How can I ensure that I poo daily?
April 1, 2014 9:11 PM   Subscribe

I don't always poo every day, but I would like to. What should I be eating?

I don't suffer from constipation or diarrhea, and I've got no reason to be worried about my current poo frequency. But I would just feel better if I pooed every day. It feels good to poo out what my body doesn't need. I'm sad if I get through the day without feeling the need to poo.

I'm 38 years old, male, and vegan. I have generally fine physical health. My average daily diet is something like this:
  • porridge (oats and rice milk) and a cup of tea (with rice milk) for breakfast
  • a freshly squeezed fruit/veg juice on the way to work and again in the afternoon
  • a soy latte at morning tea time and again after lunch
  • a healthy vegan main meal for lunch - I work close to a wide variety of restaurants, and so vary what I eat each day
  • a cup of tea or a soy chai latte at afternoon tea time
  • a couple of pieces of (white bread) toast with olive oil and golden syrup (or Vegemite) when I get home, and another cup of tea
  • fresh fruit and veg for snacks throughout the day and evening, and cups of tea here and there
  • maybe some more toast or porridge during the night if I can't sleep
I've established through experience that my body is happier when it receives warm foods and drinks throughout the day, so things like porridge and toast and cups of tea are important.

I drink the lattes because I struggle with alertness in the afternoons.

What foods/drinks should I add to or emphasize in my diet to achieve a daily poo? What foods and drinks will just naturally get things moving in my bowels?
posted by paleyellowwithorange to Food & Drink (58 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
"Once a day" is a myth. "Regular" is whatever is regular for you, and it isn't necessarily every day. (It also isn't necessarily regular.) You shouldn't worry about it. Go when the need strikes you, and don't worry about it the rest of the time.

Trying to maintain a once-a-day schedule gets people addicted to laxatives (whether natural or not). And it isn't healthy.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:24 PM on April 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: I know less than once a day is fine, and I'm not worried about it. And I don't try to force the issue. I would just like to make it once a day for my satisfaction.

I'm not going to go down the laxatives route.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 9:27 PM on April 1, 2014

I have recently started pooping every day.

I didn't used to. It used to be food went in, poop came out a day or two or three later. Never had any problems, it was just... poop when poop happened. For my adult life, it was like that.

Now it's pretty much 9am everyday like clockwork. What changed ? I quit caffeine. Straight up. No more cokes. No more chocolate. No more coffee.

YMMV of course, but there it is. It took a few weeks for the regularity to set in. If you were gonna try that, give it a good month or so and see what happens.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:27 PM on April 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

Psyllium fiber changed my life. I get the hippie version rather than the ginned up metamucil stuff though.

It's almost scary looking back at what I considered a normal dump five years ago.
posted by hobo gitano de queretaro at 9:34 PM on April 1, 2014

Response by poster: Can you link to a recommended version, just so I can get an idea of what to look for in my part of the world?
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 9:36 PM on April 1, 2014

Up your caffeine intake. Drink 2-3 cups of coffee.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:42 PM on April 1, 2014

Response by poster: I already drink 2 coffees (lattes) a day. Do you mean an additional 2-3?
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 9:44 PM on April 1, 2014

Perhaps shift over to "double-" or "triple-" shots of espresso in your coffee beverages. You'll get more caffeine that way.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:45 PM on April 1, 2014

3 or 4 prunes an hour or so after your last meal might be worth a try.
posted by rmmcclay at 9:46 PM on April 1, 2014

I admit to choosing this brand because of the hilarious styling on the can, but in my experience it's all pretty much the same thing, whichever brand you choose.
posted by hobo gitano de queretaro at 9:52 PM on April 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

My sister and I both suffer from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) which for different people means different things. For her it was diarrhea, for me it was constipation. People will often say that fiber makes you go, but it often just "bulks up" the stool, not really making it easier to pass, but nonetheless fiber is important. What most people don't know is that dietary fat helps to promote regularity by way of "greasing the tubes" so to speak, and really all the fat I see in your diet is the olive oil and whatever is in your coffee. I'd suggest a handful of nuts in place of or in addition to some of the fruit, you'll get some healthy fats and a good whack of fiber too. short of using a stool softener daily, or some stimulant laxative, dietary changes make all the difference. add in a couple handfuls of nuts, or (assuming you are vegan because of the "healthy vegan main meal") some avocado or a fattier brand of Tofu. I wish you luck!
posted by tahu363 at 9:53 PM on April 1, 2014 [12 favorites]

