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Vegetarians in Paradise

Vegan Books

Low-FODMAP and Vegan:
What to Eat When You Can't Eat Anything

By Jo Stepaniak

Book Publishing Company, 2016
Paperback, $17.95

Jo Stepaniak has written or co-authored 16 books ranging from vegan cookbooks to raising vegan children to aspects of vegan lifestyle. None of these books have been as important to her personal well being as Low-FODMAP and Vegan: What to Eat When You Can't Eat Anything.

In Low-FODMAP and Vegan she describes her personal battle with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). "Why aren't we among the majority of vegans who are thriving and feeling fabulous? What's the matter with us?" she writes in the introduction.

Low-FODMAP and Vegan The author then explains that there is currently no cure for IBS, but there are ways to manage this ailment by recognizing triggers and "managing our symptoms through a revolutionary scientifically proven method."

Readers who wonder about the word "FODMAP" will discover it's an acronym for

  • Fermentable Oligosaccarides (wheat, rye, barley, garlic, onion, beans, lentils, peas, and inulin)
  • Monosaccarides (fructose in fruits and fruit juices, apples, cherries, pears, watermelon, agave nectar, hight fructose corn syrup, artichokes, asparagus, and sugar snap peas)
  • Polyols (sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol, xylitol, polydextrose, isomalt, apples, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, prunes, watermelon, avocados, cauliflower, mushrooms, snow peas, and "sugar-free" beverages, candies, chewing gums, and mints.
  • Stepaniak credits researchers at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia for developing the FODMAP concept. Their research and the database of FODMAP content in a wide variety of foods form the basis of dietary facts and information in this book.

    "Because FODMAPs are carbohydrates, they are present only in plant foods and many dairy products; they aren't present in meat, fish, fowl, hard cheeses, or eggs, all of which are carbohydrate-free," she says.

    "This helps explain why some people who abandon veganism for meat-centered, low-carb diets (such as the paleo diet) claim they feel much better than they did when they were vegan," she adds. " The fact is, they probably do feel better, particularly if they have IBS or other functional digestive problems, and there's a substantial amount of scientific evidence to back them up."

    Stressed here is that a low-FODMAP diet is not a cure for IBS. It is helpful in managing the symptoms and helping people to identify and avoid the foods that are triggers. Useful in this regard are the tri-color tables labeled SAFE, CAUTION, and DANGER that list the foods in these categories.

    Colorful tables also appear for fruits and fruit juices; vegetables; breads and grains; nuts and seeds; legumes; sweeteners, confections and oils; and condiments and seasonings.

    Jo Stepaniak In the chapter What to Eat When You Can't Eat Anything, the author presents ideas for FODMAP foods that can calm the intestines. Colorful charts give high FODMAP foods and low FODMAP alternatives. Shopping for Gut-Friendly Foods is a guide to take to the market and stock the pantry. She also presents Planning the Perfect FODMAP Vegan Plate with columns for starch, protein, and vegetables. Another table includes a 7-day plan with suggestions for breakfast, lunches, and dinner. A cooking chart for low-FODMAP grains details the amount of water and cooking time for acceptable grains.

    As author of numerous vegan cookbooks, Stepaniak employs her cooking expertise to share an abundance of recipes that she has personally found beneficial. She begins by offering ideas for using Low-FODMAP Staples to create recipes like Herbed Tempeh Nuggets perfect for enhancing salads, pasta dishes, or stir-fries. Also featured in this section are Lentil Hummus, Lemon-Pepper Tofu, and Walnut Paté, a spread flavored with lemon juice, tamari, and herbs.

    Breakfast Bowls, Beverages and Light Bites presents more than a dozen innovative creations including Creamy Oatmeal Bowls presented with a multitude of fruit and sweetener options, along with enrichments like chocolate chips, walnuts, and peanut butter to enjoy. Basmati Rice Pudding flavored with cardamom, and easy-to-assemble No-Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars also make exciting choices.

    Dinner Buffet puts tofu and tempeh in the spotlight with recipes like Coconut-Curry Tofu and Veggie Stir-Fry, Teriyaki Tempeh, and Tofu, Chickpea, and Spinach Stir-Fry. Those who enjoy Asian flavors will be tempted by Ginger-Glazed Tempeh Filets infused with fresh ginger, tamari, and a pinch of cayenne to give it a kick.

    Getting Sauce presents a dozen ideas for sauces to enhance any dish while the Soup, Sandwich, and Salad Bar offers plenty of tempting selections like Garden Vegetable Soup, a Triple-Play Veggie Sandwich, or a Warm Thai Noodle Salad among other tasty dishes.

    In Low-FODMAP and Vegan, Jo Stepaniak has created an essential and invaluable guidebook for anyone with IBS or other digestive disorders who wants to continue a vegan diet. As a person who has suffered IBS for many years, she clearly understands others experiencing this disease. In this book she explains FODMAP research in layman's language and uses her expertise in creating recipes that are not only enjoyable to eat but also help people manage IBS.

    Vegans who want more information about IBS will find it at Jo Stepaniak's website IBS Vegan.

    Click here for past book reviews

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