Suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS? On this episode of LIVEKINDLY With Me, registered dietician Desiree Nielsen, R.D. talks all things IBS and the low FODMAP diet for symptom management. Plus, she shares three delicious vegan low FODMAP recipes.
IBS affects about 10 to 15 percent of the adult population in the U.S., according to the American College of Gastroenterology. The condition impacts the large intestine, causing the body’s intestinal muscles to spasm uncontrollably. Symptoms of the disorder often include abdominal pain, cramping, and diarrhea.
“Today, we’re going to be talking about the low FODMAP diet for managing the symptoms of IBS,” Nielsen says. “It can also help you get to the bottom of any food intolerances that might be causing chronic bloating or other less serious symptoms.”
FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols. “In short, they’re fermentable carbohydrates that you don’t fully digest and absorb. So they travel on through your large intestine where they can cause gas and bloating,” she adds.
“Because plant-based contains carbohydrates, many plant foods such as beans, grains, or fruits contain FODMAPS,” Nielsen continues. “So it might make you think you can’t do a low FODMAP while you’re plant-based. The good news is that it absolutely is possible.”
Nielsen does recommend working one-on-one with a registered dietician to find out if a low FODMAP is best. She explains that low FODMAP is a learning diet that people should, ideally, follow for 4 to 12 weeks before slowly reintroducing FODMAP foods into their diet.
Vegan low FODMAP recipes
From breakfast to dinner, Nielsen shares three recipes that are vegan and low FODMAP: a breakfast smoothie bowl, a lentil pasta salad for lunch, and crispy tofu tacos with pineapple salsa for dinner.
Breakfast: smoothie bowl
This breakfast smoothie bowl is loaded with papaya and lime. “Smoothies are the best for irritated tummies because they’re really readily digestible,” she explains. “Papaya is filled with natural enzymes that can really help settle a stomach.” The recipe also features other stomach-friendly ingredients like ginger and psyllium husk. “A lot of fibers can be really irritating when you have irritable bowel syndrome, but psyllium is a soluble fiber, so it’s super soothing on your tummy and it helps to regulate digestion.”
Low FODMAP Papaya Lime Smoothie Bowl
Papaya Lime Smoothie:
- 1 ½ cups frozen papaya chunks (about 1/2 large papaya)
- 1/3 cup (75 mL) unsweetened macadamia or almond milk
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) hemp hearts
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) maple syrup
- 1 inch (2.5 cm) piece fresh ginger, micrograted
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) psyllium husk (use up to 1 tablespoon as you adjust)
- Zest of ½ lime
- Optional: a low FODMAP protein powder
- Cacao nibs
- Dried coconut
- Sliced kiwi
- Sliced dragon fruit
- Diced pineapple
Blend frozen papaya, macadamia milk, lime juice, hemp hearts, maple syrup, ginger, psyllium and lime zest in a blender until smooth.
Pour into a chilled bowl, top with your favourite toppings, and enjoy!
If you want a sippable smoothie, simply increase macadamia milk to one cup (250 mL).
Lunch: lentil pasta salad
This plant-powered lentil pasta salad features a homemade lemon and oil dressing and a gluten-free pasta. “The gluten-free is really important,” Nielsen says. “It’s either rice, corn, or chickpeas. And all three of those varieties are going to be low FODMAP.”
Easy Low FODMAP Pasta Salad
- 350-gram package of your favourite dry gluten free pasta
- 3 packed cups (750 mL) of any low FODMAP vegetables you have on hand (Nielsen recommends a mixture of herbs, greens and soft vegetables such as field tomatoes, and a crunchy veg such as diced cucumber.)
- ½ cup (125 mL) jarred garlic-free roasted red peppers, chopped
- ½ cup (125 mL) jarred kalamata olives, drained and chopped
- 1-14 oz (398ml) can of no-salt-added lentils, very well rinsed and drained
- Juice of one lemon, about ¼ cup
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon (2 mL) dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon (2 mL) salt
- ½ teaspoon (2 mL) cane sugar
- Freshly cracked pepper
Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and toss with a bit of oil to prevent sticking. Place in a large salad bowl.
Add roasted red peppers, fresh or cooked vegetables, olives and lentils to pasta and toss to combine.
Whisk up lemon juice, oil, Dijon, oregano, salt, sugar, and pepper in a small bowl or shake up in a jam jar. Taste and adjust salt as necessary.
Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to coat.
Salad will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge.
Dinner: crispy tofu tacos with pineapple salsa
In addition to being low FODMAP, tempeh and tofu are nutrient-dense and high in protein. These tacos feature crispy tofu that’s fried until golden brown and a homemade salsa made with pineapple, cilantro, green onion, red pepper, lime juice, and salt. “Very juicy, flavorful, and easy to prepare,” she says.
Crispy Tofu Tacos with Pineapple Salsa
- 1-12 oz (340g) package extra-firm tofu, patted dry with paper towels
- ¼ cup (60 mL) cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon (2 mL) salt
- Freshly cracked pepper
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) coconut oil or avocado oil
- 1 cup (250 mL) finely diced pineapple
- 1 cup (250 mL) lightly packed cilantro, minced
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) thinly sliced green onion, dark green tops only
- 1 red pepper, finely diced
- 1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) salt
- Juice of a lime
- ¼ cup hot sauce
- ¼ cup plain coconut yogurt
- ¼ small red cabbage, finely shredded
- 8 corn tortillas
In a bowl, mix the pineapple, cilantro, green onion, red pepper, salt and lime juice to combine. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix hot sauce and yogurt and set aside.
Then, prepare the tofu: cut your tofu block in half horizontally to have 2 thinner blocks. Slice blocks in half to create 4 squares, then slice squares in half diagonally to create 8 triangles.
In a medium bowl, whisk together cornstarch, salt and lots of black pepper which is key to the flavour.
Heat up oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Carefully toss tofu in cornstarch mixture and place triangles in skillet and cook until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes a side. If it seems like the oil is too hot and tofu is cooking too quickly, lower it a bit. A slower cook will result in more crispness without burning. Remove tofu to a plate lined with paper towel.
Serve tortillas, tofu, cabbage, salsa and spicy yogurt and let folks create their tacos at the table.