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Eating beans without getting sick

 
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I am allergic to legumes... Super unfortunate. I didn't use to be allergic but my body develops new allergies all the time, especially if I eat something frequently. I love peanut butter and would eat peanut butter sandwiches almost every day and then I became allergic to peanuts in my late twenties. We started eating less meat and were eating lentils, pinto beans, and kidney beans and I became allergic to all of them. Lentils are a scary serious throat swelling reaction. I switched to eating chickpeas and when one kid had an allergy to eggs (which she has luckily outgrown), we started using aquafaba liquid as an egg substitute and... Yup, I became allergic to chickpeas. Garden peas and green beans I'm also allergic to if they are not cooked.

Ok, besides just feeling like ranting a bit, I do have a question. Lentils aside, my allergist suggests that since the rest of these aren't life threatening in severity, that I just eat them in small quantities once a month. I need to know which beans are different enough that I could rotate through several kinds of beans. For example, I can eat pinto beans now without a problem if I only eat them once a month. Kidney beans, chickpeas, and peanut butter are still an issue but I have a minimal reaction if I eat some once a year or so.

So what can I add to my list? And how are beans broken down beyond the legume family? I would like to eat beans more than once a week...
Soy
Green beans
Peas
Pinto beans
...


I'm trying to grow mung beans, adzuki beans, yard long beans, along with the regular variety of green beans and garden peas in my garden this year.
 
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The fava bean genus is different from al those you listed, but they cause weird intolerance issues in some people already so I'm not sure that would be a good direction for you.
 
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So, I don't really know anything about allergies -- I have several relatively mild chemical sensitivities to VOCs in perfume and coffee, but I'm not actually allergic to anything and haven't been in 50+ years since I shed my childhood egg allergy. But I'd approach beans from a taxonomy standpoint if I were in your shoes and try to determine what classes and categories I had issues with.

Common beans (mostly what Americans mean by "beans") are Phaseolus vulgaris. These are kidney, navy, pinto, black, etc plus most green or wax beans. I'd expect them to have most of the same proteins, with relatively minor differences in proportion from seed to seed. There might be vast differences between dry beans and green beans, though due to maturity.

Runner beans (which look very much like common beans, but are usually bigger) are Phaseolus coccineus. I have no idea how different the protein structure is and what the means for triggering your allergies -- they feel pretty similar to common beans, but it's a different species of the same genus so there might be differences. Tepary beans (Phaseolus acutifolius) are another Phaseolus species, but I don't know much about them. Lima beans are P lunatus.

Fava beans are Vicia faba and pretty different in appearance and texture. It wouldn't surprise me if their protein profile was different, but I don't really know.

Adzuki beans (Vigna angularis), mung beans (Vigna radiata), and cowpeas (Vigna unguiculata) are different species of another family.

Red gram/pigeon peas are Cajanus cajan, are from yet another family.

Soy (Glycine max) is another bean too.

Haha...I decided to poke around and see what I was forgetting, but there's no reason I should just rewrite stuff when I can link you to this. There are a lot of beans!

Anyway, I'd try getting as much variety as possible -- especially from different genera, to shift the profile that your body is seeing and responding to.
 
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That is really sad that you are allergic to everything.

I have no idea how to advise someone how to eat something they are allergic to.

This year I have to be really careful about what I eat at the last meal of the day, otherwise, I pay for it all evening.

There is an OTC called famotidine that if taken 30 minutes before eating works for me. I just try not to depend on ant-acids and only eat things that don't bother me.

best wishes for a solution.
 
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A close friend of mine is allergic to beans, quite difficult seeing as she lives in Mexico where they are served in almost every meal. Before she figured out what was going on (developed the allergy in her late 30s) she got sicker with every exposure. I think it's probably best if you just avoid legumes.

But if you wanted to try something in the legume family that is not "bean" how about mesquite? you can order mesquite flour online.
 
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Christopher, thank you for that listing of different bean families. I think it will be very helpful in using for polyculture crop rotation.

Jenny, does your allergy respond to fermented as well as fresh foods?  My only food allergy is tomatoes. If I stick to an ultra low carb diet (went keto 3 years ago) they don't noticeably bother me.  When I go off diet I respond much more to cooked tomatoes. I don't think beans and keto mix well, or I'd suggest trying that.  But maybe a different preparation style would break down whatever your body is responding to.
 
