In recent years the availability of packaged and prepared vegan foods has expanded far beyond anyone's wildest expectations. As veganism proliferates, so does the clamoring for vegan versions of cheese, milk, cream, whipped cream, yogurt, ice cream, cheesecake, mayo, butter, eggs, meat, seafood, and more.
Food manufacturers, including innovative vegan startups, have listened to our pleas and responded with ingenious creations, and vegans everywhere have eagerly and joyfully gobbled up their offerings. Almost every animal-based food now has a plant-based doppelganger. And many of these items are available not only at natural food stores but also at mainstream retailers, making them readily accessible to both vegans and nonvegans alike, which helps attract "accidental vegans" and spread the good word.
While most of these "new" foods have terrific flavor and appeal, they typically contain an extensive list of ingredients so they can effectively emulate the mouthfeel and texture of their traditional animal-based counterparts. But herein lies the problem for vegans with IBS: An abundance of ingredients in products greatly increases the likelihood that high-FODMAP components lurk among them. Such complicated lists also make it difficult for vegans with IBS to read product labels and determine whether the item will be safe or will trigger their symptoms. So while most vegans rejoice over these exciting entries into the marketplace, those of us with IBS may feel terribly left out.
Here are a few examples of vegan products and the potentially problematic and high-FODMAP ingredients they may contain:
The longer and more complex the ingredient list, the greater the chances the product contains high-FODMAP items or a mix of potential triggers that in combination could be problematic for vegans with IBS. So what's a vegan low-FODMAPPER to do? Here are a few tips that can help:
Although few vegan brands are completely low-FODMAP, some of their individual products may be. I'll occasionally review low-FODMAP products as I come across them locally. Feel free to tell us about your favorite ones or share your challenges with locating vegan low-FODMAP packaged foods in the comments section below.