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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    I desperately need some vegetarian ideas for an anti-porphyrian diet.

    After many years - I have finally been diagnosed with porphyria. This affects me neurologically quite severely (I can't walk among other things). I am unable to see a dietician this week and I am in desperate need of some ideas of foods to help me feel better quickly and foods that will prevent me from feeling awful.
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  • 1


    Jane O'Shea

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    I am an Accredited Nutritionist and Accredited Practising Dietitian. I am also a licensee for the “Am I Hungry?” Mindful Eating Program, “Am I Hungry” … View Profile

    My understanding of dietary management of this rare genetic condition is to follow a high (but low glycaemic index) carbohydrate diet, with adequate protein and healthy fats and oils.  Carbohydrate foods include whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits - so suggested ideas would be oats or muesli with fresh fruits for breakfast, chickpea/lentil salads or vegetable patties for lunches and tofu/nut stirfries for dinner meals. Include some oily fish once or twice a week for omega-3 fatty acids. In cooler weather, thick vegetable soups or casseroles including barley or other grains and legumes would be good. I recommend avoiding processed foods to minimise chemical intolerance triggers and eat fresh foods as far as possible.

  • 1


    Chris Fonda

    Dietitian, Nutritionist, Sports Dietitian

    As an Accredited Sports Dietitian, APD and athlete (springboard diver), Chris has both professional and personal experience in sport at the sub-elite and elite level.Chris … View Profile

    Great tips from Jane. It is important that you are getting enough energy (kilojoules) from a high carbohydrate diet to help prevent acute attacks of porphyria. It is a rare genetic condition that I am not an expert in, but have done a little research. You may find the following website useful:

    I recommend that you seek expert dietary advice from an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) who has some knowledge and experience in treating people with porphyria. To find an APD you can log onto the Dietitians Association of Australias website (

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