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Book Reviews

We review Low-FODMAP and Vegan by Jo Stepaniak


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

by Jo Stepaniak
review by Marla Rose


A unique book from the Book Publishing Company was released this year and I am happy to finally have had a chance to review it. Low-FODMAP and Vegan: What to Eat When You Can’t Eat Anything by acclaimed author Jo Stepaniak is a book that was written to speak to a sizable – but often kind of invisible – segment of the population that lives with the frustrating, painful, and, let’s be honest, often embarrassing disorder known as Irritable Bowel Syndrome. In the book, Jo addresses the question considered heretical in many vegan circles: What if you are not physically thriving as a vegan? What if you’ve tried it all – raw, oil-free, gluten-free, high-carb, juicing and on and on – and you still don’t feel great? What if eating high-fiber is kind of torturous for your poor gut? What if the “healthier” you eat, the worse you feel? For 10 – 15 percent of the population in the United States, the mysterious IBS disorder is a reality and that number includes vegans.

First, let’s get this out of the way: FODMAP is a helpful acronym for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. According to the author, this group of naturally occurring sugars are difficult to absorb and digest by the general population but people with IBS experience the worst symptoms: cramping, bloating, abdominal distension, nausea and more. What makes it worse for herbivores is that all FODMAPs are carbohydrates, which explains why many people with digestive problems do not have it eased by a vegan diet and, in fact, find their condition worsening. FODMAPs are found in everything from dates to cauliflower, cashews to hummus. OH MY GOD, HUMMUS?! What is a vegan to do?

Jo Stepaniak is here to the rescue with her Low-FODMAP book. As someone who has had her own struggle with IBS and a longtime vegan, she is the perfect guide to have written this important book. As a skilled researcher, clear and thoughtful writer and talented recipe developer, vegans with IBS (and, really, anyone with digestive disorders) now have a wonderful ally and resource in their corner. With the book broken up into 10 chapters, the first half dedicated to educating about IBS and FODMAPs and the second half full of vegan Low-FODMAP recipes, this book is full of very helpful information (yay, colorful charts!), gorgeous food photography and is perfectly organized in its flow. Written with clarity, compassion and understanding, Low-FODMAP and Vegan is perfect for anyone who is struggling to feel well as a vegan with a digestive disorder. It turns out you don’t have to suffer through your veganism or give it up: you can have your vegan Low-FODMAP cake (or more accurately in this case, a fabulous-looking Pumpkin Pie Mousse) and eat it, too.

I heartily recommend Low-FODMAP and Vegan. I should also disclose that Jo Stepaniak is a personal friend but I still think I am being impartial when I say that this is a fantastic resource and to anyone struggling with IBS or other gastro-intestinal conditions or even just a delicate tummy, this is the book for you.




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