Many foods included on plant-based diets are high FODMAP so can you follow it for IBS issues if you don't eat meat? You sure can but it requires planning! I was in a course about the low-FODMAP diet and the dietitian instructing the course mentioned that vegetarians would have a really hard time with the diet, so I wanted to figure out how to do it! One of my friends who is a vegan was told by her dietitian and gastroenterologist that she probably wouldn't be able to do the low FODMAP diet since she doesn't eat meat so this made me even more determined!
Looking at lists of high FODMAP foods, it can be a bit daunting to figure out how to do the elimination phase of the diet on a plant-based diet but it is possible! There is a wide variety of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and nuts and seeds that can be included. For a list of low FODMAP foods, check out my post on the low FODMAP diet. Protein is the big tricky part along with coming up with meal ideas so I've got you covered! Read on below:
Getting enough protein when you're vegan:
Firm tofu and tempeh are low FODMAP and a great source of protein, with 22g per cup and 32g per cup, respectively. You can marinade them in low FODMAP flavourings, do a tofu scramble at breakfast, or crumble tempeh into your tomato sauce to add protein!
Canned lentils can be used in servings of up to half a cup per serving (6g protein), canned chickpeas can be used up to 1/4 cup per serving (3g protein), along with cooked red lentils and and cooked green lentils (5g protein). Chana dhal, also known as split chickpeas and urid dahl can be used up to half a cup cooked (8g of protein.)
Walnuts, pecans, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds are also low FODMAP! These contain around 5g protein in 1/4 cup but they are also high in fat so pay attention to your portion size!
Protein powder can be used if you're having a difficult time getting enough protein. Rice protein is low FODMAP and one company had pea protein independently tested, which showed up to 3tbsp is low FODMAP. Some sites claim hemp protein to be low FODMAP but this has not been tested. Check for ingredients such as inulin and sugar alcohols, which are sometimes added to protein powders to increase fibre and sweetness but are high FODMAP.
Seitan (also known as wheat meat) is made from vital wheat gluten and often has garlic in it. If you make it at home, it may be low FODMAP as this is the protein from wheat as opposed to the carbohydrate so it should be low in fructans. It has not been tested though, so we don't know for sure. You may want to avoid it during the elimination phase and test it once your symptoms are gone to make sure you can tolerate it but store-bought seitan will likely be high FODMAPs due to garlic.
If you eat eggs and milk:
If you eat eggs and milk (lacto-ovo vegetarians) you have more flexibility here. In addition to the protein sources above, eggs are low FODMAP and give 7g protein per egg and you can use lactose free milk and lactose free yogurt. They are a bit more expensive than regular milk and yogurt as they are treated with lactase enzyme to break down the lactose but you may find this to be worth it for the extra choices. Since I eat milk products, this is what I chose to do and it did make things a bit easier! Lactose-free milk will give you 9g per cup and lactose-free greek yogurt will give you 18g per 3/4 cup.
Cheese including cheddar, feta, and mozzarella can also be included as they are low FODMAP but they are high in fat and sodium so don't try to use these to get a big chunk of your protein. 1 ounce will give you between 5-7g protein, depending on the variety.
If you're struggling to get enough protein, whey protein isolate is low FODMAP. Again like with the vegan protein powders, be careful of ingredients like inulin, which may be added and are high FODMAP.
Buckwheat Pancakes- If you love pancakes as much as I do, you'll want an option to replace your wheat pancakes! Ensure you use almond milk or lactose free milk in this recipe from Cookie and Kate and to make it vegan, swap the egg for a flax egg! You can also add 1/4 cup cocoa powder to make them chocolate pancakes.
Other ideas include:
Oatmeal cooked with almond milk or lactose free milk with banana and peanut butter, sweetened with maple syrup
Sourdough wheat or spelt bread with peanut butter and banana
Eggs (or tofu scramble) with gluten-free or sourdough bread and piece of low-FODMAP fruit like an orange
A smoothie with low FODMAP fruit like strawberries, blueberries, and bananas with lactose-free greek yogurt or low FODMAP protein powder with lactose-free milk or almond milk. Add some chia seeds for some extra fibre!
Lunch and Supper Ideas
Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Crispy Tofu from Minimalist Baker are one of my favourites! They're delicious and can easily be made low FODMAP by using peanut butter instead of almond butter and subbing chili garlic sauce for just chili flakes! They also work well as an appetizer at parties! You can also deconstruct these and make them into a noodle bowl for a quick meal!
Roasted Spaghetti Squash with low FODMAP tomato sauce, roasted veggies, and crumbled tempeh for protein! To make low FODMAP tomato sauce, saute fennel in garlic olive oil, add herbs of your choice (I like basil, oregano, and thyme) with crushed tomatoes and simmer!
Eggplant Lasagna Roll-ups from Minimalist Baker using low FODMAP tomato sauce- put these on top of some quinoa, rice, or gluten-free pasta for a meal!
These No Bake Cocoa Lemon Energy Bites from Spicy RD Nutrition make a great snack with fibre, protein, and sweetness!
Quick 'n Easy No Bake Protein Bars from Oh She Glows!- be sure to use a low FODMAP protein powder as discussed above (rice protein or whey protein isolate)
Other snack ideas include:
Nuts (if almonds, limit to 10) and a low FODMAP fruit
A slice of sourdough or gluten free bread with peanut butter
Carrots and hummus made without garlic (Remember you can have up to 1/4 cup canned chickpeas!)
If not vegan: lactose-free greek yogurt with strawberries or any other low-FODMAP fruit (just don't use kiwi or pineapple! It tastes SO bitter because an enzyme in these breaks down the protein in the milk- don't do it!)
No-Bake Blueberry Lemon Ice Cream Pie with Coconut Walnut Crust from Spicy RD Nutrition is vegan, low FODMAP, and will wow anyone at a dinner party!
Flourless Vegan Oatmeal Banana Bread from Making Thyme for Health- thank goodness bananas, oats, and peanut butter are low FODMAP! Why not put them together for dessert?
I hope this helps anyone trying to figure out the low FODMAP diet who is vegan or vegetarian! It definitely requires a bit more planning than an omnivore low FODMAP diet but it is possible!! Also, please remember that the low FODMAP diet is supposed to be a learning experience, not a long-term diet! Once your symptoms significantly decrease after 2-6 weeks, you should start challenging or re-introducing the FODMAP groups one at a time! If you are in this process, a Registered Dietitian versed in the low FODMAP diet is an important resource! If you're interested in working with me, check out the services tab on my website!