Mason

constipation

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Ok, not the most pleasant topic, but here goes. I am a 30 something year old male and have experienced constipation for the last 7 years or so. I have always eaten healthy and been active, but started a Whole30 (I'm only in day 6) mainly to see how it would affect my digestion and energy levels. The major changes to my diet have been the removal of grains, alcohol and sweets and the addition of more meat. Veggie and fruit intake is about the same. I guess I was hoping to see some drastic changes in the digestive department, but quite honestly have gone once ( i know gross, right) since I started my Whole30. 

 

I am not evaluating the efficacy of the program by any means because I know I haven't given enough time, but was just curious if anyone had any thoughts. Thanks so much!

 

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The major changes you've made by adopting Whole30 are actually really major changes involving a need to rebalance gut bacteria and probiotics.  You are unlikely to see a major change in 7 days, especially coming from a constipated "norm" prior to Whole30.

 

A few things you can try:

 

  • LOTS of water.  Our recommendation is half an ounce per pound of bodyweight (eg, 180# person would consume 90 ounces of water, exercise fluids not included)
  • You could try a magnesium supplement.  We are nearly all chronically deficient in magnesium because of soil depletion.  Natural calm (plain) or a magnesium citrate supplement can help as it draws water into the bowels.  Start slow and work your way up in dosage to the point where you are getting comfortable poops.
  • Veggies; cooked before raw.  Cooked greens, roasted veggies etc.  Raw veggies are notoriously hard on your system
  • Nuts; steer clear.  These are also hard on the digestion and aren't an excellent fat choice

 

Make sure your meals are matching the template (linked below), don't skimp on the fat and try some of the suggestions above and let us know how you go.

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Hey guys,

 

So I'm on day 16 and not much chaining on this front. I have followed the meal template and the suggestions that you all kindly listed above. I am starting to wonder if certain foods that are on the plan are the culprit. Some that come to mind are avocado, banana, coconut and eggs (eating this 6 days a week). Have you ever heard of these foods causing other people problems? Thanks again!

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I had a medical issue a few years ago that made me learn a lot about regulating bowel movements. One lesson was about fiber. There are two types: soluble fiber absorbs water and becomes bulky, and is found in things like winter squash and sweet potato, and insoluble does not absorb water and is found in things like kale and the skins of apples. Some fruits and veggies contain both, some contain surprisingly little.

You may want to try playing with the ratios of soluble to insoluble in your diet and see what you learn. Different bodies need different things. If I eat too much insoluble fiber on its own, I become constipated. It seems weird because conventional wisdom says "eat fiber to stay regular" but it's a little bit more complex than that.

I would try laying off the eggs, banana, coconut and avocado a bit if your current diet is constipating.

You'd have to find a way to work them in to a meal - maybe with some chicken and acorn squash - but dried apricots are good at getting things moving. Drink lots of water with them!

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Water, fat and fibre are what keeps things moving. Magnesium helps bring water into your bowels, fats smooth the way.

 

Keeping a food diary can help identify foods that make you feel less well. Digestion and gut issues often are food related, but sometimes it's balance we really need most (so you may be able to eat these things long time).

 

Try cutting out anything you think is a problem and see how you go.

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Constipated, but it's not bothersome; I just know it's not the best. I have been eating so much fiber / fat and huge amounts of water. The laxative I have in my house has sugar, so I'll probably avoid. It's getting better after a few days, but I think I need some prunes. I just saw the above about laying off of eggs, banana, coconut and avocado a bit...oy. As a pescatarian, that's most of my diet. I wouldn't miss bananas though. 

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I'm now on Day 28! It's been weeks since I posted above. I was having normal BMs again for the whole middle of my W30 and then tried dropping nuts and then FODMAPS and got constipated again (4-5 days ago). Any ideas? 

- I stopped restricting ALL fodmaps because it was stressful, but am still light and NO onions and garlic for at least 5 days. 

- I drink at least 86 oz a day (~172 lbs). No bubbles for 4 days.

- I have been taking magnesium at night for at least 4-5 nights. 

- I have been having prunes and even took senacot a few nights, which slightly helped, but not entirely. 

- I have been off nuts for at least 6 days (minus an emergency Rx bar w/ a few almonds 2 days ago). Many articles suggest nuts (and seeds) help alleviate constipation. Hmm. 

- I eat TONS of all COOKED veg (but had stopped the cruciferous ones, as those were FODMAPS). On another chain, I saw that those can actually help. I eat plenty of healthy fats (ghee, olive oil, coco oil and sometimes avo and coconut). The only raw veg I have is soft greens (watercress or mixed greens that are broken down in acid/EVOO).

