Gas and Bloating From Vegan Diet
I just started The Engine 2 Diet and the fresh veggies are killing me; I'm getting so much gas and bloating. I'm almost scared to leave the house - therefore, I'm scared to eat because it causes gas. Help! I really like the way I feel while eating this way as long as I don't feel so bloated and gassy. What can I do?Answer:
Gas and bloating are sometimes the unfortunate side effects of quickly switching to a more plant-based diet. In many cases it's just a matter of suddenly adding more fiber into your diet than your body is used to handling. Extra fiber reaches the large intestine faster than what you normally eat, and that's where the fiber turns to gas.
Your body does need some time to adjust, but there are a few things you can do to combat the gas so you won't have to worry so much about leaving the house. The first step you can take is to cut back on the extra fiber until your stomach seems more at ease and then gradually work back up to more fruits and veggies. There are a few fruits and vegetables that are more likely to cause gas and bloating:
- Brussel's sprouts
- lentils, peas, kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans, and lima beans often cause gas
- sometimes the fructose in fruits can cause gas pains: pears, apples, peaches
- starchy vegetables cause gas for some people: corn, potatoes, squash, beets, and carrots are culprits
- and of course non-vegan foods like dairy products, packaged foods, sodas, and fake sugars can cause gas
What I would recommend first is to try an elimination diet
in which you remove these likely offenders and see how you feel. If your bloating and gassiness go away, you can assume that one or more of these foods are causing your problems. Very slowly you can try adding one of the items back into your diet for a week to see if you have any gas. If not, that food isn't the culprit. Once you locate the food that gives you gas, you know what you're dealing with.
From there, you can try a few tricks to better assimilate that food into your diet. Many people have success with a vegan alternative to Beano called Beanzyme (make sure it's the vegan formula without gelatin)
-- they just take it when eating their gas-causing food and have reduced bloating. You can try adding digestive foods like apple cider vinegar, coriander, fennel, peppermint, epazote,
ginger, and chamomile tea.
We have a page on Vegan Nutritionista dedicated to natural gas remedies
to learn more about any of these options for avoiding gas. There are also a few things you can do to avoid gas and bloating that have nothing to do with a vegan diet:
- Avoid drinking carbonated drinks because they add excess air to your digestive tract
- Eat and drink slower
- Chewing gum and sucking on candy adds air
- When you smoke you ingest more air
As your body gets used to the new fiber-filled foods you are eating, hopefully the side effects will begin to be alleviated. Try not to be too hard on yourself, and give your body some time to adjust.
Note: Learn more about The Engine 2 Diet