My husband isn’t vegan, yet. It’s not because he doesn’t want to be, or that he’s afraid to stop eating meat, it’s because if he stopped eating animal based foods, I’m pretty sure he’d starve to death.
My husband has an allergy problem, that I’m hoping that someone on the internet will have some good leads on. We’ve been working hard on our own, he’s kind of made himself a human experimenter, which you know is fun for like a minute, and then it’s scary, we keep his EpiPen close at hand. Really, how fun is trying food with a giant needle next to you, waiting to be jabbed, just in case you go into shock? I know. It sucks.
I’m just going to list out what he’s allergic to – and by allergic I mean he gets REALLY bad itchy, burning throat, his lips often swell up, and he just feels miserable. Then I’ll get into the history of it all..
- Tomatos – most severe, he’s had to go to the ER for that one. He can’t even have ketchup with out it giving him a problem – or anything with tomato powder (and you’d be surprised how much it is used!)
- Uncooked ANYTHING – seriously if it grew from a seed and it’s uncooked he has a bad reaction.
- Spinach: He can handle it if it is cooked – really well.
- Artichokes: Cooked well is fine
- Squash: Any kind – no good – cooked or not.
- Leafy veggies – also a big problem
- Peppers: He can do if they are really cooked
- Potato: Cooked is just fine
- Again – ANY fruit raw – he can’t have and has a really bad reaction to.
- Fruit Juice – unless it is HIGHLY processed.
- Pears: If they are cooked really well, or if they are canned not in pear juice.
- He seems to be fine with kidney & black beans.
- Severe peanut allergy, he can’t even be around people who are eating things with peanuts in it. I’ve had to take down people and their PP&J for this, AND I’ve had a few peanut butter cravings, and I should really video tape the process of me eating peanut butter. Fist, he hast to leave the house, then I use a plastic knife, paper towel and prepare my sandwich on the paper towel. After eating it, I wrap the knife in a paper towel, put it in a trash bag, and then I wash down the counter, take out the trash and then use Listerine to burn away any remaining peanut, so he won’t die when I kiss him.. and he’s allergic to most tree nuts.
- He doesn’t do well with soy milk – but he’s been fine with things like Veganaise, tofutti, and cooked tofu.
What we’ve had luck with:
- He’s been a champ when it comes to trying things. This has been the key to figuring out what he is okay with. He’s been having tofu scramble for breakfast and it’s been going over well (all I put in it is beans, peppers, potato, spices and olives).
He’s also had no trouble with the following brands: Veganaise (grape seed oil) Earth Balance, Tofutti sour cream and cream cheese and he has been using rice milk.
His allergies started when he was little, he was allergic to peanuts pretty early on (elementary school). And then his allergies got worse and worse through the years. High School seems to be when most of them really hit hard, he says he remembers the last time he ate things like blueberries, apples and bananas. He also suspects he was allergic to things much earlier, but ignored it, the symptoms weren’t that severe and got worse over the years.
Some other things that might be something, but we really don’t know:
He lived in Nigeria for 2 years when he was little – he got malaria.
He also lived in Malaysia for 7 years.
He’s allergic to salycyclic acid (thus aspirin and any products that contain it -like cosmetic type things)
He’s really hot. Oh, did I say that out loud?
Anyway – we are in a constant mode of figuring it out, calling various doctors, and looking up information. We also travel full time, so really, we can go anywhere. This summer we’ll be in Seattle and Portland, so if you happen to know a good resource in those cities, we’re game.
He would REALLY like to go vegan. We do the best we can with his food limitations. He has eliminated milk, red meat, pork, sticks to fish mainly. But he’d really like to be able to eat a good and well balanced vegan diet in the future. We’ve seen how beneficial going vegan has been for me, and how much it’s changed my life, and it would be SO awesome if we could both eat the same things, and it would be a heck of a lot easier, currently, I cook 2 meals, each meal, every meal.. well except for breakfast, now that he can have tofu scramble! WOO HOO!
So, basically he is allergic to all plants, fruits and nuts.
I’m pretty sure if anyone had a reason to NOT go vegan, it would be him. But over the past few months, he and I have been learning so much about health and eating and the cruel practices of the food industry at large, and he has picked up a few of the books I read and skimmed through them and not to mention all of the times when I read something that I found on one of the great blogs that I read. And he’s seen how much my life has changed, (health and otherwise) one day I am going to have him write about how hard it is on the spouse of someone with a chronic disease, because it is not easy, at all, and frankly it’s just down right scary. If you don’t want to get healthy and stop eating junk and learn the truth about food for yourself, at least do it for the people that love you, because he will tell you that it is hell.
