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Vegan Nutrition with Marty Davey

Marty Davey

Question: I am having trouble with terrible gas and also itchiness on my bottom which is sore also. I'm 53 and it seems like every food suddenly became intolerable to my system. I eat really healthy and am a vegetarian trying to be vegan, but it seems beans give me trouble as well as certain raw vegetables and possibly wheat. Can you help?

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Answer: Wheat is a well-documented allergen. So, getting rid of that should help a lot. Here's another couple of ideas. For the Mucho-Farto-Problemo, [it's a technical term], you can try to regulate the amount of beans you eat. It could be certain types or the amount. If you are new to eating legumes, try just 250mL or cup. Make sure they are soaked and then cooked.

I had more trouble with ones I just pressure cooked. I really needed to toss out the soaking water, and rinse them before cooking. If you are using canned beans, rinse them thoroughly before use, and again, watch the amount at any one meal. If you find that you cannot tolerate any beans. Not to despair. You can stick to grains, seeds and nuts for all of your protein needs. Kamut and quinoa have all of the protein you need. You can mix up grains together and get different tastes. Just be sure to keep ones that take the same cooking time together. I like rice and lentils, they are about the same cooking time [50 minutes]. Also, I like quinoa and cous cous.

I started heating enough water for 2 cups of grains. I tossed in the quinoa [20 minutes to cook] when the water boiled, got it to begin steaming. Ten minutes later, I threw in cous cous. They were both done five minutes later and had a better texture than cous cous alone. Since you don't mention the raw veggies that give you the itchies, I can only guess. You may want to find out if they are all in the same family, such as tomatoes, potatoes and eggplant all being nightshades. Since you are trying to be vegan, I'll let you in on a secret. Zits and skin problems have been linked to dairy. You could have had a slight intolerance and not known. Your body could be done with the dairy and now can't tolerate it. If you cut out dairy, and then a week later had a pizza with cheese, you could be throwing off your system. Get the dairy out completely, and then see what happens. Allergies are a very tricky business.

Although we have just scratched the surface, I hope you get to the bottom of your food challenges. [Yea, I can hear you groaning from here.]

Marty Davey is a Registered Dietitian and has a Masters degree in Food and Nutrition from Marywood University. She became a vegetarian in 1980 when she discovered that the chemicals in American meat made them unsellable to Europeans. She and her husband have raised their son as a vegan. She teaches nutrition and has a private practice specializing in assisting clients transitioning to a plant-based regime step by step. Her website is

Get your own personal nutrition consultation with Marty here.

Disclaimer: The advice given here is for eductional purposes only. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.

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