Many of us struggle with digestive issues, whether chronic or on occasion. Then we have to consider our specific dietary needs, and any ethical or religious preferences. It can feel complicated to navigate what to eat sometimes. Today our guest poster is sharing Meal Ideas for Vegans with Digestive Issues.
Photo by Rustic Vegan on Unsplash
Guest Post: Meal Ideas for Vegans with Digestive Issues
Switching to plant-based eating is healthy for both your body and the planet we share. Excessive meat consumption can lead to a host of health problems, including increased risks of cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes. Cattle farming contributes to rainforest deforestation, and typical factory farming procedures, such as using gestation crates while breeding sows, are unspeakably cruel.
But what if you have certain digestive issues? Is it possible to follow a vegan meal plan and still ease your tummy discomfort? Absolutely! All you need to know are which foods to choose and which to avoid. And as a bonus, we’ve included some sample meals to get you started!
Many vegans think breakfast means cereal with almond milk, and if you have no sensitivity to gluten, you may love indulging. However, if grains lead to stomach upset, suggested foods for breakfast include those made with non-grain flours like almond or coconut flour, creamy nut butters, certain fruits (with the exception of apple and pears, high in pectin) and seeds and super foods like hemp seed and bee pollen.
Try starting your day with one of these recipes to gently wake up your digestive tract:
- Bee pollen, banana and date smoothie. Bee pollen is a super food containing over 250 nutrients, including protein. Ayurvedic medicine practitioners consider bananas a cool food, and the creamy potassium helps to ease digestive upset. Honey contains antioxidants which may combat stomach bugs, and the almond milk in this recipe adds an extra protein punch.
- Easy, no bake protein balls. These quick and easy protein balls are great for on the go nutrition or snacking. They can even satisfy a sweet tooth.
Vegans with digestive issues can grab a quick lunch of coconut yogurt (coconut eases digestive upset). But what if you want something heartier? No problem! A plethora of choices exist for workday lunches which won’t leave you gassy by 2 p.m.
When prepping lunch, think dark, leafy greens instead of raw cruciferous vegetables. Raw veggies like broccoli and cauliflower can cause bloating. A spinach and kale salad with green goddess dressing always makes a great choice, as the avocado in the dressing eases digestive upset, too. However, if you’re tired of the salad-and-yogurt basics, here are two recipes to try:
- Vegan Zucchini Pizza with Pine Nuts. Most any type of seed eases digestive distress and pine nuts are no exception. They also provide a boost of omega-3 fatty acids vital for brain health, so noshing on this vegan pizza at lunch may stave off the 3 p.m. doldrums. Zucchini also eases gastrointestinal distress, and if you find tomatoes triggering, go easy on the marinara sauce. Make this in advance and take leftovers with you cold.
- Vanilla Mojito Smoothie. Okay, the days of the three-martini lunch passed way back in the 80’s, but this mocktail will calm an upset stomach. Vanilla gently eases digestive distress, and the mint in this recipe also alleviates tummy woes. Your kale-smoothie drinking cubicle mates will drool over the goodness in your glass (not that kale smoothies can’t be awesome, but this drink looks so much more appetizing, especially garnished with a mint sprig).
3. For Dinner
When the workday ends and you have time to relax, it’s time to whip up some vegan goodness which will soothe your tired tummy as well. Many people associate mushrooms with increased stomach upset, but this typically occurs from eating poisonous or hallucinogenic varieties. When it comes to edible ‘shrooms, certain types possess anti-inflammatory properties which can ease stomach pain.
Technically, Brussel sprouts fall into the cruciferous vegetable category, but they contain high amounts of fiber. Cooking Brussels sprouts breaks down some of the fructans which can cause gas. And the fiber, when added gradually to your diet, helps keep you regular and your bowel movements firm. Give these dinner recipes a go:
- Vegan mushroom soup. This soup uses coconut along with the mushrooms to ease abdominal upset. If you find onions give you an iffy tummy, feel free to omit them, although cooking should break down some of the gas-producing properties. Use fresh thyme, if possible, to further ease gastrointestinal distress.
- Roasted Brussel sprouts with garlic. This recipe uses vegan parmesan cheese already, so there’s no need to make substitutions. Balsamic vinegar is milder than it’s more bitter cousins, and can kill bacteria which cause stomach woes. Olive oil is also mild and helps move food through the intestines.
Work Time Snacks
When you need a pick-me-up at work, reaching for the chips can pack on pounds, plus the excess bad fats and excess salt can lead to bloating and upset. Instead, snack on seeds and fermented foods. Chia seeds contain huge amounts of omega-3 fatty acids — valuable to pregnant women, as they help fetal brain development, or to anyone who needs a healthy fat boost to get their intestines moving.
Fermented foods, like yogurt, sauerkraut and kefir, contain high amounts of probiotics critical for intestinal health. One easy snack idea? Vegan coconut yogurt sprinkled with chia seeds.
Looking for something with a super gut boost? Try this blueberry kefir post-workout snack. You get the goodness of chia seeds combined with the probiotic power of kefir for major belly improvement even if you didn’t hit the gym on your lunch break.
Avocados contain high levels of fat, but they also help ease sore stomachs. Hummus, made from chickpeas, also alleviates gastrointestinal distress.
If you wake up with a hankering for a midnight snack, give these mini avocado and hummus quesadillas a try. Substitute tortillas made from ancient grains like quinoa instead of the wheat tortilla and use vegan queso in lieu of queso fresco. Each mini quesadilla contains less than 100 calories, so you’ll heal your stomach overnight while you sleep without having to add another notch to your belt in the morning.
Eating Cruelty-Free Regardless of Digestive Issues
There’s no need to contribute to unnecessary suffering in order to treat your digestive distress through diet. With a bit of ingenuity, you can ease tummy trouble while maintaining your commitment to animal welfare and the planet.
Learn More About The Author
Kate Harveston is a vegan journalist from Pennsylvania. She blogs about women’s health at her site, So Well, So Woman.
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