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Gas and Diarrhea from Vegan Diet
I have been eating vegan for the past few weeks because of a few books that I read that convinced me to do so. I am ready to give up because of the gas, pain, bloating and diarrhea I am experiencing. My friend told me to wait a week until my body adjusts and its been a few- it seems to be getting worse. The diarrhea has gotten so bad that I am afraid to leave the house. I tried to stop eating beans and legumes and that has not helped and don't I need to keep those in my diet? Please help I am about to give up!
Don't give up! First of all, your friend is probably right; it often takes a few weeks for your body to adjust to a new diet. It's hard for me to tell exactly what's going on without knowing what you used to eat and what you are eating now. For instance, if you have started eating fake meats and many processed soy-based foods, that could give you more intestinal upset than if you are eating a diet that is mostly whole grains, vegetables, legumes, and fruits.
In many cases people who quickly go vegan are suddenly eating way more fiber than they ever ate as non-vegans, and that causes the body to pass more excrement than in the past. You mentioned that you cut back on the beans and legumes, but you might also try cutting back a bit on some of the other fiber-filled foods like vegetables until your body balances a bit. Sometimes it's better to slowly ease into a new diet than to jump right in.
I know gas and diarrhea are embarrassing and difficult to deal with, but it's actually really good for your body. You are most likely getting rid of things that have been stored up inside your body for a long time and that aren't contributing to your health. It's sort of a way of detoxification inside your body.
However, if this problem keeps going on for several weeks, I would recommend a few assessments. First of all, you might have a sensitivity to a particular vegetable or legume. Several of them are more likely to cause gas, such as:
- Brussel's sprouts
If you cut those out for a week and notice you feel better, you can assume that one (or several) are causing you problems. To figure out which one, add one back into your diet and see if you have issues. If not, keep it in your diet and add one more.
If you do not feel better, you might have a sensitivity to gluten or soy, both of which you can check out at the doctor. You can also try an elimination diet by cutting all gluten out of your diet for a week, seeing how you feel, then slowly adding it back in to see if it triggers a reaction. For me, processed soy products will always cause more gas than if I avoid soy or stick to only fermented soy like tempeh.
Also, you mentioned your diarrhea is so bad that you can't leave the house-- this is not normal and it sounds like something a doctor might need to check out. You should also be careful to drink plenty of water so as to avoid dehydration. If changing a few things in your diet does not clear it up and it's truly diarrhea and not just a looser stool than usual, please see a doctor.
You should also check out the page on our site dedicated to natural remedies for gas
for a few products that might help ease that symptom. Please feel free to check back in and update us with what foods you are eating and how you're feeling so we can try to offer advice!