Let's face it - a great poop has a way of making us feel great, and poop problems can equally be draining. Whether you tend towards irritable bowel symptoms, constipation, tenesmus, or gas and bloating, none of it is as fun as having a perfect poop & moving on with your day.
So, what are the determining factors of a perfect poop, and what can you do to ensure you're having them regularly?
First, let's look at what makes a perfect poop PERFECT - the characteristics that compose the perfect poop.
Here are the top 5 characteristics of a perfect poop
A key element of perfect poops is regularity. MINIMALLY once per day, preferably 2-3 times daily - and regular pooping comes from (you guessed it) regular eating and exercise. If you are not pooping at least once per day, you are holding on to toxicity. Fecal matter that sits in your digestive tract creates bacteria, inflammation, and creates toxins in your system.
Another key component of poop perfection is completeness. Happiness is when you have a bowel movement and you truly feel you have gotten rid of if-not-all-then most of what your body is ready to let go of. If you poop but always feel like it is incomplete, chances are you are holding on to fecal matter in your intestines and creating a toxic environment in your body.
Ah, the many consistencies there can be. Basically, check out THIS CHART. Your poop should ideally be type 4 or type 5. If the consistency of your poop typically falls under type 1, 2, or 3, it tells a lot about your health imbalances, such as emotional distress, not enough healthy oils, too many toxins, dehydration and too much processed white flour. If you are closer to type 6 or 7, you may be making poor dietary choices, have thyroid or adrenal imbalances, or be suffering from absorption issues and nutritional deficiencies.
Pooping should be relatively easy in order to be healthy AND and indicator of a balanced & healthy body. When things are straining, difficult, incomplete, sticky, and otherwise difficult, it signifies one or more imbalance in overall body chemistry. Sticky poops indicate incomplete digestion, hard poops indicate dryness, dehydration & emotional stresses, and difficulty pooping indicates that the body is holding on to things.
5. Comfort/ Pain-Free
For some, the comfort-factor of pooping may be THE most important. Healthy poops should not burn, burst or hurt in any other way. In order to be healthy, there should be no cramping, pain, bloating, gas or other physical distress involved in your bowel movement process. Believe it or not, remember or not, a healthy poop feels GOOD to take.
Ok, so now that we've clarified the components to healthy pooping, it's time to find out how to get your body healthy. Let's take a look at the things you can change or do to ensure that your pooping experience is a HAPPY one.
Here are the top 10 things you can do to ensure your way to the perfect poop
1. Drink enough water
The large intestine requires water to function properly. Porous in nature, the large intestine is one of the organs of the body that moderates moisture. Plenty of hydration also helps every cell in your body to detoxify.
2. Exercise daily
The muscles in your intestinal lining respond to movements in your larger anatomy - specifically your musculo-skeletal system. Peristalsis, the movement of the smooth muscles of your intestine, improves when you walk, jog, jump, dance and otherwise exercise. Also, not to drive this theme too far, but exercise also is imperative to detoxification of the whole body. It's pretty simple - you move, your poop moves.
3. Take probiotics
Probiotics are the best supplement you can take to keep your digestive tract, and your pooping, happy. By warding off harmful bacteria and supplementing the healthy good kind, probiotic supplements help heal less-than-optimal digestive systems by re-colonizing our intestines with the good guys.
4. Eat fermented foods
Just like probiotics, fermented foods carry valuable healthy bacteria strains that our bodies need to function properly. Tap water, de-natured foods, poor soil, genetics, antibiotics & other pharmaceuticals all challenge our digestive capabilities. Eating fermented foods helps to restore a healthy flora, as well as providing enzymes that help break down our foods better at the beginning of the digestive chain.
5. Eat plenty of fresh (cooked & raw) fruits & vegetables daily
Let's face it - our bodies need fruits and vegetables every day. The minerals, fiber, and fluids all nourish our bodies, help detoxify, and offer soft, easily digestible materials from which your body will construct your poops. When you think about the consistency of the perfect poop, think about what foods you can eat that will create that consistency. All soup? Soft poop. Now imagine the consistency after eating loads of de-natured breads & processed flour.
6. Eat soaked grains (if you eat grains) - including quinoa, oats & even white basmati rice
Some paleo readers might want to skip this one. If grains don't agree with your body, or think grains might not agree, don't include them in your healthy pooping recipes. If you are including grains, try eating white basmati rice some of the time, and be sure to soak your grains. Soaking grains is a traditional practice in many cultures world-wide that ensures their digestibility.
7. Add bone broth into your diet
Bone broth has powerful nutrients that heal the digestive tract lining. If you suffer from IBS, constipation, diarrhea or gas and bloating, you can heal your digestion with probiotics and daily consumption of bone broth. While bone broth sounds complicated & fancy, it's actually just as simple as chicken soup broth made from cooking the bones of a chicken on low heat for 12-24 hours. We do this in the slow cooker at my busy house, but you can also do it on the stove in a large soup pot.
8. Avoid irritants, allergens & white flour
Foods you are sensitive to, allergic to, or irritated by (gluten, dairy, or any other number of things - for some it's garlic & spicy foods!) - will cause irritation in your digestive tract lining from top to bottom. White flour is an irritant in general to the human body consumed in large quantities. Remember, moderation is everything. After a brief period of cleansing, a healthy body should be able to tolerate white flour from time to time without it stopping up the system & throwing off your perfect poop equilibrium.
9. Manage your stresses
Letting go of your poops is a great metaphor for life. Silly as it sounds, the most important thing is to let go of the things you no longer need as a daily practice in your life. Pooping is an excellent way of getting in touch with this philosophy. Equally, if you are under a lot of stress, thinking too much, or suppressing your emotions, the intestines or the "gut" as some call it, is a great place for storing things we don't want to see.
10. Don't be shy.
Let's face it, folks - everybody poops. If you aren't comfortable pooping at work, at your boyfriend's house, or halfway through your time at Starbucks, you are going to be stopping up the regular good & healthy flow of energy. There's a great book you need to check out if you need some encouragement. I used to keep this in my waiting room of my acupuncture office for the wary - HERE it is.
This post is linked to Thank Your Body Thursday.
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