Fern

Constipation, no energy, smelly gas

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Hey all, I’m on day 21 of Whole 30 and struggling with a few issues. 

Background: I’ve had horrible constipation issues since my 20 month old was 1 month old. My midwives had me taking 4-5 calcium/magnesium supplements per day that were giving me very soft/loose stools all through pregnancy. I stopped them when my daughter was 1 month old because I feared calcium supplementation would throw off other vitamins/minerals in my body. (Lots of info online about it, but I don’t have specific links.) When I stopped taking them, I started experiencing horrible constipation. I just had zero urge to go whatsoever. When I would finally go, the stools were huge and hard. They tore me open and brought me to tears. 3 months later I cut out dairy with no change. About 7 months after that I went paleo with very minimal improvement. In December I completely let loose and was eating anything and everything with no significant reaction to anything. 

I’ve been Paleo for about 9 months now (aside from the December mayhem) and this is my first whole30. I wasn’t getting any relief about 2 weeks in, so I started taking alcohol free Swedish bitters, adding sauerkraut to my diet (about 1/4c throughout the day) and a probiotic supplement at night. I drink kombucha but I worry about the sugar dragon so only once in a while right now. I also take magnesium malate during the day and magnesium glycinate at night along with triphala powder.

I’m still not going regularly but when I do go, the stools are difficult to pass and “sandy,” like lots of small particles floating around that do not look like undigested food. I also have unbearably foul gas in the afternoon but mostly in the evening. It seriously could clear a neighborhood. I wasn’t having this gas before whole30.

Im also ridiculously exhausted. I stay home with my child and do childcare and there are times when all I can do is lay on the couch. Walking up the stairs is impossible. Not always though, sometimes I get bursts of energy that I can’t explain or connect to any certain food or meal. 

I am 5’5 and 117 lbs. I have pretty small hands (1”x3”x4”) and I do my best to follow the meal template but I’m wondering if I need to add or subtract something. I’m also still nursing my 20 month old about 3-4 times per day and all through the night. I do maybe 20 minutes of cardio exercise 4 days a week and although I said above sometimes I can’t get off the couch, I am far from sedentary due to having to look after the children.  I’ve lowered my fodmap intake but not completely eliminated. Here is a typical day:

breakfast (7am): 3 eggs, 3/4c hash browns, 1c kale all cooked in ghee

lunch (11am): 1 can of salmon mixed with mayo and herbs, mixed greens (~4c), fried plantain 

lunch (2pm): 1 chicken breast, 1c potatoes, 1c kale (potatoes and kale cooked in ghee or coconut oil)

Dinner (6pm): 2 slices of meatloaf, 1.5c chard, 1.5c roasted beets (again all cooked in ghee or coconut oil)

i go to bed at 10 and wake up at 6:30 or 7 every day (though sleep is interrupted due to nursing)

I use at least 2T of cooking oil at every meal but I don’t add any additional fat. My meals often seem pretty heavy and oily. I usually have a healthy appetite before each meal, but I’m not starving between or anything. I’ve read about enzymes and hcl but hesitant to use them because I know your body can stop making them and that concerns me. If anyone has any other insight I would be so appreciative!!

 

 

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Hey there - Have you seen a doctor or a even a gastroenterologist?  This has obviously been going on longer than the 21 days and as no one here is a medical professional, we're not able to advise on medical issues such as these.

I will say your  meals look fine except I would add fat.  If you're exclusively breastfeeding, then you definitely need the fat and the template asks for added fat in each meal.  As far as the water, we recommend 1/2 oz per pound of body weight... does 90 oz link up to your weight?

One thing I noticed that you can try is to take out the plantain, especially if you're eating it every day.  Plantain does me no favors in the bathroom department regardless of how much I love them so they're out for me.

 

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Thanks so much for responding!

i have not yet seen a doctor. This whole30 is actually my last attempt at figuring things out myself before I resort to a naturopath. Things HAVE improved so I’ve really been hoping I can solve it on my own, especially without any type of laxative or other pharmaceuticals...but we shall see.

I am not exclusively breastfeeding, my child is almost 2. I would say she gets about 1/2 her daily intake from food and 1/2 from breastmilk. (She had feeding issues and did not eat solids until 13 months so she is a little behind in that department. I weigh 117 so I think 90 oz is enough? And is the 4 meals a day recommendation right for me if I’m not exclusively breastfeeding?

Just to clarify the meal template fat... if I cook my eggs in 1T of ghee, my hash browns in 1T of coconut oil, and my kale in 1T of ghee....I should still add another 1-2T of fat when I eat the meal? I am avoiding nuts and avocado and I like olives but I couldn’t eat a whole handful, so can I just eat a spoonful of ghee or coconut oil?

Good to know about the plantain. I just started eating them actually to get a different starch in and I also love them...but maybe I should avoid. Is it okay to eat potatoes multiple times a day? And how many meals should I be eating starchy veggies? What other starchy veggies do you recommend?

 

thanks again!!

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5 hours ago, Fern said:

Thanks so much for responding!

i have not yet seen a doctor. This whole30 is actually my last attempt at figuring things out myself before I resort to a naturopath. Things HAVE improved so I’ve really been hoping I can solve it on my own, especially without any type of laxative or other pharmaceuticals...but we shall see.

