Back in the day, I squirmed when someone started talking about the following: periods, sex and poop. I still giggle, and make inappropriate sex jokes whenever possible, but my monthly visitor and daily (I wish daily), bathroom trips are two of my most talked about topics.
Why, you ask? Because both of these can tell you a lot about a person.
I’ll save the period talk for another time and dive right into the topic of your bowel movements (referred to from now on as “poops”.... Because c’mon, it sounds way better). These daily bathroom meetings are essential to many areas of your health - from digestive function, to cardiovascular health, even chronic disease.
Your poop is responsible for taking out the garbage from your gut. Whether it’s just a mixture of the fibres and leftovers your body didn’t break down, or a complete expulsion of the food that didn’t sit so well.
But why is it so important that we go everyday? When your poop sits in your intestines for too long, it can hinder the growth of your healthy bacteria, as well as start leaching out the toxins that you’re supposed to be getting rid of. All of this can lead to inflammation, and additional gut issues - think pain, gas, bloating, and recurrent constipation.
And how many times should you actually be going #2? Well, ideally you go two to three times per day, and at minimum once. But many of us (like myself) are barely meeting that minimum standard. Some reasons include:
Lack of fibre
Lack of water
No morning routine
Lack of exercise or movement
And some of us are heading to the bathroom a few times per day, but dealing with something that seems less-than-satisfactory or is, for lack of a better phrase, plain messy.
Need some help in the loo? Here are a few ways to get that poop moving along:
Increase your fibre intake, particularly insoluble fibres like ground flax seeds
Increase water intake
Decrease stress in the morning - try to sit with some tea or coffee for 10 minutes
Aloe vera juice (whole leaf)
Magnesium Citrate (this has been a game changer for me)
Apple Cider Vinegar in the morning to kickstart your digestive fire
Invest in a Squatty Potty. I don’t have one yet, but I’m sure as hell thinking about it
If you’re really desperate, try “Smooth Move” tea. The Senna leaf really gets the fire moving.
To help reduce the messy times, try a few of these:
Increase fibre intake, particularly insoluble fibre, to bulk up stool
Remove any allergens (like dairy or gluten)
Reduce or remove coffee and other forms of caffeine that stimulate your intestines
Avoid spicy and processed foods
Go for a bland diet for a day or two, with white rice, bananas and toast
Things you should avoid?
Laxatives, which can actually make the problem worse in the long run
Supplements like Metamucil, especially due to the sugar content
Dehydrating foods and liquids, like alcohol and processed foods