Tag Archives: chia seeds stomach ache

Chia Vet

17 Apr

My house guest has left the building. Her trip was short and sweet but we managed to get in a recovery run last night, a pool swim this morning and we took this awesome picture that makes me laugh every time I look at it:

I am late to the Photo Booth party, I know, but I don’t care. We spent about an hour making ourselves look like trolls, elves and aliens yesterday. Instead of going out for an open water swim. C’est la vie.

It’s for the best that yesterday was not a double work out day. Some odd things happened with my body this weekend and I needed to figure out what the hell was going on. All weekend long, I had this very unpleasant, nagging belly ache. I can only describe it as the feeling of unrelenting hunger. Seriously, I could not eat enough to feel full. And along with the weird, grinding, hunger pang-like vibe, came some additional unpleasant sensations and experiences that I won’t go into. Suffice to say, it was like my stomach was consuming itself and suffering indigestion as a result. I don’t go down easy, apparently.

At first, I chalked it up to an overly ambitious workout schedule Friday-Sunday and the resulting insane amount of calories out without sufficient calories coming back in. If that makes sense. As I mentioned in my post Totally Immersed, Friday turned into a triple workout day purely by accident. Saturday, I had a 30 minute open water swim, followed by a 1hr:45minute run. Sunday was a 90 minute bike, 20 minute transition run. I did all of this feeling like my stomach was being raked over a cheese grater. It was not fun.

Now, I have made some diet changes lately. I’ve been trying to make every calorie count, eat like an athlete in preparation for the next race, nutrition is the 4th sport, blah blah blah. So I was like, OK, I’m just not eating enough. I’ll increase my calories for the next couple of days and then by Monday and Tuesday, the lightest days on the books, I’d be able to “catch up.”

I made a really awesome meal on Sunday night. It was full of healthy stuff but super filling and ended with home made ice cream sandwiches. I thought surely that that meal would get me back on track. Yesterday morning, I felt only mildly better and I was starting to get concerned. By mid day, I decided to go back over everything I’d consumed from Thursday on (the benefit of keeping a food diary) and that’s when it hit me that my joke about chia seeds in my last post might not be a joke at all.

So I did the chia vetting I should have done a week ago and found a bunch of articles and forum posts about chia (salba) seeds and stomach issues. They all described exactly what I’d been experiencing. This is one barefoot runner’s account of her issues with chia seeds:

So I started buying chia seeds back in May and had been eating the gel religiously for about a month. I started having stomach aches that were quite uncomfortable and tried being really careful about what I ate. When my stomach aches weren’t going away, I decided to just eat fruit for a week. That really helped, but in the mean time I kinda got out of the habit of eating chia. We always have chia gel in the fridge (my husband and son like it) and a couple weeks ago I had a few spoonfuls and that eve I had a bad stomach ache. Coincidence? Well, last night I made up a batch again and licked the spoon and it was so good that I had two more spoonfuls. Within an hour I was on the floor, holding my stomach. It was the worst stomach ache I’ve ever had. I spent the entire eve on the toilet or holding my guts in bed. I can’t even describe how awful I felt.

This is from Chew on This Before You Swallow:

There’s a reason why the Aztecs treated chia as a medicine taking no more than one tablespoon at a time. Consuming too much soluble fiber in a single sitting without ample water can actually cause the problem it is meant to cure: constipation. Gas and bloating are common symptoms when fiber is not introduced gradually to a gut unaccustomed to roughage.

Yep, that was me. And I am fairly well accustomed to roughage. Unfortunately, my first serving of chia was a little more than two tablespoons. And it went into my protein powder that already has chia in it. Yikes! My second serving was a tablespoon + a little extra. Double yikes.

This is from Livestrong:

Consuming salba seeds may upset your stomach. You may experience mild nausea or stomach pain, which may contribute to a temporary decrease in your normal appetite. Such side effects are typically temporary and subside within a day following treatment with salba seed.

I should mention that I found plenty of other websites that claim there are no known side affects or adverse reactions when taking chia. And I have many friends who swear by chia and have never mentioned going through what I went through this weekend. But every gut is different I suppose. The health benefits of chia are so numerous, I’m not sure that I am ready to ditch them outright. But my next serving will not be tomorrow and I can assure you, it will be miniature.

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