Everybody poops. Yup. Shocking, I know; but, it’s true. Girls do. Boys do. Men do. Women do. All people in the entire world will need to “drop the kids off to the pool” from time to time–hopefully on a regular basis. But, did you know the shape and frequency you need to “drop a deuce” are indicators of your overall intestinal and digestive health? If not, we are about to get the low down on the “Captain’s log”; so, here is your warning if conversations about “deploying the USS Brownfish” aren’t your thing…you may want to forgo this post and carry on to the next.
Lately, there has been a big push (no pun intended) regarding gut health. It’s somewhat “on trend” these days to know about how your personal gut microbiome (microorganisms living in the intestines) are or are not working properly. While you may or may not want to fall in line with what is trendy, it is wise to be in tune with how your behavior and environment can affect your overall gut health. What you consume will consequently affect your body’s ability to digest, absorb, and eliminate (yes…poop).
So, how do you know if you’ve got a gut that is doing the dang thang correctly? Well, every so often you will need to take a look see into the porcelain throne and review the masterpiece you’ve created. You may think or find this a tad gross, but, hey knowledge is power. Doctors, for example, may ask you during your annual physical about size, shape, and regularity of your “prairie dogs.” However, if you’re like a good amount of the population, this question is a bit difficult or awkward to answer. Thus the The Bristol Stool Chart came to be. This chart is a scale developed by doctors to assist patients in answering the ultimate “poo” question. According to the chart, there are seven different types of stools. (According to Google, there are dozens of euphemisms for stool–yes, I did Google.) The Bristol Chart classifies each stool from signs of constipation, the ideal stool where everything is working like clockwork, and those which indicate possible illness (diarrhea).
Potential Constipation (thus less nutrients absorbed from your foods):
- lumpy and hard
- separate (like nuts)
- hard to pass
Practically Perfect in Every Way Poo (properly hydrated, good amount of fiber in diet, and strong nutrient absorption):
- sausage like, but with some cracks on the surface
- sausage or snake like, but smooth
- easy to pass
Potential Illness (body likely is dehydrated and minimal nutrients are being absorbed from food/drink):
- soft blob with clean edges
- fluffy, mushy, ragged edges
- watery or entirely liquid
Regularity is another indicator of a healthy gut. While this can and will vary for each individual, a “regular” bowel movement for an adult is classified as happening 1-3/day and 3 times a week. If this is you, pat yourself on the back for a job well done, you’ve a healthy gut and the ole “Turd Train” is doing what it should. If this is not you–do not worry for everybody’s body is different. However, if you are experiencing more constipation or having watery or more liquid than solid stools, you may want to reach out to your doctor and heed their guidance.
Your body’s main job is to keep you alive–I mean, duh, right?!? This fact somewhat goes without saying, but depending on how it’s being treated she will respond accordingly. If you’ve taken a gander and noticed your “colon cobra” isn’t what you’d hoped it’d be, don’t fret for there are ways to better your overall gut health and regularity.
- reduce stress levels (ex: going for a walk, meditation, yoga, reading a book, spending quality time with friends, owning a pet, diffusing of essential oils, etc.)
- quality sleep (striving for 7-8hrs/night is key in allowing your body the time to recovery from all you’ve asked it to accomplish throughout any given day)
- hydration (getting enough water throughout the day really is one massive way to improve your overall health–rule of thumb is to take your body weight and consume 1/2 of that number in fluid ounces–Cheers!)
- take your time when eating (slowing down how quickly you consume foods will aid in the body’s ability to absorb nutrients and support digestion)
- assess your current diet (a diet that is primarily comprised of highly processed foods can and will cause ya some issues; strive for foods closer to their natural state–they’re more nutrient dense, typically higher in natural fiber, and higher in water content–all good things for the gut.)
- food intolerance (if you’ve done all of the above and still find yourself having issues, you may have some food sensitivities or intolerance. You could try an elimination diet to see which foods trigger bloat, abdominal pain/discomfort, excessive gas, acid reflux, diarrhea, or cramping. However, always check with your doctor to ensure you’re not misreading some important clues and cues from your body.
Bottom line (again no pun intended) you want to ensure what you put into your body is beneficial. Pay attention what goes in and what comes out will most likely be effortless and smooth! 😉
Until next time…