If you find yourself vegan and gassy and want to know the best way to stop farting, read on. We’ll discuss the reasons vegans get flatulence, and how to banish those bottom belches once and for all. If you’d rather skip straight to the best remedy, go buy yourself some Beano probiotic, otherwise keep reading to first understand the reason for the dreaded “vegan farts”.
Vegan Farts Are a Common Problem
It’s no secret to the vegan community that our plant-based diet can cause more than a little farting.
However, the dreaded vegan farts is a topic we seem to be loath to talk about. While the vegan influencers are influencing, making veganism look like a – dare I say it – cool lifestyle, there isn’t a whole lot of talk about the abundance of bum trumpets that comes as a result of our diet. Strange.
Flatulence is a common problem when you first become vegan. While farting is indeed funny (I refuse to believe otherwise), it can be truly embarrassing and make life a lot more difficult. Those of us who are weightlifting are especially paranoid. It can be difficult to get a pump on at the gym when you’re ripping big ones left, right, and center, after all.
Plant Based Diets are High in Fibre
We all know including fiber in our diet is important but the truth is, most non-vegan diets simply don’t provide enough. For example, the average person in the U.S. only gets around 15g of fiber a day. This is very low when you consider we are advised to have at least 30ghttps://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11396693/.
However, when you transition to a vegan diet your fiber intake increases dramatically without even trying. In fact, the majority of your diet consists of fiber. This includes:
This increase in fiber comes with a number of health benefits, including improved weight regulationhttps://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11396693/ and even lowering the risk of type 2 diabeteshttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5883628/.
Gut Flora and Fiber
However, as with any change to our diet, an increase in fiber is a shock to our system. Namely, our gut flora, which is also called our gut microbiota.
Our gut flora is a collection of trillions of bacteria that live in our intestines and stomach. These little guys produce the enzymes that break down our food and help us absorb the nutrients it provides. In the process, this boosts our immune system and lines our intestines, keeping us healthy. Good job guys!
One of the main causes of gas is that we don’t digest fiber very well. Instead, fiber passes through to our colon where our gut flora has to ferment it in order to digest it. It is this fermenting process that produces the gasses that find their way out of us as farts.
When you combine this with a highly fibrous vegan diet, you usually experience a period of excessive farting and smelly gas. Some of the main culprits in the vegan diet include:
- Oats and cereals
- Beans and lentils
- Carrots and beets
Despite their farty side-effects, these are staples and shouldn’t be excluded from a vegan diet except for very specific circumstances.
But clench no more! There are some things you can do to help with the dreaded vegan farts.
Best Remedies for Vegan Farts
Okay, so we know why, let’s now start talking about how to stop farting to begin with.
1. Most effective: Take a digestive enzyme
For most people, this will be the best remedy for gas.
Because a lot of vegan farts are caused by undigested fiber reaching the large intestine, we can alleviate this by introducing an enzyme into our diet to help break down more of the fibrous carbohydrates we eat.
We don’t want to stop all fiber from passing through, however, as we still want to feed our gut flora and reap the benefits.
I suggest Beano as it contains alpha-galactosidase. This is an enzyme that actively breaks down the type of carbohydrates that the body struggles with. This means there’s less undigested fiber entering our large intestine which causes farting. It’s completely safe and is proven in clinical studies to workhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17151807.
2. Try a Probiotic
Probiotics are “good bacteria”. Products with prebiotics introduce the beneficial kinds of bacteria that aid our digestion and microbiota.
The kinds of probiotics we’re interested in create short-chain fatty acids, like butyrate, that help produce a lining for our colon. This is achieved by providing energy to the cells that create this colon lining.
While probiotics don’t stop you farting, they create an environment that produces less sulfur which is what makes our farts smell bad. Silent but not-so-deadly.
Best Vegan Probiotic
A lot of probiotic products contain dairy or other animal products. Therefore, I recommend Naturelo Probiotic, which is vegan friendly and contains 11 of the most beneficial strains of bacteria. These 2 strains are L. acidophilus and B. bifidum, which are proven remedies for gas. Naturelo is also non-GMO, contains no soy, and is gluten-free.
My advice is to take 1 tablet every 2 days for the first couple of weeks and then follow the recommended 1 tablet daily thereafter. This introduces the bacteria gradually.
To this, I would eat some fermented foods such as sauerkraut, miso, and kimchi which contain probiotics too. This allows your gut to introduce the bacteria slowly and you should experience less gas as a result.
3. Try a Vegan Prebiotic
For a lot of us flatulent vegans, smelly gas is the key issue that we want to address. I can only blame so many on the dog, so I started taking a prebiotic as well as a probiotic.
Prebiotics are in effect, food for the probiotic bacteria. By “feeding” the probiotics, you help them form the short-chain fatty acids that aids in fibre digestion. This, in turn, leads to less sulfur being produced in our gut. It’s this sulfur that gives our farts that rotten egg smell.
I use Heather’s Acacia Powder and I saw an improvement within 2 weeks. But, again, take it slow. Use a little every couple of days. It has no taste so you can either just stir it into some water or sprinkle it into a meal when prepping.
You also want to ensure you are eating foods such as artichokes, bananas, asparagus, leeks, beets, garlic, and onions. These help support probiotics too as they contain starchy inulin fiber that probiotics use to form short-chain fatty acids.
4. Rinse beans well and cook correctly
Beans, lentils, and peas are prone to give us gas if not prepared correctly.
Take it from someone who eats a lot of beans and lentils, this tip can make a big difference when used with an enzyme like Beano.
This is because they contain oligosaccharides which are a carbohydrate that we don’t break down very easily. If oligosaccharide ends up reaching our large intestine intact, our gut bacteria ferment it and this produces gas.
Most healthy vegan diets include beans and legumes and we don’t really want to exclude them from our meals. What we can do, though, is ensure there are minimal oligosaccharides in our foods by soaking dried beans, lentils, and peas and then rinsing them well.
A lot of the oligosaccharides from the foods will be rinsed away in the gooey water, meaning our gut flora will produce less gas. Typical soaking times are:
- Dried Beans and Chickpeas: 4-12 hours
- Lentils: 1-2 hours
The same goes for tinned beans and lentils, the water they’re sitting in will be full of oligosaccharides and so need to be rinsed well before being used.
These 4 tips should really help with those embarrassing vegan farts but the most important tip of all is to just give it time. Any change to our diet is a disruption to our body and functions like our gut flora needs time to adjust.