I found by trial and error that I am better off replacing some of the bread in my diet with a green salad. A perfect snack for me now is a salad of baby arugula, micro greens and sprouts with whatever I have on hand such as green beans, avocado, tomato, and some fresh herbs, olive oil and lemon juice. A crank of salt and pepper and it's better than toast for a late snack and I'm not trying to deal with the gluten which seems to bother me more than it used to. I've come to love this nighttime snack and am happy to steam a few veggies on a weekend to keep them on hand to vary this treat. Seriously, your restaurant meals might not be giving you enough of the leafy green stuff.
posted by Anitanola at 9:53 PM on April 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Can you link to a recommended version, just so I can get an idea of what to look for in my part of the world?

Metamucil seems to be available in Australia. But just "fiber laxative" or "fiber supplement" and look on the label for psyllium.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:54 PM on April 1, 2014

More foods with fiber! Lentils, avocados, broccoli, cabbage, sweet potato...I find kimchi works wonders for my gut too.

Though I should warn you that I find broccoli + kimchi a ridiculously gassy combination so watch out there...
posted by astapasta24 at 9:55 PM on April 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Sauerkraut may be a more consistently vegan option similar to kimchi. Kimchi can be vegan but frequently has shrimp as an ingredient. The fermentation along with the vegetable fiber can be a good combo for encouraging regularity.
posted by Swisstine at 9:58 PM on April 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

my understanding is that you want soluble fiber in particular. if you check the nutritional information on products, sometimes it'll indicate soluble vs insoluble fiber. or google it. and lots of water!
posted by fingers_of_fire at 10:49 PM on April 1, 2014

Prunes and/or increased coffee is going down the laxatives route.

A teaspoon of raw psyllium husk (Woolworths has it under the Macro Foods label - look in the health foods aisle) in your porridge will certainly bulk things up some, but I think what you really need to be eating is a massive salad every day.

Again, the supermarkets are your friend: Woolies and Coles both sell pre-washed "serves six" bags of four leaf mix for about two bucks. A bag of that (serves six, my arse), a chopped tomato, a few olives, a few sun-dried tomatoes, a chopped apple, maybe a few pieces of fried crumbed chicken tenderloin or a small can of oily tuna or a semi-hard-boiled egg, maybe a bit of sliced steamed pumpkin and/or green beans and/or asparagus and/or Brussels sprouts and a bit of sweet chili sauce: nibble your way through all of that during the course of your evening and your guts will have no choice but to get rid of it the next day.
posted by flabdablet at 10:52 PM on April 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


Maybe 3,000 mg's a day for a while?

If you are C deficient. my layman's understanding is up to 8,000 mg's a day or until a bowel movement commences.

This is one of the best little known Vitamin C supplement uses - bar none.
posted by jbenben at 10:52 PM on April 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Megadoses of Vitamin C is going down the laxatives route as well. I would personally not do that.
posted by flabdablet at 10:56 PM on April 1, 2014

Most people have a magnesium deficiency and don't know it. Magnesium citrate supplements are great for that, and are generally regarded as safe, medically speaking.

And they help you poop. Although the intended as supplement dose is much lower than the intended as laxative dose, unsurprisingly.
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:58 PM on April 1, 2014 [7 favorites]

Throw a handful of chia seeds on your breakfast I'm the morning.
posted by Salamander at 10:59 PM on April 1, 2014

Seconding tahu363, more fats and more whole greens would help a lot. Your diet is very low in fat - it's mostly carbs, which is why you're having alertness problems when the energy from the carbs runs out.

Add nuts, avocado, broccoli, green salad, carrots, and anything else big and crunchy.

Eat a giant green salad for dinner (I don't see an actual "dinner" in your list, just snacks/bread/maybe porridge?) with a nice vinaigrette and a generous handful of cashews or sesame seeds. The fats will help you sleep, and the fats/greens will be plenty of natural fiber and lube to get you regular.

