Ask A Nice Vegan
Turns out when you suddenly add a ton of natural fiber to your diet, there are some side effects?
Photo by Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash
Dear Nice Vegan,
This is incredibly embarrassing, but here goes: ever since I went vegan a few weeks ago, I have been farting like five times more than I ever was before. WTF?!? I feel great ? both physically and mentally ? but I?m tired of escaping to the bathroom at work to let some air out. My boyfriend has been incredibly cool about it but the other day I literally woke him up with the world?s loudest fart. I think I eat a pretty normal vegan diet ? lots of veggies, fruit smoothies, rice bowls with tofu, and sweet overnight oats ? is it something I?m eating? Is there anything I can do? Will I ever stop farting?
Please, help! ? Fart Garfunkel
Dear Ms. Garfunkel,
Oh, dear. Let me start out by saying: I?ve been there. And most vegans have too. When I first went vegan, I had a very similar experience to yours. This happens to most folks when they first transition to a plant-based diet. Why? Because you?re almost definitely eating a lot more fiber than you ever were before. What?s high in fiber? Oh, just ? leafy greens, veggies ? especially when raw, lentils, beans, bananas, chickpeas, and nuts ? the building blocks of a good vegan diet.
The good news is that all that fiber is actually really good for you! The bad news is that it can cause bloating and gas when you?re first adding so much more of it to your body than before. So the first thing to keep in mind is that this will probably slow down soon. As your body adjusts to your new diet, your butt will too.
Everyone farts ? and honestly, people with a healthy vegan diet probably do fart a little more than others (the lifestyle also tends to come with healthy and frequent poops, which I think is a pretty fair tradeoff) ? but you should be able to feel like it?s not out of control and happening all the time, and the main thing that will help with that is simply more time to adjust.
That said, there are a few ways you might be able to limit your flatulence in the meantime:
- Drink still water. It will help you digest, and seltzers or carbonated sodas are definitely not gonna help you with your gas sitch.
- Fermented foods like miso and sauerkraut that contain probiotics can help balance your gut. Try adding probiotic-rich elements to more of your meals. Ginger is also an anti-inflammatory, so find meals to add a bit of ginger ? like ginger powder in your smoothies or chopped ginger in a stir fry ? bonus, it makes everything taste good. Apple cider vinegar is another bonus ingredient that many vegans swear helps reduce gas.
- Daily exercise is not my personal idea of a good time, but keeping your body active will definitely help settle your gut. You might rip a big one when practicing squats, but a daily yoga or running practice will help in the long run.
- Cruciferous veggies (cauliflower, cabbage, kale, broccoli?) are best eaten cooked / steamed ? eating them raw can lead to extra flatulence.
- Tofu is soy and soy is a bean, so you can probably do the math there. Vegans tend to eat a lot of soy products as well as other beans, and it?s worth considering a few swaps ? mushrooms here, oat milk there ? to help ease your transition.
With those tips in mind, I would never recommend giving up tofu or depriving yourself of any food you love because of this farting issue. Consider how to balance your diet and listen to your body, but also, go easy on yourself. Farting is incredibly natural and we?d all be better off if we made less of a big fuss over it. It?s certainly less gross than eating dead animals!
I suspect that in a few months, you?ll be farting less and you?ll also feel a lot better in general. Let me know how it goes!
Ask A Nice Vegan is a weekly advice column by Summer Anne Burton, a nice vegan who is also the founder and Editor-in-Chief of the magazine you are reading right now. She can answer questions about any topic that you could use a nice vegan?s advice on, be it food, animals, etiquette, philosophy, gifts, dating, family, weddings, parties, or friendships. Email your questions to [email protected]