If you suffer from IBS or other gut issues, finding foods which don’t aggravate unwanted symptoms like gas and bloating can be a struggle. The low FODMAP diet was designed to help you identify which foods to eat and which to avoid so you can stay comfortable. In this article, we’ll explain a bit about the diet before getting into some of our favorite low FODMAP vegan recipes.December 22, 2021 5:29 pm December 14, 2021 5:32 pm
What is the low FODMAP diet?
A low FODMAP diet is one which avoids certain types of carbohydrates. These may aggravate unpleasant digestive health symptoms such as pain, bloating and the decreased quality of life which comes with them.(1)
FODMAP stands for ‘fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides, And Polyols’. These are names for a wide range of non-digestible carbohydrates which are present in many different foods. Many fruits, vegetables and dairy products contain them, along with honey and some sweeteners.(1)
The theory behind the low FODMAP diet is that avoiding these foods can help reduce unwanted gastrointestinal symptoms. This is down to the way our bodies break this type of carbohydrate down.
We are unable to break down FODMAPs ourselves (which is why they are called ‘non-digestible’). However, the bacteria living in our digestive tract can. They do this by fermenting the FODMAPS, which produces gas and other byproducts which can lead to a build-up of fluid in the intestines.(2)
Some observational studies have found that a low FODMAP diet can help reduce gastrointestinal symptoms.
Who might benefit from a low FODMAP diet?
It is especially of interest to people who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
IBS is a common health complaint which causes pain, discomfort and changed bowel patterns. It affects around 8% of the population across North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.(3)
It isn’t clear exactly what causes IBS. However, scientists have noticed that it’s more common in people under the age of 50. Interestingly, around 40-60% of people who report IBS symptoms also suffer from a psychological disorder such as depression or anxiety. Scientists attribute this to the communicative relationship between your gut and brain, known as the ‘gut-brain axis’.(3)
This has led to some scientists suggesting that stress is a factor in IBS. However, it’s likely that other factors are also involved. These include everything from inflammation to changes in your gut microbiome.(3)
However, it is very likely that the food you eat also affects your symptoms, if you have IBS. As such, some in the scientific community recommend the low FODMAP diet to help alleviate them.
Furthermore, a low FODMAP diet can be a useful tool for doctors to help diagnose the root cause of gastrointestinal symptoms.(1)
Does the low FODMAP diet work?
There is growing evidence which suggests that a low FODMAP diet does indeed help alleviate the symptoms of IBS.
For example, a meta-analysis of 22 studies (including randomized controlled studies, and less carefully monitored interventions) showed that the diet could improve the lives of IBS sufferers.
It found a significant improvement in symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating and overall symptoms. Perhaps even more importantly, the participants were more likely to report an improved quality of life.(4)
It’s important to note that the authors of a recent scientific review of evidence for the low FODMAP diet identified some of the available studies as being ‘low quality’. They suggested that more research was needed before it could be conclusively considered an effective treatment for IBS, or for other digestive symptoms.(1)
What foods should you avoid?
One of the toughest parts of following a low FODMAP diet is identifying which foods contain FODMAPs. It’s not always obvious, and it can be tricky to find rules which will tell you broadly which foods to avoid.(2)
Let’s start with the first family: oligosaccharides. These are present in lots of vegetables such as asparagus, beetroot, broccoli, sprouts, garlic and onions. You can also find them in cereals such as what and rye, legumes like kidney beans and chickpeas, and certain fruits like watermelon.
Next, the disaccharides. Lactose is the key carbohydrate in this category, but not all dairy products are high FODMAP. Those that are include milk, yoghurt and soft cheese.
Monosaccharides are present in foods containing fructose. You should avoid apples, sugar snap peas, tinned fruit, dried fruit, honey and corn syrup.
Finally, the polyols. These are found in apricots, avocados, peaches, pears, nectaries, cauliflower and mushrooms. However you should also avoid sweeteners such as sorbitol, xylitol and isomalt.
What foods are recommended?
So, now we’ve covered the foods you can’t eat, what about those you can?(2)
While it may seem that lots of fruits are now off the menu, plenty remain on it. Swap your high FODMAP fruits for bananas, blueberries, grapefruit, oranges, lemons, raspberries, strawberries or passion fruit and you’ll be just fine.
Curiously, while a lot of dairy is on the ‘no-no’ list, you can sill eat hard cheeses. Lactose-free milk, or rice milk, works for you. You can even enjoy gelato and sorbet!
When it comes to vegetables, try bok choy, carrots, celery, aubergine, green beans, lettuce, parsnip or pumpkin.
While it can be hard to figure out which foods are low FODMAP just by looking at them, there are plenty of resources online to help you figure out which foods you can enjoy.
IBS Diets has an extensive list of foods to avoid and which are considered ‘safe’. However, we’ve also got a selection of vegan low FODMAP recipes below which are a great place to start!
"Around 40-60% of people who report IBS symptoms also suffer from a psychological disorder such as depression or anxiety. Scientists attribute this to the communicative relationship between your gut and brain, known as the ‘gut-brain axis’."(3)
Low FODMAP vegan recipes
Many of our healthy vegan recipes can be very easily adapted to avoid high FODMAP ingredients. Check out our list below, with our recommended tweaks.
Warming winter porridge with chia and apricot kernel oils
Oats are low FODMAP, making them indispensable in a diet which rules out several other grains. However, in disregarding for a moment their low FODMAP status, they’re an almost perfect breakfast food anyway!
Oats are high in fibre, provide protein and are low GI. That means they’ll fill you up and give you a steady stream of energy all day.
Our recipe includes options to add dried fruit, so tweak it by replacing these with fresh or frozen fruits such as strawberries. The other berries (blueberries and raspberries) are already low FODMAP.
