I started transitioning to a vegan diet before I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. By the time I had a diagnosis for all of my weird symptoms and had a specialist, the damage had been done. I had a stricture and was told to eat a low fiber diet to prevent a blockage.
A low fiber diet eliminates raw fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans, and legumes. Telling someone who eats a plant-based diet to eat low fiber is like telling an athlete to stop conditioning during workouts. It just doesn’t make sense. “But everything I eat has fiber,” I protested to my doctor. He sent me to a nutritionist and together we made a plan. Today I’m sharing 8 tips to eat clean on a low fiber diet for a stricture.
I followed the plan for almost two years before we decided that surgery was the next option for me. Throughout those two years, I never had to go to the ER or call my doctor with any emergency problems.
*I am not a doctor, and the tips below are not a substitute for advice from a licensed medical professional. This is simply what worked for me. Always consult your doctor before making any changes to your routine.*
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“But that’s raw fruit!” you might think. This is true, but I drank a smoothie every morning with no problem because I used a Vitamix to liquify everything – even the seeds in the berries. A Vitamix is pricey — and worth every penny. I began every day with a nutrition bomb from the almond milk, vegan protein powder, and fruit I drank. Sometimes I got wild in threw in some greens but not often. Didn’t want to tempt fate!
2. Roast your veggies to the edge of oblivion
I ate broccoli on my low fiber diet. Cauliflower and carrots too. I just covered them in oil, garlic, salt, and pepper and roasted them in a 425 degree oven for forever. Making sure they were very thoroughly cooked and soft made it just fine for me. Then I’d make a nutritious, protein-packed dressing from avocado or tahini and put it all over white rice for a well-rounded meal that was oh so satisfying.
3. Chew your food
Seriously. Slow down, take small bites, and chew your food. When I was told to chew a bite of food 30 times, I began counting. I averaged 10 chews. That was horrifying. I could absolutely tell a difference in the comfort of my digestion based on how slowly or quickly I ate. Still can today even though I’m stricture free. Counting every single bite can take all the fun out of eating, so count for a few and notice how the food feels. As you learn what your bite should feel like before swallowing, it’ll become more automatic to chew enough.
“Yeah, but where do you get your protein?!” If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked this one. Beans, legumes, seeds, and nuts are NOT on the low fiber diet as whole foods. The trick here is to puree. Refried beans, hummus, or nut butter will give you all of the nutrition of the whole food with fewer risks. It took me a while to like tofu and soy can be hard to digest, so I limited it to 2ish servings a week. All of that along with my protein powder in my morning smoothie, and I had what I needed.
Drink water. Start by replacing one non-water drink a day. The more water you drink, the better your digestion functions. Because your digestive system is already in distress, help it out by making sure it has the water it needs. Common wisdom says 64 oz a day. For those of you looking to level up, aim for half your body weight in fluid ounces. Get yourself a water bottle you enjoy (I love my Klean Kanteen tumbler) and keep it with you all day.
6. Choose enriched products when possible
I stay away from foods that come in packages most of the time, but there are a few processed or premade things I get. Pasta is a good example. When I choose pasta, I look for one that is enriched with vitamins and minerals. Same with almond milk or fruit juice. If there is one with added vitamin D and calcium, you know which container I’m reaching for! It’s important to look for extra doses of nutrition anywhere you can find it.
When my disease is active, I make sure to take a high-quality multivitamin, vitamin D + calcium, B12, and turmeric. Check labels closely to make sure you’re choosing vegan products that come from whole food sources as much as possible. Supplements can get expensive, so shop around and make the best choice you can make for yourself. Or, check out my post on avoiding malnutrition and dehydration for the things I use personally.
8. Treat yo self!
Go ahead and get that vegan dark chocolate bar! Cacao has antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals like iron, so you are nourishing your body, mind, and spirit.
3 Day Low Fiber Diet Plan Download
I put together a 3 day meal plan that uses all of these tips so you can see what a few typical days looked like for me when I was on a low fiber diet. Enter your email address below and I’ll send it straight to your inbox.
So how about you? Have you been on a low fiber diet before? What did you eat? Did you find an idea here that you hadn’t thought about? Let us know in the comments and share this post with someone who could use it.