The Inside Poop… er, Scoop

**Disclaimer: I must apologize for the poor quality of these photos. They’re taken on breaks at school, day-trips to the city, and spontaneous dinners—I don’t carry my DSLR everywhere and I still feel a little silly taking it out in restaurants… so I apologize for your eyes.
**Disclaimer #2: (Heh.) The following is kind of gross. Read on at your own discretion.

It was about a week in when we encountered our first food problem.

It wasn’t that we couldn’t handle the spicy kimchi. Nor that the intestines were too tough a mental feat to eat.

Even when our school director kindly paused to inquire whether we’d faced a case of Montezuma’s revenge, a familiar trouble of my past travels. “No,” we answered, thinking “but we sure wished we had…”

You see, the problem here is not that we’re stagnant. We’re moving. We’re doing things.

It’s just that our insides are not.

With a diet high in white rice and shy on the fruits and raw veggies, our digestive systems have been in slow-mo for the past few weeks…. a far cry from a high-raw vegan diet full of fibrous goodies like flax seeds, green smoothies, and skin-on fruits. Here, my favorite tteokbokki clogs up the insides in the same manner I’d assume a high-in-cheeseburgers diet does one’s arteries. I’d be on the hunt for an enema if I didn’t think it’d be such an awkward thing to ask our Korean co-teachers.

It was a rough first two weeks.

Thankfully, there are a few built-in Korea solutions.

1. Brown rice. 

Thankfully I’ve found one (and one, of the twenty-plus places we’ve dined in so far) spot near our school that serves brown rice for an extra 1,000 won (about a dollar) a piece. Since brown rice is fiber-packed, unlike it’s lighter-skinned counterpart, it’s fibrous enough to keep things moving. Brown rice win!

2. Raw Veggies.

Though they usually come in short supply and atop public toilet enemy number one: white rice, I’ll take ‘em any way I can get ‘em. Bonus points if they’re green.

3. Kimchi Jjigae.

Kimchi jjigae, or as we foreigners like to call it, “spicy tofu poop soup,” is chock-full of cabbage and hot peppers. If someone can explain to me why spicy things make things move, please do so below in the comments. All I know? The proof is in the poop.

4. If all else fails, Costco sells prune juice. Exclusively in giant bottles, of course.

Well, if I haven’t lost you as a reader by the end of this post, thanks, you’re awesome! And if you have any solutions to our “crappy little problem”, please feel free to suggest in the comments below :) Thank you and happy bowel movements to you!

8 responses

  1. HAHAHA! This is the most awesome post ever!
    Except it really sucks to be you… I imagine stress and all the changes probably have a lot to do with slower bowel movements, too, so I hope things improve with time, as you scout out more brown rice and prune juice. I wonder if umebochi would help – although is that Japanese? If you find psyllium, that would be a huge help too!

    • Haha :) Glad you enjoyed my oversharing :)

      Yes, I definitely should suck it up and make some brown rice – I just have such a sad little kitchen that I’ve been using it as an excuse to never cook! That and eating out is just so darned cheap.

      I think umebochi is Japanese! I’ve been considering ordering psyllium off iherb too, tho I’m waiting for things to, er, settle ;) Plus it kinda breaks the “no supplements” pact … I’m still searching for a Korean health food store :)

      Thanks for your suggestions, Janet!!

  2. Lol! Funny thing is, I have experienced the same problem since moving to Korea. My answer is iHerb. What has been particularly helpful is that I now drink my breakfast :)
    If you find a Kim’s Club, they sell prune juice and prunes in smaller tubs and bottles. Not the best, but it works. Also, I know it’s expensive, as are most health foods and products in Korea, but Homeplus and a lot of the farmers markets sell millet, wild rice and brown rice. yep, the white rice blocks you up :P Fine if you suffer from runners trots, but I don’t! :P

    • Yes, it IS the white rice, isn’t it! Will definitely look for a Kim’s Club, thank you!

      What do you drink for breakfast? I have been scrolling through the catalogues of iHerb almost daily but I am trying to keep things Korean and not “cheat” with online ordering and all of these modern conveniences we are lucky to have these days – but if “sh*t” doesn’t start moving soon I will definitely be more prone to order!! Thanks for your suggestions, Sue :)

  3. Spicy food Answer: So, spicy food is an irritant to the epithelium lining your intestines. Your cells don’t like what’s covering them, so they essentially cause an inflammatory reaction. You get increased blood flow, and leaky tight junctions between your epithelium. This brings plasma/water from your blood to try and neutralize the irritation. You also get faster movement through your intestines from this, so less time for nice firm fecaes to form as water reabsorption in your colon can’t occur. Spicy food is great for metabolism too. I’ve also heard that it can fight cancer… don’t ask me how that one works!
    Try to avoid overly salted foods too. The osmotic forces in your bowel cause water retention and causes a back log due to lack of fluids to keep things moving (trying to keep things non-nerdy/sciency or too graphic haha). Your kidneys can only do so much to excrete salt! Give them a break and up your water intake and drop your sodium and MSG intake
    If worst comes to worst, try accupunture. I’m sure the mystical nature and crazy chi’s have a magical pressure point that will solve all problems. Due to its ancient nature too, I don’t think this can be considered cheating. Just make sure they don’t re-use needles!
    Good luck finding a solution!

    • Science win! Hot damn girl! Nice to have some answers. I wonder if the “cancer-fighting” is also due to speeding up blood flow and activating the lymphatic system. Getting things moving would get toxins out of your body faster… makes good sense!!
      And yes! I am an acupuncture fan and keep meaning to look into it while I’m here. Do you use accupuncture? I did find an English-speaking Traditional Oriental Medicine Centre and want to see what their services and rates are like, I know we’re half-covered medically with our contracts but I’m not sure if that includes holistic/traditional medicine… shall report back here. Definitely not cheating ;) Thank you so much for your scientific insight!

  4. Pingback: The Brown Stuff (not talking about poop anymore, promise.) | kale and kass (with a side of sass)

  5. Pingback: vegan coconut chia curry—koreafied! | kale and kass (with a side of sass)

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