“Drs. Said I HAVE to Eat Meat!” (Nickel Allergy)

So, this episode is going to be based on a viewer’s comment that I recently received.  One that offered me a challenge — to help this person, with a specific condition, remain vegan.

And I do love a good challenge.

And while the advice herein won’t likely apply directly to most of you, I feel there are things we can all take away from this — for example:

1.  Simply learning something new.  I had certainly never heard of this condition before this viewer commented.

2.  Perhaps you may know someone who is an ethical vegan, with this particular condition, and this discussion may help them!

3.  Perhaps you have something to add to this discussion which may help others that I never thought of.

4.  You never know what condition may present itself in your life, and instead of taking the bad news from a doctor with a feeling of defeat, perhaps this may inspire you to do your research, draft a game plan, and come back to your doctor to talk it over.

Many times doctors won’t offer viable alternatives, or even explore them, unless you specifically bring it to their attention, and present a valid case.  

I know — I’ve been there before with lifting injuries, and wanting to train through them intelligently.

But, you need to be proactive, express your feelings, and meet them half-way.

If something is important to you — never just give up on it without a fight.

So … that being said, I want to reiterate my opening disclaimer:  I am NOT a medical doctor.  Please do NOT take anything I am suggesting here as a replacement for medical advice.

This is simply my own thoughts, from a bit of research, on how you may be able to work with a specific condition.  Do feel free to bring up my suggestions TO your medical doctor, and see if you can safely incorporate them.

Anyhow, enough preface… let’s jump right in. This viewer suffers from a severe nickel allergy and they are also gluten-free, which eliminates a lot of high-protein vegan foods.  Doctors have, apparently, informed this individual that they should focus on meat, dairy and white rice.  The issue for them is, and this is understandable… they are an ethical vegan.

In follow-up correspondence, I’ve learned that this person is:

a) female.

b) weights 118 pounds at 5 foot 9.

c) they have an estimated body fat percentage of 15%.  Which would put her lean body weight around 100 pounds.

Now, the big concern from the doctors this girl spoke to regarding her allergy and continuing a vegan way of eating seems to be meeting protein intake for health.

Bear in mind, most doctors don’t have a clear grasp on nutrition.  They MAY study it lightly AT BEST.

Basic protein needs for adult health really aren’t that high.  Again, for just basic health — NOT strength athletics.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance of protein for adults to maintain nitrogen 

balance in the body is only 0.8 grams per kg of body weight per day.

This would be approx. 0.36 grams per POUND of body weight per day, if we convert the unit of mass.

So, for a girl who weighs only 118 pounds, that would be 43 grams of protein per day… if we round up.

Not really a lot.

Now that we’ve got that considered, let’s look at the legal foods list for someone with a nickel allergy.

It is not a very large list, but it does give you items to play with.  However, being gluten-free, we need to disregard all wheat options.  

For those who are not gluten-free and have this allergy, I imagine you could utilize seitan.

Straight off, it appears you can still consume a number of veggies, you can also consume a number of berries, as well as white rice, potatoes, cornflakes and cornmeal.

However, you need to avoid canned product. And, of course, anything you’d try from this list which you find that you react negatively to.

Bear in mind, you’re only trying to target 43 grams of protein per day — for your specific needs.

May I suggest the following foods taking center stage in your diet for protein:

1.  Potatoes.  A single large potato contains 7 grams of protein.  Now, I know you mentioned having a reaction to potato protein POWDER, but the whole food potato is on the safe list — and protein powders can contain metals.

2.  White rice.  One cup of cooked white rice, or 132 grams, contains a hair over 4 grams of protein.

3.  Corn.  One cup of cooked sweet yellow corn, or 164 grams, contains 5 grams of protein.

4.  Raisins.  One cup of tightly packed raisins, or 165 grams, contains 5 grams of protein.

Let’s say you had a meal with a single large potato, with 1 cup of cooked corn, and a side cup of raisins, you’d be consuming 17 grams of protein, which is about 40% of your RDA, for your weight, in one meal.

Do something similar for two more meals, and you will go over your RDA needs for protein.  And, of course, enjoy other legal foods from the list to add healthful variety to your diet.

So, as you can see — meeting your protein needs as a vegan, for general health, with both a nickel allergy and avoidance of gluten — doesn’t appear to be an issue given minor planning. 

I don’t see how you can adequately bodybuild without being able to maximize your protein intake to sport nutrition recommendations, but you can certainly be healthy.

You could, however, meet the basic needs for endurance athletics, which only require about 0.46g – 0.73 g of protein x lb. of bodyweight.

And you’ll be getting plenty of carbs with what’s allowed in your diet.

My biggest concern was essential fats, though.  Not protein.  Since you cannot consume a variety of nuts, going by the list.

However, I found a resource that suggests cold-pressed plant oils to meet essential fatty acid needs on a low-nickel diet.

The page goes on to specify flax, pumpkin and rape seed oils as options.  Perhaps something to run by your doctor.

Beyond this, I do suggest getting your blood examined regularly, to monitor for any micronutrient deficiencies due to the limitations of what you can consume — and look into specific supplementation, as authorized by your doctor, to circumvent any deficiencies.  If even needed.

You may also consider discussing an essential amino acid supplement with your doctor.  Especially if you wish to engage in regular physical activity.

There are vegan EAA products like ALR Industries Humapro.

You could supplement with something like this between meals, just for a little insurance or boost.

Since amino products are isolated, I wouldn’t assume they’d flare up your allergy… but, nonethless, you’d need to discuss with your doctor.  Just to be safe!

So — to conclude:  I don’t see why you cannot continue your ethical vegan lifestyle, and remain healthy in doing so, despite having this allergy and being gluten-free.

I also don’t see why you cannot be active and fit, either.  But, again, I stress:  talk all of this over with your qualified medical doctor!

I do hope this has given you some ideas… some hope.

And if any of my viewers have some suggestions — do comment below.  Hell, even bring up your own dietary limitations, and how you overcame them as a vegan!

You never know who may be watching this, and may feel empowered to talk with their doctor, and make it work!

If you liked this episode, or feel it may help others, please like and share it.

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Otherwise… ’til next time.

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