Going vegan in the beginning is hard!
We have all been heartbroken and burned with the mistrust of diets not working.
It certainly doesn't help when you go vegan and your first month you feel greasy, bloated, gassy, and break out. Some times you wonder what is going on and if it is even worth it. You are also hungry because you have absolutely no idea what to eat, and what will make you lose weight the fastest. I get asked pretty often, "what can I do to lose weight" and "my stomach is so bloated, is vegan diet worth it.?"
Well first let me explain; Veganism is not a diet, it is an ethical belief that animals are not inferior to humans and that their welfare matters just as much as ours. Plant Based is when you don't care about the animals and are just eating vegan for health reasons. After you watch earthlings you will most likely want to be a vegan. You wont give up on being vegan just because it isn't working for you. You will be vegan "for the animals". If you are plant based though, don't worry you will still lose weight it takes time, and I have faith that one day you will learn about the animal wellfare side. It is pretty unavoidable if you interact with people who are vegan! Just know they are passionate, for good reason, and that they mean no harm. Just trying to save the animals.
Now to lose that Bloating...
This is a lot easier then it sounds, but it will take some time. Maybe a month up to 3 months depending on the person. I have known of people to lose the bloating in a week, so it can be done! But you must give your body time to heal and detox.
Years of eating a diet that is low on fiber, high in pesticides, hormones and most importantly antibiotics is not going to allow for a healthy gut environment. In fact your body probably does not have all the good bacteria present to break down fiber. You just never noticed before, because you probably were not eating a high fiber diet and didn't need as many probiotics in your gut. Probiotics help your body digest your food and eat some of the fibers in your food, creating almost a "slip and slide effect" allowing the food to move through your stomach very quickly and easily. When there are not enough probiotics the high fiber foods literally just sit there. Normally this wouldn't matter, but chances are you have been eating meat with antibiotics in your past and killed a large sum of good bacteria. Secondly good bacteria needs fiber to survive. Prebiotics, as opposed to probiotics... are the foods that feed the good bacteria. Many companies have caught on recently and have started adding prebiotics to their probiotics capsules. They are essentially "good bacteria food". If you do not normally eat these types of food on a regular basis, you probably need to , to start developing a healthy gut colony. These include Inulin and resistant starches, which are both prebiotics. They can be found in the following foods.
- wheat bran,
- dandelion root,
- Jerusalem artichoke,
- onions and leeks.
When your body gains more starch, inulin, fiber...and you have not eaten a vegetable in decades, or maybe never. These perfectly normally good for you foods are going to bloat and make you miserable. Not because they are bad for you, in fact they are the best foods you can eat! Resistant starch from bananas and potatoes are known to help reverse insulin sensitivity which can create belly fat! And we all want that!.... It is that adjusting to this new way of eating is going to take time.
10 ways to cut down bloating on a Vegan or Plant based Diet
First it is a great idea to decide to eat pesticide free so that you are no longer killing your gut bacteria with pesticides. Same with GMO, they are just another form of pesticide so avoid the "dirty dozen" when buying groceries.
Make a vow to make your gut bacteria a priority! It can take up to a month to get a thriving colony going after years of abuse and a diet that is bad for them.
Eat smaller meals at first while you are transitioning, for at least the first week! Eat as many small meals as possible. Give your gut bacteria a chance to catch up to the new load.
Chew your food at least 40 times. Slow down. Enjoy your meal with maybe some soft music, maybe some candles. It is proven that those that chew their food digest their food better and connect with it more.
Buy a bottle of extra strength probiotics. Currently I take Garden of Life, which also contains potato prebiotics. Take them with a banana or when eating potatoes, to make sure the bacteria are happy and being properly fed! Remember you want a happy colony!
Buy some enzyme tablets if you are in major discomfort. They will help break down the food even further helping ease gas and bloating.
Always soak your beans overnight before cooking the next day. Same with Grains. I buy sprouted brown rice which has been pre-soaked. When you soak you help get rid of the anti-nutrients in the beans and Grains that cause gas, bloating and indigestion. Un-soaked beans and grains also have inhibitors which prevent you from absorbing vitamins and minerals so to get the proper nutrition it is best to soak!
Some people say to avoid cabbage and kimchi in your diet. I would tend to agree when you are transitioning. Stick with at least a month of probiotics, and then move on to cultured foods once your stomach has adjusted. And vegan yogurt, unless homemade usually just contains a lot of sugar and no good bacteria, so don't rely on that for your gut.
Detox tea! To help get your bloating gone in the meantime! Detox tea is usually promoted these days as very expensive teas held by Instagram models...I know better. I can get it for under 10 dollars without the stimulants they put in it or weird stuff. I can even make it to taste like vanilla chocolate! Click here for my vanilla chocolate Detox tea recipe! The main ingredient in it is Puer black tea and Dandelion root. If you cannot find puer tea, sipping on black tea works just fine also, but puer is different....it is fermented!! And also has a very strong laxative effect because of the healthy fermentation. It will help keep the bloat away, but don't rely on it alone!
And last but not least, two words..."food combining". You will hear me talk about this a lot. In a nutshell food combining is at the root of how I like eating for health. The idea is that certain foods combine better then others in the belly. Food combining alone got rid of my acid reflux. I had first learned about it from my head and neck doctor, who told me if I wanted to not be on meds for my acid reflux, he recommends food combining and eating low oil. The man deserved a medal, because it worked. It is a bit confusing at first...which is why it deserves it's own page to give it the credit it deserves. It takes a while to get used to, but once you discover how much it can do for you and your body, you will never want to go back to eating before practicing food combining rules. To learn more about food combining please subscribe to my blog. I will be sending out notifications once I have completed the most beautiful food illustrated combining chart ever.
HERE IS A HELPFUL SHORT SHOPPING LIST FOR TRANSITIONING OR JUST STARTING OUT VEGANS
- high dose probiotics
- enzyme tablets
- pre biotic foods like potatoes and bananas.
- large bowls to soak your beans and grains
- sprouted brown rice
- Puer tea
- Dandelion root tea
So I hope you enjoyed this bit about bloating and stomach issues on a plant based diet. I hope I illustrated that there is no "bad vegan food" it is the "gut environment" which determines if you are feeling amazing or not. And remember, this takes a while to get used to and you will feel amazing in no time, I promise. Also let me know how you are doing in the comments below, and if any of these tips actually work for you. If something isn't working, maybe we can adjust things to see what will work!