Do you have questions about being vegan? Send them
to Jo using this easy form.
She would be happy to address your individual concerns
as well as general inquiries about vegan ethics, philosophy,
practical applications, and living compassionately.
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the Gas Pass?
Is there a reason that new vegetarians
experience gas, and is there a solution? Most information
about gas focuses on beans, but I've found that it is
the uptake of vegetables and fruits that is the problem.
There are many reasons that new vegetarians
and vegans may experience gas. The standard American
diet that most of us were raised on is centered around
highly refined and processed items, dairy products,
and meats -- none of which contain dietary fiber. Hence
the proliferation of stool softeners (made of soluble
fiber) and laxatives. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains,
and legumes are loaded with fiber, which is vital for
intestinal health and proper elimination. It takes time
for our digestive system to adjust to this drastic change
in diet and accommodate the healthful incorporation
of more fibrous foods.
Gas can also be caused by not properly
chewing our foods. Whole grains, fruits, legumes, nuts,
seeds, and vegetables need to be thoroughly masticated
before swallowing. Digestion begins in the mouth by
thoroughly grinding our food into a paste and mixing
it with our saliva. Our stomach does not have teeth.
If fibrous foods are swallowed without being properly
broken down in the mouth, we will have difficulty digesting
them, and thus experience stomach pain, distention,
Another source of gas is how we chew.
If air is taken in during chewing or swallowing, it
will form gas in our intestine. Most of us are not aware
that we are taking in air as we eat, but this can happen
with something as simple as talking or drinking while
eating, eating quickly, or just opening our mouths while
Carbonated beverages cause gas, too.
Mixing carbonated soda pop with a whole foods diet is
simply asking for trouble.
Food sensitivities can also cause digestive
problems, including gas, as can certain health problems
that may or may not be directly related to the digestive
There is no single reason that people
experience gas. Vegetarians and vegans are no different
than the rest of the population in this regard, However,
it may take a little time for our bodies to acclimate
to a whole foods diet. For new vegetarians and vegans,
patience and awareness about how and what we are eating
can be the key to the solution in most cases.
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