carnation instant breakfast could be mixed with that…

cookieman's avatar

Hey, what about cous cous?

Can you eat that? It would also make a good artichoke stuffing.

How about olives?

nebule's avatar

yum yum I love cous cous…

YARNLADY's avatar

@wildpotato If you could give me a list of what you are allowed to eat, I could give you some great recipes.

cookieman's avatar

@lynneblundell: cous cous: sooo good, you have to say it twice.

YARNLADY's avatar

@lynneblundell @cprevite Did you know cous cous is the same thing as what we used to call Farina?

cookieman's avatar

Dennis Farina? The actor? I always wondered what happened to him.

wildpotato's avatar

@cprevite I’ll have to ask about couscous, but I think that should be OK. Olives are good to go, I think.

@YARNLADY Hm. Fish, eggs, tomatoes, eggplant, carrots, artichoke, watercress and spinich (still not great for me, but much better than lettuce) all nuts except for peanuts, possibly tempeh, anything made of sesame seeds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, all berries, enriched and bleached flour and their products, (I am so sad about that one – I love whole-grain flour and its products, but any whole grains are bad for me, apparently). I’ll get back to you with more later.

YARNLADY's avatar

@wildpotato what about potatoes, potato flour, and Kale?

zina's avatar

Your situation sounds trying – I’m sorry to hear about it (it’s been interesting to follow the discussion), and I hope you can work with the GI and nutritionist to find a varied, balanced diet and maybe even resolve underlying issues such that you could more easily eat more of these foods! Meanwhile… I’m brainstorming a few ideas… hopefully not repeating too many things.

Grilled salmon covered in a mountain of raw finely chopped tomato, pineapple and cilantro next to some plain or lightly salted/oiled rice (just had it yesterday here in a restaurant in Mexico – YUM)—if you can’t eat the pineapple and cilantro (wasn’t sure), replace with other sweet fruits you can eat and/or another herb, or maybe try salmon with berries? (never have, but I think it could work)

If you’re ok with herbs and spices in general, that could be a great way to make more (at least SEEMING) variety in your diet: mint, dill, parsley, etc all give a really different feel to the simplest things – like rice or yogurt. Scrambled eggs or an omelette-type thing with chopped parsley is very good. Anise, garlic, rosemary, cinnamon, nutmeg, basil, ... just changes lots of dishes when you have to repeat the more substantial ingredients. (And could lead to many more recipes from me.)

Since you can eat the inside of sweet potatoes, I’d go crazy on that – they’re so tasty, versatile, and super nutritionally-speaking (one of the most complete foods on earth!). Pureed as soup (alone or with pear or cinnamon or other mild hints of something), baked whole (then peeled), baked as fries, added into a stir-fry on pasta or rice…. etc.

What about coconut milk? Great for curries, soups, sauces.

Since you’re cutting down on dairy, seems like rice milk and almond milk might make good substitutes for cow milk. (I use almond milk for everything!)

I know this is an obvious one, but since you’ve got eggplant, tomatoes, eggs, flour products (would that include bread crumbs?), and rice all on the list, I’d eat eggplant parmesan like it was my job.

How about sprouts? They’re easily to grow at home, very nutritious, and could add that crunch you might wanting in place of lettuce for some dishes. Wheatberry (sweeter), alfalfa, and lentil are easy and simple (I wonder if that would make the lentil digestible for you? It’d be worth checking out), and broccoli seeds are a little spicy.

Homemade smoothies with berries, nuts/nut powders/protein powders, almond milk, yogurt, etc. (Blenders are awesome, but just FYI the Magic Bullet is really handy for individual use like this—my grandma makes herself a frozen berry, protein powder, any milk, ground flax seed smoothie every morning!)

Can you eat citrus fruits like orange and lemon? That would open a lot of ideas.
Can you eat ginger? (ginger lemonade! ginger is great in so many things…)
Can you eat fennel root? (great sliced, baked, and seasoned with salt/pepper and lemon – also in stir-fries and surely other ways)
Can you eat miso? Soy, but a great way to get live enzymes, a very different flavor, a base for soups (say with carrots, rice).
Beets? (AMAZING for you)

These would lead to many more recipes.

Ok, I think that’s enough for now! Wow, that got longer than I expected!

wildpotato's avatar

@YARNLADY, @zina: Potatoes and potato flour are ok, as well as parsnips and yams – just not their skins. Kale is a type of cabbage, and so unfortunately not an option. Also ok: grapes, most spices (hot-spicy can be bad), tomatillos, garlic in moderation, ginger, water chestnuts, seaweed, rose hips, pears, plums, cherries, coconut meat and water, kiwis, lychees, longan fruit, pomegranates, dates, citrus fruits, pineapple, vanilla.

I adore beets but they take revenge on my insides almost immediately, and more harshly than almost anything else. Tofu (and so also miso) is another killer. Sprouts actually count as a legume, since they are usually soybean sprouts or mung bean sprouts.

Flour products does indeed include breadcrumbs, and my bf loves to use ‘em. Yeah, I eat a lot of eggplant and portabellos.

I hadn’t considered wheatberry, alfalfa, or fennel root yet, zina – and that meal sounds delicious; thanks for sharing it!

zina's avatar

Ah, great. This is sounding better and better – potatoes, mushrooms, garlic, ginger, spices, citrus, coconut, pears… This is getting to include many or most of my staple foods, actually! I’ll write with more specific recipes ideas soon if you want them. (Now to bed.)

cookieman's avatar

is anyone else really hungry now?

Robles's avatar

I would boil the chicken, and then take the broth and cook it with the rice, and add mushrooms, and celery and onion… and some basil… then you would have the rice with the broth instead of water, and you could add in a teaspoon of butter… to add for the flavor. viola! check out “cooking without fat” its a book that was published by health valley products… good luck.

Kardamom's avatar

This question is really putting us to the test, but I think everyone is having fun trying to come up with ideas.

Here’s a few that I think might work: pizza (you can either purchase already prepared crusts or make your own so that you can check the flour and other ingredients) with a little bit of cheese, tomatoes or tomato sauce, mushrooms, artichokes, olives and pine nuts. I make this combo often and it’s really tasty.

The above ingredients would also make a fine pasta dish, make sure you get the right kind of pasta that you can eat (sorry about the no whole grains) and mix and match all of the above ingredients with either olive oil, a little bit of butter, a little bit of cheese, or use tomatoes or tomato sauce.

Burritos can also be filled with almost everything on your OK list. I wasn’t sure if you could eat mild peppers like banana peppers or anaheim peppers, if you can you can make salsa with the addition of tomatoes with a little bit of lime juice or just salt and pepper.

Whatever veggies you can eat, you can try out all sorts of different preparations like grilling, roasting, marinating, baking, stewing, frying, boiling, dehydrating and crock potting.

Check to see if you can eat tempeh, it’s a good all purpose meat substitute, and I think you will like all of the nut butters. They don’t taste like peanut butter, but they are very delicious and can be mixed with spices to make sauces.

Like yarnlady said, as soon as you are sure of the complete lists of acceptable foods, then we’ll start posting recipes for you. : )

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