How to Follow a Low-FODMAP Vegan Diet When You Have IBS
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Plant-based diets are soaring in popularity around the globe, as more and more people learn about the health, environmental, and ethical consequences of consuming meat and dairy products.

For many, the transition is relatively simple, opting to eat more whole food, plant-based sources of protein, or choosing one of the many vegan meat, milk, and cheese products on the market. However, for some, who suffer from allergies, medical conditions, or intolerance, a dietary overhaul is not always the easiest task.

For people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), switching to a plant-based diet can present a challenge.

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People who suffer from IBS are often recommended to follow a low FODMAP diet, which involves eliminating a variety of foods from your diet. For some, this can be a source of anxiety, with many worrying that if they follow a vegan low FODMAP diet there won’t be much left they can eat.

However, this is not necessarily the case. According to FODMAP Everyday, it’s completely possible to ditch animal products and stick to the low FODMAP diet. It notes, “with a little planning and some expert guidance, successfully completing a low FODMAP Elimination Phase is completely attainable for someone who eats no meat…or no animal products whatsoever.”

Read on to find out what IBS is, more about the low FODMAP diet, the plant-based foods you can eat when following it, and some vegan-friendly low FODMAP recipe inspiration.

What Is IBS?

IBS is a condition that affects your colon, otherwise known as the large intestine. Although the exact causes of IBS are unknown, it makes your intestinal muscles contract and relax differently to normal; they can either be stronger and go on for longer, or weaker, thus slowing down your food passage. This can cause a variety of symptoms including cramping, bloating, and diarrhea. Many people can control their IBS with changes to diet and keeping stress levels down however, some people require medication. If you think you are suffering from IBS, make an appointment to visit your doctor to find out more.

What is a low FODMAP diet?

The recommended diet for many IBS sufferers is low FODMAP, which means that they should avoid a variety of foods. The F in FODMAP stands for fermentable, aka foods that are poorly absorbed so stay in the digestive system and are “fermented” by bacteria, producing gas, bloating and distention. The O is for oligosaccharides, these are carbohydrates that are comprised of a small number of monosaccharides.

The next thing IBS sufferers should consider avoiding is disaccharides, aka sugar that is comprised of two monosaccharides. Monosaccharides is what the M stands for, and they are sugars that can’t be broken down with water to create a simple sugar. Finally, the P is for polyols, aka sugar-free sweeteners.

According to the IBS network, “The process of drawing fluid into the bowel and the fermentation of FODMAPs by bacteria produce the symptoms experienced by people with IBS. Symptom improvement can follow the reduction of high FODMAP foods for around three-quarters of people, including improvement in bowel habit, especially diarrhea.”

It continues, “These sugars are found in a wide variety of foods in the diet, and not everyone with IBS will have symptoms with all of them.”

Lactose is a disaccharide, meaning that dairy products are to be avoided completely on the FODMAP diet. Initially, this sounds like a vegan’s dream. However, there are also many vegetables and legumes which can cause IBS to flare up, including soybeans, cauliflower, and mushrooms, amongst others. Many fruits are also off limits and a lot of grains too.

What Can You Eat on a Vegan & Low FODMAP-Friendly Diet?

It might seem like there’s nothing left to eat, but thankfully, this is not the case. There are plenty of vegan-friendly whole foods that are low FODMAP friendly and won’t aggravate your IBS. Here are all the foods you can still enjoy from a variety of food groups.

Carbohydrates

The low FODMAP diet advises you to avoid a number of carbohydrate sources, including pastries, gnocchi, wheat noodles, multigrain bread, and crumpets. However, there are still a number of vegan-friendly carbs you can add to your diet. Gluten-free bread and pasta are considered Low FODMAP-friendly, as is rice flour, buckwheat, quinoa, oats, polenta, and potatoes. If you’re craving a snack, opt for popcorn or crisps.

Fruit & Vegetables

You should avoid onions and garlic almost entirely on a low FODMAP diet, as well as cauliflower, celery, artichoke, asparagus, and fruits high in fructose, like apples and mangoes. Unfortunately, the list of fruits and vegetables to avoid is extensive. However, it’s not all bad news. Bananas, blueberries, grapes, kiwis, oranges, pineapples, raspberries, strawberries, and coconuts are all still on the cards. Take them to work as a snack, make a dessert fruit salad — you could add coconut cream, this is also allowed — or blend into a breakfast smoothie.

