New vegan - bad digestion


Jul 14, 2019
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  1. Vegan newbie
Hi everyone! I just found this forum because I'm looking for support.
I have been vegan for a week now and I know very few vegans around me who can help me, hence I turn to the internet for this.

I have been having diarrhea once a day or maybe once every two days for the past week. I have read online that this is only common, since your body is purging the toxins an animal-based diet carries with it, the problem is, I had left most meats three years ago (only had fish like once a month) and had left dairy and eggs almost two months ago.
I have also read that the diarrhea can be caused by the new intake in fiber, and that might be the cause. I've been quite constipated all my life, so the increase in fiber intake of course will have an impact - the problem is, I believe sustained diarrhea isn't very healthy... And as 80% or more of my diet has consisted of fiber the past two weeks, I don't know what to eat in order to balance it out!

Any suggestions?
I feel a little nervous about this issue.
I'm not a very experienced vegan - just hanging out at home with nothing to do this weekend, checking the vegan forum way too often LOL. But I'm a registered nurse so that might be helplful.

You say "diarrhea" - do you mean a large loose mushy stool or do you mean lots of watery diarrhea? If it's just one big loose mushy stool per day that's not a bad thing. Even if it was one watery stool per day it wouldn't be enough to really hurt your electrolyte balance. We worry about diarrhea when it's several watery stools per day.

I've noticed much mushier stools since I've been vegan. I go 1-2 times per day now when before I only went once every 2-3 days. On the bright side, they're odorless so it's not embarassing at work.
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Hi, thanks for answering! And nice to meet you :)

I also used to go to the toilet once every 2-3 days and now it is 2-3 times a day! It is a huge change for me.

You say "diarrhea" - do you mean a large loose mushy stool or do you mean lots of watery diarrhea?

I don't mean lots of watery diarrhea, about level 6 in the Bristol Stool Chart. They start solid but end up dissolving once they hit the water in the toilet. (sorry to be so graphic). Thanks a lot for your help and insight!
Bloating and an increase in stool count is extremely common when you start out. When fiber and resistant starch are more prevalent, the bacteria
that feeds on them gains in numbers and starts to crowd out the flesh eating bacteria. This is something that is good, but it does (initially) mean
quite a few more bowel movements. When I started out I sometimes went over 6 times in a day. After some time, this will lesson and it should become
2-3 times a day. That has been my experience.

One caveat - the process, including the bloating, can start again when people go vegan and then "cheat", eating animal products here and there. I know this not because I've done it, but because I have a relative who's done it. She tells me she eats beans and then has bloating. A little more probing
and I find out she's still eating animal products, just not as much. That is the reason for it - the two different strains of bacteria are not friendly and do not coexist well, and the fiber munchers will start the bloating/increase in bowel movements again for a person still eating (even a lesser amount) of animal products.
Your daily habits prior to changing your diet were abnormal. Now 2-3 times a day is much more normal and healthy! :)

I used to have what the Doctor called "IBS" all through school. It finally went away when I went plant-based... but it took about 6 months for my digestive system to sort itself out. I swear, it was like I wasn't even digesting the food properly for months at first... but then things got way better!

So two things: 1. it takes time for the bacteria in your gut to change 2. The types of fiber you're getting in the diet matters for the outcome. :)
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Thanks to all that commented! I have incorporated a little bread or rice here and there in my meals and so far I haven't had any issues :)
I still have some IBS related pain, but I'm gonna consult my doctor if it persists. Thanks a lot! What a supportive community ♥
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We stayed with a friend the other night, she made us pizza, not realizing I'm vegan. I picked off all the meat and as much cheese as i could... my stomach hurt so bad!!! I have ibs and gastritis, vegan is the only way to have little to no pain, even the smallest amount hurts me!

I believe a healthy digestive tract will have you going about 20 minutes after eating!