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.”
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.”
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.