Always interested in feeling marvellous I set off to investigate a couple of food stuffs that I don’t eat. One was psyllium husk to make sure all is happening as it should – go fibre, go!
Now right off the bat I found two conflicting bits of information, well actually three. Which is just so typical of everything to do with weight loss, health and actually most things. As Esther Hicks says, “the experts disagree on almost everything in the world, so don’t listen to them.” I have found this to be true for everything I have encountered on weight loss, which is why I had to forge my own way. So onward though with an open mind as best we can!
Psyllium husk is supposed to be the insoluble fibre that passes through your gut and helps you be more regular. So far so good, and if that is it’s sole purpose then all else being equal, it probably does a good job at that.
However the naysayers identify these issues:
– causes inflammation of the intestinal tract
– is broken down in the large bowel and becomes a food source for bad bacteria
– may affect the kidneys
– causes gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhoea
– may cause blockages
– results in the malabsorption of nutrients
– may inhibit the absorption of minerals and vitamins
– may cause allergic reactions
And I thought it was supposed to be a health food? Looks like it’s causing the exact problems and more, that it is supposed to be curing. Not looking good so far.
Ground husk or seed?
The other bit of contradictory information was the fact that people are mostly eating the ground husk of the psyllium seed, so like eating the almond shell instead of the actual almond. Where as apparently the seed itself is the nutritious gut beneficial part of the whole thing. Holy crap! (Literally!)
So the seed apparently does this:-
– is a soluble fibre
– feeds and supports your good gut bacteria
– encourages the creation of beneficial short chain fatty acids
– may help reduce colonic inflammation
– improves insulin sensitivity
– may assist with obesity
– energy source for the colon
– may even protect against colon cancer
So how about that? And yet it’s the husk powder that is more readily available everywhere and more widely consumed, which looks like the completely wrong way about it. See how everyone can go off on a tangent and may not even be right? Fascinating.
Now before I read any of this I went and bought some psyllium husk from my local health food store with the intention of testing it out. Because what you read is one thing, but how it actually works and feels to me is far more important.
So one thing I did immediately was grind the husk down further into powder with my nut/coffee grinder because I remember the scratchy, prickly texture from psyllium I tried once before and it was not pleasant at all. So a nice powder was made and away we go.
I found a few recipes on the net for various puddings, biscuits, pancakes, muffins and it even mentioned where people use 1 TBS of psyllium husk to 2 TBS of water as a substitute for eggs because its quite gummy and sticky and I was guessing would be great for peeps who don’t eat eggs for whatever reason. Sounds good.
So the first I tried was a chocolate pudding. What a disaster! It was the texture of a cross between a super rubber ball and snot. (Or what I imagine snot to be like!) Just revolting. You couldn’t even spoon it out. If you wanted to eat it you would have had to cut it in slices. Ick! I had to throw that away.
The next was biscuits. Turned out like a weird spongy glob and kind of dry at the same time, if that’s at all possible. Again not at all pleasant to eat and didn’t pass the Slim Birdy yum factor test – I don’t care how healthy it is supposed to be (or not, as the case may be above!!)
Next was the pancakes with a guy raving that he is so glad that he made this recipe because he can’t eat other types of grain and made them with coconut flour and psyllium husk. So I tried. And found it weird, difficult to manage, again they were rubbery and so dry that I had to pile on the butter and maple syrup to even make them anywhere near edible. Ick, yuk and double no thanks.
It was failing dismally, so I tried just as some others have it in warm, sweetened water, and drink it quickly before it all starts to gum up. Nearly gagging the whole way, I could tell I wasn’t winning.
Last ditch effort, a combo prune, nut, psyllium bliss ball with chocolate and maple syrup. Again dry, unappetising and yuk.
All this took place over a week, so it wasn’t like I was overdosing on the stuff but the key factor – it made me feel weird. I didn’t feel at ease at all taking it. Stomach was bloated and guts were gurgling non-stop. Sure it had the desired other effect, however so do many other things like a fruit smoothie with enzymes and natural fibre, prunes, enough B Vitamins to get the peristaltic action going and eating a light veggie soup.
So will I eat psyllium husk ongoing?
So my verdict for psyllium husk is… no way Jose! Rang no bells, ticked no boxes. It was hard to incorporate into my food, tasted revolting, felt bizarre and may not even be the holy grail it’s made out to be. So a big wide berth for me.
Now psyllium seed powder may be a whole other story but I don’t think I will be testing that for a while yet. Need chocolate recovery time first and get my body back to normal. Also apparently it is super hard to get in Australia. So as the preferer of all things easy, no thank you again!
Do you take psyllium husk? What has your experience been?
Now on a Ray Peat style diet any fibre this harsh or even seeds, if I did find that seed powder, are out of the question. Too damaging for the gut and other parts of the body. You can find the diet I do follow now in my ZEN Beach Diet Book.