My Concerns With A Vegan Diet

February 7, 2015

After going vegetarian and working my way toward pretty much vegan, there are only two things I’ve noticed that sort of concern me.

1) My stomach feels all gassy and bloated often. I am burping all the time now! (I burped right after I wrote that, in fact.)

Some articles have said that this is a thing that happens since you eat so many beans in a vegetarian diet, and that your body will get used to it. However, I’ve settled it down on the beans, and I’ve given my body a couple of months to get used to it. Yet, I’m still having the same issue.

I’ve also tried to settle down on the soy, but the issue persists.

It’s possible that it has nothing to do with going vegetarian/vegan at all. Perhaps my body is just starting to be this way. But it’s fishy to me that it’s been happening so much more since I became a vegetarian/vegan-ish.

I always used to burp a little when I went running. So, I know it’s not totally due to a change in diet. I assumed maybe running caused my stomach to twirl around a little or something. (I know I sound so technical and in the know, huh?)

But anyway, my jumbled up tummy issue has intensified. So, if anyone has any ideas on why this is, or what to do to combat it, I’d be grateful.

[Edited to add: This actually kind of comes and goes. It was a pretty big problem for a while. But in the weeks between drafting this and posting this, it’s sort of settled down. Maybe it is specific things I eat, and I just need to be more mindful. I’m unsure.]

2) The other thing that makes me a little nervous is getting sick more often.

I haven’t gotten super sick since being a vegetarian, but I do feel like I have small things – maybe a little runny nose or a small cough – more often than I did as a meat eater. I have no idea if that has anything to do with not eating meat anymore, or if it’s just kind of an anomaly (or if it’s maybe just in my head).

I have talked with some other vegetarians/vegans about it, and I’ve been hearing from people that as a vegetarian, they feel they get sick more often and when they do, they get sick for longer.

That’s just anecdotal stuff from a handful of people. So, that’s not anything off of which to base any real decisions… but still, it just worries me a little, as I’d prefer to have a sweet immune system, and basically just be unbreakable!

[Edited to add: Since I’ve been talking about this idea with people, more people are mentioning the unhealthy vegetarians who are all about fries and such all the time. If you don’t eat nutrients, you’re more likely to get sick. That’s not a vegetarian thing – just a normal thing. So, maybe with the right diet and vitamin supplements you can still have a mighty fine immune system…]

(By the way, next week, we’ll start talking about Let’s Make a Deal, so while I do still have a few more thoughts to share on all of this, I’m going to stop the Saturday posts until we get through all the game show stuff. Thanks!)

If you have any thoughts on whether you feel you get sick more often as a vegetarian, or thoughts on how to build up your immune system on a plant-based diet (or why an immune system perhaps might need building on a plant-based diet), I’d love to hear in the comments!

4 thoughts on “My Concerns With A Vegan Diet”

  1. My 2 cents…

    I used to get sick a couple of times per year as an omnivore (through age 20). Now it’s once/year at best, and it’s usually more “annoying sick” (= blowing my nose a lot and taking some aspirin than “really sick.” Put it another way, I’ve been teaching at Berklee for 10 years, and have yet to miss a single day.

    I try to eat a minimum of processed food, have an orange every morning, and some good leafy greens at least once/day. But as you say one can eat poorly on any diet.

    Good nutrition probably has a lot to do with staying healthy. Lack of stress will help too–if you are in a stable, happy place in your life and career in general your body is less susceptible to bad things.

    Another factor may be your body taking some time to adjust to a new normal. When I went vegan had been lacto-ovo-plus-fish for 2 years, and in the second year the non-vegan stuff was gradually phased out.

    As to gas, there’s stuff like “bean-o” which can reduce that. My impression is that (without treatment) veg*n may have more, but what they do have is less stinky, So it roughly even or slight favor to the veg*n.

  2. Ditch the soy and the beans. I (as a vegan) don’t eat them (except for the occasional cup of soy milk in a smoothy) because they give me the same bloating issues you describe. Switch to fruit and pasta. Look into “HCLF vegans”. You’ll have a much easier time than eating the processed stuff.

    Oh, and I want to see a picture of the 52 medals! Where can I find one?

    1. Hi Michael! I think cutting back on beans and soy has definitely helped. Thanks so much for the input! Also, I’m so glad yo asked about the picture. Surprisingly, I don’t think I have one up anywhere right now – even though that’s an awesome idea! I will put one up soon, and I’ll update this comment and email you when I do that. Thanks so much! 🙂

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