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Constipation!

notion900

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
>
#1
I just had to share this: constipation was my ever present companion on the Camino, due to the absolute non-existence of fibre in the Spanish diet! Brown bread is almost unheard of, and most meat dishes come with chips not veg. If you cook in the hostel its always white pasta. And so on. My poor bowels did not like it one bit. Later on the Camino I discovered the Fart Biscuits.... Spanish supermarkets have a special section of 'Fibre Foods', obviously developed to try to make up the fibre so lacking in the cuisine. These are usually like sweet biscuits with Pea Flour added. Boy did they cause flatulence, and no they didn't aid the constipation. Other people I talked to about this delicate matter were also suffering. In the end I discovered a partial solution: soup. Spanish soup is lush and often contains Beans. Just say the magic words "Busco sopa". Did anyone else suffer as I did????
 

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Trudy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2006) Roncesvalles to Leon (2007) Leon to Compostela
#2
Re: Constipation!!!!!!!!!

Yep, suffered the same problem when I walk the first half of the Camino Frances in 2006. I learnt to always order either the salad or bean soup if this was on the lunch Menu del Dia, just for a bit of fibre. Also I found microwave bean meals in some supermarkets which helped, and ate a lot of muesli bars. Last year, I took 20 single dose packets of Fybogel (weighed nothing!) which I took in water every 2nd day. That helped prevent the problem.

An increase in water consumption also helps. Walking so far each day, even on cool days, causes the body to lose a lot of water, even if you don't think you're sweating, so constant replenishment is a must.

Trudy
 
#3
Re: Constipation!!!!!!!!!

I got sick of eating salad, but like Trudy said, salad is about the only way you'll get veggies on the Camino. Fruit also has some fiber, so I would also eat bananas everyday (for potassium), apples, & oranges.

Kelly
 
#4
Re: Constipation!!!!!!!!!

In my opinion, it's possible to choose usually the meals you need or you prefer. May be not everyday, but normally. All bars and restaurants use to show you outside the different menus they offer you on lunch and dinner time.

Buen Camino, ... ¡¡Que rico!!

Javier Martin
Madrid, Spain
 
#5
Re: Constipation!!!!!!!!!

two easy things

1. Drink 1.5 - 2 glasses of water when you arise.. wait about 30 minutes & don't try to do too much moving around until it works it's magic, sounds crazy and is a lot of water but in about 15 - 30 minutes you will have luck. Not only that, it hydrates you before you begin walking, which is GOOD for you and does not contain drugs or other formulas which may not be so good for you

2. Chinese Herbs, called Peach Kernel Pills - take 4-6 before going to bed & you'll be happy in the morning. if 6 isn't enough add in 1 more at a time until you get results. You can order on amazon.com or in a good health food store. small, don't weigh anything.

both worked for me.
 

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Trudy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2006) Roncesvalles to Leon (2007) Leon to Compostela
#6
Re: Constipation!!!!!!!!!

Drinking large amounts of water at once can be as bad as drinking very little, and can lead to water intoxication which can, in some instances, lead to death. So please be very careful about ingesting 1.5 to 2 litres at once. Drinking water at regular intervals during the day does the same job and is much safer.
 
#8
Re: Constipation!!!!!!!!!

...As already mentioned drink LOTS of water. I find myself drinking between 6-8 liters a day when walking the camino... some days more depending on the heat and the kilometres and no I do not have "to go" all the time. The body is an amazing machine... and like all machines it also needs its fuel. Water is amazing. Drinking lots of water you will not dehydrate... once dehydrated it is quite difficult to get back to normal... Also this works wonders for the muscles - you wont have that much pain from walking if any. - Water also makes the digestion work better...

As for fibers... Eat nuts, raisins, bananas, veggies... You can ALWAYS ask for boiled veggies... and another good thing: ask for a bowl of lentejas (spanish lentel soup) it is absolutely lovely, tasty and filling.... and VERY healthy. It gives you energy.

There are also "snack bars" some more healthy than others... but all spanish supermarkets have them... (i believe they are called granola bars in english).

If you are a vegetarian like me... (well ok I do eat fish)... you can still survive the camino, though spanish restaurants tend to put meat in everything. I always remove the meat from the soups... - ham is not considered as meat in Spain... sometimes when I ask... "¿lleva carne?" does it have meat? They usually answer me "No! lleva jamon york" (no it has york ham).

Also moving all day seems to keep my digestion in good order...

...and now a "secret" of mine which I will share with you ;-) Even though I tend to be a weight freak when it comes to my backpack there is something I keep in there during most of the journey... something I love to carry and something I cannot and will not live without. I carry a small plastic cup, a plastic spoon and some "oats" for cooking my self some oatmeal in the morning... this can easily be done without a stove. Just put the oats in the cups... pour over some boiling water... let it sit for a while... and after 2 minutes it is ready to eat. - this keeps my stomach going. - it is weight I am more than happy to carry.... and when ever I get to León or another "big" city - they usually have a health shop.. and there you can get them... some mayor supermarket also have them... (here in Spain they are not so common).

