Although it can be quite effective, the low-FODMAP diet for IBS can be challenging to follow. This is particularly true for people who are vegetarians or vegans. If this is you, you may have noticed that many of your staple foods show up on the list of high-FODMAP foods. But this does not mean that you can't be successful on the diet. Let's talk about some tips for successfully following the diet while still being true to your own own values.
1. Work with a trained professional.
One of the basic tenets of the diet is the recommendation to work with a dietary professional. Given that you eat differently than the majority of the population, you already know how difficult it can sometimes be to access food that works for you. With the low-FODMAP diet you now have another whole set of restrictions to be concerned about. But, you don't have to do it alone! Working side-by-side with someone who has deep knowledge of the diet can help you to figure out what to eat in all of the various situations you may find yourself in. A dietary professional can also help you to ensure that you are eating a well-rounded diet and not missing out on any essential nutrients. Click here to access resources for finding the right person:
2. Buy the app.
New foods are continually being tested. The app can help guide you to the widest variety of vegetables that are allowed during the elimination phase of the diet.
3. Remember to keep re-testing!
The low-FODMAP diet is not intended to be a long-term diet. Once you have been on the elimination phase for a period of approximately four weeks, you will begin the process of introducing your old foods to your diet to assess your ability for tolerate them.
This means that you may find that you are able to enjoy some of your preferred staple foods even if they are high in FODMAPs.
4. Pay attention to protein.
With the restriction of many legumes, the low-FODMAP diet can make it challenging to meet your protein needs. Lacto-ovo vegetarians have more low-FODMAP options than vegans, as eggs, lactose-free milk and many cheeses are considered to be low in FODMAPs. Here are some plant-based protein sources that are classified as low-FODMAP:
• Soy products
Soybeans, soy flour and soy milk are all high-FODMAP foods, but tofu, tempah and seitan (non-celiacs only) are all allowed during the elimination phase. You can enjoy milk made with soy protein if you have access to it.
• Other legumes
Like soybeans, most legumes are high in FODMAPs. However, small amounts of canned butter beans (1/4 cup), chickpeas (1/4 cup), lentils (1/2 cup), and lima beans (1/4 cup), are allowed if they are well-rinsed. It turns out that FODMAPs are drawn out of these legumes when canned.
Draining and rinsing them washes away enough of the troublesome FODMAP so they can be enjoyed even when you are in the elimination phase of the diet.
• Milk substitutes
In addition to the soy protein milk referenced above, your best non-dairy milk substitute for protein may be hemp milk, found to be low in FODMAPs. Almond milk was tested and found to be low-FODMAP but is not necessarily a good source of protein.
Quinoa may just become your go-to grain as it is a good source of protein and is considered low in FODMAPs.
Nuts are an easy source of plant-based protein. You can enjoy them whole or in small amounts as nut butters (as long as there are no other high-FODMAP ingredients). Here are some low-FODMAP options:
• Almonds (limit 10)
• Brazil nuts
• Hazelnuts (limit 10)
• Macadamia nuts
• Pine nuts
Seeds can also contain some varying levels of protein. The following are considered to be low-FODMAP:
• Chia seeds
• Poppy seeds
• Pumpkin seeds
• Sesame seeds
• Sunflower seeds