Vegans Say What?: Irritable Bowel Syndrome

00392-daily-cartoons-ibsI recently asked a question about Irritable Bowel Syndrome on my Facebook page and received some great responses.  I thought I would share here to see if anyone had anything else to add.

“I have a friend suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome and is considering a plant based diet to help. She also is allergic to yeast and thinks that might make eating plant based tricky. Few questions for you: Did any of you have IBS prior to going vegan and if so how did it help, or was there a difference? If you currently are vegan and still suffering from IBS what advice can you offer? Just one more question…can anyone give advice on being vegan and yeast free? Thanks in advance! :)”

Facebook responses:

  • Ellie Farrow My partner has IBS before he was vegan, he’s been vegan now for about 12 years and hasn’t suffered from it since
  • Ida Way My mum had IBS very bad before going vegan, never a problem now.
  • Aimee Brimmer Here are a few recipes.

    And this is a pretty good guideline for avoiding yeast in one’s diet.

    Thanks to Silvia Jacobs for sharing her raw recipe for Mexican Ceviche!  Note: i…See More
  • Lori Bessette not sure why yeast should be an issue going vegan unless youplan to live on bread and processed foods? Processed foods making going yeast-free tricky. Going raw or just eating naturally is not a yeast issue
  • Richa Hingle dont know about ibs.. ricki has a whole blog full of yeast free vegan recipes at
  • Christina Forsythe I was diagnosed with IBS about 3 years before going veg. One of the ways I got it under control without medication (which knocked me on my butt!) was meditation and looking at stress causing people/issues in my life to resolve. The vegan diet definitely helps a lot, but don’t forget to address emotional contributors that can make it worse. I’ve been symptom free (except for when I don’t address emotional stress) for 23 years now.
  • Elizabeth Forrest I believe dairy can contribute to IBS symptoms, so cutting that from the diet will probably help
  • Valerie Bryant I was diagnosed with IBS last year and was vegetarian at the time. After consulting my doctor, I decided to go vegan and actually, went raw vegan for the first 30 days. It was amazing!! I have never felt better. I would highly recommend that your friend try a raw vegan diet, even if only for a few days, in order to get their system back in check. I’m still vegan and most of the time, eat a high-raw diet. I’ve noticed when I add too many cooked or processed vegan foods that my symptoms will start returning and when this happens, all it takes is a few days of raw eating and juicing to get my system back on track. Also, as other posters have pointed out, people diagnosed with IBS need to try to limit the stress in their lives. Good luck to your friend!
  • Velon Jean Savoie I actually don’t know for a fact if I actually had IBS but I truly believe so, I also had my gallbladder removed which made for uncomfortable mornings I haven’t had any issues since going vegan, and as a matter of fact, I had to finish off all the cheese in the house so I made manicotti last night and I have been paying for it all morning. No more dairy for us!
  • Megan McCain You know, I have asked myself several times if it’s possible to be allergic to meat. I’m curious to read responses. Maybe this has been part of my troubles too.
  • Svetlana Dimitrovska I had IBS and vegan diet improved it. However, oils still made me sick, so I removed oils and it got better. Finally, all my problems disappeared when I went high carb low fat raw vegan.
  • Nakita Cobalt I had Ibs and had my gallbladder out. Since switching to an organic non gmo diet I feel so much better-no more Ibs issues and lost over 40 lbs. I wish I would have switched sooner-could have saved my gallbladder perhaps. Also a few years back when my ibs was really bad I ate organic short grain brown rice for about thirty days. Sometimes only with veggies but mainly the rice. My ibs disappeared and I lost about 15 lbs. plant based organic non gmo and mostly glutton free is what I now eat and no more issues. I also make sure there is a variety of colors in my diet to keep it balanced. Green, red,yellow, orange, blue, black ,and white in most every meal. The veggie burgers I make have most of the colors in them. Black beans ,kale, carrots, mushrooms sweet potatoes, corn, corn meal, oatmeal, brown rice.
  • Jenny Lea Kays Eat vegan, no sugar, eat as much raw as possible, no gluten, no yeast..Lots of veggies. It could be a Candida issue also. That would explain the yeast allergy.
  • Sarah Michelle Rice I was diagnosed with IBS as a kid. I went vegan a year ago for many other reasons, with no expectation that would change. I have no symptoms or any IBS issues: it was an instant improvement!
  • Gopi Flick make sure you get enough fiber
  • Nakita Cobalt Lots of water too. Very important.
  • Steph Kastler Everything I’ve read says dairy and meat are bad for people with IBS (big trigger foods), so going vegan should definitely help. I still had some issues while being vegan, but when I cut out most processed foods and started eating more whole foods I got much better. I almost never have issues anymore. She might have to ease into it. I know too much raw at first was hard for me, but my body got used to it and now I can eat tons of raw stuff with no problem
  • Tamar Dick Probiotics are very helpful for controlling IBS. The one that works can be found at your local natural or compounding pharmacy or online: VSL #3…I’ve found with my experience taking 3 capsules 3 times per day brings relief. The dosage can be gradually reduced after a month, depending on relief achieved…
  • Jenny Lea Kays I agree probiotics are essential as well as digestive enzymes. DDS Probioplus is excellent probiotic.
  • Carol Ann I developed IBS after I had my gallbladder removed 15 years ago. I do think there is a definite connection. I went vegan during the diagnosis of IBS. Cooked veggies are the only way I can digest them and not have a flare-up. Peeled veggies and fruits are best. And be careful on the amounts of food eaten at one time. I also avoid olive oil and any other oils for that matter. I can’t do dairy…even yogurt. Fried foods and sugar are deadly for me. Again, it is a very individualized issue. Everyone is different. Keeping a diary of foods and how you react to them is the only way to narrow it down. Good luck!
  • Katie Al Stewart My husband had IBS and after being on a plant based diet for a few weeks it completely cured itself. A year and half later we are still plant based and my constipation is GONE his ibs is GONE!!! If you are eating a whole foods plant based diet being yeast free shouldn’t be a problem. There are quite a few yeast free breads on the market too. Plant based is only as tricky as you make it. If you are trying new recipes every day yes that would be hard. If you stick to staples then it is no more difficult than an omni diet.
  • Donna Goehring Seago I lived with IBS as both an omnivore and vegetarian for over 20 years. After switching to a vegan diet two years ago, my symptoms have mostly disappeared. For me, dairy and oil are huge triggers. (It’s interesting to see all the gallbladder comments. I developed gall stones several years after my IBS diagnosis; diet related, probably.) Good luck to your friend!
  • Buddy Katz I do not have IBS, but in the last few years, I have developed several food allergies that bring on very unpleasant syptoms. Knowing what I’m sensitive / allergic to, which I’m still discovering, and learning how each is hidden in products by use of alternate names helps greatly.
    Being vegan and avoiding soy, my biggest trigger, is difficult, but can be done. I’ve done it for years.
    I’m also allergic to barley, oats, bananas, avocados, nuts, citrus, tomatoes, chocolate, corn, and many other foods, most of which I love, but can no longer eat unless I want to feel like crap afterward. And I really don’t like living on massive doses of benadryl.

