6 Ways To Ease Your Stomach Into a Plant-Based Diet

© Photo: Stocksy/ Lucas Ottone Pretty young village woman smiling and holding a basket full of locally sourced vegetables. There are many compelling reasons to go vegan—health benefits, personal taste, animal welfare, and the environment—but suddenly swapping out animal products plant-based food can be a shock to your digestive system. A little bit more flatulence and more frequent bathroom breaks are a pretty standard part of the transition. Still, you can minimize some of the more uncomfortable and unwanted vegan digestive issues (think stomach tightness and gas) by gently easing your stomach into the new diet. So, before you start filling your plate with unsoaked beans and raw greens, consider these strategies to help your body adjust to plant-based living.

It’s all about fiber

Switching to a plant-based diet will probably significantly increase how much fiber you consume. A 2014 study published in Nutrients compared nutritional intake of different eating patterns and found meat-eaters consume around 27 grams of fiber each day, while vegans typically get 41 grams. Why the big difference? Meat and dairy are very filling, and removing them often results in you eating more fiber-rich foods to feel full.

The increase in fiber can bring a lot of health benefits. The Cleveland Clinic says that a high-fiber diet can help lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, and reduce the risk of intestinal cancer. Research also shows that fiber helps create a healthier gut microbiome. “Fiber is fuel for the beneficial microbes in the gut, contributing to enrichment and diversity,” says Michelle Darian, MS, MPH, RD, and a nutrition scientist at InsideTracker.

Current USDA guidelines for daily fiber intake suggest about 25 grams per day for women and 34 grams for men. However, more fiber can also cause digestive issues because your body isn’t used to getting so much of it. According to a study published in the Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 67% of people think they are eating enough fiber when only about 5% actually are. So the sudden increase in fiber from switching to a vegan diet might take your digestive system by surprise.

Your body does not actually digest fiber. Instead, it passes through your system staying relatively intact. “Many will have more issues with gas when they start a vegan diet,” says Nimah Ather, MD, gastroenterologist at UCLA Health Torrance. “This stems from fermentation by bacteria of all the extra fiber sitting around after starting the diet.” But don’t worry. There are ways to enjoy all the benefits of a high-fiber vegan diet without the discomfort. Here are six steps to have your fiber and eat it too.

How to avoid vegan digestive issues and ease your stomach into plant-based goodness

1. Increase your fiber incrementally 

Fiber is fantastic, but “switching to a fully vegan diet and increasing your fiber intake too fast is not recommended,” says Dr. Ather. “This can lead to bloating, abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, and constipation.” So instead of revamping your entire diet overnight, slowly increase your fiber intake by 5 grams each week. This helps you avoid excessive gas, bloating discomfort, and other vegan digestive issues, says Dahlia Marin, RDN, LD, plant-based registered dietitian nutritionist and co-founder of Married to Health, an integrative medical nutrition therapy practice.

2. Drink plenty of water

If you’re increasing your fiber intake, it’s essential to drink enough water. Fiber bulks up your stool, but water turns fiber into a gel that makes it easier to digest. So making sure you’re drinking enough is a great way to ease your stomach into a plant-based diet. “Drinking more water helps alleviate constipation by bulking the stool and eliminating it from the body,” explains Darian.

Contrary to popular belief, there’s no universal amount of water to drink each day, but there is guidance based on your overall diet and activity levels. “In general, one should drink their water before or after their meal, but not during,” Peyton Berookim, MD, a board-certified gastroenterologist at the Gastroenterology Institute of Southern California, previously told Well+Good, adding that you should aim to drink it throughout the day instead of chugging it all at once.

3. Build your meals around protein sources

Another way to make sure you’re easing into your vegan diet is to build meals around plant-based protein sources like lentils, tofu, tempeh, beans, and nuts, Darian recommends. “Building a meal around protein makes it easier to incorporate more whole foods into the meal, rather than falling into the processed, convenience foods trap too often,” she explains. “Convenience foods can contain refined sugars and high amounts of added salt that are not supportive of digestion.”

