Get familiar with your poop | colour, shape & frequency can be indicators of the illness
There’s a good chance I’ll get kicked out of high society talking about this subject, but with poop cafes and poop emojis, I’ll take my chances and let it rip.
In all seriousness, the topic of poop needs to be discussed more and more, and if not with your loved ones who will love you no matter what, at least with yourself. I used to have a diet high in animal protein, processed foods, and fried everything. The diet made me lethargic, gave me really bad skin, and left me on the toilet praying to the almighty to just get me through that one sitting.
Stress no doubt played a part in my gut issues, but it wasn’t until I made drastic changes to my diet that I discovered the obvious reason. My gut issues were just an indication of the kind of food I was eating – it was food like products and not actual food.
Overnight I changed to a plant-based diet. The first few days were rough. I didn’t know exactly what to eat and how to eat it, so it started out with me just eating raw vegetables. After a few heads of broccoli, some carrots, celery and kale, I thought I would soon go back to the convenience of eating a bucket of fried chicken. I got over the hump of my body dealing with the transition and forced myself to be more inventive and curious with my food. After three weeks I started to notice a huge change in my demeanour. My skin started to glow, I had amazing energy, and I started praying over my food and not on the toilet.
Hippocrates said that all disease starts in the gut, so it’s important to make sure what’s going in you is actually coming out of you.
A bowel movement once every three days will only create an environment for toxins and parasites to grow. In addition to that, you are blocking the interior walls of your intestines where most of the nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream.
Instead of going to the toilet every three days, I started going at least three times a day. I was concerned. I was not familiar with the frequency, form, and colour. This unfamiliarity, of course, brought on fear. Once I started to inform myself of the health benefits of regular bowel movements, good shape, and colour, I wiped the sweat off my brow and went back to wiping that butt.
When it comes to poop there are five things to look for:
- Time it takes
Let’s look into each of these in more detail:
It’s good to make sure you have at least one bowel movement a day. Those who eat more plant fibre or have a faster metabolism could go two or three times a day which is fine. Some doctors will say it’s fine to go a couple of times a week or even once a week, but I do not agree. Our bowels are one of the great ways of eliminating waste and toxins from our body, so it’s best to do it daily.
To show we are digesting and assimilating our nutrients well, we want to make sure our stool is well-formed. I recently discovered the Bristol chart and it’s a great reference to know exactly what a healthy poop should look like.
Foods that contain tannins like bananas, apples, nuts, barley, chickpeas, and beans can help give you a healthy looking stool. I’ve recently started taking food grade bentonite clay that pulls toxins from the digestive tract and helps to firm up the stool.
When it comes to colour, think of a chocolate bar. We want our stools to be a medium to dark brown. Black stool can indicate bleeding in our upper gastrointestinal tract, while red stool can indicate bleeding in the lower intestines and rectum. A more yellow to tan coloured stool can be an issue with fat malabsorption and digestion. It’s also a great indicator of a strained liver, pancreas, and gallbladder. The colour can also just be what you recently ate. Activated charcoal can make your stool black, and spirulina and other types of algae can make your stool dark green. I one time forgot I had a ton of beets and had a panic attack when I got off the toilet. Find more about the colour in my infographic below:
Size is all about the difference in anatomy. We are all different shapes and sizes, and sometimes our poop can reflect that but not always. There are some big assholes out there that can produce a little shit, and I’m not talking about parent-child dynamics here. A small size stool may indicate too little fibre and dehydration. A large size stool may indicate constipation or possibly the consequence of a Super Bowl party you indulged in.
Time it takes
At most, it should take no more than 10 to 15 minutes to pass stool. People that take longer than this may have constipation, haemorrhoids, or other conditions like posting a facebook status, swiping on tinder, and hearting Instagram photos.
Three poops a day might not necessarily keep you from seeing the doctor, I’m confident enough to say it’s a good indicator that things are moving well and you’re getting a healthy dose of fibre. I wasn’t sure about sharing my thoughts on poop, not because of the stigma of poop talk, but because everyone is different. What’s a cosy poop for one can be a struggle for another. Based on my experience and all the information I’ve studied, when it comes to this subject it’s safe for me to say I’m not full of shit.
There are many foods that are known to help with bowel movement, some have songs written about them. Below are some of my favourite foods that I feel help you have a healthy looking brown poop that’s near the centre of the Bristol chart.
Apples are a good source of a special soluble fibre called pectin which is known for its laxative effect. Use it as a healthy topping on your cereal or eat it whole, it will pass through your intestines undigested helping with the form and regular bowel movements
Prunes are a commonly used laxative that contains sugar alcohol called sorbitol. It is poorly digested drawing water into the intestines helping with constipation and encouraging a quick bowel movement. A small glass of prune juice with no added sugar can have the same benefits as eating whole prunes
A regular size kiwi has just over 2 grams of fibre and has shown to stimulate movement in the digestive tract. Add it to your smoothie for a tart high fibre drink.
Flaxseed has several health benefits and known to be antiparasitic. One tablespoon of flaxseed contains 3 grams of soluble and insoluble fibres. It can increase stool frequency and also have an anti-diarrheal effect. Sprinkle it on your oatmeal or use it as an egg substitute as a binder for your baked goods.
A medium-size pear can add up to one-fourth of your daily fibre needs. Pears are another fruit that is high in sorbitol allowing for a fast bowel movement. It’s a versatile fruit. I like to add it to my salads, sandwiches, oatmeal, or eat it raw for a quick snack.
Chia seeds are made up of about 40% fibre by weight, making them one of the most fibre-dense foods available. They are a good source of soluble fibre, which absorbs water to form a gel that softens and moistens stool contributing to a good form to pass through. I add them to my parfaits or get creative with making different kinds of puddings. Although they are more nutrient dense when soaked, I like to add them to my salad while dry.
Figs are a great way to boost your fibre intake and give you a healthy bowel movement. They contain Ficin, an enzyme that is able to break down Protein into smaller chains of amino acids and give figs laxative properties. Figs are a natural sweetener that can be used in sweet and savoury dishes. I’ll add them to my salads or mix it in a chocolate smoothie.
Papaya is another fruit rich with digestive enzymes, among them, being papain. Papain is used as a digestive aid and treats parasitic worms and diarrhoea. Similar to figs it helps with digesting Protein and carbohydrates. There is only one way I eat papaya, raw with fresh lime juice squeezed over it.
May you pray over your food, and not on your toilet.