And the Beet Goes On…For 4 Days!

celiac beet digestion

This post may contain a little bit TMI for some folks out there. No…I won’t be talking about Sonny and Cher, but about digestion and my…wait for it…poop. And more specifically how long it takes my body to process food, between the time I eat it and the time it’s outta my system and into the NYC pipes.

It’s been a long week here at the Dude Ranch. Stomach pain. Real bad stomach pain. There are times when I accept that I’ll go thru stages like this…all part of being a celiac. But this week was something different. Had to be a specific reason.

Well this morning I made a visit to my porcelain friend…

…baked brownies
…blew mud
…built a log cabin
…busted a grumpie
…cranked an Eight Ball
…dropped a bomb
…dropped kids off at the pool
…gave birth to a state trooper
…laid some cable
…made a deposit
…pinched a loaf
…pushed out a grumpy
…released the chocolate hostage
…saw a man about a dog
…sent a fax
…squeezed out a Cleveland steamer
…stocked the lake with brown trout
…threw the deuce
…visited Uncle Grumpy

…and it was red. Real red. Not blood red…but BEET red.

But wait a minute. I had beets on Monday (Mrs. Dude made an amazing dish with ground turkey, sweet potato and beets). Today is Friday. That’s (counting on my fingers) 4 days. 4 days to pass thru my system. Is this normal? Good question. Off to Google.

Ouch. According to a study done by the Mayo Clinic, from start to finish, food should leave a man’s body in about 33 hours (women a bit longer). And vegetables and fruit should pass even quicker. And last time I checked (Googling just to make sure I don’t sound like an idiot), yes…beets are a vegetable.

So the last time I ate a beet was Monday at 6pm. I dropped my cable at 6am this morning. That’s (doing this in my head) 84 hours!! Now this is no scientifically validated experiment, but something tells me that’s why my tummy has been ouchie all week.

A few questions/comments:

  • To all my fellow celiacs out there, do you experience this? Any idea how long it takes you to process a meal?
  • No more beets for me. Which is a total bummer. My mom made beets once in awhile when I was a kid and I hated them. Well, I think I hated them. I may have just hated the idea of them. Or maybe the way she cooked them. I didn’t realize I love them until a few years ago. Well it was fun while it lasted.
  • Beetlejuice was such an original, awesome movie.
  • I cannot say enough about this video. I have so many questions.

Got beet issues? Do tell. No need to say it three times (Beetlejuice reference for those not old like me).

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28 thoughts on “And the Beet Goes On…For 4 Days!”

  1. Gluten dude, I have experienced this same issue my entire 53 years of life. I have some other health issues that explain some of it, but not all. A year ago I was experiencing the opposite, nothing was stay in very long and coming out with a vengeance. New pills from my gastro doc and it is much better. There are days I have to self adjust my pills to make it all go correctly.

  2. I was on the Candida diet since November. I was so compacted and constipated in January it took the Chia seeds 3 weeks to finally leave. After that large light awakening porcelain ceremony things are back on track and I succeeded in starving and eradicating the yeast!

  3. Gluten Dude – Saddened to read that you were down for a whole week. We are all different, of course, but beet for me is a daily staple (really, I eat like 3 or 4 per week) and does not give this Celiac any digestive trouble. I might encourage a bit more experimentation to determine if beet was indeed the cause – it would be a bummer to write off that delicious and incredibly nutritious vegetable if it was not in fact the culprit.

    1. They typically don’t bother me either. I eat the pickled ones and they don’t even seem to change the color of my stools. Once I ate a tasty bag of beet chips, though, and although they didn’t take any longer to exit that what is normal for me, they colored both my urine and stool for the day. Until I remembered that beets can do that, I thought I was about to die or something.

  4. It’s funny that you mention it… It happened to me not too long ago with beets and yes, I was very surprise to find out that after 4 days of eating beats I was still seeing residues in my stool. My downfall has been food all my life and since I was diagnose with Celiac (2011) I’m careful of what I eat or where, but still get contaminated and sick forever!!! (I have an addiction) Now I know my digestive system is sooooo sloowwww and some times really fast… but every time, by the time I try to figure out what it was, I don’t even remember what I ate.
    It has been very challenging, but still very thankful I finally can put a name to my long list of medical issues.
    Thank you for always lightening my reading time, even when you talk about poop, Ha!

  5. Betsy in Michigan

    We love roasted beets at my house. That said, I find it varies quite a bit as to when they leave me; and yes it can be 3 days later! If they bothered me, I suppose I could keep a food and/or stress/ weather/whatever journal to see if I could figure it out. If beets trouble your stomach, though, maybe they’re a no go for you. Also along those lines, though, I have, on occasion, found myself very uncomfortable and bloated from eating the selfsame organic CORN products I always eat (and been afraid I’d have to quit them!). Then it goes away. Sometimes it may have been a matter of “too much”, but not always. Just randomness! [full disclosure: I don’t know if I’m celiac or just very intolerant; my good gastro doc says it’s not worth being extremely sick in order to test. I await the eventual development of only eating gluten for a day before they can test].

    But here’s another tidbit about gastro that may help someone: I recently put my tween on Lactobacillus Reuteri. I’d read about a research study using it to improve behavior in autism (that population often has major gastro issues). His ASD behavior isn’t a problem, but the poor kid’s gas has been. He is pleased with the results! So am I, so I put hubs on it to decent effect, and now I want to tell everyone (with gassy spouses). Apparently I’ve been using the wrong probiotic for 20 years! It’s also supposed to be helpful for female candida overgrowth issues, and let me tell you, I am only taking one a day instead of handfuls of the other (good quality) strains!

