Good foods to relieve constipation without making you gassy? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 04-17-2013, 04:18 PM
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My daughter is tube fed a blended vegan diet, but she keeps getting horribly constipated. sad.gif  I mean, it's really common in kids with CP, but still, I thought we could avoid this through a good, high-fiber diet. I feel like I'm loading her up on fiber but I MUST be missing something. Almost half of what goes in the blender (volume-wise) is fruits and veggies. The one thing I know I should be adding but keep forgetting is flax seed. I keep it stored in a different cupboard than where I keep her food, so I always forget. I'll move it over tonight so I don't forget tomorrow. So here's what a sample day looks like:

 

1 cup almond milk

1 cup coconut milk (sometimes hemp milk)

1 cup prune juice

1/4 cup of nuts, seeds, or nut butter

1/2 cup rolled oats or 1 cup cooked grains

1/4 cup dried fruit (usually cranberries)

4 oz fruit or fruit baby food (if I use baby food, it's always a mix that has 6g fiber in it)

4 oz peas

A handful of raw tomatoes, carrots, or spinach

4 oz baby food sweet potato or squash

2 tbsp oil (EVOO, coconut, or flax)

A scoop of protein powder, usually brown rice

Multi-vitamin

 

I WAS adding a tbsp of blackstrap molasses because I heard it can help, and it DID a few weeks ago, but now I think maybe the iron content is making her worse again? I left that out today.

 

I'm afraid to do beans because if she gets gassy, she is NOT happy. And pukes. A LOT. I also hesitate on broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage because of that...and also because it makes her blend smell terrible.

 

I really want to avoid miralax. sad.gif

 

ETA: She gets extra water added to that and extra water through out the day.

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#2 Old 04-17-2013, 05:21 PM
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hug.gif

 

I don't know other than to keep the flax in the refrigerator next to the milk. Take my advice- flax goes badddd.

 

What about psyllium husk? I don't know if that's in mira lax, but it's in herbal teas for constipation, and some over the counter laxative. I just know it's a natural water soluable fiber, and cheaper if not branded.


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#3 Old 04-17-2013, 05:32 PM
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When I buy ground flax I put it in the fridge, but the whole flax stays in the cupboard. That's the only kind I have right now. I'll have to google the other thing you mentioned....I don't even know what that is! LOL
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#4 Old 04-17-2013, 05:36 PM
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Miralax is Polyethylene glycol? Whatever that is. All I know is I'm afraid she's going to get dependant on it. And it says it "pulls water into the intestines" to help produce a bowel movement. Umm....where does it get the water FROM? If its taking it from another part of her body, it'll just create a different problem. You'd think anyway.
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#5 Old 04-17-2013, 05:40 PM
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Oh and doctors are no help. I'm sure someone will come along and suggest that so I want to get it out of the way now. Blended food for a tube is rare enough...doing it with a vegan diet is unheard of almost. Her primary doctor is on board with it, but he's not a GI so he doesn't really know what to say to help...he did talk for 10 minutes straight on the benefits of kale though. Lol We had to dump GI because they said formula was better than real food and we'd ALL be better off on formula instead of food. Yuck! From what I hear, you have to travel to Cincinnati to get anyone supportive of a blended diet. We currently travel to Columbus....cincinnati is just too far.
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#6 Old 04-18-2013, 08:08 AM
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Maybe more greens like kale and chard in addition to the handful of spinach.
Aloe aids digestion too.

Protein powders can co tribute to constipation.
Multi vitamins can also contribute to constipation.
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#7 Old 04-18-2013, 08:17 AM
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I can find something else to sub for the protein powder but I don't think I can ditch the multi-vitamin. She gets very few calories for her size (since she is non-ambulatory) so packing in enough nutrition is hard.
 

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#8 Old 04-18-2013, 11:27 AM
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Unfortunately, for people who are non-ambulatory, constipation is all too common. For the bowels to move well, you need fiber foods, enough liquids, and exercise. I would probably use the miralax or colace, some kind of stool softener.

You are a great mom, btw; none of this can be easy for you.
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#9 Old 04-18-2013, 12:29 PM
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Yes, I know it's very common. I know many people that manage to avoid giving stool softeners just by giving a blended diet instead of formula. Kids with all sorts of disabilities though, not just CP. We are working on getting a stander for her, so she can be upright more often. She also has a potty chair she sits on that kind of helps move things along. I went out and bought some smooth move tea today and gave that to her so we'll see. I do already have the miralax if it does come to that, I don't have to wait on a script.

