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Jan 20, 2009 04:10 PM

Is it possible to cook deliciously without salt, sweeteners, soy, milk products, eggs, non-fish animal protein, alcohol, caffeine and wheat?

What would you make for someone on such a restricted diet? So far, I've just come up with fish or portobella mushroom grilled with olive oil, garlic and lemon, served over brown rice with a side of oven roasted veggies (with olive oil and more garlic). I'm not feeling terribly creative. Anyone else want to venture a few suggestions for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks -- or just offer tips on making food as deliciously as possible? (I know I'm relying a bit too heavily on the garlic and olive oil.)

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  1. Add some toasted almonds to the rice!
    Maybe some herbs on the fish or mushroom, but it sounds alright to me.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Bryn

      and toasted almonds would work as a snack, too -- thanks. good suggestion.

      1. re: Bryn

        Add curry powder, 5-spice powder, and hot pepper to your list of seasonings. You can get a lot of flavor out of those without adding salt.

      2. Hi cimui,

        This is interesting. Can we use shellfish? How about regular sugar or fish sauce? Some dishes / snacks that I can think of:
        - crab meat (no seasoning required if it is fresh and naturally salty) with avocado (is shellfish allowed?).
        - sliced smoked salmon on top of cucumber or avocado
        - sushi with fresh fish (choose stronger flavored fish so soy sauce is not required)
        - maki rolls with burdock or pickled vegetables
        - seaweed salad or seaweed soup (again, natural saltiness)
        - fruit smoothies for breakfast?
        - Rice porridge with sweet potato or taro or ginko nuts
        - Grilled mackeral / sardines
        - seasame seed / pistaschio crusted tuna or salmon
        - fish wrapped in banana leaves
        - smoked eels?
        - fennels with oranges and grapefruit salad (though it will taste better with salt)

        I will give more thoughts to this.

        21 Replies
        1. re: kobetobiko

          i don't think smoked salmon would work because of the salt used in preservation and sushi rice is seasoned with added sugar and salt. love the sesame seed crusted tuna / salmon ideas and the subtle flavoring of banana leaves, though. shellfish should be fine, though i've never prepared anything of the mollusk variety, before.

          1. re: cimui

            If you can't use smoked salmon, then you can simply make salmon tartare with cucumber and / or avocado.

            Also, you can add these ingredients to your dishes to enhance flavors:
            - scallions, ginger, leeks, onions, kelps (kombu), and of course, various seeds and nuts and herbs and spices.

            - cous cous with olive oil, mint, cilantro, lemon, garlic, etc.
            - raw/grilled scallops! So good, you really don't need anything.

            1. re: kobetobiko

              thank you, kobetobiko. i love your suggestions. (couscous is wheat, but i've done similar things with quinoa.)

              1. re: cimui

                Ha ha, cimui, sorry about cous cous. I have no idea if it is wheat, I just assume it is some kind of grain *_*"

                There are also a lot of dried ingredients like dried dates, dried longon, dried sweet potato or even dried apricots that can add sweetness or flavors to your dishes.

                1. re: kobetobiko

                  Just got an idea. You can make dashi using bonito flakes. It can be served as a base for many other dishes or soups.

                  Shitake mushrooms or combination of different vegetables can also make a good soup base.

                  1. re: kobetobiko

                    i was thinking about bonito / shiitake based soups, as well. (traditional buddhist fare, i think.) the thing that stopped me, though, is that bonito is generally preserved with salt, i think. maybe there are unsalted kinds? either way, thank you for giving this so much thought.

                    1. re: thew

                      Couscous is a cereal processed from semolina into tiny pellets. Semolina is the hard part of Duram wheat sifted out of flour and used for pasta.

                      1. re: thew

                        i think you are thinking of Israeli Couscous.

                          1. re: TampaAurora


                            No matter how you slice it couscous is derived from wheat. Wheat is not to be consumed in this cleanse, so couscous is off cimui's list for the time being.

                          2. re: thew

                            uhm, even if it is pasta, isn't pasta made from wheat? aka flour? i've never made pasta but I don't think I'm mistaken...

                            1. re: thew

                              Cous cous is wheat. Pasta can be made of lots of different things: wheat, rice, corn, quinoa, etc. but you have to look for the non-wheat kind.

                        1. re: kobetobiko

                          i definitely don't want to subject the good hounds of chow to a blow by blow account of this cleanse, but i was such a fan of my dinner, tonight, i wanted to report back on it.

                          strongly inspired by kobetobiko's suggestions, i made a timbale of avocado and crab with a little bit of toasted sesame oil mixed in, topped with toasted sesame seeds and strips of toasted nori, all served with a side of brown rice. i didn't add any salt and the flavor was really spectacular. hopefully i didn't cheat, since the crabmeat is naturally a bit salty... in any case, it was delicious. thank you all, again, for the great suggestions!

                          1. re: cimui

                            Hoo dang! You have a new career as a cleanse chef! I'd hire you in a heartbeat! That sure sounds great.

