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Offline technosmith

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Constipation
« on: October 03, 2010, 08:40:55 pm »
Hello to the lovely members of this forum,

How do people get on as regards constipation? (Especially those on zero-carb diets!)

I have been struggling of late, and I guess it is of no surprise, with my increased protein intake (I normally on average have 3 meals a day, with a protein portion approximately 150g-ish in weight with each, although this is sometimes quite a fatty portion/ sometimes it is fairly lean like an organ meat).

My protein is normally in the form of red meats, liver, lamb, beef, and so also I believe the large quantities of iron can also have an impact in this area. I had liver four times last week.

I still eat some starches (Raw carrot), but no fruits. And I eat plenty of fat, although I am currently trying to eat even more.

Just wondered how people get on with this, especially on an all animal based diet.

Thanks
« Last Edit: October 03, 2010, 08:57:03 pm by technosmith »

Offline Iguana

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Re: Constipation
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2010, 08:59:05 pm »

Have a look here!

Cheers
Francois
Cause and effect are distant in time and space in complex systems, while at the same time there’s a tendency to look for causes near the events sought to be explained. Time delays in feedback in systems result in the condition where the long-run response of a system to an action is often different from its short-run response. — Ronald J. Ziegler

Offline TylerDurden

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Re: Constipation
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2010, 09:17:36 pm »
My own experiences re raw, zero carb showed me that I ended up producing far fewer(and smaller) stools than when I ate some raw plant foods as well. This was quite normal as raw animal foods are more completely digested. On the other hand, 2 RZCers have mentioned having issues with constipation at times.

My suggestion:- stick to 1 large meal a day., not 3 meals a day.
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Offline technosmith

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Re: Constipation
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2010, 10:18:20 pm »
Hi Tyler,

Do you recommend one large meal a day, even when adrenally fatigued?

What about blood sugar control?

Thanks for the advice.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2010, 10:31:30 pm by technosmith »

Offline TylerDurden

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Re: Constipation
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2010, 11:56:12 pm »
Hi Tyler,

Do you recommend one large meal a day, even when adrenally fatigued?

What about blood sugar control?

Thanks for the advice.
Well, it's usually recommmended for adrenal fatigue sufferers to keep on eating. However, that did not work for me at all. I found, like many RVAFers, that healing proceeded much faster during times when I wasn't constantly digesting foods, so I believe digestion takes up a lot of the body's resources.
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Offline lex_rooker

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Re: Constipation
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2010, 01:27:14 am »
My experience mirrors Tyler’s.  Fecal bulk on a fat/protein based diet is about 1/3 that of a carb based diet.  Our elimination systems have been stretched and expanded through our lifetimes of eating a carb based diet to the point where it takes a good bit of bulk before a bowel movement is triggered.   If we switch to a low bulk diet, it can take several days of storing up fecal material until the threshold is reached to trigger a movement.  This isn’t constipation as usually there is little or no discomfort (only worry that you haven’t gone in a while) and elimination, when it does occur, is not difficult.

There may be a bit of true constipation for the first couple of weeks of transition and this is caused by the massive dying off of the old intestinal flora that flourished on carbs and is slowly replaced by a much smaller colony of bacteria that handle the digestive byproducts of a meat based diet.  It has been shown that 80% of the fecal bulk in a carb based diet is bacteria.  These are very small critters that can pack together tightly and form a solid mass that is hard to move.  This is why fiber is recommended on a carb diet.  The fiber reduces the packing effect and keeps the mass somewhat pliable.  When you transition to a meat based diet you aren’t supplying any fiber but bacteria load is still there from the old carb diet.  As they die off they may form a solid mass and constipation results.  Once you get past this (a few weeks at most) you’ll find elimination very easy though probably much less frequent – especially in the beginning.

As you continue on a low carb protocol where much less bulk is supplied to the colon, the colon will shrink in size to better accommodate the smaller load and bowel movements will be triggered more and more frequently, but be much smaller in size.  In my case, when I stared this adventure 5 years ago or so, I was having a BM every 3 or 4 days and they were about the volume of what they were when I was eating carbs.  Today, after five years, I usually have BM every day but it is very small, maybe a couple of pieces about the size of your thumb.   Movements are much easier and far faster than when I was a carb eater.

I’ve also had a colonoscopy recently and was told by the doctor performing the procedure that he has seldom seen a colon in such good shape in a person my age (I’ll be 60 in Jan).  Had he not seen me himself, and just had the pictures of my colon to look at, he would have guessed they were from a person in their 20’s or early 30’s.  The colon was firm, smooth, and had great muscle tone.  There were no signs of polyps or any other abnormality.  I was told not to bother to repeat the procedure, as it was clear that I wouldn’t be dying for colon cancer anytime soon.

Lex

Offline technosmith

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Re: Constipation
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2010, 02:31:48 am »
Wow that's really interesting stuff.

