Alpha Gal Food List: Allergy-Friendly Options for Alpha Gals

Focusing on the positive, this alpha gal food list details what you CAN eat with alpha gal (rather than pointing out the foods that people with alpha-gal syndrome must avoid.)

The information provided on this site is based on my personal experience living with alpha-gal syndrome. I cite and link to expert sources as often as possible, but because I have an MBA (and not an MD), nothing published on this site should be perceived as medical advice as I’m clearly lacking the letters required on my diploma to be a physician.

When you live with a food allergy, so much time and energy is spent focused on the foods you can’t eat. After all, letting your guard down can result in hives, severe gastrointestinal pain, or even a trip to the emergency room. And, if you’re like most alpha gals I know, once you’ve experienced one of those reactions, you will do everything in your power to avoid experiencing it again.

That said, it can be disheartening – even depressing – to focus on all of the foods you can no longer enjoy with alpha-gal syndrome. So, this article is the opposite. Here is a long list of foods you CAN enjoy while following an alpha-gal diet.

Related Article: Living with Alpha-Gal Syndrome: 10 Lessons Learned

    

In This Article

Important Information About This Alpha Gal Food List

Alpha gals have different sensitivities to foods. While anyone with an alpha-gal IgE test result at or above 0.1 kU/I is typically advised to avoid all mammalian products, people living with alpha-gal range from those who must simply avoid consuming mammalian meat (like beef, pork, and venison) to those who are so sensitive that they react to touching ground beef when forming it into burgers or smelling the fumes of sizzling bacon when cooking with their families.

This published study reports that “80-90% of patients with AGS do not react to milk or cheese.” But the article also recommends that alpha-gal patients who continue to show symptoms while avoiding mammalian meat may want to avoid dairy products. And an informal poll of people with alpha-gal revealed that the majority must or choose to avoid dairy. As a result, I’ve excluded dairy products from this alpha gal food list. But if you are able to enjoy dairy products, be sure to include them in your diet.

Can you consume dairy with alpha-gal syndrome?

Additionally, some alpha gals react to carrageenan, a plant-based food additive that contains the alpha-gal epitope. And others cannot tolerate meat-based ingredients like gelatin, glycerin, and collagen.

Related Article: What is Carrageenan (And Why Should Alpha Gals Avoid It)?

To create this alpha gal food list, I’ve excluded all mammalian meat, dairy products, and meat-based ingredients. If you are a highly sensitive alpha gal, have additional food allergies beyond alpha-gal syndrome, have a histamine intolerance, or any other dietary restrictions, please be sure to avoid any of those items on this list.

It’s also important to note that this list focuses on raw ingredients (like apples, carrots, and peanuts) and common “single item” ingredients used to make other dishes (like olive oil for salad dressing and coconut milk to pour over oatmeal). When purchasing prepackaged products or a prepared food item, be sure to carefully read the ingredient label, or consider using the Fig app (more on that in a minute). You want to be sure that the can of refried beans you pick for taco Tuesday doesn’t contain lard and the almond milk you choose for your latte is carrageenan free.

Foods to avoid with alpha-gal syndrome include beef, pork, lamb, and any other mammalian meat

Foods to Avoid with Alpha-Gal Allergy

Okay, I know I just said that this is a list of what you CAN eat. But just to be sure that we’re on the same page about the obvious no-nos for people following an alpha-gal diet — if it’s not plant-based, doesn’t swim, or doesn’t fly, it’s probably off limits.

This includes beef, bison, pork, lamb, mutton, venison, rabbit, and goat. Internal organs (like liver, kidneys, and other organ meats) typically contain very high levels of alpha-gal. While some alpha gals must avoid additional foods, the mammalian meat restriction typically applies to all alpha gals.

Fig Alpha-Gal Diet Set Up Screen

A great way to uncover hidden triggers in your food is with an app like Fig. Select your level of alpha-gal sensitivity by ticking the foods you need to avoid:

    • Mammalian meats
    • Mammalian by-products
    • Gelatin
    • Dairy products
    • Carrageenan and algae
    • All of the above

Then search a list of ingredients or scan the bar code of any grocery store item to quickly identify foods that are alpha-gal friendly (or not so much) using a stop light system of green (can eat), yellow (limit this), and red (avoid).

So what foods CAN you eat with alpha-gal? Let’s get to it!

Assortment of Vegetables on a Stone Countertop

Fruits and Vegetables

Throughout the year, you’ll typically find about 200 types of fruits and vegetables in the produce section – even though Americans purchase these 40 items most frequently. And the great news is that all fruits and vegetables are safe to eat on an alpha-gal diet.

Some of the most consumed fruits in the United States are:

  • Apples
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cherries
  • Clementines
  • Grapes
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Mangoes
  • Oranges
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Pineapple
  • Pumpkin
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon

And when it comes to vegetables, Americans love:

  • Asparagus
  • Bell Peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplants
  • Garlic
  • Green Beans
  • Green Onions
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Salad Greens
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Tomatoes

Yes, I know that botanists classify a tomato as a fruit. But technically so are cucumbers, eggplants, and peppers. From a culinary perspective, Americans prepare and eat tomatoes more as vegetables than as fruits, so work with me here!

