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First Mate Davy

Digestion issues from too much fiber, help!

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This is an embarrassing first post, but here goes :(

 

I'm not formally vegetarian, but I usually have 4-5 meatless days/week. I'm posting here because the problem is happening on meatless days and I'd rather not resort to meat to solve it.

 

Until recently my meatless days still included substantial junk food like pretzels, crackers and popcorn. A few days ago I looked at my macros and decided to eat beans and chickpeas for breakfast and snacks (in addition to beans with rice, potato, sweet potato or corn for lunch and dinner most days), to try to increase my protein. Finally, that shaky-hungry feeling went away and I found I could eat a bigger calorie defect without suffering or being unable to focus. I suspect the lack of simple carbs helped. 

 

Only now I'm so, so gassy at night. I'm eating 1200-1700 calories/day with about 90-120 grams of fiber, and Google tells me this is too much and can cause the problem I'm having.

 

Google says exercise and water HELP. I'm drinking lots of water, and I've had this problem on a day when I lifted weights and a day when I was gardening. Is there some specific type of exercise I should be doing to help with the problem? If I just need to eat less fiber, what are some low fiber foods without simple carbs that I could try? If my gut just needs to adjust, how long will it take? 

 

 

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I realized I should add, I'm pretty sure the preparation of my legumes isn't the issue. I soak everything except lentils, then throw out the soaking water and cook in fresh. Some of the beans were canned but 3/4 I cooked myself. 

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wow - that's a lot of fibre esp for the calories! It's usually best to slowly increase fibre intake rather than increasing rapidly as it helps your body to process it efficiently.

I generally an average 75g of fibre per day on a vegan diet averaging 2,100 cals a day and follow a low fat high carb diet.

I've cut down on the amount of beans I eat and get fibre largely from veg, fruit, grains and potatoes. I eat a lot of potatoes.

With beans I find it helps to soak them much longer and cook them for much longer that the usual recommendations and that does seem to temper the effects somewhat.

You could try the yoga pose wind relieving pose https://www.yogaoutlet.com/blogs/guides/how-to-do-wind-relieving-pose-in-yoga

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I've been eating beans once or twice a day for a while, but I guess adding beans for breakfast and cutting calories at the same time was too much. I had an apple and peanut butter for breakfast instead today (it was a cup of chickpeas before) and so far I'm not getting sugar crashes. I'll probably have more rice and root vegetables and less beans for a while, too. 

 

Thanks for suggesting the yoga pose. It's pretty funny to me that that exists, but I'm ready to try anything :P

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You can also try Happy Baby pose. ;)

 

Increasing your fiber gradually would generally be the recommendation - going into it cold turkey like that is of course going to be a shock to the system. Usually takes a few weeks to a couple months at absolute most to adjust. In the meantime: chew more, and eat slower. You can also incorporate fermented foods into your diet, cooking the beans w/ kombu, and try blending the legumes into other dishes like hummus.

 

On a side note, if you are in a caloric deficit I'd recommend trying to keep your total protein intake to a minimum of 0.8g/lb of bodyweight, and ideally closer to 1g/lb of bodyweight; this will help to preserve your muscle in favour of losing fat vs 'losing weight'. A protein powder may help to hit these numbers, especially if you're limiting meat.

 

You may also want to consider intermittent energy restriction (eg. MATADOR protocol), which would be in deficit for two weeks, at maintenance for two weeks, and then alternating back and forth - this will help protect against some of the hormonal adaptations you may run into if you're in a deficit for too long.

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Thanks for the reminder about protein, Defining. I'm definitely not getting as much as I probably should. If I can't figure out some way to eat protein powder that I don't hate, I should probably get quest bars or something like that while I'm eating a deficit. (I'd switched to cheaper bars from Aldi, but they're chocolate covered and that might be too much simple carbohydrate for me.) 

 

I'll google hormonal adaptations; I'm signed up for the next challenge run with a goal of <1650 cal/day, but if that's going to mess up my metabolism I'll add a break week or something. 

 

I don't have a blender, but chewing is definitely a thing I can do. 

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What about building your meatless meals around eggs, tofu, and dairy? Do keep eating beans, just not multiple times per day, maybe. Also, even though oats are carbs, they're pretty easy on the digestive system. 

P.S. Don't eat too many quest bars - the artificial sweeteners cause digestive issues, too. 

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For whatever it’s worth... the problems with gas from beans and pulses come from an indigestible polysaccharide called inulin. The enzymes in our guts are incapable of breaking them down, but the microflora in our colons can; however, much like baking yeast, they release gas as a byproduct of their digestion. That’s why beans make you fart: you suddenly started giving your colon flora a new and exciting food source (lucky them). Harold McGee, an eminent food science expert, has done a lot of great work on this, so if you’re curious I would google his work on beans.
 

