Meal Plan for Vanilla-Free Diet

A vanilla-free diet is a short term test diet used to diagnose increased catecholamine production. Vanillylmandelic acid (VMA) is excreted in the urine and for the test, it's necessary to follow a diet eliminating food items containing vanilla essence that may give rise to a falsely elevated VMA level in urine. Increased catecholamines may give rise to high blood pressure, palpitations, weight loss and chest pains.

Urine is collected over a 24 hour period, but the diet needs to be followed for at least 72 hours.

It's necessary to avoid all obvious vanilla containing foods, but there are also a number of other items which should be avoided:

  • Bananas, citrus fruits inc organs, lemons, grapefruits, etc
  • Cornflakes
  • Sweat biscuits
  • Cakes
  • Blancmange, custard powder, instant desserts, e.g. Angel Delight, Dream Topping, ice cream, bought puddings, sweet sauces and vanilla flavoured products
  • Nuts – all types
  • Caramels
  • Chocolate, fudge
  • Tea, coffee, drinking chocolate, mated milk drinks (e.g. Horlicks, Ovaltine)
  • Cola
  • Citrus fruit juices
  • Cordials

It's also necessary to avoid aspirin, sympathomimetic agents and MAOI drugs during the trial period.

The following is a healthy meal plan which excludes the above, ensuring you have a balanced diet during the trial period.

Weetabix or porridge with skimmed milk + 1 tsp sugar
250ml apple juice
Small sandwich: 2 slices granary bread + olive oil-based spread + slice chicken/ham
Drink water
Sandwich: 2 slices granary bread + olive oil-based spread + slice chicken/ham or tuna in low fat natural yoghurt or smoked salmon
Mixed salad
Drink water
8-10 grapes
Drink water
Evening Meal
Large chicken breast or fillet white fish or lean red meat
Basmati rice or pasta or potatoes / sweet potatoes
Loads of veg or large salad
Drink water
2-3 oatcakes or rye crispbread with low fat soft cheese
Apple or pear
Drink water
Plans for people with illness or medical conditions in no way should override advice provided specifically for you by your doctor, clinical dietitian or other clinician. We advise that you seek the advice of a suitably qualified physician before commencing any exercise regime, following any dietary or nutritional regimen or beginning the use of any dietary supplements, legal or otherwise. The information provided on the Website is intended as information only and does not constitute advice. Therefore, it must not be relied on to assist in making or refraining from making a decision, or to assist in deciding on a course of action.