4. Eat probiotic-rich foods

There’s a strong connection between digestion and your gut microbiome, which are the bacteria that help with everything from mood to skin irritations. So if you’re having a bit of trouble with digestion, it might be worth it to add some good gut bacteria into the mix. “Fiber-rich foods are considered prebiotic-rich foods that diversify the bacteria in the gut microbiome,” says Darian. “It’s also important to incorporate probiotic-rich, live, beneficial bacteria foods that enrich the microbiome.” Plant-based sources of probiotics included fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, tempeh, and fermented teas.

5. Stick to healthy fats

“Don’t add in any extra trans fats,” says Rajiv Sharma, MD, a gastroenterologist with Gastro MD. He explains they decrease the nutritional value of your meal and make you gassier and more bloated. It’s worth pointing out that Food and Drug Administration regulations have reduced how often trans fats show up in our food supply, but if you’re eating a lot of processed food, you should look out for hydrogenated (or partially-hydrogenated) oil. “You want to stick with very healthy fats,” Dr. Sharma says. “I prefer Omega-3 and Omega-6—which can be found in safflower, sunflower, avocado, and almond.”

6. Try soaking your beans and cooking your raw foods

If stomach pain, constipation, and bloating is an issue, consider how you’re prepping your food before eating it. Beans should always be soaked, rinsed, and cooked before consumption, Darien says. “If consuming other raw vegetables is leading to gastrointestinal upset, try cooking your vegetables,” she says. Cooking vegetables helps to break down certain indigestible components of [them].” It also makes it easier for your body to digest the vegetables and get used to the increased fiber.

Oh hi! You look like someone who loves free workouts, discounts for cutting-edge wellness brands, and exclusive Well+Good content. Sign up for Well+, our online community of wellness insiders, and unlock your rewards instantly.

Enter Email Address

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Walkouts and strikes hit hospitals in pandemic hot spots

Hospitals taxed by the pandemic over the last 20 months have a new problem: Labor strife and a wave of resignations have people waiting longer for care. Months of marathon ... Read more »

Why Are Investors Ignoring Vertex's Good News?

Vertex Pharmaceuticals‘ (NASDAQ: VRTX) woes began about a year ago when it announced the failure of an alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) candidate in clinical trials. A second candidate for the ... Read more »

3 Things About CRISPR Therapeutics That Smart Investors Know

The gene-editing virtuoso CRISPR Therapeutics (NASDAQ: CRSP) is one of the most-watched stocks in biotech, and it’s no surprise why. CRISPR Therapeutics has a handful of different programs that could ... Read more »

3 Biotech Stocks That Are Ridiculously Overpriced

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder — and, in many cases, so is the appropriate valuation of a stock. One investor might view a stock as overvalued, while ... Read more »

A cancer survivor carried the coronavirus for almost a year in the world's longest-ever active COVID-19 case

© AP Photo/Lynne Sladky A woman receives a COVID-19 booster shot in Miami. Not related to this story. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky A 47-year-old woman carried the coronavirus for at least ... Read more »

‘Greedy' Is a Whip-Smart Essay Collection That Tackles the Confusing, Uncomfortable Process of Labeling Your Sexuality

© cover: atria books; background: unsplash If you’ve never given a second thought to your sexuality, congratulations, you lucky duck. If you’ve spent any amount of time wondering how to ... Read more »

‘#FightVoteBuying' says Comelec spox following Batangas cash-giving affair

© Provided by InterAksyon An official of the Commission on Elections posted the hashtag “#FightVoteBuying” and posed a question about the issue on Twitter. This came after reports of a ... Read more »

New York City mayor to announce COVID-19 vaccine mandate for municipal workers: Source

New York City mayor to announce COVID-19 vaccine mandate for municipal workers: Source New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday was set to announce a COVID-19 vaccine mandate ... Read more »

Fire hits commercial building in Manila

© Luisito Santos tweet Fire hits commercial building in Manila A fire broke out at a commercial building, affecting a nearby bank at UN Avenue in Paco, Manila on Wednesday. ... Read more »

