Esselstyn Diet

Esselstyn Diet

Q I’m all for Dr Esselstyn’s diet, which is essentially beans and greens. However, I am allergic to beans, nuts, eggs, fish. What do I substitute for beans? Whey protein?


essyA  Esselstyn’s diet promotes lean, plant-based proteins. Beans are a great food due to their high protein and fiber content and since you can’t eat them, you’ll need to find a substitute. Since whey comes from dairy, it is not an option on this diet. You could, though, try rice, hemp or soy protein. Since you didn’t mention if the beans you have a problem with are soy, I will provide information on soy which you might choose to ignore.
There are some other meatless choices that can provide you with healthful benefits, and may be better choices. You could try seitan, which is made from wheat gluten, the protein part of wheat which provides a meat-like texture and little flavor so it adapts well in a variety of dishes. If you eat soy, tofu will work well due to its ability to take on the flavor of whatever it is paired with. My personal favorite is tempeh, which is fermented soy, which is a high protein and high fiber option with a meaty texture.

There are also some processed products which contain no soy but might be higher in fat than what Dr. Essestyn recommends. Google the different proteins and you should find no shortage of recipes with them. If you try using some of these different meatless proteins, you’ll keep variety in your diet, and may find more enjoyment in your cooking and eating.


Nora Allen is a senior nutrition major and gender studies minor at Cedar Crest College in Allentown, PA. She has worked clinically in a geriatric setting for two years, and has worked in hospital food service for the past two years. Nora has been a vegan for six years, and was the 2007 recipient of the Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarship. She currently runs cross country at Cedar Crest College, and enjoys promoting a healthy, active lifestyle along with animal rights.

Jill Nussinow

Author: Jill Nussinow

Jill Nussinow is a Registered Dietitian, culinary educator, cookbook author, speaker and consultant and all around proponent of a plant-based diet. She teaches vegetarian and vegan cooking at Santa Rosa Junior College in California and other places around the US. One of her greatest joys is sharing her enthusiasm for vegetables and pressure cooking with anyone who will listen. Visit Jill's website

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