Could vegetarianism be making me constipated?

Hi all.

I went vegetarian about a week ago. Before I went full vegetarian I had generally kept my meat intake down to one serving a day, and the rest of my diet has always included lots of whole grains, fruits, and leafy greens. But last week I finally took the plunge and cut out meat.

Here’s what’s confusing me: until I went veg, it was not unusual for me to have anywhere from three to five bowel movements a day. I never experienced discomfort or urgency, they were all regular, smooth bowel movements. I had always taken it as a sign of good health and good diet.

But since I cut out meat and replaced it with lots of quinoa and beans, I only go twice a day, and it’s much less smooth. Again I still don’t experience any discomfort, but it seems to run counter to what you’d normally expect from a vegetarian diet.

Could vegetarianism be making me poop less? Or is it possible that I was pooping too much before and my new diet has regulated me? Could it be that meat was making it harder for me to absorb nutrients from my food, and now I just get more out of each meal and lose less of it to waste? Or maybe my body is just still recalibrating since the change in diet and I’ll “normalize” soon?

Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks for reading about my doo-doo, y’all :slight_smile:

Everyone’s different, yada yada yada, but I don’t think you can call it constipated if you’re going twice a day.

um, 3 to 5 times a day previously sounds horribly excessive.

If you’re pooping twice a day and experiencing no discomfort you are not constipated. Seriously, dude, “constipation” is defined as less than three shits per week. You are far from constipated.

What has happened is that you’ve had a change in bowel habits, which is not unusual when you make a significant change in your diet. You’re probably “recalibrating”, as you put it. The new normal might be twice a day. Or three times, like before.

If you’re really super worried see a doctor but honestly I think you’re OK.

Probably just your body adjusting. One week is hardly enough time to tell or get worried.

This was my first reaction … but after reading the other comments I think I agree that the OP is normal now … that the body quickly adjusted to the new diet … sort of … twice a day seems excessive … as though your body isn’t effectively processing all the food you’re eating …

Barring any other health concerns you’re experiencing right now … perhaps a day or two of fasting would be helpful … yogurt is exceptionally good for your gut flora … daily high enemas … peppermint tea twice a day … stop drinking booze … etc etc etc …

“High enemas” are unnecessary, especially for someone already shitting once a day or more, and range from a useless waste of time and money to a disruption of gut flora to possible harm. Your colon is self-cleansing, it does not require washing-out.

Surely, ‘normal’ whatever that means, is roughly once a day for most people. Everything that watchwolf suggests ranges from neutral to potentially harmful.

Thanks everybody.

Yeah, “constipated” was a poor choice of words. I guess I just meant in comparison to my previous schedule. I’m not freaking out or anything, just curious as to whether this is a common experience, since most people on the Internet are gushing about how vegetarianism has finally made them poop.

FWIW i barely drink alcohol, have yogurt for breakfast every day, get lots of good fats (almonds, walnuts, avocados, etc.)…and I always did anyway even before I went meatless. I did happen to start taking mil with my morning coffee right around the same time I went veg (always took it black before and avoided milk except for yogurt).

Not pooping so much has certainly saved me a lot of time during the day :smiley:

But then the question is, what was meat doing to my digestive system that made me have such frequent bowel movements?

I just wonder how much quantity you eat. If you are serious about eating healthily, you should balance quantity as well as quality.


Not sure whether you mean I might be eating too much, or too little. Can you clarify?

I eat between three and four meals a day.

Beef is worse for your risk of colon cancer than sugar. That’s saying something, when it’s worse for you than sugar.
Chances are, though, is you were simply eating more animal fats (which move things along w/ relative quickness) than you are now.

Are you really going to skip turkey tomorrow?

Yeah that could be part of it too. I was a pretty consistent chicken guy with beef only once a week or so, but.

Actually my gf and I are going for soup dumplings! With pork and shrimp. (I’m not planning on being a strict vegetarian.)

Yep, youre fine. Twice a day is perfect.

Maybe add some probiotics.

“dried fruit”


Thanks again, everybody.

At this point I’m not so much concerned about my health as I am curious to figure out what was making me go to the toilet so often before, and/or what is now making me go less often. Is it a sign of better health? Worse health? Maybe a neutral change?

Was I having some kind of unhealthy reaction to animal fat?

Tis a poor heart that never rejoices.

I’d say so. But were the stools runny? If not, then the BMs were likely OK.

Maybe you were just eating too much.