There Are Two Ways to Save on This 'Soft as Butter' Silk Pillowcase Right Now

© Provided by Real Simple amazon.com Bed head can happen to anyone, even when you sleep like a log. In addition to wearing a head wrap, one of the best ... Read more »

Jeremy Miado preps for comeback, facing familiar but 'more improved' foe in Miao Li Tao

© Provided by SPIN.ph OUT TO prove that his feat two years ago was no fluke, Filipino fighter Jeremy Miado is dead serious in his preparation for his comeback,  facing Miao Li Tao ... Read more »

Jimi Famurewa reviews Supa Ya Ramen: Verve, simplicity and magic on the menu at raucous BYOB joint

© Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures Ltd supa-ya-ramen.jpg Your initial feelings about Supa Ya Ramen will probably depend on what effect the words “no-frills former supper club in Dalston” have on your ... Read more »

Editorial: 'Forever chemicals' are everywhere. It's time to rein them in

© (Associated Press ) In this June 7, 2018, file photo, PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, foam gathers at the the Van Etten Creek dam in Oscoda Township, Mich., ... Read more »

7 of the best Sunday roasts you can find in Edinburgh

© Tuck into a Sunday lunch with all the trimmings at one of these Edinburgh restaurants. Photo: Suzyan… On a crisp autumnal day, sometimes the only thing to hit the ... Read more »

Starbucks release Vampire-inspired Frappuccino just in time for Halloween

If you’re one that lives for Halloween – the cakes, sweet treats and food then you’ll love Starbucks’ latest offering. They’ve given their famous Frappuccino a thrilling twist that coffee ... Read more »

This Morning fans in hysterics as 'real life Scooby Doo' looks 'embarrassed' to be there

This Morning viewers were in hysterics on Wednesday as the ‘real life Scooby Doo’ made an appearance on the show. The adorable Greyhound named Bond headed into the ITV studio ... Read more »

Adele watches LA Lakers courtside alongside boyfriend Rich Paul after launch of new single

© Getty Images adelestarslalakers191021 Adele joined her boyfriend Rich Paul at an LA Lakers game on Tuesday, following the release of her new single Easy On Me. The pop star, ... Read more »

Ever wonder what Enchanted Kingdom looked like 26 years ago?

Facebook: Enchanted Kingdom Enchanted Kingdom, the Philippines’ first world-class theme park, celebrated its 26th anniversary this week, and to cap off the festivities, EK released old photos of its early ... Read more »

2 Filipino restaurants named in New York Times' Restaurant List of 2021

Instagram: @archipelago_restaurant | @kasamachicago Raise your spoons and forks—two Filipino restaurants in the US have landed a spot on The New York Times‘ Restaurant List of 2021. The Times honored ... Read more »

Fact Check: Military-funded sensor can help detect COVID-19, but it's not a microchip

The claim: A new Pentagon microchip can tell if you have COVID-19 A Facebook post with nearly 4,000 shares and reactions claims the Pentagon has developed a microchip implant, equipped ... Read more »

DENR eyes ‘swimmable' Manila Bay before end of Duterte's term

© Danny Pata River Warriors from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) conduct a clean-up at a portion of the Manila Bay shoreline in Baseco compound in Manila ... Read more »

Arny Ross is a glowing goddess in blue in prenup shoot with Franklin Banogon

Arny Ross and fiance Franklin prenup Arny Ross and her fiancé Franklin Banogon looked all sorts of dreamy in their prenup shoot by the sea. On Instagram, Wednesday, Arny shared ... Read more »

DOH on release of SRAs for health workers: 450K done, 70K left

health workers in PPEs tend to patient in hospital bed – 24 Oras screencap The Department of Health (DOH) has yet to pay 70,714 out of 526,627 eligible healthcare workers ... Read more »

Vic Sotto will support Baby Tali should she want to enter showbiz in the future

Baby Tali and Vic Sotto on Eat Bulaga Vic Sotto said he will support his and Pauleen Luna’s daughter Tali should she want to enter showbiz and become a comedian ... Read more »