So your diet isn’t bad for you, it’s just inconvenient for the moment. Most people find that after a couple weeks of this, their flora adjust somehow and produce less gas. You could cut back, or you can just give yourself some time and it’s likely this will subside.
 

2 hours ago, Harriet said:

P.S. Don't eat too many quest bars - the artificial sweeteners cause digestive issues, too. 

 

Also FWIW, it’s true that sugar alcohols can have a laxative effect in high enough quantities, but... well, I don’t know what the exact tipping point is, but I’m pretty sure it’s high. There’s a reason folks didn’t know about sugar alcohols being laxative until people started feedbagging huge sacks of Haribo sugar-free gummy bears (whose Amazon reviews are famously well-worth looking up). If someone’s just eating a bar or two a day, I’d be tempted to think dietary fiber would be a bigger factor.

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6 hours ago, PaulG said:

Also FWIW, it’s true that sugar alcohols can have a laxative effect in high enough quantities, but... well, I don’t know what the exact tipping point is, but I’m pretty sure it’s high. There’s a reason folks didn’t know about sugar alcohols being laxative until people started feedbagging huge sacks of Haribo sugar-free gummy bears (whose Amazon reviews are famously well-worth looking up). If someone’s just eating a bar or two a day, I’d be tempted to think dietary fiber would be a bigger factor.


I can have one quest bar per day. If I eat two, it's.... really a problem. 

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Thanks for the warning about quest bars. I used to eat them pretty often without issues, but given my current situation I should be careful. 

 

I'm planning to cut back on beans, especially at dinner time, and then slowly scale back up I think. Aside from the gas I was feeling pretty good. (The problem is it tends to come in the middle of the night, and our bedroom is a really small space, so if I'm gassy one or the other of us doesn't get any sleep.)

 

I've thought a bit about different protien sources, but did come up with much besides seitan that seemed like a good fit. I'm hesitant about tofu because I have trouble eating gooey foods (strong dislike of certain textures, and don't seem to be able to learn to like them), but I definitely should check the fiber content of soy snacks and such. Dairy maybe but I'm a little lactose intolerant. I'll think about adding "breakfast for dinner" with scrambled eggs, or something like that, to the rotation. 

 

I might just have to eat a little more meat for a while. I think I'm okay with that if it's a short term thing. 

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1 hour ago, First Mate Davy said:

I've thought a bit about different protien sources, but did come up with much besides seitan that seemed like a good fit. I'm hesitant about tofu because I have trouble eating gooey foods (strong dislike of certain textures, and don't seem to be able to learn to like them), but I definitely should check the fiber content of soy snacks and such. Dairy maybe but I'm a little lactose intolerant. I'll think about adding "breakfast for dinner" with scrambled eggs, or something like that, to the rotation. 

Rice protein powder is usually pretty easy to digest. Depending on HOW lactose intolerant you are, whey or casein isolate may still be ok since they're pretty refined. Mushrooms are good, and firm tofu isn't at all gooey (plus you can freeze it and it'll get spongey), as well as nutritional yeast, seitan as you've already discovered, tempeh is quite lovely too, plus plenty of veggies have higher protein content themselves. I'll copy/paste from another thread where I posted this:

 

Spoiler

Kinda depends on how you feel about eating mostly veg & legumes. ;) 40g protein/500kcal = ~1gprotein/12kcal

 

chickpeas = 1g/18kcal

adzuki = 1g/17kcal

green peas = 1g/16kcal

black beans = 1g/14kcal 

artichoke = 1g/14kcal

brussel sprouts = 1g/14kcal

cauliflower = 1g/14kcal

lentils = 1g/13kcal

_____________________________________

corn = 1g/12kcal

broccoli = 1g/12kcal

edemame (soy) = 1g/12kcal

tempeh (fermented soy) = 1g/11kcal

portobello mushroom = 1g/10kcal

asparagus = 1g/10kcal

mung sprouts = 1g/10kcal

collard greens = 1g/10kcal

mustard greens = 1g/9kcal

tofu (curdled soy) = 1g/9kcal

bok choy = 1g/8kcal

nutritional yeast = 1g/7.5kcal

TVP (defatted soy) = 1g/7kcal

button mushrooms = 1g/7kcal

spinach = 1g/7kcal

watercress = 1g/6kcal

alfalfa sprouts = 1g/6kcal

pea or rice protein powder = 1g/5kcal

seitan (gluten) = 1g/4-6kcal (tasty & versatile, but some folks can't digest it)

 

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Holy heck, I hadn't realized that vegetable-vegetables could have more protein than legumes. And corn, that's a surprise too. Thanks for the tip. 

 

I've been beanless for a couple days and I'm still having the 3AM gas. I'm headed out to buy a camping pad or something so my husband doesn't have to suffer. 

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