Thanks for the compliment. I like to think I'm a good mom...people often ask me how I do it. It comes naturally to me, to be honest. She's an absolute joy and I only want what's best for her. :-)
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#10 Old 04-20-2013, 06:35 AM
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Is that all one blend or separate blends? Too much food in the stomach at once may be harder to digest than simpler meals. I don't practice selective food combining, but I think some foods take longer to digest than others because they require different digestive enzymes which take different times to work. Here a simplified food-combining table:

http://detoxinista.com/about/food-combining/

 

Fat may also slow digestion down, but I don't find it a problem even if I eat an entire cup of nuts.

 

In my experience, gluten makes me constipated and I've been doing so much better without it. Perhaps try cutting out gluten free grains for a while and seeing if that helps her.

 

Liquorice and mint chewing-gum with sorbitol can help relieve constipation if you don't want to rely on Miralax, but I don't know if it'll be as effective as Miralax as it's not concentrated.

 

(On a slightly related note, in another thread you said you should eat low-fiber foods, and here your daughter needs high-fibre foods. How do you cater to two opposite requirements? Is it hard?)

 

Good-luck to both you and your daughter!


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#11 Old 04-20-2013, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Ewe Nanny View Post

Is that all one blend or separate blends? Too much food in the stomach at once may be harder to digest than simpler meals. I don't practice selective food combining, but I think some foods take longer to digest than others because they require different digestive enzymes which take different times to work. Here a simplified food-combining table:

http://detoxinista.com/about/food-combining/

 

Fat may also slow digestion down, but I don't find it a problem even if I eat an entire cup of nuts.

 

In my experience, gluten makes me constipated and I've been doing so much better without it. Perhaps try cutting out gluten free grains for a while and seeing if that helps her.

 

Liquorice and mint chewing-gum with sorbitol can help relieve constipation if you don't want to rely on Miralax, but I don't know if it'll be as effective as Miralax as it's not concentrated.

 

(On a slightly related note, in another thread you said you should eat low-fiber foods, and here your daughter needs high-fibre foods. How do you cater to two opposite requirements? Is it hard?)

 

Good-luck to both you and your daughter!

 

Because of her CP she has gastroparesis and severe reflux. She can't handle "meals" or boluses of food. The most I've ever gotten in her at once without her vomiting is 80 mls, just shy of 3 oz. And that was on a GOOD day. On an average day we're lucky to get 2 oz in her at a time. So what we do instead is feed her continuously through a feeding pump. So all the food gets blended together and put in one bag and run at a rate of 60 mls an hour nearly 24/7. I wish it was as simple as just doing one food at a time, but it isn't. It's not just how she's able to digest it, but also volume tolerance. Her stomach doesn't care if gets 3 oz of one food or 3 oz of ten foods. If it's too much, it's coming back up. :-( We've done gluten-free before. In fact, that's usually what she gets. I buy gluten free oats (I'm not sure how "strict" that is by celiac standards though) and give her those. I'm a little more lenient now and give her pasta once in a while, but I can try gluten free again, hard core. What grains are are gluten free and easy to digest?

 

As far as food for the family...it's crazy. We're not the only ones with special diets. My boyfriend does a low carb diet and he and my son are not veg*n. It's kind of tough getting everyone fed and happy but it's doable. I'm not working right now while I'm recovering and healing so I have extra time to put into meal planning.  Our grocery bill is *outrageous* though! I've tried sooo hard to get it down but it just never works. He has specific things he needs, like glucose control boost drinks. And then we go through a ton of plant milk for my daughter's blends. For the 4 of us we probably spend $800 a month on just food items. And we don't drink soda and rarely buy chips and stuff. My 8 year old has been having a serious growth spurt for the last couple of month though. He's eating twice as much as he used to (and still skinny!). I also buy a lot of baby food so I can get extra fruits and veggies in me and not tax my system so much. I know I could make baby food, but I'm overwhelmed as it is. LOL

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#12 Old 04-21-2013, 10:58 AM
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I ended up having to give her the Miralax last night. :(  I was hoping to avoid it but she was starting to have pain and that's as far as I will let it go. Maybe we will have better luck once we get her cleared out and start fresh. The flax seed made her blend too gelatinous though. So I don't know if I should just use LESS...or what. I only put 2 tbsp in 1400mls.

 

Once she's cleared out I think I want to just go grain free for a while and see what happens. I can do that right, as long as she's getting enough protein and carbs? I so wish I had an understanding dietician I could talk to.

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#13 Old 04-21-2013, 04:27 PM
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Whenever I get constipated I just eat a tin of chick-peas and the next day I'm fine. Sure there's usually a bit more wind than usual that night, but that's always to be expected if you have a lot of chick-peas at once. It's not a crazy amount of wind so it's not like, unmanagble. Even if she isn't happy about a tiny bit of wind she should still eat chick-peas! It's natural anyway, all humans fart every day. It just means you have a healthy amount of fibre. But yeah if it's anything to do with constipation I recommend chick-peas. They are miracle workers! Also what's with her daily food in your first post? Do you seriously measure everything out like that everyday? Let her diet be a bit more loose. Instead of "one cup" of this or "two ounces" of that. 