And eat nuts/avocado/whole veggies as snacks through the day too when you're hungry.
posted by jpeacock at 11:13 PM on April 1, 2014 [12 favorites]

This may be monkeyscience, but it kickstarts my system. I use this when I get up, feel kind of backed up, but I know I have to go soon or face the consequences of going somewhere impractical (woods, boss's desk).

I heat a good-sized mug of water via a kettle or science oven. Make it drinkable, not scalding, because you ain't got time for that. Squeeze in half a lemon, or barring that a splash or orange juice...some kind of citrus. Add a spoonful of honey and a dash of cayenne or something spicy, but don't spice yourself out (counterproductive). For bonus fun times follow each mug with a glass of cold water and your intestines will be all WHISKY TANGO FOXTROT SOLDIER, abort!

Drink up, wish you were never born, and then after one or two cups, BAMMO. You'll be back on the old triple S in no time flat.
posted by Lardmitten at 11:23 PM on April 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Things that do it for me are black coffee on an empty stomach (start the day with that, and 10 minutes later, I'm on the loo); apples on an empty stomach (likewise, or combined with the coffee for extra effectiveness); and jogging. When I first took up running I honestly had to plan to circle past my house about half way through because I couldn't wait to the end of my run to poop.
posted by lollusc at 11:39 PM on April 1, 2014

Well, you're not eating much in the way of coffee, chocolate, protein and animal fats. So I guess that's why you poop less than once a day. Oh well. Up your content of pulses (peas, beans and lentils).
posted by Sintram at 12:11 AM on April 2, 2014

Best answer: It feels good to poo out what my body doesn't need.
Your GI tract is meant to hold poop. You might be pooping out what is lowest in your large intestine, but there is still plenty of poop in there whether you poop daily or not.

I'm sad if I get through the day without feeling the need to poo.
This is pathological.

From someone with a GI tract that does not work to someone whose GI tract obviously works very well, let me caution you to stop fucking around with things you don't understand. And that's not me saying to you to go read more, or that I'm an expert and you're not, or whatever. No one in the entire world has a particularly good understanding of how the human GI tract works. If you are pooping on a regular basis and you're neither constipated nor having diarrhea and it isn't painful, for god's sake, do not intentionally change things for your own amusement.
posted by telegraph at 12:45 AM on April 2, 2014 [34 favorites]

An orange and/or an espresso first thing do it for me when I feel constipated. But the thing about taking strong coffee, psyllium or similar is that they are effectively laxatives, if taken routinely your system will compensate and then you'll need more and more. For me coffee has the effect when strong and concentrated, a triple shot flat white from a decent coffee shop is different to a triple shot Starbucks bucket-sized tepid milkshake (in every way!).

Stay hydrated, eat sufficient fibrous bulky food and let it come out on its own timescale. If "I'm sad if I get through the day without feeling the need to poo" is literally true then you have other concerns. It doesn't sound to me like you eat enough to *have to* go every day.
posted by epo at 1:35 AM on April 2, 2014

Black coffee, as mentioned. But from my memories of being vegan and having lots of vegan friends, your diet seems very low on lentils and other fibrous foods. More coffee, more lentils, and less white bread should do the trick.
posted by Dip Flash at 1:38 AM on April 2, 2014

Agreed that if you're not uncomfortable (and as a digestive misfit, I can assure you that you'd know), it's better not to mess with things.

That said, your diet does seem low in healthy fats, protein, and fiber-fulll bulky, leafy vegetables (unless your lunch is straight-up epic). I think for reasons of saeity, energy, nutrition, and GI health, less white bread and fruit plus more beans, lentils, cooked kale/chard/mustard greens/cabbage/broccoli, raw salad salad greens, and nuts/avocado could do you a world of good.
posted by mostlymartha at 1:39 AM on April 2, 2014 [4 favorites]

I can't believe people are recommending you have MORE caffeine?! You're already drinking, what, 1-2 coffees and 3+ cups of tea a day- you do not need more caffeine in your life. Sure, a black coffee on an empty stomach is gonna send you running, but I don't think that the pursuit of a mythical daily poop is really worth adding more to your already high caffeine intake.

