What is FOOD?

Funky Smelling Pink Pee

Asparagus asparagus (can you do the fandango)
Image by itsjustanalias via Flickr

As I have recently become obsessed with eating tons of vegetables for dinner, I felt it necessary to mention an unusual side effect of consuming some fresh produce, specifically asparagus and my new favorite, beets (Read my post: Beet it, Just Beet it)

There is no delicate way to say it, so I’ll just spit it out. The fact of the matter is that asparagus makes your pee smell “funky.”

I am not the only one that has noticed this odiferous side effect. In fact over 3 centuries ago French writer, Louis Lemery wrote in his book, Treatise of All Sorts of Food (1702) that  “Asparagus causes a filthy and disagreeable smell in the urine”.

Marcel Proust wrote satirically in his legendary work “Swann’s Way,” that “Asparagus…transforms my chamber pot into a flask of perfume”

The reason? Asparagus has several sulfur-containing compounds. When digested, these compounds become similar to the chemicals that make skunks stink. Lovely!

So why punish my family by eating tons of asparagus. Well, beside the fact that my husband brought home 6 lbs (!) of them, (His reasoning –  the street vendor was closing his cart up and was practically giving them away), asparagus are full of vitamins and minerals and quite delicious.

Asparagus is very low in calories as one spear has less than 4 calories. They are also a great source of potassium, fiber, B6, folicin, thiamin, rutin (an antioxidant that strengthens capillary walls) and is also very low carb. One cup of plain cooked asparagus has only 3.5 carbs and only  .7 net carbs.

I was ready for the noxious effect of asparagus, however I was unprepared for the color of my urine the next day. Not only was my pee “funky” it was also pink!

OMG! I quickly checked the calendar. Nope, it was not that time of the month. Was I bleeding internally, did I have stomach ulcers, should I check myself into the hospital?

Luckily there were other “pink pee-ers” like me out there and were kind enough to post their experiences on the web.

According to the Associated Press, I could be suffering from a completely harmless condition called, “Beeturia“. Evidently I am one of the 14% of the population this condition affects. According to this article, Beeturia can either be genetic or it could be that I am deficient in iron. Without going into all the scientific details, basically, I should up my intake of iron. If I still see red, then I should just get used to pink pee as it is genetic and I am stuck with this mildly colorful effect.

Oh well. What can you do. Just don’t follow me in the bath room.

Chow for now!

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