Are you a plant-based eater that needs help navigating a vegan low FODMAP diet? You’re in the right place.
Living with IBS can be challenging enough. If you love eating plants–whether you are vegan, vegetarian or plant-forward, you may be worried that your favorite plant based foods will never agree with you again.
However, there are plenty of plant-based foods that you can continue to enjoy throughout the three phases of the low FODMAP diet.
While this guide is called vegan low FODMAP diet, it is designed for any type of plant based eater that needs to follow the Low FODMAP diet. We cover:
Disclaimer: the content from this post and any part of this website (gozzinutrition.com) is not medical nutrition therapy. It is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not a substitute or replacement for medical care. If you are seeking individualized nutrition care, contact a dietitian or physician in your area.
Table of Contents
What is IBS?
IBS, also known as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, is a disorder of the gastrointestinal system (defined as the stomach and intestines) that cannot be explained by other gastrointestinal disorders like Crohn’s disease, colitis or celiac disease.
IBS is marked by a variety of symptoms including:
- Abdominal pain
What causes IBS?
It is unknown what causes IBS. Changes in diet and stress do not cause IBS, but they can trigger symptoms. Plant-based diets are not known to cause IBS. However, certain foods may cause flare-ups of IBS (more on that below).
How is IBS diagnosed?
There is no definitive test for IBS. Your doctor will perform a series of tests and physical exams to rule out other disorders of the gastrointestinal system, like Crohn’s, Colitis and celiac disease.
Once these gastrointestinal disorders are ruled out, your doctor may use a series of guidelines known as the Rome criteria to diagnose you.
Additionally, your IBS may be classified as IBS-C (constipation as dominant symptom), IBS-D (diarrhea as dominant symptom) or IBS with mixed symptoms.
Do not self-diagnose. You should have an IBS diagnosis from your doctor before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle.
A registered dietitian can help you to individualize your diet once you have been diagnosed with IBS.
How is IBS managed and treated?
IBS may be managed through dietary changes including the low FODMAP diet and stress management. Severe cases of IBS may be treated by medication.
Low FODMAP diet for the management of IBS symptoms
What are FODMAPs?
Thanks to researchers at Monash University, we now know that a class of carbohydrates (fiber and sugars), known as FODMAPs, may trigger symptoms in people with IBS.
FODMAP is an acronym and stands for:
Fermentable: process by which bacteria break sugars down in our digestive system to produce gas.
Oligo-saccharides: fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides found in foods like wheat, rye, onions, garlic, legumes and pulses.
Disaccharides: lactose found in dairy products such as cheese, yogurt and milk.
Monosaccharides:fructose found in apples, honey, other fruits and high fructose corn syrup.
Polyols: sugar alcohols like sorbitol and mannitol that are found in some fruits and vegetables, or artificial sweeteners.
Our bodies cannot fully digest FODMAPs. They travel through our digestive tract slowly, absorbing water along the way. When they reach our large intestine, they are fermented by bacteria. This causes gas.
This bacterial fermentation is actually a process that is associated with healthy outcomes because it may displace “bad bacteria.” It is a completely normal process that happens in all humans.
However, people with IBS may have trouble with motility (the speed at which food moves through the digestive tract) and may have a sensitive gut wall. This leads to expansion of the intestinal wall, causing the typical IBS symptoms.
How does the Low FODMAP diet work?
A low FODMAP diet is an elimination style diet designed to help IBS sufferers identify the foods that trigger their symptoms.
It occurs in three phases. The first phase eliminates high FODMAP foods that are known triggers to IBS sufferers.
The second phase of the low FODMAP diet is a strategic reintroduction of FODMAPs. Working through each FODMAP group, you “challenge” your body to see how you react to each group.
The final phase is to personalize your diet based on what you learned from the “challenge” phase. The goal is to understand which FODMAPS you can tolerate. Then, add as many FODMAPs back to your diet so that you can eat a wide variety of foods to support your health.
The FODMAP diet is designed for IBS. It should not be used for weight loss or any other purpose.
The FODMAP diet is not meant to be followed for longer than is necessary. It is highly restrictive, especially in the first phase, and may increase risk for nutrient deficiencies if followed for longer than necessary.
It is highly recommended to work with a registered dietitian. Check out Monash University for more in-depth information.
How do I know if the foods I’m eating contain FODMAPs?
- Download the Low FODMAP diet app from Monash University. The app contains a regularly updated list of foods that are tested for their FODMAP content. When you are shopping look for brands that are Low FODMAP certified by Monash.
- Review the vegan low FODMAP food list I’ve compiled below.
- Schedule a call with a registered dietitian to individualize these foods to your own likes and needs.
What is a vegan low FODMAP diet?
There is not a specific diet known as the vegan low FODMAP diet.I use the term vegan low FODMAP diet to identify IBS sufferers that also happen to be vegan or plant based who must find plant based foods that are low FODMAP.
