the Bristol Stool Chart

And the pioneers of fibermania couldnā€˜t imagine in their wildest dreams that in addition to being a harmful and addictive laxative, fiber would also become a so-called antidote to cancer, an alleged savior from heart disease, a panacea for diabetes, a weight loss enabler, and cure-for-all miracle food.

    --Konstantin Monastyrsky,

Low Fiber, Low Carb, High Fat Diet



Dear Family,

Today is Good Friday in the Philippines so they're cooking binignit, the traditional "fasting" food of the day. Since it's a sweet and filling confection I'd say they'd be lucky if their fasting doesn't give them diabetes. I like it though. I ate a half kilo of plain yogurt, cashews, raisins, and a papaya about 11:30 am for breakfast. So much for fasting.

Lately I am concerned with health and learning about some things that could make it possible to live another 30 years or so. A few years ago I noticed I was constantly hungry and couldn't get any energy, so I switched to eating small meals several times a day, which meant a lot of whole wheat bread. For breakfast I'd been eating a huge bowl of oatmeal and raisins. Well it all boiled down to too much fiber and carbohydrates which I didn't know, and I was getting so hypoglycemic that the next step was diabetes so I trashed it all and started doing research instead of living in fear of hunger. So this letter will be about what I found out. Naturally you will disagree with some of it since you tend to follow the accepted lines of status quo conventional medical wisdom and I tend to seek out new information.

In case you noticed the illustration, yes, we will be discussing poop. If you keep reading.

I guess you might have heard by now that natural food-source fat is no longer considered bad for us and people are now preaching high fat, low carbohydrate diets. Well they're right. The reason is that fat is our energy source, so if you eat a lot of starchy and sweet foods, the excess sugar is stored as more and more fat because the sugar gets used first, and the liver fills up with fat, and insulin gets out of whack which is why we get hungry so much when we eat a lot of carbs. Insulin being out of whack causes a lot of hunger and the sugar doesn't give very good energy.

On top of that, the right way to lose weight is fasting, mostly intermittently like maybe a few 18-hour fasts per week. A lot of weight to lose would mean more fasting than that.

I started this about three weeks ago, not only because I was dizzy and lightheaded all the time, never had any energy, and was getting hungry about once an hour, but when I found out that hypoglycemia is a precursor of diabetes I flipped the switch. I gave up oatmeal and bread the first day and lost five pounds in five days. That's phantom weight or water weight or whatever. I'm not too concerned about losing weight as I only have 20 lbs or so to lose, maximum, so what's the hurry. After the five pounds left, it gradually started coming back because carbohydrates sneak back into the diet, ya know what I mean?

The real problem is that I couldn't poop anymore and I was concerned that my new diet, which includes breaking fast later in the day, was known to temporarily cause constipation, which was the main problem to begin with, other than hypoglycemia. As for the diet itself, I am happy with it and am satisfied with one or two satisfying meals per day instead of five or six episodes of chewing on grass to no avail. I eat a lot of eggs, bell pepper, onion, butter, a little added cheese, bacon, and once a week I feast on hamburger, but found out I should be starting out on solid meat as it digests easier (oddly enough). The best fruit for all of us is papaya, so if you want papaya that tastes good, eat it as soon as it is not hard. Very ripe papaya doesn't taste good but sweet, barely ripe papaya is awesome. Not low carb but for fruit, it is low fiber, which is why it has such a good reputation among people who are concerned with digestion (see below).

The next step is to eliminate overconsumption of fruits but that will take more time. It's not as important since I have little or no weight to lose so natural carbs from totally non-processed foods are OK.

Of course the constipation wasn't improving with a diet that is known to cause constipation, so I did further research and have also discovered a voice in the wilderness decrying the stupidity of the high fiber diet which has been shoved down our throats over the past 30 years or so. I was unhappy with the results of laxatives which I stopped using after only a week or two as there has to be a correct way, if I'm gonna live another 30 years, and laxatives ain't it.