Brandy and Eve are back in ABC's ‘Queens' as members of all-girl hip-hop group

© Kim Simms/ABC/TNS/TNS Eve, Brandy, Naturi Naughton and Nadine Velazquez star as’ 90 s hip-hop icons in “Queens.” The ‘90s are making a comeback — with a little help from ... Read more »

Here is How Malaika Arora Enhances Her Yoga Sessions With Challenging Props

© Provided by News18 Here is How Malaika Arora Enhances Her Yoga Sessions With Challenging Props Being a fitness icon, Malaika Arora is always striving to inspire her fans and ... Read more »

World Osteoporosis Day: What is Osteoporosis, Symptoms of this Silent Disease

© Provided by News18 World Osteoporosis Day: What is Osteoporosis, Symptoms of this Silent Disease Due to the loss of mineral density, bones become weak and brittle. This condition is ... Read more »

Janhvi Kapoor doing yoga in hills is the mid-week workout motivation we need, video inside

Boney Kapoor and Sridevi’s daughter Janhvi Kapoor escaped to the hills with her friends recently and delighted fans with several photos from her vacation. The star went holidaying with her ... Read more »

10 Great Gift Ideas for Your Hard-Working Assistant

© Brightland, Rifle Paper Co. They keep you on track by reminding you when you have upcoming appointments. They help you complete tasks and make your day more manageable. Sometimes ... Read more »

Philippines logs 3,656 new COVID-19 cases, lowest daily tally since July 13

health workers in PPEs tend to patient in hospital bed – 24 Oras screencap The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday reported 3,656 new COVID-19 cases, the lowest daily infections ... Read more »

DOH: 3,416 adolescents with comorbidities vaccinated vs. COVID-19

© DR. JONAS DEL ROSARIO/PGH A young girl is among the first to get inoculated against COVID-19 during the start of the vaccination for adolescents aged 12 to 17 years ... Read more »

Inside Conor McGregor's Rome trip from meeting Jose Mourinho to shots with Johnny Depp

Conor McGregor headed to Rome with his extended family to have his son christened and to pick up his new £2.6million Lamborghini yacht. But the the Irishman has instead had ... Read more »

easyJet to open its first airport lounge this week with free hot food and a games room

easyJet is opening its first ever airport lounge where passengers can enjoy perks such as free hot food, complementary Wi-Fi and a games room to help keep the kids entertained ... Read more »

Kremlin says Putin will not fly to Glasgow for COP26

© Reuters/SPUTNIK Russian President Putin attends a meeting with the heads of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), outside Moscow MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin will not fly ... Read more »

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy PC file size is not 150 GB, confirms Eidos Montreal

© Provided by GamePur We are less than a week away from the launch of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, so fans are understandably excited to get their hands on ... Read more »

Helium: South Africa strikes new 'gold'

© LUCA SOLA A South African firm believes it has found helium deposits that could be worth tens of billions of dollars In a grassy plain in South Africa, once ... Read more »

Bastille unveil sci-fi album, Give Me The Future, release single No Bad Days

© Bang Showbiz Bastille Bastille have unveiled their new sci-fi-themed album, ‘Give Me The Future’, and released the new single, ‘No Bad Days’. Dan Smith and co are set to ... Read more »

Noel Gallagher claims Oasis split was his fault after donating Liam's Pretty Green clobber to charity

© Bang Showbiz Liam and Noel Gallagher Noel Gallagher has claimed it was “the beginning of the end” for Oasis when he donated his rival sibling Liam’s Pretty Green clobber ... Read more »

Tiffany Haddish and Wesley Snipes cast in Back on the Strip

© Bang Showbiz Tiffany Haddish Tiffany Haddish and Wesley Snipes are to lead the cast of the comedy ‘Back on the Strip’. Chris Spencer is making his feature directorial debut ... Read more »

Eve: Hip-Hop is full of clones these days

© Bang Showbiz Rapper Eve Eve says there are “a lot of clones” in hip-hop these days. The ‘Let Me Blow Ya Mind’ rapper was a major player in the ... Read more »