While there’s no doubt that switching to a vegan diet will do wonders for your health, sometimes new vegans may experience indigestion and bloating, and might find a plant-based diet challenging at first. This is especially true if you are making the transition overnight. In most cases, indigestion usually disappears after the first 6-8 weeks of going vegan. Your gut flora needs time to adapt to this major change in your diet. A typical Western diet consists of very little fiber and high amounts of processed foods and animal products. A vegan diet is very high in fiber and does not contain any animal products. If you are experiencing sharp stomach pains or ongoing stomach issues, you should see a doctor. However, if you’re symptoms seem to be a general upset stomach and bloating, then these tips will make your transition to a vegan diet much more enjoyable! Just keep in mind that everyone is different and the best way to find the foods that work well for you is through trial and error.
1. Limit Processed Foods
While there are endless vegan substitutes on the market for meat, cheese, ice cream, you name it, these processed versions can take a toll on our digestive system, unless your body is used to eating them. Many of these products are often filled with certain fillers, gums, and stabilizers that many people find are hard to digest. This is why it’s best to stick to the basics when transitioning to a vegan diet, and instead eat tons of greens, fruits, veggies, and whole grains.
2. Eat Mindfully
Eating mindfully means being present at your meals and limiting the number of distractions around you. When you bring awareness to each plate or bite of food, the body becomes much more relaxed and can digest food properly. Multitasking while eating, or watching TV can actually cause stress in the body and lead to undigested food lingering in your gut causing gas, pain, and bloating. Plus, when you’re more mindful during mealtime, you’re less likely to eat out of boredom or eat unhealthy foods.
3. Chew Slowly
Chewing your food really well is so important to proper digestion. As you chew, your food gets broken down into smaller pieces which are easier for your body to digest. When mixed with saliva, which contains digestive enzymes, chewing allows your body to absorb the most nutrients from the food you eat. Chewing well also helps to reduce stress on the esophagus and therefore helps the stomach metabolize your food. Next time you’re eating a meal, make sure to chew your food as much as possible. If you can still feel parts of the food in your mouth, this means you have not chewed it properly.
4. Ease into the Raw Veggies
While there’s no doubt that raw veggies are good for your health, they’re sometimes hard to digest. This is especially true if you’re not used to a diet full of raw foods. When you’re first going plant-based, it’s a smart idea to ease your way into eating raw vegetables. Try steaming your veggies first in order to give your body time to adjust to this change in diet. The cooking process helps the body gets used to breaking these down.
5. Supplement with Probiotics
Probiotics are live microorganisms that can be found in fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, and kombucha, and can also be taken daily as supplements. They promote a healthy balance of good gut bacteria, and improve nutrient absorption. They can prevent indigestion and other common stomach problems, especially when switching to a vegan diet.
6. Take your time to transition
When first transitioning to a vegan diet, it can sometimes be overwhelming. A great way to ensure that you enjoy the experience and have long-term success is to start slow and begin by picking a few plant-based recipes and rotating them into your meals throughout the week. Instead of thinking about what you can’t eat, shift your focus onto all of the delicious foods you can eat, and use this as an opportunity to get in the kitchen and experiment with new recipes!
Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home
Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental wellbeing, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, gut health, and more! Unfortunately, dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, prostate cancer, and has many side effects.
For those interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend purchasing one of our many plant-based cookbooks or downloading the Food Monster App which has thousands of delicious recipes making it the largest vegan recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.
Here are some resources to get you started:
- Weekly Vegan Meal Plans
- Plant-Based Health Resources
- Plant-Based Food & Recipes
- The Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition
- Plant-Based Nutrition Resources
- Budget-Friendly Plant-Based Recipes
- High Protein Plant-Based Recipes
- Plant-Based Meal Prep
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