The Elephant in the Room – Gas!
Transitioning to a vegan diet may affect your digestive system. The high fiber content of many vegan foods can improve bowel movement, resulting in more frequent and/or softer stools. In addition, in some cases, the immediate transition to a high fiber diet may result in less desirable side effects such as bloating, excessive gas and stomach aches.
Fear not! Luckily, the body gradually adjusts, assuming you don’t have a history of digestive problems (but even if you do have issues with your digestive system, there are still things you can do to work it out).
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above or know your digestive system tends to be problematic – try these tips:
- Smart choice of legumes: legumes are well known for causing gas. Try soaking and even sprouting legumes before cooking them. Also try using more easily digestible legumes such as lentils, mung beans and tofu.
- Small and frequent: Eat small meals throughout the day, eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly,
Minimize whole grain consumption: in order to balance your fiber intake, start off with refined grains and gradually incorporate more whole grains into your diet as your body adjusts.
- Minimize consumption of the known troublemakers: cruciferous vegetables, artichokes and low-calorie foods containing polyols such as sorbitol and mannitol may contribute to gas formation and bloating. You can gradually reintroduce these foods to your diet as your body adjusts.
- Keep a food journal: a food journal with symptoms can help identify problematic foods.
- Be active: keeping your body active can help to support healthy digestive system function.
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Sometimes there is a need to consult a vegan-friendly dietitian in your area. How do you find them?