To pack in the veggies, choose broccoli or carrots to accompany your dinner. If neither of those interest you, you could try courgette, butternut squash, cucumber, aubergine, lettuce or red peppers.

Plant-Based Protein

After removing meat, the protein section of a low FODMAP diet becomes quite small. However, there are still a variety of foods to choose from; drained and firm tofu is accepted on the diet, as is tempeh, and small amounts of chickpeas and lentils can also be consumed. If none of that takes your fancy — or you just want something easy and quick — Quorn products are also allowed on a low FODMAP diet.

Nuts, Nut Butters, and Seeds

A variety of nuts and nut butters are perfectly acceptable on a low FODMAP diet, and they can provide you with protein, too. Hazelnuts, peanuts, and chestnuts all make the grade, as do brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, and walnuts. If seeds are more your snack of choice, there’s plenty on offer in this category too. Try chia, poppy, or pumpkin seeds, or opt for sunflower or sesame.

Oils

You’re not spoilt for choice in the oil category either. The low FODMAP diet allows avocado, canola, coconut, and olive oil, as well as peanut, rice bran, soybean, vegetable, sunflower, and sesame varieties.

Vegan Milk

As already discussed, dairy is off the cards if you’re following a low FODMAP diet, so you’re not alone in seeking out vegan milk alternatives. Almond milk is accepted on the diet, as is hemp. If you’d like to try oat, that’s fine too, but its recommended you keep the serving at 30ml or below. For rice milk, its 200 ml or below.

7 Vegan, Low FODMAP Meal Ideas


1.  Zoodles With Tofu and Peanut Sauce

This recipe by FODMAP Everyday swaps out egg noodles for spiralized zucchini and combines them with tofu and peanut sauce for a super tasty dinner. According to the nutrition website, this versatile dish can be served warm or at room temperature and “packs well for picnics and potlucks.”

Find the recipe here.

2. Spicy Tomato Soup

This yummy, easy recipe features standard tomato soup with an “Asian vibe,” according to Karlijn’s Kitchen. The blog notes, “most people seem to love themselves a warm soup now and then. Before the low FODMAP diet we might have bought our soups ready-made, now we have to make them from scratch and then it is nice to have some easy recipes ready.”

Find the recipe here.

3. Tempeh and Lentil Chili With Butternut Squash

Who says plant-based low FODMAP diets have to be boring? This tempeh lentil chili is sure to impress your friends, who won’t even notice any restrictions on the ingredient front.

Find the recipe here.

4. Herby Roast Polenta Slices

According to The Wild Gut project, polenta is “a wonderful and nutritious low FODMAP starch option.” Season with oregano, rosemary, and sage and team with Mediterranean roasted veg to get the best out of this recipe.

Find the recipe here.

5. Tostadas With Tofu

These tostadas with tofu are the perfect meal if you’re looking for something fun, quick, and creative. It does include mushrooms in the recipe, however, because they are canned, Karlijn’s Kitchen notes they can be consumed in smaller amounts. The blog says about this recipe, Mexican tostadas are the perfect low FODMAP meal! Tostadas are crispy baked corn tortillas topped with a topping of your choice. You can have them for lunch, dinner or for breakfast in different variations.”

Get the recipe here.

6. Coconut Green Curry

Food and lifestyle blog She Can’t Eat What?! has created this super tasty, plant-based low FODMAP coconut green curry. It notes, “[this is] such a simple, mellow recipe, [it is] so easy to adapt to your own tastes [and] intolerances. With a base of ginger and spice, tonnes of fresh veg and a creamy coconut milk sauce, it requires barely any prep time and you can leave it alone on the hob while you get on with other things.”

Get the recipe here.

7. Banana Oat Cookies

This super simple recipe just consists of two main ingredients, oats and banana. However, you could add a number of low FODMAP vegan ingredients to the mix, including fruit, nuts, or dairy-free chocolate.

Get the recipe here.


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How to Follow a Low-FODMAP Vegan Diet When You Have IBS
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How to Follow a Low-FODMAP Vegan Diet When You Have IBS
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For people with IBS switching to a plant-based diet can seem tough, but there are plenty of gut-healthy vegan foods you can eat on a low FODMAP diet.
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LIVEKINDLY
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