Sage Advice: When eating away from home, be sure that any fried items – like French fries, tater tots, and onion rings – are cooked in vegetable oil and not lard. It’s also wise to ask about garnishes like bacon bits, which may be used to season everything from mashed potatoes to green beans.

Burlap Bags of Legumes Like Split Peas, Chickpeas, and Black Beans

Beans, Lentils, and Other Legumes

Like fruits and vegetables, all beans, lentils, and other legumes are safe ingredients for alpha gals. The most popular items in this category in the US are:

  • Black Beans
  • Black-Eyed Peas
  • Cannellini Beans (White Kidney Beans)
  • Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
  • Edamame
  • Fava Beans
  • Great Northern Beans
  • Lentils
  • Lima Beans
  • Navy Beans
  • Peas
  • Pinto Beans
  • Red Kidney Beans
  • Soybeans

Sage Advice: When attending social gatherings or selecting a can of refried beans at the grocery store, be sure to confirm that they do not contain lard.

An assortment of nuts and seeds on a table

Nuts and Seeds

Whether they are raw or roasted, consumed whole or whipped into a creamy butter, nuts and seeds are all alpha gal safe foods. Some of the most popular nuts and seeds in the US are:

  • Almonds
  • Brazil Nuts
  • Cashews
  • Chestnuts
  • Chia Seeds
  • Coconuts
  • Flax Seeds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Peanuts (Yes, they are technically a legume, but from a culinary standpoint we eat them like other nuts.)
  • Pecans
  • Pine Nuts (Piñon Nuts)
  • Pistachios
  • Poppy Seeds
  • Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas)
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Walnuts

Sage Advice: Nuts can be pricey, so consider buying them in bulk. To keep them fresh longer, you can store nuts in an airtight container in the freezer for up to one year.

Oatmeal and Oat Flour

Grains

Offering a good source of fiber, grains are edible seeds that are all safe to eat on an alpha-gal diet. Some of the most popular grains in the US are:

  • Barley
  • Brown Rice
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Rye
  • Wheat
  • White Rice
  • Wild Rice

Related Article: Power Up with Quinoa, A Complete Protein for Alpha Gals

Breads

Whether it’s shaped into buns or baked in a loaf, the main ingredients in bread are flour (ground from the grains listed above), water, yeast, sugar, salt, milk, egg, and oil. While highly sensitive alpha gals may want to look for vegan options that substitute plant-based ingredients for milk and butter, bread is generally alpha-gal friendly.

These are some of the most popular breads consumed in the US:

  • Bagels
  • Baguettes
  • Boules
  • Brioche
  • Challah
  • Ciabattas
  • English Muffins
  • Flatbreads
  • Multigrain Breads
  • Pumpernickel Breads
  • Rye Breads
  • Sourdough Breads
  • White Breads
  • Whole Wheat Breads
Assortment of Dried Pasta

Pastas

Although it comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, pasta is flour mixed with water or eggs. Since all three of those ingredients are safe in an alpha-gal diet, pasta is an alpha-gal friendly food. Just be sure that filled pasta, like tortellini and ravioli, don’t contain mammalian meat ingredients like ground beef. You’ll also want to ensure there’s no cheese if you are sensitive to dairy. And you’ll also want to be sure your pasta dish isn’t prepared with beef, pork, bacon bits, beef broth, or other alpha-gal allergy triggers.

Some of the most popular pastas in the US are:

  • Angel Hair
  • Bow Ties
  • Fettuccini
  • Fusilli
  • Lasagne
  • Linguini
  • Macaroni
  • Penne
  • Ravioli
  • Spaghetti
  • Tortellini
  • Ziti
.

Cooking Oils

Just like vegetables and nuts are all safe for alpha gals to eat, the plant-based cooking oils derived from these ingredients are also alpha-gal friendly. Alpha gals can also safely cook with animal fats derived from poultry, like duck fat and chicken fat (also known as schmaltz).

When making an alpha-gal friendly substitution, be mindful of the type of oil being replaced and how it’s being used in a recipe. Not all oils work for all recipes, especially in high-heat preparations. If you’re looking to replace lard or beef tallow in your deep fryer, peanut oil and duck fat make good alternatives. Oils with low smoke points, like flax oil and walnut oil, are best used for cold preparations like salad dressing.

From whipping up a vinaigrette to deep frying potatoes, here are some of the options you can use to replace mammalian animal fats, like lard, beef tallow, and bacon grease, in your alpha-gal diet.

  • Avocado Oil
  • Canola Oil
  • Chicken Fat (Schmaltz)
  • Coconut Oil
  • Duck Fat
  • Flax Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Palm Oil
  • Peanut Oil
  • Safflower Oil
  • Sesame Oil
  • Walnut Oil
Alternative milks include almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk, oat milk, and soy milk

Plant-Based Milk Products

If you are an alpha gal who can tolerate traditional dairy products, including milk, cheese, and yogurt, your health care provider will likely recommend that you keep those foods in your diet because they are good sources of calcium and protein. But if you are sensitive to dairy products or continue to have unexplained reactions, it may be wise to replace mammalian dairy products with plant-based alternatives

When choosing alternative dairy products, be sure to read the ingredient list. Because carrageenan is a plant-based ingredient, this additive is allowed in vegan products, where you’ll often see it listed as an emulsifier and thickener. But it carries the alpha-gal epitope and may cause reactions. Many food manufacturers continue to remove carrageenan from products, but at this time, you’ll find carrageenan in the Kirkland brand soy milk sold at Costco as well as the coconut and soy milk used at Starbucks.

