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Fiber and the Vegan Diet

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I have a question for longer term vegans. Since going vegan, I've noticed trouble with, er, my gut. The extrememly high fiber of the diet I am on leaves me bloated, gassy, and in pain much of the time. I've also heard that too much fiber can inhibit your body from absorbing nutrients. My diet before going vegan was also high in fiber (I was about 90% vegan for years before going all the way), so I guess I just crossed the threshold going that extra 10%. I think it's the added beans and legumes I'm using for protein instead of eggs and fish.



Any suggestions? This is the #1 threat to my continuation of this diet right now. It's gotten so bad I'm avoiding social situations and the bloat and gut distress is keeping me from working out. I measured my waist last time it got bad and it was 28 inches! After a few hours I measured again and it was back to my usual 25 inches! That's a lot of bloat!!!
post #2 of 13
don't eat as many grains and beans?
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kristadb View Post

don't eat as many grains and beans?



Then where will I get my protein? Soy? I already eat about 2-3 servings of soy a day between tofu and soymilk. Any more than that and I feel it will be too much. Anything in excess is bad for you.
post #4 of 13
You are probably getting more than enough protein anyway, so I wouldn't worry so much about protein.



As for bloating and gas, try eating smaller meals periodically throughout the day. I find that if I don't eat for several hours and then eat a huge meal I get very bloated. If I graze throughout the day, I do much better.
post #5 of 13
All fiber is not the same. I have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), and one of the things I've had to learn is the difference between soluble and insoluble fiber. For many people, eating a lot of both is a good thing. For me, insoluble fiber irritates my digestive system, but my doctor told me that I couldn't eat enough soluble fiber. Foods high in insoluble fiber include fruits and veggies with tough skins (grapes, apples, some beans, etc.), and wheat bran. This part sometimes sucks because I love apples, grapes, etc. One time I actually found myself chewing on grapes and spitting out the skins. I tend to eat mostly cooked veggies and cooked or peeled fruits to aid digestion. Foods with soluble fiber include oatbran, flax seed meal, lentils, root veggies, avocados, etc. I also take psyllium husk supplements. (Psyllium is a plant from India and the husks are pure soluble fiber--the active ingredient in Metamucil.) Anyway, watching my intake of insoluble fiber and upping my intake of soluble fiber has helped me to reduce gas, diarrhea and stomach pains. Maybe you could try this out?
post #6 of 13
Oh, and as muppetcow said, eating small frequent meals is a good idea. I found that eating large meals or going too long without eating both gave me tummy aches.
post #7 of 13
Smaller, less bulky meals. Also, nuts are high sources of protein. Cook your vegetables. That will help a lot. Add a pinch of baking soda to your bean dishes.



If you have 2-3 servings of soy milk (make sure it's fortified please!) and tofu daily, you're fine on protein. it is a good practice to get protein for many sources, so just add some vegetables, some whole wheat bread and smaller servings of nuts and legumes. You'll be fine.
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eggplant View Post

All fiber is not the same. I have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), and one of the things I've had to learn is the difference between soluble and insoluble fiber. ....Anyway, watching my intake of insoluble fiber and upping my intake of soluble fiber has helped me to reduce gas, diarrhea and stomach pains. Maybe you could try this out?



This advice makes sense. I AM eating a lot of insoluble fiber! I can try those foods with more soluble fiber that you suggested and cook food more often. I've taken Metamucil before at the urging of a dietician friend for weight loss purposes back when I was omni. She told me it would help me to lose weight along with a balanced diet and exercise. Not sure if it worked as I would have lost weight anyway, but I didn't have any problems taking it.



I already am a "grazer", meaning I eat many small meals throughout the day, but paying attention to the type of fiber I am eating should help. Thanks!
post #9 of 13
I was startled my first weekend as a vegan eater by the amount of gas and bowel pressure I felt, but it "passed" (heh) in a couple of days as I adjusted. I still have more gas than I did eating omnivorously, which can definitely be socially awkward (like sitting through a three-hour movie after dinner), but usually only when I eat too much and too much of one thing.
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by eggplant View Post

All fiber is not the same. I have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), and one of the things I've had to learn is the difference between soluble and insoluble fiber. For many people, eating a lot of both is a good thing. For me, insoluble fiber irritates my digestive system, but my doctor told me that I couldn't eat enough soluble fiber. Foods high in insoluble fiber include fruits and veggies with tough skins (grapes, apples, some beans, etc.), and wheat bran. This part sometimes sucks because I love apples, grapes, etc. One time I actually found myself chewing on grapes and spitting out the skins. I tend to eat mostly cooked veggies and cooked or peeled fruits to aid digestion. Foods with soluble fiber include oatbran, flax seed meal, lentils, root veggies, avocados, etc. I also take psyllium husk supplements. (Psyllium is a plant from India and the husks are pure soluble fiber--the active ingredient in Metamucil.) Anyway, watching my intake of insoluble fiber and upping my intake of soluble fiber has helped me to reduce gas, diarrhea and stomach pains. Maybe you could try this out?



Me too! I was just going to post about this. Personally I can't eat any type of wheat bread/wheat cereals. It's just too painful for me to digest. Try eating white bread and see what happens. Also I can't eat beans either, they can be hard for anyone to digest too much of at first. Also like eggplant said, try eating more cooked veggies instead of raw, this cuts down on the insoluble fiber. Good luck!
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
As always, this list has been most helpfull. Thanks to everyone who posted a response.
post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by epski View Post

I was startled my first weekend as a vegan eater by the amount of gas and bowel pressure I felt, but it "passed" (heh) in a couple of days as I adjusted. I still have more gas than I did eating omnivorously, which can definitely be socially awkward (like sitting through a three-hour movie after dinner), but usually only when I eat too much and too much of one thing.



I'm with epski... After the first weekend or so of becoming a strict vegetarian, the pain ended and I went back to my normal self -- only with slightly more frequent gas after I eat too much insoluble fiber. I would try grazing, as some others have said; it seems to work for me.
post #13 of 13
Personally, the only time I ever had any IBS-type symptoms was when I was eating meat, but that's just me. I was VERY gassy when I first went Veg, however, with no bloating or pain, but I had a methane cloud following me around for a couple of weeks, and then occasionally for a couple of months as my body acclimated to my new food choices.



So I echo the advice that others have given here. Cut down on insoluble fiber, and add in new foods, such as beans and legumes, slowly. For instance, put a few beans in your bowl of veggie soup, but not too many. Or eat just a tablespoon or two of three bean salad with your sandwich for lunch.



I don't have any problems with gas anymore, although that's sometimes to the detriment of dinner guests. A couple of weeks ago, I made a terrific chipotle black bean with spinich & Masa dumpling dish for myself, my husband and an omni dinner guest. I had made it for myself before and had no problem. My husband ate it and got a touch gassy, but he's mostly veg now and eats lots of beans, so he was pretty much okay. But I almost killed our dinner guest. He enjoyed the meal, but then he went home and didn't enjoy the results at all. he laughingly told me that he had to sleep with the windows open because he was afraid he'd die in the night of methane poisoning. LOL.
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