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The Primal Diet: Enough Daily Fiber?

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  • The Primal Diet: Enough Daily Fiber?

    I was vegan from early 1993 until about 2 months ago (mid-October). About 2 weeks into Primaldom, I started to experience a worsening of my hemorrhoids. I recall no straining during elimination during this period, wasn't constipated, wasn't spending long amounts of time on the toilet--in other words, everything seemed normal in that regard...

    By two weeks ago I developed a hum-dinger of a prolapsed internal hemorrhoid. Those of you who have been down this path know how incredibly painful those suckers are. Last week I saw a doctor who told me I needed it surgically removed. Today I had a consult with a surgeon; she essentially agreed (if it got no better on it's own). I have an appointment in about a month for a hemorrhoidectomy.

    During the consult this afternoon, the doctor said, in effect, that you only get hemorrhoids from straining, sitting too long on the pot, and/or not eating enough fiber. She essentially said that we all need to take fiber supplements because it's difficult for us to get the 40-50 grams of fiber that we (well, men--women need a little less?) need every day.

    I took great exception to the idea that I wasn't getting enough fiber--and argued that 500,000 years ago, we were NOT taking fiber supplements on the African Veldt.

    By the time I got home, though, I was starting to wonder just how much fiber I AM getting.

    I crunched some numbers via, and to my horror came to the conclusion that maybe I'm NOT getting anywhere near my 30-40 grams!

    I (and others over the past couple of weeks) have wondered if my current painful condition is a RESULT of changing from a vegan to Primal diet. I poo-poo'd the notion (pardon the pun)--being in the early-adopter, true-believer, smug-newbie, this-diet-can-do-no-wrong phase of Primaldom...

    But now, I'm starting to wonder...

    On the other hand, I just turned 57--and I've read that age alone can be a factor in hemorrhoid onslaught? (I've had various flare-ups of H's over the past 10-15 years... H's are not new to me--but the severity this time is what's noteworthy.)

    I hate the idea that I may have "done this to myself" by embracing this 'new' diet, and/or not following it properly... I've encountered many Primal Enthusiasts (much younger than myself) who regale cyberspace with lusty tales of eating mostly meat all day, every day. That being the case, how are they getting 'enough' fiber?

    I guess my question is--how many of you pay attention to your daily fiber intake, and/or how many of you are sure you're getting the requisite 30-40 grams a day of the stuff?

    Or are those numbers just "Conventional Wisdom"? What ARE good "Primal Fiber Numbers"? What do the Primal-Paleo experts say about fiber consumption?
    Vegan from 1993 until Oct 16, 2010. "D'oh!!"

  • #2
    I feel your pain. I have had several outpatient procedures and one ten-day hospitalization for the problem 30 years ago. I have found that stress (and pregnancy) bring on my problems, and not constipation or lack of fiber. Right now, I am getting less than 20 grams of fiber a day, and I am not having any problems.

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    • #3
      I have never suffered from hemorrhoids, but for the first 3 months on primal, constipation was my only complaint. People on this forum reassured me that as my gut flora adjusted to the new food and my gut healed from too many years of high fiber, it would get better. And it did...everything is working way better now than it was before I went primal. So hopefully things will heal up for you too, without needing surgery.

      Zone diet on and off for several years....worked, but too much focus on exact meal composition
      Primal since July 2010...skinniest I've ever been and the least stressed about food


      • #4
        Originally posted by wilberfan View Post
        I guess my question is--how many of you pay attention to your daily fiber intake, and/or how many of you are sure you're getting the requisite 30-40 grams a day of the stuff?

        Or are those numbers just "Conventional Wisdom"? What ARE good "Primal Fiber Numbers"? What do the Primal-Paleo experts say about fiber consumption?
        Those are all just CW. I might have a salad once or twice a week, but I never worry about fiber numbers, because they don't matter. Fat is a far better intestinal lubricant than any amount of fiber.
        Primal eating in a nutshell: If you are hungry, eat Primal food until you are satisfied (not stuffed). Then stop. Wait until you're hungry again. Repeat.

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        • #5
          If you don't already I would recommend squatting when at the water closet. I've never had problems with hemorrhoids myself, but I've heard that squatting helps to relieve them, and it's better for colon health in general anyway. Nature's Platform seems to be a well-regarded brand, and if you don't want to pay the $158 (!!!) they're even nice enough to show a DIY version you can make yourself with some bricks and board.