I am not exclusively breastfeeding, my child is almost 2. I would say she gets about 1/2 her daily intake from food and 1/2 from breastmilk. (She had feeding issues and did not eat solids until 13 months so she is a little behind in that department. I weigh 117 so I think 90 oz is enough? And is the 4 meals a day recommendation right for me if I’m not exclusively breastfeeding?

Just to clarify the meal template fat... if I cook my eggs in 1T of ghee, my hash browns in 1T of coconut oil, and my kale in 1T of ghee....I should still add another 1-2T of fat when I eat the meal? I am avoiding nuts and avocado and I like olives but I couldn’t eat a whole handful, so can I just eat a spoonful of ghee or coconut oil?

Good to know about the plantain. I just started eating them actually to get a different starch in and I also love them...but maybe I should avoid. Is it okay to eat potatoes multiple times a day? And how many meals should I be eating starchy veggies? What other starchy veggies do you recommend?

 

thanks again!!

The four meals might be a bit much, you could try three meals and a mini meal and see how it goes, but the fact that you have no energy is telling me you're not eating enough.

We suggest not counting cooking fat because often it stays behind in the pan or is split between portions. It won't hurt you to add fat to your plate... what about mayo or pesto or ranch etc... 

The recommendation is one fist sized serving of starchy veg a day and then increase from there (often people who increase are athletes, women on or near their period, folks with mild mood disorders, pregnant or breastfeeding women).  Any starchy carb is fine.. root veggies, winter squash...

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I’ve been having bloating and horribly smelly gas throughout my entire whole30. It starts in the afternoon and gets worse into the evening.  I’m currently on day 26, this was not an issue before starting whole30. 

I’ve been following the meal template strictly (4 meals per day because of breastfeeding), but two nights ago I got some horrible stomach bug. Projectile vomiting, etc. Yesterday I stuck to compliant foods but most things sounded repulsive so I ate what I could stomach... a banana, an orange, and apple, a handful or two of almonds, several cups of chicken broth, 3 scrambled eggs, and 2 glasses of kombucha throughout the day. I had no gas and no bloating for the first time in weeks. 

This morning I was feeling a bit better so I had 3 eggs with hash browns and an orange for breakfast and some more chicken broth. Still no bloating or gas. Then for lunch I had some leftover low fodmap meatloaf (beef, pork, egg, sage, thyme, basil, oregano, marjoram, chives, salt, pepper) with low fodmap homemade ketchup (tomato paste, dates, smoked paprika, apple cider vinegar, chipotle seasoning, salt). I could feel the gas and bloating starting within 15 minutes. 

Any ideas?? I’m so tired of this (it’s sincerely making my life miserable, I’m afraid to be in public or invite friends over) and I’m worried that eating meat is causing this. I ate meat before whole30 but not nearly as much. I always start my day off with eggs and feel fine until lunch time when I start eating meat :(

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Hey @Fern - so sorry to hear you're not feeling great. I'll start by saying dates are absolutely NOT low FODMAP. I was (& mostly am) a low FODMAPer and I REALLY struggle with dates so I'd cut those out for sure. Other than that you don't really list any other FODMAP foods above - but then that's just the one day's worth.... What are you typically eating?

I'd second @SugarcubeOD on the increase in fat - you need that for sure.

Have you tried adding ground flax seed to salads? Or a teaspoon or so in some water?

It also wouldn't do any harm to add in a digestive enzyme if eating this much meat is new to you. The body does stop producing the enzymes required to digest meat when you stop eating it so it may well be that you need a little something until that all gets back up & running again...

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Oh I didn’t even think about the dates in there, crap. Though I actually don’t normally eat those either. 

I have not tried flax seeds in a long time, although I’m happy to report the constipation seems to be improving! The gas though...ah.

I have eggs, kale and potatoes every morning for breakfast. Lunch 1 and 2 are usually salad with olive oil and balsamic plus a chicken breast or can of salmon or leftovers from the night before. Sometimes I will add a starchy veggie in there as well. Dinner is usually beef, chicken, pork or fish with sautéed leafy greens and either potatoes or carrots. Dinner examples: 1. roast chicken, roasted potatoes, sautéed rainbow chard 2. Baked salmon with ghee and herbs, zoodles, roasted carrots 3. Pot roast, sautéed kale, roasted potatoes

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Also, I only cut out fodmaps (other than the date slip up) because I read it might help with gas. I’ve seen no improvement and I don’t have any of the other typical fodmap issues so that might not even be something I need to do. I was just giving it a shot 

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Have you thought about removing (or at least cutting back on) the kale? It's a high sulphur food and sulphur is what makes rotten eggs smell....... You might just be eating too much for your gut to handle.... Just sayin'!! 

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I haven’t, that’s definitely something to explore because I eat a ton of kale. I’m struggling with what vegetables to eat... kale and chard are the only organic leafy greens available in my area right now. I have a hang up on leafy greens and feel like I’m missing something if I don’t eat them at most meals

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But there are definitely days where I don’t eat any kale (like today or yesterday) and still have gas (after the meatloaf today) 

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Yes, but one day here or there is not allowing your gut to settle. Being irritated by veg is no different than being irritated by gluten if your gut can't handle it. 

I'd stick with low sulphur veg for now - frozen or canned if you have to - zucchini is a fairly innocous one to include if you can get your hands on it...

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2 minutes ago, Fern said:

Gotcha. That does make sense. It’s so hard to trace the root cause when things can have effects days later!!

This is where food diaries/logs come into play in recognising patterns/symptoms.....!

Let us know how you go.

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