I'd say, eat more and eat more substantial food. Like someone else says, you don't seem to have a real dinner. A big plate of pulses and veg in the evening might stimulate more action in the morning. Anecdotally, when I was vegan I did seem to poo less often.
posted by mymbleth at 1:53 AM on April 2, 2014 [7 favorites]

You could replace the white bread by wholewheat, and also you could drink Pu-Erh tea. I drink that every morning and evening, mostly because I like it. But it really helps things move along.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:39 AM on April 2, 2014

This is what I'd suggest, as a 2-3x a day person.

- does your freshly squeezed juice contain pulp? Pulp is full of good fiber, so you want to keep that in if you can.
- can you add some berries to your porridge? or add a side of berries at breakfast?
- I wouldn't add more coffee/tea. Just one cup in the morning gets things going for me.
- drink a lot of water. Get one of those 32oz water bottles. Fill it up, and try to finish off 2 a day.
- make sure at least one of your meals is mostly vegetables. a huge, bigass salad. or a gigantic pile of stir-fried veggies over brown rice or something.
- snack on nuts, peanuts, and other legumes (lentils if you can)
- if there are whole wheat or brown rice options, go for those
- add some beans. great things to top on salads, or throw some into your meals.
- roasted chickpeas make a great snack. and are highly conducive to pooping.
posted by raztaj at 4:05 AM on April 2, 2014

The concern with poop is a red herring if you aren't experiencing any other discomfort. The reason you're lethargic in the afternoon is that you're eating too many refined carbohydrates and not enough vegetables, protein and fat.

Prioritise getting vegetables - especially green leafy vegetables - protein and fat in your diet. Read up on vegan sources of protein and ask yourself where your protein is at every meal.

Try subbing your morning porridge for scrambled tofu with vegetables and avocado. If you prep your veggies (my usual mix is sliced capcisum, red onion and a tough leafy green like [fully grown] spinach or kale, but sometimes I add zucchini or shredded brussels sprouts) and tofu (I mash firm tofu with turmeric, cumin, salt, pepper and nutritional yeast, if I have it) the night before all it takes is a turn in a hot pan. If time is really an issue you could also try a green smoothie - the internet is HEAVING with recipes for these. I like hemp protein powder in my smoothies.

Swap out your evening toast for whole wheat bread - or, better, rye bread - with a more substantial topping like refried beans and avocado, or a slick of hummus and olive oil. Snack on nuts and seeds as well as fruit and vegetables - I can't get through the afternoon without a chopped apple and peanut butter. I really don't know if this will have an effect on your poop habits, but you should definitely feel a lot more energy throughout the day.
posted by nerdfish at 4:51 AM on April 2, 2014 [4 favorites]

You know, reading what you eat I thought about something. Is there enough fat in your diet to actually lubricate things?
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:58 AM on April 2, 2014

Best answer: Just a few things I feel would be irresponsible to let go without comment:

Coffee does have a documented effect on colon motility with or without caffeine, so far nobody has been able to come up with a good explanation for how it works. It isn't just the normal gastrocolic reflex and isn't reproducible by drinking other hot beverages, surgeons have tested that exhaustively (eat your heart out, Freud).

Psyllium is not a laxative, it is a bulking agent. It is not habit forming. There is no attenuating effect. It has no pharmacological effect on your body other than providing a substance that absorbs water and makes it significantly easier to drop a deuce. I think it is superior to other fiber based bulking agents because there are less calories absorbed and nobody has psyllium sensitivity.

While I'm adding disclaimers I should mention that with the raw versions of the product you should drink like a liter of water with it, and you gotta be quick about it because it will quickly set, like some kind of jello version of concrete. It tastes like dirt and neither the texture nor the flavor improves with time or exposure to water. I personally mix it up and chug it in like ten seconds flat, the comfortably full feeling also helps me sleep.

I personally enjoy dropping a fat deuce, I live a low-excitement life and it's a cheap thrill that gives a lasting sense of accomplishment and hey, it has minor health benefits. I personally went way overboard when I began taking a few heaping tablespoons before I went to sleep and for the first week had some minor flatulence and bloating as the bacteria in my colon adjusted to their new friends, so maybe don't do that.

