Eating more vegetables is good for you, there’s no question about it. However, there are many vegans who struggle with bloating, especially after transitioning to veganism. Not just an uncomfortable swelling stomach but also gases. The stomach aches were very unpleasant for me, and they lasted for the first couple of months after going vegan. I found some tricks to ease the pain and will share them with you right here.
What is bloating?
Bloating is one of the most common side effects of eating a high-fiber diet. Because of the lack of familiarity with eating fibrous foods, more bloating will likely be experienced by someone new to veganism than someone who’s been eating a plant-based diet for some time.
Fiber is an essential nutrient that we need to survive, and our bodies can’t digest it fully. It aids in digestion and helps regulate cholesterol and blood sugar levels, among other benefits. However, it’s recommended that we consume 28 grams of fiber per day but as vegans, we often end up getting more than that amount daily (according to the USDA guidelines).
A lot of people have these questions: I am trying to eat healthily and have been cutting out meat and dairy, but I feel bloated all the time. I am eating more vegetables, but I can’t take the bloating! I feel like I am going to explode. What do I do?
Best tips for vegans who struggle with bloating
Vegans who struggle with bloating often experience pain and don’t seek help. Yet, there is a variety of approaches that can help you ease your bloating issues.
- If you’re just starting veganism, only increase your fiber intake slowly over time.
- Eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day instead of three large meals.
- Increase the gas-producing foods such as beans and lentils slowly. These are protein-high foods so it’s good to eat them, but your digestion has to get used to them.
- Don’t eat your meals too fast and chew each bite well before swallowing it. It will help your digestive system to work better and avoid bloating after eating.
- Change the cooking method of your vegetables so they don’t have that much fiber left – steam or cook them instead of eating raw ones or adding them to salads for example.
- You can also take some special supplements to reduce gases and bloating after eating like ginger capsules or simply prepare tea with ginger root.
- Drink more water. If you’re not drinking enough water, your body will take water from where it can get it, including your stool. This makes it difficult for your body to remove waste and can lead to constipation.
- Avoid fizzy drinks.
- Add ginger to your dishes. Ginger contains enzymes and proteins that aid in digestion and helps with keeping a better intestinal flora balance. Ginger has long been used as a digestive aid because it helps move food through the digestive tract. In addition, its anti-inflammatory properties help calm an upset stomach.
- Consider taking probiotics. For example, products like sauerkraut or kimchi are rich in probiotics which will help with your digestive health and overall wellness.
- Include more fermented foods in your diet. Fermented foods (like miso, tempeh, or kombucha) contain beneficial bacteria (probiotics) and contribute to a healthy gut flora balance. Healthy gut flora helps with digesting food and distributing nutrients more efficiently.
- Use spices like fennel. Fennel helps relieve gas and bloating by acting as a carminative (a substance that promotes the elimination of intestinal gas) and antispasmodic.
For some of us, the transition to a vegan diet can be challenging. One of the main reasons is that our bodies need to get used to the increased fiber intake.
This not only applies to those who are new to veganism but also to those who are increasing their current fiber intake.
Hopefully, the tips in this article will help vegans who struggle with bloating. Usually, these are just transitioning problems that fade away after a few months.
Hi, I’m Petra and for most of my life, I was an omnivore. A vegan couple made me curious about veganism, so I did some research. What I found out about the animals, our planet, and the health benefits of a vegan diet made me go vegan overnight. It’s been 5 years now and it’s been one of the best decisions of my life.