Since we aren’t at the dinner table, let’s talk about poop. Bowel movements aren’t widely discussed, but they are an inevitable part of life. Your bowels can actually say a lot about you and inform you about your gastrointestinal health. Without further or doo (get it?), here’s the inside scoop about poop.
What’s In Your Poop?
Pooping is an essential part of life, and it’s your body’s natural way of eliminating waste. This is why your poo can give you a clue as to goings on inside your body. The texture, shape, color, or even smell of your poop can reveal dietary deficiencies, dehydration, or illnesses. Your bowels are comprised of 75% water, and the rest is a stinky combination of fiber, dead and live bacteria, undigested food, cells, and mucus. You often hear the phrase, “Your shit stinks.” Well, this is due to sulphur-containing chemicals, which are known to break down proteins. If you cut down the amount of protein in your diet and regularly exercise, then there may be less waste protein to produce that foul odor. Sometimes the smell can be severely foul for multiple reasons, including medications, food that was stuck in the colon for too long, or an infection.
If someone told you that it was normal to poop a few times a week, that person was lying to you. Going more than three days without emptying the tank can be a sign of constipation, which can be caused by many factors like dehydration, dietary habits, lack of fiber, or other medical conditions. It’s normal of the average person to empty his/her bowels once a day. Some people poop 1-3 times a day, which is still normal, while others just have it down to a science and poop at the same time every single day. If your poop is watery and you are excreting more than three times a day, you enter into the world of diarrhea, which is something you need to address.
Remember, it is normal for a person with a healthy diet to have one bowel movement a day. If you are experiencing constipation, one bowel movement every three days, there are several things you can do to empty the tank:
- Remove gluten (barley, wheat, rye, spelt, and other grains) from your diet
- Try to maintain a whole foods diet. Make sure you consume a lot of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables that provide fiber. It is ideal for your fiber to come from vegetables instead of grains; you can also get fiber from flax seeds.
- Say goodbye to artificial sweeteners, chemical additives, MSG, processed foods, and excess sugar to promote better digestive function.
- Drink lots of water and stay hydrated.
Some people tend to flush and go without taking the time to glance at their feces. It’s not a popular topic of conversation, but the form can indicate if we are healthy or not. If your poop is hard, in pieces, and you have to strain to pass it, then you are likely constipated.
You want to be at #3, #4, and #5 on the chart. A nice tubular shape is optimal, and it should come out with ease. If your stool is loose then you can add fibrous foods to help firm it up. If you are on the opposite end of the spectrum and it is too hard, you may need some probiotics, raw nuts and seeds, or pears to loosen up your bowels and promote proper digestion.
If you’re the type that looks at your stool, you may notice that it can vary in color. The ideal color is a medium or dark brown. Black poop can indicate that there is bleeding in the upper G.I. tract. It could also mean that there is an ulcer in the stomach, or an early indication of colon cancer. Here’s a general rule of thumb: see a medical professional if you see blood in your toilet. Let it be known that a small amount of blood may be caused by pushing too hard, which can cause a small tear around the anus or even hemorrhoids.
Poop can be a seaweed green for two reasons: Your diet may consist of lots of leafy green vegetables (which is great!), or food may be passing too quickly through your digestive system (not so great). Bile can have a green tinge, and if it is in your stool, then body didn’t have time to properly digest it. Your poop can also look grayish if you are on certain medications. It can also be light in color, which may suggest a liver problem. If the liver isn’t producing enough bile, then your body isn’t properly detoxifying. To remedy this, you can incorporate dandelions and beets into your diet to help detox the liver.
Squat, Don’t Sit
Squatting as opposed to sitting can help you properly and fully eliminate your bowels. Why squat? When you sit down to poop, your knees are at a 90-degree angle to your abdomen. That can pinch your anal canal and prevent full bowel elimination. Squatting straightens the rectum, allowing easy passage of stool. You may want to look into a Squatty Potty to allow gravity to do most of the work, which helps to avoid colon build up. You don’t want to strain to eliminate because that can cause hemorrhoids or pelvic issues.
Poop is your friend. Embrace the ability to naturally release your bowels because it is a healthy part of life. A great way to effectively eliminate your bowels is through cleansing or participating in a colonic. It’s great to eliminate, so make sure you regularly do the doo and have regular poos. Remember, 80-90% of all diseases start in the colon!