MYTHBUSTING: You Can't Follow a Low FODMAP Diet if You're Vegan

Have you heard that being vegan and following a low FODMAP diet don't mix? Whilst it can be more challenging to follow a low FODMAP diet if you follow a completely plant-based diet, it isn’t impossible.

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By Laura Tilt
vegan foods

FODMAPs and Plants 

FODMAPs are a group of fermentable carbohydrates found in various plant-based foods that can trigger gut symptoms in people with IBS. This means that many foods included on a vegan diet (like veggies, beans, peas and lentils and some nuts) are naturally high in FODMAPs, while animal proteins tend to be naturally free from FODMAPs. This is why synching the two diets can be challenging.  

There's still lots of options available to create satisfying and nutritious meals though. Here’s our top tips for making it work: 

Navigating Low FODMAP as a Vegan  

Work with a dietitian If you are trying to tackle a low FODMAP diet as a vegan, we’d really recommend working with a FODMAP trained dietitian. They can teach you how to follow a low FODMAP diet and make sure you meet your nutritional needs are met at the same time.  

Consider a ‘gentle’ FODMAP approach Chat with your dietitian about trying a gentle version of the FODMAP diet. This involves eliminating just a handful of the foods highest in FODMAPs which tend to be the biggest triggers, making it less restrictive and easier to follow.  

Know your FODMAP friendly Protein Choices: Plant-based protein sources that are also low in FODMAPs include firm tofu, tempeh, quinoa, peanut butter, soy milk from soy protein, most seeds and some nuts.  

Include pulses in FODMAP friendly portion sizes Beans peas and lentils are naturally high in FODMAPs, but they don’t need to be avoided completely. Speak with your dietitian or check the Monash FODMAP app to learn about low FODMAP serving sizes. Rinsing canned lentils and beans can help too, because some of the FODMAPs leach into the canning liquid.  

Use Milk Alternatives with added nutrients: Both a vegan diet and a low FODMAP diet can be low in calcium. Plant milks with added calcium, iodine and B12 are a great way to help meet your nutritional needs. FODMAP friendly options include soy milk (made from the soy protein not the bean) coconut milk, almond milk, hemp milk and rice milk.  

Follow this simple formula for Balanced Meals: A simple formula we like for building balanced meals is to team a low fodmap grain, protein and veggies. Top with some crunchy seeds or a drizzle of olive oil and you’re good to go. Here are three ideas to get you started:  

  • Rice with marinated tofu and green beans  
  • Buckwheat Noodle Salad with Tempeh, Cucumber and a peanut soy dressing  
  • Quinoa and Chickpea Salad with roasted carrots and a lemon olive oil dressing