Obviously, having struggled to pass a large fecal mass over the last day or so has really put me off consuming the amount of protein I had been. However it has definitely not put me off the raw paleo diet in general.

So Lex, is your diet completely zero carb raw paleo?

Do you eat only one large meal a day by the way?

And Tyler, how big is this one meal of yours? 2000-3000Kcal?

Offline Rob

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Re: Constipation
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2010, 04:34:37 am »
I am having bowel movements every 3-4 days, but they are actually unpleasant. It is not constipation, but the initial movement is fine, then there are 2-3 movements over a 15-20 minute period, each one smaller and more unpleasant than the last. I hope you are right that this will normalize in time. When I was eating mostly raw plant food, my bowel movements were big and daily, but fast and effortless. I miss that.


Offline lex_rooker

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Re: Constipation
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2010, 07:02:25 am »
So Lex, is your diet completely zero carb raw paleo?
Do you eat only one large meal a day by the way?

If you will read my journal you'll see exactly what I eat, but the answer to your questions are:
1. Yes, I'm completely ZC and have been for about 5 years.  The only thing I've varied is the ratio of fat to protein.
2.  I only eat one meal per day and I've done this for almost the entire time I've been ZC as well.  I eat between 2,000 and 2,600 calories per day.  My meal is just meat, fat, and water.  Part of the meat I eat is Slankers Pet Food which contains ground organs and other offal.  This is mixed with regular grass fed ground beef and either ground raw suet or rendered suet to bring the fat content up to between 75% and 85% of calories from fat.

Based on your comment of large fecal mass, I'd guess you are in the first stages of transition and probably still eating a good bit of carbs - most likely those that have only small amounts of fiber but lots of starch to still support large colonies of intestinal bacteria.

I am having bowel movements every 3-4 days, but they are actually unpleasant. It is not constipation, but the initial movement is fine, then there are 2-3 movements over a 15-20 minute period, each one smaller and more unpleasant than the last. I hope you are right that this will normalize in time. When I was eating mostly raw plant food, my bowel movements were big and daily, but fast and effortless. I miss that.

Yup the conversion from raw plant food (especially raw starches) which isn’t digested well and therefore passes through quickly, can take several months.  I think it was almost a year before I’d say that I was what I’d call ‘regular’.  Also, assuming you are eating mostly meat and fat, the fat content of your food will make a big difference.  Less fat will make more firm and well formed stools where very high fat intake will make soft and pasty stools.

Lex

Offline TylerDurden

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Re: Constipation
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2010, 04:30:32 pm »

And Tyler, how big is this one meal of yours? 2000-3000Kcal?

it all depends. If I don't feel like eating one day, it's 0. Otheriwse, I usually eat c. 1 kg a day of raw meat. No idea re calorie-counting.
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Offline technosmith

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Re: Constipation
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2010, 10:52:57 pm »
Thanks guys for your advice. Appreciated.

Seriously interesting stuff!

Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: Constipation
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2010, 07:25:47 am »
On the other hand, 2 RZCers have mentioned having issues with constipation at times.
I'm a VLCer with constipation, though my constipation has been lifelong, so it long preceded my period of ZC and my current VLC diet. ZC/VLC actually got rid of most of my IBS-C with D symptoms that used to accompany the constipation. Now I have what appears to be just plain chronic constipation with little or no IBS.

Strangely enough, my experience was almost the opposite of Lex's and Tyler's. After a couple of weeks of ZC my constipation greatly diminished and almost disappeared. Then it gradually came back again over the next couple of weeks after that. I eventually became about as constipated as I had been before, except with the difference of the gradual disappearance of IBS symptoms (which I'll spare people of the details, since some were rather gross).

Quote from: Lex
Today, after five years, I usually have BM every day but it is very small, maybe a couple of pieces about the size of your thumb. 
Interesting. DelFuego and Charles Washington reported similar phenomena, but Tyler dismissed it as nonsense. Maybe TD will believe it now that one of our own is talking about it in some detail. As I've mentioned in the past, my own fecal volume decreased too, though not yet as much as yours, Lex, as I haven't been doing VLC for nearly as long as you have been doing ZC.

Quote
  The colon was firm, smooth, and had great muscle tone.  There were no signs of polyps or any other abnormality.  I was told not to bother to repeat the procedure, as it was clear that I wouldn’t be dying for colon cancer anytime soon.

Lex
Yes, I used to have a flaccid colon with very little signal to go any more and an inguinal hernia. I had to rely on memory to go, rather than natural signals. The muscle tone in both the colon and inguinal canal wall has since greatly improved. ZC and VLC have been a godsend for me in this area. Simply miraculous! I had never heard of this sort of improvement before and none of my physicians told me about it or that dietary change could help with it.

