Happy New Year! At the beginning of each new year, clients seek my advice in helping them achieve their new years resolutions. The start of a new year is a great excuse to kick some old habits and make positive changes for your health and life. Track with us for the next three weekly posts on the blog for inspiration and great advice on top New Year’s resolutions to help you make successful changes in your life this year.
First, let’s talk about eating less meat… and I don’t necessarily mean becoming vegetarian. However, that is of course an option.
Meatless Monday is a trend that has become recognized globally with the goal of healthy and sustainable eating in the last few years. It encourages people to eliminate meat from their diet for just one day a week. For many of my clients, eating less meat is a great goal to help them save money, eat more heart healthy, increase variety in their diets, and feel fantastic.
Replacing meat with an alternative source of protein like beans, lentils, tempeh, or tofu for one day a week is a great way to get yourself going on eating more vegetarian meals and it sounds like a realistic goal, right? Since many of my clients are vegetarian or enjoy eating meat-free meals weekly, we have spent a lot of time creating these types of recipes, here’s a list to get you started.
Low FODMAP Vegetarian Recipes
- How to Cook Tempeh
- Smokey Sesame Grilled Tempeh Recipe
- Taco Tempeh Salad
- Soba Noodle Bowls
- Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Smokey Tempeh
- Thai Inspired Squash, Coconut & Tofu Soup
- Low FODMAP Harvest Vegetable Soup
- Lentil Quesadillas
The Low FODMAP Diet for Vegans and Vegetarians
Eating can get complicated when following a complete vegan or vegetarian diet while experiencing digestive symptoms like like gas, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea and/or constipation. Many of my clients follow the low FODMAP diet, which is an evidence-based way to help improve their digestive issues and need special help to navigate both diets. Although a bit more of a challenge, because both diets are restricting some kind of foods, with some careful consideration and planning, this is totally possible.
One of the reasons the low FODMAP diet can be challenging when avoiding meat is that beans, a primary source of protein for vegetarians and vegans, are restricted on the low FODMAP diet. Beans are poorly digested and cause digestive distress in many people. So to follow a low FODMAP and vegetarian/vegan diet, we need to replace this protein source with something easier on the gut.
Top Tips for Eating Vegetarian and Vegan on the low FODMAP Diet
Get Enough Protein
I’m a real food person, meaning I like to focus on whole, plain, from natural foods as much as possible, so whole food protein will always be my recommendation. You should aim at getting a good serving of protein, between 20 to 30 grams, at each of your meals. If you can also get a small amount of protein at snacks, that would be great too! However, if you are struggling to meet your protein needs through food, supplementing your diet with protein powders can be an option. If you want more information on low FODMAP protein bars and powders check out this great article the team and I wrote about supplements.
Find Fat (Omega-3) Without Fish
Omega-3’s play an important role in both our heart and brain health, so it’s important to find alternative sources if excluding fish from your diet. Here are a few low FODMAP food options:
- Chia seeds
- Oils: canola, flax seed*, walnut* & soybean*
- Tofu, choose organic if possible
- Ground flax seed*
- Omega-3 Eggs
*Not yet tested to be safe on the low FODMAP diet Algal oil supplements are another way for vegetarian’s to get enough omega-3. This has not been tested for FODMAP so if introducing on a low FODMAP diet, be mindful of your body and potential symptoms.
Find Alternative Sources of Vitamins & Minerals
When you eliminate animal products, there are certain vitamins and minerals you might be missing out on and need to pay extra attention to. These are:
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D
One of the best ways to ensure your diet is meeting your vitamin and mineral needs is to have loads of variety in your food choices.
Avoid Drinking Tea or Coffee with Your Meals
Tea and coffee contain compounds called polyphenols that lower the amount of non-heme iron your body absorbs. (non-heme= iron from plants).
If you’re unsure about meeting your nutrient needs for your diet, speak to your doctor about doing blood testing to screen for nutritional deficiencies. You can also seek out the expertise of a Registered Dietitian to help you assess your diet and make a plan to get all the good foods you need to stay healthy and well.
Wishing you good gut health & wellness,
Stephanie & The Team