Years ago I started loosely following a ketogenic diet plan, trying to avoid carbs as much as possible. Before keto, my standard breakfast of choice was toast covered by a can of chili beans and a couple of fried eggs, all smothered in hot sauce. I ate this every day for years and never had a problem.
On keto, the beans were a no-no and the toast had to go. So, what we ended up with was a standard breakfast of kale or spinach sauteed or wilted in a pan, then mixed up with some eggs and bacon or sausage. Again, I was able to eat this for an extended period of time with no problem.
Kayla and I used to eat sandwiches, pizza, and normal bar foods on a regular basis. After keto, we tended to choose more salads, whole fruits and vegetables, and generally more plain foods. This drastically increased our intake of lettuce, kale, broccoli, cauliflower and miscellaneous frozen vegetable medleys. Again, no problem for my digestion.
All the stuff we were eating is “healthy” food. However, what didn’t become apparent to me until recently was that Kayla has been dealing with improper digestion of our new diet for at least a year! This should have been a red flag within a few days, but she has just been dealing with it and accepting the condition as a new normal for such a long time now. Now that I’ve been paying closer attention to her reaction to our meals, it appears that she’s got IBS-D.
There seems to be a lot of talk on the internet about getting more fiber on keto, but the talk doesn’t distinguish between insoluble fiber and soluble fiber. Like this: Reddit.com – Fiber on Keto. The comments simply talk about eating more leafy greens, broccoli, and cauliflower. We were doing just that! We were eating greens every meal. It was normal to cook 16 oz of broccoli to split between the two of us every night. We were eating cauliflower rice. We cooked the Trader Joes – Healthy 8 Veggie Mix in a pan, then added eggs to it for a standard breakfast. We didn’t eat bread. We rarely ate potatoes. We ate only a few bananas in order to avoid the sugar. All of this matched up with the keto plan.
When Kayla’s stool was loose, the thought was just to add more fiber. So we kept increasing the salads, increasing the broccoli, adding cauliflower. It didn’t work, but we felt like that was what we were supposed to do. After the Hashimoto’s diagnosis, we were having green smoothies every morning with loads of spinach and kale. Now that I’ve investigated further, I’ve re-learned the difference between soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Maybe now we can attribute at least some of her digestive issues on a lack of soluble fiber.
Soluble vs Insoluble Fiber
Look at that list. Insoluble fiber is found in vegetables. Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and leafy greens! All of these foods, while considered essential eating and healthy contained loads of insoluble fiber. Each of these foods contributed to “help food pass more quickly through the stomach and intestines.” That is exactly the opposite of what we were trying to achieve.
There’s also a conflict if you look at the list of foods with soluble fiber. Again, this is only available from plants, but the only one that is allowed on keto is seeds. We weren’t eating a lot of seeds, bananas, apples, oranges, or other sweet fruits, so we weren’t getting much soluble fiber at all!
Now I’m seeing different sites giving the advice not to eat any insoluble fiber alone or on an empty stomach. Totally makes sense. If you eat a bunch of leafy salad with broccoli and other fibrous veggies with nothing to balance it, then the only reaction is acceleration through the digestive tract. Not what anyone with IBS-D is looking for. Now, if you’re dealing with IBS-C this might be exactly what you need in order to clear out. But that’s probably because your diet didn’t have any fiber at all to begin with.
The explanation of soluble fiber given on this site was an eye-opener for me. Soluble Fiber for IBS
This is now a list of stuff to pick from, but with exclusions of some necessary due to the Hashimoto’s.
Pasta and noodles – Avoid due to gluten
Fresh white breads such as French or sourdough (NOT whole wheat or whole grain)* – Avoid due to gluten
Flour tortillas – Avoid due to gluten
Squash and pumpkins
Avocados (though they do have some fat)
So the adjustment away from all the insoluble fiber started on the morning of 8/18/2017 with a plan to cut out all the leafy greens and increase soluble fiber until we could establish a more regular cycle. We started with less than a teaspoon of psyllium fiber supplement in the morning and evening. Unfortunately Kayla went to a work event during the day and wound up eating a green salad. That’s ok, just pushes the results of this experiment out another half day. So, with the plan to add more soluble fiber from the list above, we went for sushi for dinner. Including the white rice. We had tamari instead of regular soy sauce in order to avoid the gluten that is in most soy sauces.
Throughout the day on Saturday, 8/19/2017, we continued to supplement a little bit more of the psyllium throughout the day. We ate “junk food” all day and it was glorious. Now, for Hashimoto’s sufferers, it still makes sense to avoid gluten, dairy, and soy. We still did that. We had breakfast and lunch tacos from some catering leftovers that I brought home from work. This had beans, potatoes, eggs, bacon, and sausage in corn tortillas.
As of this morning, Sunday, 8/20/2017, still haven’t seen the first sign of the fiber supplements from Friday. Everything’s still liquid on the way out. I think this is perfectly normal, but it’s odd to her since everything has been flying through her body so rapidly for so long.
Later I’ll write about how I believe the increase in vegetable intake has resulted in vitamin deficiencies and maybe even contributed to the occurrence of Hashimoto’s in the first place.