Constipation and the Dukan Diet

Ok, you must think I have a one-track mind… but constipation is not just a side effect of the Dukan diet, it also hinders weight loss in a huge way. One, what you don’t eliminate shows up on the scale – and being on a diet like Dukan, where your weight is an important way of tracking your progress, you don’t want something that silly throwing you off*. It slows down your metabolism, since your body is, well, backed up on elimination. And who wants to literally be full of it? But I digress…

I will assume that you know the basics here – drink plenty of water, get your recommended oat bran intake, add goji berries if you can find them (Seriously, I’m just going to start growing them myself if I can’t find it!)

So let’s debunk the myth that constipation is due to low fiber intake. It isn’t.

 

Constipation will never let your abs look this flat…

(WHAT?!)

Yes, shocking. In the Dukan diet, constipation is mostly due to overeating (cooked) meats/cheese, which produces beta-carbolines, and dairy foods, which are rich in opioid peptides – and gluten is also rich in this, but again, digressing.

The opioid peptides in milk are designed to soothe babies/cubs as they nurse (remember, milk is a food designed for babies…) Babies can break down these peptides, but adults lose that ability. When these soothing opioids go through our digestive tracts, they numb everything on their way, which slows down metabolism and the peristaltic movements you need to pass stool.

In the same fashion, cooking protein rich foods (which is the basis of the DD…) produces beta-carbolines, which has a similar effect of numbing the digestive tract and . (And I’m soooo sorry for that scholarly link, but I really couldn’t find anything more reader-friendly as I was writing the post.)

You’re stylish, but it’s all your fault, Mrs. Cow.

 

Now, don’t get me wrong – I am NOT advocating that you shouldn’t follow the Dukan diet, and I have no intention to stop following it, either. But I came up with a few ways to fight the c-word.

  1. Alternating one PP and one PV day: for the sake of planning simplicity, I had been doing 5PP/5PV days. But alternating PV every other day allows you to eat lots of fibrous vegetables, instead of 5 solid days of constipation-inducing foods.
  2. Eat lots of leafy greens: I’m contradicting myself a bit here, but adding some good, natural fiber will help move all that protein! Concentrating on dark, leafy greens like spinach, kale and lettuce allows you to splurge on veggies while not overdoing it on calorie-dense veggies like broccoli.
  3. Substitute some of the dairy for soy: Maybe this doesn’t make a big difference, so if you hate soy milk and tofu, sit this one out. I have been drinking soy milk instead of cow’s milk, and eating tofu pudding (see recipe below) instead of greek yogurt for my daily snack. I haven’t given up on dairy altogether, but have noticed a difference since I starting eating soy-based substitutes.

Snacks like it’s protein rich, tastes like dessert.

Tofu Vanilla Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 brick of soft tofu (not silken)
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 6 packets of sweetener, or more to taste
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

Blend tofu, vanilla, and sweetener in blender or food processor. Slowly add up to 1/2 cup of soy milk, but just enough to blend the tofu. Chill for an hour. Other Dukan-friendly flavor variations are chocolate (add 2 tbsp of no sugar added pure cocoa), cinnamon, or any flavor extracts you find in the supermarket! (Look for the boxed cake section.)

You can also use this recipe on an ice cream maker for some Dukan-approved ice cream! Just add more sweetener.

(*I’ve never been a big believer on weighing myself, but with the rapid kind of weight loss like in the Dukan, where you’re not really sure how much your body is changing, the scale is a great ally.)

A (Giant) Bump on the Road

I made a big mistake when I started the Dukan Diet: I did not weigh myself. I had just started reading the book and jumped right in, so I didn’t know you could track your progress daily – I’ve always known that to be a bad move. 

 
I know that, roughly, I weighed 125lb around that time. So when I first weighed myself on Monday, 122lb didn’t feel like a significant loss. Then 121 on Tuesday which, again, was blah but about 1lb a day on PP is not bad. 
 
I skipped the gym (and weighing in) on Wednesday, so Thursday weigh in was… 123lb! What?! Not cool, PP. It sucks not only because of the face value of not losing weight, but mostly because I’ve been so dedicated and so on point with this diet – I really should be seeing results! 
 
Instead, I see lots of bloating, although I can tell I’m losing fat – you can tell by limbs and face, whereas bloating usually shows up on the tummy and sometimes hands and feet. 
 
So of course I did some googling on Dukan weight stagnation, and it looks like the culprit was… My own skimming of the rules. Here is a mea culpa:
 
  1. Cheese: but it’s protein, right? Well, apparently if it’s not fat free cottage/ricotta, I shouldn’t be eating it. And I doused cheddar, jarlsberg, and asiago on so many of my meals… 
  2. Oils: I noticed this earlier, and corrected it, but a lot of my meals were made with oil – healthy evoo and coconut oil, but I had completely overlooked the part where no oil is allowed. 
  3. Fat-free everything: I’m not big on fatty stuff anyway, but I just tried my best with cuts of beef – the butcher seriously suggested filet mignon as the leanest cut, but I went with a more modestly priced (and more marbled = fatty) cut. I also got low sodium ham, but didn’t ask for low fat. I may have had some chicken skin, I may have bought full-fat ricotta, I wasn’t paying that much attention. This wasn’t as bad as the cheese – I really overdid the cheese! – but it must have piled some calories I don’t need, and hindered my weight loss. 
After all my “research”, I came up with the following fixes:
 
  1. More oat bran: I upped my intake to 2.5 tbsp a day, making it a meal for dinner, because I need…
  2. Fiber supplement: Skip to #3 if you’re squeamish or don’t need the TMI. Constipation is a problem in the Dukan diet, and it’s been especially problematic for me. None of the usual fixes has worked, including a mild laxative. I drink all the water I should, religiously, so I know that’s not it either. So I got a fiber supplement – one of them said “made with real sugar!” so I checked the label before buying it. 
  3.  White Protein Day: when I realized I had made so many mistakes, my first impulse was to go back to the attack phase and start it all again. Then I realized it was a bit silly, and that giving up and restarting from scratch might make me less enthusiastic. I’m looking forward to being done with the cruise phase at the end of the month, and there is a good chance my mind will be done with it, so I better get the most out of July. I read that some people go for a white protein day – chicken breast, white fish, and FF ricotta, cottage cheese and yogurt – which I’m not 100% sure I can endure, but I will try to have fish for lunch and chicken breast for dinner for the next 3 days. 
  4. Green tea: This is from the horse’s mouth: drink only green tea for 3 days. I don’t know that I’m able to substitute all water for green tea, but I’m trying to drink as much of it as I can. 
  5. Shirataki noodles: I have been skeptical of those since I’ve heard of them. Once I asserted myself that they didn’t taste completely gross, I kept thinking they were some weird, overly processed food akin to eating a zero-cal hot dog. But then I found out the konjac root is dubbed “the broom of the intestines”. So I will stop seeing it as “weird American zero-calorie over-processed non-food” and start looking at it as “ancient Japanese root of well being.” Lol
I also can’t wait till Monday (when I’m done with PP and get to PV) so I can have some big salads and other fiber rich foods!