- I never eat bananas, but occasionally green plantains. I had stopped fruits that supposedly help constipation b/c they were fodmaps (apples, pears), but still eat strawberries and blueberries and could add those back. 

- I am now off eggs for 3-4 days to see what happens. 

- I will go off caffeine (tea), as that is the ONLY thing I can imagine is stopping me up.

- When I went off FODMAPS 5 days ago, I eliminated sweet potatoes, which I had been having daily and I hear can help.

Interestingly, I still get a bit of acid reflux and gas, which is bizarre to me given how little I'm eating that could cause that. Yes, I could try dropping Nightshades, but I'm not sure I can take it (so much change). 

Yesterday: 

- 3 eggs with chives, sauteed spinach/mixed greens. 1/2 wh pot w/ghee. Jasmin tea.
- Tuna with compliant mayo, watercress salad w/blood orange slices, a little avo, olive oil and apple cv. 
- 3 prunes and 2-3 apricots with plain vanilla ghee. Yes, it was mostly for emotional reasons (and prunes, ya know). 
- can of smoked trout, steamed/sauteed green beans w/EVOO, 2-3 pickles, cantelope w/ghee. 
 
My main concern is that I don't want to start reintro while constipated (and bloated), but I'm nervous about extending too long past the 30 days. 
 
Thanks, everyone!
Marj
 
tagging the fabulous @ladyshanny and @SugarcubeOD :)  I hope you don't mind :) 

 

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1 hour ago, Marj K said:

I'm now on Day 28! It's been weeks since I posted above. I was having normal BMs again for the whole middle of my W30 and then tried dropping nuts and then FODMAPS and got constipated again (4-5 days ago). Any ideas? 

- I stopped restricting ALL fodmaps because it was stressful, but am still light and NO onions and garlic for at least 5 days. 

- I drink at least 86 oz a day (~172 lbs). No bubbles for 4 days.

- I have been taking magnesium at night for at least 4-5 nights. 

- I have been having prunes and even took senacot a few nights, which slightly helped, but not entirely. 

- I have been off nuts for at least 6 days (minus an emergency Rx bar w/ a few almonds 2 days ago). Many articles suggest nuts (and seeds) help alleviate constipation. Hmm. 

- I eat TONS of all COOKED veg (but had stopped the cruciferous ones, as those were FODMAPS). On another chain, I saw that those can actually help. I eat plenty of healthy fats (ghee, olive oil, coco oil and sometimes avo and coconut). The only raw veg I have is soft greens (watercress or mixed greens that are broken down in acid/EVOO).

- I never eat bananas, but occasionally green plantains. I had stopped fruits that supposedly help constipation b/c they were fodmaps (apples, pears), but still eat strawberries and blueberries and could add those back. 

- I am now off eggs for 3-4 days to see what happens. 

- I will go off caffeine (tea), as that is the ONLY thing I can imagine is stopping me up.

- When I went off FODMAPS 5 days ago, I eliminated sweet potatoes, which I had been having daily and I hear can help.

Interestingly, I still get a bit of acid reflux and gas, which is bizarre to me given how little I'm eating that could cause that. Yes, I could try dropping Nightshades, but I'm not sure I can take it (so much change). 

Yesterday: 

- 3 eggs with chives, sauteed spinach/mixed greens. 1/2 wh pot w/ghee. Jasmin tea.
- Tuna with compliant mayo, watercress salad w/blood orange slices, a little avo, olive oil and apple cv. 
- 3 prunes and 2-3 apricots with plain vanilla ghee. Yes, it was mostly for emotional reasons (and prunes, ya know). 
- can of smoked trout, steamed/sauteed green beans w/EVOO, 2-3 pickles, cantelope w/ghee. 
 
My main concern is that I don't want to start reintro while constipated (and bloated), but I'm nervous about extending too long past the 30 days. 
 
Thanks, everyone!
Marj
 
tagging the fabulous @ladyshanny and @SugarcubeOD :)  I hope you don't mind :) 

 

Have you seen a doctor?  You mentioned elsewhere that this constipation and bloating was not a side effect of the Whole30 and instead something you've been dealing with for years.  Have you had any allergy testing done?  It's really hard to get into this granular of detail on a forum where we're not having a real time discussion and no one here is a doctor... You're already doing all the things we would suggest like taking a magnesium supplement etc... if you've even taken a laxative and that is not helping, that tells me that there is more going on with your body than strangers on the internet can help with... if you've seen your own doctor and been dismissed, try a functional medicine practitioner or a doctor in your area that has more progressive ideas and is up on the latest studies and practices around gut health.

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Thanks, @SugarcubeOD! I figured. I have seen many doctors and had tests...I'll go to a func med doc, which is something I've wanted to do for years. Much appreciated. I'm going to stay on W30 for at least 15 more days while I start to figure this out. 

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