Happy Herbivore Blog

January 18, 2013

Elimination (Let's Just Talk About It.)

Everybody poops but no one wants to talk about it. Yeah, I know, TMI! but I get so many questions about elimination via email that I want to address it (just like I addressed 

flatulence

).

I’ll start by saying one of the funniest “vegan” T-shirts I’ve ever seen was one that said “I’m vegan so I poop 4x a day."

Elimination is one thing everyone seems to notice when they adopt a plant-based diet. Even my parents called and inquired about BMs when they went plant-based, a la can one have too many? ;)



Constipation is almost always caused due to inadequate fiber. So if someone switches from a diet that’s low in fiber (animal products like meat, dairy, and eggs have no fiber) to a plant-based diet that’s filled with fiber, constipation is no-longer a problem. You’ll go ;)

Where can you find fiber? Fiber is abundant in beans, lentils, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Processed foods (even vegan ones) can also be low in fiber, and juices — even fresh juices — typically have all or most of the fiber removed, which is why people on a juice fast longer than a few days usually need an enema.

Inadequate liquid can also cause constipation, so be sure you’re drinking plenty of water.

According to the Mayo Clinic, everyone’s frequency or pattern of bowel movements is different, and there is no generally accepted clinical definition for frequency. Your unique frequency pattern may also change over time, particularly if your diet or lifestyle changes. Call your doctor if you experience cramping or have bloody or watery stools.

For my lady readers, know that women sometimes experience elimination issues in conjunction with hormonal changes. I know several women who eat a healthy plant-based diet but experienced constipation during pregnancy or menopause.

Chew your food and chew it well — start the digestive process right :)

Dr. McDougall also has a terrific video on constipation.

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