Q: From a student: "I have heard some people who make the transition to veganism can experience bloating, constipation and gas. I wonder why that happens and what can I suggest for them to do? I know if they go vegan and have been fake food (highly processed food) they have disrupted their microbio for sure; but what happens when they are healthy and eating a whole foods diet? Another question is why they could feel weak on the transition?"
A: "You'll want your clients to make a slow transition, small focused steps. A complete diet overhaul of any kind, is almost always unsustainable and will definitely cause the symptoms you mentioned. Whenever we change up our diet our body needs time to adjust to this change. If your gut is used to digesting meat, dairy, fake foods - it will need time to readjust. Slow is better to alleviate the symptoms of bloating gas constipation, etc.. Another reason is that when someone adds fiber into their diet and they're not used to it or very much of it, this can cause constipation, bloating, and gas. They'll need to do this slowly and make sure they're drinking enough water to digest the soluble fiber and allow it to pass through as poo!
You can let them know they may experience these symptoms, but they will go away once their body has adjusted to the change in diet. You can think of it this way - if a vegan suddenly started eating meat they would feel sick, yes? Same goes for someone eating meat suddenly stopping and eating beans and vegetables. Additionally, if someones microbiome is unhealthy, they'll experience more of these symptoms, more intensely. In which case, as you learned in your coursework, digestive enzymes may be helpful, as well as a probiotic or even better slowly adding in fermented foods. Give your belly some love!
Feeling weak - well again, if our body is used to getting its fuel from a certain source and we suddenly switch to another source - it needs time to adjust. Additionally, some people do not do well on a vegan diet. We must understand that everyone is different and our genetics are different. In today's world most of us can generally get whatever food we want whenever we want. This was not the case until recent history. Prior to this our bodies had to adapt to thrive on what was available to eat (or we wouldn't survive/thrive), just like our bodies adapted to survive/thrive in our environment - from our height, nose shape, skin color and eye color. As a food adaptation example: humans that lived in places that are covered in snow for most of the year - adapted to survive on seal/whale meat and fat (for example) with very little plants; humans that had cows or goats adapted to be able to digest dairy; so we are all unique genetically and we must do what is best for our health and vitality. There is no one diet that works for everybody."
To my blog readers: If you are interested in feeling your best and eating foods that fuel you rather than drain you - give me a call or send me an email. xoxo Jennifer