So I am now concentrating on getting my pooper back before I start exploring the joys of fasting, but I'm still happy and satisfied with one or two meals a day and several 18-hour fasts per week. The constipation is gradually getting better, but I'm going through some discomfort including near the site of the appendix explosion 13 years ago, which I think they call adhesions.

The "fiber menace" information taught by Konstantin Monastyrsky is more controversial than the high fat/low carb/fasting information (taught by Dr. Jason Fung and many others). The general idea is that our poop is supposed to contain over half bacteria, plus dead cells and stuff, instead of a bunch of undigested wood. While we eat foods that are 100% digestible like meat and cheese and stuff, which does not show up in the poop because it's all digested. The bulk in poop is supposed to come from the fact that our digestive tract is supposed to contain a lot of good bacteria, and most people are lacking in this good bacteria due to massive overuse of antibiotics. Speaking of which, a third thread of aberrant conventional wisdom is the notion that we must "take the full course of antibiotics as prescribed". This Big Pharma marketing propaganda is totally off the wall and needs to be sent back to hell where it came from. Anyway, antibiotics save our life but they kill the good bacteria, and our poop is supposed to be over half bacteria. This is the short version, believe me, I've been doing a lot of reading and not got it all memorized.

Lacking bulk due to the lack of bacteria, we have resorted to high fiber diets, Metamucil, psyllium, and after a few decades our big, dry stools full of indigestible fiber (cow food, but cows have four stomachs) have become normal in our minds, it's just too bad that this diet causes straining, hemorrhoids, IBS, etc. Our poop is supposed to be small and soft.

Well that's the short version. The treatment is not laxatives, I have some suppositories as they are allowed at first if needed. I found out the hard way, about three months ago, that people my age need to have suppositories at home. I guess that trip to the hospital where they begrudgingly stuffed a suppository in me and then acted embarrassed about all my screaming in the ladies' room (no men's room was instantly available)... anyway, I now have my own vaseline and everything. Before I would take a laxative, I would stuff one of those things up me and hope I got the right hole. Good chance of not missing, theoretically.

Oh, and before I forget: we drink too much water. See Chapter 2 of Fiber Menace.

Of course I am easing off the fiber gradually, because until I have re-infected my system with plenty of good bacteria, fiber is the only bulk I can get. The two diets I am combining--lowcarbhighfat/lowfiber--are totally compatible and 95% in agreement with each other. I quit oatmeal and bread cold turkey and finished off the prunes, which I find highly addictive, just the other day. I still have raisins but won't buy more when they're gone, and I doubt I'll ever stop eating fresh fruit since I don't have any real reason to. People on the zero carb fasting diet lose hundreds of pounds without hunger pain because they're allowed to eat a high fat diet which gives a lot of energy. What happens, and this did happen to me, is that if you eat right, you stop fearing hunger and can go many hours between meals. Which is correct, because evolutionarily we did not grow up, as a species, sitting around a table. It was feast or famine, and this is normal. I have done some work mornings in the garden while fasting, and unlike when I was eating a sandwich every two or three hours, I do not get dizzy or lightheaded when "hungry". I've found that hunger comes in waves, and doesn't make me dizzy when I'm eating high fat and low carb.

Konstantin Monastyrsky's treatment for replacing laxatives is mostly a heaping dose of vitamin C powder upon awakening, on an empty stomach, since it is a stool softener which doesn't hurt the body. Along with some calcium, magnesium, and a little potassium. On top of that is probiotics of course, which is contained in plain yogurt, but I'm taking a lot more probiotics than just what's in yogurt. The probiotics thrive better if they have prebiotics to feast on, which is taken care of by an amino acid called glutamine.

So that's all there is to it (short version). My previous twice-weekly poop is now once or twice daily. Sometimes it's still hard, painful and too big around for my wee butthole. But it takes time to retrain the body and I've been doing the vitamins only maybe ten days. It takes time to replace the declining bulk of the declined fiber with self-replicating colonies of good bacteria, and the fiber is not a nutrient anyway, it has become accepted by the status quo because medical marketing won't accept probiotics as a medicine, and we all suffer for that reason.

