As part of World Vegan Month in November we’ve been looking at the consequences of choosing a plant-based diet if you have IBS.
A vegan diet contains only plants (such as vegetables, grains, nuts and fruits) and foods made from plants. Vegans don’t eat foods that come from animals, including dairy products and eggs.
A vegan diet can increase the number of IBS symptoms due to the higher percentage of fermentable carbohydrates in the diet.
If you are on a vegan diet, here are some simple hacks to try.
- Canned pulses may be better than those you have to soak for hours. Drain off the liquor (aquafaba) and rinse before use.
- Avoid adding aquafaba to dishes if you have experienced symptoms previously. Use commercial egg replacer, linseed/chia seed or egg free xanthan gum to provide texture in recipes instead.
- Avoid the well-known bloat-causing vegetables such as dark green cabbage, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts.
- A great aquafaba alternative is linseed – make sure you drink a mug of fluid with the linseed. Linseed can also help with bloating and is a plant-based omega-3 source.
- Avoid adding wheat bran to meals.
- Avoid foods containing sorbitol, xylitol and mannitol found in sugar free chewing gum and sweets.
- Reduce fruit intake to no more than three 80g portions and split these portions through the day.
- Reduce caffeine intake slowly to avoid withdrawal – aim to have no more than two mugs of coffee per day.
- Avoid meals containing very large amounts of onion and garlic.
- For milk alternatives, nut and hemp milks are a good choice and ensure they are fortified with vitamin D, calcium and B12 (plus iodine, if possible). If you choose soya milk the better option is one made from soya protein rather than soya beans – although this is not generally available in the UK.
If you want to follow the low FODMAP diet, ask your doctor for a referral to a Registered Dietitian. Vegan low FODMAP diets can be low in protein, iron, calcium, B12, vitamin D and omega-3 oils and as a result there is a risk of malnutrition so professional advice is essential.