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Being Vegan with IBS-D

Updated on August 7, 2013

IBS-D Vegan Living

For people with IBS-D (irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea as the main symptom), sticking to a vegan diet can be tough. Many of the foods that usually feature heavily in a vegan diet can trigger IBS-D symptoms, including diarrhea, gas, and abdominal pain. Eating a vegan diet without causing irritation to a sensitive digestive system is possible, but it requires a little understanding about IBS-D triggers and a few adjustments to the types of foods eaten.

Soluble vs Insoluble Fiber

Not all fibers are good for IBS...

One of the biggest triggers of IBS-D symptoms is insoluble fiber, which is found in abundance in wholegrains, beans and raw vegetables. This type of fiber does not break down as it passes through the digestive system, so it causes irritation to the sensitive walls of the intestines and speeds up the digestive transit time. People with IBS-D usually have overactive digestive systems and pass food far too quickly after eating, so insoluble fiber can worsen their symptoms.

On the other hand, soluble fiber, which is found in potatoes, white rice, bananas and white bread, is good for relieving all types of IBS. Soluble fiber combines with water to find a gel-like substance that can easily and smoothly pass through the gut. Soluble fiber prevents diarrhea by soaking up excess liquid, so it is an essential component of an effective IBS-D diet.

Soluble Fiber Foods

Include these soluble fiber foods in your vegan diet to relieve IBS symptoms.

  • oatmeal
  • peeled ripe fruits
  • potatoes and sweet potatoes, without skin
  • root vegetables, such as carrots and winter squash
  • white rice

Soluble Psyllium Fiber

Psyllium husk is a soluble fiber supplement that is recommended for all types of IBS.

Psyllium Husk Powder Organic - 1 lb,(Frontier)
Psyllium Husk Powder Organic - 1 lb,(Frontier)

Vegan, organic, pure - this powdered psyllium husk is a vital source of soluble fiber.


Insoluble Fiber Foods

Avoid or limit these foods to prevent painful cramps and gas.

  • wheat bran
  • fruit and vegetable skins
  • dried fruits
  • beans and peas
  • corn bran
  • nuts and seeds

Sweet potato soup
Sweet potato soup

Vegan Recipes for IBS-D

During an IBS-D flare-up, it can be difficult to know what you can eat without triggering pain and a dash to the bathroom. These vegan recipes are all gentle on the stomach and provide much-needed sustenance during painful IBS flares.

Breakfast: Rice porridge with banana

White rice is one of the best safe foods for IBS-D as it is so easy to digest. If your tummy is sore and nothing you eat seems to stay with you, try starting your day with this rice porridge.

1. Boil white rice in plenty of water. The aim is to break down the grains, so cook the rice for much longer than you usually would, stirring regularly.

2. Add some ripe, chopped banana near the end of cooking so that the banana cooks in the mushy rice. Cooking fruits and vegetables makes them much easier to digest.

3. Add sugar or syrup to taste.

Lunch: Sweet potato soup

Sweet potatoes and plain potatoes are both good sources of soluble fiber. Avoid adding onions to the soup as they can produce a lot of gas as they break down, which can cause pain.

1. Boil equal quantities of potatoes and sweet potatoes in water until they are soft.

2. Add some crushed garlic and fresh coriander leaves to bring out the flavors.

3. Remove the soup from the heat and blend using a hand blender.

4. For an extra creamy soup, stir in some soy, almond or rice milk.

5. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve.

Dinner: Creamy lentil sauce for pasta or rice

This recipe from is soothing on sensitive tummies. Red lentils are much lower in insoluble fiber than other types of legumes, and are a good source of protein for vegans.

1. Boil red lentils for 30 minutes until they turn into a soft mush.

2. Add tomato juice and simmer for another 10 minutes.

3. Flavor with basil, garlic, and salt.

4. Blend sauce using a hand blender until it is smooth.

5. Serve with white pasta or rice.

Vegan IBS-D Diet Tips

Not being able to tolerate large quantities of beans or raw vegetables is a problem for many vegans who have IBS-D, as these foods are often rich in the vitamins and minerals that vegans lack. Here are a few tips for getting your nutrients on a vegan diet without triggering painful cramps.

  1. Peel fruits and vegetables to remove the insoluble fiber. The inside part usually contains mostly soluble fiber.
  2. Cook fruits and vegetables to make them easier to digest.
  3. If you're struggling to get enough fruits or veggies in your diet without adding too much bulk, drink vegetable or fruit juices.
  4. Soy milk, soy yogurt, tofu and miso are all ways to enjoy soy beans without the insoluble fiber.
  5. Use tomato juice for cooking rather than canned tomatoes - juices don't contain seeds or skins.
  6. Consider taking a calcium supplement. Not only is it hard to get calcium as a vegan with dietary restrictions, but calcium carbonate supplements have also been shown to be helpful for IBS-D.

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      Cidalia 2 years ago

      Many IBS sufferers (myself included) have to be careful with oatmeal (it has soluble and insoluble fiber). Causes me a lot of trouble.

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      yes 3 years ago

      hi again

      I don't think many people can stand garlic either & canned lentils are better because the FODMAPS leach into the water,making them easier to digest (according to my nutritionist anyway)

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      yes 3 years ago


      thanks for the tips!

      Isn't sweet potato bad as it's a FODMAP?