This post is for those of you who’ve recently converted to a plant-based diet. I feel like no one mentions the side effects of getting your tummy used to this type of diet - so I thought It was time to do so.
If you've recently converted to a plant-based diet you've probably experienced some of these issues: being bloating af, stomach ache, nausea and the need of going to the bathroom up to ten times per day. First of all, THIS IS ABSOLUTLY NORMAL. It takes time for your tummy to get used to all the fibre.
It usually takes less than a few hours to digest fruit and veggies compared with meat and animal products which can take up to two days. So obviously, converting to a diet mainly consisting of fruit and veggies will speed up the digestion process.
It is also important to remember that we're all different and our bodies react in different ways to different diets. For some people it's just not possible to live on a fully plant-based diet. I struggled with all of those issues mentioned above myself for about two years before I figured things out. It was a really confusing time because at this point I was already becoming sensitive to meat, gluten, dairy and refined sugar and being sensitive to eating plant-based too made me a bit frustrated as I had no idea what to eat to make me feel good. The issues you are experiencing might be uncomfortable and even painful. So I thought I'd share my experience with you and some tips that helped me relief the symptoms (even though they might just be what worked for me).
Finding the perfect diet for you will most likely be an ongoing process of trying and failing for a longer period of time - you have to be patient.
Here's the nine adjustments I did to my diet after converting (These tips are given in the assumption of that you've already excluded meat, dairy, refined sugar and gluten from your diet):
1. I stopped eating more than 7-8 portions of fruit and veggies per day. More than this is just too much fibre for my body.
2. I had to reintroduce eggs and rye bread back into my diet. I don't know exactly why it helped, but it probably just helped me slowing down on the portions of fruit + veggies. I still have to make sure that I eat especially eggs almost every day to keep everything in balance.
3. I started taking probiotics - I REALLY RECOMEND YOU TO DO THE SAME. This helped me slow down the amount of bathroom visits per day. Make sure that you choose a probiotic supplement that includes these specific bacteria strains: L.acidophilus, B.Longdum B.bifidum and L.rhamnosus. (DM me if you want to know what brand I used)
4. I had to completely stop eating beans as this triggered a really bad bloating.(lentils are ok with me)
5. Chewing my smoothies - this is really important even if you're not having any tummy issues. If you just chug the whole thing down your tummy will hurt. It makes very much sense if you think about it - eating those same fruit + veggies would have taken you a lot more time to chew than it takes to drink them. This makes your tummy confused with all of the food suddenly arriving when it's not ready to start the digestion process yet.
6. Chewing food in general - Chewing too quickly might cause digestive issues. Put the fork down between each bite.
7. Being careful with eating bigger amounts of fat. I'm not talking about eating at McDonalds, but avocado, nuts and such. This might just be a personal issue of mine as I know my mum have the same problem. But my tummy always hurt if I eat to many nuts or too much avocado etc.
8. I have to be careful about eating garlic - this is also known for being a trigger of bloating. Consuming more than half a garlic clove will make my tummy ache and bloat.
9. I also have to be careful with natural sweeteners such as maple syrup and coconut sugar as my tummy might ache. When I first converted I thought that I could eat as much of these as I wanted - today I'm carful with these in the same way as I'm with refined sugar. I’ve added cinnamon, cardamom and vanilla to my daily smoothie or latte as these spices helps to avoid sugar cravings.
*I'm not a doctor or a dietitian.