The Unintended Side Effect of Removing Gluten from Your Diet
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Photo by Jules

I’ve started eating Kashi Go Lean again.

Before you judge too harshly please consider that this had nothing to do with cravings or willpower. It’s strictly medicinal.

I’ve been working on reducing my gluten load recently and eliminating Kashi Go Lean was one of my changes. I started eating my Morning Mug Souffle every morning – an easy switch. I stopped making spelt bread and switched from whole wheat tortillas to corn. I ate bread in Hong Kong but most of my indulgences weren’t wheat based, more like rice and rice noodles than sandwiches and pasta.

About a week after returning home from our trip I experienced an unanticipated side effect.

WARNING! Upcoming TMI!

I was constipated in the worst way.

I have always been rather proud of my regularity. Normally each morning I go without fail. After spending a few minutes at my computer with my tea, I have to go. The process is usually very smooth, over in a matter of minutes, and I go on with my day. Sometimes I get the urge again in the afternoon.

But a couple of days after returning from Hong Kong things stopped working. I started paying close attention to my water, making sure I was getting enough. I looked at my fiber intake on my food log and verified I was getting 30-35 g per day. Then it hit me. Just like food, fiber is not just about quantity but it’s about quality as well.

There are two types of fiber with two functions:

  1. Soluble fiber holds water and slows down digestion.

    This helps promote the full feeling. It’s also helpful in reducing cholesterol levels and keeping blood sugar levels stable. It’s found in things like oats, beans, apples, lentils, blueberries and carrots.

  2. Insoluble fiber promotes the movement of the digestive system.

    Nuts and vegetables have some insoluble fiber but the top source is wheat flour and bran.

I was getting plenty of soluble fiber but, based on how my body was reacting, I was lacking insoluble fiber. The scientist in me decided to try a little experiment. I added a bowl of Kashi Go Lean back to my daily diet. Within two days things were moving along again. 

I don’t plan on making this addition permanent. I have a couple of things I want to try as another way to get my daily dose of insoluble fiber. For example Tosca Reno has a bran muffin recipe that I haven’t made in some time that might fit the bill, or perhaps I can find a different cereal with fewer grams of sugar.

In the meantime, I am curious. Has anyone else reduced their gluten load (or gone gluten free) suddenly found themselves with a “going” problem? How did you fix it? Have you eliminated anything else in your diet only to find unexpected and unpleasant side effects?

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