Jenny Wright
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Christopher Weeks wrote:So, I don't really know anything about allergies -- I have several relatively mild chemical sensitivities to VOCs in perfume and coffee, but I'm not actually allergic to anything and haven't been in 50+ years since I shed my childhood egg allergy. But I'd approach beans from a taxonomy standpoint if I were in your shoes and try to determine what classes and categories I had issues with.

Common beans (mostly what Americans mean by "beans") are Phaseolus vulgaris. These are kidney, navy, pinto, black, etc plus most green or wax beans. I'd expect them to have most of the same proteins, with relatively minor differences in proportion from seed to seed. There might be vast differences between dry beans and green beans, though due to maturity.

Runner beans (which look very much like common beans, but are usually bigger) are Phaseolus coccineus. I have no idea how different the protein structure is and what the means for triggering your allergies -- they feel pretty similar to common beans, but it's a different species of the same genus so there might be differences. Tepary beans (Phaseolus acutifolius) are another Phaseolus species, but I don't know much about them. Lima beans are P lunatus.

Fava beans are Vicia faba and pretty different in appearance and texture. It wouldn't surprise me if their protein profile was different, but I don't really know.

Adzuki beans (Vigna angularis), mung beans (Vigna radiata), and cowpeas (Vigna unguiculata) are different species of another family.

Red gram/pigeon peas are Cajanus cajan, are from yet another family.

Soy (Glycine max) is another bean too.

Haha...I decided to poke around and see what I was forgetting, but there's no reason I should just rewrite stuff when I can link you to this. There are a lot of beans!

Anyway, I'd try getting as much variety as possible -- especially from different genera, to shift the profile that your body is seeing and responding to.


Thank you! This is exactly the kind of information I need! I'm normally pretty good at googling stuff but this time it's a case of not knowing enough to know what to ask.
 
Jenny Wright
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Melissa Ferrin wrote:... she got sicker with every exposure. I think it's probably best if you just avoid legumes.

But if you wanted to try something in the legume family that is not "bean" how about mesquite? you can order mesquite flour online.



Yes, it also gets worse for me with each exposure, if those exposures are close together. But if I spread out the exposure, my reactions stay mild. My allergist is the one that said I shouldn't stop eating them altogether. 🤷 Though sometimes I feel like the allergists are just guessing themselves what's best to do. There are really a lot of unknowns in that field.

I've never tried mesquite before...
 
Jenny Wright
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Casie Becker wrote:

Jenny, does your allergy respond to fermented as well as fresh foods?  My only food allergy is tomatoes. If I stick to an ultra low carb diet (went keto 3 years ago) they don't noticeably bother me.  When I go off diet I respond much more to cooked tomatoes. I don't think beans and keto mix well, or I'd suggest trying that.  But maybe a different preparation style would break down whatever your body is responding to.



My allergic response is to the proteins.

I understand what you experience with changing your diet. I'm mildly allergic to dairy and when I cut out all dairy from my diet, my other allergic reactions became less severe. I think lessening the inflammation in my body in general helps lessen other reactions. My allergic reactions are also more severe when the pollen in the air is high.

Fermenting/pickling food does help with other foods that I'm allergic to, along with cooking. Any process that breaks down the proteins. For example, I cannot eat cucumbers without getting hives and an upset stomach but I can eat cucumber pickles, though it has to be pickled for a while. I can't eat something that was just pickled a day before. Soy sauce is fermented soy, right? And that doesn't bother me at all. Cooking some legumes helps, like with green beans and peas. Some types of canned beans bother me less than fresh cooked beans and I'm guessing it's because of the cooking process.  
 
Jenny Wright
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Rebecca Norman wrote:The fava bean genus is different from al those you listed, but they cause weird intolerance issues in some people already so I'm not sure that would be a good direction for you.


Yeah I've always been nervous to try fava beans because if that reaction in some people. Just my luck, I'd have that issue as well so I've never even tasted them.
 
Jenny Wright
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The link to the Wikipedia entry for "beans" that Christopher directed me to has a super helpful chart of bean genera and species. I'm going to be printing that off. My previous search of "fabaceae" didn't give me anything so helpful. That's what I get for trying to be scientific. 😂
 
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