Veganism can be influenced by a wide range of factors. Whether you jump on the vegan train for the health benefits, animal welfare, the planet, or because you simply want to try it, get ready to see some changes in the bathroom.
Everyone poops, but it’s a highly individual bodily function with no set norm. But that doesn’t mean nothing is being revealed by your vegan poop habits.
Plants and guts: a connection
In addition to bowel movements, our gut is a part of so many health topics. A growing body of research shows that the microbiome has an impact on ourgastrointestinal health, says Dr. Nimah Ather of UCLA Health Torrance.
You can experience constipation or IBS when your microbiome is not working correctly (think IBS or an unbalanced microbiome). Dahlia Marin, RD, LD, a plant-based registered dietitian nutritionist, explains that an unbalanced gut microbiome can cause bloating, flatulence, food reactions, changes in bowel movements, and even leaky gut.
What matters here is what you eat. “Our gut bacteria are affected by the food we eat,” says Rajiv Sharma, MD, of Gastro MD. “If we consume more plant-based foods as opposed to animal-based fats and proteins, we have healthier gut bacteria compared to meat-eaters.”
Veganism is not for everyone. Even though you can live off chips, crackers, and cereal and call yourself a vegan, you won’t have the good gut effect that you’re probably looking for. According to Marin, refined food, saturated fats, and other inflammatory substances like refined sugar, highly refined grains, artificial dyes, alcohol, high-fat animal products, and tropical oils can negatively affect the gut lining and the balance of inflammatory and anti-inflammatory microbes.
You should choose whole foods as much as you can if you’re going vegan for gut health reasons. It doesn’t mean anything is healthy just because it says “vegan” or “plant-based” on the packaging.
Here are a few examples of completely normal vegan poop
There is only one word to describe vegan poop: fiber. The amount of fiber you consume per day will increase by eating plant-based foods instead of animal products. Your bowel movements will change in several ways because of the added fiber.
Perhaps you will go more often.
Fiber is indigestible for humans, explains Dr. Ather. By consuming more fiber, you increase your frequency of bowel movements. A bulkier stool is easier to pass through your abdomen.
Your stools will probably be softer.
The fiber in your stool absorbs water, therefore you have soft and moist stools. Google Bristol Stool Chart for a visual representation of why consistency matters. You should focus on Type 3 and Type 4 from the seven types.
You might experience constipation.
It is not recommended to switch to a completely vegan diet and to increase your fiber intake too quickly, according to Dr. Ather. Approximately 25 grams of fiber per day is recommended for women and 38 grams per day for men by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. You can avoid constipation, excessive gas, and other stomach discomforts when switching to a vegan diet by adding in five grams of fiber per week.
You might find it easier to leave.
The protein found in plants is simpler and easier to digest as compared to animal proteins, according to Dr. Sharma. A meat eater is more likely to strain since they are constipated. It is said that eliminating meat from your diet will result in softer and lighter bowel movements.”
Gasoline is on the agenda
The vegan flatulence effect needs to be addressed. Vegan diets can lead to stomach problems for some people, including gas. Dr. Ather explains that high fiber food is not digested by the body, and is instead left to be broken down by bacteria, which produces gas. Consequently, you will experience abdominal discomfort, bloating, and flatulence.”
It’s not necessary to worry about the increase in gas prices. According to Dr. Sharma, the more whole foods you include in your diet, “the happier your microbiome will be because bacteria love the good, healthy food because it is less toxic to the gut lining, and therefore less toxic to the bacteria.”
Nevertheless, you don’t need to be flatulating everywhere. There’s something you can do to help. “The good thing about the body is that it finally adjusts,” says Dr. Ather. In time, these symptoms will improve as your gut bacteria changes.
You may see a decrease in gas if you consumed dairy products before turning vegan. Dr. Ather says lactose intolerance can cause people to experience uncomfortable symptoms in their GI tract as a result of these products. Taking dairy out of your diet can reduce bloating and flatulence and regulate bowel habits for many people.
You can expect some changes in your bathroom behavior as a result of changing your diet. To make sure you’re easing into a plant-based diet mindfully, talk with a registered dietitian or nutritionist about your goals.
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