You will also need to switch the sweetener from high FODMAP agave to low FODMAP maple syrup.
This is a breakfast that will power your morning without giving you any tummy trouble!
Aloe and strawberry smoothie
Prefer a lighter breakfast? Try our smoothie. Made with FODMAP-friendly fruits such as strawberry, pineapple and banana, it also includes our light and refreshing Organic Aloe Vera Juice.
Aloe vera has long been used as a digestive aid. In traditional circles, it is thought to help gently cleanse the body.
When sourcing your aloe vera juice, be careful to ensure that you are buying inner leaf juice. This is because some juices labelled as ‘whole leaf’ include a substance called latex from the aloe vera leaf. However, this has powerful laxative effects – the last thing you need if you already have an upset stomach!
Luckily, inner leaf juice does not contain latex, so it’s perfectly safe to consume.
Once again you will need to swap the honey in our recipe for maple syrup to keep it low FODMAP.
Homemade Granola with Amaranth Pops
Avoiding cereals can make breakfast a challenge. Solve it by creating your own low FODMAP granola at home.
Our vegan granola recipe is made with low FODMAP amaranth pops for a delightful crunchy texture, alongside important minerals.
While our recipe does include dried coconut and cranberries, these are acceptable on a low FODMAP diet in small servings. As the three tablespoons of each are spread throughout 8 servings, you’ll be getting an acceptable serving each time.
Raw cacao powder is a great way to add flavor without FODMAPs, and is an excellent excuse to eat chocolate for breakfast!
Swap agave syrup for maple syrup again to make sure those FODMAPs stay low.
Like oats, we cherish rice in a low FODMAP diet as it creates a filling and satisfying meal. Add in low FODMAP veggies like pumpkin and you have a warming winter supper on your hands!
Now, our risotto recipe does contain garlic. However, we’re going to teach you a fantastic trick to get all the flavor and none of the FODMAPs.
Instead of chopping or crushing your garlic, give the whole clove a quick bash with a rolling pin or knife handle.
Very gently fry the clove in your olive oil until it has just turned golden. This should take no longer than a minute or two.
Then remove the clove. You have just created garlic-infused olive oil, which you can use in your dish!
All the remaining ingredients are FODMAP-friendly and packed with goodness. Pumpkin provides beta-carotene, while our Organic Styrian Pumpkin Seed Oil supplies healthy unsaturated fats and free-radical-fighting phytonutrients. What’s more, its dazzling emerald color turns this simple dish into a showstopper.
Tortilla rolls with sweet potato and peanut and chia sauce
Make sure the tortillas you use for this recipe are made with corn rather than wheat, which is high FODMAP. All the rest of the ingredients in this delectable recipe are completely FODMAP-friendly.
However the biggest pull of this dish, for us, is the absolutely addictive peanut and chia sauce.
Made thick and nutty with organic peanut butter, sharp with apple cider vinegar and sweet with maple syrup, it hits all the right notes!
Sweet potato provides a satisfying filling for our rolls, while crisp veggies supply healthy vitamins and fibre.
Filling, delicious, and with plenty of protein from the peanut and chia sauce, this is an ideal post-workout dinner.
Sides and snacks
Vegan sushi with marinated tofu
These bitesized sushi rolls are the ideal healthy snack when you’re craving something savory. We’ve replaced the more traditional fish with marinated tofu for a vegan-friendly option. Our simple but outrageously tasty marinade makes this succulent filling irresistible!
All the ingredients in this dish are low FODMAP, including the crunchy veggies and nori sheets. So, roll with abandon and pack these sushi bites in your lunchbox.
Doubled up, with some vegetable-based fillings and perhaps a dipping sauce, this recipe would also make a lovely midweek dinner.
Summer rolls with bergamot dressing
If you love refreshing, tangy flavors, this recipe is for you.
Our summer rolls are packed full of delicious crunchy veg and served with a citrus dressing. Made with orange and bergamot juice, it’s sharp, fruity and the perfect pairing to these light little rolls.
You will need to make one swap in this recipe, which is to remove the plums. Unfortunately, plums are a high FODMAP food. However, you could replace them with thinly sliced grapes which will give a similar burst of sweetness.
Swap out the rice syrup for maple (of course).
We use crushed almonds to add a bit of crunch and protein to this recipe. Fortunately, almonds are a-ok on a low FODMAP diet, but steer clear of high FODMAP pistachios and cashews.
Passion fruit & rosewater cocktail
While some types of alcohol are considered low FODMAP, alcohol may irritate your gut anyway. As a result, many people with digestive issues choose to avoid it or cut down.
If that’s you, but you’re still looking for a sophisticated drink that feels like a special treat, try our passion fruit and rosewater cocktail.
One of our most popular drinks recipes, it’s made with FODMAP-friendly fruits like orange, passion fruit and grapefruit.
Light and floral rosewater provides a fragrant top note which will transport you instantly to a spa.
Tea and coffee are both low FODMAP, but some people find that coffee irritates their stomach. For an alternative option which can replace a frothy, milky coffee, try our lemon-infused matcha latte.
Matcha green tea is packed with free-radical-fighting compounds such as catechins. These help protect your cells from excess damage and ageing.
Our latte is made with plant milk. We’ve used almond here, but rice milk would also work beautifully. Infuse with lemon zest for a bright and refreshing take on this classic drink.
Our low FODMAP vegan recipes
We hope you’ve enjoyed this roundup of our favorite low FODMAP vegan recipes! At Erbology we love creating foods and recipes that everyone can enjoy, even if they’re following a specialist diet.
So, don’t forget to check out our other articles in Erbology Editorial to find more vegan recipes and information about our products.
In the meantime, may your your mood be high, your FODMAPs low, and your meals always delicious.
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