Eating a vegan diet has its challenges - mostly from the people around us. If we got a nickel for every time someone asked where our protein comes from, we'd all be wealthy. Well, maybe not wealthy, but we'd have pockets full of nickels, that's for sure. Of course, eating a plant-based, whole food diet offers plenty of protein, fats, carbs, and fiber—all of which our bodies need.
Although fiber isn't technically a macronutrient, it is essential to our body's health. For example, fiber supports regular bowel movements and bowel health, helps control blood sugar levels, lowers cholesterol levels, and helps to maintain our overall health. But if fiber is so important, why are we even discussing low fiber foods?
While a high-fiber diet is a benefit to most of us, there are some people whose health is actually hindered by too much fiber. In fact, fiber can irritate many health conditions like inflammatory bowel diseases, diverticulitis, intestinal blockages, etc. You may not have such a serious condition, but too much fiber in the diet can also lead to bloating, constipation, and gas. If you're looking for low-fiber vegan foods you'll enjoy - this information is for you.
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How Realistic is a Go Low Fiber
Vegan foods are mainly plant-based, which means that you won't rid yourself of all-fiber (which is a good thing), but you can certainly get low. You'll have to be mindful of what you're eating and how you cook it. The fiber in many vegetables, grains, and legumes can be softened to make it easier to digest. Swaps can be made between versions of the same foods to keep your diet pleasant and manageable.
Following are some tips for eating a low-fiber vegan diet.
Keep a food journal
You're on this journey for a reason, and it's important to know what foods you can eat and what you can't. So document what you eat and how that amount of fiber made you feel. Ask yourself questions like, "Did I experience any negative effects?" While some people can tolerate the fiber in nuts and legumes, for instance, they might trigger troublesome symptoms with you. After a while of journaling, you'll be able to see patterns and be able to draw conclusions.
Do this in conjunction with medical advice if your symptoms are difficult to deal with or unmanageable.
Salads are probably a thing of the past for you. The fiber in raw veggies is the hardest to digest and the most likely to trigger negative symptoms. Instead, opt for foods that are baked, broiled, roasted, or simmered. This isn't bad news, necessarily. Stir-fries and roasted vegetables are delicious. Just make sure all of your vegetables are thoroughly cooked, and you should be fine. You might even find that a small salad is tolerable.
Chop, blend, or puree
Many of your favorite foods may be okay to consume if you chop them finely, puree, or blend them. Smoothies instead of a fruit salad can be just as refreshing and tasty. Your intestines will have to work far less to digest food that has already been masticated. The fiber and starch in those foods become so homogenized that the digestive system's work is cut in half. Consider nut butters instead of nuts, soup instead of a veggie plate, or hummus instead of whole chickpeas.
Eat small pieces
Just like chopping or pureeing your food, when you eat, cut your fruits and vegetables into small pieces. You don't always have to blend it, but ensure that you don't swallow large pieces by chewing thoroughly.
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Avoid the skins
This sounds weird because we're talking about fiber-rich foods, but most of the fiber is found in the skins of many fruits and vegetables. Do your research and see if the produce you want to eat needs to be peeled to avoid a lot of its fiber. Of course, the skins also hold a significant amount of nutrients. Don't worry about that. You can get those nutrients from other sources.
Choose the right proteins
For vegans, protein selection is important. You want your protein to be low in fiber (of course) and mostly fat and protein. Good examples of these foods are tofu, smooth nut butters, seitan, protein powders, and bean purees.
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When you're avoiding fiber, you may also be navigating around the nutrients you need. Supplement the essentials - calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin D, magnesium, iron, zinc, and potassium. Additionally, try to be more conscious of your nutrient intake, with a view of optimizing it.
Exercise a little self-care
Be kind to yourself. Eating a low-fiber vegan diet isn't easy. Trying to find low-fiber foods can often lead you to eat meals that aren't especially nutritious, which for a vegan, can be frustrating. Other people and their opinions won't help matters either. So in all of this, whether you're dealing with a serious medical condition or the troublesome dietary effects of too much fiber, honor your effort. You won't always hit the mark, and sometimes you will blow it. But recognize that you are doing your best and treat yourself with the same gentleness and understanding that you would a close friend going through the same thing.
For ease of research, here is a list of low-fiber vegan foods you'll love.
- Potatoes without skin
- Spinach (pureed)
- Acorn Squash
- String Beans
- Tomato Sauce
- Pureed beans and peas
- Fruit juices
- Canned fruit
- Honeydew Melon
Breads and Cereals:
- White pasta and noodles
- White bread and rolls
- White rice
- Rice cakes
- Any foods made with white flour
- Farina, grits, and cream of wheat
- Crackers, Zwieback, Saltines, and Matzoh
- Rolled oats (cooked and strained)
- Cornflakes and puffed grains
- Oils and margarine
- Gravy and cream sauces
- Tofu, seitan, and mock meats
- Vegan yogurt
- Creamy nut and seed butter
- Soy sauce and vegan mayo
- Milkshakes and puddings
- Veggie broth
- Sherbet and popsicles
- Hard candy
- Plain Jam
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Note that a low fiber diet can lead to constipation. You can avoid this by ensuring you're drinking plenty of water.
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