While I'm writing this novel I'll go ahead and add that I was in the hospital one day as a young medical student and noticed that virtually everybody over 50 on the ward took some form of metamucil / psyllium religiously, even the anti-medicine Big Pharma haterz, and thought hey I'm not 20 anymore. And ten years later, I still have shockingly poor and inexcusable dietary habits but taking fiber really glosses over a lot of those evils.

Long story short, best decision I ever made. Happy deucing, friend!
posted by hobo gitano de queretaro at 5:03 AM on April 2, 2014 [4 favorites]

prune juice keeps me regular as an atomic clock.
posted by bruce at 5:09 AM on April 2, 2014

Megadoses of Vitamin C is going down the laxatives route as well. I would personally not do that.

Not to mention that if you do decide to up your Vitamin C intake heavily and then back off, you can give yourself rebound scurvy.
posted by psoas at 5:50 AM on April 2, 2014

Consider adding a bowl of popcorn to your "toast or porridge" nighttime options.
posted by juliplease at 5:53 AM on April 2, 2014

Response by poster: I personally enjoy dropping a fat deuce, I live a low-excitement life and it's a cheap thrill that gives a lasting sense of accomplishment and hey, it has minor health benefits.

ROFLMAO Oh God this is so spot on!

Really enjoying all the thoughtful responses.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 5:56 AM on April 2, 2014

Response by poster: Consider adding a bowl of popcorn to your "toast or porridge" nighttime options.

Why? How will that help?

Forgive me, I struggle with understanding health issues, and need these things spelled out.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 6:00 AM on April 2, 2014

I want to emphasize a few things that have been mentioned. Seems like your health would benefit from

- more veggies
- more healthy fats
- more fiber - a slice of toast has about 0.5 g of fiber. You (according to your description of age and gender) need 38 g of fiber daily. For example two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 10 g of fiber. Pros for chia: easy to mix in your breakfast, can be absorbed as is. Cons: expensive, check environmental impact, although it grows in AU, scientific studies lacking. Flax seeds have a bit less fiber (~8 g per two tablespoons) and need to be ground, the body can not break it down otherwise. Pros: widely available, cheap. Both are good sources for protein, of which you need about 1 g per kilogram body weight.
- more protein - good vegan sources: all lentils & beans (~ 6 g protein / 100 g), firm tofu (12 g / 100g), nuts and seeds (almonds, pumpkin & sunflower = ~ 6 g / 25 g)
- physical activity - move around more, dance at home, shake your body while you brush your teeth, take the stairs, walk home, etc.
- more water (can be warmed, add a few drops of lemon / orange juice for added taste)

I totally get your cravings for warm foods and drinks and recommend you try soups for dinner.
Very nice and easy Turkish lentil soup (Mercimek corbasi), can be drunk from a cup.
Same goes for a tomato soup, blended potato soup and many other soups.
posted by travelwithcats at 6:15 AM on April 2, 2014

It's hard to say for sure what changes might help without knowing what your average lunch looks like, but given your vegan diet and the foods you've listed, I agree with the people who have suggested adding more (healthy) fats to your diet. Adding some nuts to your snacks, or having some nutbutter with your toast (peanut butter is good, but I also quite like almond or cashew butter) would be a good way of doing this.

Also, having a more substantial dinner might help. Foods with legumes, such as the lentil soup that was mentioned, would add some good fiber/protein to your diet.

The suggestion of psyllium husk that several people have made is also a good idea. As flabdablet said, you can easily have a bit of this with your porridge every day, so it doesn't require any substantial change to your diet.

Finally, I'm not sure if this has been mentioned, but you could consult a doctor or dietitian. I'm not saying you should rush out and do this right now - as you said, the issue is more of a personal preference than a health concern - but if you get the opportunity, they should be able to discuss how to optimize your diet.
posted by ersatzhuman at 7:05 AM on April 2, 2014

A spoonful of soaked chia seeds every morning. (Unsoaked are going to be very painful once they hit your stomach.)
posted by Ideefixe at 7:25 AM on April 2, 2014

Consider adding a bowl of popcorn to your "toast or porridge" nighttime options.

