Gluten-Free and Vegan and Low FODMAP

Gluten-Free and Vegan and Low FODMAP

I know all about the low FODMAP diet and how useful it can be if you have gut issues. Doing the low FODMAP diet can be challenging but if you’re Gluten-Free and Vegan and Low FODMAP it’s even more challenging. Here’s my low-down on FODMAPs and your free low FODMAP cheat-sheet!

Gut health is very important and with more research, more links are found between gut health and our wider health. I’ve had gut problems for many years and have tried all sorts of medically monitored diets and treatments. My gut problems improved with the low FODMAP diet but I need to check myself every so often when I slide back to eating things I know make me sick.

Firstly – What Are FODMAP Foods?

FODMAP stands for

  • F Fermentable
  • O Oligo-saccharides (fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides)
  • D Di-saccharides (lactose)
  • M Mono-saccharides (fructose)
  • A And
  • P Polyols (sugar alcohols)

But what the hey do those words mean???

In really simple terms FODMAPs are fermentable carbohydrates.

The fermentable bit is, as you’d guess, things that ferment in your stomach… Produce gas and other such helpful things.

Fructans are chains of the sugar fructose that vary in length. Fructans are poorly absorbed carbohydrates (by everyone). We can’t break them down in the small intestine. Sources of fructans include wheat and rye, lots of fruit and vegetables and ingredients added to foods such as oligofructose or inulin – sometimes called ‘prebiotics’.

Galacto-oligosaccharides (AKA GOS) are chains of the sugar galactose that vary in length. Again these are carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed by everyone. We cannot break them down in the small intestine. Sources of GOS include pulses and legumes such as chickpeas and lentils (two things I love! PAH!).

Lactose is a disaccharide (a double unit sugar) found in animal milk – as it isn’t vegan and so I’ll say no more.

Fructose is a sugar made up of a single unit (AKA a monosaccharide). Fructose can be poorly absorbed by some people. Sources of fructose include fruit and fruit juice, honey and agave. Interestingly glucose is another single unit sugar that is easily absorbed and can help with the absorption of fructose when eaten at the same time.

Polyols are sugar alcohols. These are poorly absorbed carbohydrates in many people. Sorbitol, xylitol and mannitol and the most well known. Major sources of polyols include fruits and vegetables, anything labelled sugar-free such as mints and chewing gum. Polyols cause significant issues for me!!!

So Why Do Some People Have to Avoid High FODMAP Foods?

The gut is super important in delivering nutrients to your body and maintaining your health. Many people experience experience gut (gastrointestinal tract) problems that are often attributed to ‘Irritable Bowel Syndrome’ AKA IBS. (More on IBS later). Gut problems present as diarrhoea, constipation, bloating, abdominal pain, cramps and wind. These symptoms can also occur in people who have other conditions such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) such as Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Collitis, coeliac disease and bowel cancer.

So, if you have any gut problems you need to get to the bottom of them by visiting your GP.

Dietary changes can have a very positive impact on people with gut issues and a low FODMAP diet is one of the options. Your GP and dietitian can suggest a plan and work with you it.

A low FODMAP diet can help some people with gut issues identify FODMAPs that may cause them issues, avoid them and therefore reduce symptoms.

Back to IBS. I don’t think anyone should ever accept a diagnosis of IBS. I think it is used as a catch-all, can’t be bothered to work it out, lazy, diagnosis for people with significant issues. The above conditions (excluding IBS) that can cause gut problems are not an exhaustive list, there are many more. It’s too easy for doctors to diagnose IBS without really working out what’s wrong and IBS really isn’t a helpful diagnosis. IBS is also not taken seriously.

Don’t want to read the whole post? Just want the Cheat Sheet?

How Do I Start the Low FODMAP Diet?

A low FODMAP diet is very difficult to do on your own and it’s more challenging to do a Gluten-Free and Vegan version of the Low FODMAP diet. A low FODMAP diet involves cutting out significant parts of several food groups and it is difficult to understand at first. In the UK you are advised to only do this under the direction of a dietitian.

Additionally you only do a low FODMAP diet for a month (or longer if directed) before starting to reintroduce FODMAP foods to identify what you are most sensitive to (if any!).

If you think a low FODMAP diet might be helpful for you, talk to your GP or family doctor who can refer you to a dietitian who can work with you to get this right.

How Do I find A List of Low and High FODMAP Foods

If you are doing the low FODMAP diet under medical supervision and want more info or ideas there are lots of resources to help you on a low FODMAP diet. I have also produced a cheat-sheet with a quick reference to high and low FODMAP foods to help you. (As you might guess from the photo, potatoes are low FODMAP!).

Low FODMAP is relatively new and foods that are low or high FODMAP are still being identified to the available lists are not comprehensive at all. Low FODMAP is a work in progress…


Gluten-Free and Vegan and Low FODMAP

I hope that helps you understand a little more about FODMAPs. A low FODMAP diet is something I found useful and I had a very supportive and helpful dietitian who understood how to be low FODMAP and vegan and gluten-free. I’d avoided onions and garlic (and I knew I had terrible problems with sorbitol and sugar-free friends) in the past as I always felt terrible but this firmly established that these foods were not for me!!! Although low FODMAP helped me it isn’t a cure or a panacea. It’s one thing that helps me but I still struggle sometimes (I have other issues that affect my gut). I tend to drift a little with foods I know cause me grief or if I’m eating out I’ll throw caution to the wind and have something that has onion or garlic in because there’s no other option – and I feel it! I REALLY FEEL IT! Eating out if your on a low FODMAP diet is hard, really hard.

Do you have any helpful low FODMAP tips or recipes? Drop a comment below or ping me on social media! 🙂

Gluten-Free and Vegan and Low FODMAP. #GlutenFree #Vegan #GlutenFreeVegan. From #FriFran

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