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A Vegan No More

                                                      http://voraciouseats.com/2010/11/19/a-vegan-no-more/

What does everyone make of this? She appears to have come under alot of fire, although so many comments are supportive. I don't really want to get into her personal choices and whether or not they were right or wrong but this struck a bit of fear in me.  I hope I never have problems with my health and need to return to an omni diet. I'm still not really sure why it was animal product that restored her health and would be interested in the science behind that. At the very least I suppose it shows how vegan or omni there's alot of information out there that can support whatever "side" you're on so maybe it just depends on what you want to read.

Hey guys, I read it all. And I have to say, after the year I've had, I believe her. I'm still having bowel issues, but they are minor compared to what they were a year ago. The culprit I discovered? FIBER!! I haven't had beans, legumes, whole-grain anything, hot cereal, greens, or oranges for a year. I'm hoping to start introducing veggies and fruits back into my diet (it has been roughly a year since I've had anything that wasn't covered in cheese or butter... I miss steamed yet crisp veggies or carrot sticks and hummus and dream about rice and beans) through juices and then onto baby food. Unfortunately, it does happen, sometimes your body will simply begin rejecting your way of life and you have to choose.

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Hey guys, I read it all. And I have to say, after the year I've had, I believe her. I'm still having bowel issues, but they are minor compared to what they were a year ago. The culprit I discovered? FIBER!! I haven't had beans, legumes, whole-grain anything, hot cereal, greens, or oranges for a year. I'm hoping to start introducing veggies and fruits back into my diet (it has been roughly a year since I've had anything that wasn't covered in cheese or butter... I miss steamed yet crisp veggies or carrot sticks and hummus and dream about rice and beans) through juices and then onto baby food. Unfortunately, it does happen, sometimes your body will simply begin rejecting your way of life and you have to choose.

Jesus Christ, I'm almost coming to the same conclusion with my IBS, but I'm so scared to admit it. My doctor has asked me muliple times to consider introducing something that doesn't have fiber into my diet, and on the nights when I eat out (read: eat shittier food--still vegan--that is processed more than what I eat at home), then things aren't as bad the next day. Not that what we're experiencing is the same as the author, quite, but it's still so frustrating. I feel like sometimes I have to choose between being vegan/healthy or being in control of my bowels. I've tried almost every single medication on the market, including the ones that were pulled off the shelves by the FDA because they killed people (then reintroduced a decade later), and I still get no relief.

I understand the frustration of the author, although I greatly dislike her bitching and whining style of writing. She is too overdramatic and celebrates her loss of her veganism more than I think I ever could, if I were in her shoes.

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VR,

Here's a good test for you with the fiber, try subbing your daily whole grain/starches with potatoes for a week or two.

Potatoes, how I love thee....

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VR & Hanashi,

Not to be gross, but what is the nature of your bowel distress?  The reason I ask is that I am aware that vegans experience above average amounts of intestinal gas which, although culturally unacceptable, is probably normal considering the amounts of fiber and carbs (complex or otherwise) that we ingest.  I have found some relief by taking "Say Yes to Beans" by Nature's Plus, but more often than not I just let her rip.  Totally normal in my opinion, even if it might be a nuisance at times!

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I found this IBS thread on PPK, and thought some things could be helpful: http://forum.theppk.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=334

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VR & Hanashi,

Not to be gross, but what is the nature of your bowel distress?  The reason I ask is that I am aware that vegans experience above average amounts of intestinal gas which, although culturally unacceptable, is probably normal considering the amounts of fiber and carbs (complex or otherwise) that we ingest.  I have found some relief by taking "Say Yes to Beans" by Nature's Plus, but more often than not I just let her rip.  Totally normal in my opinion, even if it might be a nuisance at times!

I use the bathroom up to 9 times a day (I don't mean urinating), whether I'm running or not. For both my marathons, my doctor and I agreed I could take double doses of my narcotics, but then I get cramps so bad it's hard to run/walk. I always have to know where a bathroom is, because I get about 2 minutes' notice before I have to find a toilet. I'm not just farting a lot, I can't control my bowels, no matter how much medicine I pump into my body. I poop blood every day I run. I've farted in front of everyone I know (and don't know)...this is sort of the smallest of my concerns.