Why? How will that help?

Popcorn has some fiber.

I'm not sure what your water intake is like between tea/coffee. Depending on what kind of tea you're drinking and how your body reacts to caffeine, all these drinks could be making you more dehydrated. This, in combo with a diet that seems to be quite low in fiber and fats, can make it harder to go every day.

Are your breakfast oats whole grain? I would try to cut down on plain white bread and go for whole grain breads. Fruit is good, but you need more complex carbs so that you don't get a huge but short-lived spike in blood sugar from simple carbohydrates, which leads to a crash in energy. Complex carbs can be found in legumes and a variety of vegetables, and the body breaks it down slowly so that you can get an even and more constant supply of sugars over a longer period of time.

Another thing to keep in mind is (this is going to sound gross) what your poop looks like. There are a variety of things to look out for in this respect that could be indicative of colon or general health.
posted by extramundane at 7:44 AM on April 2, 2014

One argument for fats and oils instead of fiber.
posted by vignettist at 8:03 AM on April 2, 2014

St. P's Ass-Blaster 2000:
- 1tbsp chia seeds
- 1tbsp flax

soak in a few tbsp water for a few hours until it becomes like a jelly

- blend mixture
- add 1 banana + fruit or berries + soy milk and/or yoghurt


Other bowl-friendly activities include
- add wheat germ to your porridge
- magnesium tablets or bathe with bath salts
- exercise including twists and turns
- morning coffee
- eat your omega 3's (DHA/EPA)

But I have to say it doesn't sound like you eat much quantity. Volume in ~= volume out. Maybe you don't eat enough for a daily constitution.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 8:21 AM on April 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

- exercise including twists and turns

You may want to take up daily runs, since there's a link between exercise (especially running) and bowel movements.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:33 AM on April 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

I used to worry about Mr. Fingers because his family has a history of bowel cancer and he only pooped like twice a week, and I thought more fiber would be good for him, based on vague impressions from cereal commercials. We tried that for a while. When he went for his annual checkup, his doctor was appalled, and told him not to be ridiculous, not to force a healthy bowel into weird contortions based on woo and cereal advertising, and that I needed to back way off. He was right. It's a bad idea to do what you want to do.

That said: prunes will make you poop. Some people have good results from ground up flax seeds.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:48 AM on April 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

black coffee and an orange in the morning.
posted by WeekendJen at 9:14 AM on April 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Are you drinking enough water? Your diet sounds like if has a good amount of fiber and variety, to me anyway, but you may need more water to keep things moving along.
posted by apricot at 10:37 AM on April 2, 2014

Sorry about the mysterious popcorn answer, paleyellowwithorange. I overshot brevity and went straight to vague.

As someone clarified above, popcorn is another good source of fiber that can get things moving. I prefer to oil-pop it on the stovetop vs. microwave, but either way, it's a healthful whole-grain snack. There are quite a few resources that can speak to its impact on regularity.
posted by juliplease at 11:54 AM on April 2, 2014

Natural calm magnesium before you go to sleep, full french press of coffee in the morning and food involving 1 T of coconut oil (or eat it straight). Like clockwork.
posted by Acer_saccharum at 12:05 PM on April 2, 2014

Things that promote pooping
- soluble fiber - fruits and veg. - I frequently have a couple dried apricots with my oatmeal. Juice has less fiber than fruit, so maybe an orange instead of juice, add a daily apple/ mango/ banana/ other fruit to your diet.
- insoluble fiber - bran and its friends. Make sure your porridge is whole grain, consider adding a bit of bran/ flax seed/ chia seed.
- fats - add some almonds to breakfast, maybe keep some in your desk at work for mid-morning snack. A little peanut butter on that toast sometimes? Add an avocado a couple times a week, they have magnesium, too.
- exercise - add a brisk walk at lunch or after work.
- water - add a cup or 2 of of herbal tea or water.
- caffeine - stimulates pooping
- full stomach - stimulates pooping
- magnesium - dark leafy greens, so add a salad to your evening meal or learn to cook kale, collards, spinach, broccoli, etc. I have some chopped kale in the fridge right now with olive oil tenderizing it. Then it can be eaten in salad with sliced almonds, orange slices, and a light honey/ lemon/ sesame oil dressing, or it can be sauteed with garlic.
- fermented foods - sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, etc., and they may provide probiotics, healthy bacteria for your gut.
- live-culture yogurt
- beans - on toast, in soup

some things that cause constipation include painkillers.
posted by theora55 at 12:15 PM on April 2, 2014

You are probably aware already, but there are two kinds of dietary fibre - soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre adds bulk to the stool and slows down digestion, while insoluble fibre tends to speed things up.

