Hummus, Chickpeas, and Legumes with a Soy Intolerance

Hello! Welcome to Beyond Soy!

With any intolerance there is a gray area on the edge where it is unclear what you can or can't eat. Here's a question that Ashley and I are still trying to figure out: Can we eat hummus (and chickpeas)?

First, some background: Chickpeas, just like soybeans, are legumes. A legume is just a type of plant. But, since we don't know what part of soybeans Ashley is intolerant to, she could also be intolerant to legumes. The specific protein, or protein fragment, that causes her body to react could be present in other legumes.

Lentils are another legume that we are not sure if Ashley can eat. We have eaten both chickpeas and lentils with mixed results. While we've never been able to pin down feeling bad specifically on either one, Ashley has shown symptoms after eating each of them. But, since we've never been able to rule out eating soy at the same time, we really don't know if they are a problem.


We've started avoiding chickpeas and lentils because Ashley has felt bad after eating them, but we continue to eat kidney beans and peas (both are legumes) without any apparent problems. This is so confusing - some legumes seem to make Ashley feel bad, while others are safe to eat?!?

Our best guess is that the protein, or protein fragment, that Ashley is intolerant to is found in some, but not all, legumes. Chickpeas and lentils (and of course soybeans) have this protein, but kidney beans do not (or not in the amounts necessary to cause a reaction). Unfortunately, the only way to determine if a particular legume is safe for us to eat or not is by trial and error. 

Maybe one of these days we'll specifically test chickpeas and/or lentils, but at the same time, we aren't excited to eat something knowing there is a good chance that Ashley will feel bad afterward. For now, we try to avoid chickpeas and lentils where we can and pay attention to other legumes we've eaten when Ashley feels bad. It works for us, but we have to accept a small part of uncertainty in knowing what exactly Ashley is intolerant to. The uncertainty with food intolerances can be frustrating, but by focusing on what we can eat keeps us looking on the bright side.