Everything you wanted to know about your health
Please Note: This article is presented for informational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness. If you have any health concern, see a licensed healthcare professional in person. You can find your nearest dietitian by clicking here.
- Coeliac Disease
Irritable Bowel Syndrome - IBS
Irritable bowel syndrome is a group of gastrointestinal symptoms which may include diarrhoea and/or constipation, abdominal pain, flatulence and bloating. The treatment can include diet modification, stress management and sometimes medications. Proper treatment can lead to great improvement of symptoms and improved quality of life. It is recommended to consult a gastroenterologist to rule out other causes. It is also important to consult a vegan-friendly dietitian that specializes in gastroenterology in order to get a personalized meal plan, dietary supplements, guidance regarding eating behaviour and support. There are different possible dietary approaches, one of the most popular being the low FODMAP diet, which is a temporary exclusion diet that can be adjusted for a vegan lifestyle. Until you see a dietitian here are a few tips to help manage IBS symptoms:
- Keep a food journal with symptoms — this can help pin-point problematic foods and will be very helpful in your consultation with your dietitian
- Reduce intake of some common “trouble-makers” — cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower), mushrooms, onions, garlic, wheat products, and beans
- Go for the easy protein — focus on tofu, tempeh, edamame, rinsed canned chickpeas or lentils, mung beans that are double-boiled after soaking and/or sprouting, in small servings during the day
- Avoid polyols/sugar alcohols such as sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol, which are common in sugar-free products such as gums and candy
- Stay organized — try to keep regular meal times, chew your food thoroughly and avoid distractions while you eat
If you suffer from reflux/heartburn/gastritis, the first step is to consult your physician in order to find the underlying cause. If the underlying cause is H.pylori infection it requires treatment with antibiotics and PPIs. However, it's important to find the cause and to get proper treatment, even if there is no H.pylori infection.
Regarding your diet, it is recommended to consult a vegan-friendly dietitian. In the meanwhile, there are a few things you can do to reduce the symptoms:
1. Eat small and frequent meals and avoid large meals and/or high-fat meals (such as fried foods, large amounts of nuts, and seeds, and so on).
2. Avoid spicy food and/or highly seasoned food.
3. Avoid lying down for at least one hour after eating and try to sleep with your head and upper back raised to a 45-degree angle.
4. Avoid or minimize intake of alcohol, coffee, tea, spearmint, and mint.
5. Avoid smoking.
6. In case you are overweight — weight loss may help significantly.
7. Try to minimize/avoid foods that are common triggers for symptoms such as tomatoes, peppers, raw onions and garlic.
There is no problem being vegan and gluten-free. You can eat:
- Protein-packed plant foods: legumes (beans, peas, chickpeas, fava beans, lentils), soy and soy products (tofu, edamame, tempeh, TVP, soy milk, etc.), quinoa.
- Gluten-free grains (especially whole grains): teff, rice, buckwheat, corn, millet. You can also add potatoes and sweet potatoes.
- A variety of vegetables and fruits.
- Nuts, seeds, and their spreads (such as peanut butter and tahini).
It is important to avoid gluten-containing grains (wheat, rye, barley), seitan, vital wheat gluten, and mock meats that contain gluten.