Your diet looks like it's reasonably high in fibre, but it seems like it could be mostly soluble fibre (lots of oats, bread etc, not heaps of veggies?). You could try adding more insoluble fibre - the easiest way is to chuck some all-bran on your morning porridge. Eating more fruit/veg with the skin on will help too.

Without knowing what your lunches are like it's hard to tell if your diet is too low in fat. But if you think this could be an issue you could try having avocado or peanut butter on your afternoon toast instead of the golden syrup/vegemite. And you could switch to a higher fat bread - the Bakers Delight cape seed loaf is quite high fat from all the seeds in it, suitable for vegans, and delicious.
posted by procrastinator_general at 4:40 PM on April 2, 2014

Response by poster: So many great answers. Thanks to everyone who's contributed so far. A general diet-rethink is on the cards, by the looks of things.

Sometimes AskMe can really exceed itself (in a good way), answering the questions you didn't know to ask.

posted by paleyellowwithorange at 4:59 PM on April 2, 2014

FODMAP can stop me up. You wouldn't think it, but beans and certain veggies (all healthy things) can knock my system out of whack for two or more weeks.
posted by Neekee at 8:43 PM on April 2, 2014

Forgive me for the follow up post but I found myself in the shower this morning thinking 'I've got to get this guy off the rolled oats, damnit!' so here are some additional protein-rich vegan breakfast ideas.

Overall: stock up on a shitload (pardon the pun) of non-dairy yoghurt and frozen berries. I actually make my own yoghurt from coconut milk but I am a weirdo. Even if you stick with the rolled oats in the AM it'll boost the protein/general healthfulness of your meal. If you're going the rolled oat route, at least stir in a big spoonful of nut butter to get some much-needed protein and fat. Also, swap out your rice milk for a nut milk to boost your protein and fat intake. Use flax meal and hemp seeds in everything, they're magical.

- Experiment with making breakfast from pseudograins like quinoa and amaranth (nb: you can absolutely skip all the superfoods nonsense in the amaranth recipe - tho I must admit I'm partial to hemp hearts for the extra protein).

- Try a breakfast salad. My new go-to emergency salad consists of whisking together a dressing of about a tablespoon of tahini with a teaspoon of maple syrup, a big splash of apple cider vinegar and the juice of half a lemon. I'll take about half a bag of shredded kale (you could also use another tough green, like cabbage, or broccoli slaw if it's available in the area) and mush it in thoroughly with tongs. If you're thinking 'there's not enough dressing!' you're doing it right. The kale will cry Uncle at a certain point and shrink down and become tender. A big batch keeps forever in the fridge - and improves with age - and I love it with some beans, usually chickpeas.

- Breakfast baked potato! I always choose sweet potatoes because I find them more filling and enjoy them more. The trick is to par-boil a bunch over the weekend, then toss one of those bad boys into a medium-hot oven while you shower and get dressed. Serve with non-dairy yoghurt, a handful of nuts or expensive health food store granola, and a quantity of nuked frozen berries.

- Make up a big ole batch of lentil granola over the weekend and serve with non-dairy yoghurt, fruit or maybe even your breakfast potato.

- One of my go-to fast breakfasts is a fat gram flour pancake. Once you have gram flour, nutritional yeast, baking powder and flax meal on hand it's a total snap to make. I follow the batter recipe found in this, but usually fold in about 1/3 cup thawed, frozen spinach. I'll eat it with a hefty amount of sauerkraut and a lot of yellow mustard. I call it my hotdog pancake because I'm really, really weird. It'll keep you going for hours and hours like popeye.
posted by nerdfish at 1:18 AM on April 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

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