By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Nestlé Health Science and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. As a participant in this contest, I also received a free trial sample of ProNourishTM, a low FODMAP nutritional drink developed by Nestlé Health Science. I was not compensated for my time.
Step into Fall with this IBS-friendly Pumpkin Spice Smoothie!
Despite being a dietitian, I usually try to keep the focus of the Healthy Toast on recipes with just small bits of nutrition advice/info scattered in. After all, I spend all day talking to clients about nutrition, so it’s nice for me to take a bit of a break and focus on my true passion in life: food. However, today’s post is very nutrition-dense so buckle in (or skip down to the recipe 🙂 ).
Recipe Redux members have been invited by Nestle to come up with low FODMAP recipes and help spread the word about FODMAPs in general. I was very excited when I got the email for this challenge as FODMAPs have been a topic of great interest to me both professionally and personally.
For many of you I’m sure you’re wondering what the heck FODMAPs even are. I’m going to do my best to keep this as straight forward as possible, but PLEASE, if you find yourself thinking “wow, this sounds like a diet that could really help with my digestive issues” please make an appointment with a registered dietitian as the low FODMAP diet has a lot of nuances to it that can be confusing without an expert helping you out.
Okay, so let’s finally get to it! Who does this diet apply to? In general, low FODMAP diets are for individuals diagnosed with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or IBD (irritable bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease or Ulcerative Colitis). Basically, if you find yourself experiencing ongoing GI issues (bloating, abdominal cramping, diarrhea, constipation, etc) and going lactose-free and/or gluten free hasn’t helped then it may be worth looking into the low FODMAP diet (again, please work with your doctor and a registered dietitian!).
FODMAP is an acronym that stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides (lactose), Monosaccharides (fructose), And Polyols (sugar alcohols) — much easier to just say FODMAP ;). So what do all of these words have in common? They are all short chain carbohydrates that the human body has difficulty with, or simply cannot, digest. And instead of being digested, they get fermented in the gut by your gut bacteria, which in some people can lead to those nasty GI side effects. Now before we go any further, remember, this is a LOW FODMAP diet not a NO FODMAP diet. Foods that contain FODMAPS (again, we are getting to what those foods are I promise!), are healthy for you, but depending on your GI tract you may just not be able to tolerate large doses of them at a time.
So what foods are we talking about? Below I made a chart for you with some examples of high and low FODMAP foods for each category. This list is by no means complete. but it gives you an idea of what foods we are talking about when we think of FODMAPs. For more information on FODMAPs check out FODMAP Central.
Polyols (Sugar alcohols)
As I keep saying, this diet is not something to try to follow on your own. Please, please make an appointment with a dietitian to get you started as there are many ways to go about identifying which FODMAPS and at what dosages cause your body to have GI symptoms.
As someone with IBS, I can tell you from my own experience that following a low FODMAP diet really can help you identify foods and even combinations of foods that are causing your symptoms.
Starting around high school, I began having bloating after eating. It was never anything major so I just kept going on as normal. But once I got into college, I started noticing worsening stomach pains after eating to the point where I would have to go lie down until the pain went away. Clearly something wasn’t right. Then in one of my nutrition classes we were reading a research article on this new low FODMAP diet out of Monash University in Australia, and I found I had been having almost all of the symptoms that the patients with IBS in the study had been experiencing. So I headed up to the nutrition center on campus to talk to one of the RD’s about trying out the low FODMAP diet. With her guidance, I ended up doing the full elimination diet where you go a few weeks avoiding all high FODMAP foods then gradually start reintroducing some of those foods one at a time and at various dosages and combinations to see what my body could handle and which foods I needed to either say goodbye to for good or just eat very rarely and in small amounts.
As a result, I found out my body HATES fructans (a group of oligosaccharides) such as inulin/chicory root, apples, onion, and fresh garlic (this one I just accept the cramps as I LOVE garlic). It also isn’t a huge fan of raw vegetables of any kind so I’ve gotten quite good at roasting, sautéing, and grilling vegetables until they’re nice and soft – you’re welcome stomach. I will still have a salad from time to time, but I can’t pile on the spinach or kale without having serious pains later in the day. And bread? Well unfortunately all my body can really handle is a slice or two per day (sourdough seems to be best tolerated).
Thankfully, oats are low in FODMAPs as I rely on being able to just grab a jar of overnight oats in the morning and rush out the door. However if you aren’t an overnight oats fan, finding a quick take-to-work breakfast option can get a little trickier as many on-the-go bars and even drinks contain high FODMAP ingredients, such as inulin. To help with this need, Nestle has come out with ProNourishTM or those mornings when you just need to grab something to down in the car on your way into school or work.
Nestle was kind enough to send over some free samples of ProNourishTM. I have to say I was a bit hesitant as I don’t usually like pre-bottled nutritional drinks, but these surprisingly don’t have that weird aftertaste that I was expecting. The French Vanilla tastes more like tapioca than classic French vanilla, but it has a nice sweetness without being overly sweet and works well in smoothies. The Strawberry Banana tastes more like strawberry than it does banana (a good thing in my book as I don’t like artificial banana flavor), but is a bit sweeter than the French Vanilla. Nutrition-wise, one drink is just under 200 calories with 15 grams of protein and 6 grams of sugar – not bad for a snack but for me wouldn’t be quite enough on its own for breakfast. My favorite part of these drinks is that they didn’t upset my stomach at all – a big feat for someone with IBS! I still am a strong proponent of eating and drinking whole foods, but if you suffer from IBS and need something quick then it’d be worth trying out ProNourishTM.
However, if you have a little more time in the morning, these drinks also make for a great smoothie base. Simply swap in this drink instead of your usual liquids of choice (such as almond or soy milk) in your favorite smoothie recipe and blend away! With Fall on its way and pumpkin-spice products everywhere, I was craving a little taste of Autumn, so I threw in pumpki puree and pumpkin pie spice into the blender along with 1/2 a frozen banana and a bottle of French Vanilla ProNourish. If you don’t have any ProNourish, you can sub in another liquid of choice, just make sure to use a lactose-free option, such as almond, coconut, or lactaid milk, to keep this recipe low in FODMAPs. I personally recommend vanilla almond milk to best replicate the taste of the ProNourish drink, as well as adding a scoop of protein powder if drinking this for a meal or a post-workout snack. Note: for this drink to remain low FODMAP, make sure to use no more than 1/4 cup of pumpkin puree.
Disclaimer: This recipe was developing using low FODMAP ingredients but the recipe itself has not been tested for its FODMAP content.
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So interesting. I didn’t realize that if you roasted veggies they are more easily tolerated. Do you know why? Is it because the sugars in the veggies are partially broken down when roasted? Or converted? Thanks for this super interesting post!
Hi Serena – so glad you like the post!! Any time you roast, bake, steam or really any method of cooking, you start to break down the fiber in veggies (and fruits) making them a bit easier to digest. However, the GI tract is a finicky thing and some people will still get symptoms even if the vegetables are well-cooked.
Great post and so good to share your own personal experience and how the Low FODMAP diet has helped you! And your seasonal recipe is spot on 🙂
Thanks Deanna 🙂 I’ve been so excited for Fall recipes even though the weather is making it feel like summer.