Ginny Messina on Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Never afraid of providing too much information, Ginny Messina has done a great service by putting together an informative post on Vegan Diets and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

If you suffer from IBS, I highly recommend checking it out!

11 Responses to “Ginny Messina on Irritable Bowel Syndrome”

  1. Anna Says:

    Hi…I started a vegan diet (all at once) a few weeks ago while reading ‘Vegan for Life’, and five days later I had intense nausea, stomach cramps and diarrhea, on and off…just for an hour or so at a time, once or twice a day. I’m not pregnant so I assumed it must be gastro or food poisoning. But now after a couple of weeks the nausea and stomach cramps have gradually diminished, yet I still have the bloated feeling and diarrhea. I wonder if this is common during a diet transition, or whether it could indicate a digestive issue.

    Thanks 🙂

  2. Jack Norris RD Says:


    That’s not common. It could indicate a food allergy. Can you link it to any particular food?

  3. Anna Says:

    I’ve started drinking soy milk for almost the first time, and also eating far more canned beans and lentils than ever before. Also we made up a trail mix with nuts, seeds and dried fruits/berries that I normally haven’t eaten that often. I wonder if the symptoms could be linked to the trail mix or the soy milk?

  4. Jack Norris RD Says:


    If the soymilk has carrageenan in it, that might be the culprit as some people don’t digest it well. Are the nuts in the trail mix raw? If so, they might be a problem—I only eat roasted nuts. Other than that, I’d suggest it might be the beans causing gas more than the other foods. You might take a day or two to eat only safe foods (rice might be easy on your digestion) and then slowly add back foods you might suspect.

  5. Anna Says:

    PS I should add that my breastfed two year old who is also eating the same vegan foods has been having very loose, yellow coloured, and bad smelling poos in her nappies for more than just a few days now…also with undigested beans…so we will see a doctor this week about it. I wonder if it could be from the same issue.

  6. Anna Says:

    …and I’m starting to wonder whether what’s causing my problem is seeds, because I was ok today when avoiding the trail mix and then felt a bit worse after eating a few sunflower seeds on their own. But I don’t get any visible rash or breathing problems, if it is an allergy. And I don’t know if that could also be what’s causing my daughter’s nappies to be like this, or not. We will definitely seek a medical opinion but just adding this in case it help it makes some sense.

  7. Jack Norris RD Says:


    I would seriously consider going back to eating the way you and your daughter were the last time you weren’t having such problems and then gradually adding more plant foods to see how you and she react. Tofu is a good source of protein that normally doesn’t cause digestive problems like beans can for some people. And you have to make sure legumes are thoroughly cooked—eating them uncooked is a recipe for terrible digestion.

  8. Anna Says:

    Thanks…that makes sense in terms of our ability to sustain a vegan diet long-term and be healthy. But our toddler already knows that meat is animals and when given the choice of whether to eat them or not she said “pat them”. I’m worried that going back to our original diet even for a short time would confuse her, as she’s still developing her morals and relies on simplicity and consistency at the moment.

  9. Jack Norris RD Says:


    That makes sense and I wasn’t aware that you were eating meat the last time you and she felt healthy. I’d return to this suggestion: You might take a day or two to eat only safe foods (rice might be easy on your digestion) and then slowly add back foods you might suspect. Bananas, toast, cream of wheat, and rice cereal also tend to be easy on one’s digestion. Oatmeal would be good for adults but be careful not to feed a young child too much high-fiber foods—the general rule is that half their grains should be processed rather than whole due to their stomatchs not being able to hold as much volume per caloric needs as adults.

  10. Theodore Zuckerman Says:

    I would never recommend starting an entirely new diet all at once! I think the best way about going vegan is to drop one non-vegan food, one at a time, and add one vegan food, one at a time. Wait at least 3 or 4 days before each change.

  11. Theodore Zuckerman Says:

    Also, if I were seeing legumes in a baby’s poop, I would ease up on the quantity of legumes. Something like potatoes has a small amount of protein, and is easier to digest. Also, for my self, I’ve found some legumes much easier to digest than others: chick peas, red lentils.

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