I know, it’s uncomfortable for a lot of people to talk about...
POOP! It’s something literally all of us do. “Everybody Poops” is one of my favourite books. We’re all in this together. So let’s dive in.
Our poo, and everything around our poo: how often we go, what it looks like, how comfortable or uncomfortable it is etc., can tell us a lot about what’s going on inside our body. Furthermore, regularity is essential for the prevention of hundreds of health conditions.
What our poo does for us:
Excretes toxins: feces contain certain toxins and metabolites that our liver has made less toxic for the purpose of excretion.
Excretes hormones: our liver is responsible for breaking down and removing excess hormones (like estrogen) from the body. From the liver, these hormone metabolites are then sent (via bile) into our poo to be sent on their way.
Synthesizes vitamins: in our colon, friendly bacteria actually feed on our poo and produce Vitamin K (involved in proper blood clotting and bone health) and some B-Vitamins (such as B12).
Eliminates cholesterol: cholesterol is eliminated via bile (produced by our liver).
So… what happens when we don’t poo on a regular basis?
Hormones, like estrogen, get reabsorbed into the body, which can contribute to a condition called estrogen dominance. Associated symptoms include accelerated aging, breast tenderness, breast tissue growth in males, polycystic ovarian syndrome, fibrocystic breasts, headache, fatigue, etc.
Cholesterol gets reabsorbed in the body, raising cholesterol levels. Fact: a common way to lower cholesterol is to increase fibre in the diet. More fibre leads to improved regularity, excreting cholesterol instead of reabsorbing it!
One BIG problem that happens is:
Autointoxication!!! When poo overstays its welcome (constipation), normal, healthy bacteria (or ‘flora’) is replaced with more harmful bacteria, causing something called intestinal toxaemia. Intestinal toxaemia, in turn, leads to something called autointoxication – which is what happens when the body absorbs too much of its own toxic waste.
Simply put: YOU REABSORB THE TOXIC WASTE YOU ARE MEANT TO ELIMINATE!
Some symptoms of autointoxication include:
Constipation (sounds like a vicious circle, no?!)
How often should you be going?
You should be going at least once a day, preferably more than once.
“I go every day, so I’m good right?"
Not necessarily. Just because you go every day isn’t indicative of what food you are actually eliminating. You could be going every day, but eliminating the food you ate 2 or 3 days ago, which is NOT effective elimination.
Transit time refers to how long it takes for the food you consume to travel through, and out, of your digestive tract. The ideal transit time is anywhere from 18 - 24 hours. Anything less than that, you risk not properly absorbing the nutrients you are consuming (“in one end, out the other” concept). Any longer, you put yourself at risk for the reabsorption of undesirable compounds.
Beet test: this a test used to determine transit time. Eat roughly ½ to 1 raw beet (either grate it all on a salad, or thoroughly chew small chunks at a time) and await to see the bright, red pigment in your toilet (I know, gross, but remember, this is for your health).
Tips to go:
Increase fibre: fibre adds bulk to your stools: foods like chia & flax, fresh fruits like apples, bananas and raspberries (raspberries have a ton of fibre), and of course, lots of fresh vegetables. BIO RAW meals are PACKED with fibre. For example, THE BUILT and THE FIESTA have a whopping 11g of fibre!! A BIO RAW meal a day is a surefire way to up your fibre status for a healthy go!
Increase water: this is always a must, but especially if you are increasing your fibre intake. Aim for at least 2L of water per day (filtered water, preferably).
Probiotics: either from fermented foods like miso or sauerkraut, or in supplemental form. Friendly bacteria help keep the bowel clean, and keep the “unfriendly” bacteria in check.
Eliminate Dairy. I know, but just try it. Dairy, particularly cheese, is a common culprit in constipation.
I know that was a lot to take in. But basically, going poo on a consistent, regular basis is essential for your health.
Remember, everybody poops! If it’s becoming an issue, do some investigating or work with a health care practitioner to get some regularity back in your life!