|Linseeds (aka flax seeds). From L-R: whole linseeds, ground up, in the water.|
Growing up in an Italian family, especially with a southern Italian mother, toilet habits were discussed often, openly, and everywhere. You’d meet someone, and within minutes they’d be talking about how constipated they were. If you were sat eating, even better.
Thus it is that I am very private about such matters. I discuss them rarely.
So it is with some trepidation that I tell you about something that my excellent nutritionist of yore, Vicki Edgson told me about when I was pregnant with my first. When you’re pregnant, you can suffer really badly from constipation (I didn’t cos of this tip). What Vicki recommended is that you take some linseeds (which are the highest vegetable source of omega 3 essential fatty acids), grind them up (this makes them more bio-available) and put them in a glass of water – I use hot water, the ground up seeds sort of swell up to make almost like a gel. They don’t dissolve, getting them all down is a bit of an art and they’re pretty disgusting to take, I warn you. But persevere. It’s so worth it.
Do it first thing in the morning, glug it back and you don’t have to worry about it again for 24 hours. If you try to hide the seeds in bread, biscuits, salads, soups you’ll struggle to have as many as you need and you probably will end up not doing it (as well as taking in loads of extra calories that you may or may not need). Far better to just get it over with.
Linseeds are a bulker so they need to be taken with water (otherwise you may end up in pain!). I’d start with a teaspoon full and build up to a heaped teaspoon/half a tablespoon. You don’t have to be precise.
Now, if you suffer from constipation and don’t know why and you think you need to see a doctor, see a sodding doctor. I’m not one. But if you suffer occasionally, or find it hard to get enough fibre in your diet, this is a great, great trick. Plus you get a shot of omega 3s which ain’t no bad thing – my cracked heels have completely gone since doing this again (I stopped for ages as I got lazy).