It can be intimidating to think about removing FODMAPs from your diet as a plant based eater because many plant based foods are rich in FODMAPs. But, it is definitely possible to do so, especially for a short period of time.
If you are a plant forward eater, someone who eats animal products on occasion, then now is a good time to flex in those animal-based options. Animal proteins and many cheeses are allowable on a low FODMAP diet. Learn more about plant-forward nutrition here.
Vegan low FODMAP food list
In this section, we explore plant-based foods that are naturally low in FODMAPs. This is not an exhaustive list but gives you an idea of low FODMAP foods from a variety of cultural traditions.
I’ve used the Low FODMAP diet app from Monash University to generate this list. The app uses a green, yellow, red system. Green foods are low in FODMAPs and should be well tolerated by individuals with IBS.
Green also means you can eat multiple servings or combine with servings of other green foods.
Download the Gozzi Nutrition Vegan Low FODMAP Food List in PDF form here.
Vegan Low FODMAP grain-based products
Breads: Gluten-free and sourdough are your best bet when it comes to packaged breads. Double check packaging to ensure the bread is vegan if that is important to you.
Cereals: many gluten-free cereals, including the readily available Kellog’s brand of products, are great vegan low FODMAP options when paired with FODMAP-friendly dairy-free milks.
Flours: if you are into baking, it is great to know that there are many flours that may be tolerated on a vegan low FODMAP diet including sorghum flour, millet flour, quinoa flour, buckwheat flour, teff flour and rice flour.
Whole grains: if you love making grain bowls, then I recommend incorporating the below vegan low FODMAP grains into your rotation:
- Buckwheat (¾ cup cooked)
- Corn, canned kernels only (1 cup)
- Gluten-free couscous (½ cup cooked)
- Hominy, canned and drained (½ cup)
- Millet (1 cup cooked)
- Oats and oatmeal, certified gluten free (½ cup uncooked)
- Quinoa (1 cup cooked)
- Polenta (1 cup cooked)
- Rice (including arborio, brown, basmati, glutinous, red and white–serving size varies. Check Monash App)
Pasta and noodles: try some of the below noodle options especially in the elimination phase
- Rice stick (1 cup cooked)
- Vermicelli made with mung beans (1 cup cooked) and brown rice (1 cup cooked) and sweet potato (1 cup cooked)
- Chickpea pasta (1 cup cooked)
- Gluten free pasta (1 cup cooked)
- Soba noodles (⅓ cup cooked)
High FODMAP grain foods: wheat, barley and rye.
Vegan Low FODMAP vegetables
- Alfalfa sprouts (2 cups)
- Arugula (2 cups)
- Eggplant (1 cup cooked)
- Bamboo shoots canned (⅓ cup)
- Bean sprouts (¾ cup)
- Green beans (15 beans)
- Beets, canned (½ cup) and pickled (⅔ cups)
- Green bell pepper, raw (½ cup)
- Bok choy (1 cup)
- Broccoli florets (¾ cup)
- Broccolini, stalks only (1 cup)
- Cabbage green and red (¾ cup)
- Carrot, raw (1 medium)
- Cassava (½ cup)
- Celery root (¼ of celery root)
- Chicory leaves (½ cup)
- Poblano chili (1 medium raw)
- Napa cabbage (1 cup raw)
- Chayote (½ cup diced)
- Choy sum (1 ¼ cup)
- Collard greens (1 cup)
- Cucamelon (½ cup)–how cute are they?
- Cucumber (½ cup)
- Daikon radish (½ cup)
- Dulse flakes (2 teaspoons)
- Endive (7 leaves)
- Fennel bulb (⅓ bulb) and fennel fronds (½ cup)
- Gai lan (1 cup)
- Ginger (1 teaspoon)
- Hearts of palm, canned (½ cup)
- Jicama (½ cup)
- Kale (½ cup)
- Kohlrabi (½ cup)
- Leek leaves only (1 cup)
- Romaine (2 cups)
- Butter lettuce (2 cups)
- Iceberg lettuce (1 cup)
- Radicchio (2 cups)
- Red lettuce (2 cups)
- Okra (7 pods)
- Black olives (½ cup)
- Green olives (½ cup)
- Scallion tops (1 ½ cups)
- Parsnip (1 medium)
- Red potatoes (½ cup)
- Sweet potatoes (½ cup)
- White potatoes (½ cup)
- Kabocha squash (⅔ cup)
- Pumpkin canned (⅓ cup)
- Red radish (4)
- Rutabaga (1 cup)
- Nori seaweed (2 sheets)
- Swiss chard (1 ½ cup)
- Spaghetti squash, cooked (½ squash)
- Baby Spinach (1 ½ cup)
- Pattypan squash (2 squash)
- Taro (½ cup)
- Tomatillo (1 cup)
- Tomatoes, low FODMAP at ½ tomato about 2 ounces.
