Let’s Talk About Poop….
I spent some time last week listening to an online conference put on by The Institute for the Psychology of Eating and one of the speakers I listened to was Jordan Reasoner from SCD Lifestyle.
I enjoyed his down to earth approach to healing and respect the fact that he spoke about a somewhat taboo topic in our modern society — Poop 🙂
Did you know that your poop is the most important indicator of your health, of how your body is functioning inside? True story.
Your stool is about 75% water and the rest is a combo of fiber, mucus and live and dead bacteria. One gram of feces can contain 10 million viruses, one million bacteria, 1,000 parasite cysts and 100 worm eggs.
The bacteria in your stool comes from the “bugs” in your digestive tract. Having a healthy ratio of good bugs over bad is the key to good health. When the bad bugs outweigh the good then conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Colitis and Crohn’s disease come into play.
Having balanced “bugs” is also a key factor in healing most conditions, including endometriosis. 80% of the human body’s immune cells are found in the gut’s mucosal lining, so a healthy gut is a big deal.
What’s a Healthy Poop?
There are tests available that can measure the balance of good “bugs” in your digestive tract through analysis of your poop 🙂
But you can also evaluate the health of your digestive tract simply by examining the characteristics of your poop — its color, odor, shape, size and even the sound it makes when it hits the water.
The Bristol Stool Chart is a helpful tool in gauging how healthy your poop is. Type 4 is ideal, but Type 3 and 5 are also considered pretty healthy.
A healthy poop has the following characteristics:
- medium to light brown
- smooth and soft
- formed into one long shape, not a bunch of pieces
- about one to two inches wide and up to 18 inches long
- “S” shaped – indicating a nice clearing of the lower intestine
- quiet and gentle “dive” into the water
- not repulsively smelly
- uniform texture
- sinks slowly
- easy to pass – no strain or pain
- should be easy to “clean off”
What’s an Unhealthy Poop?
Black or bright red poop may indicate bleeding in your gastrointestinal tract. White, pale or gray stools may indicate lack of bile. And yellow poop could indicate a Giardia infection or gallbladder problem.
Undigested food in the stool is an issue and is a symptom of low stomach acid.
Increased mucus in the stool could indicate IBS, Crohn’s Disease, Colitis or even colon cancer (yikes).
A poop with a really bad odor could mean the body is not absorbing nutrients correctly and could be indicative of Celiac disease, Crohn’s Disease, Chronic Pancreatitis or Cystic Fibrosis.
Soft diarrhea could be an indicator of an intolerance to lactose, artificial sweeteners, fructose or gluten.
An average body takes between 18-72 hours to convert food into poop and pass it out of the body, but everyone is different. We should be having at least one bowel movement a day. If you are having less than that there is probably a problem!
Different factors can throw off bowel movements including diet, travel, medications, hormonal fluctuations, sleep patterns, exercise, illness, surgery, childbirth and stress.
Ways to a Healthy Poop
There are different things you can do to help improve the health of your poop. Here are some suggestions….
- Remove gluten from the diet (super sticky and hard to digest)
- Eat whole foods (avoiding processed foods)
- Avoid artificial sweeteners and excess sugar
- Avoid chemical additives, including MSG
- Avoid artificial coloring
- Avoid excess caffeine
- Add fermented foods into the diet
- Add in a good probiotic (with units in the billions)
- Increase fiber intake (fiber bulks up the stool and helps things move out of the intestines)
- Stay hydrated
- Exercise (Yoga does wonders for pooping! Lol)
- Avoid pharmaceuticals
- Manage stress
On the Positive Side?
When I first changed my diet, shifting from the Standard American Diet (SAD) to one filled with veggies and fruits, my stool changed dramatically 🙂
Luckily my husband and I both understand just how awesome a good, healthy poop is — so we openly talk about our successes, Lol.
About a week ago, I posted my intention to implement three solid meals a day (with no snacking) with the heaviest meal at mid-day. In doing so for the past week — my poop has been awesome — Type 4! Lol. So much in fact that it prompted this post.
So what about you…. do you check your poop before you flush? Have you paid attention to changes in your poop in line with diet and/or emotional fluctuations? I’d love to hear from you.