One of the few things that has helped my constipation other than VLC is trying to go at least once a day whether I get the urge or not. I know, I know, nearly everyone says that if you're going every day or two you can't possibly be constipated, but my stools tend to be dry and hard and like #'s 1-3 on the Bristol Stool scale no matter how frequently I go, and it quickly gets much worse if I wait more than a day. Plus, I usually cannot achieve complete evacuation on any given day, because I usually only manage to evacuate the stool that's near the exit point. If I don't manage to go every day, my feces quickly become very dry and compacted and difficult to move. The standard advice to eat plenty of plant foods and fiber never helped much and only succeeded in giving me mineral deficiencies, and the advice to eat more whole grains had particularly harmful effects on me.

In addition to going every day the following advice to eat a big fatty meal in the morning, to trigger the gastrocolic reflex, with the fat greasing the way, helps me somewhat:

"If you suffer from constipation predominant IBS (IBS-C), you may be able to encourage a bowel movements, particularly in the morning, by eating a large meal with some fat content." ibs.about.com/od/glossary/g/gastrocolic.htm

"In periods between meals, the colon is generally quiescent. Following a meal, colonic motility increases significantly, due to signals propagated through the enteric nervous system - the so called gastrocolic and duodenocolic reflexes, manifestation of enteric nervous system control. In humans, the signal seems to be stimulated almost exclusively by the presence of fat in the proximal small intestine. Additionally, distension of the colon is a primary stimulator of contractions." http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/digestion/largegut/motility.html

The usual advice in this forum to eat one big meal in the evening or afternoon does not work well for me. My differences re: what works for my constipation from the usual advice in this forum demonstrate once again that there can be great variability of experience between different individuals and we should try to avoid broad-brush assumptions about everyone. From what I've seen, extrapolation of individual experience onto others and overgeneralization in general is the most common error people make in their posts on dietary forums.

Quote
".... the conversion from raw plant food (especially raw starches) which isn’t digested well and therefore passes through quickly, can take several months.  I think it was almost a year before I’d say that I was what I’d call ‘regular’.  Also, assuming you are eating mostly meat and fat, the fat content of your food will make a big difference.  Less fat will make more firm and well formed stools where very high fat intake will make soft and pasty stools."

Lex
It has been about 14 months since I reached 99% ZC and I still have daily constipation. This is probably because I already had constipation before going ZC/VLC.

So the important thing seems to be to find what works for you, because the variations between individuals can be extensive.
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline goodsamaritan

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Re: Constipation
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2010, 07:46:44 am »
I'm a VLCer with constipation, though my constipation has been lifelong, so it long preceded my period of ZC and my current VLC diet. ZC/VLC actually got rid of most of my IBS-C with D symptoms that used to accompany the constipation. Now I have what appears to be just plain chronic constipation with little or no IBS.

I had great "athletic colon success" with www.barefootherbalistmh.com Lower Bowel Balance capsules.  I took it for 30 days and it restored my colon to something better than ever.  My teacher promised it would strengthen my colon and it did. 
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Offline irenekrey

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Re: Constipation
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2010, 03:44:21 pm »
Getting constipated is really never easy. Not having to release in a day would keep you feeling bloated, uneasy and HEAVY. Cruciferous vegetables works fine to ease this pain though plus green teas. Also, one cause for me was eating red meat.

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Re: Constipation
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2010, 03:45:36 pm »
Getting constipated is really never easy. Not having to release in a day would keep you feeling bloated, uneasy and HEAVY. Cruciferous vegetables works fine to ease this pain though plus green teas. Also, one cause for me was eating red meat.

I find this hard to believe.
You mean you are eating COOKED red meat. Right?
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Offline RawZi

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Re: Constipation
« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2010, 04:34:37 pm »
    Hasn't heard of the raw paleo diet yet.  Is just here cause the word diet is mentioned.  Selling a three day cleanse to SADers.

    Cruciferous vegetables constipate me.  What works for me is highmeat, raw eggs, raw butter, green juice of celery ....
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Offline djr_81

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Re: Constipation
« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2010, 07:11:46 pm »
   Hasn't heard of the raw paleo diet yet.  Is just here cause the word diet is mentioned.  Selling a three day cleanse to SADers.

Thanks Rawzi. :)
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Offline lex_rooker

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Re: Constipation
« Reply #17 on: October 06, 2010, 01:03:13 am »
It has been about 14 months since I reached 99% ZC and I still have daily constipation. This is probably because I already had constipation before going ZC/VLC.

Phil, interested in the average amount of fat you think you are consuming.  I've found that my stools vary in firmness in direct proportion to the amount of fat consumed.  60% fat produces very firm hard stools while 80%+ fat consumption (as percent of calories) produces pasty mushy stools that come out like squeezing soft clay between your fingers.  My guess is that with the very high fat intake not all the fat is digested and it just passes through keeping things very soft in the colon, as unlike water content, the fat can't be rebasorbed from the stool before it is eliminated.

