Rhubarb season is finally upon us, and if you are anything like me, you went straight out and bought a bunch of stalks. Every year I anxiously await their arrival so that I can make a batch of stewed rhubarb. I use stewed rhubarb on everything, on toast, in a sandwich, over yogurt and over ice cream. It is cheap and easy to make and it tastes fantastic. However, when I first began using rhubarb I noticed a strange phenomenon - I could not stop using the washroom! It turns out that rhubarb is high in both water and fibre and is often used as a digestive aid for those who suffer from constipation. This certainly is no joke; even though I am aware of this side effect, I go through my annual accidental rhubarb cleanse.
Two weeks ago, I was speaking with a friend of mine who had cooked up a batch of stewed rhubarb. She noticed she was feeling ill throughout the weekend, and thought she might be getting the flu. Not wanting to go hungry, she ate a lot of yogurt and rhubarb and continued to feel sick. My friend was unaware of the stimulating effect rhubarb has on the digestive system, and honestly, it never crossed my mind to warn her. I took it for granted that everyone was aware of what rhubarb was capable of, apparently I was wrong. Hence the public service announcement.
So, to make it abundantly clear - tread with caution. Rhubarb is amazing, and because of the flavour you can easily eat too much. If you eat too much you will spend much of your day on the toilet. You will feel as though you have taken several laxatives. If you are constipated, reach for rhubarb and you should enjoy a great sense of relief in very short order. This is by no means a recommendation to avoid rhubarb, but rather a warning not to eat too much. As with anything, moderation is the key to success; start out eating a little less than you think you should and increase your intake from there.
Other bloggers have been covering rhubarb from a culinary perspective, check out the following post at Bite Size Wellness for some ideas on how to prepare.