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Old 04-29-2009, 07:33 PM   #1
Alan O'Donnell
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Default digestive troubles?

Alright, my roommate has been having some odd digestive issues lately, and I was wondering if I could get some insight.

Basically, he eats a very clean diet, but he has to go number 2 up to six times a day, often with little warning. Other info: he's a big guy, 6'6", about 215, and is a crazy biker - he bikes about 30 miles (2 hours) every day, plus he's started recently doing some lifting after work. He's a reasonably strong guy, rowed heavyweight crew in college. Also he's an invest banking analyst, so he's got a very stressful work environment, long hours, and he has trouble sleeping at night.

A typical day's eating schedule for him might look like:

4 crowns of broccoli, 3 large carrots + almond butter, 6 hardboiled eggs, 3-4 servings of nuts, two bowls of home-cooked chili (beef, broccoli stocks, cabbage, peppers, onions, tomatoes + olive oil), an apple, a pear + a couple servings of grapes, entire head of lettuce for lunch, 2-3 glasses of 1% milk, half an avocado, and up to a whole cooked chicken (maybe a half on average). 4-5 liters of water. Alcohol on the weekends, not excessively though.

During the weekdays he bikes every morning before work, on weekends he bikes later in the day and eats more beforehand than during the week.

As I was just forced to witness, his stool is not normal - he's literally pooping vegetables, like recognizable chunks of broccoli It's not really diarrhea but it happens that suddenly, and is that insubstantial/airy.

Any ideas? He says that things calm down a bit when he cuts down on biking (as you may have guessed, he is one crazy mofo). I know very little about diet, hopefully this is obvious, as it's kind of gross lol.
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Old 04-29-2009, 08:45 PM   #2
Steven Low
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Looks clean but is probably waaaaaaaaay too many carbs. Carbs tend to cause inflammation which is not beneficial to the digestive system... plus maybe some other food allergy/intolerance buildup.

I dunno if this is the answer but... it's probably part of it.

Might wanna shoot an e-mail to Robb Wolf to see his thoughts on it.
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Old 04-30-2009, 03:05 AM   #3
Darryl Shaw
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It isn't the carbs causing the problem it's the cellulose. It passes through your gut completely undigested so with the volume of broccoli and lettuce your friend's eating it's no surprise he's seeing a lot of it coming out the other end. Swap some of the greens for sweet potatoes and bananas and things will return to normal in no time.
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Old 04-30-2009, 05:05 AM   #4
Gittit Shwartz
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What Darryl says, although it's up to him whether he needs those carbs in the first place. Also, chewing his food thoroughly should help, sounds like he's wolfing it down =)
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Old 04-30-2009, 05:33 AM   #5
Alan O'Donnell
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Haha thanks for the responses, we'll see if he takes any of the advice. In terms of reducing the carbs, should he just swap out some veggies in favor of meat? I tried getting him to put some olive oil on his salads just to boost his fat, but he's a weirdo and prefers them au naturel. I think I could get him to eat more beef/pork/chicken etc.

On this subject, sorry for such basic questions, but how many veggies are considered optimal for paleo? Recently I've started eating more salads myself, per day average of a little over a pound (mesclun mix, baby spinach, olives, red onions, little feta, chicken, grape tomatoes, red and banana peppers, plus a ton of olive oil). I feel pretty good, but I hadn't thought about consciously reducing other carb intake.
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Old 04-30-2009, 06:23 AM   #6
Garrett Smith
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Your boy's got too much stress on his system. That's why when he stops biking it goes away.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18455999

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17852841

Pretty classic case of adrenal fatigue in an athletic, relatively healthy individual.
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Old 04-30-2009, 06:36 AM   #7
Chris Salvato
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EDIT: Realized he said it toned down when he backed off a bit..

Probably a component of it, for sure...but i think all the cellulose is another key factor here.

The only reason I don't think it is just adrenal fatigue is because even when I am clearly undertrained I experience the same thing (huge pieces of pepper in my stool, for example) when i go way overboard on the fiber and leafy greens. I used to eat 2 bags of salad a day and 2 peppers raw with broccoli etc etc and all that fiber would pass right through me - pretty much untouched - even when I was wrapping up a backoff week.
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Old 04-30-2009, 07:22 AM   #8
Garrett Smith
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If he feels fine eating that way when he's not training like crazy, then the excessive training and life stress combining is only allowing the massive amounts of fiber to be the trigger that sets him off.

The nightshades simply aren't helping the problem either.
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Old 05-01-2009, 06:47 AM   #9
Darryl Shaw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan O'Donnell View Post
Haha thanks for the responses, we'll see if he takes any of the advice. In terms of reducing the carbs, should he just swap out some veggies in favor of meat? I tried getting him to put some olive oil on his salads just to boost his fat, but he's a weirdo and prefers them au naturel. I think I could get him to eat more beef/pork/chicken etc.

On this subject, sorry for such basic questions, but how many veggies are considered optimal for paleo? Recently I've started eating more salads myself, per day average of a little over a pound (mesclun mix, baby spinach, olives, red onions, little feta, chicken, grape tomatoes, red and banana peppers, plus a ton of olive oil). I feel pretty good, but I hadn't thought about consciously reducing other carb intake.
If he's covering 30 miles a day on his bike he shouldn't even think about cutting carbs. With that kind of milage plus whatever strength training he's doing he's going to need ~8g/kg/d of CHO unless he wants his performance to suffer.
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Old 05-01-2009, 11:33 AM   #10
Stephen Brown
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A head of lettuce and an entire stalk of brocolli a day and he wonders why he's blowing out like that? I have a hard time believing this is a serious question.

30 miles a day is not a lot of riding and has nothing to do with his problem.
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