  6. My Celiac husband will not eat beets. I am not celiac but recently I cooked some lovely fresh beets for myself and I had the same experience you did. Days of uncomfortable feeling and funny poop. No more beets for me.

  7. 4 year Celiac here… I have found that I no longer process fiber well in general. In fact, it was an undigested leaf of lettuce in a toilet bowl that sent me on a diagnosis rollercoaster that ended up as a celiac. A year ago, I went full on Carnivore (with the exception of daily coffee and pickles now and again) and me and my gut have NEVER been happier. I understand that there’s a lot of controversy surrounding the carnivore diet, however you can’t argue with results when you feel better than you have since you wear a kid. I consider trying it and look up testimonials. Things should not take that long to pass through your system, and they should not cause you pain or significant bloating.

  8. I think our poor Celiac bodies are fickle beasts at times. What works for one person doesn’t another. I liken my quest for health like a cat trying to catch a laser pointer. Finally jump on the point only to have it move again! Love my beets…I actually juice them. But, I love them pickled or boiled too. Shredded and raw harder to digest. I crack up when I pee or poo purple/pinky for days. My body went through a long period where it was not digesting at all. You might want to pull back for a bit and do a fast or juice fast to clean out the pipes! And; as much as we don’t want to talk about poop….it’s kinda important for us Celiac’s to be talking about! Cheers Dude!

  9. I recently did the MRT food sensitivity test and beets were on my list of no-nos. I’m doing the diet they recommend and feeling good and my lab tests show that my inflammation is down by quite a bit. I can live without beets, I guess, though they make my vegetable soup taste so rich and hearty.

  10. I don’t have a problem with beets myself. But there is a listeria scare in both conventional and organic avocado’s going on. Every year something has listeria in it, and this year it seems to be avocados.

  11. Some bodies can’t tolerate different foods. The more foods I test the more I find are a bit toxic for for me. What is healthy for others is not healthy for me. If I eat fruit ,any fruit, I get bad head and throat symptoms. I can’t tolorate corn products at all. I can’t tolerate thickeners like tapioca or xanthum gum. Oregano and cardamom send me over the top with symptoms. Turkey and ham do also. It’s hard to figure out what your body can’t tolerate. I am beginning to notice the signs now and then I’ll test for that food and sure enough it will come up toxic for me. I am highly sensitive to so many foods and herbs and spices. It helps to get tested. Sometimes it’s just the simple sugar in the sweet beets that will set some people off. Good read. Thank you

  12. they-told-me-I-was-fine

    Provided the beets don’t create a problem, I like the idea of using beets as a gastrointestinal tract timer. I had never made the connection between beets and Beetlejuice before. The hue, the texture and the name. I’ll have to watch that show again.

    I’ve been healing from celiac for about 4 years now. There’s been all sorts of experiences like weight gain (was excited at first then disturbed), then weight loss. I did intermittent fasting and that reduced the weight and seemed to help a lot of things. I decided I would focus on diet so I reduced everything down to meat, cheese, eggs, and cooked veggies and apples and bananas with no night shades or nuts or legumes. I did this for several weeks and then stools firmed up and I felt better in general.

    I had allergy tests done while on many many unfruitful doctor visits so I didn’t remove eggs and dairy and veggies and some fruit. I then introduced soaked buckwheat and no problem. Then I made brew of the buckwheat called rejuvelac and drank that with no problem. The addition of carbs was very welcome. Since then I’ve soaked walnuts but haven’t ventured into legumes or nightshades yet. The Redbridge beer hasn’t made a problem for me so I’ve had a few of those but not in a row. The Redbridge beer and cornchips was a mess on flip side so no more of that but it looks like I can do the beer now and then with no problem which is awesome.

    Since I felt I required to be more of a bullying target than just being celiac, I thought I would get into soaking grain food prep like souring and fermenting etc. I believe it is helping me thrive with food. It’s a better spirit of things for me and I feel it’s helping me heal and giving me more energy and patience and understanding. Food has been coming and going rather nicely and I’m feeling more like something that was meant to live. A more pleasant restroom experience has been a definite plus.

    The weight gain I mentioned above really convinced my family and friends that I had found something major. That turned out to be helpful. I had been bone thin all my life and then I was 180 with a gluten free beer gut. I could have gone with that but I still didn’t feel right so I started the exclusion diet to see where that would go. I consider it a success so far. For me feeling better accompanied a reduction in weight but still some padding (skin feels thicker). My emotional skin still feels a little thin at times.

    I’m taking it slow and treating it like a work in progress. I’ve been at this exclusion diet and adding a thing every now and again for about 7 months now and putting my faith in the notion that all is well that ends well. I meant to just mention about the beets but after I read a few comments I would be remiss not add my own gastrointestinal adventures.

  13. Dude,

    I have had similar issues, not with beets, but everything. The solution (thanks to my nutionalist/accupuncturist) is to have a tall glass of water with fresh lemon/orange juice and salt first thing in the morning before anything. Hydration to flush things through. It has worked very well for me.

    1. Funny…a few weeks ago I started putting a glass of water next to me bed and I chug it as soon as I wake up.

  14. In addition to be GF, I’m on the Low FODMAP diet; been on it for 3-4+ yrs. now. I can’t seem to reintroduce any of the FODMAP foods back into my diet. Beets have oligosaccharides (the “O” in FODMAP). If your small intestine doesn’t have the enzyme to break down the sugar (oligosaccaharide), it dumps into the large intestine, ferments, makes you very bloated, crampy, flatulent, constipated for a while then either stay that way or have diarrhea. This diet helps most folks with IBS.

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I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

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