Managing an Allergy Rotation Diet

In 2004, after a blood test with Better Health USA, we started an allergy rotation diet that has made quite a difference in our health.

However, making the switch to a rotation diet can be very difficult. If you are vegetarian, as we are, there is a high likelihood that you are eating a lot of wheat and soy, with little variation to your grains and legumes. For us, it was easy to rotate fruits and vegetables, but much harder for the main event of the meal. To assist others, I thought it might be helpful to share how we adapted.

Step 1: List all the grains and legumes that you can eat. Remember that as a vegetarian, your protein comes from a combination of grain and legume (i.e. wheat/soy in vegetarian protein products; corn/beans in the traditional Mexican diet; wheat/garbanzos or lentils in a mediterranean diet; and rice/soy in a Chinese diet).

Don't forget the exotic grains like quinoa, rye and barley. Rye and barley flakes can be subsituted in almost any recipe calling for oats (including cookies!) if you can adapt to a coarser grain.

Step 2: List them into a rotation. For example:

  • wheat, garbanzos
  • rice, navy beans
  • quinoa, garbanzos
  • rye, lentils
  • rice, wheat
  • oats, garbanzos
  • wheat, pinto/northern beans
  • rice, black beans
  • rye, navy beans
  • rice, wheat
  • rice, garbanzos
  • wheat, lentils
  • rye, garbanzos
  • wheat, black beans
  • rice, pinto/northern beans

After some experimentation, you'll find that some of the combinations are inedible to your taste buds! :) So take those out of your rotation if you find them impossible to stomach.

Step 3: Make a chart. I have used a six week menu since we started the rotation diet. Try this sample file. Sometimes I tweak it when I print out the next six weeks. This chart goes on the fridge. On Sundays, I look at the week ahead, and decide what recipes I'll make for each meal. By the way, we eat for lunch what we had for supper. So a day in the rotation is supper through lunch. We learned this from the Better Health USA materials. It makes planning much easier and saves on cooking time. This chart usually also has my home todo list. I keep close by the grocery list as it grows throughout the week.

Step 4: Collect recipes. I've been collecting recipes for each of the combinations. When I have extra time, I scour through recipe books or Internet recipe sites to find recipes for particularly challenging combinations. This file is the latest version of the recipe book that I can share; the most recent versions have copyrighted material in them from books that I own. No permission to post online! You can build your own. It may even just be a reference file with lists of recipes and the page number of the book that it comes from.

Step 5: Weekly Menu Planning. On Sundays, I first look at my work schedule to see which days I have to pack a lunch, and which days I can eat at home. I check for late nights at work as well, which require less complicated cooking. Then based on this information, I pick the recipes I want to make each evening of the week. I check my supplies of the necessary ingredients and make my grocery list. As this habit has solidified, I find that I usually only spend 15 minutes planning the food for the week; and usually 30 minutes in an evening cooking. It has gotten much easier than the hours spent in the first few weeks of the rotation diet. It really is possible to integrate this type of a diet into your life!

I hope these tips are helpful to you! Enjoy the quality time in your kitchen and with your family!

For more reading and support materials, you may also want to review the Saving Dinner resources and books.


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Last Updated September 20, 2011

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