                            1. re: moh

                              heck, i'd cook for you *anytime*, moh. (hard not to make tasty food with all these great chowminds advising!)

                            2. re: cimui

                              Hi cimui,

                              I am so glad it worked out for you! How long does the cleansing last? I think you will do perfectly fine if the cleansing period isn't too long. But you may need more ideas if you have to do it for a month!

                              I agree with others that the "no salt" part is the hardest part. I think natural "salt" from the food should be fine! (and no, don't ask your yoga friend!) ;D

                              1. re: kobetobiko

                                Just wondering why people bother with a "cleanse".
                                Normally unless you have serious kidney or liver problems you do not need to do a cleanse.
                                The kidneys job is to filter toxins-but if you want to know what your kidey function is go to the doctor for a blood test and he will if you have any kidney problems tell you to go on a low pretein diet or renal diet.

                                One of my friends she has kidney problems and has to go the the hospital 4 times a week to have her blood cleaned as it does not happen by itself for her.

                                But enough about that,I did have a few suggestions.

                                I really like roasted nut oils and roasted hazelnut oil on rice noodles with cucumber and carrot would be good.

                                those vietnamese noodle rolls.
                                carrot soup w ginger made hot or cold.

                                Rice dream products and rice milk-they even have "rice cheese" I have seen.

                                1. re: MiriamOttawa

                                  hey there, miriam. in defense of those who 'cleanse' (i know... such a new agey / eating disordery / bad sounding word!)... it's a practice that's common among serious yoga practioners in order to help you focus your mental and spiritual energies, reset your system, and that sort of thing.

                                  i'd call myself a kind of wishy washy yoga practioner, not a serious one, but i have to say that even for me, the week-long cleanse was great. it helped me kick the worst of my caffeine habit, give up alcohol for long enough that i can tell myself i'm not a real alcoholic ;) and in all honesty, i did feel like i could taste a little more nuance to my food when i reintroduced salt back into my diet, which made me taste with more awareness. of course by now (months later), it's all kind of gone to sh*t, but it was good while it lasted... ;)

                                  is 'cleansing' something i want to do every day? heck no. but i can certainly see why people like to do this once or twice a year -- or even four times a year like my friend. in fact, i'm thrilled to have your additional suggestions. i'll certainly save them for next time. thanks a lot!!!

                                  1. re: cimui

                                    No prob!
                                    I always have to think of tasty stuff as I can't eat most of what is on your list all the time.
                                    Also added to my list of stuff-I'm allergic to starfruit (really), can't have some weird indian spice that is green (recognize it but don't know name of it),
                                    also can't eat most nuts,grains,any foods with phosphate preservatives.
                                    can't have much dairy either.

                                    So even trying to cook sucks for me,
                                    also I can't have a lot of potassium so not much avocade,banana or citrus-even though I like them,have to be careful....

                                    I'm stuck eating like this the rest of my life...unfortunately.

                      2. Salads with greens, fruits, vinaigrette, and nuts.

                        Rice and peas.

                        11 Replies
                        1. re: jaykayen

                          any way to make the rice and peas particularly flavorful?

                          1. re: cimui

                            sauteed onion (with olive oil) and pepper.

                            1. re: cimui

                              Cook the rice in a fish or vegetable broth instead of water.

                              1. re: cimui

                                If you use a fragrant rice such as basmati or jasmine, you don't need to add too much. With some Indian style spices, you could kick it up.

                                Also, you could use vegetable stock and go for a risotto like thing.

                                1. re: cimui

                                  Sesame oil or coconut milk? If coconut milk is out, you could also try adding some unsweetened dried coconut. Toss the rice with some sauteed greens or cabbage and thinly sliced carrots, green onions, and perhaps some sesame seeds?

                                  1. re: cimui

                                    Try fresh mint with peas. Super combo.

                                      1. re: lcool

                                        feta is a milk product and stored in brine, aka salt water

                                        1. re: Caralien

                                          and milk ,both a no-no in this instance

                                      2. re: cimui

                                        I ate brown rice or millet with peas, and avocado for many meals for a while.

                                    1. Balsamic vinegar is a great flavor enhancer with those portobellos, or anything else, without adding salt! Lime juice is also your friend and goes well with fish. Have you tried any Mrs. Dash products? They have some good recipes with ratings at their website that you might look into.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Val

                                        i haven't tried mrs. dash products, but balsamic vinegar is a wonderful standard. i'll use it liberally, thank you.

                                        1. re: cimui

                                          Fresh herbs are wonderful natural enhancers, too--thyme goes very nicely with those balsamic portobellos, I've also done them with fresh rosemary.

                                      2. by "sweeteners" do you mean artificial, or real sugars? and if it's a restriction on real sugar, is it a diabetic issue?

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                          the restriction is on all sweeteners, real and imagined. er, artificial. fruit, dried fruit and juice are fine.

                                            1. re: CoryKatherine

                                              yes, it does. as does maple syrup, molasses, rice syrup, most things ending in ose, such as fructrose, sucrose etc. and fruit juice sweetened.