          • #6
            I had the same problem when I first started primal eating.

            Everything was resolved when I discovered this very basic thing: I wasn't eating enough fat.

            Bowel movements are almost a pleasure now, haha...


            • #7
              I have had chronic constipation all my life, and the only thing that "works" for me is added fiber. I use psyllium powder that I mix with foods--about 2 T a day will keep me fairly regular. My GI has never been concerned about this and tells me that the psyllium is no problem--i.e., he would recommend added fiber for my condition.


              • #8
                Going primal was what cured me of my hemorrhoids,

                My wife who has had chronic constipation all her life and has tried everything, told me yesterday that for the first time she has had a normal, soft, easy poo. She has only been primal for 2 months. It was a great conversation over dinner.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Griff View Post
                  Fat is a far better intestinal lubricant than any amount of fiber.
                  Can you elaborate, this is fascinating, I havn't come across this idea before. Can you link to info?? Thanks

                  No more diets. No more stress. Health made easy. Living made incredible.


                  • #10
                    obviously, your situation is different, i am not a medical professional and i am not trying to play Dr. Internet. with that being said:


                    some fiber is good, but saying we *need* that huge mount of fiber daily is very CW and actually incredibly damaging. ensuring your gut flora is happy and well is where it's at. this is achieved by - like griff said - making sure you get your fat on, and restoring gut flora with either a probiotic, or fermented food like yogurt, kefir, or kraut will help immensely.

                    anecdata: i suffered from some pretty severe IBS back in the CW days. now i don't. my diet rarely sees 15g of fiber a day.
                    Last edited by batty; 12-11-2010, 06:29 AM.

                    HANDS OFF MY BACON :: my primal journal


                    • #11
                      I got 30+ grams of fiber just yesterday. Sometimes I don't get this much, and there really is no difference in the quality... TMI, but you probably should eat more leafy vegetables. Second the fat thing, it really helps.


                      • #12
                        Another great thing to help keep you, ahem, chia seeds. Sprinkle some over a salad or in your yogurt (my personal preference). They're grrrrrreat!
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                        • #13
                          Can only 2 weeks of being primal cause your problem? Don't hemorrhoids take time to develop?

                          I'm no expert but try reading fibre menace, it has info on ways to help transition from a high fibre diet to a lower fibre diet.
                          "My mom made two dishes: Take it or Leave it." -- Stephen Wright, comedian


                          • #14
                            I probably should have started by searching the site a little more thoroughly: and

                            I’ve often said that dietary fiber is over-hyped by the media. Truth be told, we don’t really need that much beyond what we get from eating vegetables and a few fruits each day. (People get themselves into trouble when they eat processed foods and throw off their body’s systems.) A natural, whole foods diet just doesn’t require “whole grains,” despite all the hoopla. Grok and his entourage did just fine without Metamucil and multigrain cereal for breakfast. Our bodies adjust to a more natural fiber intake over time. Adequate water and plenty of exercise can also help keep the pipes running.
                            I know I've gotten into trouble in the past when I'm not hydrated enough -- but I wonder if the switch from a heavy fiber diet (vegan) to the healthier (but lower-fiber Primal diet) could have contributed to my current problem?

                            Or is it just the "age thing"? Could 60-year-old Grok (having lived that long) have suffered from piles?
                            Vegan from 1993 until Oct 16, 2010. "D'oh!!"


                            • #15
                              I had monstrous constipation on other low carb regimens but not one problem going primal after three weeks. I assumed that it was the added fat and I did make an effort to get ample fiber through fruits and veg.

                              The old wisdom apparently was to eat a big sausage or something fatty when you're stopped up whereas now it's more grains, more fiber and we know where that leads. Some things that have helped me in the past are chia seeds like a previous poster said (I like best soaked in water and made into a smoothie) and magnesium supplements (start with 500 go up to 1000mg or more and cut back when you have the runs). And definitely check your healthy fats.

                              It sure seems like constipation remedies are pushed constantly. I wonder if that malady increased when America decided to go low fat in the 80's? I bet it did.
                              True healthcare reform starts in your kitchen, not in Washington. ~Anonymous
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