Thanks for the thread link, AC. It's so hard to read those and really follow any sort of idea. Everyone seems to have such different triggers, and I cannot, for the life of me, figure out what mine is. I've cut everything out of my diet at one point or another through the years, but I can't figure it out. My doctor keeps telling me it would be manageable if I ate some cheese and eggs, but I don't want to at all. He's totally okay with my decision, but he makes it known it's an uphill battle with the amount of fiber I'm consuming. He has told me in the past to reduce the amount of fiber I eat, but I don't really know how to do that. I'm scared I'm going to end up having to do what hanashi has had to do. Then I have to ask the question: Am I only vegan when it's easy to do? Am I not willing to suffer a little bit for that which I believe in? gaaaaaaahhhhhhh.

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So hard! I can't imagine, and I'm sorry you have to deal with that. :( I obviously don't have any answers, and wish I had some suggestions.

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So sorry you're going through this, hanashi & VR!! (hugs!) Sometimes people have to take medicine that is not vegan; if you have health problems that make it *a need*, instead of just a want, to include some animal foods in your diet, I think it's possible to take care of your own health while still keeping harm to a minimum-- I don't think that's ethically the same at all, as someone just eating eggs/ dairy (or, like the author of the article under discussion, every damn animal she can get her fork on!) just for taste preference... Maybe there's a way to follow low-residue/ low-fiber diets as a vegan-- have you seen this? http://withoutage.blogspot.com/2010/08/help-how-to-survive-low-fiber-diet-as.html-- but if not, you could still avoid industrial animal products and eat as low on the chain as possible (ie non-factory-farmed eggs &/ or dairy, in small amounts)... Humans are diverse, and I totally can stipulate that perhaps not everyone can thrive on the same diet. Part of what annoys me about this article is the glee with which she revels in gobbling up every animal food she can find, indiscriminately... I don't think 'pure vegan' and 'bacon reveler' are the only two options, here! Also, as many have pointed out, the writing is completely whiny & douchey.

Anyway-- hope things improve for you guys! I wish I had a magic wand; I would totally loan it to you both...  :-\

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So sorry you two, that's awful.  I've been reading up on chia seeds and noticed people have mentioned eating them helped their IBS.  I don't remember what site, but I'm sure there is info online. 

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My symptoms are similar to VR, I was basically peeing from the wrong hole at least hourly, if not every two steps.... The main irritants were fiber, now I'm realizing the little 'digestive triggers' (like lemon and warm water=no lemon in morning tea, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc) can also send my bowels into hyper drive. 6 months ago, or so, I went to Burger King, wanting a griller, not realizing they had changed their veggie option to a garden burger, I took two bites of it til I saw a shred of carrot, and was pretty much going #2 (if you can call clear liquid #2) at least every hour for 6 straight hours the following day. Carrots are evil I ate two 'coins' last April and was suffering for a week afterward.

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I completely agree with everything that hotcooknmomma said.  No one will think less of you if you had to eat a vegetarian diet as opposed to vegan diet. Nutrient absorption is a definite concern no matter how healthy of a vegan diet you eat if everything is just going straight through you. It is not a matter of succeed or fail it is a matter of doing your best and what is best for you and your ultimate health. 

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VR and Hanashi.

I'm so sorry for what you're both going through.  :(

Have either of you been tested for gluten intolerance or Celiac disease?

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Hanashi! I was just wondering what You'd been up to these days.... I'm sorry to hear about Your gut problems. :(
For anyone experiencing that horrible cramping + frequent liquid poo problem, I wonder how/if animal products play into it, and also how Your water supply might factor in. I used to have exactly the same symptoms that Y'all are describing, during 2006-2008ish when I was vegetarian and trying to maintain a vegan diet...
Back then, I was with an unsupportive partner, in a vegan-unfriendly area, and I'd break down and have a bit (or more) of dairy every now and then. Most of the nasty symptoms could be traced directly back to some bit of dairy I'd eaten recently, but there were times when the symptoms would occur during several weeks of successful vegan eating.

I can say that my IBS symptoms became almost non-existent when I finally buckled down and said NO to any and all traces of animal products..... the mystery cramps still showed up from time to time in 2008/09, but that's when I was living in Atlanta and drinking city water. I was also eating more processed things like cheese substitutes and gluten-based meat analogs.