Enjoy ;-)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Jul-Aug 05, Frances, Jul-Aug 06, Portugues, Oct 2010
#9
Re: Constipation!!!!!!!!!

I always had a few cereal bars for breakfast, and like the other posts above, made sure I always had plenty of water to drink, and always bought fruit when buying lunchtime meals.
Word of warning - if it's bad enough to drive you to the chemist in search of something to help you out. Constipado doesn't mean constipated. It just means you have blocked nose. The word you want is estreñido

If anything though, I suffered from quite the opposite of constipation. :oops:
 

notion900

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
>
#10
Re: Constipation!!!!!!!!!

Just enjoying reading your replies after my long absence from the forum. You are right about the problems with the word for constipation! And if you ask for brown (marron) bread you are actually asking for 'chestnut' bread, so people look blankly at you. All a bit of a minefield. At least I never once in 6 weeks had to crap in a field ! After Spain I went to India, but I won't go into that......
 
#11
Re: Constipation!!!!!!!!!

notion900 said:
... And if you ask for brown (marron) bread you are actually asking for 'chestnut' bread, so people look blankly at you. All a bit of a minefield. ...
Brown bread in Spanish is called "pan integral". It tastes very healthy :mrgreen:
 

notion900

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
>
#12
Re: Constipation!!!!!!!!!

Javier I didn't mean to diss your nation's cuisine, actually I really enjoyed the food. The regular consumption of sopa de lentejas was an absolute necessity. In Astorga I was mournfully enquiring after sopa when an old lady overheard me and took me and my friend off to her little bar in a back street and made us the most amazing garlic soup ever. We had a running joke about our yearnings for her 'Super Sopa' for days afterwards.
 
#13
Re: Constipation!!!!!!!!!

Hey there, commenting from my own experiences I have to say an orange a day keeps the constipation away. I don't like to mess around in the morning so would get up and be walking as soon as possible, I would always have a few oranges in my backpack so rely on one of these for breakfast, sure enough I would barely make the first town of the morning before looking for the nearest bathroom..
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 will be Camino #14.
#14
Re: Constipation!!!!!!!!!

At home I try to eat about 80% raw foods, and I found plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables along the way. Almost every town had apples, oranges, dates, raisins, nuts, bananas, and a variety of fresh vegetables. So I'm surprised that people suffered so much! I'm not saying it didn't happen, but I'm saying maybe it's a good time to change eating habits for those who tend to be constipated? There's plenty of fiber in a raw carrot or raw apple - one a day plus lots of water should do the trick for most people.

If constipation IS a problem even at home, maybe one could purchase some psyllium powder to carry along?
 
#15
Re: Constipation!!!!!!!!!

Anniesantiago said:
If constipation IS a problem even at home, maybe one could purchase some psyllium powder to carry along?
Psyllium powder, or psyllium seeds works great, but magnesium in higher doses, around 400mg (you might have to take more or less) also work well. I take around 600mg / day and that works for me. Magnesium (along with calcium) also has the added benefit of helping with muscle cramps. Good for the camino I can imagine.
Psyllium powder also comes in capsules, at least in Sweden.

Hilda
 

lynnejohn

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
#16
Re: Constipation!!!!!!!!!

I vote for psyllium powder. Doesn't cause side effects or other untoward difficulties. My husband carries it and never has difficulties. Also all of the great dietary tips that have already been mentioned. I'm a vegetarian and have seldom encountered problems finding fresh, raw, fibre-rich foods. Figs are my favorite. AlsoI quite like "fart biscuits" :D :D :D

lynne
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
#18
Re: Constipation!!!!!!!!!

kiwirich said:
Hey there, commenting from my own experiences I have to say an orange a day keeps the constipation away.
Must be a Kiwi thing.... oranges were all I needed as well, and seemed easy enough to come by.
Margaret
 

Priscillian

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 1999, Aragones 2000, Desde Le Puy 2002, Portuguese 2009, hoping RDLP 2014
#19
Re: Constipation!!!!!!!!!

Inscribed in my pilgrim diary in 1999. ´Scuze the rhyme scheme. I've never been much of a poet:

"What a wonderful fruit is the humble prune,
It restores your bowels in the morning.
If a pilgrim tends to constipate
It's because of the prune that he never ate."

:arrow:

TS
 

Priscillian

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 1999, Aragones 2000, Desde Le Puy 2002, Portuguese 2009, hoping RDLP 2014
#21
Re: Constipation!!!!!!!!!

One, eventually, will result in a Freudian Slip...
 


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