Let’s Talk About Poop, Baby

Let's Talk About Poop, Baby | The Organic Beauty BlogAre you blushing already?  But secretly fascinated?  Good.  Poop is a topic that doesn’t get nearly enough attention in the world of health, which is really a shame, because our poops can tell us a lot about our bodies and our overall health.  So, for a hot second, let’s grow up and talk about POOP (baby).

A healthy body eliminates waste on a regular schedule, several times a day.  Ideally, we should poop within 15 minutes of waking up every morning, with at least two more bowel movements throughout the day.  If you’re not pooping 2-3 times a day, every day, something is wrong!

Why are healthy poops so important?

If you’re thinking “I’ve always pooped like a bunny, and I’m just fine!” think again.  Healthy elimination is vital to our health for a variety of reasons.  Not only is it the best way to eliminate toxins from our body, but it also promotes healthy weight, healthy skin, and emotional balance!  Improper elimination can be responsible for symptoms ranging from depression and moodiness, to breakouts, headaches, bloating, gas and stomach pain.

There are several factors that contribute to healthy elimination, intestinal health and regularity.  The most important of these are:

  • DIET
  • HYDRATION
  • EXERCISE
Let's Talk About Poop, Baby | The Organic Beauty BlogA diet rich in whole grains, fresh vegetables (particularly the dark green, leafy kind), and plenty of water is the basis for good digestive health.  If you are not pooping 2-3 times a day, every day, the first step is to address your diet.  Increase consumption of healthy, fibrous foods and you’ll see a marked improvement in the frequency of your poops!  Constipation and irregularity can also be a sign of chronic dehydration.  If you’re not drinking 6-8 tall glasses of water every day, the effects will definitely show up in the poop department.  Lastly, you need to get moving to get moving.  If you are not getting regular exercise (at least 3 times a week), this can definitely serve to bind you up, especially in combination with poor diet and not enough water.
When you eat is also a factor in the frequency and quality of your poops.  If you are a “grazer” who never sits down to an actual meal, relying instead on small meals and snacks throughout the day, your body never builds up enough bulk to create good, healthy poops.
So what does a healthy poop look like?
 
You may not like it, but taking a look at what comes out of you is really important to gauging the health of your body and digestive system.  Healthy poops are:
  • Soft but well formed, like logs.
  • Easy to pass — there should be no discomfort.
  • Medium brown in color, with consistent color throughout
  • Anywhere from 4″-6″ inches in length, depending on how often you go.  You should eliminate about 12″ of poop a day.
  • Not terribly rancid smelling.  A healthy poop should smell earthy, not like spoiled food.
Some examples of unhealthy poops are:
  • Small, like rabbit pellets
  • Hard and/or painful to pass
  • Loose and unformed
  • Very light or very dark in color
  • Full of undigested food particles that you can see
  • Thin and skinny
  • Noxious smelling
  • Infrequent — even just one poop a day (unless it’s a massive 12-incher) is not enough to properly detoxify and remove waste from your body!
In addition to dehydration, poor diet, and not enough exercise, the unhealthy poops listed above can also be attributed to other issues.  Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s, lactose intolerance, gluten sensitivity (or other food allergies), candida overgrowth, chronic stress and anxiety, or a variety of other concerns can also contribute to unhealthy poops.  But more often than not, fixing the big three factors above will have you on your way to healthy poops in just a few days!
So let’s review.  Barring any larger issues, the steps below will turn you into a pooping all-star!

10 Steps for Happy, Healthy Poops

  1. Eat a diet rich in whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, sprouted wheat {provided you don’t have a sensitivity}, buckwheat, spelt, etc. etc.)
  2. Eat lots and lots of green veggies, particularly kale, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, and chard.
  3. Drink lots of fresh, filtered water throughout the day.  Shoot for half your body weight in ounces.
  4. Do some sort of exercise at least 3 times a week— even just 20 minutes will have a great effect on your poops!
  5. Manage your stress.  If you’re an anxious pooper (you know who you are), take steps to stop and mellow out, so that your poor bowels don’t pay the price!  (Read:  Less Stress and More Energy Through Breath)
  6. Add a good probiotic to your supplement regiment.
  7. Increase consumption of fermented foods (kimchi, lacto-fermented pickles, kombucha), which promote healthy bacterial balance in the gut.
  8. Try to eat three satisfying meals a day, as opposed to constant grazing and snacking.  (For more info on this, read my article To Snack or Not to Snack: That is the question)
  9. Chew your food.  This will help kickstart the digestive process so your body doesn’t have to work so hard!
  10. Avoid refined and processed foods, super salty foods, and sweets, which can all damage intestinal flora and bind you up!
If you’ve tried all of the above and your poops are still not ideal, definitely see a holistic nutritionist to help you get to the bottom of it… (I’m killing myself trying to think of a great “bottom” pun here, but I’m stuck… Sorry guys!)

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