Originally Posted by julesapps
Hi Silva and thanks for responding.
They are all foods I have eaten previously but obviously in very different amounts. I am eating a lot more carbs and legumes and vegetables in general with no meat so I assume that's a big gut change. I just wonder when it will settle down. I assume eating beans and lentils 3 - 4 times a week would be full on for the gas
I don't eat soy as I eat enough protein from other sources and find it a bit meh. It gets very mixed nutrition reviews too overall and I find the readily available soy/ meat replacement products are full of chemicals and additives I don't like.
Re getting preggers when reading the forums I noticed it can cause changes to your menstrual cycle. Just from the body change as a result of diet is all. I am sure long term it won't be a drama but when you are trying to fall every month counts and I don't want an adverse reaction.
Anyways thanks again and all advice gratefully received.
I saw your thread re menu plan and I see that you listed tofu, which is a soy product. Soy such as tofu, tempeh, miso, and edamane are perfectly fine and in fact extremely healthy as they provide omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, protein, iron, and a whole host of other nutrients. They are natural foods and usually organic, unlike the soy that is in highly processed food that is GMO and is chemically isolated (ie soy protein isolate etc). Soy is considered "controversial" because of a lot of misinformation regarding it's estrogenic like effects. It is a phyoestrogen (which is a compound that acts like estrogen but is NOT estrogen and not a hormone), but so is flaxseed, cabbage, and a whole host of other plant foods. Soy is a threat to the dairy and egg industry, the other phytoestrogens like flaxseed are not. Soy has been safely eaten in Eastern cultures for centuries. Also, soy such as tofu can act as a buffer when you increase beans/legumes/whole grains/nuts/seeds/vegetables and fruits and hence your daily fiber content. Tofu is low in fiber and can give your body a break from digesting it.
As far as the gas, I started consuming beans/legumes on a more regular basis back in 2007 long before going vegan and it took a while for the bloating and gas to go down. I am guessing five or six months of regularly consuming them? It's been a while so i don't really remember. I eat beans daily and at least five to seven servings of fruits/vegetables every day and I rarely have gas or bloating now. My husband is mostly vegetarian and due to my cooking all vegan meals he was introduced to beans also and I remember he had a lot of bloating and gas at first too, but now he is fine with them. I still have trouble getting him to eat more fruits/vegetables
I really don't remember having much gas when I went vegan in 2011. Like Silva, dairy made me very bloated/gassy and I couldn't tolerate most of it due to severe cramps/diarrhea. Meat really slowed my digestion and was not something I consumed everyday even as an omnivore because it was hard on my body. That coupled with already eating beans and a largely vegetarian diet devoid of most dairy probably made it easier for me. Going vegan was a huge improvement for me right off the bat and I also had far more energy. I imagine if one were used to eating a diet heavy on meat/dairy it would take some time to adjust. I think I read somewhere that the gut flora of vegetarians/vegans is much different than that of omnivores, and I imagine it takes time for the body to change. I can't say how long. Everyone is different.
To make beans more digestible and cut down on gas, I found the following article with tips on how to cook/prepare beans that will help:
1) Increase your bean consumption—gradually. Per the above, eating more and more legumes will encourage a greater presence of the enzyme we need to digest them, and help to get you over your fear of the mighty bean!
Try adding them into your diet in 1/4 cup increments, and increasing very slowly. I can eat at least a cup of beans in one sitting (though a more standard portion size, for me, is 1/2 to 3/4 cup), but that’s because I’ve been happily and comfortably been eating beans for a long time. Keep experimenting with fun, new recipes until you arrive at a place where you’re digesting beans without discomfort.
2) Try Beanzyme. This is a vegan version of Beano (which, sadly, is not vegan). It’s a supplement of the enzyme necessary for bean digestion (also useful for crucifers like broccoli, which contain oligosaccharides, too), and it can be immensely helpful if you plan on eating a meal that is rich in legumes.
3) Soak your beans before cooking. Do you make beans from scratch? If not, it’s a great habit to get into: it’s cheaper than buying canned beans, it leaves you with zero risk of BPA lining from cans getting into your food, and home cooked beans are simply so much tastier (especially in hummus) than canned.
If you do boil beans from scratch, soaking them beforehand may make a difference in terms of digestibility because it releases the tricky oligosaccharides that cause discomfort. You can either do a “quick soak” or a “long soak.” For a “quick soak,” rinse and pick over your beans, cover them with water (1 part beans: 3 parts water) and boil them for five minutes. Let them sit for an hour after, and then cook through.
For a long soak, pick over and clean beans, cover them in water (1 part beans : 3 parts water) and then let them soak 8 hours, or overnight. Drain and change water before cooking through. For most beans, this will mean about an hour of simmering. If you pressure cook your beans, you can still do the soak beforehand!
4) Cook beans with a strip of kombu (a seaweed available online and in health stores). I used to wonder why people did this, until I was told that kombu actually contains some of the enzyme needed to digest beans. Not entirely sure if it’s true, but cooking beans with kombu is a very old tradition (common in macrobiotic cooking) so I would not be surprised if this were the underlying wisdom.
5) If you use canned beans, be sure to rinse them thoroughly. I love using the canning juice in hummus sometimes, because the starch creates a thick texture, but the truth is that this liquid can certainly enhance flatulence. So if beans don’t go down easily for you, rinse and rinse some more.
6) Eat beans with other grains and proteins. Prevailing wisdom used to dictate that vegans had to eat “complete” proteins at each meal by pairing foods together–rice and beans are a good example. We now know that this is not the case; so long as vegans take care to get all essential amino acids over the course of each day, week, month, and so on, whether or not they are eaten together at each meal is not essential (though it may be a good way to remind yourself to eat consciously).
That said, some claim that beans are easier to digest when paired with other proteins that “complete” the protein profile for a meal, so if you have a hard time with them, you may want to try rounding them out with quinoa, rice, or barley (or any whole grain you love).
7) Don’t salt beans while you cook them; flavor them after they’re cooked. Salting will cook beans faster, but they’ll be tougher in texture and may not have the same digestibility that slow cooking and soaking afford.
8 ) Add some spice. In traditional Indian cooking, spices are thought to improve the digestibility of legumes. The scientific logic behind this may be that certain spices will actually change the enzymatic properties of the beans, thus changing how easily we can break them down. Indian spices used in bean preparation include ginger, turmeric, fennel and asafoetida.
9) Add beans to your soup. The broth and liquid will first absorb, and then cook off, some of the resistant oligosaccharides, which may help you to digest the beans.
10) Follow all of my usual tips for happy digestion: chew thoroughly, eat mindfully, don’t chug water with meals.
It might also help to gradually increase fruits, and to chew vegetables well and finely chop them. I did experiment with going all raw vegan a few times and THAT was a shock to my digestion lol. I remember having a lot of loose stool and serious bloating then.
It sounds like you are on the right track with your strategy. Good for you and your family for making the transition!