I know, it’s uncomfortable for a lot of people to talk about...
For others, like me, I talk about it all the time; with my clients, with my family, with my friends, not to a gross amount, but it definitely has its place in my conversation go-to list, and for good reason!
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, contributing to conditions like estrogen dominance. Associated symptoms of estrogen dominance include accelerated aging, breast tenderness, breast tissue growth in males, polycystic ovarian syndrome, fibrocystic breasts, headaches, 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 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:
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, 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. (If you’re new to all of these fibrous foods, introduce them slowly).
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.
How many times do you think I typed poo in that? I don’t want to count.
I know that was a lot to take in. But basically, going poo on a consistent, regular basis is essential for your health.
If you’re not going, or you suspect that something is amiss, I encourage you to see myself, or another reputable healthcare practitioner to delve deeper into possible causes.
I did count, I said poo 12 times. Not as much as I thought.