Lex

Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: Constipation
« Reply #18 on: October 06, 2010, 05:33:28 am »
Thanks for the info. I will measure and try to get the fat level up high.
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline ForTheHunt

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Re: Constipation
« Reply #19 on: October 06, 2010, 05:49:48 am »
For me over eating is always a ticket to constipation. So try eating slightly less and see how that feels
Take everyones advice with a grain of salt. Try things out for your self and then make up your mind.

Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: Constipation
« Reply #20 on: October 06, 2010, 06:55:40 am »
My food intake varies already as it is. For me it's the opposite. Undereating reduces the gastrocolic reflex and increases constipation, like was reported in the article I excerpted.
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline RawZi

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Re: Constipation
« Reply #21 on: October 06, 2010, 06:55:49 am »
Thanks Rawzi. :)

    Cool banstick.

    Back to constipation.  Who needs it?  People are so confused about this subject.  

    Sure, fiber can be helpful to some people.  I'm sure it has been helpful to me in the past too.  Ultimately, many so called innocuous or helpful fibers can contribute to great harm in the intestines.

    I find I do best with food that strengthens and nourishes my intestines, rather than scraping whatever it can out, or exploding it out.
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Offline Hannibal

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Re: Constipation
« Reply #22 on: October 06, 2010, 01:09:11 pm »
Sure, fiber can be helpful to some people.
Fiber is really helpful to all the people. Fiber from fruits should suffice.
http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/nutrition/fiber-its-natures-broom.html
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Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: Constipation
« Reply #23 on: October 07, 2010, 11:03:24 am »
Fiber is really helpful to all the people. Fiber from fruits should suffice.
http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/nutrition/fiber-its-natures-broom.html
You may do well on fiber, but fiber has not been helpful to me, and many others report little or no help from it. All I got from fiber was mineral deficiencies. You may do well on fruits, but I don't do well on fruits, raw or otherwise, despite the dogma that all people do well on raw fruits. I have reported numerous times that more than a little fruit gives me increased potassium and zinc deficiency, acne, dry skin, leukonychia, white crud on my teeth, poor sleep, pain in my bladder and kidney, etc., etc. Given that poor experiences with fiber and fruits have been reported so many times by myself and others here and outside this forum, why are you promoting these false dogmas of all doing great on fiber and fruit?

All you have to do to see that fruit is not completely beneficial or benign and the sort of harm it can do in excess is to check out one of the fruitarian forums (such as www.30bananasaday.com), peopled by fruit advocates, and see the litanies of health problems that people complain about.

Feel free to eat all the fruit and fiber you want, but please don't speak for me, and if you still think that everyone does great on it, then you're just fooling yourself.
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline RawZi

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Re: Constipation
« Reply #24 on: October 07, 2010, 12:50:36 pm »
Fiber is really helpful to all the people. Fiber from fruits should suffice.
http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/nutrition/fiber-its-natures-broom.html

    True, fruit fiber is the most innocuous fiber of all fibers I know of, better than green, grain, seed etc.  Still, it does not help me,  I don't do well with brooms in my body either.  My body prefers to clean itself, without anything getting in the way.  I will read your link, and I do thank you for it.  I've just been in health too long to ignore some wisdom I got from the many experiences.

... I have reported numerous times that more than a little fruit gives me increased potassium and zinc deficiency, acne, dry skin, leukonychia, white crud on my teeth, poor sleep, pain in my bladder and kidney, etc., etc. Given that poor experiences with fiber and fruits have been reported so many times by myself and others here and outside this forum, why are you promoting these false dogmas of all doing great on fiber and fruit?

All you have to do to see that fruit is not completely beneficial or benign and the sort of harm it can do in excess is to check out one of the fruitarian forums (such as www.30bananasaday.com), peopled by fruit advocates, and see the litanies of health problems that people complain about.

    I was a practicing 100% raw organic tree ripened juice filled fruit fruivore several times by diet, sometimes lasting several months.  It gave me energy.  My flexibility was good.  My bones started bending and falling in and apart.  My teeth started to too.  I couldn't stop peeing, and was dead thirsty constantly.  I lost all muscle strength.  My colon completely stopped, and I had to dig my stool out by hand.  Fruit is not good for my bowels, and the more I eat of it, the worse it gets.  

    I had been thinking lately that maybe my mistake was not eating bananas.  Those people on the 30 bananas a day site swear by their "banana island" practice.  I thought maybe if I ate bananas, that I would do better on all fruit and no other food, or a few greens.  Now I feel more sure than ever that even banana fiber wouldn't have helped me.  I've interviewed primal dieters who have come from struggling for years on other diets, including fruitarian dozens of bananas a day.  Eating bananas never helped them, and didn't help them like bananas either.    

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