It has taken quite a bit of time and money to patch together a complement of supplements to accomplish this, but it's more or less a matter of life and death as my intestines can only take so much. I never completely recovered from having my appendix explode on me back in California, but fortunately I had a good surgeon. In the last few days since my intestines are working so slowly I can feel the site of the explosion, I think they call that "adhesions". The medical writer who presents the info on constipation and fiber is a Soviet-trained pharmacist and computer programmer who worked closely with Bill Gates in the early days of Windows and then had to do all this medical research to save his own life. He has an ideal group of products that he sells in a low key way (he's not a scammer or an infomercial huckster) but I found enough to get by on locally and when that runs out I will get it by mail order next time from a company in the Philippines which will be much cheaper and more consistent with what's recommended. I figure I'm about $150 worth of vitamins away from a cure, until next time I get slammed with antibiotics.

I hope no one minds reading a letter about poop, since we all do it and we probably all secretly have the same afflictions and just don't talk about it, but I don't have that problem of not saying what's on my mind. In case this letter saves anyone's life, I won't apologize. Which it probably won't since I don't suppose anyone has read it. But that's not an apology. If my intestines fail, that's the end, I won't let them cut me open again and I certainly would never allow them to remove my colon or any of the ridiculous things that people do in order to live in pain longer. I don't call that living.

Here are some fun links for further information.

Look up your favorite foods to compare them for content. Look for low fiber first. Then look for high fat and low carbs. The low carbs are especially important if you want to lose a lot of weight. The best way to lose weight, however, is to fast. And do physical work while you're fasting. I do daily 18-hour fasts about five times a week.

Chapter 11 of Fiber Menace by Konstantin Monastyrsky, a retired pharmacist and computer programmer by Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt

Dr. Jason Fung's blog on antibiotics


This is a three month update on my progress with the low fiber, low carb, high fat diet.

Did you know that butter tastes good all by itself?

I've lost 17 pounds and seldom eat breakfast before noon. I usually eat one or two meals a day. I can lose ten to fifteen more pounds after which I will weigh less than I did as a stud in high school. Unfortunately, fasting causes constipation and I was already dangerously constipated before I started fasting (for energy, not to lose weight) because I was eating six times a day, mostly whole wheat bread, oatmeal, and dried fruit. Health food, right? Wrong.

The wisdom of Konstantin Monastyrsky saved my life from obstinate constipation. Then my avocado trees started delivering. While giving most of the fruit away, I was eating three or four of them a day with Kikkoman soy sauce on them. No time to make guacamole. Then I got constipated again, bad. "What's this?" methinks, "the miracle cure stopped working? Vitamin C made in the Philippines doesn't soften stools?" Then I looked up taro root to see how much fiber it has. Ah, that's it. Can't eat it anymore. A great potato substitute, delicious.

But the problem didn't go away. For days a little voice kept telling me to look up avocados. I didn't want to know. They're free, like taro root, the avocado trees grow in my back yard. I planted them myself from seed.

Finally I conceded and looked up avocado. Yup. Twice the fiber of taro root, four times the fiber of potatos. I can't eat them. They turn into cement.

The problem is bad terminology. "Fiber" is short for the medical term "dietary fiber" and it means nothing in terms of what our senses tell us. Take pineapple for example. Very fibrous, right? Yeah, but also very digestible. It might give you heartburn because it's so acidic, but it does not make your poop big, because it's low in "dietary fiber" which is just medicalspeak for stuff that doesn't digest which you'll have to poop out later. This whole thing is very anti-intuitive because the term "fiber" is poorly chosen. I assumed that since avocados are soft, they must digest very easily, go right through you. Opposite for pineapple. Nope. Pineapple and oranges are OK, low in fiber (low in indigestibles). Apples are low in fiber despite being hard and crunchy. But avocados, despite being perfect for a low carb, high fat diet, do not belong in a low fiber diet. Nor do peanuts. Pine nuts are OK. Cashews are borderline OK but kinda high in carbs.

So that's this week's Pooper Scooper and I'll definitely let you know if giving up avocados doesn't solve the problem because you may be invited to my funeral.

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