If you’ve recently transitioned to a vegan diet and you’re experiencing bloating and gas after eating then this is for you. It’s actually a relatively common experience so today we’re answering the question, “How long does vegan bloating last?”. Here’s our quick guide to managing digestive issues in those early days after going plant-based …
How Long Does Vegan Bloating Last?New vegan bloating usually lasts 4-6 weeks and can be quite uncomfortable, physically and emotionally believe it or not. It’s because most new vegans increase the fibre in their diet and this may cause some temporary digestive issues … but it will pass!
Watch: Bananiac’s quick, down and dirty look at new vegan bloating issues.
( we love this guy – his explanation begins about 55s in )
Related: “Do Vegans Fart More Than Meat Eaters?” (4 minute read)
Why Am I So Bloated After Going Vegan?
Don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong with you – it’s quite normal for new vegans to experience bloating and digestive issues during the first few weeks of the new dietary regime.
Unless you have an existing medical condition which may be exacerbated by the changes you’ve made then just have faith and allow your body to adjust. Thousands of vegans before you have gone through the very same thing.
If you do suffer from an existing condition then I’d strongly suggest you seek the advice of a medical professional or a nutritionist before you undertake any drastic change to your eating habits.
The reason you may be having problems with bloating and excessive gas is because your digestive system is thinking, “Woah! What’s going on here? How do I deal with all this extra fibre?”.
This is especially true if you were eating a lot of meat prior to making the switch because meat actually contains zero dietary fibre … and it’s no secret that fibre is beneficial to the digestive process .
The overwhelming majority of nutritional experts point to the importance of maintaining a good level of fibre in your diet … simply put, it keeps you regular.
Over time, your gut attempts to adjust to the types of food it finds coming down the tubes. It tries to reach an equilibrium by promoting the production of various digestive enzymes which are good at breaking down a particular combination of foods.
When you suddenly switch the foodstuffs you’re consuming, your digestive system has to respond and this takes a little while to do … usually no more than 3-4 weeks, although for some people it may take a little longer.
But to help you get through this transition phase there are a few things you can do to mitigate the uncomfortable bloating and excessive wind.
Transition Slowly: Have a Firm Plan
For some people cold turkey is the only option … ( vegan turkey of course 🙂 )
I was one of those people. I saw the horrors of the dairy industry laid bare one summer evening and that was it for me. I couldn’t consume another carton of chocolate milk from that moment on. But it was easier for me because I was vegetarian and had been for 20 years.
So my gut was already very well used to the extra fibre content inherent in a 100% plant based diet. My adjustment phase was relatively easy to deal with.
For someone who’s been eating steaks regularly for 20 years it’s likely going to be a different story and you should probably consider a more gradual switch away from your old diet.
If your moral code drives you to go cold turkey then so be it … but just be aware the bloating you may experience is likely to be more pronounced than if you transition slowly.
So make a little 4-6 week plan and try to slowly remove those animal products from your day to day eating habits. Having a plan to follow really helps some people navigate those first few windy weeks.
You’re more likely to stay vegan long term if you give yourself a chance in the early days, not least because your emotions might be all over the place as well …
“Go With Your Gut”: The Neural Connection
Your gut is a very sensitive group of organs and the truth is conventional medicine is only just beginning to understand the complexities of the vital role your gastro-intestinal (GI) tract plays in your overall health.
Ayurvedic medicine, on the other hand, has recognised this important link between gut and brain for 1000’s of years .
There is a direct connection between your gut and your brain and your gut actually contains about 100 million neurons. These relatively recent discoveries bring a whole new meaning to the phrase “Go with your gut feeling”.
What’s all this got to do with bloating problems for new vegans, I hear you ask?
Well, moving to a vegan way of life can be quite an emotional time. For me, it was one of the most profound experiences of my life. You want to make this as easy on yourself as possible.
Having the knowledge that some of your emotions may be originating in the gut can help you identify those feelings and navigate the 4-6 weeks where your bloating may be affecting your mental state.
The uncomfortable feelings in your stomach can translate directly to uncomfortable feelings in your brain and you may seriously question why the hell you are doing this.
Some people find it easy to navigate those feelings but for others, not so much.
If the vegan bloating is getting you down then tell yourself this is just a transient thing that will clear and your mental state will improve as your gut bacteria adjust to the new regime.
When you know there’s a reason for these emotions you’re feeling then you’re more likely to be able to deal with them and go vegan successfully.
High Protein Plant Foods For Minimising Gas
You’re starting to realise this is going to be a holistic journey and you’re probably going to find yourself listening to your body much more.
Conscious of the emotional connection.
But there are some practical things you can do to minimise the excess wind in the first few weeks of veganism. These foods will provide you with good amounts of protein and are less gassy than some other options …
- Tempeh – a protein powerhouse fermented food usually made with soybeans. The fermentation process aids digestion reducing bloating and wind.
- Chlorella – a true superfood with a dazzling array of reported benefits for human health . The processed form is easily digested and is 65% protein. Get in!
- Oats – another plant food easy on the digestion but with good protein content. A regular sized bowl of porridge in the morning will pass through easily and lessen the bloat.
On the Shape website, Colleen Travers lists her 10 best high protein, plant based foods which are easy to digest.
Mix up your weekly meals with these options and you’ll help to minimise the new vegan bloating, avoiding embarrassing office moments …
… ( the voice of experience there! )
We can’t close out this section without quickly mentioning probiotic supplements. As your gut adjusts to the new normal your microbiome is busy realigning itself with the tools it needs to deal with what you’re feeding it.
You can help this process along by taking a probiotic supplement which promotes the development of good bacteria in the gut. This will help your digestive process and reduce the uncomfortable gassy situation.
Here at Vegan Slate we recommend these high quality probiotics from
Visualise Yourself In Old Age … Still Vegan!
I think the biggest tip I can leave you with is to remember that this bloating phase is just that … a phase you’re going through.
You will come out of the other side of this and things will settle down so always visualise yourself beyond this point, where you’re not struggling any more.
Give yourself the best chance of staying vegan into your old age by following the tips in this piece. Your body and your mind will thank you for it …
… but not as much as the animals will 🙂
That’s the reason we do this, after all. For the tens of billions of sentient beings the human race slaughters every year. For the day old male calves shot in the head because the dairy industry had no use for them … and don’t forget the poor chickens.
I’ll leave it there for today.
I sincerely hope my ramblings have helped you in your goal to be vegan … I’d love for you to post a comment below if you have any questions. We always respond. Sharing this piece on social media is encouraged as well. Use the icons top and bottom to do that … Thank you!
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Thanks so much for reading and have a peaceful day.
 Barber TM, Kabisch S, Pfeiffer AFH, Weickert MO. The Health Benefits of Dietary Fibre. Nutrients. 2020 Oct 21;12(10):3209. doi: 10.3390/nu12103209. PMID: 33096647; PMCID: PMC7589116.  Steer E. A cross comparison between Ayurvedic etiology of Major Depressive Disorder and bidirectional effect of gut dysregulation. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2019 Jan-Mar;10(1):59-66. doi: 10.1016/j.jaim.2017.08.002. Epub 2019 Jan 15. PMID: 30655102; PMCID: PMC6470311.  Bito T, Okumura E, Fujishima M, Watanabe F. Potential of Chlorella as a Dietary Supplement to Promote Human Health. Nutrients. 2020 Aug 20;12(9):2524. doi: 10.3390/nu12092524. PMID: 32825362; PMCID: PMC7551956.
‘Slow’ photo by Erik Mclean
Tempeh photo by Cottonbro Studio