- Canned tomatoes (½ cup)
- Turmeric, fresh (1 tablespoon)
- Turnip (½ turnip)
- Water chestnuts (½ cup)
- Yam (½ cup diced)
High FODMAP vegetables: garlic, onion, shallots, white parts of scallions, mushrooms (except oyster mushrooms in 1 cup portion), celery, red bell pepper, Brussel sprouts, butternut squash, cauliflower, beets and peas.
Vegan low FODMAP Fruit
- Banana chips (15 chips)
- Banana, not yet ripe (1 medium)
- Blueberries (¼ cup only)
- Breadfruit (½ fruit)
- Cantaloupe (¾ cup)
- Carambola (1 medium)
- Clementines (1 medium)
- Fresh coconut (⅔ cup)
- Dried, shredded coconut (½ cup)
- Fresh cranberries (½ cup)
- Kiwi fruit (2 medium fruit)
- Lemon juice (½ cup)
- Lime juice (1 cup)
- Mangosteen (2 medium)
- Navel orange (1 medium)
- Papaya (1 cup)
- Passionfruit (2 medium)
- Pineapple (1 cup)
- Plantain (1 medium)
- Rhubarb (1 cup)
- Strawberries (5 medium)
High FODMAP fruit: apples, apricots, peaches, pears, avocado, ripe banana, blackberries, cherries, and many dried fruits such as dates.
Vegan low FODMAP dairy options
Always look for calcium-fortified dairy products when you are vegan.
Cheese and yogurt: Cheese made with coconut oil (2 slices) and soy (2 slices) are considered low FODMAP foods. Coconut yogurt (4 ounces) is a vegan low FODMAP food.
Milk: there are several dairy-free milks that are also vegan low FODMAP foods. I recommend buying packaged milks and not making your own to ensure accuracy of FODMAP levels.
- Almond milk (1 cup)
- Coconut milk (¼ cup)
- Hemp milk (1 cup)
- Macadamia milk (1 cup)
- Quinoa milk (1 cup)
- Rice milk (¾ cup)
Soy milk is a little confusing. Soy milk made from soybeans is not low FODMAP. Soy milk made from soy protein IS low FODMAP.
However, the availability of soy milk varies from country to country. 8th Continent Soy Milk which is available in the United States claims to be made from soy protein.
Vegan low FODMAP Nuts and Seeds
- Brazil nuts (10 nuts or ~1.5 ounces)
- Chestnuts (20 boiled nuts or 10 roasted nuts)
- Flax seed (1 tablespoon or ½ ounce)
- Hazelnuts (10 nuts or ½ ounce)
- Macadamia nuts (20 nuts or ~1.5 ounces)
- Mixed nuts (18 nuts or 1.25 ounces)
- Peanuts (32 nuts or ~1 ounce)
- Pecan (10 halves or ~.75 ounces)
- Pine nuts (1 tablespoon or ~0.5 ounces)
- Chia seeds (2 tablespoons)
- Hemp seeds (2 tablespoons)
- Pumpkin seeds aka pepitas (2 tablespoons)
- Sesame seeds (1 tablespoon)
- Sunflower seeds (2 teaspoons)
- Walnuts (10 halves, ~1 ounce)
Vegan low FODMAP protein options
- Firm tofu (1 cup cubed). NOTE: silken tofu is not a low FODMAP food because of its fructan levels.
- Tempeh (3.5 ounces)
- Mycoprotein also known as Quorn (2.5 ounces)
- Chickpeas, canned (¼ cup)
- Lentils, canned (¼ cup)
Vegan low FODMAP sauces, oils, herbs and spices, and condiments
Sauces: FODY brand offers a line of infused oils and sauces that are low FODMAP. This is a great way to add flavor to your meals without adding FODMAPs.
Common examples of vegan low FODMAP condiments include mustard, miso, some jams and marmalades, soy sauce, tamarind paste, tamari sauce and most vinegars.
Oils: Olive oil, coconut oil, canola oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, walnut oil, are all considered low FODMAP foods suitable for vegans.
Herbs and spices: most herbs and spices are low FODMAP in the quantities they are typically used in recipes. Smoke n’ Sanity offers a line of spices and soup bases that are certified Low FODMAP.
Nut and seed butters: Peanut butter (2 tablespoons) is low FODMAP, almond butter (1 tablespoon) and tahini (2 tablespoons)
Final thoughts on the vegan low FODMAP diet
IBS is a disorder of the gastrointestinal tract that cannot be explained by other disorders. It is characterized by gas, bloating, cramping, constipation and diarrhea.
The low FODMAP diet is an evidence-based way to manage IBS symptoms.
The vegan low FODMAP diet refers to a low FODMAP diet that includes only plant-based foods for those with vegan or vegetarian dietary needs.
Seek the help of a registered dietitian to help you navigate the low FODMAP diet.