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No pulses no grains - what can I eat?

Medical stuffs mean no pulses and no whole grains for me. (IBS)
And no/low saturated fat. And no soy. (breast cancer).
I've been eating fat free dairy (and fish) for protein - are there any other veg options? Can I get enough proteins from nuts?

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  1. Quinoa?

    And just in case you don't take my word for it:


    1. Whole eggs and/or egg whites; you can also make smoothies or protein shakes with soy-free protein powder. As far as nuts go, your best bets are almonds/almond butter, pumpkin seeds, pistachios & cashews.

      1 Reply
      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        I just realized I misread your OP - I didn't see the "whole" qualification in front of grains. You've gotten great suggestions from the other posters here. I would just caution you to read labels carefully because almond milk, flax milk & meat substitutes usually contain thickeners that may be problematic. Steer clear of anything containing carrageenan - it will aggravate your IBS *and* it's a possible carcinogen. Guar gum can sometimes be helpful for constipation-predominant IBS so that may not give you too much trouble, but gums in general can be irritating and cause bloating & gas if you're not careful.

      2. Is seitan a possibility, or does gluten irritate your IBS? Upton makes some very nice ones in plain, italian (think fennel sausage) and chorizo styles.

        Nuts are great and you can certainly get alot of protein, but tough to eat enough everyday to get 50-60g/day. Here's a guide to nut protein content:

        Another possibility is adding nutritional yeast to your foods. 1 1/2 Tablespoon has 8g protein. Also quinoa is NOT a grain...it is a type of chard, so that might be ok.

        There are also some newer almond milks that are fortified with flax protein. I've seen shelf-stable ones at Whole Foods, and refrigerated/fresh at Wegman's (I think).

        3 Replies
        1. re: Science Chick

          OP doesn't state age/sex so don't assume that OP needs 50-60 g protein/day. For adult women who are not pregnant or breast-feeding, it is about 46 and for men, about 46.


          The other issue is not quantity but quality. One needs to get the nine essential amino acids (that are among the 20 amino acids that make up proteins) from food because our bodies can't make them (unlike the others). Few plants have all of the essentials - in fact, I think quinoa is the only one. Quinoa is not a grain. It is a "pseudo-grain" - a broadleaf plant, not a grass. Whether or not it is problematic for IBS, I have no idea.

          1. re: Just Visiting

            You might survive on it, but that's very sub optimal for healthy lean body mass maintenance and general health.

            Older folks need more protein than they're getting usually, to avoid muscle and bone mineral losses.

            1. re: Just Visiting

              Yes, I agree wholeheartedly....see my earlier response to Windsor, below..... :)

          2. Peg, not a judgment question but a curiosity one. Is there any reason why poultry is a no-go for you? Is it a medical directive or a choice? I'm not super high activity (sedentary job) but I wonder if you can get enough protein without resorting to powders, shakes, etc.

            1 Reply
            1. re: pinehurst

              I've not eaten meat (including chicken) for about 20 years. I've tried - but my body has definitely lost the taste for it. Eating meat feels like eating something that is really not supposed to be a food item. I originally gave it up for moral reasons around animal welfare - but trying meat from 'ethically raised meat' has not worked out.

            2. Polenta, corn tortillas, millet, and quinoa as mentioned would be grain options.

              Pre-made options would include Quorn products- frozen meatless patties and faux chicken made from mushroom proteins, soy free, very high in protein and delicious
              Any seitan based products like field roast brand
              Chia seeds and hemp seeds are great sources of protein
              Bar options would include the "simply bar" whey line, larabar's ALT bars

              All of that said, if you are consuming dairy and fish you can easily meet your protein needs by having one serving of greek yogurt, one serving fish, with a snack containing protein.
              Excess nut and nut butter consumption may aggrevate your ibs and add considerable calories.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Ttrockwood

                Ah - I neglected to mention - eating mushrooms and Quorn cause 'intestinal distress'.
                Mushrooms without gills seem less of an issue - so morels and truffles are OK. Shame about the bank balance!

                I am sticking mainly to fat-free dairy plus fish, with occasional nots. I'd not realised hemp/flax is a protein source - so that's another source.

              2. Here is an article about protein found in a plant based diet. You might not agree with all that Dr. McDougall says in the article, but his comments about protein per calorie in a plant based diet should make you more comfortable that you are getting protein. Add seeds and nuts to salads, beans and rice to meals etc. http://www.drmcdougall.com/free_2e.html

                5 Replies
                1. re: Windsor

                  McDougall's notion that "since elephants, hippos, etc can get all their protein from leafy veggies, so can you" is ridiculously non-scientific, since they eat ALL DAY. As an NIH-funded scientist, I caution against regarding McDougall as any type of expert. He has exactly 2 peer-reviewed publications over the past 18 years, and does not have any type of academic appointment whatsoever. All his other "publications" are self-promotion and strictly his opinions, not based on hard scientific data.

                  The tricky part here is that he is giving you %protein/calorie, which still is not very much. For example, zucchini is one of the highest, listed as having 17% protein/calorie. Wow, that sounds great, you say! Well, let's break that down.....2 cups of zucchini has 58 calories, which means that 9.8 of those calories are protein, which translates to 2g of protein. Since the average female needs about 46 g protein/day, you would have to eat 46 cups of zucchini to get sufficient protein in a day. And that would not be complete protein, because you can't get all of the 9 essential amino acids (the ones your body can't make) from those leafy/green type plants. That being said, since beans/nuts/grains are more calorie dense, and have the necessary complement of amino acids, you can certainly get all the protein you need by also including these in your otherwise veggie-dense diet, with no need for animal based protein sources.

                  1. re: Windsor

                    It's not well used, bioavailable protein.

                    1. re: Windsor

                      Add seeds and nuts to salads, beans and rice to meals etc.
                      The OP can't have pulses or whole grains - that means no beans or rice.

                      I'm in complete agreement with Science Chick regarding McDougall and his "expertise," and there are several factual inaccuracies just on that particular web page.

                      All that aside, it sounds as though the OP is getting sufficient protein from the foods she already eats.

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        Adding quinoa to her diet is a no-brainer. At the very least it adds variety and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.

                    2. Not to make light of your situation, but I just happened to read this blog today and then saw your question. I hope you get a smile from it, as I did:


                      Given your restrictions and health conditions I would suggest you consult a registered dietician rather than those of us on Chowhound who may know more than most, but still not enough...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Just Visiting

                        But it's been well documented that dietetics is run by junk food companies, not scientists, and their recommenations are the proof.

                      2. Amaranth is a similar option to quinoa for a protein option.

                        As for general cooking, it sounds like Indian food would be a good option for you generally. Once you can get the right spice combinations, a lot of it is very straight forward.

                        I don't know enough about its botanical classification, but teff might be an option. It's very nutritious and fairly versatile. Ethiopian bread (injeera) is made with it and is delicious. It's worth noting that a lot of restaurants in the US add other things (such as wheat flours) to their injeera dough.