But back to happier things… We have been really trying together with all of his allergies, and he has been a champ at trying new things, despite that he might end up in the ER. Slowly he has been eliminating foods, and slowly he has been trying new foods. Yesterday he had an ENTIRE vegan day! (Round of applause)
Now, I don’t think that he will be able to do a complete vegan day every day at this point, he still does not have enough he can actually eat. But he has successfully and completely eliminated red meat, pork, eggs and dairy from his diet. And he at this point eats very little animal products.
So what did Pete have to eat yesterday?
breakfast: tofu scramble – my own made up recipe.. It has black beans, olives, crumbled firm high protein tofu, garlic, mushrooms, a little veganaise, peppers, onions and red potato. all wrapped in a tortilla with a little non dairy sour cream mixed with hot pepper sauce.
snack: red pepper hummus with pita bread
lunch: Stuffed green bell pepper – stuffed with rice, soy chorizo, mushrooms, peppers.
snack: cereal with rice milk
dinner: left over filling from stuffed green peppers – but in a pita pockets, tandori nan, plain hummus
snack: vegan chocolate chip cookie (plural?)
There are a few entirely vegan meals that he can do at this point. I’ve been working hard at creating new things in the kitchen, and playing around with ingredients.
Okay, you probably want to here from him right? I decided to interview this hot guy who is currently sitting next to me in the living room.
Me: So hot guy, why have you been trying to eliminate different foods from your diet?
Pete: Mainly, because I can. I want to be healthier, and I have been trying to figure out my health for a long time, but haven’t had an idea how that could happen. There is also an element of wanting to separate myself from the corporations that I don’t respect, the ones that are poisoning the country for financial gain.
Me: Have you had any really bad cravings for things you have given up? What has been the hardest thing?
Pete: Yeah, I still crave cheeseburgers from time to time. The hardest has been cheese, the thought of never eating it again is really difficult. But I also recognize the addictive effect that it has had on me. It’s funny though I don’t think I actually crave a hamburger with out the cheese, I think it’s just the cheese really.
Me: Have you been surprised with anything that you have tried? Do you like something that you never imagined that you would?
Pete: I never thought I would eat tofu scramble and enjoy it! And I’ve been having rice milk with my cereal, and I always expect not to like it, but each time I thoroughly enjoy it.
Me: We’ve kind of been secluded because we travel full time, are you worried about telling people about what you are trying to do?
Pete: Well, I am already difficult to explain when it comes to what I can and can not eat. Having so many food allergies, it’s already impossible for people to understand what it is that I CAN eat. With eliminating things like dairy, eggs, red meat and pork I feel like people will really not understand.
Me: Is it hard being a guy and giving up some of those foods? It seems like our society expects men to eat poorly.
Pete: I don’t think it is. I’m not concerned what other people think, I’ve already had to deal with snide comments about my allergies to begin with. I generally see people like that as negative, if someone puts down the way I eat, or want to eat, that’s just negativity, and really, I just don’t want anything to do with it.
Me: Have you noticed any changes in the way you feel?
Pete: The other day I had something with milk in it, and it actually tasted spoiled to me. I feel like my tastes are starting to change.
Me: What would be the best outcome from all of this?
Pete: I am really hoping to understand what I am allergic to and what I can and can not eat. Despite my many food allergies up until now I haven’t had much motivation to solve them, or even to fully define them. I was happy with my meat and cheese diet, even though it was limiting. The best outcome would be if my food allergies go away on their own, as an effect of eating healthier, or at the very least I’d like to get to the cause of my allergies.
Me: Is your wife forcing you to be a hippie?
Pete: LOL I don’t think I could have done this with out you, because you brought so much knowledge and interest into the house, I would have not been exposed to all of the facts. But it is my own choice, how I have responded to that information. I do not feel like I have to change the way I eat or look at food, but I am glad that I am changing, for me.
Me: Do you have any advice for people who are thinking about going vegan or questioning it?
Pete: Definitely read up and understand the effects that an animal product diet has on you and learn the facts about the food industry.
Do not think that you could never give something up, because you can. I’ve been very surprised how hearty and tasty well prepared vegan food can be. Just keep trying new things. Do not focus on what you can not eat, because it will feel like there is nothing that you can eat. If you focus on what you can eat you will start to see that there is a wealth of food out there, and options that you would have never considered.
Me: Thank you hot guy for taking time out this morning to tell us about your adventures in trying to go vegan!
Pete: You are welcome!
As a side note, I don’t think I could have ever changed my life with out my husband being by my side. If it were not for him and his constant encouragement I think making all of these changes would have been impossible. And if you are reading this and you have a partner who is wanting to start looking into going vegan, the best thing you can do is to be supportive. And likewise, if you have a partner who is not there yet, or who really wants nothing to do with going vegan, you have to separate yourself from their food and lifestyle changes. As hard has it might be, you need to focus in on you as an individual not you as a couple. You are responsible for your body and what you put in it, do not blame someone else for the choices that you make on a daily basis.
Please feel free to leave love in the comments!