Food allergies can wreak havoc on your immune system. A strict vegetarian diet can help strengthen it. This is due to the elimination of animal products which are full of cholesterol, saturated fat, hormones, antibiotics, and other toxins.

The top 8 food allergens are

  • fish
  • shellfish
  • milk
  • eggs
  • wheat
  • soy
  • peanuts
  • tree nuts

Tree nuts include macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, cashews, almonds, pecans, pistachios, chestnuts, walnuts, beechnuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, gingko nuts and hickory nuts.

Following a vegetarian diet takes care of any fish and shellfish allergies right away. Strict vegetarians also don’t need to worry about milk or eggs.  Lacto-ovo vegetarians will need to give up milk and/or eggs depending upon what they are allergic to. Milk drinkers can be lactose- intolerant or actually allergic to milk.

Intolerance to lactose is the inability to digest lactose, the sugar in milk. Lactose-free milk is an effective alternative. A milk allergy involves casein, the protein in milk. A milk allergy means milk must be eliminated altogether. Plant-based milks are healthy, delicious alternatives. Soy, rice, almond, hemp and oat milks are widely available.

If you love eggs but are allergic to them, try replacing them with Amy’s organic tofu scrambler. Recipes with egg ingredients can be made with Ener-G egg replacer or a mixture of 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed and 3 tablespoons water. Pureed fruit can also be used.

Vegetarian diets include whole grains. If you are unable to tolerate wheat or wheat gluten there are many alternative whole grains available. When gluten is an issue try gluten-free whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, amaranth, teff and millet. These grains are also wheat-free. Pearled barley is wheat-free; however it is not gluten-free. Rye is neither. Rye contains gluten and is often mixed with whole wheat.

Soy is a good source of protein and is found in many vegetarian products. Replacing the protein from soy is not difficult. There is protein to be found in all foods, with legumes, seeds and nuts topping the list.

Peanut allergies and tree nut allergies often go hand in hand. Even if there is only an issue with one or the other cross-contamination in the factory can be a problem. Nuts are a great source of protein but so are legumes, soy and seeds.

Whether you have a single food allergy or multiple ones a vegetarian diet can be meat-free and allergen-free while supplying the foods you need to be healthy.