Since I moved out here to the country, those symptoms have all but disappeared! I still get the mystery cramps (which I can distinguish from plain ol' gas, menstrual pain, everything else) when I eat more than a serving of seitan or other gluten-heavy food within a few days' time, and I realize now that I just have to limit my gluten intake.
Also, at the risk of sounding like one of those well-water snobs (they do exist), I think Our water must be infused with some straight-up magic, or something. It tastes magnificent. Our unfiltered well water has been tested for a whole bunch of common water contaminants, and it's about as clean as You can get, considering it's coming straight from 400+ feet underground.
The Brita-filtered city water I used to drink (even back in small-town Iowa) wasn't as good as this stuff.....and I honestly think I might have been ingesting parasites or other nasty things that contributed to my horrible gut problems.

Obviously, not everyone can be so lucky as to have such a clean (and free!) source of water.... but if it's possible, get Your water tested, and consider buying a special filtration device or those giant (refillable) jugs of super-filtered water.
And I agree with p_p about getting tested for gluten intolerance. I know I don't have Celiac disease or a serious allergy to gluten, but I'm definitely sensitive to the stuff.

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I completely agree with everything that hotcooknmomma said.  No one will think less of you if you had to eat a vegetarian diet as opposed to vegan diet. Nutrient absorption is a definite concern no matter how healthy of a vegan diet you eat if everything is just going straight through you. It is not a matter of succeed or fail it is a matter of doing your best and what is best for you and your ultimate health. 

couldn't have said it better myself

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Cw, I have a lot of the same problems that you did/do. I know that a lot of it is caused by stress for me but I also am sensitive to gluten. I got tested for Celiac disease and don't have it but I definitely feel horrible cramps after eating lots of gluten or eating gluten while stressed out. I also am pretty sensitive to fiber. I probably eat my weight in fiber and I will sometimes have the symptoms that hanashi was talking about. When it all acts up, it's probably one of the most horrible pains that I've ever felt, I'll be doubled down on the floor in tears until it ends or medicine kicks in.

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After reading through many comments already made.  I too rolled my eyes.  It is pretty obvious to me she was obviously not being a very good vegan.  We are not meant to eat animals and processed foods.  I could NEVER go back to eating meat and think there was more to the blog post than meets the eye.  The load of crap she mentioned her doctor said is pretty much all false.  Animal products do cause cancer and do make people sick.  The animal meat in this country is just as processed as piece of candy.  I think this post was made to tell people animals are ok to eat and reinforce what most uneducated people already think is right. 
If this world were full of vegans/vegetarians there would be a lot less money to be made by the government, the doctors, the hospitals, the insurance companies and the FOOD industry.  Government and most employed by the health industry do not want everyone to turn vegan...

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Cw, I have a lot of the same problems that you did/do. I know that a lot of it is caused by stress for me but I also am sensitive to gluten. I got tested for Celiac disease and don't have it but I definitely feel horrible cramps after eating lots of gluten or eating gluten while stressed out. I also am pretty sensitive to fiber. I probably eat my weight in fiber and I will sometimes have the symptoms that hanashi was talking about. When it all acts up, it's probably one of the most horrible pains that I've ever felt, I'll be doubled down on the floor in tears until it ends or medicine kicks in.

Ohh, I forgot all about the stress factor... I remember the worst of my symptoms--especially that horrible pain--being associated with times of high-anxiety and stress, which makes even more sense now. Some of the worst times were also when I was taking anti-depressants or anti-anxiety meds that caused shitty side-effects (pun intended), including gut cramping, cycles of constipation/terrible diarrhea, and mental disorientation (to name a few)... I was in school at the time, and struggling to keep up with my work and deal with my mental issues, and the medications were making a lot of that worse. The meds might not have been the cause of my IBS (the symptoms showed up before I ever started taking meds), but they almost certainly exacerbated it.
I've been off brain meds for over 2 years, which has been awesome. My life, though checkered with various minor stresses, is the best it's ever been--I'm generally very happy, I have a loving support system, and I cope well with problems. This lack of major stress/anxiety is surely another reason why my guts are doing pretty well these days.

So in addition to careful food intake monitoring, drinking plenty of clean water and being physically active, I'd say that stress management is another key to a healthy digestive system. Stress reduction has many avenues, including breathing techniques, meditation, aromatherapy, art- and music-therapy, just to name a few...

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art- and music-therapy

yay! :)

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