    I’m not allergic to yeast, but I can tell you that candida thrives in an acidic enviornment; as far as I know, most fungi do. So the more alkaline your friend keeps her system, the better off she will be. There are several lists of foods on line that help maintain an alkaline systemic pH. Some are contradictory, but comparing several should give a good idea.

    If your friend wants to talk about following a vegan diet while dealing with food allergies, she is welcome to contact me.
  • CoreyAnn Kneebis Ostrowsky I did but not anymore because i was told by my naturopath i had a gluten sensitivity and as soon as i cut that out i was cured as well as a few other problems
  • Melissa Radel-Bailey I was diagnosed with IBS years ago and medication didnt do much to help. I just lived with it and was miserable. It wasnt till several years later i chose to be vegan for moral reasons. After just a couple days all my symptoms had vanished and felt amazing!!! My vegan diet made it completly go away where medication did nothing. Loving my vegan life going on 4 years now !!!
  • The Peoples Kitchen Gluten FREE is the way to go!! Lots of Gluten Sensitivity due to the fact that wheat is not grown or processed the way it was back in the day.
    Gluten free Vegan Journey I was diagnosed with IBS, suffered over 40 years! IAfter going vegan and gluten free, all symptoms disappeared, and never felt better! I honestly dont know if it was gluten or the animal products originally, but gluten sensitivity is an auto immune disease of inflammation, and animal products cause inflammation also. So even if it were only the gluten, going just gluten free would not have done the trick, but being vegan also does work!
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51 Responses to Vegans Say What?: Irritable Bowel Syndrome

  1. CGus says:

    My teenage daughter has IBS-C and was vegetarian and eliminated milk from her diet for one full year, it did very little to help with the IBS-C. After being tested for every known food allergy and all returning negative she decided to go Vegan. It has been 3 months now and her IBS-C has improved tremendously.

  2. Lainie says:

    For me, a higher fiber vegan diet makes my IBS symptoms flare up pretty badly. I had really bad IBS-D and gastritis before going vegan three years ago. Went vegan (mostly unprocessed and thus high fiber) and gastritis went away completely, but IBS worsened slightly. Started eating more processed vegan food and IBS symptoms basically went away. Recently, my boyfriend and I started eating a low fat, unprocessed diet full of high fiber foods like beans, lentils, rice, fruit and veggies to try to lower his blood pressure. My IBS is back in full force – diarrhea multiple times a day, extreme gassiness and general misery. It has been about two months of this. Really hoping my body gets used to the fiber at some point, because it would be ridiculous to cook two separate meals every night for my boyfriend and I. If anyone has any suggestions please let me know. Thank you.

  3. Brooke Pittenger says:

    I have suffered from IBS for over 30 years. After watching several documentaries, I decided to go vegan. Just after 2 weeks, I realized my chronic constipation has completely been cured. I never thought that my compassion for animals would have contributed to my cure. Thank god I found the solution!

  4. Saga says:

    Becoming vegan will not cure your IBS. I’m just curious as to how you folks who are diagnosed with IBS are doing on a vegan diet? Being that a lot of veggies that can cause bloating, excess gas, and abdominal pain? I suffer IBS and gastritis- vegan diet has not made an improvement for me. The fod map diet is more of my preference.

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