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#14 Old 04-21-2013, 04:48 PM
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Whenever I get constipated I just eat a tin of chick-peas and the next day I'm fine. Sure there's usually a bit more wind than usual that night, but that's always to be expected if you have a lot of chick-peas at once. It's not a crazy amount of wind so it's not like, unmanagble. Even if she isn't happy about a tiny bit of wind she should still eat chick-peas! It's natural anyway, all humans fart every day. It just means you have a healthy amount of fibre. But yeah if it's anything to do with constipation I recommend chick-peas. They are miracle workers! Also what's with her daily food in your first post? Do you seriously measure everything out like that everyday? Let her diet be a bit more loose. Instead of "one cup" of this or "two ounces" of that. 

 

Because she doesn't self-regulate her intake we have to be fairly consistent with her calories. It's not hard to do. It takes me less time to make up her whole day's worth of food than it takes me to pack the guys' lunches. My blendtec has oz markings on the side so that makes it easy to get the fluids accurate. Some of the stuff I do just estimate. Like the fruits and veggies. Heck, even the oil I often just estimate. Thinks like nuts and seeds I scoop out with a 1/4 cup scoop.

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#15 Old 04-21-2013, 04:50 PM
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Here's a link to a video of how I make her food so you can see it's not as exact as I make it sound in the first post.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thL76QI9x4o

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#16 Old 04-22-2013, 05:15 AM
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I buy gluten free oats (I'm not sure how "strict" that is by celiac standards though) and give her those. I'm a little more lenient now and give her pasta once in a while, but I can try gluten free again, hard core. What grains are are gluten free and easy to digest?
According to Coeliac UK, amaranth, buckwheat (not a related to wheat, despite the name!), millet, quinoa, rice, sorghum and teff are all gluten free. They also state that uncontaminated oats should be fine, unless you're the 1 in 20 celiacs who are allergic to avenins.

Amaranth and teff aren't on this American Diabetes Association page but all the others I've mentioned are:
http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/grains-and-starchy-vegetables.html
Whole grains have a low-glycemic index so they don't cause a rapid increase of glucose in the blood which gives you a glucose crash. Depending on why your husband's eating a low-carb diet, you may be able to use the gluten-free grains for both him and your daughter to cut down costs.

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As far as food for the family...it's crazy. We're not the only ones with special diets. My boyfriend does a low carb diet and he and my son are not veg*n. It's kind of tough getting everyone fed and happy but it's doable. I'm not working right now while I'm recovering and healing so I have extra time to put into meal planning.  Our grocery bill is *outrageous* though! I've tried sooo hard to get it down but it just never works. He has specific things he needs, like glucose control boost drinks. And then we go through a ton of plant milk for my daughter's blends. For the 4 of us we probably spend $800 a month on just food items. And we don't drink soda and rarely buy chips and stuff. My 8 year old has been having a serious growth spurt for the last couple of month though. He's eating twice as much as he used to (and still skinny!). I also buy a lot of baby food so I can get extra fruits and veggies in me and not tax my system so much. I know I could make baby food, but I'm overwhelmed as it is. LOL

Just reading that made my head spin- I can't even imagine how you do it, so well done! grin.gif

Unfortunately, processed foods seem to be cheaper than whole foods these days! Someone who lives with my oldest brother spent just £10 in Tesco and managed to fill an entire shopping cart with junk-food! When he told me that I wanted to jump out the window, but I was still on the first floor at the time. tongue3.gif

You may have done this once before, but have you tried compromising on cooking a single (low-carb, low fiber) meal that most of you can eat together?

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#17 Old 04-22-2013, 05:30 AM
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I ended up having to give her the Miralax last night. sad.gif  I was hoping to avoid it but she was starting to have pain and that's as far as I will let it go. Maybe we will have better luck once we get her cleared out and start fresh. The flax seed made her blend too gelatinous though. So I don't know if I should just use LESS...or what. I only put 2 tbsp in 1400mls.
Not including 1 tsp of ground flaxseeds, Vegan Health.com recommends 0.5 grams of uncooked ALA daily: either 1 1/2 walnuts, 1/4 tsp flaxseed oil or 1 tsp canola oil.

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Once she's cleared out I think I want to just go grain free for a while and see what happens. I can do that right, as long as she's getting enough protein and carbs? I so wish I had an understanding dietician I could talk to.
Even if you don't know any helpful dietitions, maybe you can have her bloodwork tested or something to see if she's getting an adequate amount of nutrients and if there's anything that needs increasing or decreasing in her diet.

