Vegan Meal Inspiration: Can You Be Vegan If You Have IBS?


When you are an IBS sufferer, you get creative with your food and recipes. Caution comes first if you have experienced the well-known symptoms of having an Irritable Bowel Syndrome in the past. 

In your search for foods that agree with your digestive system a bit better, you may have come across the vegan diet as an alternative to getting healthier while you protect your gut. Now you wonder if vegan and IBS are compatible. It is a good instinct. There are many plant-based foods that go easier on your digestive system, but there is a catch! 

vegan meals

The short answer is a resounding yes! Many plant-based foods can be easily absorbed by the small intestine and will represent a relief to your IBS. But before you throw yourself into a vegan diet hoping to give your digestive system a breather, let's dive into what food groups are responsible for IBS and how it all works. 

Do Vegan Foods Affect My IBS?

Before we can talk about all the benefits a vegan diet might bring, and how delicious your cooking will become using our vegan sauces, it's good to quickly go over what irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is. In general terms, IBS is the irritation of the large intestine due to certain foods that are difficult to digest. They often contain fermentable short-chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols. IBS can result in:  

  • Stomach cramps
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhoea 
  • Constipation 

The reasons for developing IBS varies from person-to-person. It may be associated with an excess of bacteria in the intestines, a severe episode of diarrhoea (gastroenteritis), or simply because you have been under too much stress. IBS can affect anybody at any age. The key to improving the symptoms is detecting the foods that irritate you. 

A vegan diet avoids all animal-based products and features only plant-based foods. Veganism is a preference appealing to those who want to focus on their health, the environment, or animal rights. 

While having a vegan diet comes with many benefits, it's not a clear solution for IBS sufferers. Many plant-based foods can irritate your gut (high FODMAP), causing or exacerbating IBS symptoms.

What Are Some High FODMAP Vegan Foods To Avoid?

IBS is different for everyone, but keeping track of how you react to the foods that are known to be the most common symptom triggers, can help you in the long run. In general, IBS-related foods include breads and cereals made with refined grains, coffee and carbonated drinks, high-protein foods, dairy products, chocolate, large meals, and processed foods. A low FODMAP diet suspends these common triggers to prevent IBS flare outs.

However, vegan foods can also be irritable for people with IBS. Fruits, for example, are a food group to be mindful of because some of them can make the difference between having a good day or a full on flare out. 

  • Vegetables: avocado, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, snow peas, mushrooms, onions, garlic, Brussels sprouts. 
  • Fruits: peaches, cherries, apples, watermelon, plums.
  • Grains: wheat, rye. 
  • Plant-based Proteins: chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, almonds, pistachios, cashews. 

How Easy Is It To Incorporate A Vegan Diet For IBS?

Adopting an eating plan that eliminates certain foods has pros and cons, just like any other dietary decision. When finding the right balance for your IBS, it's best to keep trusting your gut and select only the foods that suit you. Also, consult your healthcare provider to be sure your diet supports your overall health.

A well-balanced vegan diet includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and proteins from nuts, seeds, and legumes. Many plant-based foods are considered easy to digest. They are included in the low FODMAP diet that makes it easy to control the symptoms of IBS. Getting into a vegan diet for IBS is easy, as long as you select the right foods and you stay creative!

What Are Some Low FODMAP Vegan Foods?

As soon as you ingest food your body starts working at a micro-level to break down each component. Since everything happens at a molecular level, foods that perhaps you thought were irritating (because they are very similar to others) have no effect on your IBS. For example, wheat and corn are used for similar preparations but only wheat will cause irritation. Always follow the traffic light food allowance on your FODMAP Friendly downloadable app in case of stacking certain sugars which could cause gut irritation.

It is a good practice to detect which foods turn out to be irritating to you, which may differ from the ones for people around you. 

  • Vegetables: peppers, potatoes, carrots, ginger, lettuce, eggplant, tomatoes, spinach, carrot.
  • Fruits: blueberries, oranges, strawberries, cantaloupe, bananas.
  • Grains: corn, rice, quinoa, oats.
  • Nuts: hazelnuts, brazil nuts, pine nuts, almonds, walnuts
  • Seeds: poppy, pumpkin, sunflower, chia, sesame.
  • Plant-based proteins: peanuts, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, tempeh, firm tofu.
  • Dairy replacements: coconut, almond, and rice milks.

Plant-based Recipe Ideas For IBS

As much as it seems that all the recipes have already been invented because we're used to them and they taste good, nurturing our body comes from variety in both ingredients and preparation. Creativity is a big part of food development, and we owe it to our bodies to explore options to feel better.

  • Noodles: zucchini noodles are the best replacement for pasta. Nutritious and delicious! The best part is that you can choose the sauce for it, which makes all the difference in flavour. 
  • Crisps: Cut your favourite low FODMAP roots into thin slices. Put on a baking trade with some oil and make crispy baked chips! These alternative crisps pair perfectly with our variety of dips. 
  • Salads: This is easy to think about when you are vegan, but the secret of a good salad is the variety of ingredients and dressing!
  • Protein Powder: Grind your favourite low FODMAP nuts into powder. It's the perfect form to add to smoothies, soups, or to replace bread crumbs. 

Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing
[time] minutes ago, from [location]
You have successfully subscribed!
This email has been registered
Recently Viewed