Carrageenan in Kirkland Soy Milk at Costco

As long as you’re reading the ingredient label for carrageenan, here are some of the plant-based milk products you can include in your alpha-gal diet:

  • Almond Milk
  • Cashew Milk
  • Coconut Milk
  • Flax Milk
  • Hemp Milk
  • Macadamia Milk
  • Oat Milk
  • Pea Milk
  • Rice Milk
  • Soy Milk

You can also enjoy cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and other plant-based foods made from these alternative milks.

Related Article: Best Milk Alternative for Alpha-Gal Syndrome

A woman pouring a scoop of protein powder into a shaker

Plant-Based Protein and Marine Collagen

While many protein powders include whey, and most collagen contains bovine ingredients, alpha gals can still incorporate plant-based protein and marine collagen into their diets. 

My favorite plant-based protein is Orgain’s Organic Protein. The powdered variety is available in several basic flavors (like vanilla, chocolate, and peanut butter) as well as seasonal tastes (like strawberry and pumpkin spice). It’s also available in single-serving shakes, and I use a little of that in lieu of coffee creamer.

For Jennifer Anniston’s secret to youthful good looks without experiencing anaphylactic shock, try marine collagen. It is derived from the skin of fish instead of the skin and bones of cows and pigs, making it an alpha-gal safe option. And, according to this article, marine collagen may be better for you anyway! Who knew?!?

White and Brown Eggs in a Carton

Eggs

Because they are associated with birds (and not mammals), eggs are part of an alpha-gal diet. The majority of eggs consumed in the US are chicken eggs, but alpha gals can enjoy any type of egg, including duck eggs and quail eggs.

As a general rule, caviar and roe (fish eggs) are also okay to consume on an alpha-gal diet. However, it is important to note that flounder roe may contain alpha-gal, so you may want to avoid that specific variety out of an abundance of caution. 

Platter of Assorted Cuts of Chicken

Poultry

Although pork is the most consumed meat globally, chicken is the most popular meat in America. In fact, the average American eats approximately 100 pounds per year. Not only are all cuts of chicken safe for alpha gals, so are all types of poultry and wild birds, including:

  • Chicken
  • Duck
  • Emu
  • Goose
  • Guinea Fowl
  • Ostrich
  • Pigeon
  • Pheasant
  • Quail
  • Turkey

Just beware that carrageenan is sometimes injected as a brine in pre-cooked poultry to improve tenderness and maintain juiciness, so be careful when selecting deli meat and prepared deli rotisserie chicken. 

Sage Advice: Want to give emu or ostrich a try? Check out Amaroo Hills, a family farm owned by an alpha gal that specializes in fresh emu and ostrich meat. 

Fish and Seafood

Fish, Shellfish, and Seafood

Alpha gals can also safely enjoy fish, shellfish, mollusks, and other types of seafood. Some of the most popular options in the US include:

  • Arctic Char
  • Bass
  • Catfish
  • Clams
  • Cod
  • Crab
  • Crawfish
  • Lobster
  • Mussels
  • Oysters
  • Pollock
  • Prawns
  • Salmon
  • Shrimp
  • Swordfish
  • Tilapia
  • Trout
  • Tuna

Sage Advice: To help you make environmentally sustainable decisions when purchasing seafood, download one of the Seafood Watch consumer guides published by the Monterey Bay Aquarium. 

Beer, Wine, and Spirits

I always think of beer as liquid bread and wine as fermented grapes. So I was absolutely stunned to learn that brewers, winemakers, and distillers often use gelatin to clarify their products. What’s even more concerning for people with a mammalian meat allergy is that beer, wine, and spirit producers are not required to list the ingredients that go into their products. That can make it very difficult to know which adult beverages are alpha-gal friendly and which ones might send you to the emergency room.

Thankfully there’s Barnivore. Use the app to identify beer, wine, and liquors that are vegan friendly, and you’ll know you can raise a glass without an allergic reaction. 

Sage Advice: Because Barnivore was created for vegans, who do not consume alpha-gal safe foods like fish, eggs, and honey, I always read why Barnivore has classified a product as “not vegan friendly.” If it contains fish, eggs, and/or honey, it’s still safe for alpha gals to enjoy, just as long as it’s not made with gelatin or another mammalian-based product.

Sage Summary

While it can be hard to say goodbye to foods like burgers, hot dogs, ribs, and potentially cheese, this alpha gal food list details some of the many delicious foods still available when following an alpha-gal diet.

What Are Your Favorite Alpha-Gal Friendly Foods?

Do you follow a vegan, vegetarian, or alpha gal diet? What are your favorite alpha-gal friendly foods? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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