A softball catcher
Join Date: May 2018
Location: Huntington Beach, California, USA
I started my vegan journey a week ago. I have since given up milk and am working on cheese. I've also been adding in more greens and grains into my diet. I've been working in more broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, chard and spinach into my diet along with quinoa. Plus I'm working in more fruits and veggies as well as drinking regular smoothies along with green smoothies.
However, the last few days, I noticed I've been feeling kinda weird. I've been having a lot of bloating, gas and diarreah. It came to a head last night after going to a cookout at a teammate's and we were eating black bean burgers (I topped mine with kimchi, avocado, pickles, pickled chili relish and another burger with a veggie chili [YUM! ]). It's like I'm constantly in the bathroom. It's aggravating. Is what I'm feeling normal and how long does the feeling last?
Bloating is the number one complaint of vegans transitioning.
Several pieces of good news to follow.
First, It means you have significantly improved your diet.
Most Americans, eat a low fiber diet. fifteen grams of fiber is about average. which means half of the people eat less than that. The RDA is 25 - 30 grams. And the average vegan eats about 47 grams of fiber a day. Which means that half of all vegans eat over 50!
Now the thing about fiber is that it is indigestible by humans. But our gut bacteria digest it. the guts bacteria is like a little ecology. A biosphere open at both ends so to speak. And most people's ecology is very depleted. Like a rainforest during a long and severe drought. Actually, it is even worse than that. Because every time you get sick, and the doctor prescribes an antibiotic your gut's flora is wiped out. And many of our foods (especial the animal products) are contaminated with antibiotics. So not only is the bacteria starving they are poisoned too.
So... all that good food you have been eating has got WAY more fiber than you are used to. And bacteria are able to reproduce very rapidly IF they have enough food. Some bacteria can reproduce in less than an hour.
it's like a yard where you weren't watering or fertilizing - and started watering and fertilizing but also stopped mowing. and time is sped up so that one week is like one hour. So... 3 days later - you have a jungle!
Bacteria produce gasses. oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and methane. It's all these gasses that are causing that bloated feeling.
The other thing is that the bacteria make up different teams. and they compete against each other. (I think they even eat each other - but i'm not sure). But anyway, with this sudden change in your diet the bacteria with the shortest reproduction rates out-compete the slower ones. But each species has some different competitive advantages. and after a while, the bacteria will form an equilibrium. If you ever studied population cycles - its like that. But in the meantime, it's like dropping a million dollars in cash on your high school. things get pretty chaotic.
the good news is that in a few more days - no longer than 2 - 3 weeks, your gut will reach a new happy balance. good healthy populations of gut bacteria have been shown to provide your body with lots of good things. One of the things is that some of your cravings for sweets is caused by gut bacteria. Plus better digestion and better absorption of nutrients. Also, this is pretty new stuff but a healthy ecosystem in your gut has been shown to fight off colds, flu and maybe even some cancers.
One thing that you should probably do. in fact, I sort of feel bad that I didn't recommend it earlier - but in my defense, I thought you were transitioning a lot slower - is to pick up a good probiotic. Some of the species of bacteria that are normally found in a person's gut might have gone extinct, especially if you took an antibiotic for a while. But don't just get one of those ones that have just one or two species (like acidophilus or Lactobacillus) you want one with a big variety. At least 9 species. I think Genesis Today has the biggest bang for the buck. And you don't have to take it for the rest of your life. Probably just 2 - 3 weeks.
A short-term solution is to pick up some Bean-O. It contains an enzyme that allows for your body to digest some fiber. Or you could just back off some of the hi fiber food for a while. But I think the best thing is to just gut it out (pun intended). Things will improve in just a little while.
My favorite protein shake recipe.
My strategy is to make this in a big blender. So check out the size of your blender and do the math. Or if you have one of those personal blenders - just make 'em one a time.
8 oz soy milk
1 tbsp flax seed
1 - 2 tbsp peanut butter. You can use more if you like the protein and don't mind the fat and like the PB taste. or less if you need less fat and don't like the PB taste. You can also sub almond butter for peanut butter.
About 300 calories and about 15 grams of protein.
Optional is chocolate syrup or protein powder. but IMHO both are unnecessary. You can also add a strawberry - or 4.
When i make a blender full, I put it in jars and freeze them. Then I take it and throw the jar in the gym bag. It takes hours to defrost and then it just needs a good shake. Or take it from the blender and put an ice cube in it and put it in an insulated tumbler like for coffee.
You could use a different plant milk but soy and pea have the most protein per cup. Unsweetened soy has the least sugar - and with the banana and PB you can't really taste it anyway.
The flax seed is for healthy fats and Omega 3.
BTW, any protein shake with more than 20 grams of protein is just a waste of protein - our bodies can't absorb protein that fast.
One of the pros of going thru a transition gradually is not "getting ahead" of the transitions to your gut flora. But one of the advantages of rapid transition is to get the gut flora going in the right direction rapidly.
All of the PBWF diet doctors say that the gut flora is a huge help in transitioning. Actually killing some of the cravings for things like meat and dairy (and sugar and fat). They also say that they help in the absorption of food and the production of hormones (like serotonin) so some of that good feeling may not be placebo but your diet.
as far as cheese cravings go... they are real things. Cheese is very addictive. there was some study done with a brain scanning thingie and they saw the same kinds of brain activity in patients eating cheese as drug addicts. Milk proteins, fat, and salt all mess with our brains. So the good news is that if you stop eating cheese the cravings will go away. Maybe in just a few days.
Another thing is that as you get past dairy, it will make meat that much easier to give up. I'm not sure what you can expect as far as your bowels go. My best guess is that since you have already started reducing animal products it will just get better/easier.
For me, it's the PB that is the thing to be worked around. I have no problems with peanut butter and banana. I think strawberries work ok with bananas and PB. but I'm not so sure about blueberries. Try it and let me know.
Another idea is that if you stick with the soymilk and flax seed, you can just make bigger servings and almost maintain the protein content without the peanut butter. Especially with the warm weather - a bigger serving is easy to drink.
I made some of that protein shake you posted the recipe for. It's so good . I'm going to experiment over the next little bit with it and see what berries and stuff would be good in it. The only addition I made so far was some chocolate powder.
for a while, I added chocolate protein powder, till I figured out it was unnecessary. the shake has plenty of protein.
I have added chocolate syrup, too. but i think it tastes fine without it. Plus i have issues with the big chocolate companies.
that reminds me of another good shake.
pineapple juice. and mango and/or pineapple and/or papaya and/or strawberries and/or blueberries, and/or banana. This is a good base for a green smoothie. You can add some spinach or kale. optional: vanilla or fruit flavored protein powder. Vega is a good brand.