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#18 Old 04-22-2013, 05:45 AM
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Not including 1 tsp of ground flaxseeds, Vegan Health.com recommends 0.5 grams of uncooked ALA daily: either 1 1/2 walnuts, 1/4 tsp flaxseed oil or 1 tsp canola oil.
Even if you don't know any helpful dietitions, maybe you can have her bloodwork tested or something to see if she's getting an adequate amount of nutrients and if there's anything that needs increasing or decreasing in her diet.

 

Yes, that's true. How long do you suppose she'd need to be on a certain diet for her bloodwork to show deficiencies (if there are any)? We've done her bloodwork before and it was great, which was a relief because we are doing this with basically no guidance. Her doctor is supportive, but only because he trusts that I am competent and will do the research needed. Not because he thinks I know exactly how to do everything already. He will order any blood tests I think are necessary though.

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#19 Old 04-22-2013, 05:51 AM
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According to Coeliac UK, amaranth, buckwheat (not a related to wheat, despite the name!), millet, quinoa, rice, sorghum and teff are all gluten free. They also state that uncontaminated oats should be fine, unless you're the 1 in 20 celiacs who are allergic to avenins.

Amaranth and teff aren't on this American Diabetes Association page but all the others I've mentioned are:
http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/grains-and-starchy-vegetables.html
Whole grains have a low-glycemic index so they don't cause a rapid increase of glucose in the blood which gives you a glucose crash. Depending on why your husband's eating a low-carb diet, you may be able to use the gluten-free grains for both him and your daughter to cut down costs.
Just reading that made my head spin- I can't even imagine how you do it, so well done! grin.gif

Unfortunately, processed foods seem to be cheaper than whole foods these days! Someone who lives with my oldest brother spent just £10 in Tesco and managed to fill an entire shopping cart with junk-food! When he told me that I wanted to jump out the window, but I was still on the first floor at the time. tongue3.gif

You may have done this once before, but have you tried compromising on cooking a single (low-carb, low fiber) meal that most of you can eat together?

 

Yes, I do try to make most of our meals something we can eat together, even if it's modified for one or all of us. Last night we had spaghetti. I made a big salad with lots of veggies, whole wheat pasta and sauce, garlic bread, and meatballs (separate). I ate a small amount of salad and a larger amount of pasta. My son ate a bunch of raw carrots (he hates lettuce LOL), garlic bread, and pasta and meatballs, and my S/O ate a large salad and a small amount of pasta with quite a few meatballs.  My daughter will get the leftover salad in today's blend.

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#20 Old 04-26-2013, 07:29 AM
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Here's a link to a video of how I make her food so you can see it's not as exact as I make it sound in the first post.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thL76QI9x4o

My mistake. I didn't see in your first post that she is tube fed. I thought you were just measuring all that out for a normal diet. I understand having to do that type of thing if you have to blend everything. 

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#21 Old 04-26-2013, 08:30 AM
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My mistake. I didn't see in your first post that she is tube fed. I thought you were just measuring all that out for a normal diet. I understand having to do that type of thing if you have to blend everything. 

That's ok. I thought you might have missed that she was tube fed. Funny thing though....even kids who don't have tubes that have severe CP like her, the parents often have to be just as careful with counting calories and measuring food. It's just soooo hard to make sure these kids get enough! I went from being an uber laid-back parent with my first kid, to having my whole parenting philosophy turned upside down with my second. You sure learn a lot from special needs kids!

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#22 Old 04-26-2013, 12:31 PM
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Yes, that's true. How long do you suppose she'd need to be on a certain diet for her bloodwork to show deficiencies (if there are any)? We've done her bloodwork before and it was great, which was a relief because we are doing this with basically no guidance. Her doctor is supportive, but only because he trusts that I am competent and will do the research needed. Not because he thinks I know exactly how to do everything already. He will order any blood tests I think are necessary though.

I'm not sure, I'd check after a fortnight or if you notice any odd symptoms. As her diet isn't showing any deficiencies then I would keep it similar to how it is now, only changing one thing at a time and seeing if that helps.

 

How recent is this problem? Did you change her diet shortly before she got it?


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#23 Old 04-26-2013, 05:50 PM
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How recent is this problem? Did you change her diet shortly before she got it?

 

She's had constipation issues since she was about 4-4 1/2.  She was on formula at that point. Soon after she started having issues I switched her to blended food. She was fine for the first 6 months. GREAT actually.  Then she just slowly regressed to her old ways. I think part of it is that she withholds because it's uncomfortable/painful when she gets the teeniest bit backed up. I'm thinking maybe I should start doing incentives so she goes every day. She's nonverbal so it's hard to communicate with her, but we still can to some extent. I just need to figure out what exactly is going on and how exactly to fix it. Should be easy right? LOL

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